On the final Sunday of Advent, the Holy Father reflected on the sacrifice of St. Joseph in accepting God’s will.
The Sunday Gospel recalled St. Joseph contemplating leaving Mary which the Holy Father regarded as “the most radical renunciation.”
“Instead of defending himself and demanding his rights, Joseph opts for a solution that represents an enormous sacrifice for him,” the Pope said regarding Joseph’s decision to send Mary away.
“This brief sentence sums up a real interior drama, if we think of the love that Joseph had for Mary! But even such a circumstance Joseph wants to do God’s will and resolves, surely with deep sorrow, to part with Mary in secret. We should meditate on these words to understand the trial that Joseph endured in the days that preceded Jesus’ birth.”
The Holy Father compared his trial to that of Abraham in sacrificing Isaac. In this sacrifice, God also intervenes and opens a path of happiness. The Gospel, he continued also gives a glimpse into the greatness of Joseph’s soul.
“He was pursuing a good plan for his life but God had another design for him, a greater mission,” he said. “Joseph was a man who always listened to God’s voice, profoundly sensitive to his hidden will, a man attentive to the messages that came to him from the depths of his heart and from above. He did not persist in pursuing his own plan for his life, he did not allow rancor to poison his soul, but was ready to place himself at the service of the thing that was presented to him in a disconcerting way.”
Concluding his remarks before the recitation of the Angelus, Pope Francis told the faithful gathered that Joseph did not allow hate or resentment to poison his soul. The Holy Father cited the foster father of Jesus as an example of humility, in the preparation for Christmas.
“Let us prepare ourselves to celebrate Christmas contemplating Mary and Joseph: Mary, the woman who is full of grace, who had the courage to entrust herself totally to the Word of God; Joseph, the faithful and just man who preferred to believe the Lord rather than listen to the voices of human doubt and pride. Let us travel with them toward Bethlehem,” he said.
After the recitation of the Angelus, Pope Francis greeted the faithful. Noticing a banner that read “The poor cannot wait”, the Holy Father compared the plight of the homeless to that on Christ’s birth in a stable and the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt.
“Today I wonder, reading that banner of many homeless families, whether it is because they never had one or because they lost it for many reasons,” he said. “Family and house go together. It is very hard to care for a family without a house to live in. In these days of Christmas I invite everyone – people, social organizations, [political] authorities – to do everything possible for every family to have a house.”