Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
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Theme of Pope’s general audience: ‘St. Joseph, persecuted and courageous migrant’

December 29, 2021

In his December 29 general audience—the fifth in a series of Wednesday audiences on St. Joseph—Pope Francis reflected on St. Joseph as a persecuted and courageous migrant.

Previous audiences were devoted to St. Joseph and the environment in which he lived (November 17), St. Joseph and salvation history (November 24), St. Joseph, just man and husband of Mary (December 1), and St. Joseph, man of silence (December 15). (There was no general audience on December 8, and the December 22 audience was devoted to preparation for Christmas.)

“In our continuing catechesis on Saint Joseph, we now consider Joseph’s courage in the face of persecution,” Pope Francis said to pilgrims assembled in Paul VI Audience Hall, according to the official Vatican summary of his remarks. “Like many of our brothers and sisters facing injustice or violence today, Joseph and Mary were forced to migrate from their homeland, in order to flee the wrath of King Herod.”

The summary continued:

Deceived by the Magi as to the precise location of Christ’s birth, Herod sought to kill all the male children in Bethlehem of two years or younger. In response to the message of an angel, Joseph courageously took the Holy Family on the perilous journey to Egypt. On their return to the land of Israel, Joseph led them to Galilee to set up home in Nazareth, safe from the threat of Herod’s successor.

While Herod embodies cruelty, arrogance and aggression, Joseph, by contrast, shows us how to respond to our own challenges and difficulties with virtuous love, courageously trusting in God’s providence. As we recall the fortitude and love shown by Joseph in the flight into Egypt, let us pray for all those who, like the Holy Family, find themselves forced to flee their homelands, that they will be blessed with the courage of Saint Joseph.

The Pope also addressed the contemporary migration crisis, describing the response to it as a “scandal of humanity.”


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