”Every age has its own poetry; in every age the circumstances of history choose a nation, a race, a class to take up the torch by creating situations that can be expressed or transcended only through poetry.” ~ Jean-Paul Sartre
In today’s Gospel (John 3:22-30), we witness the proverbial passing of the torch if you will, wherein John the Baptist cedes to Jesus, the one who is to come who is far greater than he (Matthew 3:11). On the threshold of tomorrow’s Solemnity of the Baptism of Jesus there is no more fitting passage to usher in this moment.
“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.”
These are the parting words of John the Baptist. In them we see the wisdom, selflessness and humility that would cement his role and legacy in the greatest story ever told, that of the salvation of the world. A wisdom, selflessness, and humility we must all aspire to.
He must increase. I must decrease.
Relay runners, Olympic or otherwise, know that when they run their leg of the relay and pass on the baton, there is no sense of unfinished business. There is merely the sense of having done your part to the best of your ability. The hope is to pass on the baton to somebody who will run faster, run better. With Jesus’ nail-wounded hand firmly grasping the baton, there could be no greater recipient of the task, that of taking the children of God down the homestretch, the penultimate leg of the journey to our Father’s Heavenly Kingdom.
Bishop Barron sums it up this way in his daily reflection: “The overture is complete, and now the great opera begins. The preparatory work of Israel is over, and now the Messiah will reign.”
.....He must increase. I must decrease.