Pope Francis says "Let's do like Jesus: let's share, let's carry each other's burdens instead of chatting and destroying, let's look at each other with compassion, let's help...Gossip is a lethal weapon..."

St. Peter's Square
Sunday, January 8, 2023
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord and the Gospel presents us with an astonishing scene: it is the first time that Jesus appears in public after his hidden life in Nazareth; he arrives on the bank of the Jordan River to be baptized by John (Mt 3:13-17). It was a rite with which people repented and undertook to convert; a liturgical hymn says that the people went to be baptized "naked soul and bare feet" - an open, naked soul, without covering anything - that is, with humility with a transparent heart.

But, seeing Jesus mixing with sinners, one is amazed and wonders: why did Jesus make this choice? He, who is the Holy One of God, the sinless Son of God, why did he make that choice? We find the answer in the words that Jesus addresses to John: "Leave it for now, for it is better that we fulfill all righteousness" (v. 15). Fulfilling All Righteousness: What Does It Mean?
By being baptized, Jesus reveals God's justice to us, that justice that He came to bring into the world. We often have a narrow idea of justice and think that it means: whoever makes a mistake pays and thus satisfies the wrong he has done. But God's justice, as Scripture teaches, is much greater: its aim is not the condemnation of the guilty, but his salvation, his rebirth, making him just: from unjust to just. It is a justice that comes from love, from those depths of compassion and mercy which are the very heart of God, the Father who is moved when we are oppressed by evil and fall under the weight of sins and frailties. God's justice, therefore, does not want to distribute punishments and punishments but, as the Apostle Paul affirms, consists in making us his children just (see Rom 3:22-31), freeing us from the snares of evil, healing us, getting up again. The Lord is not always ready to punish us, he is with his hand extended to help us lift ourselves up. And then we understand that, on the banks of the Jordan, Jesus reveals to us the meaning of his mission: He came to fulfill divine justice, which is to save sinners; he came to take the sin of the world on his shoulders and descend into the waters of the abyss, of death, so as to recover us and not let us drown. He shows us today that God's true justice is the mercy that he saves. We are afraid to think that God is mercy, but God is mercy, because his justice is precisely the mercy that saves, it is the love that shares our human condition, comes close, in solidarity with our pain, entering into our darkness to bring back the light.
Benedict XVI affirmed that «God wanted to save us by going himself to the bottom of the abyss of death, so that every man, even those who have fallen so low as to no longer see heaven, can find the hand of God to cling to and rise from the darkness to see again the light for which he was made" (Homily, 13 January 2008).
Brothers and sisters, we are afraid to think of such merciful justice. Let's go ahead: God is mercy. His justice is merciful. Let us allow ourselves to be taken by the hand by him. We too, disciples of Jesus, are called to exercise justice in this way, in relationships with others, in the Church, in society: not with the harshness of those who judge and condemn by dividing people into good and bad, but with the mercy of those who welcome sharing the wounds and fragility of sisters and brothers, to raise them up. I would like to put it like this: not by dividing, but by sharing. Do not divide, but share. Let's do like Jesus: let's share, let's carry each other's burdens instead of chatting and destroying, let's look at each other with compassion, let's help each other. Let's ask ourselves: am I a person who divides or shares? Let's think for a bit: am I a disciple of the love of Jesus or a disciple of gossip, which divides? Gossip is a lethal weapon: it kills, it kills love, it kills society, it kills brotherhood. Let's ask ourselves: am I a person who divides or a person who shares?
And now let's pray to Our Lady, who gave birth to Jesus, immersing him in our fragility so that we could have life again.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters!
 This morning, according to custom, I baptized some newborns in the Sistine Chapel, children of employees of the Holy See and of the Vatican City State. Now, however, on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, it is my pleasure to extend my greetings and blessings to all the boys and girls who have received or will receive Baptism today or in this period. And at the same time I renew to everyone - to me first - the invitation to celebrate the date on which we were baptized, that is, on which we became Christians. I ask you: does each of you know the date of your Baptism? Surely some of you don't know it. Ask parents, relatives, godparents: what is the date of my Baptism? And then, every year, celebrate that date, because it's a new birthday, the birthday of faith. This is the work for today, for each of you it is: what is my Baptism date, so that I can celebrate it. And now I address my greetings to you, Romans and pilgrims. There are so many Poles here! In particular, I greet the "Voice of the Angels" choir from Bethlehem. Dear friends, thank you from the bottom of my heart because, together with your songs, you carry the "perfume of Bethlehem" and the testimony of the Christian community of the Holy Land. Thank you! We pray for you and we are close to you! 
And let's not forget our Ukrainian brothers and sisters! They suffer so much from the war! This Christmas in war, without light, without heat, they suffer a lot! Please don't forget them. And today, seeing Our Lady carrying the child into the Crib, breastfeeding him, I think of the mothers of the victims of war, of the soldiers who have fallen in this war in Ukraine. The Ukrainian mothers and the Russian mothers both lost their children. This is the price of war. We pray for the mothers who have lost their soldier sons, both Ukrainian and Russian. I wish everyone a good Sunday. Please don't forget to pray for me. Have a nice lunch and goodbye.