Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Third Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 61:1-3, 10-11
Psalm 71
1 Thessalonians 5:16b-24
John 1:6-9,15 [19-27]

REFLECTION: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon... who?”

Today, in our reading from Isaiah’s prophecy, we hear the deeply moving words that Jesus quoted early in his ministry in the Synagogue at Nazareth. We often think of these words in conjunction with Jesus’ mission and ministry. So why are we reading them today, on a day that, on the surface of things, is all about John the Baptist?

John, the forerunner of the Messiah in all things, clearly had a God-given mission, and, if we carefully recall the story of John’s conception, birth, and youth, we recognize that the Spirit was active in him – even before his birth!
Recognizing the voice of the Savior, even in the womb? Spirit of the Lord, right there. Proclaiming repentance and renewal? Pure Spirit. Baptizing in the Jordan to manifest the reconciliation that Messiah would bring. Yep. Spirit. Again.
 So. The Spirit of the Lord was upon John, just as the Spirit of the Lord was upon Jesus. That’s great. Mary probably got in on a dose of that Spiritual outpouring too. I mean, conceiving the Savior by the work of the Spirit, being highly favored among all women. That’s some 100% Grade A Holy Ghost right there.
But that’s probably where it ends.

Brothers and sisters, the Spirit of the Lord is upon you. It is through the Spirit’s power that we are made one with the Father in Christ. It is through the Spirit’s power that we acclaim Jesus as Lord. It is through the Spirit’s power that we accomplish every good and perfect work. It is through the Spirit’s movement that we are led in the pathways of righteousness, joy, and peace.
It’s time to stop thinking of the Spirit of the Lord as a gift for the privileged, and time to start thinking of it as your personal inheritance, the gift of your baptism, the cherished companion along the way. 

Do not neglect it. 

Revel in it! 

Rejoice in it!