Saturday after Epiphany

John 3:22-30

Final Witness of the Baptist


“You must come to Holy Mass often, after this healing session,” the charismatic priest-healer was telling the people who came for the session, and again, “Remember, if it is the Lord Jesus alone who can heal.”

An old limping man was now being led away from the communion rail, to give way to the others who were waiting for their turn to be prayed over. Yet the old man did not want to be led back. After some time, he tried to get up by himself. He sensed some strength in his legs. Then he realized he was being healed and began shouting the name of the healer-priest. He was however, downed by the songs of praise and thanksgiving of the congregation. Only when silence took over the whole church did the priest again come out to pray over the rest of the people, for he slipped out when he heard his name.

St. John the Baptist knew his role was to prepare the way of the Messiah. He knew what to say to those who pointed out to him that Jesus had an increasing number of followers. “I’m not the Messiah, but I have been sent ahead of him.” True greatness indeed is knowing whom to acknowledge!

“Lord God, True source of our being, help us to raise our thanks to you today. Accept our praises, our adoration and all that we are. Increase our faith. Strengthen us to follow your Divine Will. Help us to love one another in order that your kingdom reign! Amen.” (Sr. Lourdes Felipe, SSpS Bible Diary 2002)


In basketball, the one-two punch of Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan reminded me of the same. I guessed (rightly or wrongly) that Pippen now and then gave away to the more flamboyant and obviously more talented Jordan (adjudged the greatest player). Pippen played a supporting role to his teammate and friend Michael Jordan.

In our gospel today, we see just that: the supporting actor giving way to the actor – John the Baptist giving way and paving the way to Jesus, “He (Christ), must increase, I (John), must decrease.”

This, in a nutshell, is what spirituality is all about – Christ (his examples, his teachings and his will) must become more and more in our life, while we with our dreams and desires, plans and projects, wants and wishes become less and less.

In living our faith, our focus should be on God/Christ, on God’s goodness, forgiveness and love and not on our helpless, not on our weakness, not even on our sins. In short, our spirituality is God’s work not ours. God saves us, not we. God makes us holy, not we. By ourselves we can do nothing. In the end, we must be able to say with St. Paul, ‘I live, yes, but it is no longer I that live but Christ who lives in me.” (Fr. Fred Mislang, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


The apostles were envious of one another. They quarreled about “who was the first.” But John the Baptist was different. If he were like many of us, ambitious, seeking recognition or power, he would have resented it when Christ started becoming more popular than he was. John had made a name for himself as “the Baptist.” The Gospel reading today mentions twice that Jesus was also baptizing. There He was, usurping the role of John. But John didn’t look at it that way. He was happy that Jesus was recognized. He said: “This joy of mine has become complete.” He even encouraged his own disciples to follow Jesus, by pointing to Him as the Lamb of God he showed his deep humility when he said: “He must increase and I must decrease.”

How about us? Are we happy that others are more successful than we are and do we rejoice in their accomplishments and support them? Or do we envy them and try to put them down? As Christians, our aim should be to make Christ known and loved, not ourselves. Even priests, when they preside at the Eucharist, should not call undue attention to themselves, but lead the people to the Lord, as Pope Benedict XVI recently wrote. (Fr. Jim Risse, SVD Bible Diary 2008).


“….where he could be alone and pray.” Here is an example of a person who constantly relations with God.  One would wonder why Jesus often prays even if He has a special relationship with the Father. It is precisely His special relationship with the father that he prays. Jesus shows us the importance of constantly communicating with God. Oftentimes, in moments of successes and triumphs, one forgets the people that matter and focuses on people who further raises one in the social ladder. One also forgets the hand of God in his/her successes. Experts say had Jesus not constantly prayed to God. He might have opted just to stay in one place and be known as a miracle worker. But His constancy in prayer reminded Him of His mission. Like Jesus, let us find time to pray and be constant reminded of Him of His mission. Like Jesus, let us find time to pray and be constant in our prayers. Prayer helps us to be grounded in the God who is behind all things (Fr. Kito Estepa SVD-HNU, Tagbilaran City Bohol Bible Diary 2013)


January 9, 2016 Saturday

Do you know who you are? Do you know your mission in life?

