Saint Peter’s Square Wednesday, 8 January 2014
Dear Brothers and Sisters: Today we begin a series of catecheses on the sacraments, starting with baptism. The Second Vatican Council tells us that the Church herself is a “sacrament”, a grace-filled sign which makes Christ’s saving work present in history, through the power of the Holy Spirit. The first of the Church’s seven sacraments, baptism gives us new birth in Christ, makes us sharers in the mystery of his death and resurrection, grants the forgiveness of sin and brings us new freedom as God’s children and members of his Church. Let us not forget the great gift we have received. Our baptism has changed us, given us a new and glorious hope, and empowered us to bring God’s redeeming love to all, particularly the poor, in whom we see the face of Christ. Our baptism has also given us a share in the Church’s mission of evangelization; as disciples, we are also missionaries. As we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord this Sunday, let us ask him to renew in us the grace of our baptism and to make us, with all our brothers and sisters, true children of God and living members of his body, the Church.