12 January 2019. Saturday after Epiphany
Reflection (Sem. Rodel D.O. Aclan)
I remember several years ago, I attended a wedding of one of my friends. During the course of the event, I felt I was not being given attention by the newlyweds. Resentment slowly crept in my heart. I even attempted to leave the place to show my displeasure. But since they are close friends and I don’t want them to feel bad especially if they learn the reason why I left. I stayed but I was grumbling inside.
In the Gospel, St. John the Baptist in some way was also not being given attention immediately. He started as the beacon of light to the people but suddenly the spotlight was no longer on him. He was no longer the person whom people listened to and followed. John’s response was humble and sincere, He must increase, I must decrease.
It sounds good, but as we all know, it is not easy to live it out. When pride, entitlement and our own need for recognition start to manifest, we are hindered to give the same response. What made it easy for John the Baptist? I believe it was, because he was honest and true to his own identity. He was just the precursor, the one who would shout in the wilderness; make straight the path of the Lord. He was not the light, a truth that he declared from the very beginning of his ministry.
As a priest-in-process, the attitude of John the Baptist is an important reminder of my own role as a priest in the future. It is never about me. It is all about Jesus. In whatever I do, I should always have the humility and courage to say, Jesus must increase and I must decrease.
The Gospel Today
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.”