Angelus Address on March 19, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI

Today, March 19, is the solemnity of St. Joseph, but as it coincides with the third Sunday of Lent, its liturgical celebration is postponed until tomorrow. However, the Marian context of the Angelus invites us to reflect with veneration on the figure of the Most Holy Virgin Mary’s spouse, patron of the universal Church. I like to recall that our beloved Pope John Paul II was also very devoted to St. Joseph, to whom he dedicated the apostolic exhortation “Redemptoris Custos,” Guardian of the Redeemer, and who surely experienced his assistance at the hour of death.

The figure of this great saint, even though remaining somewhat hidden, is of fundamental importance in the history of salvation. Above all, belonging to the tribe of Judah, he united Jesus to the Davidic lineage, so that, realizing the promises about the Messiah, the son of the Virgin Mary may really be called “son of David.”

The Gospel of Matthew highlights in a special way the messianic prophecies which found their fulfillment through Joseph’s role: the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem (2:13-15); the byname “Nazarene” (2:22-23). In all this he showed himself, as his spouse Mary, authentic heir of Abraham’s faith: faith in God who guides the events of history according to his mysterious salvific plan. His greatness, like Mary’s, stands out even more because his mission was developed in humility and in the hiddenness of the house of Nazareth. Moreover, God himself, in the person of his incarnate Son, chose this way and style of life in his earthly existence.

From the example of St. Joseph we all receive a strong invitation to develop with fidelity, simplicity and modesty the task that providence has assigned to us. I am thinking above all of fathers and mothers of families, and I pray that they will always be able to appreciate the beauty of a simple and industrious life, cultivating the conjugal relationship with care and fulfilling with enthusiasm the great and not easy educational mission.

To priests, who exercise paternity over ecclesial communities, may St. Joseph obtain that they love the Church with affection and complete dedication, and support consecrated persons in their joyous and faithful observance of the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience. May he protect workers worldwide so that they contribute with their different professions to the progress of the whole of humanity, and may he help every Christian to realize the will of God with confidence and love, thus cooperating in the fulfillment of the work of salvation.