The Gospel text of today contains John’s final appearance in the Gospel of John. In these verses he gives his final witness to Jesus. The reason for the witness is the report of his disciples that Jesus to whom John bore witness was also baptizing and that “everyone” was now going to him. This witness begins with John stating what at first glance might seem like a logical statement, but in its deeper sense means that Jesus has what he has from God. It is a gift from God to Jesus and given to him directly. This is why in his earlier testimony, John had made clear that while he was not the Christ, and he was the one sent ahead of him to prepare the way. Since he was clear about his role in God’s plan of salvation, he had no difficulty with accepting it and living it out. He is but the friend of the bridegroom, who when the bridegroom appears will take his secondary and less important place. The bridegroom is the one who is at the centre of the marriage feast. When it begins the friend must recede into the background.
The choice of this text on the last day of the Christmas Season is apt because it defines the roles of each of us who like John are friends of the bridegroom, Jesus. Like John, our role is to prepare the way for him and to point out to him through our words and actions. If we understand this role and if at every moment we realize where our authority ends, we can fulfill this role as we ought to.