Baptism

Pope Francis        09.04.13   Holy Mass  Santa Marta     Acts 4: 32-37,     John 3: 7-15

We asked the Lord to show the world the fullness of new life. After Jesus’ Resurrection a new life begins: as Jesus told Nicodemus, who, a little earlier had answered Jesus: ‘but how can a man be born again, return to his mother’s womb and be born anew?’. Jesus was speaking of another dimension: ‘to be born from on high’, to be born of the Spirit . It is the new life we received in Baptism but which we must develop.

We must do our utmost to ensure that this life develops into new life. And what will this new life be like? It is not that we say today: ‘Yes, I was born today, that’s that, I am starting again’. It is a journey, an arduous journey we must toil to achieve. Yet it does not only depend on us: it depends mainly on the Spirit and we must open ourselves to the Spirit so that he creates this new life within us.

In the First Reading, we have as it were a foretaste, a preview of what ‘new life’ will and should be like. The multitude of those who had become believers were of one heart and one soul: that unity, unanimity and harmony of feelings of
love, mutual love, thinking “others are better than me”, and this is lovely isn’t it?

But this does not happen automatically after Baptism. It must be brought about within us, “on the journey through life by the Spirit”. “This
gentleness is a somewhat forgotten virtue: being gentle, making room for others. There are so many enemies of gentleness, aren’t there? Starting with gossip. When people prefer to tell tales, to gossip about others, to give others a few blows. These are daily events that happen to everyone, and to me too. They are temptations of the Evil One, who does not want the Spirit to create this gentleness, in Christian communities. In the parish the ladies of catechesis quarrel with the ladies of Caritas. These conflicts always exist, in the family, in the neighbourhood, even among friends. And this is not new life. When the Spirit causes us to be born to new life, he makes us gentle and kind, not judgmental: the only Judge is the Lord. The proposal to be silent fits in here. “If I have something to say, let me say it to the individual, not to the entire neighbourhood; only to the one who can remedy the situation”.

This, is only one step. If, with the grace of the Spirit, we succeed in never gossiping, it will be a great and beautiful step ahead and will do everyone good. Let us ask the Lord to show us and the world the beauty and fullness of this new life, of being born of the Spirit, of treating each other with
kindness, with respect. Let us ask for this grace for us all.
  


Pope Francis  10.04.13  General Audience St Peter's Square  Catechesis on the Creed

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good Morning!

In our previous Catechesis, we reflected on the event of the
Resurrection of Jesus, in which the women played a special role. Today I would like to reflect on its saving capacity. What does the Resurrection mean for our life? And why is our faith in vain without it?

Our faith is founded on Christ’s death and Resurrection, just as a house stands on its foundations: if they give way, the whole house collapses. Jesus gave himself on the Cross, taking the burden of our sins upon himself and descending into the abyss of death, then in the Resurrection he triumphed over them, took them away and opened before us the path to
rebirth and to a new life.

St Peter summed this up at the beginning of his First Letter, as we heard: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading” (1:3-4).

The Apostle tells us that with the Resurrection of Jesus something absolutely new happens: we are set free from the slavery of sin and become children of God; that is, we are born to new life. When is this accomplished for us? In the sacrament of
Baptism. In ancient times, it was customarily received through immersion. The person who was to be baptized walked down into the great basin of the Baptistery, stepping out of his clothes, and the Bishop or Priest poured water on his head three times, baptizing him in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Then the baptized person emerged from the basin and put on a new robe, the white one; in other words, by immersing himself in the death and Resurrection of Christ he was born to new life. He had become a son of God. In his Letter to the Romans St Paul wrote: “you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry ‘Abba! Father! it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom 8:15-16).

It is the Spirit himself whom we received in Baptism who teaches us, who spurs us to say to God: “Father” or, rather, “Abba!”, which means “papa” or [“dad”]. Our God is like this: he is a dad to us. The Holy Spirit creates within us this new condition as children of God. And this is the greatest gift we have received from the Paschal Mystery of Jesus. Moreover God treats us as children, he understands us, he forgives us, he embraces us, he loves us even when we err. In the Old Testament, the Prophet Isaiah was already affirming that even if a mother could forget her child, God never forgets us at any moment (cf. 49:15). And this is beautiful!

Yet this filial relationship with God is not like a treasure that we keep in a corner of our life but must be increased. It must be nourished every day with listening to the word of God, with prayer, with participation in the sacraments, especially Reconciliation and the Eucharist, and with love. We can live as children! And this is our dignity — we have the dignity of children. We should behave as true children! This means that every day we must let Christ transform us and conform us to him; it means striving to live as Christians, endeavouring to follow him in spite of seeing our limitations and weaknesses. The temptation to set God aside in order to put ourselves at the centre is always at the door, and the experience of sin injures our Christian life, our being children of God. For this reason we must have the courage of faith not to allow ourselves to be guided by the mentality that tells us: “God is not necessary, he is not important for you”, and so forth. It is exactly the opposite: only by behaving as children of God, without despairing at our shortcomings, at our sins, only by feeling loved by him will our life be new, enlivened by serenity and joy. God is our strength! God is our hope!

Dear brothers and sisters, we must be the first to have this steadfast hope and we must be a visible, clear and radiant sign of it for everyone. The Risen Lord is the hope that never fails, that never disappoints (cf. Rom 5:5). Hope does not let us down — the hope of the Lord! How often in our life do hopes vanish, how often do the expectations we have in our heart come to nothing! Our hope as Christians is strong, safe and sound on this earth, where God has called us to walk, and it is open to eternity because it is founded on God who is always faithful. We must not forget: God is always faithful to us. Being raised with Christ through Baptism, with the gift of faith, an inheritance that is incorruptible, prompts us to seek God’s things more often, to think of him more often and to pray to him more.

Being Christian is not just obeying orders but means being in Christ, thinking like him, acting like him, loving like him; it means letting him take possession of our life and change it, transform it and free it from the darkness of evil and sin.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us point out the Risen Christ to those who ask us to account for the hope that is in us (cf. 1 Pet 3:15). Let us point him out with the proclamation of the word, but above all with our lives as people who have been raised. Let us show the joy of being children of God, the freedom that living in Christ gives us which is true freedom, the freedom that saves us from the slavery of evil, of sin and of death! Looking at the heavenly homeland, we shall receive new light and fresh strength, both in our commitment and in our daily efforts.

This is a precious service that we must give to this world of ours which all too often no longer succeeds in raising its gaze on high, no longer succeeds in raising its gaze to God.


Pope Francis      13.01.19       Holy Mass Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord Sistine Chapel      Luke 3: 15-16, 21,22
https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-01/pope-francis-baptism-of-lord-mass-transmit-faith.html

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 this faith must be developed; it must grow.

Before children study the faith in catechism classes, 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.

Parents transmit the faith through their example and words, and by teaching their children to make the Sign of the Cross.
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.

Never fight in front of your children. 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.

Allow me this advice that will help you to transmit the faith.