Family as place of revelation of God.
Theological basis for the importance of the common good.
-If true at the micro level (family of origin) then true at the macro level (universal human family)
Family, any family, all families are the place of Great wounds and Great love.
-Place where we learn honor and shame
“The Holy Family is the icon of the domestic Church, called to pray together. The family is the domestic Church and must be the first school of prayer. It is in the family that children, from the tenderest age, can learn to perceive the meaning of God, also thanks to the teaching and example of their parents: to live in an atmosphere marked by God’s presence.”
– Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Dec. 28th, 2011
Yesterday: My Family Christmas Gathering
We are a perfect family:
Red hair, black, blond, grey, bald and every shade of L’Oreal.
Tall, short, fat, skinny, athletic, clumsy, artistic and Neanderthal.
Irish, Mexican, Italian, Swedish, English and a lot of different places on the map but not every place.
Politically liberal, conservative, a few libertarians, gay, straight, single and even celibate.
Diabetic, alcoholic, cancer survivors, near sighted, far sighted and blind at so many different levels
Married by sacrament or by civil law or just in their own mindsSome are aware of Social justice violations and do what they can. Some even listen to Rush Limbaugh but more would be in tune with Steven Colbert.
In my family you will find the divorced, depressed, addicted, religious, nonreligious, military veterans and those who have never bothered to vote.
We haven’t dealt with dementia in any of its many forms or severe mental illness, but that is not to stay one day we might have to.
My father took pride that he could say that none of his children had ever been arrested, but that isn’t true anymore.
Some work for the Government, law enforcement, construction and a couple of entrepreneurial, self- made millionaires (they married into the family).
Some just had babies, at least one is pregnant and three are planning on being married, one in a bowling alley, one in the Catholic church and one who can’t decide what they’re going to do.
Some are racist, some are color blind and everyone has a variety of prejudices both good and bad.
Don’t think I’ve missed any of the major characteristics that you could see if you were in the PC with my family yesterday, but I am sure there are talents and gifts and issues and problems just waiting to emerge.
That’s why it’s perfect: it is a mix up of a whole bunch of strengths and weaknesses. It is a blend of pride and shame and we have to deal with it all. There are strong convictions about a lot of issues and many things we can’t talk about without an argument starting, but in the end we belong to one another. If I had a choice about including everyone who is in my family would I have included them? Maybe not. And I am better for not having had that choice.
Family is about acceptance, even when approval is not forthcoming. Family is about commitment, even when my preferences are not the only or the most important preferences. Family is about caring for one another, about belonging, about respecting differences and even celebrating them.
The Holy Family, the perfect family knows it belongs to something much bigger than itself, more transcendent, with greater variety than the eye can see.
Family is most a family when we sit at the same table and share food from the same source: God, who is love.
It is the place of forgiveness, given and received. Over and over.
This Christmas season, this beginning of a new year, challenge yourself to ask: how is God being revealed to you in the family you belong to, or better, all the families you belong to.
And when you are uncertain if you are loved or unsure how best to love, come and find your seat at the table of the Lord. We can’t be a family without you.