Pontiff Entrusts Pastors of the World to St. Joseph

Reflects on Figure of Christ's Legal Father

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 19, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict is entrusting to the protection of St. Joseph all the pastors of the Church, so that they are able to offer to the world the message of Christ.


The Pope reflected today on the birth of Christ -- from the "perspective of St. Joseph" -- before praying the midday Angelus together with those gathered in St. Peter's Square.

Joseph, he recounted, "was the betrothed of Mary, who, 'before they lived together, was found to be with child by the power of the Holy Spirit.'"

"The Son of God, realizing an ancient prophecy, became man in the womb of a virgin," the Pontiff stated, "and such a mystery simultaneously manifests the love, wisdom and power of God on behalf of humanity wounded by sin."

St. Joseph, the Holy Father continued, is presented in the Gospel as a "just man," as well as a man "faithful to God’s law, ready to do his will."

"On account of this," he added, Joseph "enters into the mystery of the Incarnation after an angel of the Lord appears to him in a dream and tells him: 'Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife with you. In fact the child that has been conceived in her comes from the Holy Spirit; she will give birth to a son and you will call him Jesus: he in fact will save his people from their sins.'

"Forgetting the thought of repudiating Mary in secret, he takes her in because his eyes now see the work of God in her."

Quoting St. Ambrose, Benedict XVI commented that "in Joseph there was amiability and the figure of a just man to make the quality of his witness more worthy."
The Pope noted that Joseph "did as the angel of the Lord ordered him," and that he was "certain of doing the right thing."

"Also," he added, "giving the name 'Jesus' to that child who rules the entire universe, he enters into the ranks of the faithful and humble servants, like the angels and prophets, like the martyrs and the apostles -- in the words of ancient eastern hymns. St. Joseph proclaims the wonders of the Lord, witnessing Mary’s virginity, the gratuitous deed of God, and caring for the earthly life of the Messiah."

The Holy Father said that the Church "venerate[s] the legal father of Jesus, because the new man takes form in him, who looks to the future with confidence and courage, does not follow his own project, but entrusts himself totally to the infinite mercy of him who fulfills the prophecies and inaugurates the season of salvation."

The Pope then said that he entrusted the pastors of the Church to St. Joseph, "exhorting them to offer to faithful Christians and the whole world the humble and daily proposal of the words of Christ."

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-31281?l=english