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. Jan 2022 .
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Doctrines & Morals

Jesus must increase while the self must decrease

1 Jn 5:14-21, Jn 3:22-30. Today's first reading challenges us to turn away from sin and turn towards God. John talks about deadly sin and sin that is not deadly, as the biblical beginnings of the Catholic teaching on mortal (“deadly”) and venial (“excusable”) sins. John asserts that “all wrongdoing is sin, but not all sin is deadly.” In the Hebrew understanding of sin, which is often translated as “missing the mark", sin is not to have the right trajectory, the right alignment, the right force to be on target towards God. That is “missing the mark” but it is not because we are not trying, it is because of some flaw in our being which keeps us from being right on target. That is “venial” sin, which is “excusable.” Our heart is going in the right direction – toward God – but we are not quite where we should be. Thus, we aim towards God, but need a little correction. In the second way, we can also "miss the mark" when we know where the target is and we turn our back to the target and start shooting at some other object that is not the target. That is deadly, “missing the mark.”  When we choose to aim in the opposite direction, to focus on another target, we make a fundamental option against God. Thus, we are called to look at that for which we are aiming. We will be aiming at the right direction when become the 'best man' of Jesus like John the Baptist is said to be.

In today's Gospel, John uses the analogy which is described as being the 'best man' to Jesus, who is the Groom. He further claimed that he should decrease while Jesus should increase. To become the 'best man' of Jesus, we must allow the influence of Jesus to increase in us in order to let the influence of 'the self'; I, me, myself, to decrease within us. If we truly allow the influence of Jesus in us, we can agree with John that “We have this confidence in God that He hears us whenever we ask for anything according to His will.” This reminds us that we need to be turning to God and do His will in these four aspects of prayer: Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving and Supplication (ACTS). These four themes is prominent in today’s readings: Adoration – John adores Jesus, recognising and acknowledging who Jesus as the Messiah, the Christ. We are also called to adore God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are to acknowledge God as the Creator of all that is the Heavens and the world. In contrition, we need to acknowledge who we are sinners, people who have missed the mark, either totally (mortally) or venially. We are not able to be on target without the help of God. It is only when we continue to focus on the target and receive the strength and guidance from God that we will achieve the end – everlasting life with God. In thanksgiving, we are called to have an attitude of gratitude to God for all God has done. We need to thank God for allowing us be part of the people in whom He takes delight. In supplication, we are called to ask God for our individual and collective needs. We equally pray that the Holy Spirit should be instrumental in drawing us into a deeper relation with the Almighty God and Father. We also need to be in prayer for others, uniting ourselves with them, praying that they will fully experience the presence and action of God in their lives.

May the Lord renew us and re-create a new heart within us that we may sing the praise of God to all creations! Amen!! Good morning and happy weekend!!!

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