You yourselves can testify that I said that I am not the Christ, but that I was sent before him. The one who has the bride is the bridegroom; the best man, who stands and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made complete. He must increase; I must decrease. (John 3:28-30)
John the Baptist has been a constant presence these past weeks, both in anticipating Christ’s coming and in pointing to him when he came. Today’s gospel is a fitting denouement for the Lord’s messenger sent to prepare his way. John says of Jesus, “He must increase; I must decrease.”
This passage evokes so much of what the gospels reveal of John: his zeal in fulfilling the prophetic ministry entrusted to him, his clarity in announcing the coming day of God and in calling for genuine conversion in order to be worthy of it, his refusal to temper his words even when addressing the religious and political elite of his time, his humility in never making himself more important than the message he was sent to speak.
The imagery of the bridegroom and his bride is touching. Christ is the bridegroom whose preaching and ministry, death and resurrection inaugurate the messianic age, often symbolized in the religious literature of God’s people as a wedding banquet. The best man speaks for a moment, but then recedes into the background and listens with joy to the voice of the bridegroom. John’s joy has been made complete in making God’s Anointed One known.
Saint Peter Julian Eymard tells us, “The true secret of love consists in this: we must forget self like Saint John the Baptist and exalt and glorify the Lord Jesus.” As you pray today, include this thought: Do my words and actions exalt Christ?
Let us pray:
Lord Jesus, be glorified in all I say and do this day, and always. Amen.
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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