Pope Benedict XVI- Angelus
"We Have the Gift and Task of Living As Sons of God"
H.H. Benedict XVI
January 10, 2010
Dear brothers and sisters!
This morning, during Holy Mass celebrated in the Sistine Chapel, I
administered the sacrament of baptism to some newborn babies. This
custom is linked to the Baptism of the Lord, with which the
liturgical season of Christmas concludes.
The Baptism of the Lord suggests quite well the general sense of the
Christmas festivity in which the theme of "becoming sons of God"
thanks to the only-begotten Son's taking on of our humanity
constitutes a dominant element. He became man so that we could
become sons of God. God is born so that we could be re-born.
These concepts continually return in the liturgical texts of
Christmas and constitute a powerful motive for reflection and hope.
We think of what St. Paul writes to the Galatians: "God sent his
Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the
law, so that we might receive adoption" (Galatians 4:4-5); or again,
of St. John in the prologue to his Gospel: "To those who received
him he gave the power to become sons of God" (John 1:12). This
stupendous mystery that is our "second birth" -- the re-birth of a
human being from "above," from God (cf. John 3:1-8) -- is realized
and summarized in the sacramental sign of baptism.
With this sacrament man really becomes son -- son of God. From that
point the goal of his life consists in arriving at, in a free and
conscious way, that which from the very beginning was his
destination as man. "Become what you are" -- represents the basic
educational principle of the human person redeemed by grace. Such a
principle has many analogies with human growth, where the
relationship between parents and children passes, through separation
and crisis, from total dependence to the awareness of being
children, to recognition through the gift of life received and to
the maturity and capacity to give one's life. Born to new life
through baptism, the Christian too begins his journey of growth in
the faith, which will carry him to consciously invoke God as "Abba
-- Father," turning to him with gratitude and living in the joy of
being his son.
A model of society is also derived from baptism: that of being
brothers. Fraternity cannot be established through an ideology, much
less through the decree of just any power that has been set up. We
recognize ourselves as brothers through a humble but profound
awareness of being sons of the one heavenly Father. As Christians,
thanks to the gift of the Holy Spirit received in baptism, we have
the gift and task of living as sons of God and brothers, to be like
"leaven" in a new humanity, united and rich in peace and hope. We
are helped in this by the consciousness of having, besides a Father
in heaven, a mother too, the Church, of whom the Virgin Mary is the
perennial model. To her we entrust the newly baptized children and
their families, and we ask for all the joy to be re-born every day
"from above," from the love of God, that makes us his children and
brothers among ourselves.
[After the Angelus the Pope greeted the pilgrims in various
languages. In Italian, he said:]
Dear brothers and sisters!
Two things drew my attention in a particular way recently: the case
of migrants, who are seeking a better life in countries that need
them for various reasons, and the conflicts in various parts of the
world where Christians are the object of attacks, even violent ones.
We must start again from the heart of the problem! We must start
again from the meaning of the person! An immigrant is a human being,
different by provenance, culture and traditions, but a person to be
respected with rights and duties, especially, in the sphere of work,
where the temptation of exploitation is strongest, but also in the
concrete conditions of life.
Violence must never be the way for anyone to solve problems. The
difficulty is first of all a human one! I invite everyone to look
into the face of the other and to see that he has a soul, a story
and a life: He is a person and God loves him as he loves me.
I would like to propose similar considerations in regard to mankind
in its religious diversity. Violence toward Christians in some
countries has aroused the disdain of many, especially because it has
manifested itself in the most sacred days of the Christian
tradition. It is necessary that both political and religious
institutions -- I emphasize this -- do not neglect their
responsibility. There cannot be violence in the name of God, nor can
we think that we honor him by offending the dignity and freedom of
[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]
[In English, he said]
I greet all English-speaking visitors taking part in this Angelus
prayer. Today, on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the Church
invites us to contemplate Jesus as the Messiah, the beloved Son of
the Father, who gives us a share in the divine life through the gift
of the Holy Spirit in the waters of Baptism. May all of us be
renewed in the grace of our own Baptism and strengthened in faithful
witness to the Gospel and its promises! Upon you and your families I
invoke the Lord's blessings of joy and peace.
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