Source: Vatican Media
During Mass on the Solemnity of the Baptism of Our Lord yesterday, Pope Francis baptized 27 newborn babies, and invitds parents to transmit the faith to their children within the home.
In his homily the Holy Father reflected on the parental duty of transmitting the faith to the next generation. "You have asked the Church for faith for your children, and today they will receive the Holy Spirit and the gift of faith in each one's heart and soul. But, Pope Francis said, "this faith must be developed; it must grow."
Before children study the faith in catechism classes, he said, their parents must transmit it at home, "because the faith is always transmitted 'in dialect'," that is, the native language spoken in the environs of the home.
The Pope said parents transmit the faith through their example and words, and by teaching their children to make the Sign of the Cross.
He said the faith must be transmitted "with your faith-filled lives", so children see married love and peace within the family home. "May they see Jesus there."
Then Pope Francis gave parents a word of advice: "Never fight in front of your children," he said. "It's normal that parents should argue; the opposite would be strange. Do it, but without letting them hear or see. You have no idea the anguish it causes a child to see his or her parents fight."
He said this was a word of advice "that will help you to transmit the faith."
Finally, Pope Francis invited the parents present at the ceremony to make their children comfortable, and to breastfeed them if they were hungry.
Ahead of the Sunday Angelus prayer later on Sunday, Pope Francis urges everyone present to try to remember the date of their Baptism. If you don't know it, find out from you parents, grandparents, or godparents and celebrate the date every year, he said.
Reflecting on the readings at Mass, Pope Francis said Jesus underwent a two-fold immersion at his Baptism.
First, Jesus was immersed in the crowd. He unites himself to them, thus completely assuming the human condition, sharing everything with them, except sin."
The Pope said Jesus' Baptism in the Jordan was also an epiphany, because it took place "in the midst of the penitent people", where Jesus "manifests the logic and the sense of his mission." He said Jesus shared the people's "profound desire for interior renewal."
After being immersed in the water of the Jordan, the Pope said, Jesus was "immersed in prayer, that is, in communion with the Father."
Jesus began his mission of manifesting God's love for humanity with his Baptism. "Such a mission is accomplished through constant and perfect union with the Father and with the Holy Spirit," he said.
Pope Francis said this means "being continually regenerated in prayer, evangelization and apostolic works so as to give clear Christian witness".
Finally, the Pope said the Baptism of the Lord is an opportunity to renew our own baptismal promises, "committing ourselves to live daily in a manner consistent with it. May Jesus, who saved us not through any merit of our own but in order to demonstrate the immense goodness of the Father, make us merciful toward everyone."
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