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Epiphany-Denaha,6th S,Feb.13,11

Denaha 6th S,Feb.13,11

(Jn.22-36)

Malcolm Muggeridge was one of England’s well-known critics and B.B.C. commentators. It was his documentary and book called “Something Beautiful for God” that gave a lot of international publicity to Mother Teresa when her ministry was not known greatly outside India. Even though he was an agnostic at the time he interviewed Mother Teresa, he felt changes happening in his life because of his contact with her. Towards the end of his life, he converted to the Catholic faith. In one of his last essays, he speaks of his desire to leave the world very touchingly: “So, like a prisoner awaiting his release, like a school boy when the end of the term is near, like a migrant bird ready to fly south,…I long to be gone.” Those words bring out his profound humility and acceptance of the will of God in his life. We hear in those words of Malcolm Muggeridge a very true echo of the words uttered by John the Baptist in today’s Gospel: “He must increase, but I must decrease” where John expresses his desire to fade away from the hectic activities of the world and leave it open for the ministry of the Lord.

The passage we heard just now from the Gospel brings before us through the words of John the Baptist the importance of the ministry of Jesus Christ.

John the Baptist knew fully well that his time and mission were over. It was time for him to depart from the scene. Hence, he urges his disciples and followers to follow Jesus as he is the source of life. He was just preparing the way, clearing the ground , making the world ready for Jesus to proclaim his message of salvation. Jesus is the bridegroom and the world has to follow him.

There is no tinge of sadness in the words of John the Baptist; on the other hand, there is a sense of joy in the sense that his mission is over. The man who romped on the stage of the world history as one of the great prophets is now willing to leave everything and fade way as the ministry of Jesus begins to unfold.

Those words of John the Baptist should be on the lips of every follower of Jesus Christ: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” Our duty is to proclaim Jesus and make him revealed to the people. It is Jesus who should be proclaimed and followed. It is he who should be loved and obeyed. We are just pointers showing the way to Him.

Many a time what does happen is that we try to become the focus of attention. We become dispirited and sad when we are not given due recognition for our work or contributions or when the focus of the world is not turned to us. We become angry and sad when others ignore us. We feel let down and neglected on those occasions. It is in those moments we lose the perspective of John the Baptist that Jesus is the most important person in our life. Mother Teresa has beautifully pointed out this fact in one of her statements: “I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.”

We are instruments in the hands of God and through our words and actions, however small or insignificant they may be, we have to proclaim Jesus. As parents, teachers and ministers, we should stand on the sidelines and allow those who are entrusted to our care to become followers of Jesus.

Our sufferings, our sacrifices and our hard work may not be acknowledged and we may be often ignored and neglected. Our work for the family and for the church may be belittled and ignored. Those who are our colleagues or who are in authority may not give due recognition to our work. Such actions should not deter us from our main mission which is to make Jesus known and loved.

Let the words of John the Baptist that “He must increase but I must decrease” be the words that guide us in our ministry of service and love.

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