Pope Reflects on the Holy Family, Calls on Parents to Help Children Grow
In his Angelus address on December 31, Pope Francis spoke on the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in honor of their feast day, celebrated on the Sunday after Christmas. During the Christmas season, the Church offers us an opportunity to reflect on the Holy Family as they grew “together as a family in mutual love and trust in God.”
Because of their trust in God, Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus to the Temple to dedicate Him to God. This is a call to all parents to recognize that their children come as a gift from God; parents, then, are “custodians of their children’s life, not proprietors.” God, who creates and sustains all things, “is Lord of individual and family history.” The family, in a particular way, is called to live with this knowledge and “protect and educate the children to open themselves to God who is the very source of life.”
Family life, the pope noted, is not perfect and often filled with trials and difficulties. It is in turning to Christ, the “source of Christian experience,” that families experience true rebirth and resurrection. This encounter with Christ helps us to put aside worldly illusions and causes us to “rise again to a genuine human and Christian way, founded on values of the Gospel.”
The Gospels tell us that the Holy Family returned to Nazareth, where “the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom, and the favor of God was upon Him.” (Luke 2:40) Certainly Mary and Joseph were filled with joy to watch their Son grow, as all parents have joy watching their children learn and mature.
This is the family’s mission, said the pope: “to create the favorable conditions for the harmonious and full growth of their children so that they can live a good life, worthy of God and constructive for the world.” The Holy Father concluded his address by expressing his hope that all families will live out this mission and invoking the help of Mary, Queen of the Family.