How well these young people sing! How talented! [commenting on the young people singing Christmas songs in the Square]
In the climate of joy that it is Christmas, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family this Sunday. I think back to the great meeting in Philadelphia, last September; the many families encountered during my Apostolic Visit; and to those around the world. I would like to greet them all with affection and gratitude, especially in this time, in which the family is prone to misunderstandings and difficulties of various kinds that weaken it.
Today’s Gospel invites families to capture the light of hope coming from the home of Nazareth, which has developed in the joy of Jesus’ childhood, which – says St. Luke – ‘advanced [in] wisdom and age and favor before God and man (2:52).’ The family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is for every believer, and especially for families, a true school of the Gospel. Here, we admire the fulfillment of God’s plan to make the family a special community of life and love. Here, we learn that every Christian family is called to be a “domestic church,” to give the light of the evangelical virtues and become a leaven for good in society. The typical features of the Holy Family are: meditation and prayer, mutual understanding and respect, spirit of sacrifice, work and solidarity.
By the example and witness of the Holy Family, each family can draw valuable guidance for the style and lifestyle choices, and can draw strength and wisdom for its everyday journey. Our Lady and Saint Joseph teach all to welcome children as a gift from God, to generate them and educate them, [which evidences] cooperating in a wonderful way in the Creator’s work and giving the world, in every child, a new smile. It is in united families that children have their existence and live the experience of meaningful and effective free love, tenderness, mutual respect, mutual understanding, forgiveness and joy.
I want to focus especially on the joy. The joy that is experienced in the family is not something casual and accidental. It is a result of profound joy among people, [enjoying] the beauty of being together, supporting each other in the journey of life. But behind the joy, there is always the presence of God, His welcoming, gracious and patient love towards all. If the family does not open the door in the presence of God and His love, the family loses harmony, individualism prevails, and joy is shut out. Instead, the family that lives joy, the joy of life, the joy of faith, communicating spontaneously, is salt of the earth and light of the world, and is leaven for the whole society.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph bless and protect all families in the world, so they reign serenity and joy, justice and peace, which Christ was born to gift to humanity.
After the Angelus:
Dear brothers and sisters,
My thoughts at this time to the numerous Cuban migrants who find themselves in difficulties in Central America, many of whom are victims of human trafficking. I invite the countries of the region to renew generously all necessary efforts to find a timely solution to this humanitarian tragedy.
I now send a warm greeting to the families present in the Square, to all of you! Thank you for your testimony. May the Lord accompany you with His grace and sustain you in your daily walk.
I greet all of you, pilgrims from all over the world, especially the young people of the Diocese of Bergamo who were recently confirmed. And also I would like to thank all the boys and children who sang so well and continue to do so … A Christmas Carol in honor of the families.
I wish you all a good Sunday. Thank you again for your good wishes and your prayers and please continue to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye!