On this Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, we are passing from the Christmas season to Ordinary time. This year that means we may wish to focus a bit more on the Jubilee year of Mercy. Through Jesus’ Baptism, he took on our sins to free us from their burden and give us God’s abundant mercy.
In the ceremony of opening the Jubilee doors around the world, Bishops read from the Pope’s declaration of the Jubilee Year:
We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation depends on it. Mercy: the word reveals the very mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Mercy: the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us. Mercy: the fundamental law that dwells in the heart of every person who looks sincerely into the eyes of his brothers and sisters on the path of life. Mercy: the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to the hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness. At times we are called to gaze even more attentively on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father’s action in our lives.
The phrase “Merciful Like The Father” means both that Jesus is merciful to us as His father is to us, but it also means that we should in turn show the Father’s mercy to others in our actions. Preaching the gospel means that we boldly set out ideals of the Christian life we use words to preach but they have a negative impact if our actions do not reflect the mercy of God. We might take some time to reflect on those on whom we should shed this mercy. Obviously, we sin most in our actions towards those who are closest to us so we must look to them first to show God’s mercy. We saw in the Epiphany that Christ was also revealed outside of his community to the world, to the peoples we might call pagan or non-believers. We must reach out in mercy to those on whom we are least likely to spontaneously shower mercy. Jesus reached out to sinners, the poor and those shunned as foreigners we should not do less.