“The grace of God has appeared, saving all, and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly and devoutly in this age, and to await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and our savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people of his own, eager to do what is good.”
How fortunate for Titus to receive an encouraging letter from Saint Paul (today’s second reading). As we bring the Christmas season to a close as Jesus’ baptism takes place, we too are encouraged to make the instruction our own. Yes, Jesus has come and still lives among us. We are challenged each day to abandon godless ways and focus on keeping our eyes on Jesus.
If life was difficult for Paul’s friends, how much more challenging it is for us, surrounded by the internet, porn, material and consumer attractions, drawing us in a different direction. How clear are Paul’s words asking us to live temperately, when so many have nothing, to live justly, in a society which wishes to get ahead and put others down, and devoutly, when many look down on people with religious devotion, customs and traditions.
Paul knew his society and we are so aware of ours. Why not take the virtues Paul recommends and meditate on one each day. May this help us to become eager to do what is right.
“We must reawaken the memory of our Baptism. We are called to live out our Baptism every day as the present reality of our lives. If we manage to follow Jesus and to remain in the Church, despite our limitations and with our weaknesses and sins, it is precisely in the Sacrament whereby we have become new creatures and have been clothed in Christ. It is by the power of Baptism, in fact, that, freed of original sin, we are inserted into Jesus’ relation to God the Father; that we are bearers of a new hope, for Baptism gives us this new hope: the hope of going on the path of salvation our whole life long. And this hope nothing and no one can extinguish, for it is a hope that does not disappoint. Remember, hope never disappoints. Thanks to Baptism, we are capable of forgiving and of loving even those who offend us and do evil to us. By our Baptism, we recognize in the least and in the poor the face of the Lord who visits us and makes himself close. Baptism helps us to recognize in the face of the needy, the suffering, and also of our neighbor, the face of Christ. All this is possible thanks to the power of Baptism!” (Pope Francis, General Audience, January 8, 2014).
Listen to my homily today:
May you have a good week and may God bless you and keep you always in His Love!
Joyfully in the Lord,
Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish