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Proclaim God’s kingdom through works of mercy

Based on Is 40:1-5, 9-11; Ti 2:11-14; 3:4-7; Lk 3:15-16, 21-22

Fast forward in time from the Gospels of the past few weeks about the infant Jesus to this Sunday’s Gospel and how the adult Jesus was baptized by his cousin, John the Baptist, in the Jordan River.

As Jesus came up from the water, the sky opened and the Holy Spirit appeared as a dove and hovered over him. God the Father spoke, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

Jesus will now begin the work his Father sent him to do – proclaiming the Kingdom of God by teaching about God’s love, healing the sick and disabled and forgiving people their sins.

Jesus will begin his mission with power and miracles. He will teach his apostles to carry on his work. That work continues today through his church.

Our baptism was also a beginning. Baptized in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, each of us became God’s beloved child in whom he is well pleased.

We were welcomed into the family of God, his church, and began our lives of faith. We received a new life of grace through water and the Holy Spirit to begin our Christian mission, which is the same as Jesus’ mission – to proclaim God’s kingdom of love for all people by our words and actions.

Pope Francis has proclaimed this a Year of Mercy. The Holy Father is calling us to reach out to everyone with the goodness, tenderness and love of God. He asks us especially to practice the corporal and spiritual works mercy – charitable deeds by which we help our neighbors.

The corporal works of mercy: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit the imprisoned and bury the dead.

The spiritual works of mercy: counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, correct the sinner, comfort the afflicted, forgive wrongs, bear wrongs patiently and pray for the living and the dead.

We need to reach out and share some of what we have with people who have so little.