Voices ever ancient, ever new. Baptism of the Lord 2014.

“And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:17)

Saint Augustine of Hippo offers the following insight on this verse from today’s Gospel:

“Here then we have the Trinity presented in a clear way: the Father in the voice, the Son in the man, the Holy Spirit in the dove. This only needs to be barely mentioned, for it is so obvious for anyone to see. Here the recognition of the Trinity is conveyed to us so plainly that it hardly leaves any room for doubt or hesitation. The Lord Christ himself, who comes in the form of a servant to John, is undoubtedly the Son, for here no one can mistake him for either the Father or the Holy Spirit. It is the Son who comes. And who could have any doubt about the identity of the dove? The Gospel itself most plainly testifies: “The Holy Spirit descended upon him in the form of a dove.”

So also there can be no doubt whose voice it is who speaks so personally: “You are my beloved Son.” So we have the Trinity distinguished. Here are the three persons of the Trinity distinguished: When Jesus came to the river, he came from one place to another. The dove descended from heaven to earth, from one place to another. The very voice of the Father sounded neither from the earth nor from the water but from heaven. These three are as it were distinguished in places, in offices and in works. But one may say to me, “Show me instead the inseparability of the triune God. Remember you who are speaking are a Catholic, and to Catholics are you speaking.” For thus does our faith teach, that is, the true, the right Catholic faith, gathered not by the opinion of private judgment but by the witness of the Scriptures, not subject to the fluctuations of heretical rashness but grounded in apostolic truth. This we know, this we believe.

This, though we do not see it with our eyes nor as yet with the heart, so long as we are being purified by faith, yet by this faith we most firmly and rightly maintain the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are a Trinity—inseparably one God, not three gods. But yet one God in such a way that the Son is not the Father, and the Father is not the Son, and the Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son but the Spirit of the Father and of the Son. This ineffable Divinity, abiding ever in itself, making all things new, creating, creating anew, sending, recalling, judging, delivering, this Trinity, I say, we know to be at once indescribable and inseparable." (Sermon 2)

Almighty ever-living God,
Who, when Christ had been baptized in the River Jordan
and as the Holy Spirit descended upon Him,
solemnly declared Him Your beloved Son,
grant that Your children by adoption,
reborn of water and the Holy Spirit,
may always be well pleasing to You.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to You Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen!