Today is the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Today’s Gospel is St. Matthew’s narration of the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt.
Speaking about the Gospel to the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus, Pope Francis said that Joseph, Mary and Jesus lived the dramatic condition of refugees, “marked by fear, uncertainty and difficulties”.
The Pope reminded his audience that today, millions of families suffer the same plight as Jesus, Mary and Joseph did. They “flee hunger, war and other grave dangers, and go in search of security and a dignified life for themselves and their families.” Sadly, he lamented that “not always do refugees and immigrants find a true welcome, respect, and appreciation for the value that they bring. Their legitimate aspirations clash with complex situations and difficulties that sometimes appear unsurmountable.”
Pope Francis invites us, as we contemplate the Holy Family to be mindful “of those migrants and refugees who are victims of rejection and exploitation, who are victims of human trafficking and slave labour.” He also suggested that we “think of those other exiles – I would call them ‘the hidden exiles’ who may be marginalized within their own families – the elderly for example who sometimes are treated like burdens”.
Pope Francis concluded his address with a reminder of three key phrases that promote peace and joy within families. They are: May I?, Thank You, and I’m sorry. Each helps promote love and tenderness, reconciliation and forgiveness, and mutual help.