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3rd Sunday of Advent (Ages 3-6): The Least in the Kingdom

(Adults, this reflection focuses on the last line of the Gospel.)



This Sunday we light the third candle of the Advent wreath. It is the pink candle. Pink is the colour for joy. We wonder—why joy?

Last Sunday, we heard about John the Baptist preparing the people of Israel for Jesus who comes. This Sunday, Jesus talks about John the Baptist. The people wonder if John the Baptist is a prophet. Jesus says,

A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.

We remember that prophets are people who sit so still...

and listen so carefully...

that they hear God speaking to them.

After they listen to God, they tell everyone what they heard.

John the Baptist tells everyone that the Kingdom of God has come near.


Then Jesus says,

Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist

John the Baptist is the greatest prophet, Jesus says. But then he says,

the least in the Kingdom of God is greater than he.

The least means the littlest,

the smallest,

the one no one notices or pays attention to.

Jesus says, the least in the Kingdom of God is greater even than John the Baptist.


What can this mean?


How can the least in the Kingdom of God be greater than a prophet?


Who can answer these questions?


We could ask the prophets. The prophet Micah knows about things that are small. He hears God say,

Jerusalem is the big, important city. Jerusalem is holy. Everyone notices Jerusalem.

But Jesus is not born in Jerusalem.


Bethlehem is a small, unimportant town. Bethlehem is least. No one notices Bethlehem. This is where Jesus is born.


Why? What does God think about the least?


Children say that Jerusalem is already holy,

but Bethlehem becomes holy because Jesus is born there.

God is with Bethlehem, so Bethlehem is great.


The small, the littlest, the least becomes great with God.


Jesus says, the least in the Kingdom of God is greater even than John the Baptist.

Perhaps being in the Kingdom is greatest of all because God is with the least.


But who are these least in the Kingdom of God?


Who are the littlest,

the smallest,

the ones no one notices or pays any attention to?


Do we know them?


Maybe we do.

Maybe we know why this is the Sunday of joy!!!


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