Pope Benedict XVI addressed thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square during his Sunday Angelus address. The Holy Father contemplated on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord which concludes the liturgical season of Christmas.
Reiterating the words he spoke during his homily that same day, the Pope contemplated on the mystery of Christ’s baptism. “But why did Jesus, who had not the shadow of sin, go to be baptized by the prophet John? Why did he want to undertake this gesture of penitence and conversion together with so many others who wanted to prepare for the coming of the Messiah?” the Holy Father asked.
“This gesture that marks the beginning of Christ’s public life, as all the evangelists testify, is part of the same line of the Incarnation, of God’s descent from the highest heaven to the abyss of hell. The meaning of this divine abasement is summed up in a single word: love, which is the very name of God.”
Pope Benedict said that through the baptism in the Jordan, Christ faced the evil of this world not by saving himself but by offering his life for humanity. “Being a Christian means living this way, but this way of life bears with it a rebirth: being reborn from above, from God, from Grace. This rebirth is the Baptism that Christ gave the Church to renew persons to new life,” the Holy Father said.
Recalling the baptism of several children earlier in the day, the Pope extended his blessing to all newborns while inviting all faithful to be reminded of their own baptism. “May every Christians, in this Year of Faith, discover anew the beauty of being reborn from above, from the love of God, and live as a true child of God,” the Pope said.
After the recitation of the Angelus, Pope Benedict marked the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, regarding immigration as a “pilgrimage of faith and hope.”
“Those who leave their lands do so because they hope for a better future, but also because they trust in God who guides the steps of the human being, as He did with Abraham. In this way, immigrants are bearers of faith and hope to the world. Today I greet each one of them with a special prayer and blessing,” the Holy Father said.
The Holy Father concluded his address, urging to faithful to be “near to those who suffer and who have no voice of their own to make themselves heard.”