Vatican City (AsiaNews) - At the last Angelus of the Christmas liturgical season, the pope recalled the mystery of today's feast, that of the baptism of Jesus, "his first public manifestation, after about thirty years of hidden life in Nazareth". The profound meaning of this act, the pope said, "would emerge only at the end of Christ's earthly life, in his death and resurrection".
Before thousands of pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter's Square under a driving rain, the pope explained: "In being baptised by John together with sinners, Jesus began to take upon himself the weight of the sins of all humanity, as the Lamb of God who 'takes away' the sin of the world (cf. John 1:29). He brought this work to fulfilment on the cross, when he also received his 'baptism' (cf. Luke 12:50). By dying, in fact, he 'immersed' himself in the love of the Father, and poured forth the Holy Spirit, so that those who believe in Him might be reborn in that inexhaustible fountain of new and eternal life. The entire mission of Christ is summed up in this: to baptise us in the Holy Spirit, to free us from slavery to sin and 'open heaven to us', meaning access to true and full life, which will be 'a plunging ever anew into the vastness of being, in which we are simply overwhelmed with joy' (Spe Salvi, 12)".
After the Marian prayer, Benedict XVI recalled that the World Day of Migrants and Refugees is also celebrated today, which this year is focused upon young migrants. "Many young people", the pope said, "are for various reasons driven to live far away from their families and their countries. Young women and minors are particularly at risk. Some children and adolescents are born and raised in 'refugee camps': they too have a right to a future! I express my appreciation for those who work on behalf of young migrants and their families, and for their integration into work and schooling; I invite the ecclesial communities to extend a warm welcome to these young people and their parents, seeking to understand their lives and to foster their integration. Dear young migrants! Dedicate yourselves to building together with your peers a more just and fraternal society, fulfilling your duties, respecting the laws, and not letting yourselves be carried away by violence. I entrust you all to Mary, Mother of all humanity".