After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he spent some time there with them and baptized. John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim because water was abundant there; and people kept coming and were being baptized —John, of course, had not yet been thrown into prison. Now a discussion about purification arose between John’s disciples and a Jew. 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 all are going to him.”
John answered, “No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven. You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah, but I have been sent ahead of him.’ 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. For this reason my joy has been fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
“Who is this Jesus?” and “Who am I?”
The crowd of witnesses are confused in today’s Gospel, not knowing who Jesus is and what to do. Jesus can confuse me, too, baffle and bother me, challenge and confront me, calling me to my choices and my way of life.
In this Ordinary Time, the scriptures point me to a time for growing in my faith. A season, like the Second week of the Spiritual Exercises, which draws me close to Jesus and helps me to better sense who he is and how to follow him.
When I pray with the Gospel stories, allowing the heart and mind of Jesus to enter my whole self and imagination, my faith grows. Like John, the “I” of me decreases as the love and light of Christ increases in me and in my world.
—Carla Orlando coordinates Spiritual Direction Services for the Ignatian Spirituality Center in Seattle.
Through the Ordinary
It is through the ordinary,
through the ordinary eyes and hands,
through our flesh and blood
and the flesh and blood of our children,
that a Great Power comes into the world.
Through simple lives, humble and forgiven,
the Spirit races through the world
touching everyone, touching everything
with a sovereign dignity, with a forgetfulness of self,
surrounding all with an incomprehensible Silence
that for those who hear it becomes
the sound of spirits singing.
And it does not matter whether we move
forward or backward in time,
flesh and blood are there,
and the Silence,
and the immense Song,
which we, too, can sing
if only we allow it to enter
our ordinary bodies and change us
into something entirely new.
—Pat Twohy, SJ
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