#50 COPYRIGHT OF THE SPIRIT

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Lk 4:16 “The Spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for he has anointed me.”

The Word of God is the most powerful force on the face of the earth. Look around. Everything you see and perceive, even your very self, is a product of the Divine Word. Today, we are reminded not to get too familiar with it that we take it for granted. We must listen to it, reverence it and put it to practice.

LITURGY

The word “Liturgy” means “public worship”. The Church at worship is the home of the Scriptures. Before the advent of the print media, the Word of God was almost only heard in Church at Mass. It was purely a liturgical book. It is in the Church that it is read and explained. From the Word, we find courage to approach the Eucharist where we draw strength to live a life of love.

REVERENCE

You can never be the same after listening attentively to God’s Word. The Israelites realised how far they were from God’s law because they were ignorant of His Word. Listen to the readings attentively. Reverence it in the way that is custom in your faith community and take the preacher’s word to heart. Do not be saddened by what you hear. Thank God that you have the opportunity of a fresh start.

INSPIRATION

St Luke tells us something unique about the Gospels. He says that there were so many in his time. Many of these have resurfaced in our time fuelling curiosity and suspicion. He tells us that his is “an ordered account” of the events of Christ’s life. There are four criteria by which a writing is considered “inspired”:

Apostolic origin; its author should be an apostle of Christ or one of their disciple to establish their authenticity.

Rule of faith; the work must tell the truth about the person and mission of Christ. Works which betray the true identity of Christ were ruled out and considered purely works of fiction.

Addressed community; the Christian community to which it is address had the duty of promoting it and proving that it is genuine and a work which promotes the Christian faith.

Church intuition: Some works, even when they did not meet the above requirements, got approval because of a sense that they teach the true Christian faith.

POWERED BY THE SPIRIT

Jesus is God and the second person of the Holy Trinity. But He wasn’t just doing his own thing. The ministry of Christ is the action of the whole Trinity (Totas trinitas). Jesus was prompted by the Holy Spirit and the approval of the Father who called Him “my beloved Son” (Lk 9:35).

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SCRIPTURE ACCOMPLISHED

The words of Isaiah 61:1-2 is accomplished through Christ. Through the Word, He brings good news, liberty, sight, freedom and favour to all. What is your disposition to the words you read and hear?

LISTEN

Listening is the first step in the renewing process of the Word. You should realise that God’s Word is addressed to you in your situation. Never be indifferent to its demands. Always ask, “What must I do?” and follow through with action.

BAPTISM

We receive the power of audition by our reception of the Sacrament of Initiation. In the waters of baptism we are made heirs to the Father’s kingdom (Jn 1:12), sons (and daughters) with the Son (Gal 4:6) and the same Spirit has been given to us all (1Cor 12:13).

PARTS OF A WHOLE

The power of God’s Word is seen in the powerful witness of the lives of every member of the Church. Our witness is a life love and genuine concern for others, of compassion and tolerance, forgiveness and meaningful collaboration. The Word of God can be a binding factor leading us to genuine personal conversion and global evangelisation. This is only possible when we truly consider each other parts of one body.

The power of the Holy Spirit is manifest in each of us for different purposes (apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, healing, helpers, leaders and polyglots among others). It has also made us dependent on each other (weak and strong) so that we can partake equally of hurt and honour.

THE WORD 

Psalm 19 reveals the secret power of God’s word; it Revives the soul, gives Wisdom, Gladdens the heart, gives Light to the eyes and is True and Just.

The Word of God is so important in our day. But its power is revealed only to those who seek it sincerely and diligently.

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Prayer: Lord, let your Word dwell richly in me. Let it melt away my indifference and mould me and use me to bring glory to you.

Keepsake: God’s Word has the power to transform you into a Vessel of God’s glory. Listen to it.

Today’s Readings: Neh 8:2-6,8-10; Ps 19:8-10,15; 1Cor 12:12-30; Lk 1:1-4,4:14-21

#49 THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD

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Lk 3:21 “When all the people had been baptised and while Jesus after his own baptism was at prayer, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily shape like a dove.”

