Holy spirit

Sunday Gospel Reflection: He Will Baptize You With The Holy Spirit

John the Baptist continues to dominate the scene on the third Sunday of Advent. Today he prophesies that whoever comes will baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire.

By Ryan Browne

Today’s Gospel (Luke 3: 10-18) shows us another discourse between John the Baptist and his disciples. Once again, he is the voice in the wilderness that points the way to Jesus the Savior. It is not about him and his baptism. What counts is the baptism that Christ will inaugurate: “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire”.

It reminds me of another passage from the Gospel: Ignem veni mittere in terram. “I have come to throw fire on the earth” (Lk 12:49).

These words are masterfully depicted in Durante Alberti’s painting Martyrs at the Venerable English College in Rome. It powerfully portrays the redemptive power of Christ’s crucifixion. The centerpiece of the crucified Christ carried by the Father is striking. The blood of Jesus is pouring out from his hands and sides to the earth below, from which flames erupt.

What do these flames baptize, purify, purify? We Christians have been baptized with the fire of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we can also ask, Who are these flames? We are those flames! These are our Christian communities on fire! We are the flames that God lit on earth to bring light to the nations – hope to a world that desperately cries out for joyous hope. Without joyful hope, our lives become dull, dry, even miserable. God wants us to be happy! He wants us to be happy!

It is the fire of which the Gospel speaks today. The fire kindled by the fiery love of Christ, the Holy Spirit, in the hearts of his disciples. It is the only fire that touches the coldness of our human hearts and transforms us.

Fire is not lonely. Its very nature is to spread and swallow up everything in its path. So when the fire of faith touches our hearts, we must also have this nature – the deep desire to bring the love of God to the world. It is our responsibility to keep the fire going.

How can we let this fire break out in our daily life?

By genuine joy. Today’s liturgy draws our attention to this: “Rejoice in the Lord always; I repeat, rejoice! (quote) God has given us the fire of faith to spread throughout the world. The greatest gift we have to help us on this mission is joy – not just laughter and jokes – these can be outer masks of joy as well as the fruits of our joy. But they are not the fullness of joy real feeling of joy. An interior disposition that looks at the other and sees him as a gift. The ability to smile at each other, even when we are facing difficulties. A joy characterized by sacrifice and service. It is genuine joy.

In today’s society, there are many who endure the personal pain and suffering of others. Many suffer from the challenges and pains of depression, isolation and loneliness. Maybe you can contact someone like this. In today’s Gospel, John the Baptist explains how: “He who has two tunics must share with him who does not.

During Advent, we can become obsessed with buying material gifts for Christmas Day. These can be physical expressions of our love for someone. But, how could we go further? How can we bring joy through our personal encounters with other people this Advent?

Joy is contagious. It is God’s gift to us to spread the flames of faith. It is through genuine joy that we can worthily praise God in our lives on this Advent. In genuine joy we become more and more like God.

Listen to the Sunday Gospel Reflection

Ryan Browne, from Bournemouth, England, is a seminarian studying at Venerable English College, Rome, in his first year in Theology.