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Jesus was baptized in solidarity with sinners, Pope says

January 14, 2013

On Sunday, January 13—the feast of the Baptism of the Lord—Pope Benedict XVI baptized 20 children, remarking that they would be “united profoundly and for all time with Jesus, immersed in the mystery of his power.”

Following an annual Vatican tradition, the Pope performed the baptisms during a Mass in the Sistine Chapel. In his homily, he said that Jesus wanted to be baptized, although he had no need for conversion or rebirth, because “He wanted to place Himself alongside the sinners.”

“Jesus truly immersed Himself in our human condition,” the Pope said. “He demonstrates solidarity with us, with the weariness we feel in trying to convert, trying to leave aside our selfishness, trying to tear ourselves away from our sins.” Because He fully understands sinners, Jesus is moved with compassion for all humanity, the Pope said.

Speaking to the parents of the newly baptized children—who were infants recently born to Vatican employees—the Pope remarked that God welcomes as His own children. Comparing the day’s baptisms with the Lord’s entry into the waters of the Jordan, the Pope said: “The heavens have also opened over your children and God says: ‘These are my children with whom I am well pleased.’”

Later, at his midday public audience, the Pope spoke again on Christ’s Baptism, noting that it was the beginning of Christ’s public life. He said that Jesus wanted to make a gesture of penitence and conversion, as “part of the same line of the Incarnation, of God's descent from the highest heaven to the abyss of hell.”

In this Baptism at the Jordan, the Pope said, we see the Jesus who “chooses not to save himself, but instead to offer his life for truth and justice.” He encouraged the faithful to take the lesson: “Being a Christian means living this way.”


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