, 22 December, 2019 / 11:57 AM
In a difficult situation, St. Joseph put his whole trust in God and was obedient, an example for all Catholics to imitate, Pope Francis said during the Angelus Sunday.
St. Joseph “does not preach, does not speak, but tries to do the will of God; and he does it in the style of the Gospel and of the Beatitudes,” he said Dec. 22.
“The example of this meek and wise man urges us to lift our gaze and push further,” he continued. “It is a matter of recovering the surprising logic of God who, far from small or large calculations, is made of openness to new horizons, towards Christ and his Word.”
In his catechesis, the pope reflected on the first chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, when St. Joseph and the Virgin Mary are betrothed but not yet living together as husband and wife, and Mary becomes pregnant by the Holy Spirit.
“On this fourth and last Sunday of Advent, the Gospel,” Francis said, “guides us towards Christmas through the experience of Joseph, of Saint Joseph, a figure apparently of secondary importance, but in whose attitude is enclosed all Christian wisdom.”
In the Gospel, St. Joseph finds himself in “a humanly embarrassing and conflicting situation,” the pope noted. In this surprising situation, however, though Joseph is troubled, he does not react in “an impulsive and punitive way.”.
St. Joseph “seeks a solution which respects the dignity and integrity of his beloved Mary.”
The pope explained that St. Joseph “knew well that, if he had denounced his betrothed, he would have exposed her to serious consequences, even to death. He has full confidence in Mary, whom he has chosen as his bride. He does not understand, but looks for another solution.”
So, “with great suffering, he decides to detach himself from Mary without creating scandal,” Francis said.
This is when the Angel of the Lord intervenes to say that this solution is not the solution willed by God, however. “The Lord opens a new path of union, love and happiness to him,” the pope said.
And learning the truth about the child in Mary’s womb “Joseph totally trusts God, obeys the Angel’s words and takes Mary with him.”
It was precisely “this unwavering trust in God,” the pope argued, which “allowed him to accept a humanly difficult and, in a certain sense, incomprehensible situation.”
Through faith, St. Joseph understands that the child in Mary’s womb is the Son of God, and that he is to assume the responsibilities of earthly fatherhood over him, Pope Francis argued.
“May the Virgin Mary and her chaste husband Joseph,” he prayed, “help us to listen to Jesus who comes, and who asks to be welcomed in our projects and choices.”
Pope Francis went on to note the arrival of Christmas in three days, saying his thoughts are with families in particular.
During Christmas, “those who live far from their parents depart and return home; siblings try to meet each other,” he said.
“May Christmas be for all an occasion for fraternity, for growth in faith and gestures of solidarity towards those in need. And may St. Joseph accompany us in this journey to Christmas.”
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa