Though he appears often in the New Testament, John the Baptist is still a man of mystery. We see him through the lens of the early Christians with only a hint that the Baptist’s disciples would argue that he was superior to Jesus. But the Baptist’s followers were lost in the waves of history, so we know very little about them or about him, save what the Gospels.
Were they really relatives?
The question is not relevant. Jesus did seek out John’s baptism, though such ceremonies of renewal were common in the Second Temple era. John, we should be confident, was contemporary of Jesus whose life and work reflected the need of that time for a new era. John’s plea for metanoia – change and renewal – anticipated Jesus. But John did not claim as Jesus did that the kingdom of heaven was at hand.
Fr. Greeley's Last Book:
Once upon a time, there was this parish director of music, a young woman just out of musical school. She found a children’s choir which everyone loved, an adult choir which no one liked because they sang too long, a scola cantorum which sang Gregorian chant, which some people liked a lot, and a teenage choir that “jammed for Jesus,” which the young people liked totally, and they were by their own admission the only ones that counted.
She was also going on for her master’s degree and had a boy friend, who was a baseball pitcher without a future because he played for the Cubs. The pastor was delighted with the young woman’s talent and work ethic. After her first year he recommended to the financial council that she receive a fifty percent raise because, as he said, “She works harder than any priest I know.” We’re not considering a raise, they said. She’s only a kid. Let’s not give her a raise till she asks for one. If we do pay her more, she’ll be back in two years for more. More likely she will be out of here, said the pastor. This is a case of commutative justice said the pastor, who was kind of old and remembered these words from his social ethics courses. They still said no.
He gave her the raise. Finance committee complained to the bishop who said that if she didn’t get a raise he’d hire her for the Cathedral. That was that.
1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Catholics and the Struggle with Their Church
The survey of the archdiocese, which Father Greeley describes as "a very complicated place" demographically, asks some difficult questions, and finds some interesting truths.
Father Andrew M. Greeley © 1995-2013
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