Increase and Decrease

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Today the Church celebrates the Nativity of John the Baptist. In the first reading today from Isaiah 49, we see the messianic prophesies, all of which certainly could be attributed to John the Baptist. In the second reading from Acts 13, St. Paul talks about how John heralded the word of salvation. And the Gospel reading from Luke 1 is about the birth and naming of John.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (#523) says that John “surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last.” John had a large following of disciples. He certainly could have started his own religion, preaching his own message and drawing people to himself. But he knew that he had another calling. Everything he did pointed the way to Christ. We are called to share in that mission; to emulate John the Baptist and point others to Christ.

One of my favorite lines from Scripture came from the mouth of John the Baptist. In John 3:30, when speaking of Christ, John says, “He must increase; I must decrease.” If we share in that mission, it begs the question, what are we doing to make Christ “increase?” Are we encouraging others to repent, and to follow the Lamb of God, as John did? Are we eating locusts and wild honey and wearing camel skin? 

Father, thank you for the witness of John the Baptist, who heralded the coming of the Christ. May we do the same in our lives each day. Amen.

Today’s Readings


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