12/31/2006, 00.00
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Pope: “Holy Family”, the prototype of each Christian family

Benedict XVI underlined the value of the family as a “living image of the love of God” against the “prompting towards disintegration” of modern culture that seeks to destroy the institution of the family.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Before tens of thousands of pilgrims gathered in St Peter’s Square, Benedict XVI dedicated the Angelus of the last Sunday of 2006 to the value of the family and marriage, calling for the protection of Mary and Joseph to resist that “prompting towards disintegration of certain [traits of] modern culture that undermines the very basis of the institution of the family.”

 

The liturgy falling on the Sunday between Christmas and the New Year celebrates the Holy Family of Nazareth. The pope first greeted “families of the world, wishing them peace and love that Jesus gave us, coming among us at Christmas.” Then he explained that “in the Gospel, we do not find speeches about the family but an event that is worth more than any word: God wanted to be born and grow up in a human family. In this way, he consecrated it as the first and ordinary path of his encounter with mankind.”

 

All the values of family life – obedience, social and religious education, mutual dedication – are found in the Holy Family. “In the life spent in Nazareth, Jesus honoured the Virgin Mary and the just Joseph, submitting to their authority for all the time of his childhood and adolescence (cfr Lk 2:51-52). In this way, he highlighted the primary value of the family in the education of the person. Jesus was introduced to the religious community by Mary and Joseph, going to the synagogue of Nazareth. With them, he learned to undertake the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, as narrated by the gospel passage proposed by today’s liturgy for our meditation. When he was 12, he stayed in the Temple and his parents took three days to find him. With this gesture, he made them understand that he had to ‘tend to his Father’s business’, that is, the mission entrusted to him by God (cfr Lk 2:41-52).”

 

Taking his cue from the gospel passage, Benedict XVI underlined that the family should take great care in “accompanying each of its members in the journey of discovery of God and in the plan He has in his or her regard. Mary and Joseph educated Jesus above all by their example: in his Parents, He knew all the beauty of faith, of love for God and for his Law, as well as for the demands of justice that find fulfillment in love (cfr Rm 13:10). From them, he learned in the first place that God’s will be done and that spiritual ties are worth more than blood ties.”

 

The pope added: “The Holy Family of Nazareth is truly the ‘prototype’ of each Christian family which, united in the Sacrament of marriage and fed by the Word and by the Eucharist, is called to realize the stupendous vocation and mission of being a living cell not only of society but of the Church, a sign and instrument of unity for all mankind.”

 

The pontiff said: “Let us invoke the protection of the most Holy Mary and St Joseph for each family, especially for those in difficulties. May they support them so that they will be able to resist the prompting towards disintegration of certain [traits of] modern culture that undermines the very basis of the institution of the family. May they help Christian families to be, in every part of the world, a living image of the love of God.”

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