In the gospel today, John the Baptist clearly states who he was in front of his disciples who apparently were not aware of who they were and who they were following. They saw Jesus as a competitor as if Baptism were a business that thrived on the number of converts. John did not only recognize his role or his mission but he also alluded to the fact that now that the Messiah was beginning his mission, he must take back stage to give the center stage to Jesus. For other people this must be painful and difficult. But not for John the Baptist.

Yes, John was already famous and he had his disciples who were loyal to him. He must have been fulfilled in what he was doing. We know that he was successful that even the authorities at that time recognized him as a prophet. YET, John was not blinded by all of these. He remained FAITHFUL to who he was. He prepared people by baptizing them. He prepared the Messiah by baptizing him. That was his mission. Nothing else mattered.

Tomorrow, we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord. I think this is an opportune time for us to reflect and to remember our mission that is born out of our own baptism. We need to live out our baptismal calling lest we forget the mission entrusted to us.We share the mission of John. We share the mission of Jesus who came to fulfill the will of his father. Our mission is nothing else but His mission. (Fr. Kaloi Macatangga, SVD | Toronto, Canada Bible Diary 2016)



SATURDAY AFTER EPIPHANY (YEAR B) 1 JUAN 5:14-21. Unsa man ang salang “mortal” ug ang salang “venial”? Ang Unang Sulat ni San Juan nagtudlo nga adunay kalainan sa duha ka matang nga sala: Ang una mao ang sala nga dili mosampot sa kamatayon; ug ikaduha mao ang sala nga magdala sa tawo ngadto sa kamatayon. Kini maoy nahimong sumbanan sa Katolikong pagtulon-an mahitungod sa salang mortal ug venial. Ang salang mortal mao kadtong mabuhat sa tawo nga dagkong kalapasan sama sa pagpatay, pagpangabit, pagdagmal sa ginikanan, ug uban pa; ug mabuhat sa tawo nga gawasnon (dili pinugos) ug may igong salabotan (dunay kahibalo sa epekto ug sangputanan). Samtang ang salang venial mao kadtong mabuhat sa tawo nga gagmay’ng kalapasan, o kon dagko man, mabuhat nga dili gawasnon (napugos o nadala sa kusog nga emosyon) ug walay saktong kahibalo.

(English) 1 John 5: 14-21. What is sin “mortal” and guilty of “venial”? The First Letter of John teaches that there is a difference in the two types of sin: The first is mosampot sin death; and the second is the sin that leads men to death. This has been the pattern of Catholic teaching about mortal sin and venial. The mortal sin that a man doeth major crimes such as murder, infidelity, violence against parents, and others; and do freemen (not compulsory) and enough intelligence (have knowledge of the effects and consequences). While the venial sin that a man doeth small transgressions, or large, do not free (forced or brought strong emotions) and inadequate knowledge.

JUAN 3:22-30. Unsa may atong buhaton aron mahimong mapaubsanon? Dili sayon ang pagpaubos ilabina kon daghan ikaw og nahibaloan. Kon dili magbantay, ang tawo nga adunay mga talento mahimong hambogero ug garboso. Diha kang Juan Magbubunyag atong makat-onan ang duha ka paagi sa pagpabiling mapaubsanon. Una, giila ni Juan nga adunay mas labaw pa kay kaniya – ang Ginoo. Atong dawaton nga bisan unsa nato kamaayo, aduna gayoy lain nga mas maantigo pa kay kanato. Kinahanglan makamao kitang magpatabang sa isigkatawo ug sa Ginoo. Ug ikaduha, gikalipay ni Juan ang pagkahimong inila ni Kristo. Wala siya maguol o mahadlok nga si Kristo molabaw kaniya sa kasikat o pagkainila. Sama kang San Juan, dili kita angay’ng masina sa mga tawo nga molabaw kanato. Atong isipon ang ilang kalampusan nga atong kadaogan. Posted by Abet Uy

(English) John 3: 22-30.What we need to do to be humble? Humility is not easy especially when you have you know. If not careful, the man who has the talent to be haughty and proud. In John the Baptist, we learn two ways to remain humble. First, John acknowledged that there is more to him – the Lord. We accept that whatever we goodness, there is another more intelligent than us. We know we seek God and neighbor. And second, John pleasure of fame of Christ. He was not sad or afraid of Christ surpasses him in fame or prominence. Like John, we must not envy the people above us. We regard the success of our victory.


