After celebrating Mass during which he baptized 34 babies in the Sistine Chapel on Sunday morning, Pope Francis greeted the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus prayer and urged them to find out the date of their own Baptism, the day in which each of them received God’s gift of the Holy Spirit.
Pope Francis has invited all Christians to mark the date of their Baptism and to celebrate it as the day when the Lord gave them the Holy Spirit to guide them in their lives.
The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
The Pope was addressing the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus immediately after having baptized 34 babies in the Sistine Chapel, an annual event that marks the feast day of Jesus’ Baptism in the River Jordan.
Reminding those present that today’s celebration of the Baptism of the Lord concludes the time of Christmas, the Pope said it invites us to think about our own Baptism.
He conceded that it is impossible to actually remember that day but he invited all believers to go home and find out that significant date in their lives because, he said, it is when the Father gave them the gift of the Spirit who “opens the eyes of the heart to truth”.
Describing Jesus’ baptism as a manifestation of His humility and availability to immerse Himself in the river of humanity, the Pope explained that along the banks of the River Jordan, God kept his promise to take charge of the fate of human beings, and Jesus is the tangible and definitive sign.
“God, he said, has taken charge of our fate” he said.
The gift of the Holy Spirit
He has done so through the Spirit, the Pope said, who is the gift the Father has given each of us on the day of our Baptism: “It is the Spirit who transmits to us the tenderness of divine forgiveness. And it is still the Holy Spirit, who causes the revealing Word of the Father to resound”.
Thus, Francis said, the Feast of Jesus’ Baptism invites every Christian to remember his or her own Baptism, because to forget it means to expose ourselves to the risk of losing our memory of what the Lord has done in us.
Thanks to our Baptism, the Pope said, not only do we become new creatures “clothed with Christ”, but we are also able “to forgive and love those who offend us and do us harm; we are able to recognize in the last and in the poor the face of the Lord who visits us and is close to us”.
The Pope concluded his address expressing his joy at having just baptized some children and invoking upon them the protection of Our Lady “helped by the example of their parents and godparents” so they may grow up as disciples of the Lord