Pope at Audience: St. Joseph a model for meaningful human relationships
By Devin Watkins
The Pope picked up his catechesis on St. Joseph at the weekly General Audience, reflecting on his role in salvation history.
Focusing on how he is presented in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew, Pope Francis noted that both evangelists compose a genealogy of Jesus, which begins either with Abraham (as in Matthew) or Adam (as in Luke) and culminates in Joseph and Jesus.
Both Luke and Matthew, said the Pope, present Joseph not as the biological father of Jesus but in any case, as “fully the father of Jesus.”
“Through him, Jesus fulfils the history of the covenant and salvation between God and man.”
Servant of Christ
Pope Francis said Matthew shows us that Joseph represents a central point in God’s plan of salvation, even though he appears discreet and apparently on the margins of the story and of society.
“Joseph lives his agency without ever seeking to take over the scene,” he said.
Everyone, he added, can find in St. Joseph—who often goes unnoticed or hidden—an intercessor and a guide in difficult moments.
“He reminds us that all those who are seemingly hidden or in the 'second row' have unparalleled agency in the history of salvation,” said the Pope. “The world needs these men and women.”
Guardian of the Redeemer
The Pope then turned to the Gospel of Luke, where Joseph is portrayed as “the guardian of Jesus and Mary.”
This role extends throughout history to make him also “the Guardian of the Church”. God, he added, offers St. Joseph as a response to the question Cain put to God after killing his brother: “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
“Joseph, with his life, seems to want to tell us that we are always called to feel that we are the guardians of our brothers and sisters, the custodians of those placed close to us, of those whom the Lord entrusts to us through the circumstances of life,” he said.
Patron of the afflicted
Pope Francis noted that St. Joseph offers our “fluid” modern society a model of how to treat human relations.
The Gospel accounts of Jesus’ genealogy, said the Pope, remind us that “our lives are made up of bonds that precede and accompany us. The Son of God chose to come into the world by way of such bonds.”
The Pope added that his thoughts go out to all those who struggle to find meaningful relationships in their own lives, saying this situation leaves many people feeling alone and lacking the strength to strive ahead.
Support in difficulties
Pope Francis concluded his catechesis by offering a prayer to help everyone who struggles with loneliness, adding that they can find in St. Joseph “an ally, a friend, and a support.”
you who guarded the bond with Mary and Jesus,
help us to care for the relationships in our lives.
May no one experience the sense of abandonment
that comes from loneliness.
Let each of us be reconciled with our own history,
with those who have gone before,
and recognise even in the mistakes made
a way through which Providence has made its way,
and evil did not have the last word.
Show yourself to be a friend to those who struggle the most,
and as you supported Mary and Jesus in difficult times,
support us too on our journey. Amen.