Reflection for January 10 Saturday after Epiphany, John 3:22-30 Reflection: What usually is the common downfall of those who preach about Jesus? It’s to present themselves bigger than Jesus. It’s to sell his /her teachings than the teachings of Jesus. They use Jesus as their vehicle so that they could reach their selfish objective rather than advance the objectives of Jesus.

John did not experience any downfall in his mission as the precursor or herald of Jesus. His disciples always looked-up to him with respect because never did he advance himself, Jesus was always first in his mind. This is the reason why John said, He must increase and I must decrease (John 3:30).

John was content to be in the background, he rejoiced as he humbly erased himself from the limelight so that Jesus could be in the spotlight. This is so difficult to do! To give way when we actually could have our own way!

Many of us have this mistaken notion that to be respected we always have to be in the forefront.  To be respected our voice must always be heard and we must always be popular and visible.

But John proves us all wrong because even if he decreased himself and even if he faded away for the sake of Jesus. His acts of humility remains to be one of the biggest guiding lights of our time.

Are you willing to be like John? – Marino J. Dasmarinas


Friday, January 8, 2016

Reflection for January 9, Saturday after Epiphany; John 3:22-30

Reflection: Would you be willing to decrease so that Jesus should increase? Would you be willing to remain as a faceless worker in the vineyard of the Lord?

John has no insecurities whatsoever towards Jesus for he knew where he stood in the plan of salvation. When he was told that Jesus was baptizing and everyone was coming to Him.

He calmly said: “You yourselves can testify that I said that I am not the Christ, but that I was sent before him (John 3:28). 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 (John 3:29). So this joy of mine has been made complete. He must increase; I must decrease (John 3:30).”

John was never tempted to upstage Jesus even if there was an inviting opportunity to do so. John perfectly knew that his role was to be the best man for the bridegroom that is Jesus. John knew that his role is to simply prepare the way for Jesus. He therefore did it with utmost humility; John even said: “He must increase and I must decrease.”

How about us? Are we not often guilty of narcissistic behavior? Don’t we often crave for attention and recognition? Don’t we always want to be noticed and to always be in front? – Marino J. Dasmarinas



WHAT ’S YOUR ROLE? – John the evangelist relates the final witnessing of John the Baptist. He made it clear to his followers that he was not the Messiah. His role was to prepare the way for the Messiah. John gave the analogy of the Messiah as the groom who will take the people of God, the Church, as His bride. John is the best man who is happy when the groom comes to marry His bride. John fulfilled his mission of seeing to it that when the Messiah comes, he had prepared the way. His words, “He must increase; I must decrease,” says it all.

John did not succumb to the temptation of assuming the messiahship. He was so popular and could have owned the title for himself, but he did not. He knew his role. He is the one saved, not the Savior. He is the servant and not the Master. Living his role paved the way for the fulfilment of God’s promise. When Jesus came, he joyously accepted his fate — he had done his part.

Not playing our roles in families, organizations, institutions and other groups complicate things. At times, when children seem to know more than their parents or think that they can decide better, the parents would say, “Ikaw na rin lang lang nasusunod, magpalit na tayo! Ikaw na lang magulang, ako na lang anak!” (If you want, let us change roles. Since you want to be the one to prevail, let me be the child and you be the parent!)

Of course, in this world, we are not limited by our roles, but it is good to fulfill the roles that God has given us. We must do them in accordance with the will of God. We must be Christian parents, Christian teachers, Christian doctors, Christian lawyers, Christian businessmen, and so on. It is important that we use the talents that God has given us to lead this world to salvation.Fr. Benny Tuazon

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Are you playing the role that God has chosen for you to fulfill in this world? Are you doing it according to His precepts?

Dearest God, thank You for the gifts You have given me. Help me to use them in building Your Kingdom on earth. Amen.



09 saturday 2016

Saturday after Epiphany

1 Jn 5: 14-21; Jn 3: 22-30

He Should Increase

It is so easy to get trapped in promoting self rather than God; our needs often drive us to do whatever we need to do to lift “ME” up first.

