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Commentary On The Gospel For Lent 1 - Mark 1:9-15 By Two Church Fathers

A commentary on the Gospel for Lent 1
St. Mark 1:9-15
by: Hippolytus of Rome 170 A.D. to 235 A.D.

Do you see, beloved, how many and how great blessings we would have lost if the Lord had yielded to the exhortation of John and declined baptism? For the heavens had been shut before this. The region above was inaccessible. We might descend to the lower parts, but not ascend to the upper.

So it happened not only that the Lord was being baptized – he also was making new the old creation. He was bringing the alienated under the scepter of adoption. For straightway “the heavens were opened to him.” A reconciliation took place between the visible and the invisible. The celestial orders were filled with joy, the diseases of earth were healed, secret things made known, those at enmity restored to amity. For you have heard the word of the evangelist, saying, “The heavens were opened to him,” on account of three wonders. At the baptism of Christ the Bridegroom, it was fitting that the heavenly chamber should open its glorious gates. So when the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove, and the Father’s voice spread everywhere, it was fitting that “the gates of heaven should be lifted up.” (Discourse On The Holy Theophany 6.)

And by Gregory Thaumatourgos, The Miracle Worker, aka Gregory of Neocaesarea, who was a Roman bishop born ca. 213 A.D. died ca. 270 A.D.

And stretching forth slowly his right hand, which seemed both to tremble and to rejoice, he baptized the Lord. Then the Jews who were present, with those in the vicinity and those from a distance, reasoned together, and spoke thus with themselves and with each other: Was it, then, without cause that we imagined John to be superior to Jesus? Was it without cause that we considered the former to be greater than the latter? Does not this very baptism attest the Baptist's pre-eminence? Is not he who baptizes presented as the superior, and he who is baptized as the inferior?

But while they, in their ignorance of the mystery of the economy, babbled in such wise with each other, The Holy One who alone is Lord spoke. He who is by nature the Father of the Only-begotten. He who alone knows perfectly Him whom He in passionless fashion begot, instantly rectified their blunted imaginations.

He opened the gates of the heavens, and sent down the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, lighting upon the head of Jesus, pointing him out right there as the new Noah, yea the maker of Noah, and the good pilot of the nature which is in shipwreck. And He Himself calls with clear voice out of heaven, and says: This is my beloved Son, — Jesus, not John. The one baptized, and not the one baptizing; He who was begotten of me before all periods of time and not he who was begotten of Zacharias; He who was born of Mary after the flesh, and not he who was brought forth by Elisabeth beyond all expectation. He who was the fruit of the virginity which he yet preserved intact, and not he who was the shoot from a sterility removed; He who has had His conversation with you, and not he who was brought up in the wilderness.

This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: my Son, of the same substance with myself, and not of a different; of one substance with me according to what is unseen, and of one substance with you according to what is seen, yet without sin. This is He who along with me made man. This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. This Son of mine and this son of Mary are not two distinct persons; but this is my beloved Son,—this one who is both seen with the eye and apprehended with the mind.

This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear Him. If He shall say, I and my Father are one, hear Him. If He shall say, He that has seen me has seen the Father, hear Him. If He shall say, He that has sent me is greater than I, adapt the voice to the economy. If He shall say, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? answer Him thus: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. (The 4th Homily, On The Holy Theophany, Or Of Christ’s Baptism).


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