BAPTISM OF THE LORD—MONDAY HOMILY, YEAR B
THEME: YOU ARE GOD’S BELOVED.
BY: FR. KARABARI PAUL
“You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
In the Gospel of today (Mark 1:7-11), In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptised by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
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Mark tells us that “As soon as Jesus was baptized, the heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove.” In Luke 3:22 Luke tells us that, “the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove.” Why was this? What was happening here?
In the Scriptures, it was a dove that demonstrated that the waters of the great flood had receded and that God’s wrath for sin upon the world was over (Genesis 8:11). Doves were also symbols in the Scripture for innocence and harmlessness. Jesus once sent His disciples out to be His witnesses in a very hostile world; and He commanded them to be as “harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16). In the Song of Solomon, doves are used as a metaphor for something beautiful and precious and lovely; as when Solomon spoke of his bride and said, “My dove, my perfect one, is the only one, the only one of her mother, the favorite of the one who bore her” (Song of Solomon 6:9).
Doves were also referred to in the Scripture as offerings, the most humble offering someone could make. If someone had a child, and they were too poor to offer the usual offering for their newborn child, they were commanded to offer “two turtledoves or two young pigeons” (Lev. 12:8). You may remember that Mary and Joseph were so poor that turtledoves were what they had to offer for Jesus (Luke 2:24).
And Jesus, as you may recall, when He drove out the money changers and animals from the temple, also ordered those who sold doves to remove them (John 2:16).
Could it be that the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove in order to clearly mark Jesus out as approved by God as our sin-bearer?
He was marking Jesus out for us as “dove-like” innocent and harmless in that He had no sin; beautiful and precious in the sight of His Father; a sign that peace has come and that God’s wrath for sin was satisfied; and the humblest and most available of all the sacrifices for sin that could be made.
Mark then goes on to tell us more about what happened after Jesus’ baptism. He writes, “And a voice from heaven said, “You are my Son, with you I am well pleased.” Here, God the Father gives public approval before the whole world.
Through baptism, Jesus acquires a new identity for us as adopted sons and daughters of God. We become the beloved of the Father. However, can God still say that He is well pleased with us? Does our action and inaction delight the Father? Are we still true to our baptismal promises. GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE. May God bless and protect us and increase His grace in us through Christ Our Lord Amen. Good morning.
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