Book of Isaiah 49:1-6.
Hear me, O islands, listen, O distant peoples. The Lord called me from birth, from my mother's womb he gave me my name.
He made of me a sharp-edged sword and concealed me in the shadow of his arm. He made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me.
You are my servant, he said to me, Israel, through whom I show my glory.
Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength, Yet my reward is with the LORD, my recompense is with my God.
For now the LORD has spoken who formed me as his servant from the womb, That Jacob may be brought back to him and Israel gathered to him; And I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD, and my God is now my strength!
It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.
O LORD, you have probed me and you know me;
you know when I sit and when I stand;
you understand my thoughts from afar.
My journeys and my rest you scrutinize,
with all my ways you are familiar.
Truly you have formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother's womb.
I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works.
My soul also you knew full well;
nor was my frame unknown to you
when I was made in secret,
when I was fashioned in the depths of the earth.
Acts of the Apostles 13:22-26.
In those days, Paul said: “God raised up David as king; of him God testified, I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will carry out my every wish.
From this man's descendants God, according to his promise, has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus.
John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel;
and as John was completing his course, he would say, 'What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.'"
"My brothers, children of the family of Abraham, and those others among you who are God-fearing, to us this word of salvation has been sent".
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 1:57-66.80.
When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son.
Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her.
When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,
but his mother said in reply, "No. He will be called John."
But they answered her, "There is no one among your relatives who has this name."
So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.
He asked for a tablet and wrote, "John is his name," and all were amazed.
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God.
Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea.
All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, "What, then, will this child be?" For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.
The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel.
"He must increase; I must decrease" (Jn 3,30)
The births and then the Passions of John and Jesus have marked out their differences. For John was born as daylight began to fade; Christ as day started to dawn. For the former, day’s diminishment is the symbol of his violent death. Its increase in the latter’s case, his lifting up on the cross.
There is also a secret meaning the Lord reveals… with regard to John’s saying about Jesus : “He must increase, I must decrease.” All human righteousness… had been consummated in John; of him Truth said: “Among those born of women none has risen greater than John the Baptist” (Mt 11,11). No man, therefore, could overtake him yet he was only a man. Now, in our Christian dispensation, we are asked not to boast in man but “whoever boasts should boast in the Lord” (2Cor 10,17): man, in his God; servant, in his master. That is why John exclaimed: “He must grow greater, I must grow less.” Of course, God is neither diminished not increased in himself, but where we humans are concerned, insofar as genuine fervor makes headway, divine grace grows greater and human will grows less until God’s home in all Christ’s members reaches its fulfillment where every tyranny and authority and power are dead and God is all in all (Col 3,11).
John the Evangelist says: “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world” (1,9); but John the Baptist says: “From his fullness we have all received” (1,16). While the light, which in itself is always total, nevertheless increases in the one illuminated by it, it is diminished in itself when what is without God is extinguished within it. For a person without God can do nothing except sin but his human power grows less when divine grace, sin’s destroyer, conquers. The weakness of the creature gives way to the Creator’s power and the vanity of our egotistical feelings crumbles before universal love, while John the Baptist, from the depth of our distress, cries out to us the mercy of Jesus Christ: “He must increase and I must decrease.”