Daily Reflection – Dec 10, 2017
Sunday 10 December 2017
First Reading: IS 40:1-5, 9-11
Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
PS 85:9-10-11-12, 13-14
Second Reading: 2 PT 3:8-14
Gospel Reading: MK 1:1-8
Today’s Note: Second Sunday of Advent
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.
As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;
he will prepare your way.
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.”
John the Baptist appeared in the desert
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
People of the whole Judean countryside
and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem
were going out to him
and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River
as they acknowledged their sins.
John was clothed in camel’s hair,
with a leather belt around his waist.
He fed on locusts and wild honey.
And this is what he proclaimed:
“One mightier than I is coming after me.
I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.
I have baptized you with water;
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. (Mark 1:8)
The Holy Spirit—he makes all the difference. John had preached a baptism of repentance for sins, but he promised that someone “mightier” was coming—someone who would fill us with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:7). So what is that difference?
John’s baptism focused on the past, on forgiveness for sins already committed. He wanted people to put the past behind them. The Holy Spirit, however, focuses on the future. He comes to mold us and shape us, to lead us into the kingdom of heaven.
John’s baptism was for one purpose: for our pardon. But the Holy Spirit has many purposes. He reveals God’s love to us. He helps us understand Scripture. He teaches us how to live as brothers and sisters. He holds the Church together and moves us to work for the kingdom of God. And so much more.
When we are baptized into Christ, we get both blessings. Our sins are washed away, and we receive the Holy Spirit. Jesus doesn’t want us to miss out on anything! It’s all wrapped up in one gift, which we call the “seed of faith.” If we want to see these blessings unfold in our lives, we need to tend to and nurture this seed.
A simple analogy might help. The main reason most of us go on a healthy diet is to lose weight, but so much more happens when we change our eating habits. Yes, the weight drops. But our cholesterol levels also improve. Our immune system is strengthened. We feel more energetic, and we sleep better. We just wanted to lose weight, but our whole lives have been changed.
This is what happens when we care for our seed of faith. Not only do we experience God’s forgiveness, but we invite the Holy Spirit to work in every other area of our lives. We feel God’s love. We become more loving. We want to reach out to those who are hurting. We find the strength to say no to temptation. In short, we become a new creation.
“Thank you, Jesus, for the gift of the Holy Spirit! Lord, help me grow my faith.”