.- Speaking to the tens of thousands gathered in St. Peter’s Square Sunday morning, Pope Benedict XVI reflected on the Gospel story of the healing of the blind man, Bartimaeus. Prior to praying the Angelus, the Holy Father pointed out how every Christian is like Bartimaeus in their faith journey - from blindness into illumination.
"In the essentiality of its narrative,” the Pope remarked, “this account evokes the catechumen's journey towards the Sacrament of Baptism, which in the early Church was also called ‘illumination.’”
"Faith," the Holy Father added, "is a path of illumination. It begins with the recognition of our need for salvation and arrives at the personal meeting with Christ, Who calls us to follow Him on the road of love. This is the model followed by itineraries of Christian initiation in the Church, as a preparation for the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist.”
"In places of long-standing evangelization, where the Baptism of children is widespread,” he continued, “young people and adults are presented with experiences of catechesis and spirituality enabling them to rediscover their faith with maturity and awareness, so that they can then take on a coherent commitment of witness" to that faith.
Benedict XVI praised the work of catechists and pastors in this field, highlighting how "the rediscovery of the value of their own Baptism lies at the root of all Christians' missionary commitment, because we see from the Gospel that people who let themselves be fascinated by Christ cannot but bear witness to the joy of following His footsteps."
The Pope concluded his message, recalling how the month of October is traditionally dedicated to missions. The Holy Father called on the intercession of the Virgin Mary, "that missionaries of the Gospel may proliferate," and that "all the baptized may feel themselves called to announce, with the witness of their own lives, God's love to everyone."