Saturday, last week of the Christmas Season

John the Baptist said, “…I am not the Christ, but 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… He must increase; I must decrease.” (Jn 3:22-30)

At the time of Jesus, the final ceremony of marriage took place when the groom came to the bride’s house and took her to his home in a festive procession. The best man went to her house in advance and waited for the groom’s arrival.

John sees his role in relation to Jesus as that of a best man. He comes on the scene before Jesus, listens for his approach, rejoices when he hears his voice, and then steps aside. The last words spoken by John the Baptist in the fourth Gospel are: “He must increase; I must decrease.”

Every parish, every diocese, the entire Church must always keep in mind that the center of our focus is Jesus Christ. The Second Vatican Council, referring to the Church, says: “The head of this body is Christ.”

Guided by the Spirit, we have developed structures and rituals which enable us to live more fully as the body of Christ. But we look ultimately to Jesus Christ as the one who leads us, teaches us, sanctifies us.

The Church is made up of human beings, but it is more than that. It is the body of Christ. I might wish we were a perfect Church. We’re not. never were from the beginning. Won’t be until the end. But the Lord stays with us.

That’s something worth talking over with him.

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