The society of our times, which often "views those who live the faith in Jesus as old-fashioned and outdated," also "shows that it has not understood anything about the relationship with God because as we move on the path of faith, we understand how Jesus exerts upon us the liberating action of God's love, which frees us from our selfishness and inwardness so that we can lead a full life in communion with God and open to others," said Benedict XVI.
On the day the Church commemorates the Baptism of Jesus in the
Jordan River, he also administered the sacrament to 20 infants, children of
Afterwards, before the Angelus, the pontiff said that being Christian
means looking at Jesus become "the new man who wants to live as the son of God,
that is the son of love, the man who faced with the evil of the world chose the
path of humility and responsibility. Instead of saving himself, he chose to
offer his life for truth and justice. Being Christian means living this way,
but this way of living entails rebirth, rebirth from above, from God and by Grace.
Baptism is this rebirth."
Speaking to 30,000 people who had gathered in Saint Peter's Square for
the Angelus, the pope noted how "this action, which marks the beginning of
Christ's public life, as indicated by all the Evangelists, follows the same
line of the Incarnation, of God's descent from the highest to the abyss of
hell. The meaning of God's downward movement can be summed up in one word,
love, the name of God."
This morning in the Sistine Chapel, as some infants cried and adults showed
their emotions during the ritual, children, the pope said, "will be united in a
profound way and forever with Jesus, immersed in the mystery of his death,
which is the source of life, to share in his resurrection, reborn to a new
Such a journey begins with the baptism. For this reason, speaking
directly to the parents, the pope noted that "by asking that your children be
baptised, you are showing and bearing witness to your faith, to the joy of
being Christian and belonging to the Church. It is the joy that comes from
knowing that you have received a great gift from God, the faith, a gift that
none of us have deserved, but which has been freely given and to which we have
responded with our 'yes'. It is the joy of recognising ourselves as children of
God, of discovering that we have been entrusted into his hands, to know that we
are welcomed into a loving embrace, in the same way that a mother supports and
embraces her child. This joy, which directs the path of every Christian, is
based on a personal relationship with Jesus, a relationship that guides the
whole of human existence. In fact, he is the meaning of our life, the One upon
Whom it is worthy to gaze, in order to be enlightened by His Truth and be able
to live life to the fullest."
The Holy Father went on to tell godmothers and godfathers of their "the
important duty of supporting and contributing to the work of parents in education,
working alongside them in the transmission of the truth of the faith and bearing
witness to the values of the Gospel, in raising children in an ever deeper
friendship with the Lord. May you always offer them your good example through
the exercise of Christian virtues."
As he ended his address, the pope said, "The water with which the
children will be marked in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy
Spirit will immerse them in the 'source' of life, which is God himself, and
which will make them his own children. And the seed of theological virtues, inspired
by God, faith, hope and charity, the seed that today is placed in their hearts
by the power of the Holy Spirit will always be nurtured by the Word of God and
the Sacraments, so that Christian virtues can grow and reach full maturity
until they make each one of us a true witness of the Lord."
Finally, following the Angelus, the pope turned his thoughts to World
Day of Migrants and Refugees, which falls today.
"In this year's message," he
said, "I compared migration flows to a 'pilgrimage of faith and hope'. Whoever leaves
his homeland is doing so hoping to find a better future, but also because he
trusts God who will leads man's steps, as he did with Abraham. Thus migrants
bear the faith and hope in the world. To each of them, I send my greetings with
a special prayer and blessing."