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In an Angelus message in 2001, Pope St. John Paul II said: ‘Today we shift our gaze from the grotto of Bethlehem where the Saviour was born on Holy Night to the humble house of Nazareth, to contemplate the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, whose feast we celebrate in the festive, family atmosphere of Christmas. The Redeemer of the world chose the family as the place for his birth and growth, thereby sanctifying this fundamental institution of every society. The time he spent in Nazareth, the greater part of his life, continues to be shrouded in deep silence. Very little information about it has been passed on to us by the Evangelists. However, if we aspire to a deeper understanding of Jesus’ life and mission, we must draw close to the mystery of the Holy Family of Nazareth to observe and listen’.

May we, today, ‘incline the ear of [our] heart’, as St Benedict expresses it, and draw near to the silence of Nazareth; to observe, to listen, and learn, in order for our own lives to be changed.

May God bless you this day, and bring you much joy.