December 24. Mary and Joseph. Little is known about their backgrounds apart from the early chapters in Luke and Matthew which are usually interwoven into one. The essential message is God’s continued love and plan for the wellbeing of all his people. The angel Gabriel asked Mary if she would be the mother of God’s Son through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph was warned in a dream to accept Mary’s condition and care for her and her Son. Mary and Joseph each responded to their call with love and commitment. They were simple but upright and faithful people, descendants of the house of David from whose family the Messiah was expected. In response to the call from the Roman emperor they travelled to Bethlehem, David’s city where the Messiah was to be born. From the beginning Jesus’ life was threatened and Joseph was his protector. Mary plays a very important role in the Church and there are many family devotions to her.  Joseph’s role has been recognised recently, especially by Pope Francis in establishing a special year of devotion to him.

Pope Francis describes St Joseph as a beloved father, tender and loving, an obedient, accepting father; who is creatively courageous, working in the shadows. Against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic he is honoured as one of the “ordinary people who far from the limelight, exercise patience and offer hope every day.” Patris Corde. Pope Francis: Families need constantly to grow and mature in the ability to love. This vocation is born of the Trinity, the first community of love, the unity between Christ and his Church and the loving community of the Holy Family of Nazareth. AL 325. Reflect and share. This time is traditionally an invitation for all Christians for commitment and working towards peace on earth and to all people of good will. Today our invitation is expanded to include ecological awareness of all of creation. Our conversion is to hear “the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor and to live a simpler more sustainable lifestyle, not an easy task in our world of families today.