By ZENIT Staff
Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave today, before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
The Holy Father wished everyone a serene New Year, “Let us end the year in peace, peace of heart: I wish you this. And in the family, communicating with one another.”
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Before the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
And truly, today is a beautiful day . . . We celebrate today the feast of the Holy Family of Nazareth The term “holy” inserts this family in the ambit of holiness, which is a gift of God but, at the same time, is free and responsible adherence to God’s plan. It was so for the family of Nazareth, was totally open to the Will of God. How can we not be amazed at Mary’s docility to the action of the Holy Spirit, who asks Her to become the Mother of the Messiah? — because, as every young woman of Her time, Mary was about to concretize Her plan of life, namely, to marry Joseph.
However, when She realized that God was calling Her to a particular mission, She didn’t hesitate to proclaim herself His “handmaid” (Cf. Luke 1:38). Jesus would exalt Her grandeur not so much for her role as Mother, but for Her obedience to God. Jesus says: “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke 11:28), as Mary . And when She doesn’t understand fully the events that involve Her, Mary meditates, reflects and adores the divine initiative in silence. Her presence at the foot of the cross consecrates this total availability.
Then, in so far as Joseph is concerned, the Gospel doesn’t tell us a single word: he doesn’t speak but acts by obeying. He is the man of silence, the man of obedience. Today’s evangelical page (Cf. Matthew 2:13.19-23) recalls three times this obedience of just Joseph, in reference to the flight into Egypt and the return to the land of Israel. Under God’s guidance, represented by the Angel, Joseph removes his family from Herod’s threat and saves it. Thus the Holy Family is in solidarity with all families worldwide obliged into exile; it is in solidarity with all those constrained to abandon their land because of repression, violence and war.
Finally, Jesus is the third person of the Holy Family. He is the Will of the Father: in Him, says Saint Paul, there wasn’t “yes” and “no,” but only “yes” (Cf. 2 Corinthians 1:19). And this was manifested in many moments of His earthly life. For instance, the episode of the Temple, when His anguished parents were looking for Him, he answers: “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49); His constant repeating: “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me” (John 4:34); His prayer in the Garden of Olives: “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, thy will be done” (Matthew 26:42). All these events are the perfect realization of the same words of Christ who says: “Sacrifices and offerings thou hast not desired [. . . ]Then I said. ‘Lo, I have come to do thy will, O God’” (Hebrews 10:5-7; Psalm 40:7-9).
Mary, Joseph and Jesus: the Holy Family of Nazareth that represents a unanimous response to the Father’s Will: the three components of this singular family help one another mutually to discover and realize God’s plan. They prayed, worked communicated. And I wonder: in your family, are you able to communicate or are you like those kids at table, each one with his mobile phone while they are chatting? At that table there seems to be a silence as if they were at Mass . . . But they don’t communicate with one another. We must take up again conversation in the family: fathers, parents, children, grandparents and brothers must communicate with one another . . . This is a task to do today, precisely on the day of the Holy Family. May the Holy Family be the model of our families, so that parents and children support one another in adherence to the Gospel, foundation of the family’s holiness.
We entrust to Mary, “Queen of the Family,” all the world’s families, especially those tried by suffering and hardship, and we invoke upon them Her maternal protection.
[Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
After the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Let us pray to the Lord for the victims of yesterday’s horrible terrorist attack at Mogadishu, in Somalia, where, in the explosion of a car bomb, more than 70 persons were killed. I am close to all their relatives and all those that mourn their death. Let us pray together: Hail Mary . . .
I greet, then, all the Romans, the pilgrims, the parish groups, the Associations and the young people. A special greeting goes today to the families present here and those taking part from home through television and radio. The family is a precious treasure: it’s necessary to support and protect it always: forward!
I greet, then, the students of Forli, the Confirmation youngsters of Adrara San Martino, of Calcinate and the adolescents’ group of the San Giuliano Parish in Albino, Bergamo.
I greet all and wish all a happy Sunday and a serene New Year. Let us end the year in peace, peace of heart: I wish you this. And in the family, communicating with one another.
I thank you again for your good wishes and prayers. Please continue to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch and goodbye!
[Original Text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
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