All the great prophets pointed to a future Messiah, an anointed one of God. John the Baptist, however, did not herald an eventual incarnation of the almighty. He proclaimed that the Kingdom of heaven was at hand. He focused the people of his day to look toward the one who baptizes with fire and the Holy Spirit. By professing John as the greatest, Jesus acknowledged the magnitude of his cousin’s undertaking in preparing his path and planting the seeds of hope for his mission. So often Jesus used parables to describe the Kingdom of heaven. Here Jesus indicates the perfection of all who attain that Kingdom by declaring them even greater than John the Baptist.

We will all be made perfect in God’s Kingdom. We will all someday be greater than even John the Baptist was while here  on earth. To enter that Kingdom, we must first heed John’s words to repent in our ways and focus on Jesus.

Mike Gabriele is the Communications Director for the Maryland Province Jesuits and a graduate of Loyola University Maryland.