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Did anyone ever give you good advice?

In William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, a father named Polonius gives a long list of counsels to his son Laertes. Laertes is about to set off for France and his father instructs him about how to be virtuous and prudent. Polonius’ last piece of advice is considered to be the most important. He says, “This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as night the day, thou canst not be false to any man.”

In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus arrives in His home town of Nazareth and is about to begin His public preaching in the local synagogue. He has just come from 40 days of prayer and fasting in the desert. Jesus made this desert retreat in order to look at and understand Who He is Himself before God. This will enable Him to be true to Himself in the face of all God the Father expects of Him. It will also give Him the strength to face the difficulties and temptations He would encounter in life.

So, on that day in the synagogue, He could tell the congregation what His calling was to be in life. Quoting the Prophet Isaiah, He says: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight of the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” He ends by saying, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” In this, He promises to be true to His calling at all times.

Just as with Jesus, the Holy Spirit has come upon you and me in the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. We too have been anointed and are, as St, Paul says in the 2nd Reading, “Christ’s Body and individually parts of it.” It follows then that we are also sent to ‘bring glad tidings to the poor, to help those gone blind to recover their sight, and to help those held captive to go free.’

Each year our local Church in Miami gives us a concrete opportunity to carry on this work and mission of Christ. This opportunity comes through our commitment to a self-sacrificing donation to the Archbishop’s Charities and Development Campaign, the ABCD. In the brochure and the film, you can see the many areas where your donation helps to bring Good News to the poor and needy, to the homeless, the uneducated, the grieving and so many other brothers and sisters in the parishes and neighborhoods of our Archdiocese.

Today is Pledge Sunday, the day when each one of us decides how we will share in the ministry of Jesus. Please take time to pray, reflect, and then make your pledge to fulfill your Baptismal commitment to carry on the mission and work of Christ. As you do so, remember the words of Christ at the Last Judgment: “Whatever you have done to these, the least of my brethren, you have done for Me.”

Giving in this way will show that you are true to your name—Christian. With that, Jesus will be true to His promises to you, for He will say: “Blessed are you, come and inherit the Kingdom, prepared to you from the foundation of the world!”

Father Kirlin