St. John the Baptist reveals that Jesus is the long-awaited Bridegroom. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Gift of Understanding from the Holy Spirit so he can receive the Spirit’s guidance when studying Scripture and by growing in the Virtue of Charity so he can firmly and lovingly uphold the truth about the dignity of marriage.
Christmastime – Saturday after Epiphany or January 12 – Jn 3:22-30
After the miracle of changing water into wine at the Wedding at Cana, His violent clearing the massive Temple area at Passover of its shameful desecration by moneychangers and merchants, and the teaching of Nicodemus, Jesus leaves Jerusalem and goes out into Judea to spread the Good News.
As with God’s deliberate preparation for the Sacraments throughout Salvation History (the lamb and manna of Exodus), Jesus allows his disciples to “baptize” (Jn 4:2 confirms, only the disciples baptize, not Jesus); this baptism is a prefigurement (a preparation) for the supernatural Sacrament of Baptism that is established at Pentecost when the grace of the Holy Spirit is given to the baptized. Farther north, in Samaria, John the Baptist continues to baptize until his arrest and murder by the adulterous and vile Herod.
Lacking understanding of Jesus’ true identity and perhaps seeing Him as a threat, John the Baptist’s disciples raise the alarm, “all” are now going to Jesus. The Baptist gently rebukes his disciples, reminding them he has made it clear he is not the Christ. Confirming Jesus is from Heaven, John refers to the Messiah as the Bridegroom who will renew the covenant vow with the bride; the bride will eventually be revealed (Eph 5:24-32, Rev 19:7-9) to be Christ’s Holy Catholic Church. Humbly, John the Baptist, the one Jesus calls the greatest of men (Mt 11:11), expresses his joy to have been the friend of the Bridegroom, and that he must now decrease, a prophecy of John’s coming murder by Herod.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Jesus, Divine Person of the Trinity, created men and women and established and perpetuated the sacredness of marriage throughout history. Ponder the deliberate acts of the Divine Priest to present Himself as the Bridegroom, elevating marriage of a man and woman to the divine Sacrament of Matrimony, and confirming the need for all to live with the virtue of Chastity.
Seek the Spirit’s guidance in studying Scripture
Realize: The Church has always realized all of the Old Testament points to the coming of Christ; the theological term “typology” describes types (people, events, images) which are embedded/hidden in Scripture that mysteriously foreshadow Jesus (the crossing of the Red Sea in Exodus as a type of baptism, manna as a type of the Eucharist, King David is a type of Christ).
Believe: Reflect upon Typology (CCC 117, 128-130).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Understanding so You help me to grow in understanding of types and signs as I study Sacred Scripture, and You open my mind to the deeper spiritual truths which You wish to reveal to me on my pilgrimage towards Heaven.
Hold to the truth of the dignity of marriage
Realize: While same-sex “marriage” is legalized and embraced by many in today’s darkened secular culture, throughout thousands of years of Salvation History, Jesus, Divine Person of the Trinity, makes it clear that marriage is between one man and one woman; one clear example is the centrality and power of the male/bridegroom-female/bride imagery of Christ’s title of the Bridegroom and that of His sole bride, the Holy Catholic Church.
Believe: Reflect upon the Bridegroom (CCC 796, 867) and Offenses against the Dignity of Marriage (CCC 2380-2400; 2357-2359).
Pray: Almighty Father, Creator of Man and Woman, help me grow in the Virtue of Charity so I approach every man and woman with generous love and joy, and I am better able to speak the truth with humble charity about human sexuality and the dignity of marriage, as preserved and defended in Your Holy Catholic Church.