St. Peter's Square
Sunday, December 30th 2018
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Today we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family and the liturgy invites us to reflect on the experience of Mary, Joseph and Jesus, united by an immense love and animated by great trust in God. Today's Gospel passage (cf. Lk 2,41-52 ) recounts the journey of the family of Nazareth to Jerusalem, for the feast of Easter. But, on the return journey, the parents realize that the twelve year old son is not in the caravan. After three days of searching and fear, they find him in the temple, sitting among the doctors, intent on discussing with them. At the sight of the Son, Mary and Joseph "were amazed" (verse 48) and the Mother expressed their apprehension by saying: "Your father and I, anguished, looked for you" (ibid.).
The amazement - they "were amazed" - and the anguish - "your father and I, anguished" - are the two elements on which I would like to draw your attention: amazement and anguish.
In the family of Nazareth, the wonder never ceased, not even in a dramatic moment like the loss of Jesus: it is the ability to be amazed by the gradual manifestation of the Son of God. It is the same astonishment that also affects the doctors of the temple, admired "for his intelligence and his answers" (v.47). But what is amazement, what is to be amazed? Amazement and wonder is the opposite of taking everything for granted, it is the opposite of interpreting the reality that surrounds us and the events of history only according to our criteria. And a person who does this does not know what marvel is, what amazement is. Being amazed is opening up to others, understanding the reasons of others: this attitude is important for healing compromised relationships among people, and it is also indispensable for healing open wounds within the family. When there are problems in families, we assume that we are right and we close the door to others. Instead, one must think: "What does this person have?" And marvel at this "good". And this helps the unity of the family. If you have problems in the family, think of the good things that the family you have problems with, and marvel at this. And this will help heal the family wounds.
The second element that I would like to grasp from the Gospel is the anguish that Mary and Joseph experienced when they could not find Jesus. This anguish manifests the centrality of Jesus in the Holy Family. The Virgin and her husband had welcomed that Son, they guarded him and they saw him grow in age, wisdom and grace in their midst, but above all he grew up in their hearts; and, little by little, their affection and understanding for him increased. This is why the family of Nazareth is holy: because it was centered on Jesus, all the attentions and solicitudes of Mary and Joseph were addressed to him.
That anguish they felt in the three days of the loss of Jesus should also be our anguish when we are far from Him, when we are far from Jesus. We should feel anguish when we forget about Jesus for more than three days, without praying, without read the Gospel, without feeling the need for his presence and his consoling friendship. And so many days pass without I remember Jesus. But this is bad, this is very bad. We should feel anguish when these things happen. Mary and Joseph looked for him and found him in the temple while he was teaching: we too, it is above all in the house of God that we can meet the divine Master and welcome his message of salvation. In the Eucharistic celebration we make a living experience of Christ; He speaks to us, offers us his Word, enlightens us, enlightens our journey, gives us his Body in the Eucharist from which we draw strength to face the difficulties of every day.
And today we return home with these two words: amazement and anguish. I know how amazed, when I see the good things of others, and so solve family problems? Do I feel anguish when I have strayed from Jesus?
We pray for all the families of the world, especially those in which, for various reasons, there is a lack of peace and harmony. And we entrust them to the protection of the Holy Family of Nazareth.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters,
let us pray together for all those in the Democratic Republic of Congo who suffer from violence and Ebola. I hope everyone is committed to maintaining a peaceful climate that allows a regular and peaceful conduct of the elections. Let us pray together: "Hail Mary, ...".
I greet all of you, Romans and pilgrims; parish groups, associations and young people. Today I address a special greeting to the families present here. A round of applause to the families who are here, all of them, and also to those who participate from home with television and radio.
The family is a treasure: we must always guard it, defend it. The Holy Family of Nazareth will always protect and illuminate your path.
I greet the religious Mercedari who came together with ministrants from various parts of Italy, as well as the faithful of Legnaro and Gragnano. I greet the Villabate scouts; the boys of Confirmation of the pastoral unit of Codognè (diocese of Vittorio Veneto) and those of some parishes of the diocese of Bergamo: Curno, Palazzago, Gromlongo, Barzana, Almenno. And I greet these two groups of nuns with the Spanish flag and the Polish flag.
I wish everyone a good Sunday and a happy end of the year. Finish the year with serenity. I thank you again for your wishes and your prayers. And please continue to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye!
Source: Full Text Share from Vatican.va - Original in Italian - Unofficial Translation