Saturday 8 January 2022 –  HE MUST INCREASE, I MUST DECREASE

Saturday After Epiphany

1st Reading: 1Jn 5:14-21

Beloved: We have this confidence in him that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us in regard to whatever we ask, we know that what we have asked him for is ours.  If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly, he should pray to God and he will give him life.  This is only for those whose sin is not deadly.  There is such a thing as deadly sin, about which I do not say that you should pray.  All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not deadly.  We know that anyone begotten by God does not sin; but the one begotten by God he protects, and the Evil One cannot touch him.  We know that we belong to God, and the whole world is under the power of the Evil One.  We also know that the Son of God has come and has given us discernment to know the one who is true.  And we are in the one who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ.  He is the true God and eternal life.  Children, be on your guard against idols.

Gospel: Jn 3:22-30

Jesus and his disciples went into the region of Judea, where he spent some time with them baptizing.  John was also baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was an abundance of water there, and people came to be baptized, for John had not yet been imprisoned.  Now a dispute arose between the disciples of John and a Jew about ceremonial washings.  So, they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you testified, here he is baptizing and everyone is coming to him.” John answered and said, “No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven.  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.”

HE MUST INCREASE, I MUST DECREASE: Sometimes we are preoccupied with less constructive arguments and forget the essentials. We focus on the debate about ceremonial washings, instead of on Jesus’ position in our lives. John helps us to understand that Jesus in our lives, must be given the right position – he must grow while our ego decreases. God has given us discernment to know who is true, it is Jesus who truly deserves the higher position (increase). There are many things that give us false self-image especially the material things. Things that we do not receive from heaven, are not ours. What is truly ours comes from God. This is what increases us, because we belong to God. A man may understand, then, that he ought not to rejoice of his own wisdom, but of the wisdom which he has received from God. For many, that affirm themselves to be wise, become fools (Rom 1:19-22). 

Prayer: O God, grant me a pure and docile heart, ever submissive to your will and greatness, that you may increase and I decrease.


HOLD YOUR HEAD HIGH: John the Baptist presents the picture of someone who chose what is right.  He does not shy away from the truth when Jesus comes into the scene. With this new arrival, John promptly withdraws to take his rightful position; the best man. The fact that the multitude is with Jesus, does not disturb him and he puts things right, “No one can receive anything except what has been given from Heaven” Jn 3: 27.It takes courage to accept such a reality. It calls for honesty to acknowledge that my role is to usher in the Messiah. Today there is need for this kind of leadership that gives honour where it is due. As Christians we must put Jesus first; all for His glory. We should never attempt to turn the light on ourselves. Jesus must increase as I decrease.


JOY IN THE GROWTH OF OTHERS: The capacity to appreciate someone for his works is a sign of personal growth. The scripture text depicts the picture of John the Baptist, who delights in Jesus. He never became tensed or jealous. It is his humility and confidence in Jesus that makes John the Baptist great. He says, “He must increase; I must decrease”! This is a perfect example for his submission to God’s will. Despite our human limitations, we are called to be perfect with all our imperfections! We must grow from humanity to divinity. For this we need to practice humility. We are called to be sensitive to the needs of others and help them as possible. Then we will feel joy ion others progress. Let our joy be in the growth of others. Let us try to grow being humble in all our life situations.