Thursday of the Second Week of Advent
The privileges of the Kingdom
Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent are taking it by force. All the prophets and the law prophesied up to the time of John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah, the one who is to come. Whoever has ears ought to hear. Mt 11,11-15
The personages of the history of the salvation are always travelling, to search for a life different from the one which they are living. It is a restlessness which reflects the one of the human heart, to the continuous searching for God. Abraham goes out from his land in Ur, in Mesopotamia, to go towards another land, without knowing what it was; and Jacob, with his entire family, quits the Palestine to go toward the Egypt. In the four hundred years of residence in Egypt the number of the family of Jacob grows up to become the people of Israel which, however, is slave of the pharaoh. To become liberated Israel, guided by Moses, gets out from the Egypt and ventures itself towards the Promised Land, the Palestine. Afterwards, there will be the fifty years of deportation in Babylon and, eventually, the way back to the fatherland in 538 a.Ch. The journey of Israel in Palestine becomes, from a geographic movement, a spiritual itinerary towards the new reality of the kingdom of the heaven, which is defined by Jesus himself not of this world, although being included in our human history. In that period the figures of the prophets emerge, who continuously point out the road to be covered, as the road signs show the town towards which we are going. John the Baptist is the last of these signs, the one who indicates in Jesus of Nazareth the Messiah, the son of God who will eventually establish the new reality of the kingdom of the heaven. John the Baptist, however, does not enter into the kingdom, he stops at the boundary, hence not enjoying of the privileges of the new status. It is the same which happens today to a foreigner citizen: he can be also an important person but, not having the right to vote, he does not bear any deciding power. The smallest in the kingdom of the heaven, Jesus says, is greater than John the Baptist, because he gets pleasure of the privileges of being citizen of the kingdom of the heaven. The privileges of the first disciples have been the familiarity with Jesus, the direct listening of his word, the witnessing of the miracles. Later on, with the start of the church, the privileges became the Holy Spirit, which we receive in the baptism, the gift of the Eucharist, the other sacraments and the Holy Scriptures.