07 Importance of receiving our Baptism - Pope Francis

posted Jan 11, 2018, 7:52 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 11, 2018, 7:53 AM ]
On Sunday, January 7, Pope Francis spoke of the importance of remembering the day of our baptism, which he said is more than just a date on the calendar, but is the moment we receive our Christian identity and are immersed in the grace and forgiveness of God.

"The feast of the Baptism of Jesus invites every Christian to remember their own baptism," the Pope said, explaining that to forget one's baptism "means exposing oneself to the risk of losing the memory of what the Lord has done for us."

In the end, we consider the day "only as a fact that happened in the past," rather than recognising it as the day on which "we became new creatures and are also capable of forgiving and loving whoever offends us and does us harm."

More than just the day that "sociologically marks the parish register," the day that we were baptised is the day that "constitutes the demanding identity card of the believer," he said.

Pope Francis spoke to pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square for his Sunday Angelus address. Prior to praying the Angelus, Pope Francis celebrated Mass in the Sistine Chapel, during which he baptised 34 babies in commemoration of the special feast day, which he does every year.

In his address, the Pope noted how the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus marks the end of the liturgical Christmas season.

Turning to the day's Gospel, he recalled how those who came to John for baptism recognised their sin and wanted to be cleansed in order to start a new life. Because of this, we understand "the great humility of Jesus," who did not have sin, but put Himself "in line with the penitents, mixed among them to be baptised in the waters of the river."

By doing this, Jesus highlighted what we celebrated at Christmas: His own availability "to immerse Himself in the river of humanity, to take upon Himself the shortcomings and weaknesses of men, to share with them the desire for freedom and of overcoming everything that distances us from God and makes us strangers to our brothers," Pope Francis said.