Sunday, December 31, 2006

Final Angelus of 2006

Dear brothers and sisters!

On this last Sunday of the year, we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family of Nazareth. I greet with joy all the families of the world, and wish them the peace and love that Jesus has given us in coming to us at Christmas. We do not find any discourse on the family in the Gospel, but rather an event that is worth more than any words: God chose to be born into and grow in a human family. He thus consecrated the family as His way, a normal way, of coming to humanity.

In the life He lived in Nazareth, Jesus honored the Virgin Mary and the just Joseph, remaining under their parental authority through his childhood and adolescence (cfr Lk 2,51-52). In this manner, He brings to light the primary value of the family in educating a person. Mary and Joseph introduced Jesus to the religious community, attending the synagogue in Nazareth. With them, He learned to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, as the Gospel recounts in the passage offered to us today for our meditation.

When He was twelve years old, He stayed behind in the Temple, and His parents spent three days looking for Him. But with that action, He made them understand that He needed to concern Himself with "the affairs of His Father", namely, the mission given Him by God (cfr Lk 2,41-52). This episode reveals the most authentic and profound vocation of the family: to accompany every member along the road to find God and the plan that He has for each of us. Mary and Joseph educated Jesus, above all, through their example. From His parents, He learned all about the beauty of faith, of love for God and His Law, as well as the demands of justice which find fulfillment in love (cfr Rom 13,10).

From them He learned that, in the first place, one must follow the will of God, and that spiritual bonds are more important than those of blood. The Holy Family of Nazareth is truly the prototype of every Christian family, where the parents, united in the sacrament of matrimony and nourished by the Word and the Eucharist, are called on to realize the momentous calling and mission of being the living cell, not only of society, but of the Church, as a sign and instrument of unity of all mankind.

Together let us now invoke the protection of the Most Blessed Mary and St. Joseph for every family, especially those who are in difficulty. May they be sustained so that they may be able to resist the disintegrating forces in our contemporary culture which undermine the very bases of the family as an institution. And may they help Christian families in every part of the world to be living images of the love of God.

Later, he said in English:

On this joyful Feast of the Holy Family I am happy to welcome all the English-speaking pilgrims present for today’s Angelus. In the Holy Family of Nazareth we are given the true model of a Christian home. Let us resolve to make our own homes radiate with Christ’s loving harmony and peace. Our hearts also turn today to all those for whom family life is marred by sadness, tragedy, or violence. May they be uplifted by the hope which Jesus brings to each one of us. Upon all of you and your loved ones I invoke God’s abundant blessings of joy and peace!

From Papa Ratzi forum


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