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Sunday, January 8, 2017

Pope baptises children

At 9:30am today, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the Holy Father, Pope Francis presided over the celebration of the Mass in the Sistine Chapel.  During the Mass, he celebrated the Sacrament of Baptism with 28 newborns, as well as 15 other boys and 13 more girls.

Following the proclamation of the gospel, the Pope shared a brief homily, the text of which follows:

Homily of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
for the Baptism of the Lord

Dear parents,

You have asked for the gift of faith for your children, faith that will be given in Baptism.  Faith: which means a life of faith, because faith must be lived; by walking on the path of faith and bearing witness to faith.  Faith is not merely recited in the Creed on Sunday, when we go to Mass: not only this.  Faith is the act of growing within us all that is Truth: God the Father who sent his Son and the Spirit that gives us life.  But faith is also reliance on God, and this you must teach to your children, by your example, by your life.  And faith is light: in the ceremony of Baptism you will be given a lit candle, just as it was done in the early years of the Church.  For this reason, Baptism, in those days, was called illumination, because faith illuminates the heart, brings life to things with another light.  You have asked for faith: the Church gives faith to your children through Baptism, and yours is the task of making it possible for it to grow, of taking care of it, so that these children can become witnesses for everyone else.  This is the sense of this ceremony.  And this is all I wanted to say to you: take care of your children's faith, help it to grow, that these children may be witnesses for others.

And then ... the concert has begun! (children crying): this is because the children are in a place they do not know, they got up this morning a bit earlier than usual.  One of them begins, and passes the note to the others and they all join in ... Some of them cry only because others are crying ... Jesus did the same thing, did you know that?  I like to think that the first time Jesus' preached, in the stable, was him crying, the first time ... and then, since this ceremony is a bit longer, some of them may be crying because they are hungry.  If this is the case, you mothers, feed them, don't be afraid, it's normal.  Like Our Lady fed Jesus ...

Don't forget: you asked for faith; it's up to you to take up the challenge of protecting the faith, making it grow, so that these children can be witnesses for all of us, for all of us: even for us priests, bishops, everyone.  Thank you.

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