January 9, 2016 (Saturday)

St. Basilisa

Saturday after Epiphany

1 Jn 5:14-21 • Ps 149 • Jn 3:22-30


22Jesus and his disciples went into the region of Judea, where he spent some time with them baptizing. 23John was also baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was an abundance of water there, and people came to be baptized, 24for John had not yet been imprisoned. 25Now a dispute arose between the disciples of John and a Jew about ceremonial washings. 26So 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.” 27John answered and said, “No one can receive anything except what has been given him from heaven. 28You yourselves can testify that I said that I am not the Messiah, but that I was sent before him. 29The 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. 30He must increase; I must decrease.”


Jewish tradition gives great importance to ceremonial washings. The reason for the dispute between the disciples of John and a Jew is the value of the baptism performed by John the Baptist and that by Jesus.

John the Baptist acknowledges that his followers are God-given. He then reiterates his role and declares that he is not the Messiah; he is a forerunner, sent before the Messiah. He is a mere “best man, who stands and listens for him [the bridegroom],” a figurative language recognizing Jesus as the messianic bridegroom. John accepts his role and destiny with joy and with great humility when he says, “He must increase; I must decrease.”

We have nothing to boast about ourselves; our life is God’s gift to us. Let us live our life in the service of God and his people.

True greatness lies in honesty and humility.

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