BAPTISM IN THE SPIRIT

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

(Part 44)

BAPTISM IN THE SPIRIT

January 11, 2015

Today”s gospel:  Mark 1:7-11

John the Baptist, in differentiating his ministry with Jesus, says, “I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the holy Spirit.” (v.8). John’s was a baptism of repentance. Today, in the Catholic Church, we have the sacrament of Baptism, usually when we are infants. In this sacrament we are washed clean of original sin and we receive the Holy Spirit.

Now the Holy Spirit empowers us to witness to Jesus. He enables us to be holy, which becomes our silent witness of life, and He enables us to become evangelizers, which constitutes our verbal witness to Jesus. We are graced, and we are empowered. But how come many adult Catholics are listless in their faith, and even living lives apart from God, and much less do Catholics evangelize?

Well, in the sacrament of Baptism, we had adult godparents who responded on our behalf. Now that is theologically acceptable, but practically deficient. We ourselves need to respond, with minds that are clear as to our response. We make a decision, understanding what that decision entails. Then by the grace of God, we are able to live up to our decision.

And so there is a need for renewal of our baptismal commitments as adults, and once again to be prayed with for the infilling of the Holy Spirit. This is what we understand today as baptism in the Spirit.

So this is a critical component in personal renewal in Christ. Many Catholics have received the sacrament of Baptism and have been catechized. Many might be good people. But the experience of baptism in the Spirit is very important, even crucial, for a Catholic to truly grow in holiness and in being an effective proclaimer of the gospel.

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