CCC 535 Jesus’ public life begins with his baptism by John in the Jordan.1 John preaches “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins”.2 A crowd of sinners3 – tax collectors and soldiers, Pharisees and Sadducees, and prostitutes- come to be baptized by him. “Then Jesus appears.” The Baptist hesitates, but Jesus insists and receives baptism. Then the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, comes upon Jesus and a voice from heaven proclaims, “This is my beloved Son.”4 This is the manifestation (“Epiphany”) of Jesus as Messiah of Israel and Son of God.

CCC 546 Jesus’ invitation to enter his kingdom comes in the form of parables, a characteristic feature of his teaching.5 Through his parables he invites people to the feast of the kingdom, but he also asks for a radical choice: to gain the kingdom, one must give everything.6 Words are not enough, deeds are required.7 The parables are like mirrors for man: will he be hard soil or good earth for the word?8 What use has he made of the talents he has received?9 Jesus and the presence of the kingdom in this world are secretly at the heart of the parables. One must enter the kingdom, that is, become a disciple of Christ, in order to “know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven”.10 For those who stay “outside”, everything remains enigmatic.11

CCC 755 “The Church is a cultivated field, the tillage of God. On that land the ancient olive tree grows whose holy roots were the prophets and in which the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles has been brought about and will be brought about again. That land, like a choice vineyard, has been planted by the heavenly cultivator. Yet the true vine is Christ who gives life and fruitfulness to the branches, that is, to us, who through the Church remain in Christ, without whom we can do nothing.”12

1 Cf. Lk 3:23; Acts 1:22.
2 lK 3:3.
3 Cf. Lk 3:10-14; Mt 3:7; 21:32.
4 Mt 3:13-17.
5 Cf. Mk 4:33-34.
6 Cf. Mt 13:44-45; 22:1-14.
7 Cf. Mt 21:28-32.
8 Cf. Mt 13:3-9.
9 Cf. Mt 25:14-30.
10 Mt 13:11.
11 Mk 4:11; cf. Mt 13:10-15.
12 LG 6; cf. 1 Cor 39; Rom 11:13-26; Mt 21:32-43 and parallels; Isa 51-7; Jn 15:1-5.