Reflections on the Word
Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11; Titus 2:11-14, 3:4-7; Luke 3:15-16, 21-22
Baptism of the Lord, Cycle C
January 10, 2016
Sr. Phyllis Jaszkowiak
In the Gospel, God says to Jesus, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased”. (Luke 3:22) God says this to all of us, sometimes we don’t hear it, sometimes we do. And if we do hear it, we need time to reflect on what this might mean for us
Jesus is no different. He hears these words, and then goes out into the desert to reflect on what these words meant for him. He goes out to know more of who he is, a beloved Son of God. He goes out to know more deeply this God who calls. He goes out to discern more deeply what all this means for his life.
All of Jesus’ teaching, his way of life, stems from knowing this God who calls him Son, God says, through Isaiah, “Comfort, give comfort to my people. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end, her guilt is expiated.” (Isaiah 40:1-2) This Jesus did throughout his life, in his teaching, healing, forgiving, including everyone, loving all.
Pope Francis has declared this year a Jubilee of Mercy. Mercy is an experience of God. Mercy is transformation. “Mercy is the fundamental law that dwells in the heart of all people who look sincerely into the eyes of their brothers and sisters. Mercy is the bridge that connects God and humanity, opening our hearts to the hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness.” (Pope Francis. Jubilee of Mercy. Paragraph 2)
Jesus embodied mercy in everything he did. We, being followers of Jesus, need to embody mercy in everything we do, for as the Second reading says, “When the kindness and generous love of God our savior appeared, not because of any righteous deed we had done, but because of God’s mercy, God saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom God richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our Savior”. (Titus 3:4-5) No matter what our life is, how ordinary or extraordinary, we live by mercy. That is the call of God to us.
So we ask ourselves, have we met the Living God, this God of mercy? Have we sought to live our everyday life in the light of this experience? Have we taken the time to come to know more deeply this God who calls us, by our Baptism, and our life? Do we live our lives following the commandments of God – love God with your whole heart, soul, mind and body, and love your neighbor as yourself?
Since we are a community who follow Jesus, we can ask the same about our community. Do we, as a community, seek to meet the living God? Do we live out the command to love, to show mercy, to include all, to deepen our understanding of what it means to be a community of mercy?
Pope Francis says: “It is my burning desire that, during this Jubilee, the Christian people may reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. It will be a way to reawaken our conscience, too often grown dull in the face of poverty.” (Pope Francis. Jubilee of Mercy, Paragraph 15.) During January we will focus on feeding the hungry and giving drink to the thirsty.
We do some of that through St. Vincent DePaul, when we feed about 200 to 400 people each week. We also do this through our community organizing work as we try to change structures so people can work and earn enough to feed themselves and their families. And always, we strive to know our God more and more each week as we gather together for prayer and liturgy.
Bishop Ken Untener says, “We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.” (Bishop Ken Untener)
Let us then continue to do what we can do. Then we will be able to hear God say to us; “You are my beloved daughters and sons, with you I am well pleased.”
Pope Francis. BULL OF INDICTION OF THE EXTRAORDINARY JUBILEE OF MERCY.
Bishop Ken Untener. LITTLE BLUE BOOKS FOR ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS 2015-2016.