Christmas, 24-25 December 2020

To you, Joseph, husband of Mary, I address my congratulations today: Merry Christmas!. I could not find a better mediator than you to congratulate Mary and little Jesus for me on this holy night. You are the one who could best represent all the inhabitants of this blue planet in that magical moment when our Abba decided to raise the seed of his Son in the womb of Mary – your wife. At that moment you, overcoming your fears, welcomed her into your home. You took care of Mary during those nine long and mysterious months of gestation. You were her bodyguard. With no one better than you, she would have felt so protected, so supported, so loved.

Little by little you made your own the life that was pulsing in your wife’s womb. You, Joseph, did not abandon her: always with her, always at her service! You are the only one who has that fantastic photo album – which none of the Evangelists could see – because the images of Mary crying, praying, smiling, suffering were engraved on your retina… What would have become of Mary without you, without your presence, without your love? Among millions and millions of men, Abba chose you to be his human extension, his providence, his strong arm.

Moreover, Joseph, you are the “son of David”. You carry in your veins the blood of the Promise. You are the best summary of all the Old Covenant, which in you is about to become “New”. The great King David would never suspect that you, one of his last grandchildren, would be the bodyguard, the husband of the King’s mother who was promised to you.

  • Joseph, when the time came for the birth, you were there, again as a bodyguard, as a witness, creating the atmosphere of love that that humble portal did not offer.
  • You contemplated for the first time the Child-God. You saw God in Him.
  • You felt wrapped in His glory, and you discovered your vocation as “God’s bodyguard”, in the human and fatherly image of the Abba of heaven.
  • And the fire of your heart – ignited by the Spirit – became a “commitment to death” with that Child, with that Woman of yours.
  • You were a bodyguard without violence, without resorting to any weapon. Nothing, nothing bad happened to them, neither to the Mother nor to the Child… until you took them to Nazareth.
  • Until that moment your record had been impeccable. Mary, your wife, said to the Little One, “Why have you done this to us? Your father and I were anxiously looking for you”. Then Jesus told you that he did not need your protection so much, that his bodyguard was the Abba from heaven. Later, Jesus would say something similar to your Wife: “What is it between you and me, woman? The light of Jesus was more and more intense… and you were disappearing from the scene of his life.

Joseph, congratulations. I imagine that in heaven it won’t be difficult for you to “revive” the happiness of those years, to open the living album of those unforgettable experiences. And when you do, please congratulate little Jesus and his young Mother Mary for us. And, you, multiply your presence on this planet, in this humanity where so many lives, so many children, so many women, are unprotected. Be also the bodyguard of humanity… and of Creation (Laudato Sí!

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