December 13, 2009: 3rd Sunday of Advent
The people were in expectation, and all questioned in their hearts concerning John whether perhaps he was the Christ. John answered them all, “I baptize with water; but one who is mightier than I is coming, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie; who will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. (Luke 3:15-16)
We are at the halfway point in the Advent season. Christmas is just a couple weeks away. The Gospel on this 3rd Sunday of Advent refers again to John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus. Remember, Elizabeth and Mary, John and Jesus’ mothers, were cousins. In today’s gospel passage, John makes it clear to the wondering people that he is not the Messiah, Jesus. He further states that Jesus’ baptism will be different from his baptism. John’s mission is to prepare the way for Jesus. John understands baptism as a purifying ritual only. But “the Holy Spirit and the fire” with which Jesus baptizes is much more than a purifying process. The Holy Spirit with which we were baptized provides the energy, that is, the fire, we need to go out and share Jesus with others. This gives knew meaning to the phrase “all fired up!”
Are you fired up as a disciple of Jesus? What would energize your faith? The Holy Spirit is the spiritual energy, the fire within us. Perhaps this little prayer said daily would be helpful: Holy Spirit, fill my heart with the love of Jesus. Help me renew the earth by what I say and do.