Vatican City, Jan 25, 2018 / 10:51 am
At an ecumenical Vespers service Thursday, Pope Francis told members of several Christian communities that the grace of Baptism creates a unity in the family of God.
Even when differences separate us, we can recognize that we have the same Baptism, and we belong “to the same family of brothers and sisters loved by the one Father,” the Pope said Jan. 25.
“This is our experience as believers. As we grow in spiritual life, we increasingly understand that grace reaches us together with others and is to be shared with others. So, when I raise my thanksgiving to God for what he has done in me, I find I do not sing alone, because other brothers and sisters have my same song of praise.”
Francis spoke during a Vespers service in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls to mark both the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul and the close of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which this year focused on the theme: “Powerful is your hand, Lord.”
In his homily, the Pope reflected on our common Baptism using imagery from the story of the rescue of the baby Moses from the river by Pharaoh’s daughter.
This story is seen as a prefigurement of the rescue of the Israelites, God’s chosen people, he said, who were rescued from the Egyptians when Moses led them through the parted Red Sea unharmed, the waters then pouring down on their enemies.
“Many ancient Fathers understood this liberating passage as an image of Baptism,” Francis explained. “It is our sins that have been drowned by God in the living waters of Baptism.”
“Much more than Egypt, sin threatened to make us slaves forever, but the power of divine love overwhelmed it.” He also said that St. Augustine interpreted the Red Sea as an anticipatory sign of the blood of “Christ crucified, source of salvation.”