At the Angelus, the Pope once again reminded “Ukrainian and Russian mothers” that they are paying the price of the conflict. In the Sistine Chapel he administered the sacrament to 13 children. The pontiff recommended that parents and godparents be taught to pray from an early age and to remember the date of their baptism each year.
Vatican City () – “When I see the Virgin with the Child in her arms in the manger, nursing him, I think of the mothers of war victims, Ukrainian and Russian women who have lost their sons to soldiers: that is the price of war”, Pope Francis said today at the end of the Angelus, on the feast of the Baptism of Jesus. And he once again invited the faithful not to forget “all the Ukrainian brothers who suffer so much for this Christmas at war, without light, without a home.”
The Pope’s journey began in the Sistine Chapel administering baptism to 13 children, children of employees of the Holy See. In the brief homily that he spontaneously addressed to his parents, the pontiff told them that this day “is like a birthday, because Baptism makes us reborn to Christian life. That is why I advise you to teach your children the date of their Baptism, as a new birthday; that every year they remember and give thanks to God for this grace of being Christians”. Invitation that he later also extended to all the faithful at the Angelus.
He then recalled the task that corresponds to parents and godparents to accompany them on the path that began with Baptism and invited them to teach them to pray “because prayer is what will give them strength throughout life: in good times, give thank God, and in bad times, to ask for strength”. Pray above all to the Virgin: “It is said that when someone is angry with the Lord, or has moved away from her, the Virgin is always close to her to open the way for her to return,” he added.
At noon, before praying the Angelus in Saint Peter’s Square, he invited them to reflect on why Jesus mixes with sinners when he goes to the place where John the Baptist is to receive baptism. “On the banks of the Jordan”, he commented, “Jesus reveals to us the meaning of his mission: He came to fulfill divine justice, which is to save sinners; he came to carry the sin of the world on his shoulders and to descend into the waters of the abyss, of death, to rescue us and not let us drown. He shows us that the true justice of God is the mercy that he saves, the love that shares our human condition, that becomes close, in solidarity with our pain, that enters our darkness to give us back the light.
That is why he invited us to adopt the attitude of Jesus: “Do not divide, but share. Let’s do like Jesus: let’s share, let’s carry each other’s burdens, let’s look at each other with compassion, let’s help each other. Let’s ask ourselves: am I a person who divides or what do you share?