Gospel – Luke 3:15-16, 21-22
The people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ. John answered them all, saying, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
535 Jesus’ public life begins with his baptism by John in the Jordan. John preaches “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” A crowd of sinners—tax collectors and soldiers, pharisees and Sadducees, and prostitutes—come to be baptized by him. “Then Jesus appears.” The Baptist hesitates, but Jesus insists and receives baptism. Then the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, comes upon Jesus and a voice from heaven proclaims, “This is my beloved Son.” This is the manifestation (“Epiphany”) of Jesus as Messiah of Israel and Son of God.
696 Fire. While water signifies birth and the fruitfulness of life given in the Holy Spirit, fire symbolizes the transforming energy of the Holy Spirit’s actions. The prayer of the prophet Elijah, who “arose like fire” and whose “word burned like a torch,” brought down fire from heaven on the sacrifice on Mount Carmel. This event was a “figure” of the fire of the Holy Spirit, who transforms what he touches. John the Baptist, who goes “before [the Lord] in the spirit and power of Elijah,” proclaims Christ as the one who “will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” Jesus will say of the Spirit: “I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!” In the form of tongues “as of fire,” the Holy Spirit rests on the disciples on the morning of Pentecost and fills them with himself. The spiritual tradition has retained this symbolism of fire as one of the most expressive images of the Holy Spirit’s actions. “Do not quench the Spirit.”
From “The Great Crusade of Mercy” Testimony of Catalina Rivas (CM-29:18-19)
18) Now I must tell you about My baptism. John instituted it by divine inspiration and I made use of it in order to teach you. The waters of the Jordan were used by Cain to wash himself when he became stained with his crime and when I submerged Myself in those waters, I felt Myself submerged in the filthy waters of every human being. That is why I told John that it would be better if I allowed him to baptize Me: that it was appropriate that he should baptize Me and that I should allow Myself to be baptized. My intention was to take on Cain’s sin and in it, all sins.
19) But My Father, seeing Me humbled in that way, praised Me in a loud voice, so that all those present were astounded. And even the Holy Spirit, by descending in the form of a dove, made Divine acceptance visible, by symbolizing peace between mankind and God. John had received the testimony that had been promised to him and immediately recognized Me, even though he also was ignorant of those matters. Many deeds and matters having to do with Me were symbolic and I made use of them to unite Heaven and earth.
Each week we will be presenting a portion of the following Sunday’s readings, and linking it to relevant parts of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and messages from the Testimony of Catalina. Pay special attention to the italicized underlined sections. This Sunday it is asked, What kind of soil will you be for the word of God? We hope this is inspiring and educational. Any comments you have are certainly welcomed.
Tim Francis prepared this educational program to help you increase your faith and love for the Holy Trinity and our Blessed Mother. His website is http://YouShallBelieve.com
I have known Tim for many years and recommend his work highly. He is a strong advocate for the “The Real Body and Blood Of Jesus” and the numerous miracles that occur on a daily basis. Both of us are greatly inspired by the amazing writings of Catalina Rivas. Catalina is one of the few individuals in history who personally experienced the “Stigmata Of Jesus Christ.”