by Friar Jack Wintz, O.F.M.
We find such an image already in verse two of Genesis, where the “breath,” “wind” or “spirit” of God hovers over the water (Gn 1:2).
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The spirit is present at each new burst of life. Note, for example, the “breath of life” image (Gn 2:7) at the birth of Adam: “God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.”
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the son of God” (see Lk 31-36).
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We heard these words as written in the Gospel of Mark (1:10-11): “On coming up out of the water, (Jesus) saw the heavens being torn open and the spirit like a dove, descending upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, ‘You are my beloved son; with you I am well pleased.’” . . . He is being anointed by the spirit as Messiah—and the event marks the beginning of his public ministry.
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It’s good to keep in mind the image of the dove always hovering above Jesus and leading him forward. The same is true of us. The spirit, so prominent in our own baptism does not suddenly fly away when we come up from the river, but remains fully present to us, seeking ever to guide us to new levels of life in God.
May the Holy Spirit guide us to peace in our homes, neighborhoods and the world at large! Amen.