The Gospel of the day (Matthew 11, 2–15)

The question of Saint John the Baptist

When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”

Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy[a] are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written:

“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare your way before you.’[b]

11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence,[c] and violent people have been raiding it. 13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. 15 Whoever has ears, let them hear.

Why the prophets and apostles are great

Saint John Chrysostom, Homilies at Matthew, homily XLVI, II, in Church Fathers and Writers (1994), vol. 23, pp. 540-541

If  twelve people kneaded the whole world, think how sinful and bad we are when we can`t bring to faith those who remained although we are so numerous although we are enough dough to knead thousands of world. I could be told: But they were apostles.

`So what ? Didn`t they live the way you live? Didn`t they live in cities? Didn`t they enjoy the same things? Didn`t they have a job? Were they angels? Did they descend from the skies?

`No, but they made miracles.`

`Not the miracles made them wonderful. Until when are we going to use the miracles made by the apostles as an excuse for our idleness? Look at the group of Saints. They don`t shine due to the miracles. Many expelled demons but because they committed sins they were not wonderful and they were punished.

But what made the apostles be great?

The despise for fortunes, glory, the detachment of the worldly worries and affairs. If they had not done this and they had remained the slaves of passions even if they had revived thousands of dead they would have had no avail and they would have been considered impostors.

Therefore the life of the man makes him great. This draws the grace of the Holy Spirit. What miracle did John the Baptist make, he who brought to repentance so many towns? He did not make any miracle as the evangelist says: John did not make any miracle. (John 10, 4). By what did Elijah become wonderful ? Not by his boldness towards the emperor? Not by his zeal for God?


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