31 December 2018, The Tablet

Always guard and defend family, says Pope

'Amazement and wonder is the opposite of taking everything for granted.'

Always guard and defend family, says Pope

Pope Francis delivers the Angelus prayer at the Vatican.
Evandro Inetti/Zuma Press/PA Images

The family is a "treasure" that must always be guarded and defended, Pope Francis said yesterday.

Delivering the Angelus in Rome on the feast of the Holy Family, he reflected on the experience of Mary, Joseph and Jesus, "united by an immense love and animated by great trust in God".

The Gospel passage for the day, from Luke, recounted the journey of the family of Nazareth to Jerusalem, for the feast of Easter, when Jesus as 12 years old.

Mary and Joseph realise that their son is missing, and they find him in the Temple, engaged in debate, and were "amazed". 

Pope Francis said: "Amazement and wonder is the opposite of taking everything for granted, it is the opposite of interpreting the reality that surrounds us and the events of history only according to our criteria.

"And a person who does this does not know what marvel is, what amazement is. Being amazed is opening up to others, understanding the reasons of others: this attitude is important for healing compromised relationships among people, and it is also indispensable for healing open wounds within the family.

"When there are problems in families, we assume that we are right and we close the door to others. Instead, one must think: 'What does this person have?' And marvel at this 'good'. And this helps the unity of the family. If you have problems in the family, think of the good things that the family you have problems with, and marvel at this. And this will help heal the family wounds."

Also reflecting on their anguish when they could not find him, Pope Francis said: "That anguish they felt in the three days of the loss of Jesus should also be our anguish when we are far from Him, when we are far from Jesus.

"We should feel anguish when we forget about Jesus for more than three days, without praying, without read the Gospel, without feeling the need for his presence and his consoling friendship. And so many days pass without I remember Jesus. But this is bad, this is very bad. We should feel anguish when these things happen."

At the end he said special prayers for all the families of the world, especially those in which, for various reasons, there is a lack of peace and harmony.

And after the Angelus, Pope Francis prayed in particular for all those in the Democratic Republic of Congo who suffer from violence and Ebola, and to those families present in Rome: "A round of applause to the families who are here, all of them, and also to those who participate from home with television and radio. The family is a treasure: we must always guard it, defend it. The Holy Family of Nazareth will always protect and enlighten you."

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