Homily — Baptism of the Lord MMIX 1/11/09

Homily — Baptism of the Lord MMIX            1/11/09

We read in the Book of Genesis, that after the 40 day deluge was ended, Noah opened the hatch he had made in the Ark, and three times Noah sent out a dove, to see if the waters had lessened on the earth.

The first time Noah sent the dove, the dove flew here and there over the flood waters, but finding no earth to land on, the dove returned back to the Ark.

Seven days later, Noah opened the hatch and released the dove a second time.  This time, Genesis says, the Dove came back during the night, carrying a tiny olive branch in it’s beak.

Seven days after that second attempt, Noah opened the hatch in the Ark and sent out the Dove a third time.  This time, the Dove didn’t return; it had found a home on the new earth that had risen up from the waters.

This Scripture passage of Noah sending forth the Dove from the Ark out into the world can be read as symbolic of God’s sending forth the Holy Spirit from Heaven to our World.

The age of the Old Testament was the First Time God opened the Hatch to Heaven, and tried to send forth the Dove which is His Holy Spirit down to us.

But like that first try of Noah, the Spirit flew all over the world, and could find place no to land.  Humankind was still drowning in a sea of sin and unbelief.  And so the Spirit flew back to God, who brought the Spirit back into Heaven, and then closed back up the Hatch.

And so things remained, until about 2009 years ago, shortly after Mary had said “Yes” to the Archangel Gabriel, when God said “Let me try again to send out my Holy Spirit.”

So God opened up again the hatch which He, like Noah, had made for things to get in and out of Heaven, and He sent forth the Dove of the Holy Spirit a second time down to our World.

This time, like it did with Noah, the Holy Spirit flew back to God the Father at Night:  Christmas Night to be precise.  The Spirit had been unable still to land on the earth, but in His Beak, the Spirit had an olive branch, handed to Him by the New Born Baby Jesus, the Prince of Peace, a sign of hope that the waters of sin and unbelief were beginning to subside.

And Today, the Day of Jesus’ Baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist,  God the Father, as we read in St. Mark’s Gospel, tears open that hatch so that He’ll never be able to get it shut again, and for the third and final time God the Father sends forth the Spirit from the Heights of Heaven down to our world.

And just as the Dove didn’t return to Noah the third time, the Spirit doesn’t return to the Father.  It descends upon Jesus in the Jordan, and remains both upon Him and upon the Holy Waters of Baptism.

And we celebrate the Baptism of Christ as the end of the Christmas Season, because Baptism is our Christmas, it was the Day Christ was Born again in us, and the Day we were Born again as other Christs.

On the day of our Baptism, Heaven and Eternal Life was torn open and made available to us, and the Holy Spirit descended upon us, and the voice of God the Father was heard saying to us “You are now my beloved Son, my beloved Daughter, in you I am well pleased.

On this Christmas Feast of the Baptism of Jesus, let us thank God the Father for the tremendous gift of our Baptism.

Through Baptism, all the graces of Heaven flow out to us.  Through Baptism, we are cleansed of original sin, that sinful condition we are all naturally born into that deprives us of eternal life and happiness.

Through Baptism original sin, and all our personal sins committed before baptism are washed clean, and we are given the grace to resist any temptation the Devil may throw at us.  As St. John says in the second reading, for the Baptised believer God’s commandments are not burndensome to obey, for whoever is begotten by God in Baptism conquers the world and is able to joyful keep God’s Commandments.

Baptism also gives us the Gift of Supernatural Faith, Hope and Charity:  Faith which enables us to believe that Jesus isn’t just a human being, but the Son of God, Faith which enables us  to believe that Jesus died for our sins and is now truly Risen from the dead.

The Gift of Hope given at Baptism enables us to Hope for God’s graces to be with us in all circumstances, to Hope that the sins we’ve committed through weakness after our baptism have been forgiven if we have confessed them to a priest, and to Hope for Heaven and the Resurrection of our earthly bodies after this life is over.

And finally, Baptism gives us the Gift of Charity, enabling us to really love God with all our heart soul mind and strength and to love our neighbor, even our enemies, as we love ourselves with the very same Love Jesus had in His Sacred Heart.

Through the Gift of Baptism, God becomes our Father, Mary and the Church becomes our Mother, and Jesus becomes our Brother, and Teacher and Friend.

Thank you Father, for tearing open the hatch of Heaven, and for sending forth Your Spirit in the form of a Dove upon Jesus and upon all of us who have come to the waters of Baptism, and have experienced Christ Born again in us, by water and the Holy Spirit.

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