Vatican City, Jan 12, 2014 / 11:29 am
During his homily at Sunday Mass, Pope Francis reminded parents who had brought their infants to be baptized of their duty to pass on the faith to their children.
"Today, carry this thought home with you. We must be transmitters of the faith. Think of this, think always of how to hand on the faith to (your) children," he told the families who were gathered for Mass in the Sistine Chapel.
"These children are links in a chain," he said of the 32 infants brought for baptism. "You parents have a baby son or daughter to be baptized, but in several years, it will be they that have a baby to baptize, or a grandchild and so, the chain of faith!"
This chain of faith began with Christ, whose baptism the Church celebrates today. Although "Jesus did not need to be baptized," because he was without sin, "with his body, with his divinity, he blessed all waters," explained the Pope.
"And then, before going up to heaven, Jesus told us to go out to all the world and baptize. And from that day until today, this is an uninterrupted chain: they were baptizing children, and then the children (baptized) their children, and their children and today this chain carries on."
Parents, above all, have the task of raising children in the faith in which they were baptized, noted the Pope. The faith then becomes the greatest gift a child is given.
"Above all, I want to tell you this: you are the persons who hand on the faith, the transmitters; you have the duty to pass on the faith to these babies. It is the most beautiful inheritance that you can give them: the faith!" he exclaimed.
As the congregation stood surrounded by the beauty of Michelangelo's famous paintings, Pope Francis offered a practical reflection for the parents: "today the choir sings, but the more beautiful choir is that of the children, who make noise."
"Some will cry, because they are not comfortable, or because they are hungry," he continued.
"If they are hungry, mothers, give them something to eat - don't worry, because they are the main people (here)," he assured them.
Following his homily, the Pope celebrated the rite of baptism for all 32 babies and continued the Mass.