This Sunday we continue to reflect on John the Baptist, but the focus is clearly shifting towards the coming Messiah. Here is today’s gospel, from St Matthew: ‘Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is he who takes no offence at me.” As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to behold? A reed shaken by the wind? Why then did you go out? To see a man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, those who wear soft raiment are in kings’ houses. Why then did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee.’ Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he”’.
St John the Baptist said, ‘He must increase, but I must decrease’. This is a saying for all of us – to ‘decrease’, get ourselves out of the way, so that the life of Christ may have its way in us, that we may shine as lights in the world without hindrance. May God bless you in this, today and every day.