Included among those baptized by the Holy Father were primarily the new-born children of Vatican employees.
In his homily at the Mass, Pope Francis noted that Jesus Himself had no need of Baptism, but that with His Divinity, united to His human body, Jesus blessed the waters and gave them the ability to be used in Baptism. Ascending into Heaven, the Lord commanded His followers to go into the world to baptize – a command that the Church fulfils even to the current day.
The children baptized today, he said, are a link in the chain; in time, they will return to have their own children baptized. This implies a duty on the part of parents, the duty of transmitting the Faith to their children, so that they in turn can pass it along to their children.
The Holy Father concluded his homily with a special word of affection for the newly baptized children. “Today the choir sings,” he said, “but the most beautiful choir is [the choir] of children” making noise. He continued, “Some are crying, because they are uncomfortable, or because they are hungry. If they are hungry, mothers, give them something to eat... they are the central figures, the protagonists [of this celebration].” It was with this “awareness of being the transmitters of faith” that Pope Francis continued on to the ceremony of Baptism.
Below, please find Vatican Radio's translation of the complete text of Pope Francis’ homily at the Solemn Mass for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord:
Jesus did not need to be baptized, but the first theologians say that, with His body, with His divinity, in the Baptism He blessed all the waters, so that water would have the power to give baptism. And then, before ascending to Heaven, Jesus told us to go into all the world to baptize. And from that day until the present day, this has been an unbroken chain: they baptized their children, and their children [baptized] their children, and their children [and so on]... And even today this chain continues.
These children are a link in a chain. You parents have the baby boy or girl to be baptized, but in a few years it will be they who will have a baby to be baptized, or a grandchild... And so goes the chain of faith! What does this mean? I would just tell you this: you are the ones that transmit the faith, the transmitters, you have a duty to pass on the faith to these children. It 's the most beautiful legacy that you leave to them: the faith! Only this. Today, take this thought home with you. We must be transmitters of the faith. Think about this, always think of how to transmit the faith to the children.
Today the choir is singing; but the most beautiful choir that of the children, who are making noise... Some cry because they are not comfortable, or because they are hungry: if they are hungry, moms, give them something to eat, calmly, because they are the central figures, the protagonists [of this celebration]. And now, with this awareness of being transmitters of the faith, let us continue the ceremony of Baptism.