Sunday, December 31, 2023

Sunday Angelus Address with Pope Francis on the Feast of the Holy Family in the Octave of Christmas


Pope at Angelus: Holy Family shows God is with us in times of trial

Pope Francis celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family reflecting on how we must never lose the capacity to marvel at our own story of love, even when it seems that the negative parts prevail.

By Linda Bordoni

The Holy Family, despite the many difficulties and sorrows it faced, shows us how to marvel before God, how to invite Him among us and allow peace and love to be regenerated.

This was Pope Francis’ message during the last Angelus prayer of the year, on Sunday 31 December 2023, the Feast of the Holy Family.

Addressing the pilgrims joining him for the recitation of the Angelus, the Pope reflected on the Gospel of Luke which tells of the presentation of the Baby to the Lord (cf. Lk 2:22-40).

He recalled that the Holy Family arrives in the temple bearing a gift, a testimony to their poverty, and at the end, Mary receives a prophecy: “And a sword will pierce through your own soul”.

“They arrive in poverty, and depart loaded with suffering,” the Holy Father said, highlighting how “the Family of Jesus, the only family in history who could boast of having God present in flesh and blood among them, instead of being rich, was poor!”

Instead of being free from hardship, he noted, “This family is immersed in tremendous sorrows!”

This, the Pope continued says something very beautiful to our families: that God is not beyond problems, He came “to live our life with its problems.”

“He saved us in this way, living in our midst.”

Jesus’ closeness

Pope Francis continued recalling how Jesus came to the world as a baby, he lived in a family with his parents and spent most of his time growing and learning: “An everyday life, in hiddenness and silence.”

And, he added, “He did not avoid difficulties.”

By choosing a family that was “expert in suffering”, the Holy Father explained, He tells families that he knows what they are suffering and what they are experiencing because He experienced it.

“I, my mother and my father, we experienced it so we can say to your family too: ‘You are not alone!’”

Marvel before God

The Pope continued upholding the example of the Holy Family and its message to all our families.

First of all, he upheld the attitude of Joseph and Mary who “marvelled at what was said about Jesus” and said, “Their ability to marvel can be a secret for progressing well as a family.”

Thus, he invited the faithful to know who “to marvel before God” by “living simple moments of prayer at home, together, as if we were inviting him among us.”

 “In this way, we allow peace and love, which only he can give, to be regenerated,” he said.

It is also good, he added, “to know how to marvel at one’s spouse,” and then “to marvel at the miracle of life, of children,” and “to marvel at the wisdom and serenity of grandparents, who bring life back to what is essential.”

“Marvel at the miracle of life!”

“To marvel, in the end,” the Pope said, “at our own story of love, which God believes in, even when it seems that the negative parts prevail.”

May Mary, Queen of the family, he concluded, “help us marvel every day at the good, and to know how to see it on the faces of those who are nearest to us.”

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