January 15, 2017 — Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Our Gospel Reading today is quite short. However, it contains an important revelation from St. John the Baptist about Jesus, our Lord and Savior. John the Baptist testifies, “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven and remain upon him.” We are fond in the Church to use the symbol of the dove to represent the Holy Spirit, but what John says is not that the Spirit was a dove, but it descended like a dove.
The Spirit descends upon us as well throughout our lives as Catholics. At our Baptism the Holy Spirit came upon us, and we received the fullness of the Holy Spirit’s gifts at Confirmation. Nevertheless, we receive the Holy Spirit at every Mass and especially at the Eucharist. Just as John the Baptist spoke of seeing the Holy Spirit descend upon the Lord, that same Holy Spirit descends upon us.
You probably have never paid much attention to how a dove actually descends. It sort of hovers and floats downward. Its descent is smooth, deliberate, and in its own unique way. This Spirit has descended upon us and continues to do so. It fills us. What do we do with it? It is part of our very being, but for it to be effective we must share it and use it.
Our Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI once said, “No one can give that which they do not personally possess, which means we cannot transmit the Holy Spirit if we ourselves are not close to the Spirit.”