A different family
Among Catholics, the value of the family is defended almost instinctively, but we do not always stop to reflect on what the family is supposed to be concretely as understood and lived from the perspective of the Gospel. What would a family be like that finds its inspiration in Jesus? The family, according to him, has its origin in the mystery of the Creator who lures man and woman to each other in order to become “one flesh,” sharing their life in a mutual self-giving, animated by a free and gratuitous love. This is the first and decisive thing. This loving experience of parents can engender a healthy family.
Following the heartfelt call of their love, parents become a source of new life. It is their most exciting task. It is what can give depth and a new horizon to their love. It is what can solidify forever their joint creative work in the world.
Children are a gift and a responsibility. They are a difficult challenge and an incomparable satisfaction. The way Jesus acts, defending always the little ones and embracing children and blessing them, indicates the basic attitude: to care for the fragile life of those who are beginning their journey through this world. Nobody can offer them anything better.
In the midst of the present society that does not know and does not care, a Christian family tries to live an experience that is true to its origin: to build a home that has Jesus as its point of departure. “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” It is Jesus that breathes life to the family, sustains it and gives it direction, so that it stays healthy.
The home becomes, then, a privileged space where the most basic experiences of the Christian faith are lived: trust in a good God who is a friend of human beings; being drawn to Jesus’ lifestyle; the discovery of God’s plan to build a better world that human beings deserve, a more just and kinder world for everybody. For all this, the reading of the Gospel in the family is an experience that is decisive.
In a home where one lives Jesus with simple faith, yet very passionately, there grows a family that is always welcoming, sensitive to the suffering of the needy, and where one can learn to share and to be committed to bringing about a more human world. Such a family does not look out for its own interests, but rather, it lives showing its openness to the human family.
Many parents today live overwhelmed by different problems and are left all too alone to face their tasks. Could they not receive more concrete and more effective assistance from Christian communities? It would do much good to many parents who are believers to meet, share their concerns and support each other. It is not in accordance with the Gospel to demand from them heroic tasks and then have nothing to do with their struggles and the worries that leave them without sleep.
José Antonio Pagola
December 30, 2012
Holy Family (C)