Christ and the Spirit

May 30, 2019

The descent of the Holy Spirit on our Lord in the Jordan had a double effect. First, it prepared him for combat, for battle. This is what the gospel states: “Jesus returned from the Jordan full of the Holy Spirit and by the Spirit he was led out into the wilderness where he remained forty days, tempted by the devil.” Just as soon as he received the Holy Spirit, he entered into the battlefield, into the conflict with Satan, who offered him the three easy ways from the cross. The Holy Spirit did something else. The Spirit not only prepared Jesus for combat, but also prepared him for preaching the kingdom of God. When our Lord, therefore, appeared at Nazareth, he said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; he has anointed me, sent me out to preach the gospel to the poor, to restore the broken-hearted, to bid the prisoners go free, and the blind to have sight, to set the oppressed at liberty, to proclaim a year when men find acceptance in the Lord.” Now after our Lord had received the Spirit and fulfilled these two missions, he instituted a sacrament, the sacrament of confirmation, by which this power and energy and strength of being a soldier of Christ and witness to Christ and the kingdom of God passes into our souls.