Continuing his catechesis on the Sacrament of Baptism, Pope Francis reminded the faithful that our Baptism calls us to become “missionary disciples” within the Church.
Beginning his address, the Holy Father reiterated his imagery of Baptism as an unbroken chain in the transmission of faith. Each baptized Christian, he said, is a link in that chain.
“Such is the grace of God and so is our faith, that we should transmit to our children, because they, as adults, can transmit it to their children,” the Pope said. “Baptism makes us enter into this People of God that transmits the faith. This is very important. A People of God that walks and transmits faith.”
The Pope drew on his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, saying that through our Baptism, we are called to be “agents of evangelization.” As such, “the new evangelization calls for the personal involvement” of all who are baptized. Through this calling, the People of God are both disciples and missionaries.
“All of us in the Church are disciples, and we are so always, for our whole life; and we are all missionaries, each one in the place the Lord has assigned to him,” he said.
“But some of you may say: ‘The Bishops are not disciples, the Bishops know everything; the Pope knows everything, he is not a disciple.’ No, even the Bishops and the Pope need to be disciples, because if they are not disciples they are not doing good, they cannot be missionary, they cannot transmit the faith. All of us are disciples and missionaries.”
The Holy Father went on to explain the mystical and missionary dimension of the Christian vocation which are rooted in Baptism. As a community of believers, we are called to share the experience of the love of God to others. “No one,” the Pope said, “is saved on their own.”
“The communal dimension is not just a ‘frame,’ a ‘garnish,’ but an integral part of Christian life, of witness and of evangelization. Christian faith is born and lives in the Church and, in Baptism, families and parishes celebrate the incorporation of a new member of Christ in His Body which is the Church.”
Concluding his catechesis, Pope Francis noted the example of the 17th century Christian community of Japan, who despite suffering enormous persecution, endured in their faith. The Holy Father said the grace of their Baptism allowed them to survive.
“This is great: the People of God transmits faith, baptized their children and goes forward. And they maintained, though in secret, a strong community spirit, because Baptism made them become one body in Christ: they were isolated and hidden, but always members of the People of God, members of the Church. We can learn so much from this story!” the Pope exclaimed. (J.A.E.)