Fr Thomas’ Homily for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Baptism of the Lord

Did any dove come down on you when you were baptised? I suspect not. But it did for Jesus. The image of the dove reminds of Noah testing whether the flood was receding.  He sent out a dove to see whether the water has receded anywhere.  The dove came back because there was no dry land for it to set foot.  When it was sent out again seven days later, it came back with a freshly picked olive branch in its beak.  After seven more days when it was sent out, it found the dry land and it did not come back.  Then Noah knew that the time of destruction was over and the land for the population to settle down will appear soon (Ref Gen 8:8-12).  In this Genesis story, the dove was to indicate the salvation from the destructive flood.  The descent of the dove on Jesus at his baptism was a message that the salvation is near at hand.  Jesus was to commence his ministry of saving the humanity from its sin.  He was filled with the Holy Spirit to do so.

While our baptism is for our own salvation and an initiation into the Church, the Body of Christ, Jesus’ baptism was not for his own salvation, but only to signify the commencement of his ministry for the humanity.  Thus, our baptism and that of Jesus differ.  Yet both, the baptism of the Church and that of Jesus, signify coming of the Holy Spirit.  Filled with Holy Spirit, each baptised person is called to bring the fruits of the Kingdom of God closer to the people around them.  We can be people of hope, joy, and peace only as much as we bring them to others.  Can you recollect moments of the Holy Spirit filling you to bring hope, joy and peace to others?