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First reading 1 John 5:14-21

If we ask for anything, he will hear us

We are quite confident that if we ask the Son of God for anything,
and it is in accordance with his will,
he will hear us;
and, knowing that whatever we may ask, he hears us,
we know that we have already been granted what we asked of him.
If anybody sees his brother commit a sin
that is not a deadly sin,
he has only to pray, and God will give life to the sinner
– not those who commit a deadly sin;
for there is a sin that is death,
and I will not say that you must pray about that.
Every kind of wrong-doing is sin,
but not all sin is deadly.
We know that anyone who has been begotten by God
does not sin,
because the begotten Son of God protects him,
and the Evil One does not touch him.
We know that we belong to God,
but the whole world lies in the power of the Evil One.
We know, too, that the Son of God has come,
and has given us the power
to know the true God.
We are in the true God,
as we are in his Son, Jesus Christ.
This is the true God,
this is eternal life.
Children, be on your guard against false gods.
 

Responsorial Psalm 149:1-6,9

The Lord takes delight in his people.
or
Alleluia!
 
Sing a new song to the Lord,
  his praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel rejoice in its Maker,
  let Zion’s sons exult in their king.
 
The Lord takes delight in his people.
or
Alleluia!
 
Let them praise his name with dancing
  and make music with timbrel and harp.
For the Lord takes delight in his people.
  He crowns the poor with salvation.
 
The Lord takes delight in his people.
or
Alleluia!
 
Let the faithful rejoice in their glory,
  shout for joy and take their rest.
Let the praise of God be on their lips:
  this honour is for all his faithful.
 
The Lord takes delight in his people.
or
Alleluia!

 

Gospel John 3:22-30

‘He must grow greater and I must grow smaller: my joy is complete’

Jesus went with his disciples into the Judaean countryside and stayed with them there and baptised. At the same time John was baptising at Aenon near Salim, where there was plenty of water, and people were going there to be baptised. This was before John had been put in prison.
  Now some of John’s disciples had opened a discussion with 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 replied:
‘A man can lay claim
only to what is given him from heaven.
‘You yourselves can bear me out: I said: I myself am not the Christ; I am the one who has been sent in front of him.
‘The bride is only for the bridegroom;
and yet the bridegroom’s friend,
who stands there and listens,
is glad when he hears the bridegroom’s voice.
This same joy I feel, and now it is complete.
He must grow greater, I must grow smaller.’
______________________________________
 
Less of me, more of Jesus

Let the words of John the Baptist resound in our hearts, “He must grow greater, I must grow less”. Indeed, Christ must steadily grow and become more important in our lives. Often, we seek to increase our power, status, recognition, praises, etc., in the work and service we do to our faith community, the parish, and our vocation. We claim that we are here to serve Christ, but when we encounter harsh criticism or feel that others have overlooked us, etc., we tend to complain and even walk away from the community. In the gospel today, John the Baptist’s disciples were upset that many people were going to Jesus. However, for John, he knew that he was not “the Christ”, but he was just “the friend of the bridegroom”. All his actions were centred on Jesus, and his joy was completed when Jesus, the Christ, the Bridegroom, was present. May we examine our hearts and see if we have any self-centered motivations that prevent Christ to increase and us to decrease.

Question for reflection:

He must grow greater, I must grow less”. What do these words of John the Baptist mean to me? Acknowledgment: Reflections are based on “Prayer for Living: The Word of God for Daily Prayer Year C” by Sr. Sandra Seow FMVD.