At the conclusion of the Angelus on December 8, 2021, Pope Francis concluded the Jubilee Year dedicated to Saint Joseph. St. Joseph and his wife the Virgin Mary, the pontiff stressed, are “guides on the path of holiness.” He thanked all those who have brought to life these years of celebrations dedicated to Joseph and Mary—the Holy Family—in 2021.
The Gospel does not tell us how long Mary, Joseph and the child remained in Egypt. Yet they certainly needed to eat, to find a home and employment. It does not take much imagination to fill in those details. The Holy Family had to face concrete problems like every other family, like so many of our migrant brothers and sisters who, today too, risk their lives to escape misfortune and hunger. In this regard, I consider Saint Joseph the special patron of all those forced to leave their native lands because of war, hatred, persecution and poverty.
At the end of every account in which Joseph plays a role, the Gospel tells us that he gets up, takes the child and his mother, and does what God commanded him (cf. Mt 1:24; 2:14.21). Indeed, Jesus and Mary his Mother are the most precious treasure of our faith. (See Patris corde, 5).
Joseph – a master of the essential
Pope Francis says that never in history has St. Joseph had so much “support, consolation, and guidance” to offer us — marked as we are by “a global crisis made up of several components.”
So in these last few weeks of the Year of St. Joseph that he declared, and following up on his apostolic letter Patris corde, Francis has decided to dedicate the Wednesday audiences of the next few weeks to the theme of Joseph. Pope begins audience series on Joseph: ‘Let us start again from Bethlehem’ (aleteia.org)
On November 17, among other things, Francis reflected on St. Joseph as a man of the peripheries. “Jesus was not born in Jerusalem, with all the court… no, he was born in a periphery and spent his life, until the age of 30, in that periphery, working as a carpenter like Joseph. For Jesus, the peripheries and marginality were favoured,” the Pope said.
Today Joseph teaches us this: “Do not look so much at the things that the world praises, look into the corners, look in the shadows, look at the peripheries, at what the world does not want.”
He reminds each of us to consider important what others discard. In this sense he is truly a master of the essential: he reminds us that what truly matters does not attract our attention, but requires patient discernment to be discovered and appreciated. To discover what matters.
Let us ask him to intercede so that the whole Church may recover this insight, this ability to discern, this capacity to evaluate what is essential.
With Pope Francis, through the intercession of St. Joseph, “Let us start again from Bethlehem, let us start again from Nazareth”.
(Note: Image – artist unknown).