Note: These readings are used when Epiphany is observed on a Sunday January 7th or 8th.
Today’s Gospel presents the perfect turning point from the Christmas season to Ordinary Time, which begins soon with the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord. John today knows his mission is almost finished, and it has been successful. He has worked and sacrificed for this moment, the moment when the “Lamb of God,” to use John the Evangelist’s expression, would come and take away the sins of the world. John’s disciples don’t understand; they see Jesus’ gain as John’s loss, as competition, but for John it is a moment of joy, just as the best man is glad to see his friend getting married to a wonderful bride.
In a world that prides itself on self-advancement and self-fulfillment John reminds us that in making others succeed and shine we are fulfilling a greater purpose and will be more blessed as a result. John is content because Jesus is starting to shine. John will still have his moment of darkness in prison, but ultimately the light of Christ will shine when he needs it as well, just before his martyrdom.
At the conclusion of the Christmas season we’re reminded that John and Jesus dedicated themselves to others. Let’s ask the Lord to show us today how we can help others to succeed and to shine as well. It’s the greatest path to fulfillment. Let’s not be afraid about decreasing so that someone we love may increase.
Readings: 1 John 5:14–21; Psalm 149:1–5, 6a, 9b; John 3:22–30.