Pope: All Christians are called to be missionaries, including Bishops and the Pope!
Mornings in Rome are quite chilly in the winter, but even so, about 35,000 people came to see Pope Francis. Despite the cold weather, families brought their children so they could get a glimpse of the Pope. As usual, he made sure the kids were warm, and he even tried to comfort a little girl, who wasn’t too happy.
During his catechesis, he focused on Baptism. He said whoever receives the Sacrament is called to be a missionary and disciple at all stages in life- and that includes even bishops and the Pope himself.
“It’s for everyone: The youngest person is considered a missionary as is the oldest one. Some of you may ask, ‘But Father, bishops aren’t missionaries, they know everything and so does the Pope, they aren’t disciples.’ Well yes they are. Even Bishops and the Pope should be disciples, because if they’re not, they’re not doing good. If they are not missionaries, they are not transmitting the faith.”
He explained that being Baptized is more than just a ceremony. It’s a moment that marks one’s journey as a member of the ‘Body of Christ.’ To be saved, he explained, one needs God.
“No one is saved alone. We are a community of believers. We are the People of God and in this community, we experience the beauty of sharing a love that precedes all of us. But at the same time, we’re called to channel this grace for one another, despite our limitations and our sins.”
As an example of why it’s important to receive the Sacrament of Baptism, he shared the story of Japanese Catholics who were persecuted in the 17th century.
“Two and a half centuries later, so 250 years later, missionaries went back to Japan. Thousands of Christians had stopped hiding and the Church was renewed. They survived through the grace of Baptism.”
Just as he mentioned when he Baptized a group of newborns in the Sistine Chapel, he said, faith is the most powerful inheritance parents can give. Like an unbreakable chain, every generation, he said, represents a ring in Christianity.