John the Baptizer testified that he “saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on [Jesus]” (John 1:32). John also said that the one who sent him to baptize with water said to him, “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit” (1:33). Doves are mentioned at least fifty times in the Bible, where they are, like other birds, seen as divine messengers, bearers of the Spirit. We continue to be fascinated by birds, as our ancient ancestors were, by their comings and goings and what these might mean. Do you ever think of them as message bearers from God? Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to us as a guide to the truth. How do you think of the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life?
The Holy Gospel John 16:1-15
‘I have said these things to you to keep you from stumbling. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God. And they will do this because they have not known the Father or me. But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them. ‘I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, “Where are you going?” But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate* will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about* sin and righteousness and judgement: about sin, because they do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; about judgement, because the ruler of this world has been condemned. ‘I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
The dove is the symbol of the Holy Spirit. We spotted four doves inside the Cathedral.