FEAST OF THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD:
"YES" TO A CULTURE OF LIFE AND THE MEANING OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS.
VATICAN CITY, JAN 8, 2006 (VIS) - Today, Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, upholding a custom of his predecessor and for the first time in his own pontificate, Benedict XVI administered the sacrament of Baptism to ten newborn infants. The ceremony took place in the Sistine Chapel.
The Pope delivered an off-the-cuff homily in which he addressed the parents and godparents of the newly-baptized children - five boys and five girls, all Italian - pointing out that, in receiving the Sacrament, the infants "are introduced to a company of friends that will never abandon them, in life or in death. This company of friends is the family of God which carries within itself the promise of eternity."
The Holy Father stressed that "remaining true to Baptism in the context of the modern world means saying 'yes' to Christ and to life, and 'no' to evil and death. We can say that also in our own time it is necessary to say 'no' to a culture largely dominated by death; an anti-culture which shows itself, for example, in drugs, in escape from reality, in illusion, and in the false happiness that is expressed in lies, fraud, injustice, and contempt for others, for solidarity, and for responsibility towards the poor and the suffering."
This culture of death, he added, "is expressed in a sexuality which becomes pure enjoyment without responsibility, which makes man a mere object, no longer a person but a commodity."
"To this seeming promise of happiness, to this apparent life which in reality is no more than an instrument of death, to this anti-culture, we say 'no' in order to cultivate the culture of life. Baptism today is a great 'yes' to life, a 'yes' to Christ, a 'yes' to the One Who conquered death."
Benedict XVI affirmed that the 'yes' to the culture of life is expressed in the Ten Commandments. They "are not prohibitions but a vision of life" he said, adding that they are a "yes" to God Who gives meaning to life. "'Yes' to the family, the fourth commandment; 'yes' to life, the fifth commandment; 'yes' to responsible love, the sixth commandment; 'yes' to solidarity, social responsibility and justice, the seventh commandment; 'yes' to truth, the eighth commandment; 'yes' to respect for others and for what belongs to them, ninth and tenth commandments. This is the philosophy and the culture of life that take concrete and practical form in communion with Christ."
HML/BAPTISM/SISTINE CHAPEL VIS 060109 (430)