For the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Pope Francis has baptized 28 babies (15 baby boys and 13 baby girls) during the Mass he celebrated this morning in the Sistine Chapel. During his homily, he reminded the parents of the importance of passing on the faith to their children and the great responsibility it entails. He also acknowledged the cries which resonated in the chapel, and recognizing that some of the babies could be hungry, reminded mothers to feel free to nurse their children as they normally would do.
Below is a ZENIT translation of the Pope’s brief off-the-cuff homily:
You have asked for your children faith. The faith that will be given in baptism. Faith … that which means the life of faith, because faith is lived, walking on the road of faith and giving witness to the faith. Faith is not only reciting the Creed at Sunday Mass. It is not only this. Faith is believing what is the truth: that God, the Father, Who sent His Son and the Spirit, gives us life. But faith is trust in God, and this, you must teach to them [your babies], by your example and by your life. Faith is light: in the baptism ceremony, you will be given a candle lit, as in the early days of the Church. At that time, baptism was called “enlightenment” because faith illuminates the heart, makes one see things with another light.
Through Baptism, the Church will give faith to your children. And you have the task to make it grow, preserve it, and ensure it becomes a witness to all the others. This is the meaning of this ceremony. This is what I wanted to tell you: keep the faith, make it grow, so that it can be a witness to others.
And then, began the concert, it is because the children are in a place that they do not know, they got up earlier than usual, perhaps. When one begins one note, the other follows along … Some cry simply because another cried. Jesus did the same: I like to think that the first ‘sermon’ of Jesus in the stable was a cry, the first … And then since the ceremony is a bit long, someone cries of hunger. So to you mothers: breastfeed! Without fear, all as normal. As the Madonna nursing Jesus. Do not forget you have asked for faith. To you, [is] the task of guarding the faith, making it grow, in order that it may become a witness for all of us. For all of us, even for us priests and bishops.[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Deborah Castellano Lubov]