John the Baptist was in prison because he said to the King ‘it is against the law for you to live with your brother’s wife’ in other words he was condemning adultery. And so he is arrested for defending marriage. Certainly he is a prophet for our time. In prison, John knows that his days are numbered. He is concerned for the salvation of his own disciples. He wishes them to follow the Light. He himself is only a witness for the Light. And so he sends them to our Lord to ask a question, ‘Are you the one who is to come? Or must we wait for someone else?’ And the Lord well aware of John’s intention makes the response to the disciples of John “Go and tell John what you see, what you hear; the blind receive their sight, the deaf - hearing, the lame - walk, the dead are raised etc... And so John’s disciples depart with a message, and more than a message, because they now are witnesses for Christ.
Our Lord begins to praise John, ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swaying in the wind, someone dressed in fine clothing? No you went to see a prophet and something greater than a prophet. And so in conclusion, He speaks the words we heard this morning. The words of the greatest praise for John ‘Of all the children born of women, a greater than John the Baptist has never been seen.’ What does that mean? It merely means that John is among the great. Our Lord didn’t say there is non greater than John, but He says that he is among the great. ‘Greater than he has never been seen.’ So there are others who could be on the same rank as John. Yet He says this is in, this changeable world, this world as yet unredeemed, this world that does not receive the light. And so the Lord compares it to a kingdom… For Fr. Linus’ complete homily please listen to the Audio.
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