An invitation to prayer "for all the families of the world" so they may imitate "the Holy Family of Nazareth" was the main theme of Benedict XVI's reflection to the faithful gathered in St Peter's Square before the midday Angelus.
This Sunday the
Church celebrates the Holy Family. "Imitating
the Holy Family of Nazareth, - prayed the pope - may parents seriously
concern themselves about the growth and education of their children, so that
they may mature as responsible and honest citizens, without ever forgetting
that faith is a precious gift to be nourished in their children through
personal example. At the same time we pray that every child is welcomed as a
gift from God, is sustained by the love of the father and mother in order to
advance as the Lord Jesus "in wisdom and age and favour before God and man
" (Lk 2: 52).
The love, loyalty and dedication of Mary and Joseph are an
example for all Christian couples who are neither the friends nor masters of
their children's lives, but the guardians of this incomparable gift from God."
silence of Joseph, the just man (cf. Mt 1:19), - he added - and the example of
Mary who kept all things in her heart (cf. Lk 2:51), causes us to enter into
the mystery full of faith and humanity of the Holy family.
the pope had referred more closely to the passage of today's Gospel
In the liturgy the passage from Luke's Gospel presents the Virgin Mary
and St. Joseph who, faithful to tradition, go to Jerusalem for the
Passover with the twelve-year-old Jesus. The first time Jesus had
entered the Temple of the Lord was
forty days after his birth, when his parents had offered "a pair of
turtledoves or two young pigeons" (Luke 2:24) on his behalf, which is
sacrifice of poor.
"Luke, whose Gospel is filled with a whole theology
the poor and poverty, makes it clear ... that Jesus' family was counted
the poor of Israel; he helps us to understand that it was there among
where the fulfillment of God's promise matured" ( The Infancy
96). Today Jesus is in the Temple
again, but this time he has a different role, which involves him in the
person. He undertakes the pilgrimage to Jerusalem
as prescribed by the Law (Ex 23.17, 34.23 ff) together with Mary and
although he was not yet in his thirteenth year: a sign of the deep
of the Holy Family. But when his parents return to Nazareth, something
unexpected happens: he,
without saying anything, remains in the City. For three days, Mary and
search for him and find him in the Temple, speaking with the teachers of
Law (Lk 2: 46 ,47), and when they ask him for an explanation, Jesus
they have no cause to wonder, because that is his place, that is his
the Father, who is God (The Infancy Narratives 143). "He - Origen writes
professes to be in the temple of his Father, the Father who has revealed
Himself to us and of which he says he is the Son" (Homilies on the
of Luke, 18, 5)".
concern of Mary and Joseph for Jesus - he added - is the same as any parent who
educates a child, introducing them to life and understanding reality."
wish for all Christian families - he concluded - to live in the presence of God
with the same love and the same joy as the family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph."