Summary of Catechism paragraphs 535-553:
- Jesus’ public life begins with His baptism at the hands of His precursor, St. John the Baptist; the baptism is another “epiphany,” or manifestation, of Jesus as the Son of God and the Messiah who will bring about His Kingdom.
- Although sinless, Jesus chooses to identify Himself with the repentant sinners who flocked to baptism; thus the baptism foreshadows the Cross, when Jesus, the “Lamb of God,” takes away the sins of the world.
- Before embarking upon His ministry, Jesus withdraws to the desert for a 40-day period of fasting; the Church enters into this mystery during the season of Lent.
- The coming of God’s Kingdom means the destruction of the devil’s dominion; hence the devil tries to turn Jesus away from the Father, and to thwart His mission, by tempting our Lord in the desert; but Jesus defeats his every stratagem.
- Jesus now goes forth to preach the “good news” of the coming of the Kingdom; this phrase was rendered from Greek into Latin as evangelium, and later translated into the Anglo-Saxon language as Godspell, evolving into our term “Gospel.”
- Jesus backed up His words with mighty miracles that inspired belief in Him; His physical healings fulfill prophecy, and ultimately point toward spiritual healing: He came to save us from the greatest evil of all, sin.
- Jesus gathers people to Himself, thus establishing the Church, the seed and beginning of the Kingdom; He chooses 12 Apostles, associates them in His mission, and gives them authority, with St. Peter foremost – the first bishops.
- Jesus emphasizes that everyone is called to enter the Kingdom; He makes a point of reaching out to those marginalized as sinners and inviting them to repentance.
- In a very special way, the Kingdom belongs to the poor, lowly, humble of heart, those who know that they need God.
- Jesus often illustrated His teaching by means of parables, memorable stories with a twist; these describe God’s Kingdom, the choice we face whether to accept it, and the radical commitment of discipleship.
Live Your Faith
Rather than viewing the Gospels strictly as mini-biographies of Jesus, we should instead use our imagination to put ourselves into the stories.
Which people resonate the most with me? What would it be like to watch Jesus preach or perform a miracle?
This method, popularized by St. Ignatius Loyola, opens up the Scriptures in a creative way, brings them vividly to life, and helps us to experience Christ.