Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11; Ps 85:9-14; 2 Peter 3:8-14; Mark 1:1-8
If you have the time to place yourself around the birth of the Messiah (Jesus), and meditate about all the people and places, you will notice something very amazing. Even long before Pentecost, it was the Holy Spirit who was orchestrating the persons and events around the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem.
As a priest of many years, I have had a lot of time thinking and reading about these events. You have to have the time to put all the pieces together, like you would all the appearances of Jesus after his resurrection.
I have a hard time praying “Come, Lord Jesus.” That is one of the Advent themes referring to the coming of Jesus at the end of time on earth. The earliest church so missed Jesus after his ascension that they expected him to return very soon. How long have we been waiting for his return or second coming and it hasn’t happened yet nor is likely to happen today or tomorrow.
Repent and be baptized
In our Advent preparation, we see and hear John the Baptist crying out “prepare the way of the Lord. Repent and be baptized.“ Many Jews were anxiously awaiting his coming, repented and were baptized by John with water. As babies, most of us were baptized, yet our parents made our commitment. We couldn’t make that decision then.
Sometime in our adult life we must make our own commitment. Jesus baptized with water but added something that John could not give, the Holy Spirit. We need to know Jesus personally and to know the Holy Spirit and the many powerful gifts that he has for us in order to live and spread the Good News of Jesus.
Four ways God is present
Has Jesus ever left us after he went back to heaven at the Ascension? No! In his physical body, yes. Real reflection shows us that God is present with us in several ways.
- God is the energy or power that holds every physical object together all over his universe.
- God, the whole Trinity, comes to live in the bodies of all who are baptized. If we don’t make our own personal decision to follow Jesus and his church and commit serious sins, we throw him out of our lives.
- Jesus told us in the gospels that he is present when two or three are gathered in his name.
- From the various Last Supper stories we know that Jesus changed bread and wine into his own Body and Blood, which we call consecration. This is what most baptized Catholics do not understand or believe. This is a great problem in our church today. Then we also know Jesus remains present in the consecrated Bread after communion. He is placed in a gold cup and put in the tabernacle available to be given to the sick and dying.
Jesus makes himself available for us every day of the year at some time all over the world. We get hungry and are in need of sustenance. Jesus multiplies the bread to continue to feed us as we do what he did with the bread at the Last Supper. Put your mind around that reality. Think about that for a long time. Read the various Eucharistic Prayers the priest prays during the second part of the Mass.
Jesus always comes with a gift
Jesus offers us the best free meal on earth. Yet most do not understand. Many of your have to work, I understand that. Yet many are retired or could rearrange their time to attend more daily Masses. In the morning you are having breakfast with Jesus. That is like Christmas every day. Jesus always comes with another spiritual gift for us and sometimes a physical gift. Is this awesome?
If we cannot make Mass because of work or caring for young children we could find some other time to make a “spiritual communion,” desiring to receive an increase of “Jesus food and power.”
We can always get more of Jesus if we set aside the time. Say a prayer to the Holy Spirit and read a little of the gospel stories. We could read part of the “Shorter Prayer of Christians.” There are many other prayers we can daily pray that would fill us up with more God power so in this world we “glow for Jesus.”
Could you join me in being “little Jesus lights” in the world glowing for Jesus? You will grow to love the special blessings that Jesus fills you with. The more of him you have, the more will flow out of you to bless others. Thus we help Jesus make the world a better place to live. Have the Holy Spirit filled week.
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2017 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)