One searching test of character is: can you take an insult without taking offence? When someone called George Bernard Shaw an ass, far from taking offence, he took it as a compliment. He pointed out the qualities we associate with the humble donkey: modesty, hard work, contentment with plain food and underestimation by the public. He said, “No one can be offended by having such qualities.”

John’s disciples seem alarmed, but it didn’t bother John. John would not allow envy or the fickle crowds make him forget his mission: to announce that the Messiah had come, and then to step back. John is the “best man” at the “wedding” between Jesus and Jesus’ followers. John definitely puts an end to any sense of competition between himself and Jesus by placing himself in the position of the bridegroom’s friend or “best man”. Once the bridegroom and bride have been brought together, the “best man’s” work is completed and he fades off the scene.  John the Baptist lost his disciples – and he was happy about it! John was happy because he could send his disciples to Jesus.

In his mother’s womb John leapt with joy when he heard the voice of mother of Jesus (Luke 1: 41, 44). Now his joy is complete. He rejoices in hearing the voice of the bridegroom, Jesus. He emphatically declares that he is not Christ when the whole public is ready to accept him as Christ. In the first place, he realized that a man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven and that therefore all popularity, gifts, and influence, are precious talents to be administered with the best possible stewardship. He is well aware that his mission is to prepare the way for the Messiah. The Messiah is the one who has to be the shining Sun and he should go to the background, he should decrease.

This humility is as rare as it is fascinating. We are all so apt to use our relationship to Christ as a means of enhancing our own importance, and attracting attention. Though we formally ascribe the supremacy to our Lord, we are elated when our name is on every lip. Dr. James M L CMI



January 09, 2016

Gospel: Jn 3:22-30  – After this, 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 John 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 receive anything, except what has been given to 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.“

REFLECTION: It is strange that, when we take a global view of the entire Bible from cover to cover, so few characters are found to be faultless. The ones who spontaneously come to mind are: Abel, Jacob’s son Joseph (Gen 39—45), David’s friend Jonathan (1 S 18—2 S 1), Ruth, Tobit and his son Tobiah, Esther, Job. So much for the Old Testament. But in the New Testament there are far fewer faultless figures—if we remember that at one point all the disciples abandoned Jesus at Gethsemane (Mt 26, 56) and that Paul, through his blind prejudices, did persecute the Church for a while. And so, if we except Jesus and Mary, who stands out flawless in the New Testament? The sole figure of John the Baptizer. He rings true from start to finish. His only “weakness”, if that is the correct term, is that he was not sure about Jesus‘ true personality. But he cleared this honest doubt (Mt 11, 2-6). And Jesus himself praised John unreservedly by calling him “more than a prophet” (Mt 11, 9). In today’s gospel reading this luminous figure has only one desire: to decrease so that Jesus can increase. Should this not be the secret desire of all of us?


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 Final witness of the Baptist

January 8, 2016

JOHN 3:22-30

Jesus and his disciples went into the region of Judea, where he spent some time with them baptizing. John was also baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was an abundance of water there, and people came to be baptized, for John had not yet been imprisoned. Now a dispute arose between the disciples of John and a Jew about ceremonial washings. So they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you testified, here he is baptizing and everyone is coming to him.” John answered and said, “No one can receive anything except what has been given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said that I am not the Messiah, but that I was sent before him. 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.”

REFLECTION: ABOUT CEREMONIAL WASHINGS. Jewish tradition gives great importance to ceremonial washings. The reason for the dispute between the disciples of John and a Jew is the value of the baptism performed by John the Baptist and that by Jesus. John the Baptist acknowledges that his followers are Godgiven. He then reiterates his role and declares that he is not the Messiah; he is a forerunner, sent before the Messiah. He is a mere “best man, who stands and listens for him [the bridegroom],” a figurative language recognizing Jesus as the messianic bridegroom. John accepts his role and destiny with joy and with great humility when he says, “He must increase; I must decrease.” We have nothing to boast about ourselves; our life is God’s gift to us. Let us live our life in the service of God and his people.

True greatness lies in honesty and humility.

SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord 2016,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail:; Website:



See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Saturday after Epiphany

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