Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "True mission is never proselytism but attraction to Christ," through "our own witness from a strong union with Him in prayer, adoration and concrete charity, which is service to Jesus present in the least of our brothers".
On the day that the Church dedicates to the baptism of Jesus, in his Angelus reflection the Pope stressed that "this feast makes us rediscover the gift and beauty of being a nation of baptized, that is, sinners saved by the grace of Christ, who have really entered, through the Holy Spirit, in the filial relationship of Jesus, with the Father, and welcomed into the bosom of Mother Church, in such a fraternity that knows no boundaries and barriers".
"Today - his words to the 20 thousand people present in St Peter - feast of the Baptism of Jesus, the Gospel (Mt 3,13-17) presents a scene that took place at the Jordan River: amidst the penitent crowd that advances toward John the Baptist to be baptized, Jesus is there too. Giovanni would stop Him saying, “It is I who need baptism from you” (Mt 3:14). The Baptist is aware of the fact that there is great distance between him and Jesus. But Jesus came precisely to bridge the gap between man and God: if He is all on the side of God, He is also all on the side of man, and brings together what was divided. For that reason, He asks John to baptize Him, in order to fulfill every justice (cf. v. 15), that is to say to realize the plan of the Father which passes through the path of obedience and solidarity with fragile and sinful man, the way of humility and of real closeness of God to His children. Because God is so close to His children, so close!".
"The moment that John baptizes Jesus, from the waters of the Jordan River, God’s Father’s voice is heard from above: “This is my beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased” (v . 17). At the same time, the Holy Spirit, as a dove, lands on Jesus, giving launch publicly to His mission of salvation; a mission characterized by a humble and meek, servant style, that holds the power of truth, as Isaiah prophesied: “He will not cry out, nor shout, nor make his voice heard in the street. A bruised reed* he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench. He will faithfully bring forth justice.” A humble and meek servant.Here is the missionary style of the disciples of Christ: to proclaim the Gospel with gentleness and firmness, without arrogance or imposition. The real mission is never proselytism, but attracting to Christ, from the strong union with Him in prayer, adoration and concrete charity, which is service to Jesus present in the least of our brothers. In imitation of Jesus, good and merciful Shepherd, and animated by His grace, we are called to make our life a joyful witness that illuminates the path that brings hope and love. This feast makes us rediscover the gift and beauty of being a nation of baptized, that is, sinners saved by the grace of Christ, who have really entered, through the Holy Spirit, in the filial relationship of Jesus, with the Father, and welcomed into the bosom of Mother Church, in such a fraternity that knows no boundaries and barriers.” “May the Virgin Mary” – he concluded – “help all Christians to preserve an increasingly lively awareness and appreciation of our baptism and to follow faithfully the path opened by this sacrament of our rebirth. And more and humility, gentleness and firmness".
After the Marian prayer, the Pope recalled that he had baptized this morning, "I baptized several babies. Let us pray for them and for their families. And I would like to extend my prayers to all parents in this period that are preparing for baptizing their sons or daughters, or for whom, I have just done so. I invoke the Holy Spirit upon them, and on the children, so that this Sacrament, so simple and yet so important, is lived with faith and joy."
"I would also like to invite you all to join the World Network of the Pope’s Prayer Intentions, which even through social networks, spreads the prayer intentions that I propose every month to the whole Church. In this way, the apostolate of prayer continues to carry on and increases communion".