“As soon as he had been baptized, Jesus came out of the water.
The heavens were opened to him and the Spirit of God in the
form of a dove came down and rested on him. Then a voice from
heaven said: This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”
If the Lord had yielded to John’s persuasion and had not been
baptized, do you realize what great blessings and how many
should have been deprived of?
Heaven was closed until then;
our homeland on high was inaccessible. Once we had descended
into the depths we were incapable of rising again to such lofty
heights. The Lord was not only baptized himself; he also renewed
our fallen nature and restored to us our status as God’s children.
At once “the heavens were opened to him.” The world we see was reconciled with the world that
lies beyond our vision; the angels were filled with joy; earthly
disorders were remedied; mysteries were revealed; enemies were
“The heavens were opened to him,” you have heard the evangelist
say. This happened for three wonderful reasons.
bridal chamber had to open its shining gates to Christ at his
baptism because he was the bridegroom.
The gates of heaven had
also to be lifted up to allow the Holy Spirit to descend in
the form of a dove and the Father’s voice to resound far and
The heavens were opened to him and a voice said: This
is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.
This is my beloved Son who appeared on earth without leaving
his Father’s side. He both appeared and did not appear, for
he was not what he seemed.
As far as appearance goes the one
who confers baptism is superior to the one who receives it.
This is why the Father sent the Holy Spirit down on him from
As in Noah’s ark a dove revealed God’s love for the
human race, so now it was in the form of a dove, as though with
an olive branch in its beak, that the Spirit descended and rested
on him to whom the Father would bear witness.
He did so to make
sure that the Father’s voice would be recognized and the ancient
prophecy believed. Which prophecy?
The one that says: "The
Lord’s voice resounded over the waters. The God of glory
thunders, the Lord thunders across many waters. And what
does he say? This is my beloved Son in whom lam well pleased."
Pay close attention now, I beg you, for I want to return to
the fountain of life and contemplate its healing waters at their
The Father of immortality sent his immortal Son and
Word into the world; he came to us to cleanse us with water
and the Spirit. To give us a new birth that would make our bodies
and souls immortal, he breathed into us the Spirit of life and
armed us with incorruptibility.
Therefore in a herald’s voice I cry:
Peoples of every nation,
come and receive the immortality given in baptism. To you who
have spent all your days in the darkness of ignorance I bring
the good news of life. Leave your slavery for freedom, the tyrant’s
yoke for a kingdom, corruptibility for eternal life.
wish to know how to do this? By water and the Holy Spirit. This
is to say, by the water through which we are born again and
given life, and by the Spirit who is the Comforter sent for
your sake to make you a child of God.
on the Holy Manifestation 6-9: PG 10, 858-859)
St. Hippolytus of Rome “Martyr, presbyter and antipope; date of birth unknown; d. about 236. Until the publication in 1851 of the recently discovered 'Philosophumena', it was impossible to obtain any definite authentic facts concerning Hippolytus of Rome and his life from the conflicting statements about him.” (Cathoilc Encyclopedia)