It is disheartening to hear and see the gradual decimation and demise of the family. We are more aware of the realities of broken homes, the single parents’ phenomenon, child abuse, and parental addictions. Such scenario is alarming because of its far-reaching consequences. When mothers, fathers or both have to leave their families to earn abroad, there are not only economic gains but also social costs. Is the effort worth it?
The family, no matter what its shortcomings and flaws are, remains to be the fundamental human connection. None of our families is holy and perfect; each is a combination of all sorts of conflicts, compulsions, and craziness that put to test our love and forgiveness. But in the midst of all that, God remains present. There is no other place to find Him. It is the place where He found us.
Yet the understanding of family has to be expanded. At the center of Jesus’ family life and at the center of his ministry is his Father. That relationship is for Jesus the most important in his life because that gives him direction and support that will sustain him in his suffering and death. When Jesus describes his family in Scriptures, he says that it is not a relationship of blood but rather a relationship of fidelity to the Word of God. That is why he said: “My mother and brothers are those who hear the Word of God and hear it.”
Like Jesus, we are thus tasked to focus our lives on the Word of God. Whether we live alone or in a family, whether we have many relatives or none, we can be all part of Jesus’ new and expanded family. The only requirement is to hear the Word of God and fulfill it. Since Jesus extended his family, today’s Feast of the Holy Family truly belongs to all of us. Look around then and see the people around us are indeed members of our family.
We then pray in gratitude for our respective families both in its usual and expanded meaning. We pray for a greater familiarity and unity of sense as we become better witnesses of God’s love.