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Sunday, December 9, 2007

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Second Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 11:1-10
Romans 15:4-9
Psalm 72
Matthew 3:1-12

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taking baths

"They were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they confessed their sins." —Matthew 3:6

Before Christmas, we must take a bath. In fact, we should take two baths, a baptismal bath "in water for the sake of reform" and a bath "in the Holy Spirit and fire" (Mt 3:11). Unlike the bath in water, this fire-baptism removes impurities from even the most precious metals.

Do you remember when as a youngster you didn't want to take a bath? Adults have a much greater reluctance to take the baths of repentance and fire-purification. We're afraid of what God may find if we expose our nakedness and dirt to Him. Of course, God already knows us. He can see right through us. But we're afraid to see ourselves. We have suppressed many of our sinful patterns out of our consciousness and into our subconsciousness. Here they have even greater influence on us since our subconscious motivates most of our actions.

We must give Jesus freedom to go to our heart of darkness. Pray now: "Cleanse me from my unknown faults!" (Ps 19:13) "Probe me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; see if my way is crooked, and lead me in the way of old" (Ps 139:23-24).

Prayer:  "May God, the Source of all patience and encouragement, enable you to live in perfect harmony with one another according to the Spirit of Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and voice you may glorify God" (Rm 15:5-6).

Promise:  "There shall be no harm or ruin on all My holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the Lord, as water covers the sea." —Is 11:9

Praise:  Praise You, Jesus, Baptizer in the Holy Spirit (Mk 1:8). Praise You for transforming multitudes of lives this Advent.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Effects of Sin on audio AV 81-3 or video V-81.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 30, 2007

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