Joseph Reaches to the Peripheries

The Holy Father, having concluded a weeks-long catechesis on St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, has now turned his focus to the foster-father of Jesus: Joseph of Nazareth.

“Never like before, today, in this time marked by a global crisis made up of several components, can he offer us support, consolation and guidance. Therefore, I have decided to dedicate a cycle of catecheses to him, which I hope may further help us to let ourselves be enlightened by his example and by his witness,” said Pope Francis in his general weekly audience.

Pope Francis points to the geographical location of Joseph as an important point in understanding his role in our lives. His life in the small, quiet towns of Nazareth and Bethlehem can tell us a great deal.

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“The Son of God did not choose Jerusalem as the place of his incarnation, but Bethlehem and Nazareth, two outlying villages, far from the clamour of the news and the powers of the time.”

He notes that while Jerusalem was the “Holy City”, the chosen place for the Jewish leaders and teachers, that is not where Christ came into the world. While he could have entered human life in the midst of the great city, instead “he was born in a periphery and spent his life, until the age of thirty, in that periphery, working as a carpenter like Joseph”.

In the same way, Joseph, a simple carpenter in a small town, lives in the peripheries yet places all of his trust in God’s plan for his life. The lesson we take from Joseph, says the Holy Father, is this: He “reminds the Church to keep her eyes on what the world deliberately ignores.” Joseph reminds us to look for the people and places that are discarded by others, to appreciate and pay attention to what truly matters.

Ashley Noronha, Relevant Radio Rome Correspondent, said on her weekly Relevant in Rome podcast that Pope Francis encourages us to “look around for the sick, the hungry, the poor, and the least. And this is something to do in the witness and example of St. Joseph.”

If you also live in the “peripheries”, in small and seemingly unimportant or forgotten places, Pope Francis has this to say to you:

“Today I would like to send a message to all the men and women who live in the most forgotten geographical peripheries of the world, or who experience situations of existential marginalisation. May you find in Saint Joseph the witness and protector to look to.”

The Holy Father offered this prayer for us today:

Saint Joseph,

you who have always trusted God,

and have made your choices

guided by his providence

teach us not to count so much on our own plans

but on his plan of love.

You who come from the peripheries

help us to convert our gaze

and to prefer what the world discards and marginalises.

Comfort those who feel alone

and support those who work silently

to defend life and human dignity. Amen.

Listen to the Relevant in Rome podcast for more from Ashley Noronha about this week’s general audience. Find a new episode weekly on the Relevant Radio app!

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Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.