pope-francisA Week Ahead of Christmas, Francis Encourages Faithful to Ask Themselves If We Open the Door to God
December 18, 2016Deborah Castellano LubovAngelus/Regina Caeli

“Joseph, teaches us to always trust in God, Who approaches us: when God approaches us, we must trust him.”
Pope Francis urged faithful to ask themselves this during his Angelus address today at noon in St. Peter’s Square, while reflecting on today’s reading from the Gospel of Matthew, which tells of Joseph’s inability to understand how Mary was pregnant, and how the angel visited him to explain how Mary’s pregnancy was a work of the Holy Spirit.

In his remarks, Francis stressed how we can learn from Mary and Joseph’s example, especially as, “in a different way,” God comes with His grace to us also, to enter into our lives and offer us the gift of His Son.

As we mark one week before Christmas day, Francis called on faithful gathered to analyze how they welcome the Lord into their lives.
‘And we, what do we do? Do we welcome him, we let him get close, or we reject him, we send him away?’ Francis also called on them to reflect.
‘To God Who comes close, do I open the door – to the Lord – when I hear an inner inspiration, when I feel that I am asked to do more for others, when I am called to pray?’

Francis noted how these two protagonists of today’s Gospel–Mary and Joseph- first accepted Jesus through faith and introduce us into the mystery of Christmas.
By welcoming Mary, Francis stressed, Joseph welcomes Jesus, Who, in her, “was conceived through the wondrous work of God, to whom nothing is impossible.”
“Joseph teaches us to let ourselves be guided by Him, with voluntary obedience,” and, “encourages us to always seek God’s will and to follow it with full confidence.”

The Holy Father highlighted how both of them allowed themselves to be approached by God.
Mary, he said, helps us to put ourselves in the attitude of willingness to welcome the Son of God in our concrete lives, in our flesh.
As Mary, in offering herself freely to the Lord, allowed Him to change the fate of humanity, “we too,” Francis urged, “in accepting Jesus and trying to follow Him every day, can cooperate with His plan for salvation, for ourselves, and the world.”

Therefore, the Blessed Mother, the Argentine Pontiff stressed, is a model for us to look to as well as a support we can rely on, as we search for God and seek to be close to Him.

Pope Francis, as usual, concluded wishing those present a good Sunday and good lunch, and asking those present to pray for him.