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After reciting the Angelus the Holy Father greeted the faithful.

 

I extend a cordial greeting to all the pilgrims here, especially the faithful from Castellana Grotte and Monopoli, and the friends of "Fraterna Domus".

 

 

 

FEAST OF THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD 

HOMILY OF JOHN PAUL II

Sistine Chapel
Sunday, 12 January 2003

 

 

1. "Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near" (Isaiah 55:6).

 

These words from the second part of the Book of Isaiah ring out on this Sunday that ends the Christmas season. They are an invitation to go more deeply into the meaning for us of today's Feast, the Baptism of the Lord.

 

In spirit let us return to the banks of the Jordan where John the Baptist administered a Baptism of repentance, exhorting to conversion. Coming up to the Precursor is Jesus, and with his presence he transformed that gesture of repentance into a solemn manifestation of his divinity. A voice suddenly comes from heaven:  "You are my beloved Son; in you I am well pleased" (Mark 1:11) and, in the form of a dove, the Spirit descends upon Jesus.

 

In that extraordinary event, John saw realized what had been said about the Messiah born in Bethlehem, adored by the shepherds and the Magi. He was the very One foretold by the prophets, the beloved Son of the Father; we must seek him while he can be found and call upon him while he is at hand.

 

In Baptism every Christian personally meets him; he is inserted into the mystery of Christ's death and resurrection and receives a new life, which is the life of God. What a great gift and what a great responsibility!

 

2. The liturgy today invites us to draw water "with joy at the fountain of salvation" (Isaiah 12:3); it exhorts us to relive our Baptism, giving thanks for the great gifts received.

 

With these sentiments, I prepare to administer the sacrament of Baptism to the new-born babies, as is now a tradition, in the stupendous Sistine Chapel, where the art of great artists has depicted essential moments of our faith. There are 22 infants, who come mainly from Italy, but also from Poland and Lebanon.

 

I greet you all, dear brothers and sisters who have wished to take part in this touching celebration. With special affection, I greet you, dear parents and godparents, called to be the first witnesses of the fundamental gift of the faith for these little ones. The Lord entrusts to you, as responsible guardians, the lives that are so precious in his eyes. Devote yourselves lovingly to them so that they may grow "in wisdom, age and grace"; help them to be faithful to their vocation.

In a little while, and in their name, you will renew the promise to fight against evil and to adhere fully to Christ. May your lives always be identified by this generous pledge!

In Baptism every Christian personally meets him; he is inserted into the mystery of Christ's death and resurrection and receives a new life, which is the life of God. What a great gift and what a great responsibility!

I greet you all, dear brothers and sisters who have wished to take part in this touching celebration. With special affection, I greet you, dear parents and godparents, called to be the first witnesses of the fundamental gift of the faith for these little ones. The Lord entrusts to you, as responsible guardians, the lives that are so precious in his eyes. Devote yourselves lovingly to them so that they may grow "in wisdom, age and grace"; help them to be faithful to their vocation.

In a little while, and in their name, you will renew the promise to fight against evil and to adhere fully to Christ. May your lives always be identified by this generous pledge!

You are likewise conscious that the Lord is asking you for a new and deeper collaboration:  that is, he is entrusting you with the daily duty of accompanying them on the path of holiness. Make every effort to be holy yourselves in order to guide your children towards that high goal of Christian living. Do not forget that this training in holiness "calls for a Christian life distinguished above all in the art of prayer" (Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio ineunte, n. 32).

- Saint Pope John Paul II

3. You are likewise conscious that the Lord is asking you for a new and deeper collaboration:  that is, he is entrusting you with the daily duty of accompanying them on the path of holiness. Make every effort to be holy yourselves in order to guide your children towards that high goal of Christian living. Do not forget that this training in holiness "calls for a Christian life distinguished above all in the art of prayer" (Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio ineunte, n. 32).

 

May Mary, the Holy Mother of the Redeemer, who accepted God's plan without reservations, support you, nourishing your hope and desire to serve faithfully Christ and his Church. May our Lady help these little ones especially, so that they can fully realize the plan God has in store for each of them. May she help Christian families throughout the world to be authentic "schools of prayer" in which prayer together becomes more and more the heart and the source of every activity!

Immersion into the death and resurrection of Christ radically frees the human being from sin and death, and realizes a new birth according to the Spirit, for a life that will never end. This is the Baptism that the Risen One entrusts to the Apostles when he sends them into the whole world (cf. Matthew 28,19). This morning, according to custom, I had the joy of administering the same Baptism to some new-borns.

