Saturday after Epiphany Samedi après l’Epiphanie

“I am not the Christ, I am the one who has been sent to go in front of him.”
Friday 27 November 2015

1 Jn. 5,14-21 Ps.149 Jn.3,22-30

Saturday after Epiphany “After this, Jesus went with his disciples into the Judean countryside and stayed with them there and baptised. John also was baptising at Aenon near Salim, where there was plenty of water and people were going there and were being baptised.”

We are taken by surprise to see John the Baptist and Jesus baptising at the same time, ’parallel’ to each another ! This is what it looks like, but John the Baptist sends us to Jesus, the Messiah, the new Moses, the so long awaited Prophet, He who comes to give God to us.

Jesus does indeed bring God to us. But the Gospel says : Jesus went to Judea, accompanied by his disciples and he baptised…John also on his side. Then a spirit of division makes its way into the disciples hearts, those of Jesus and those of John!

’Now, everyone is going to him!’

Indeed, John had not yet been thrown put into prison. " Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew about purification, so they went to John and said, ’Rabbi, the man who was with you on the far side of the Jordan, the man to whom you bore witness, is baptising now, and everyone is going to him!’

John makes things clear about the meaning of baptism : in reality, for him it is a matter of a purification that distinguishes between all the religious ablutions linked to tradition, for it is a concrete consummation of a change determining a new Life for us.

Christian baptism implies such a radical change that it is like a ’new birth’, to the extent of changing us into ’new men’, ’new women’, new people altogether.

“John replied, ’No one can have anything except what is given him from heaven. You yourselves can bear me out. I said ’I am not the Christ ; I am the one who has been sent to go in front of Him.”

We can contemplate John the Baptist’s answer! We need to turn it into something efficient in our lives and in our families : John answers :

"No one can have anything unless it is given from heaven. You yourselves can bear me out. I said ’I am not the Christ ; I am the one who has been sent to go before Him.’

How jealousy can come into our lives in a very subtle manner! In another passage Jesu will say ’You are useless servants.’ i.e.when you’ve done what was your duty, consider that it was just your duty.

John the Baptist has a whole new relationship with God and he announces us and invites us. It is a purification designed to rid us of the former man in us, to have us die to ourselves through grace and to be reborn to a new Life : a Divine Life, and we cannot attribute this divine Life to ourselves. What comes from Heaven is from Heaven, the fact of loving God is a gift from God. He who loved us without being loved by us, has given us to love Him. We who are displeasing to Him, we have been loved , so that in us there are things to please Him.

Like the bride of Christ - ’I saw Heavenly Jerusalem come down like a beautiful bride, all adorned for her fiancé.’

It is a question of our vocation, which unites us in an astonishing way to the Holy Trinity through Jesus and the Holy Spirit!

We have become the tenderly beloved child of our Heavenly father. Jesus is our Friend and the Holy Spirit dwells within us.

It is a perfect unity, perfect Joy.

“It is the bridegroom who has the bride ; and yet the bridegroom’s friend, who stands there and listens to him, is filled with joy at the bridegroom’s voice.”

This is the joy I feel and it is complete. He must grow greater, I must decrease.

This is the way to reach Holiness : deepen humility in us so as to make a place for God’s Action and let Him do as He pleases. The important thing is not what I do, but what God does in me:

’He must increase, and I decrease.’

And we shall find that our joy will grow as our ’I’ shall disappears and that the Presence of the Bridegroom in our hearts, and through our acts, increase.

We can understand this passage of John the Baptist that is so powerful : ’It is the bridegroom who has the bride.’

Our human flesh has been betrothed by God, our human heart can beat at the rhythm of God. Before all else we need to be attuned to the Mystery of the God of Peace. ’He needs to increase and I decrease.’ This Only son is One with the Father, He shines with His glory, His Love.

We ask the Father that we become for Him new creatures his beloved children. May God work in us so that we become in the image of Jesus, artisans of Peace. The Will of the Father is Love, Peace and Joy. It is also justice, equity, charity. With Jesus, we want to work for truth and justice, place ourselves at the service of other people, for more goodness.

We ask for the grace that our life be anchored in gentleness and humility.