We must remain in the Church—Always.
Gospel Reflection for Tuesday January 3rd, 2023
Friends, today we find ourselves again at the banks of the Jordan River, listening to the prophetic witness of John the Baptist. It is on these very banks where we listen to John testifying on behalf of our Lord Jesus:
“but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me,
'On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain,
he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.'
Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God."
What does being baptized by the Holy Spirit mean? The prophetic literature in the Old Testament speaks about the baptizing of the Holy Spirit, or rather a pouring out of the spirit. Our first parents, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, “were constituted in an original “state of holiness and justice.” This grace of original holiness was “to share in … divine life.”
The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, who baptizes us with the Holy Spirit, provides us by God’s grace the opportunity to restore ourselves to share in the divine life, so long as we cooperate with this grace bestowed to us.
The first reading from the First Letter of St. John reveals what the divine life looks like for those who assent to faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Everyone who commits sin commits lawlessness,
for sin is lawlessness.
You know that he was revealed to take away sins,
and in him there is no sin.
No one who remains in him sins;
no one who sins has seen him or known him.
Remember that in His sermon on the mount, our Lord commanded us, “48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
How can this possible? It must be possible because once we are baptized, we become part of His body, “and in him there is no sin,” and “no one who remains in him sins.”
But our baptism is one part of it.
Friends, if we desire to share in the divine life, then we must do so by the means that our Lord Jesus provided us with the Church, namely the sacraments and the economy of sacramental salvation.
We must remain in the Church—always. We must be in communion with our Holy Father, Pope Francis. We must partake in the liturgical life of the Church. And we must go to confession and eat of His body to be fortified by His grace so that we can be saved from our sins.
This is our faith. Believe it. Remain in it.
 Catholic Church, Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Ed. (Washington, DC: United States Catholic Conference, 2000), 95.
 English Standard Version Catholic Edition (n.p.: Augustine Institute, 2019), Mt 5:48.