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Reflections on the Daily Readings
from the Perspective of Creighton Students

January 11th, 2014
Jayme Beukelman
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“No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven.” John 3:27

“He must increase; I must decrease.” John 3:30

These are the words of John the Baptist. In today’s Scripture reading, John is baptizing in Judea, the same place as where Jesus is baptizing. While there, a dispute arises among a few and they come to John to ask him about these washings. Some are concerned as to why everyone is going to Jesus to have him baptize them instead of John: “here he is baptizing and everyone is coming to him” (3:26). In John’s reply, we see a selfless understanding that we are encouraged to incorporate into our faith lives. John does not focus on himself, acknowledging that his gifts come from God and that he is only a part in God’s will. John says to them, “you yourselves can testify that I said that I am not the Christ, but that I was sent before him” (3: 28). John sums up his acceptance saying, “he must increase, I must decrease” (3:30), meaning the “he” is Jesus. John teaches that his role is to support Christ and share his love with others, a position that does not mean to belittle him, but to complete him.

In today’s world, is seems that the focus is on more. More this, more that, bigger sizes and larger spaces. But with all this “more,” what do we actually have? We may have more material items, status, or whatever worldly affairs may take ahold of our hearts, but what do we have to give to God? Do we recognize that our gifts and abundance come from God and give thanks? As we increase and invest in ourselves, we decrease and detach from God. We focus the spotlight on ourselves, even though the reason why we shine is for God’s praise. Instead, we must decrease our selfish wants and increase in our faith and service for God. Instead of more of me, we must humble ourselves and give more to God.

How can we incorporate this shift from ourselves to Christ into our daily lives? One way is to show Christ’s love through our service and actions, increasing Jesus in our lives and sharing his love with others. Volunteering, listening, caring, empathizing, understanding… these are ways to show Christ’s love to his creation. When we do actions for Christ, we come to find that our actions are made complete, fulfilled. Or perhaps the next time you receive praise or an award, take the time to give thanks to God for the gifts he has given you to achieve this accomplishment. Do not make the mistake of leaving God out of the equation. Find the balance between a decrease of yourself and an increase of God, pride and humility, blindness and understanding – this are how we can live out John’s words in our daily lives.

Mother Teresa wrote, “I’m a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world.” I think this fits well with John the Baptist’s response. By humbling ourselves and seeing how small we are and how great God is, we realize our gifts and actions come from God. By trusting in him and allowing him to hold us gently in the palm of his hand, we can share Christ’s love with others and indeed, write a beautiful story through our actions done in his most holy name.

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