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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

Baptism In The Spirit Part 2 (Thought for the Day Part 104)

Today’s reading: Acts 19:1-8

Most Catholics are baptized as babies. With the sacrament of Baptism, they are cleansed from original sin and receive the Holy Spirit. But many adult Catholics today do not live a life in the Spirit. Many of them are worldly and are lapsed Catholics. Many do not even know the role and importance of the Holy Spirit in their lives. It is as if they are asked, “Did you receive the holy Spirit when you became believers?” (v.2a). And their answer is, “We have never even heard that there is a holy Spirit.” (v.2b). Tragic.

So the next question is, “How were you baptized?” (v.3a). Well, they received “a baptism of repentance” (v.4a). Their original sin is wiped away. But they are also “baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (v.5). And they should receive the Spirit of Jesus. They do receive the Spirit of Jesus, but how they act on this, how they act in the Spirit, is another matter. Many simply do not as they become adults.

This is why there is need for a renewed infilling of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Catholics. As adults, they are re-introduced to Christ, are led to repentance, put their faith in Jesus, and are prayed with for the infilling of the Spirit. This is the so-called baptism in the Spirit. “And when Paul laid his hands on them, the holy Spirit came upon them” (v.6a). Without this baptism in the Spirit, many Catholics will continue to live their lives far from Christ and apart from the power of the Holy Spirit.

With the infilling of the Spirit come spiritual gifts. “And they spoke in tongues and prophesied.” (v.6b). These spiritual gifts, except for charismatic renewal, have also been lost or at least neglected in our Church. But these are gifts (there are many others) that are intended to equip the Christian community for service to the Kingdom. How can the disciples of Christ build the kingdom of God unless they are equipped? It is telling that when the passage on spiritual gifts (in 1 Corinthians 12:1-13) is due at Mass in the liturgical calendar, the specific gifts mentioned in verses 8-10 are skipped! The faithful are kept in the dark.

Speaking in tongues is a divine manifestation of receiving the Spirit. This was a normal thing in the book of Acts and in the life of the early Church. It signifies the reversal of the sin and effect of the Tower of Babel. It symbolizes the worldwide mission of the Church. It points to the mysterious and supernatural. It signifies a full yielding to the Spirit of God, not humanly understanding what one is saying but simply trusting in the will of God.

Prophesying is important, especially in these days of darkness, confusion and modernism. By virtue of the sacrament of Baptism, we share in the ministry of Jesus as priest, prophet and king. With prophecy we are enabled by the Spirit of God to hear His voice and to deliver His message, declaring what is His divine will. In today’s world of darkness and evil, with the enemy even within our Church, where are the prophets of old? Where are those who call out the modern-day scribes and Pharisees? Where are the Pauls? “He entered the synagogue, and for three months debated boldly with persuasive arguments about the kingdom of God.” (v.8). We must rise in bold defense of faith, family and life.

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