Saturday, 12 December 2009

He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire (Luke 3:16)

This weeks Gospel is taken, as were the last two weeks, from the Gospel of Luke, this time chapter 3:10-18. It is Gaudete Sunday, where gaudete means in rejoice in Latin. We are now practically half way advent, two weeks down, almost two to go...

A great multitude is gathering around John the Baptist as he is preaching the Good News and is baptizing in the river Jordan.They asks John what they should do and answers that: "he who has two coats, let him share with him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise." (Luk 3:11 RSV). John simply seems to point out that we should care about the others around us, and share from the abundance we have ourself with the people in need.

Also tax collectors and soldiers are coming to him to ask what they should do in their specific occupations, and he answers similar that they should be fair and honest to others: "Collect no more than is appointed you." (Luk 3:13 RSV) and  "Rob no one by violence or by false accusation, and be content with your wages." (Luk 3:14 RSV).

When I initially quick read of the gospel (I didn't have an English translation at hand) I didn't realise it was first the crowd who asked what to do, followed by the tax-collectors and soldiers about the particularity of their occupation. So what entered my mind was a continuation of the reflection on the Saturday Gospel: what do I expect Jesus to be like, would I recognize him or would I like his teaching?

The first response John gave was to share with others of our abundance, even if one spare coat might not be seen as an abundance. If I only have two coats, am I happy to give one away, or do I prefer to have it in the wardrobe? That is I guess something to think about, and I must confess that I do like to have one spare "just in case"...

But how does this link in to the Good News John is preaching, or more important with having Jesus in our life. Again it comes back to a change of heart. I don't think it is really about the question could I be able to sacrifice my extra coat. No I think it is a sign of being close to Christ that the thought "would I be able" does not enter in the mind, but that the coat will be given without a thought to anybody who really needs it... clearly I will survive the walk home in my warm woolly jumper...

It is all about the inward conversion, and this time of Advent is a time exactly for that. John is telling us that "[Jesus] will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire" (Luk 3:16 RSV). Gods love is infused into us through the Holy Spirit. An openness to the Holy Spirit will help us to make this conversion of heart, the conversion of heart which will make us more confirm to the image and likeness of God, the image in which we are created.

With the example above of giving away our coat I mean only to illustrate the principle, the fact that the closer we get to Jesus the more pure love is ruling in our lives, the more we will love our neighbor. Working out the details about the prudence of giving away coats is a whole other story, but I do belief that it does work in that way, the closer I personally get to Christ the, in a way simpler, life becomes, as the important focus of our whole lives becomes Him...

(I was delaying the writing of this reflection today till the last moment... which means that if inspiration does not come it ends up rather empty... so my excuses for the incoherent and rushed job)

1 comment:

My Heart Beats and I sigh said...

brother, this post doesn't appear to me to be incoherent at all! I hear you moving into the direction of being born in the spirit, if you will, and dying to ourselves to make room for the spirit...
i don't know...
peace

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