Today we celebrate the Baptism of Jesus and God’s revelation of him as the “beloved Son”.  We also remember our own baptism when we became God’s beloved children.

Expectations

The people in Jesus’ time expected a Messiah. They had their ideas of who this Messiah should be and what He should do. We also have expectations as Christians. Your expectation should be in line with who you are and who God is enabling you to become. Your expectations should be consistent with what God wants for you. As His children, we should strive to be what God wants us be; to give up what does not lead to God, and all inordinate worldly ambition. Live temperately, justly and devoutly in this age (cf. Titus 2:12; Micah 6:8). Our lives should bring others closer to God.

Adoption

Who is the long-expected Messiah? It is Jesus, the beloved Son of God. What does He do? Baptise us with the Holy Spirit and Fire. Who are we? The beloved of God, His adopted children and heirs of His kingdom. The Greek word translated “adoption” is huiothesia, and it occurs only five times in the New Testament, all in the letters of St Paul (Rom 8:15, 23; 9:4; Gal 4:5; Eph 1:5). It means “to formally and legally declare that someone who is not one’s own child is henceforth to be treated and cared for as one’s own child, including complete rights of inheritance.” In the Roman culture, the adopted son or daughter had four major changes: a change of family, a change of name, a change of home, and a change of responsibilities. “Adoption” clearly indicates that a Christian is a member of God’s family.

What are we to do? Embrace a journey of discovery about Jesus and ourselves that sets us on fire for God. All our expectations should be directed toward faithful baptismal living.

Baptismal Rite

The baptismal rite put into focus the primary gift of baptism – a share in divine life which is for us a new identity:

Water – plunged into the baptismal waters, we are plunged into Christ’s death; rising we share in divine life. Water brings both death (to our old selves) and a rebirth of life (new Life in God).

Chrism: anointed with chrism, we share in the threefold office of Christ- priest, prophet and ruler. Our anointing with chrism is a consecration of ourselves to conform our life to Christ’s.

White garment: clothed in a white garment, we are reminded of our new, holy, risen Life in Christ. We are to live unstained until we enjoy eternal Life with God.

Lighted candle: enlightened by Christ, we are also to be Light of Christ dispelling sin and darkness in the world. We ourselves are manifestations that in Christ the light of salvation has come into the world (cf. Jn 1:9; 8:12).

These Symbols also imply the demands of discipleship:

  • Water: dying to self;
  • Chrism: conforming ourselves to Christ;
  • White garment: living lives worthy of who we are;
  • Lighted candle: overcoming the darkness of sin.

Primarily these symbols help us understand who we become in baptism – members of the Body of Christ sharing in divine identity.

Greater awareness and appreciation of our identity enables us to be more faithful in our discipleship.

Baptismal Living

Faithful baptismal living both fulfils expectations and generates new ones. This is why baptismal living is a journey of discovery. Baptism opens us to a Presence that continually transforms who we are and what we can do for others. Baptism offers us new Life in the Holy Spirit, one that is steadfast yet unpredictable, familiar yet surprising, restful yet energizing. Baptismal living calls us not simply to run away from sin but to realise that everything we do can be done to the glory of God (cf. 1Cor 10:31; Col 3:17). Our every action can become an act of worship. Baptism sets no on fire with love for God.

Baptism and Prayer

If baptism is the flame, prayer is the wax that keeps it burning. Jesus’ first action after His baptism was to pray to the Father. Luke mentions ten different occasions when Jesus sought the solitude of prayer (Lk 3:21-23; 4:1-2; 4:14; 5:15-17; 6:12-13; 9:18-20; 9:28-29; 11:1-4,9; 22:39-46). He did this to give us an example of how God’s children should long to communicate with their heavenly Father. He also did it because, God’s will is revealed when we spend time with Him. We grow to love, trust and live for Him.

Prayer: Thank You Lord for making me your child through the waters of Baptism. Give me strength to love you and seek a deeper and more loving relationship with You.