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From: John 3:22-30

John Again Bears Witness

[22] After this Jesus and his disciples went into the land of Judea; there he re-
mained with them and baptized. [23] John also was baptizing at Aenon near Sa-
lim, because there was much water there; and people came and were baptized.
[24] For John had not yet been put in prison.

[25] Now a discussion arose between John’s disciples and a Jew over purifying.
[26] And they came to John, and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you be-
yond the Jordan, to whom you bore witness, here he is, baptizing, and all are
going to him.” [27] John answered, “No one can receive anything except what
is given him from heaven. [28] You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am
not the Christ, but I have been sent before him. [29] He who has the bride is the
bridegroom; the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices
greatly at the bridegroom’s voice; therefore this joy of mine is now full. [30] He
must increase, but I must decrease.”


22-24. A little later on (Jn 4:2) the evangelist makes it clear that it was not Jesus
himself who baptized, but his disciples. Our Lord probably wanted them from the
very beginning to get practice in exhorting people to conversion. The rite referred
to here was not yet Christian Baptism — which only began after the resurrection
of Christ (cf. Jn 7:39; 16:7; Mt 28: 19) — but “both baptisms, that of St John the
Baptist and that of our Lord’s disciples [...], had a single purpose-to bring the
baptized to Christ [...] and prepare the way for future faith” (St John Chrysostom,
“Hom. on St John”, 29, 1).

The Gospel gives the exact time and place of this episode. Aenon is an Aramaic
word meaning “wells”. Salim was situated to the north-east of Samaria, south of
the town of Scythopolis or Beisan, near the western bank of the Jordan, about
twenty kilometers (thirteen miles) to the south of the Lake of Gennesaret.

The Gospel notes that “John had not yet been put in prison” (v. 24), thus rounding
out the information given by the Synoptics (Mt 4:12; Mk 1:14). We know, therefore,
that Jesus’ public ministry began when John the Baptist’s mission was still going
on, and, particularly, that there was no competition of any kind between them; on
the contrary, the Baptist, who was preparing the way of the Lord, had the joy of
actually seeing his own disciples follow Jesus (cf. Jn 1:37).

27-29. John the Baptist is speaking in a symbolic way here, after the style of the
prophets; our Lord himself does the same thing. The bridegroom is Jesus Christ.
From other passages in the New Testament we know that the Church is descri-
bed as the Bride (cf. Eph 5:24-32; Rev 19:7-9). This symbol of the wedding ex-
presses the way Christ unites the Church to himself, and the way the Church is
hallowed and shaped in God’s own life. The Baptist rejoices to see that the Mes-
siah has already begun his public ministry, and he recognizes the infinite dis-
tance between his position and that of Christ: his joy is full because he sees
Jesus calling people and them following him.

“The friend of the bridegroom”, according to Jewish custom, refers to the man
who used to accompany the bridegroom at the start of the wedding and play a
formal part in the wedding celebration — the best man. Obviously, as the Baptist
says, there is a great difference between him and the bridegroom, who occupies
the center of the stage.

30. The Baptist knew his mission was one of preparing the way of the Lord; he
was to fade into the background once the Messiah arrived, which he did faithfully
and humbly. In the same way, a Christian, when engaged in apostolate, should
try to keep out of the limelight and allow Christ to seek men out; he should be
always emptying himself, to allow Christ fill his life. “It is necessary for Christ to
grow in you, for you to progress in your knowledge and love of him: for, the more
you know him and love him, the more he grows in you. [...] Therefore, people who
advance in this way need to have less self-esteem, because the more a person
discovers God’s greatness the less importance he gives to his own human condi-
tion” (St Thomas Aquinas, “Commentary on St John, in loc.”).

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

4 posted on 01/11/2013 9:21:41 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Scripture readings taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd

Readings at Mass

First reading 1 John 5:14-21 ©
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.

Psalm Psalm 149:1-6,9 ©
The Lord takes delight in his people.
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.
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.
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.

Gospel Acclamation Lk7:16
Alleluia, alleluia!
A great prophet has appeared among us;
God has visited his people.
Or Mt4:16
Alleluia, alleluia!
The people that lived in darkness
has seen a great light;
on those who dwell in the land and shadow of death
a light has dawned.
Or cf.Mt4:23
Alleluia, alleluia!
Jesus proclaimed the Good News of the kingdom
and cured all kinds of diseases among the people.
Or Lk4:17
Alleluia, alleluia!
The Lord has sent me to bring the good news to the poor,
to proclaim liberty to captives.
Or cf.1Tim3:16
Alleluia, alleluia!
Glory to you, O Christ,
proclaimed to the pagans;
glory to you, O Christ,
believed in by the world.

Gospel John 3:22-30 ©
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.’

5 posted on 01/11/2013 9:25:06 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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