FEAST OF THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD
CELEBRATION OF HOLY MASS AND ADMINISTRATION OF THE SACRAMENT
OF BAPTISM TO NEW-BORN BABIES
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
Sunday, 12 January 2020
Just like Jesus who went to be baptized, you too are bringing your children.
Jesus replies to John: “let all righteousness be fulfilled” (cf. Mt 3:15). To baptize a child is an act of justice towards them. Why? Because at Baptism we offer a treasure, at Baptism we offer a pledge: the Holy Spirit. Baptism endows the child with the strength of the Holy Spirit: the Spirit that will defend and assist each of them throughout life. This is why it is so important to baptize them when they are little, so that they may grow with the strength of the Holy Spirit.
This is the message that I would like to give you today. You have brought your children today [so that they may receive] the Holy Spirit within them. And make sure that they develop in the light, with the strength of the Holy Spirit through catechesis, assistance, education and your example at home.... This is the message.
I do not want to say anything more important than this. Only some advice. Children are not accustomed to come to the Sistine chapel. It is their first time! They are not used to being closed in an environment that is also a bit stifling. And they are not used to being dressed like this, for a feast day as beautiful as today. They will feel a bit uncomfortable at times. And one will start [to cry]... — the concert has yet to begin! — but one will start then another ... Do not be alarmed: let your children cry and scream. Rather, if your child cries and complains, perhaps it is because it feels too hot: remove something; or because it is hungry: breastfeed him, here, yes, always comfortably. Something I also said last year: they have a “choral” dimension: it is enough for one of them to start to “sing” and everyone follows and there will be a concert. Do not be alarmed. It is a beautiful homily when a baby cries in church. It is a beautiful homily. Make sure that they are all right and let us move forward.
Do not forget: you let the Holy Spirit enter children.
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