Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Today's celebration of the Baptism of the Lord concludes the time of Christmas and invites us to think about our baptism. Jesus wanted to receive the baptism preached and administered by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. It was a baptism of penitence: those who approached expressed the desire to be cleansed of their sins and, with God's help, they committed themselves to beginning a new life.
We then understand the great humility of Jesus, the One who had not sinned, in lining up with the penitents, mingled among them to be baptized in the waters of the river. In doing so, He manifested what we celebrated at Christmas: the availability of Jesus to immerse Himself in the river of humanity, to take upon Himself the shortcomings and weaknesses of humanity, to share our desire to be free and to overcome everything that separates us from God and makes us strangers to our brothers and sisters. Just like in Bethlehem, along the banks of the River Jordan, God keeps his promise to take charge of the fate of human beings, and Jesus is the tangible and definitive sign.
Today's Gospel stresses that Jesus, "emerging from the water, saw the heavens open and the Spirit descend upon Him like a dove". The Holy Spirit, who had worked since the beginning of creation and had guided Moses and the people in the desert, now fully descends on Jesus to give Him the strength to fulfill His mission in the world. The Spirit is the creator of the baptism of Jesus and also of our baptism. It is the Spirit who opens the eyes of the heart to the truth, the whole truth. It is the Spirit who drives our lives along the path of charity. It is the Spirit 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: "You are my beloved Son: in you I am well pleased". At the very moment when the Son expresses His solidarity with sinners, the voice of the Father is heard, confirming His identity and mission.
The Feast of Jesus’ Baptism invites every Christian to remember his or her own baptism. To forget our baptism means to expose ourselves to the risk of losing our memory of what the Lord has done in us. We risk ending up considering it only as something that happened in the past, and not the Sacrament in which we became new creatures and were clothed with Christ, made part of the relationship of Jesus with God the Father. Thanks to Baptism, 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. In short, more than a sociological moment that inscribes our name in the parish register, the day of our baptism constitutes a commitment and the identity card of the believer.
Let us invoke the maternal protection of Mary Most Holy, so that all Christians may increasingly understand the gift of Baptism and commit themselves to live it consistently, bearing witness to the love of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Pope Francis’ remarks after the Angelus
Following the Angelus Prayer, Pope Francis greeted pilgrims and visitors present in St Peter’s Square.
Dear brothers and sisters,
I greet all of you, the faithful of Rome and pilgrims from Italy and from different countries. I greet in particular the faithful from South Korea and those from Biella.
Again this year, on today's feast of the Baptism of Jesus, I had the joy of baptizing some children. On them, and on all the children who have recently been baptized, I invoke the maternal protection of the Mother of God, because, helped by the example of their parents and godparents they may grow up as disciples of the Lord.
I wish everyone a pleasant Sunday and a good journey in the year that has just begun, thanks to the light that Jesus gave us at Christmas. Please do not forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch and goodbye!