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Feast of the Baptism of the Lord 2004

Pope John Paul II's words at the Angelus
- in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"1. Today we are celebrating the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. The Gospels say that Jesus went to John the Baptist by the Jordan River, desiring to receive from him the baptism of repentance. But immediately afterwards, while Jesus was praying, "the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as a dove, and a voice came from Heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased" (Lk 3: 21).

It is the first public manifestation of Jesus' messianic identity after the adoration of the Magi. This is why the liturgy brings the Baptism of the Lord closer to the Epiphany with a leap in time of about 30 years: today we see the Child whom the Magi adored as a messianic King consecrated by the Father in the Holy Spirit.

2. The messianic "style" of Jesus is already clearly outlined in his baptism in the Jordan: He comes as the "Lamb of God" to take upon himself and take away the sins of the world (cf Jn 1: 29, 36). As such, John the Baptist points him out to the disciples (cf Jn 1: 36). We too, after celebrating at Christmas the great event of the Incarnation, are asked to keep our gaze fixed on Jesus, the human face of God and the divine face of man.

3. Mary Most Holy is a teacher of contemplation beyond compare. If, humanly, she had to suffer at seeing Jesus leave Nazareth, from his manifestation she received new light and strength for her pilgrimage of faith. The Baptism of Christ is the first mystery of light for Mary and for the whole Church. May it enlighten all Christians on their way!"

After the Angelus:

[Italian translation of greeting in Ukrainian] "Cristo è nato!
Saluto i pellegrini ucraini da Kyiv e Lviv e tutti i presenti sulla piazza San Pietro. Vi benedico di cuore nell'Anno Nuovo.
Cristo è nato!

[Italian translation of greeting in Polish] Saluto i pellegrini giunti dalla Polonia:  il complesso folcloristico Pilsko da Zywiec, le persone venute individualmente e coloro che si uniscono a noi tramite la radio e la televisione. Felice anno nuovo!

Saluto i pellegrini presenti, in particolare i fedeli provenienti dalle diocesi di Castellaneta e di Oria. A tutti auguro una buona domenica."

JPII - Sunday, 11 January 2004 - © Copyright 2004 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana