2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 15, 2017
"John testified further, saying,
"I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven and remain upon him."
from John 1:29 – 34
When Jesus was baptized in the Jordan, the Holy Spirit descended upon him like a dove. I had an interesting experience last year. I went out to someone's house to give them Holy Communion and the anointing of the sick, as the person was dying. It was the same day that this reading was read one year ago. And as I looked at the pyx, that is, the container holding the consecrated hosts, I noticed that on the top of it was a beautiful image of the Holy Spirit descending upon Christ.
"I saw the Holy Spirit descending upon him like a dove.” When we are baptized, we are claimed for Christ our Savior with three crosses. One on the forehead, one on the neck with the Oil of Salvation, and one after baptism on the forehead again: one cross for each member of the Trinity. Each of us who was baptized has the name of Jesus on our foreheads. We remain claimed for Christ our Savior, and nothing can erase that baptism.
In visiting this person, I realized that he belonged to Christ and so does everyone who is baptized and has faith. Since we are Children of God, and have the Holy Spirit's mark of faith on our forehead, we can count on the Holy Spirit to guide us if we ask. As Children of God, marked with faith, if we are living our faith, we can expect the Holy Spirit to be a counselor and leader in all that we do.
In the passage above, upon seeing Christ for the first time, John states, "behold the Lamb of God!" We, too, behold the Lamb of God in the present moment. This is where eternity intersects with time, the only place in which we really live. This is where we find God guiding and directing us and helping us to make the right choices in life, one after the other. To think that we are truly sons and daughters of God. Of course, he wants to help us and guide us in our life choices.
Jesus also created us to be free beings, and so we are also free to reject or ignore God's invitations, which come to us through church teaching, Scripture, our conscience, and the circumstances which arise and opportunities to serve others that come each day. We, too, can “behold the Lamb of God” revealing himself in what appears to be commonplace. John saw what looked like an ordinary man – Jesus – but he recognized the Lord for who he was. In the same way, our ordinary circumstances of life conceal great meaning when we allow the spirit to work in our lives in the present moment.