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Pope’s Angelus: Place Jesus at Center of Family Life

Diane Montagna - published on 12/28/14

Pope Francis also expresses sympathy to families affected by missing Asian airliner

Pope Francis in his Sunday Angelus address on the Feast of the Holy Family called upon all families to place Jesus at the center of their lives. Recalling today’s Gospel of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple, the Pope held up the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph, and the aged Simeon and Anna as supreme models of holiness. As he extolled the two elderly yet spirit-filled figures from today’s Gospel, he reminded the faithful of the importance of the presence of grandparents in family life and offered special greetings to them.

Following his address, Pope Francis expressed his closeness to the families affected by a missing airliner in Southeast Asia. Here below is the full text of his address.


Dear brothers and sisters,

Good afternoon. On this first Sunday after Christmas, while we are still immersed in the joyous atmosphere of the feast, the Church invites us to contemplate the Holy Family of Nazareth. The Gospel today presents us with Our Lady and St. Joseph when 40 days after the birth of Jesus, they go to the temple in Jerusalem. The do so out of religious obedience to the Law of Moses, which prescribes that every first-born son be offered to the Lord (cf. Lk 2:22-24).

We can imagine this little family, in the midst of many people in the great courts of the temple. They do stand out, they are not conspicuous, and yet they do not go unnoticed. Two elderly people, Simeon and Anna, moved by the Holy Spirit, draw near and begin to praise God for the Child in whom they recognize the Messiah, the light for revelation to the Gentiles and the salvation of Israel (cf. Lk 2:22-38). It is a simple moment but one that is rich in prophecy: the encounter between two young spouses full of joy and faith through the grace of the Lord; and two elderly people who are also full of joy and faith through the action of the Spirit.

Who brings them together? Jesus. Jesus brings them together: young people and the elderly. Jesus is the One that brings generations together. He is the source of the love that unites families and persons, overcoming all distrust, all isolation, all distance. This makes us think also of our grandparents: how important is their presence, the presence of grandparents. A good relationship between young and old is decisive for the progress of civil and ecclesial communities. And looking at these two elderly people, these two grandparents — Simeon and Anna — let us now give a round of applause to all the grandparents in the world. 

The message that comes from the Holy Family is first a message of faith. In the family life of Mary and Joseph, God is truly at the center, and he is so in the Person of Jesus. That is why the Family of Nazareth is holy. Why? Because it is centered on Jesus. When grandparents and children together breath in the same atmosphere of faith, they possess the energy that allows them to face even difficult trials, as the experience of the Holy Family shows, for example in the dramatic event of the flight to Egypt. It is a harsh trial. The Child Jesus with his Mother Mary and with St. Joseph are a simple but luminous icon. The light radiating from them is the light of mercy and of salvation for the entire world, the light of truth for every man, for the human family and for individual families. This light which comes from the Holy Family encourages us to offer human warmth in family situations in which, for various reasons, peace is lacking, harmony is lacking, forgiveness is lacking. May our solidarity not fail to extend to families in the most difficult situations due to illness, lack of employment, discrimination, and the need to emigrate. Now let us pause for a moment in silence and pray for all families in difficulty, both difficulties due to illness, lack of employment, discrimination and the need to emigrate, as well as difficulties in understanding one another and disunity. In silence let us pray for all of these families … (Hail Mary…).

Let us entrust to Mary, Queen and Mother of families, all the families of the world, so that they may live in faith, harmony, and mutual help. For this let us invoke the maternal protection of the one who was the mother and daughter of her Son. 

After the Angelus:

Dear brothers and sisters,

My thoughts turn in this moment to the passengers of the Malaysian flight that vanished while en route from Indonesia to Singapore, as well as to the passengers on the ships in transit in the last hours in the waters of the Adriatic Sea that were involved in several accidents. I am close in affection and in prayer to the families and to those who are anxiously and painfully living through these difficult situations, and also to those engaged in rescue operations.

I wish everyone a blessed Sunday. I thank you again for your best wishes and prayers. Continue to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye.

Translation by Diane Montagna of Aleteia’s English edition.

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