(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday baptized 26 baby girls and boys during Mass in the Sistine Chapel marking the feast day of Jesus’ baptism in the River Jordan.
In a short and off-the-cuff homily the Pope said through baptism, our faith is handed on from one generation to the next, throughout the course of history. To the parents of the 13 girls and 13 boys, he said they must never forget that faith is the greatest heritage they can give to their children. Amid the sounds of some of the babies crying, Pope Francis told the mothers to feel free to feed their children whenever they are hungry.
In his Angelus address, following the Mass, the Pope recalled the Gospel accounts of the Baptism of Jesus, during which the Holy Spirit is seen descending like a dove and a voice is heard from heaven saying “You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”. In this way, the Pope said, Jesus is revealed by God as our saving Messiah.
Through this event, which is found in all four Gospel accounts, he said, the Holy Spirit frees us from the darkness of original sin and restores to the baptized person the beauty of divine grace. This extraordinary dignity of Baptism, through which we are called to be children of God, the Pope said, also brings with it the responsibility of following Jesus and imitating his obedience, humility and tenderness. Not an easy thing to do, Pope Francis noted, especially when we are surrounded by intolerance, pride and hardness of heart, but through the Holy Spirit all things are possible.
On this feast of Jesus’ Baptism, the Pope said, let us remember our own baptism and reaffirm our commitment to live as Christians and members of the Church in which all our brothers and sisters. We are only baptized once, he said, but we are called to witness to that new life every day of our lives, sharing the light of Christ, especially with those living in darkness or inhuman conditions.
Finally Pope Francis had a special blessing for all those children who have been recently baptized, as well as adults and young people who are preparing or have recently received the Sacraments of Christian Initiation.