Vatican City, 20 January 2016 (VIS) – In this morning’s general audience, held in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father dedicated his catechesis to the Week of Prayer for Christian unity, taking place this year from 18 to 25 January, on the theme “Called to proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord”. “The first letter of St. Paul is addressed to the first generation of Christians to make them aware of the gift received in Baptism, and the demands that this involves”, said the Pope. “We too, in this Week of Prayer, are invited to rediscover all this, and to do so together, overcoming our divisions. Sharing Baptism means that we are all sinners and that we all need to be saved, redeemed, liberated from evil.”
“When we as Christians decide to share one Baptism, we affirm that we all – Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox – share the experience of being called from the unforgiving and alienating darkness, towards the encounter with the living God, full of mercy. We all, unfortunately, experience selfishness, which generates division, closed-mindedness, contempt. Starting over from Baptism means rediscovering the source of mercy, the source of hope for all, because no-one is excluded from God’s mercy”.
“Sharing this grace creates an indissoluble bond between the Baptized: by virtue of our Baptism we can consider ourselves brothers”, he continued. “We are truly the holy people of God, even though, as a result of our sins, we are not yet a fully united people. God’s mercy, that works in Baptism, is stronger than our divisions. To the extent that we welcome the grace of mercy, we become ever more fully the people of God, and we also become capable of proclaiming all His wonderful works, starting from a simple and fraternal witness of unity”.
“By the grace of Baptism”, he concluded, “we have obtained God’s mercy and we have been welcomed into His people. We all – Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants – form a royal priesthood and a holy nation. This means that we have a common mission, which is that of transmitting the mercy we have received to others, starting from the poorest and the abandoned”. Pope Francis concluded by urging all Disciples of Christ to “find a way to collaborate together to take the mercy of the Father to every part of the world”.