Papal Inauguration Homily: St Joseph and Authority of Loving Service


By Christopher B. Warner

Pope Francis gave a fatherly homily today in his inauguration mass about St. Joseph as protector of the Holy Family and the Church. He also spoke about his authority as pope and likened it to St. Joseph’s authority: the power of faithful loving service to all, especially by protecting our family members and the most vulnerable in society. Here are a few excerpts from his homily:
In the Gospel we heard that “Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary as his wife” (Mt 1:24). These words already point to the mission which God entrusts to Joseph: he is to be the custos, the protector. The protector of whom? Of Mary and Jesus; but this protection is then extended to the Church, as Blessed John Paul II pointed out: “Just as Saint Joseph took loving care of Mary and gladly dedicated himself to Jesus Christ’s upbringing, he likewise watches over and protects Christ’s Mystical Body, the Church, of which the Virgin Mary is the exemplar and model” (Redemptoris Custos, 1).
How does Joseph exercise his role as protector? Discreetly, humbly and silently, but with an unfailing presence and utter fidelity, even when he finds it hard to understand…Joseph is a “protector” because he is able to hear God’s voice and be guided by his will… Husbands and wives first protect one another, and then, as parents, they care for their children, and children themselves, in time, protect their parents…

Today, together with the feast of Saint Joseph, we are celebrating the beginning of the ministry of the new Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Peter, which also involves a certain power. Certainly, Jesus Christ conferred power upon Peter, but what sort of power was it? Jesus’ three questions to Peter about love are followed by three commands: feed my lambs, feed my sheep. Let us never forget that authentic power is service, and that the Pope too, when exercising power, must enter ever more fully into that service which has its radiant culmination on the Cross. He must be inspired by the lowly, concrete and faithful service which marked Saint Joseph and, like him, he must open his arms to protect all of God’s people and embrace with tender affection the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important, those whom Matthew lists in the final judgment on love: the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison (cf. Mt 25:31-46). Only those who serve with love are able to protect!...

To protect Jesus with Mary, to protect the whole of creation, to protect each person, especially the poorest, to protect ourselves: this is a service that the Bishop of Rome is called to carry out, yet one to which all of us are called, so that the star of hope will shine brightly. Let us protect with love all that God has given us!

Read more:
http://www.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/pope-franciss-inaugural-mass-full-text#ixzz2O01wVSCO
N.B. European countries that are Roman Catholic celebrate Father’s Day today, the solemn feast of St. Joseph.  Happy Father’s Day!
 

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