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Angelus Address: On the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

‘The Feast of the Lord’s Baptism Is a Propitious Occasion to Renew the Promises of our Baptism with Gratitude and Conviction, Committing Ourselves Daily to Live in Coherence with It’

Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave January 13, 2019, before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

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Before the Angelus:

 Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

Today, at the end of the liturgical Season of Christmas, we celebrate the feast of the Lord’s Baptism. The liturgy calls us to know Jesus more fully, whose birth we celebrated a short while ago. And, therefore, the Gospel (Cf. Luke 3:15-16.21-22) illustrates two important elements: Jesus’ relationship with the people, and Jesus’ relationship with the Father.

In the account of the Baptism, conferred on Jesus by John the Baptist in the waters of the Jordan, we see first of all the role of the people. Jesus is in the midst of the people. That’s not only the background of the scene but an essential component of the event. Before being immersed in the water, Jesus “immerses “ Himself in the crowd; He unites Himself to it assuming fully the human condition, sharing everything, except sin. In His divine holiness, full of grace and mercy, the Son of God made Himself flesh precisely to take upon Himself and to take away the sin of the world: to take on our miseries, our human condition. Therefore, today’s is also an epiphany, because by going to have Himself baptized by John, in the midst of the penitents of His people, Jesus manifests the logic and meaning of His mission. By uniting Himself to the people that ask John the Baptist for conversion, Jesus also shares with them the profound desire for interior renewal. And the Holy Spirit that descends upon Him “in bodily form, as a dove” (v. 22) is the sign that a new world begins with Jesus, a “new creation,” of which all those that receive Jesus in their life form part. To each one of us, who were reborn with Christ in Baptism, are also addressed the words of the Father: “ “Thou art my beloved Son; with thee, I am well pleased” (v. 22). This love of the Father, which all of us received on the day of our Baptism, is a flame that was kindled in our heart and requires being nourished through prayer and charity.

The second element underscored by the evangelist Luke is that, after the immersion in the people and in the waters of the Jordan, Jesus “immerses Himself in prayer, namely, in communion with the Father. The Baptism was the beginning of Jesus’ public life, of His mission in the world, as sent by the Father, to manifest His goodness and His love for men. This mission is carried out in constant and perfect union with the Father and with the Holy Spirit. To be faithful and fruitful, the mission of the Church and that of each one of us is also called to be “inserted” in that of Jesus. It’s about continually regenerating evangelization and the apostolate in prayer, to give a clear Christian witness, not according to our human plans, but according to God’s plan and style.

Dear brothers and sisters, the feast of the Lord’s Baptism is a propitious occasion to renew the promises of our Baptism with gratitude and conviction, committing ourselves to live daily in coherence with it. It is also very important — as I’ve said to you various times –, to know the date of our Baptism. I might ask: Which one of you knows the date of his/her Baptism? Not all, certainly. If some of you don’t know it, when you go home, ask your parents, grandparents aunts, and uncles, godparents, friends of the family . . . Ask: “On what date was I baptized?” And then, don’t forget it: may it be a date guarded in your heart to celebrate it every year.

May Jesus, who has saved us not by our merits but to implement the Father’s immense goodness, make us merciful towards all. May the Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy, be our guide and our model.

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

  

After the Angelus:

 Dear Brothers and Sisters!

My warm greeting goes to all of you, dear Romans and pilgrims.

I greet the professors and students of Los Santos de Maimona and of Talavera la Real, Spain; the parish groups that have come from Poland, and also the Polish Neo-Catechumens — you have come to celebrate Kiko’s birthday I’m sure! — as well as the faithful of Loreto and Vallemare, province of Rieti.

In keeping with this feast’s custom, this morning I had the joy of baptizing a good group of newborns. We pray for them and for their families. And, on this occasion, I renew to all the invitation to keep always alive and present the memory of their Baptism. The roots of our life in God are there, the roots of our eternal life, which Jesus Christ has given us with His Incarnation, Passion, Death, and Resurrection. The roots are in Baptism! And let us never forget the date of our Baptism.

The season of Christmas having ended, tomorrow we will take up again with the liturgy the journey of Ordinary Time. As Jesus after His Baptism, let us allow ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit in all that we do. However, for this, we need to invoke Him! We learn to invoke the Holy Spirit more often in our days, to be able to live ordinary things with love, and thus render them extraordinary.

Have a good Sunday. Don’t forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch and goodbye.

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

About Virginia Forrester

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