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“He Must Increase, I Must Decrease”

In today’s Gospel reading (Jn 3:22-30), John the Baptist teaches us an important lesson in humility. In reference to Jesus, John states, “He must increase, I must decrease”. These simple words speak volumes about John’s humility. He knew that his job was to prepare others for the public ministry of Jesus. When The Lord arrived on the scene, John knew that it was time to step aside.

Those of us who do any kind of work for Jesus know that pride can be a major pitfall. We can start to believe that our success is because of us and not because of God’s grace. Thankfully, The Lord has a way of humbling us when we become too proud. Usually it’s not a lot of fun when He does this, but it is necessary. Ultimately, we should all desire to be more like Jesus. He is the perfect model of a humble man. In referring to the humility of Christ, St. Paul tells us, “Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2: 5-8). If anyone had a reason to be proud it was Jesus and to this very day He appears to us at each Mass under the appearances of bread and wine. Can you get more humble than that?

In whatever we do, we should always remember to give the credit to God. In John the Baptist’s case, he had quite a following and could have easily developed a “big head”. However, he knew his place. He realized that he was just a messenger for the Savior who was to come.

St. John the Baptist, pray for us, that we may receive an increase in the virtue of humility. By doing so we’ll allow the people we come in contact with to focus on the message rather than the messenger.

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