How many times have you looked at a married couple and asked, “What does she see in him?!” or “What does he see in her?!” It’s a common phenomenon in marriage and it is part of the Sacrament’s miraculous nature. The two shall become as one… but how does this happen except in the realm of God’s Kingdom where every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low? In our simple minded and human way of thinking we can’t understand how opposites can possibly coexist and yet today’s readings contain several examples of this miraculous wonder.
Isaiah prophesies, the rugged land shall be made a plain, the rough country, a broad valley.
St. Peter tells us that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day.
He also says that God is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but, in the same sentence, warns that the day of the Lord will come like a thief.
The words of Psalm 85 astonishingly declare that with God’s presence, kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss. (Think about that before moving on.)
Perhaps the most striking of all opposites—although our familiarity with it might prevent us from seeing it as such—is how Mark begins his Gospel with the prophesy of Isaiah: Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you… a voice of one crying out in the desert. Think about that for a moment. Who is there in the desert to hear a voice crying out, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight His paths?” Would you not go to a city where there is a multitude of people to hear these words? Yet, multitudes did go out to the desert to see John… and be baptized.
The coexistence of opposites can be best understood, I believe, through the words of the Baptist to his followers, and to us: “I have baptized you with water; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
Baptism, comes from the Greek word, baptizien, which means to immerse. John’s immersion in water was only symbolic but, when we are Baptized and Confirmed we are filled with—and immersed in—the Holy Spirit! We are members of God’s Spiritual Kingdom on Earth and, even though we live, work and play in this physical world, we partake, daily, in the world of Christ’s redemptive love, immersed in the Holy Spirit.