The Baptism of the Lord

“After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with You I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22.)

Origen of Alexandria (part 2 of Pope Benedict’s reflections on Origen) comments on these verses from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

The Lord was baptized. The heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit came down upon him. A voice from the heavens thundered and said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am pleased.” We should say that heaven was opened at the baptism of Jesus and for the plan of forgiving sins. These are not the sins of him “who had committed no sin, nor was deceit found in his mouth.” The heavens were opened and the Holy Spirit came down for the forgiveness of the whole world’s sins. After the Lord “ascended on high, leading captivity captive,” he gave them the Spirit. The Spirit had come to him, and he gave the Spirit at the time of his resurrection, when he said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they will be forgiven him. If you retain them for anyone, they will be retained.” But “the Holy Spirit came down upon the Savior in the form of a dove.” The dove is a gentle bird, innocent and simple. Hence we too are commanded to imitate the innocence of doves. Such is the Holy Spirit: pure, swift, and rising up to the heights.” (Homilies on the Gospel of Luke, 27.)

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