Sunday, December 4
Ps 72: 1-2,7-8, 12-13, 17
Rom 15: 4-9
Mt 3: 1-12
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
My temptation (Is it yours, too?) is to step past the fiery John and focus on the sweet baby in the manger. John’s passionate voice, however, gives us pause. Have we diluted his challenge? John preaches Jesus, who “will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Pope Francis, in a recent homily, gave two images of fire: “the consuming fire of God’s love” and “the quiet and gentle charcoal fire that Jesus started at the shore cooking fish for the disciples.” Of the first kind, “it is as if Jesus is handing us a lighted torch and sending us with courage and zeal for the salvation of every human being, without exception.” There is also the charcoal fire of tenderness, the fire we tend as we “savor the presence of Jesus alive in our midst.” Can we claim Isaiah’s vision of the peaceable kingdom as we tend fires, “eyes open, ears attentive, spirit alert, sleeves rolled up…always moving towards…”
Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.
Mt 3: 3
May I hear and act on the Cry of the Earth
and the Cry of the Poor this Advent.
May our struggles and our concern for this planet
never take away the joy of our hope.
Listen this week to Sr. Kathy Sherman’s song “Holy Fire.”
What fire claims me/us and names me/us to “Come to the Edge?”
Sister Cynthia Sabathier, CSJ
Baton Rouge, LA