John the Baptist bows out
January 12, 2019 Saturday, After Epiphany 1st
Reading: 1 Jn 5:14–21 Gospel: Jn 3:22–30
Jesus went into the territory of Judea with his disciples. He stayed there with them and baptized. John was also baptizing in Aenon near Salim where water was plentiful; people came to him and were baptized. This happened before John was put in prison. Now John’s disciples had been questioned by a Jew about spiritual cleansing, so they came to him and said, “Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan, and about whom you spoke favorably, is now baptizing and all are going to him.” John answered, “No one can take on anything except what has been given him from heaven. You yourselves are my witnesses that I said: ‘I am not the Christ but I have been sent before him.’ Only the bridegroom has the bride; but the friend of the bridegroom stands by and listens, and rejoices to hear the bridegroom’s voice. My joy is now full. It is necessary that he increase but that I decrease.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
Transition is a crisis situation because it requires abandonment of an established pattern of doing things. Because it necessitates adjustment to a new way of acting, transition brings pain comparable to the pangs of birth. The same must have happened to John the Baptist when it was time for him to bow out from the biblical scene. That was when his followers reported to him that Jesus was already baptizing. It was his sign to bow out and give way to Jesus. Surprisingly he said: “Now my joy is full.” How was he able to bow out in joy, a feat so rare among people who undergo transition period?
This was possible because he was happy about his role as herald. When he was done, he bowed out like he had achieved everything there was to achieve in life. A person who lives this way has more chances to resist temptation to squander the inherent grace of life. As instrument of God he stays sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. He stays strong and stands strong amidst all pangs, even the pangs of transition.
We too undergo so many shifts in life and stand vulnerable to the pangs of transition. The worst transition we all undergo is death. Death is painful enough, what more when it punctuates a life lived without a sense of mission? Of all the transitions we face, death is the most inevitable. But we are not without any remedy. The best antidote to the impact of death is a life well lived. Let us love our role, play it well so that at the great transition we have to make at our deathbed we can say with John the Baptist, “My joy is full now.” –(Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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