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Jesus’ beautiful compliment to John – and to us?



Fr. Luigi Maria Epicoco - published on 12/16/22

The feast day of Christmas is the celebration where we try to remember that God loves us in a very concrete way ...

Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.

The comparison Jesus uses to describe John the Baptist in today’s Gospel is very beautiful: “John was a burning and shining lamp, and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light.” To say that someone is light is to say that where that person is, darkness does not prevail. 

Indeed, John was a man who tried to help the people he met to shine a light, to live in the light of the truth. But John was only a fragment of the sun, which is Christ: “But I have testimony greater than John’s,” Jesus says. “The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.”

So many times in life we meet people like John, people who in their small way bring some light and warmth into our lives. These people, however, are only signs of a greater light and a greater love that God has for us: a love so concrete that it became flesh and came to dwell among us. The feast day of Christmas, moreover, is the celebration where we try to remember that God loves us in a very concrete way, and that we can look upon this love face to face. Jesus is the name of God’s concrete love. And every person who loves us is just a sign of Him.


Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

DiscipleshipGospelLiturgyMassPrayerSpiritual Life
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