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Monday, October 24, 2016
Pope Benedict on Feast of Holy Family
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Pope Benedict lead the Angelus in St Peter's Square yesterday, the Feast of the Holy Family, and afterwards had lunch with guests at a homeless project in Rome,  run by the Sant'Egidio Community.

Before praying the Angelus, the Pope reminded pilgrims: "God wished to reveal Himself by being born in a human family, and hence the human family has become an icon of God.

He said: "God is Trinity. He is communion of love, and the family - with all the difference that exists between the Mystery of God and His human creature - is an expression thereof which reflects the unfathomable mystery of God-Love. ... The human family is, in a certain sense, the icon of the Trinity because of the love between its members and the fruitfulness of that love".

Commenting then on today's Gospel reading which narrates how the twelve-year-old Jesus stayed behind in the Temple without His parents' knowledge, the Pope explained that "Jesus' decision to remain in the Temple was above all the fruit of his intimate relationship with the Father, but also the fruit of the education received from Mary and Joseph".

He went on: "Here we may catch a glimpse of the authentic meaning of Christian education. It is the result of a collaboration that must always be sought between the educators and God. The Christian family is aware that children are God's gift and project. Hence it cannot consider them as it own possessions but, serving God's plan through them, is called to educate them in the greatest of freedoms which is that of saying 'yes' to God in order to accomplish His will".

The Holy Father then addressed some remarks to participants in the Feast of the Holy Family which was being celebrated in Madrid, Spain. "God, by having come into the world in the bosom of a family, shows that this institution is a sure way to meet and know Him, and a permanent call to work for the loving unity of all people. Thus, one of the greatest services which we as Christians can offer our fellow men and women is to show them the serene and solid witness of a family founded upon marriage between a man and a woman, defending it and protecting it, because it is of supreme importance for the present and future of humankind.

"In truth, the family is the best school in which to learn to live the values that dignify individuals and make peoples great. There too sufferings and joys are shared, as everyone feels cloaked in the affection that reigns in the home by the mere fact of being members of the same family".

Benedict XVI prayed to God that family homes may always experience "this love of total commitment and fidelity which Jesus brought into the world by His birth, nourishing and strengthening it with daily prayer, the constant practice of virtue, reciprocal understanding and mutual respect.

"I encourage you - trusting in the maternal intercession of Mary Most Holy, Queen of Families, and the powerful protection of St. Joseph, her husband - tirelessly to dedicate yourselves to this beautiful mission the Lord has placed in your hands. Be sure of my closeness and affection", he concluded, "and I pray you carry a very special greeting from the Pope to those of your loved ones who suffer greatest need and difficulties".

After the Angelus today, the Holy Father travelled by car to a canteen for the poor run by the Sant'Egidio Community in Rome's Trastevere district where he had lunch with 150 volunteers and needy people.

Benedict XVI sat at table with twelve people, including a gypsy family, an Afghan Shiite refugee, a ninety-year-old widower and a young disabled person abandoned by his family. At the end of the meal, the Pope distributed presents to the thirty-one children present.

"It is a moving experience for me to be here with you", said the Pope in his remarks, "to be with the friends of Jesus, because Jesus loves people who suffer. ... Over lunch I heard painful stories charged with humanity. ... And I am here among you to say I am close to you and love you".

"Jesus' family also encountered difficulties from the beginning. They experienced the discomfort of finding no hospitality, and were forced to emigrate to Egypt to flee the violence of King Herod. You have experienced suffering, but here you have someone who takes care of you. In fact, some have found a family here thanks to the attentive service of the Sant'Egidio Community which offers a sign of God's love for the poor. What is happening here today is what happens in homes: those who serve and help merge with those who are helped and served, and pride of place is given to those who have greatest need".

"In this time of particular economic difficulties we must all become signs of hope and witnesses of a new world for people who, closed in their own selfishness, believe they can be happy alone, and so spend their lives in a state of sadness or ephemeral joy which leaves the heart empty".

After the luncheon, Benedict XVI unveiled a plaque commemorating his visit then returned to the Vatican.

Source: VIS

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Tags: Pope Benedict, Sant'Egidio Community

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