The coming of the Holy Spirit upon God’s Chosen Messiah is a surprisingly peaceful event. Isaiah prophesies the Messiah’s justice as quiet and calm: “not crying out, not shouting…a bruised reed he shall not break.” Psalm 29 declares: “The voice of the LORD is mighty,” and yet our refrain is “The Lord will bless his people with peace.” How can this be?
The victory of God’s justice is not a violent event to be feared, but the peaceful restoration of right order to Creation. When God extends His power over us, we are set right. It is the comforting hand of the Father interposed between squabbling children, or the protecting arm of a mother snatching her infant from danger. The Holy Spirit comes to separate us from evil—to destroy death, not us.
So it is that Christ can come to baptize us with the Holy Spirit and with fire, yet no destruction occurs. Our humanity is not thrust into chaos but built up to be what it is meant to be. The Holy Spirit descends on the humanity of Jesus and reveals Him for who He truly is: God Almighty made incarnate as one of us. In Jesus our human nature is made worthy of receiving His Divine Nature: the very Spirit of God!
In accepting the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in His human nature Christ elevates us. From this union will flow all the graces we receive: the forgiveness of sins we receive in our Baptism, union with Christ in the Eucharist, and the fullness of Grace we receive in Confirmation. The bruised reeds of our souls are not crushed; the smoldering wick of our faith is not snuffed out but fanned into flame.
Thus we can truly pray, in Christ: Come, Holy Spirit! Fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.