Two notes on John the Baptist.

John the Baptist, when asked who he was, said he was a voice. This is a perfect description, for the actuality and purpose of the voice is from the word; so much so that a voice without its word is literally meaningless, like “a noisy drum or clanging cymbal”. John expresses his complete dependence on the Word (who was a cousin to him, or as he would say, a brother) by saying that he is so totally dependent on the activity of the Word that it would be misleading if he were to perform the slightest activity upon him, like unloosening his sandal strap.

John again protests his unworthiness to perform the slightest activity upon the Word when Christ requests baptism from him: “it is you who should be baptizing me”. Christ counters that it must be done to “fulfill all righteousness”. It fulfills all righteousness because Christ’s baptism sanctified all waters for baptism (again, it is impossible for the waters to act to sanctify Christ). This sanctification of the waters caused the existence of the new sacramental order which is the source of all righteousness. This institution of the new sacrament fulfilled the teachings and witness of the prophets because in this sacrament the door of the Church of Christ opened forever and was opened to heaven.

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