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Daily Scripture Reflections

Spirit and Fire

Sunday, January 13, 2019 • John Morris
A new baptism is coming...

Luke 3:16

John answered them all, saying, "I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."

During Advent and now post-Christmas season, we read about John the Baptist and his relationship with Jesus, from birth to adulthood. Today, we find the people wondering if John is the Christ.  John tells them that he is not but another is coming that will baptize in the Holy Spirit and fire.  John baptizes Jesus with water but read that the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove.  This is not the first time the holy Spirit came to earth. Even though Mary in her purity, is the mother of our Lord, the Holy Spirit still came upon her and overshadowed her in the incarnation of Christ.  Now we read that Jesus, the Christ, has the Holy Spirit descend up him.   This event served as validation to the people that John's mission was was complete.  John was called to prepare the way of the Lord and to inform the people that a baptism was to come in the Spirit; that day was now.  John's ministerial authority was now passed to Jesus.    It also laid the groundwork for the sacrament of baptism we know today.  We use water, white garments, candles, and oils all in the tradition according to scriptures to call on the holy spirit to descend upon the catechumens coming into the church in baptism.  All of the physical items I mentioned are an outward sign of the Spirit, but it's the Spirit overshadowing the person that is what is significant.  Finally in the last sentence, Luke says that "a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."  All who heard this voice were convinced that Jesus is divine. This same voice was heard at the transfiguration. Today's reading serves as the start of Jesus's ministry.  For the newly baptized, their baptism date is the start of a new life in Christ.  Everything in their life should be different, should be focused on Jesus.  Our soul has been marked forever in Jesus and can never be taken away.  We as humans, can walk away or turn away, but Jesus will never abandon us. 

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