Vatican City, 12 January 2014 (VIS) – “I like to baptise children, I like it very much. … Every child who is born is a gift of joy and hope, and each child who is baptised is a prodigy of faith and a cause for celebration for the family of God”, said the Pope after appearing at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, shortly before baptising 32 children in the Sistine Chapel on the festivity of the Baptism of Jesus.
“Today's Gospel emphasises that when Jesus received baptism from John in the River Jordan, the heavens opened up for him”, explained Pope Francis. “The manifestation of the Son of God on earth marks the beginning of a great time of mercy, after sin closed the heavens, raising a barrier between human beings and their Creator. … In Christ, God gave us the guarantee of indestructible love. Since the Word was made flesh, it is possible to see the open heavens. It was possible for the shepherds of Bethlehem, for the Magi from the East, for the Baptist, for Jesus' Apostles, for St. Stephen, the first martyr... And it is also possible for each of us, if we allow ourselves to be filled with God's love, which is given to us the first time in Baptism, by means of the Holy Spirit”.
When Jesus received the baptism of penance from John the Baptist, expressing his solidarity with the penitent people – since He was without sin and therefore without the need for conversion – God the Father let His voice be heard from heaven. … Jesus received the approval of the celestial Father, Who sent Him precisely because He wished to share in our condition, in our poverty. Sharing is the true way to love. Jesus did not disassociate Himself from us, He considered us to be His brothers, and shared with us. And in this way He made us, along with Him, children of God the Father. This is the revelation and the source of true love”.
“Does it not seem to you that in our times there is the need for a supplement of fraternal sharing and love?” asked the Pope. “Does it not appear to you that we all need a supplement of charity? Not that which is limited to offering occasional help without involvement, without putting oneself on the line, but rather that charity which implies sharing, taking on the discomfort and suffering of one's brother”.
“We pray that the Holy Virgin sustain us by her intercession in our efforts to follow Christ on the way of faith and charity, the path we set out on by virtue of our Baptism”.
Following the Angelus, the Holy Father addressed parents who are preparing for the baptism of their children, joining with them in their joy, and inviting them to “rediscover the beauty of faith and return anew to the Sacraments and to the community”.