He must increase

“He must increase, I must decrease.” John 3:30

I don’t know if you caught it this week. Perhaps it slipped past you, but the summer solstice has begun this week. The tilt of the earth shifts twice a year. This week the sun reached its greatest height and the day had its longest period of daylight. The days are getting shorter. From now on the light will diminish and darkness will increase until the winter solstice, when it reverses and light will increase upon the world.

When asked if he was the Messiah, John the Baptist responded, “I am not the Christ, but I am sent before Him. He must increase, I must decrease.” St. John the Baptist always pointed others to Jesus. In fact he told his own disciples to no longer follow him, but now to follow Jesus: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” He teaches us that I must decrease and Jesus must increase. In a world that promotes pure selfishness and self-promotion, John the Baptist is a revolutionary. He tells us we must diminish—Jesus must increase.

How fascinating then that the summer solstice begins on the feast day of the birth of John the Baptist who spoke those words “He must increase, I must decrease.” It is on the feast of the birth of John that literally the light of the world begins to diminish. And when does the light begin to increase upon the world? You would not believe it but—Christmas! How amazing is that? With the birth of Jesus—“God from God, light from light”—the light begins to increase upon the world.

That is a lot more important than trying to balance an egg on the table.


Fr. Gerard Gordon