Here is a translation of the address Pope Francis gave today before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
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Dear brothers and sister, Good morning!
In this first Sunday after Christmas, while we are still immersed in the joyful climate of the celebration, the Church invites us to contemplate the Holy Family of Nazareth. Today’s Gospel presents the Madonna and St. Joseph in the moment in which, 40 days after the birth of Jesus, they go to the temple in Jerusalem. They do it in religious obedience to the Law of Moses, which prescribes to offer the firstborn to the Lord (cfr. Lk. 2,22-24). We can imagine this little family, in the midst of so many people, in the great courtyard of the Temple.
They do not stand out to the eye, they can’t be distinguished. Yet they do not go unnoticed! Two elderly people, Simeon and Anna, moved by the Holy Spirit, approach them and begin to praise God for that Child, in which they recognize the Messiah, light of the peoples and salvation of Israel (cfr Lk 2,22-38). It is a simple moment but rich in prophecy: the meeting between a young couple full of joy and faith for the graces of the Lord and two elderly people also full of joy and faith for the actions of the Spirit. Who brings them together? Jesus! Jesus brings them together, the youth and the elderly. Jesus is the One who brings the generations together. He is the source of that love that unites families and people, overcoming all mistrust, all isolation, every distance. This makes us reflect on grandparents: how important is their presence, the presence of grandparents! How precious is their role within the family and society! The good relation between youth and the elderly is decisive for the path of the civil and ecclesial community. And looking at these two elderly people, Simeon and Anna, we greet with applause all the grandparents of the world!
The message that comes from the Holy Family is above all a message of faith. In the family life of Mary and Joseph, God is truly at the center, and it is in the person of Jesus. This is why the Family of Nazareth is holy. Why? Because it is centered on Jesus!
When parents and children breathe together this climate of faith, they possess an energy that allows them to confront difficult trials, as shown by the experience of the Holy Family, for example, during the tragic event of the flight into Egypt: A hard trial.
The Child Jesus with his Mother Mary and with Saint Joseph are the icon of the family, simple yet illuminating. The light they radiate is a light of mercy and salvation for the whole world, a light of truth for every man, for the human family and for individual families. This light that comes from the Holy Family encourages us to offer human warmth in those family situations in which, for various reasons, lack peace, lack harmony and lack forgiveness. Our concrete solidarity does not fail especially in the challenges of the families that are living in more difficult situations due to sickness, lack of work, discrimination, the need to migrate. And here we pause for a moment and in silence, we pray for all these families in difficulty. Be it difficulties of sickness, lack of work, discrimination, the need to migrate, be it the lack of understanding each other, as well as also disunion. In silence, we pray for all these families.
[After a brief moment of silence, the Pope leads the faithful in praying the Hail Mary.]
We entrust to Mary, Queen of the family, all the families of the world so that they may live in faith, in harmony, in mutual help, and for this we invoke upon them Her maternal protection, who was mother and daughter of Her Son.
[After the recitation of the Angelus, the Pope said the following:]
Dear brothers and sisters,
My thoughts turn in this moment, to the passengers of the Malaysian airplane that went missing during its flight from Indonesia to Singapore, as well as the passengers of the boats in transit in the last hours in the waters of the Adriatic Sea which were involved in several accidents. I am close to them with the affections and prayers for the families and those who are living through these difficult situations with anxiety and suffering, as well as those involved in rescue operations.
Today, the first greeting goes to the families present! May the Holy Family bless you and guide you on your path.
I greet all of you, Romans and pilgrims, in particular, the many youth from the Diocese of Bergamo and Vicenza who have received or are about to receive Confirmation. I greet the families of the Oratory of the Cathedral of Sarzana, the faithful of San Lorenzo in Banale (Trento), the administrators of Sambruson (Venice), the scouts of Villamassargia and the collaborators of the Fraterna Domus.
To all I wish a good Sunday. I thank you once again for your well-wishes and prayers. Please continue to pray for me.
Have a good lunch and arrivederci![Translation by Junno Arocho Esteves]