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Pope Francis praises the courage of St. Joseph, ‘persecuted migrant’

I.Media - published on 12/29/21

In the final general audience of 2021, Pope Francis turns to St. Joseph, contrasting him with the tyrannical King Herod.

To see in “each of today’s migrants” the Holy Family guided by Joseph in his flight to Egypt: this was the hope expressed by Pope Francis during the general audience on December 29, 2021. Describing the reality of today’s migration as a “social scandal of humanity,” he gave as a counter-example the foster father of Christ for having the courage to face his fears.

During the final general audience of the year, the head of the Catholic Church continued his catechesis on St. Joseph, whom he described this time as a “persecuted and courageous migrant.” He recalled the biblical episode of the flight to Egypt, during which the Holy Family escaped the “diabolical plan” of King Herod: the massacre of the Holy Innocents.

The “little Herods”

The pontiff then contrasted King Herod and Joseph as “two opposing characters, reflecting the two ever-present faces of humanity.” On the one hand, the king of Judea who comes to murder all the newborns of his country is “the symbol of so many tyrants of yesterday and today.” He denounced those people who are obsessed with power and for whom “people don’t matter,” describing them as people who live “off their fears” and who seek to overcome them by behaving in a “despotic” way.

This attitude is not exclusive to tyrants, however, the Bishop of Rome warned, as anyone can be a “little Herod.” This is the fate of all those who seek to chase away their fears with power, the pontiff assured, “even if it is only verbal or made of small acts.”

Joseph’s lesson in courage

In contrast, Pope Francis praised the courage of St. Joseph, recalling that “fortitude” is one of the cardinal virtues of Christianity. The carpenter “overcomes his understandable fears” during his exile in Egypt and faces all the difficulties he encounters, he assured.

Moreover, Joseph “reacts to fear with the courage to trust in God’s providence,” the pontiff stressed. The carpenter refuses to “bring out the worst” like Herod because he feels threatened.

The Pope then explained that the courage shown by Joseph was not “the exclusive virtue of heroes” but that it was necessary in “the daily life of every person.” “One cannot live without courage,” he said.

A prayer for migrants

Finally, Pope Francis recalled the fate of “so many victims of wars who want to flee their homeland” but also those who leave their home only to “end up on the street or in the sea.” “Let us think of Jesus in the arms of Joseph and Mary who are fleeing, and see in him each of the migrants of today,” he insisted.

Pope Francis once again concluded his catechesis with a prayer, this time for “all migrants, all persecuted people and all those who are victims of adverse circumstances”:

St. Joseph,
you who have experienced the suffering of those who must flee
you who were forced to flee
to save the lives of those dearest to you,
protect all those who flee because of war,
hatred, hunger.
Support them in their difficulties,
Strengthen them in hope, and let them find welcome and solidarity.
Guide their steps and open the hearts of those who can help them. Amen.

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