John the Baptist says that Jesus will baptize us
“with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”
What does this mean?
Well, consider first that the word, in Greek,
means to wash or to immerse.
When John was baptizing,
he was using an existing Jewish ritual called mikvah.
In that ritual, the person had to be completely immersed in water.
So to be baptized in the Holy Spirit
is to be drenched and completely soaked with the Holy Ghost.
That’s what Jesus offers us.
That’s where true joy comes from.
One of the temptations we face is to tame God.
We like being in control.
If we show up for a meeting,
for an event, for Mass,
we want to know what will happen,
and how long it will take.
We want to know exactly what’s going on.
Well, the thing is, God won’t force himself on anyone.
But if we were really willing
to yield control to the Holy Spirit,
what might happen?
For you? I don’t know. But for me, I admit it makes me a little nervous.
Now, in the end, we’ll get that immersion: that’s what Heaven is.
If we want to go to Heaven, the Holy Spirit wins.
It seems to me that a lot of my struggles in life
are that tug-of-war between the Holy Spirit and my own will.
I’ve noticed, when you go to restaurants
and order an unfamiliar wine,
sometimes they’ll bring a little for you to taste.
The Holy Spirit does that, too.
That’s a way to think about the sacrament of confession.
We first received the Holy Spirit in baptism—
but when we break our baptismal covenant through sin,
we renew it in confession.
A reminder: we have a penance service
at Saint Rose Monday, December 17, at 7 pm.
Also, I hear confessions here at Saint Rose
on Friday and Saturday mornings at 11 am.
And, how about this?
On Christmas Eve, I'll hear confessions before the Masses,
starting at 2 pm.
Give it a try. Take a sip!
You might find you like the Wine of the Holy Spirit.
Drink all you want!