ALLOW OURSELVES TO BE BAPTIZED BY JESUS’ SPIRIT
The Gospel writers make an effort to differentiate well the Baptism of Jesus and the Baptism of John. You mustn’t confuse them. The Baptism of Jesus doesn’t consist in submerging his followers in the waters of a river. Jesus submerges his own in the Holy Spirit. The Gospel of John says it clearly. Jesus possesses the fulness of God’s Spirit, and that’s why he can communicate that fulness to his own. The great novelty of Jesus consists in Jesus being «the Son of God» who can «baptize with the Holy Spirit».
Jesus’ Baptism isn’t an exterior washing, like the one some had been able to know perhaps in the waters of the Jordan. It is an «inner washing». The metaphor suggests that Jesus communicates his Spirit in order to penetrate, soak and transform the heart of the person.
This Holy Spirit is considered by the Gospel writers as «the Spirit of life». That’s why allowing ourselves to be baptized by Jesus means welcoming his Spirit as the font of new life. His Spirit can strengthen within us a more vital relationship with him. It can lead us to a new level of Christian existence, to a new stage of Christianity that is more faithful to Jesus.
Jesus’ Spirit is «the Spirit of truth». Allowing ourselves to be baptized by him is to put truth into our Christianity. To not let ourselves by deceived by false securities. To recover over and over again our unchangeable identity as followers of Jesus. To abandon paths that lead us away from the Gospel.
Jesus’ Spirit is «the Spirit of love», capable of freeing us from cowardice and the selfishness of only thinking about our own interests and well-being. Allowing ourselves to be baptized by him is to open ourselves to love that is solidary, free and compassionate.
Jesus’ Spirit is «the Spirit of conversion» to God. Allowing ourselves to be baptized by him means allowing ourselves to be slowly transformed by him. To learn to live by his criteria, his attitudes, his heart and his sensibility toward those who suffer.
Jesus’ Spirit is «the Spirit of renovation». Allowing ourselves to be baptized by him is to allow ourselves to be drawn by his creative novelty. He can awaken what’s best in the Church and give her a «new heart», with greater capacity of being faithful to the Gospel.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf