Baptized by the Holy Spirit and Fire

In preparing adults to be received into the Catholic Church, we spend a great deal of time talking about the Holy Spirit in our lives.  Several years ago, one of our catechumens asked, “What, really, is the Holy Spirit’s fire?”

I answered, ” We have several expressions that might give us a hint: a coach works with a team to get them all fired up, your boss tries to light a fire under your staff to undertake a new project; someone intent on a mission has a fire in the belly.” “All these expressions,” I said, “point to commitment, intensity, energy, a drive toward a goal. Our baptism is meant to instill in us all this commitment, this energy as well.”

Our Gospel today tells us who we are and how we have been gifted. Our Baptism transforms us and confers on us a mission. By Baptism, we are The Body of Christ entrusted with cooperating with the Holy Spirit in making present God’s love by which the world is saved and renewed. We are missioned to a Gospel way of life.

Taking our Baptism seriously means that the ritual is just the beginning of a lifetime of living for God and for God’s people.