The Baptism of infants, so dear to the Christian tradition, makes us understand with immediate force the true nature of salvation. It is a grace, namely, the free gift of the Lord.

Indeed, God always loves us first and, with the blood of his Son, has already paid the price of our redemption.

For this reason it is good to urge Christian parents to bring their children to the Baptismal fount so that they may receive, in virtue of the faith of the Church, the great gift of divine life. Then, their parents, by their example, prayer and teaching, should be the first teachers of the faith of their children, so that the seed of new life may reach its full maturity.

- Saint Pope John Paul II

JOHN PAUL II

ANGELUS

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
Sunday, 12 January 2003

 

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

 

1. Today, the season of Christmas and of the Epiphany comes to an end with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord in the Jordan River. The Gospels agree in attesting that, when Jesus came up out of the water, the Holy Spirit rested upon him in the form of a dove, and the voice of the heavenly Father was heard coming from on high, saying, "You are my beloved Son, in you I am well pleased" (Mark 1,11).

 

Not standing out among the crowd of penitents, Jesus asked John the Baptist to be baptized, leaving the Precursor bewildered. But it is this gesture that reveals the unique character of Jesus' Messianic activity: it consists in doing the will of the Father, becoming the "victim of expiation for our sins" (I John 4:10).

 

His humble solidarity with sinners will lead him to his death on the Cross.

 

2. Immersion into the death and resurrection of Christ radically frees the human being from sin and death, and realizes a new birth according to the Spirit, for a life that will never end. This is the Baptism that the Risen One entrusts to the Apostles when he sends them into the whole world (cf. Matthew 28,19). This morning, according to custom, I had the joy of administering the same Baptism to some new-borns.

 

The Baptism of infants, so dear to the Christian tradition, makes us understand with immediate force the true nature of salvation. It is a grace, namely, the free gift of the Lord.

 

Indeed, God always loves us first and, with the blood of his Son, has already paid the price of our redemption.

 

For this reason it is good to urge Christian parents to bring their children to the Baptismal fount so that they may receive, in virtue of the faith of the Church, the great gift of divine life. Then, their parents, by their example, prayer and teaching, should be the first teachers of the faith of their children, so that the seed of new life may reach its full maturity.

 

3. Turning now to the Blessed Virgin Mary, let us pray for the twenty-two infants who received Baptism this morning. Let us also pray for their parents, their godparents, and for every Christian.

 

May the Mother of the Lord help all the baptized to reject what is contrary to the Gospel and to remain ever faithful to the promises made at the Baptismal fount.

 

 

 

MASS IN THE SISTINE CHAPEL AND BAPTISMS

HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI

Sistine Chapel
Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, 8 January 2006
    

 


Dear Parents and Godparents,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

 

What happens in Baptism? What do we hope for from Baptism? You have given a response on the threshold of this Chapel:  We hope for eternal life for our children. This is the purpose of Baptism. But how can it be obtained? How can Baptism offer eternal life? What is eternal life?

 

In simpler words, we might say:  we hope for a good life, the true life, for these children of ours; and also for happiness in a future that is still unknown. We are unable to guarantee this gift for the entire span of the unknown future, so we turn to the Lord to obtain this gift from him.

 

We can give two replies to the question, "How will this happen?". This is the first one: through Baptism each child is inserted into a gathering of friends who never abandon him in life or in death because these companions are God's family, which in itself bears the promise of eternity.

 

This group of friends, this family of God, into which the child is now admitted, will always accompany him, even on days of suffering and in life's dark nights; it will give him consolation, comfort and light.

 

This companionship, this family, will give him words of eternal life, words of light in response to the great challenges of life, and will point out to him the right path to take. This group will also offer the child consolation and comfort, and God's love when death is at hand, in the dark valley of death. It will give him friendship, it will give him life. And these totally trustworthy companions will never disappear.

 

No one of us knows what will happen on our planet, on our European Continent, in the next 50, 60 or 70 years. But we can be sure of one thing:  God's family will always be present and those who belong to this family will never be alone. They will always be able to fall back on the steadfast friendship of the One who is life.

 

And, thus, we have arrived at the second answer. This family of God, this gathering of friends is eternal, because it is communion with the One who conquered death and holds in his hand the keys of life. Belonging to this circle, to God's family, means being in communion with Christ, who is life and gives eternal love beyond death.

 

And if we can say that love and truth are sources of life, are life itself - and a life without love is not life - we can say that this companionship with the One who is truly life, with the One who is the Sacrament of life, will respond to your expectation, to your hope.

 

 

 

 

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15 February 2015