Heaven was opened

Daily Reading for January 10 • The Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord

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. There 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.

From Origen’s Homilies on the Gospel of Luke, quoted in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: New Testament III, Luke, edited by Arthur A. Just, Jr. (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2003).

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