Fr. Aidan Writes:
Today’s Gospel is the start of the encounter between St John the Baptist and Jesus before his baptism. Two references are made to animals from the Old Testament. John’s encounter is a Communion. John greets Jesus with the words, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”. We are invited to receive Holy Communion with the very same words. This reference to the Lamb of God recalls the Passover Lamb, whose blood was the sign of salvation from death for Moses and the people of Israel as they commenced the Exodus from slavery in Egypt. At Holy Communion in the Mass, we are invited to enter into the loving salvation of God in Jesus Christ poured out for us.
John also testifies to the Holy Spirit coming down on Jesus like a dove. Again this is a reference to the Covenant established between God, Noah and the people after the great flood. This was also a moment of salvation and communion. The dove becomes the great sign of peace. From these two signs and references, John the Baptist is indicating to us that Jesus is about to commence his public life as the Prince of Peace, who will establish the New Covenant with God his Father through the sacrificial shedding of his blood. This is who we en- counter when we receive Holy Communion during the Eucharist. It is an incredible encounter/communion with the very presence of the one who saves us and brings us peace. It is our duty, as the psalm indicates, to continue this salvific mission of Jesus, filled with his presence, so that his “salvation may reach the ends of the earth”. This is why we should wait, after having received Holy Communion, to be dismissed in mission to save the world… rather than escape early to beat the car park crush!
God bless us all through the Ordinary Time of the year, Fr Aidan-Peter CJ
May God bless you, your families, and the week ahead,
Fr Aidan Peter