Monday, December 12, 2011

Advent XIX

We sometimes forget he said it, but Jesus remembered. Not only did he remember, but He remembered it in the presence of His disciples during their last moments together before He ascended into heaven. Interesting. The words of John the Baptist from the Jordan River launch the public ministry of Jesus and shortly before He disappears into the clouds, He brings John the Baptist back on center stage one more time.
What we often forget was not only remembered by Jesus, but by each one of the gospel writers (even John). As each of them tell the story of John's ministry at the Jordan River, they remember John saying, "I baptize you with water...He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." (Luke 3:16) One of the daily readings for the third week in Advent opens the Scripture to the first chapter of the book of Acts. In that section of the Word, we hear the about-to-ascend-into-heaven Jesus saying, "This is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." (Acts 1:5)
To be honest, I was caught by surprise. I had not expected an Advent reading that would take me to the image of disciples being baptized by the Holy Spirit. Nonetheless, there it is. I suppose it is a reminder that if Mary could be overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit for divine purposes, it should not surprise us that God would desire to do the same for us. Could it possibly be that the preparation of Advent is making our hearts a desirable place for the Spirit to be at work? Come, Holy Spirit, come.

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