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Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.
“I tell you, among those born of women, no one is greater than John; yet the least in the Kingdom of God is greater than he.” John is the greatest because, perhaps more than any other person in salvation history, he expanded his life to the point of hosting the very voice of God. He is great because he is extremely humble, a man who didn’t dress in luxurious clothes or dwell in the palaces of the powerful, but wandered in the wilderness dressed austerely and eating what he could find there.
John is great because he doesn’t try to show off, but the more he lowers himself by limiting himself to the essentials, the more he experiences how the Lord raises up the humble. John is great because he does not back down in the face of the arrogance of the powerful of his time, to the point of suffering its extreme consequences.
Yet this great man, Jesus says, cannot hold a candle to the least of God’s kingdom. For John is great on a natural human level, but the least of God’s kingdom is greater by grace. It seems that the Gospel is telling us that it would be good on a natural human level to be great people like John, but very often we are not.
Yet in the face of this observation, the Christian faith proclaims to us that by God’s grace we can receive all that we do not have by nature. If we allow ourselves to be transformed by God’s grace, even our flaws, our character traits, and our frailties, can become a symphony of beauty. It’s good to try to be better people, but it’s a greater good to let the Lord love us.
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.