Addressing over 500 catechumens on Saturday, Pope Francis called on them to follow their path towards Baptism with joy.
The Holy Father celebrated the Rite of Admission to the catechumenate in St. Peter’s Basilica, which was preceded by the experience of several catechumens alongside their catechists. The catechumens came from 47 countries spread out through five continents.
Before presenting them with a Book of the Gospel during the liturgy, the Holy Father addressed them and the faithful present. Noting the diversity of the catechumens from all over the world, the Pope said that they shared one thing in common: “the wish for God.”
“How important it is to keep this wish alive!” he said. “If it lacks the thirst for the living God, faith risks becoming a habit, it risks being extinguished, like a flame that is not revived. It risks becoming ‘rancid’, without meaning”.
Commenting on the Gospel reading, which recalls John the Baptist’s acknowledgement of Jesus as the Lamb of God, the Holy Father said that moments in the narrative mirror that of the experience of the Catechumenate.
“First of all, there is listening. The two disciples listen to the testimony of the Baptist,” he said. “You too, dear catechumens, have listened to those who have spoken to you about Jesus, and have proposed to you to follow him.”
Encountering Christ was the second experience that the Pontiff explained was similar to the Catechumenate, an experience that brings one to transmit joy to others.
“This scene reminds us that God has not created us to remain alone, closed up in ourselves, but rather to be able encounter Him and to open ourselves to the encounter with others,” the Pope said. The Holy Father went on to say that God never tires of awaiting us and is “not hasty to leave us.”
“Just as we long for Him and yearn for Him, He too wishes to be with us, because we belong to Him; we are His creatures”.
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis said that the final experience is that of walking the path of Faith, a path that ends with “the definitive encounter” with God.
“Certainly, in some moments along the path we will feel tired and confused. However, faith gives us the certainty of the constant presence of Jesus in all situations, even the most painful and difficult to understand,” he concluded.