Jesus Chose to Enter a Human Family
Continuing his weekly catecheses on the family in preparation for the Synod of Bishops, Pope Francis said he wanted to reflect on “this great gift that the Lord has made to the world since the beginning, when He conferred on Adam and Eve the mission to multiply and fill the earth (Cf. Genesis 1:28) — that gift that Jesus has confirmed and sealed in his Gospel.” He spoke of the importance of marriage and the family in light of the fact that Jesus Christ chose to enter the world through a human family. “The Incarnation of the Son of God opens a new beginning in the universal history of man and woman. And this new beginning takes place within a family at Nazareth.”
Jesus was born and lived in obscurity for His first thirty years, presumably leading a “normal” life as the son of Mary and Joseph. “They worked, the Mother cooked, and did all the things of the house, ironed shirts … everything a mother does. The Father, a carpenter, worked and taught his son to work – for 30 years.” This was all part of God’s will.
The Holy Father reflects on Jesus’ adolescence in the community and his embrace of common duties, noting that this time period (often called the “hidden life”) is ripe for “affectionate meditation” since nothing is recorded of it. Pope Francis encourages all Christian mothers and fathers to look to Mary and Joseph to learn from their examples. “As Mary and Joseph did, every Christian family can first of all receive Jesus, listen to him, talk with him, guard and protect him, grow with him, and thus improve the world. Let us make a place in our heart and in our days for the Lord.” The Holy Family of Nazareth “commits us to rediscover the vocation and mission of the family, of every family,” which is “to make love and not hatred normal, to make mutual help common, not indifference and enmity.” Mary, who ponders all things in her heart, is the epitome of the family “which keeps this mystery, the mystery of the Son of God, the mystery of Jesus who comes to save us.” The family is called to welcome Jesus in the person of each of its members.