1 John 2:29–3:6; Psalm 98:1, 3-6;John 1:29-34
The Most Holy Name of Jesus
I saw the Spirit come down. (John 1:32)
A new president. A royal birth. Freed hostages. Truly significant events make newspaper headlines and nightly news programs everywhere. No wonder, then, that all four Gospels recount the descent of the Holy Spirit at Jesus’ baptism! Not only was this one of the most important events in Jesus’ life; it’s also one of the most important events in the unfolding of God’s plan for his creation. After all, if Jesus needed the Holy Spirit to accomplish his mission, how much more do we need the Spirit to help us live the Christian life!
In his own way, each Evangelist tells us that the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit came down on Jesus at his baptism. Then, the entire New Testament goes on to tell us that the heavens remain open to this very day. Think about it. No barrier between heaven and earth! Nothing to keep us from hearing the Father’s voice! We can know God, hear his voice in our hearts, and experience his Spirit empowering us.
There’s another equally amazing truth behind Jesus’ baptism: heaven has come down to earth! Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come,” but he also told us, “The kingdom of God is among you” (Luke 17:21). It’s not here in fullness yet, but it is here—and we are its ambassadors. Filled with the Holy Spirit, we can bring the reality of heaven to our families, offices, and schools. We can bring a taste of heaven to prisons, hospitals, and homeless shelters. We can become vessels of the Spirit in coffee shops, bookstores, supermarkets, and even traffic jams. Because we have the Spirit, people around us can learn what heaven is like.
Jesus was baptized so that the Spirit could be released. He was baptized so that the good news of the gospel would come not just in the words we hear at Mass or read in the Scriptures but in power and in the Holy Spirit. You—yes, you—get to be God’s headline in this world! Your life can become a news story that everyone is eager to read. All because heaven has come down to earth.
“Holy Spirit, fill me! Teach me to bring the life of Christ and the reality of heaven everywhere I go today.”~WAU