Birth of John the Baptist (B) 2018

‘Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist.’
Why did Jesus of Nazareth describe John the Baptist in those words?
For Jesus of Nazareth John was greater that Abraham, than Isaac, than Jacob, than Samuel, Elijah, David, and Solomon. For him John was greater than Peter or Paul or any of the Apostles. For him John was greater than his mother, than Mary of Magdala or anyone else you can think of.
I wonder why?
For me the reason is that at the height of his physical and mental abilities (he was only 30), at the height of his popularity and power (he was so popular and had such a large dedicated following that neither political leaders nor religious leaders could touch him despite his excoriating them for their hypocrisy and immorality) he urged and even ordered his followers to follow and listen to this newcomer called Jesus of Nazareth.
He was well aware of what this would mean for him, and what very soon happened. With the departure of most of his followers to join Jesus of Nazareth his political and religious enemies had him quickly arrested, jailed and executed without trial.
John the Baptist was the greatest because he had no personal desire for greatness; it was thrust upon him by God. He accepted greatness and immediately abandoned greatness as his God willed, although the latter came at a terrible price.
He underwent much soul-searching and was plagued by doubts as we read in the Gospels: From prison “John summoned two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord to ask. Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?”
It is amazing that we have all sorts of people within our church urging us to pray to this saint or that saint, to practise this devotion or that devotion but I have never heard of anyone urging us to pray to John the Baptist or pushing a devotion to John the Baptist!!!
This is John the Baptist. This is what he was and is like. He steppes aside. He relinquishes power gladly. He does not promote himself. He likes the background. For him it is only God who matters. It is God he promotes. He eschews showy devotions. He is not the patron saint of anything. He was never canonised (as far as I know). You do not see statues of him in churches surrounded by votive lights and vases of flowers. Have you ever seen a prayer to John the Baptist?
And yet according to Jesus of Nazareth – God the Son the Second person of the Blessed Trinity – he is the greatest.
For me his greatness is in his humility and his total dedication to the will of his God.