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Pope reflects on Christ’s baptism and the mission of the baptized

January 09, 2017

In his January 8 Angelus address, Pope Francis reflected on the significance of Christ’s baptism by St. John the Baptist.

“Jesus came precisely to close the distance between man and God: if He is all on the side of God, He is also all on the side of man, and He unites that which is divided,” the Pope told the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square. “Therefore He asks John to baptize Him, in order to fulfill every justice, that is, to realize the Father’s plan, which passes along the path of obedience and solidarity with fragile and sinful man, the way of humility and full closeness to God and His children.”

Jesus’ mission is “characterized by a style, the style of the humble and meek servant, armed only with the strength of truth,” Pope Francis continued. “This is the style of Jesus, and also the missionary style of Christ’s disciples: announcing the Gospel with gentleness and firmness, without arrogance or imposition.”

The Pope added:

The real mission is never proselytism, but attraction to Christ, from the strong union with Him in prayer, adoration and concrete charity, which is service to Jesus in the least of our brothers. In imitation of Jesus, good and merciful Shepherd, and inspired by His grace, we are called to make our life a joyful witness that illuminates the path that brings hope and love.


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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Jan. 10, 2017 12:47 AM ET USA

    "Armed only with the strength of truth." Given that the strength of truth includes the strength of reason, to imitate Christ is to not only do mighty deeds, but to say mighty words. We are not to "close in on ourselves" out of fear of being perceived as arrogant or imposing, but we are to announce the Gospel with boldness, clarity, and enthusiasm; proclaiming it in deed and in word. Pope Francis says we are to shun the bureaucratic manner; but surely we are not to shun the discursive way.