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Categorized | From the Pulpit

Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive

Father Lam T. Le, Pastor

St John Paul II Parish

3110 17 Mile Rd NE, Cedar Springs

 

A Reflection on the Visit of Pope Francis to the United States of America

C-Pulpit-popeMuch excitement surrounds the first visit of Pope Francis to the United States of America from September 22-28. The Pope has a busy schedule, first visiting the White House in Washington, D.C., then traveling to New York City to address the United Nations, and most importantly, presiding over the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. The World Meeting of Families is an international gathering that was founded by Pope (now Saint) John Paul II in 1994, and is held every three years to promote and encourage families throughout the world.

The 2015 theme of the World Meeting of Families says it all: “Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive,” which emphasizes the impact that the love and life of families has on society. Why does the Pope put so much emphasis on strengthening family life among Catholics and non-Catholics? The answer is, I believe, found in three important paragraphs (1655-1657) of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that his immediate predecessor Pope Benedict XVI put much effort in preparing. It is important to fully quote them:

Christ chose to be born and grow up in the bosom of the holy family of Joseph and Mary. The Church is nothing other than “the family of God.” From the beginning, the core of the Church was often constituted by those who had become believers “together with all [their] household.”  When they were converted, they desired that “their whole household” should also be saved.  These families who became believers were islands of Christian life in an unbelieving world.

In our own time, in a world often alien and even hostile to faith, believing families are of primary importance as centers of living, radiant faith. For this reason, the Second Vatican Council, using an ancient expression, calls the family the Ecclesia domestica [domestic Church]. It is in the bosom of the family that parents are “by word and example . . . the first heralds of the faith with regard to their children. They should encourage them in the vocation which is proper to each child, fostering with special care any religious vocation.”

It is here that the father of the family, the mother, children, and all members of the family exercise the priesthood of the baptized in a privileged way “by the reception of the sacraments, prayer and thanksgiving, the witness of a holy life, and self-denial and active charity.” Thus the home is the first school of Christian life and “a school for human enrichment.” Here one learns endurance and the joy of work, fraternal love, generous – even repeated – forgiveness, and above all divine worship in prayer and the offering of one’s life.

As the Pope visits our country to encourage, strengthen and bless families throughout the world, it is good for us to ask ourselves this question: “What am I doing to strengthen my family?” and more importantly, “What am I doing to make God present in my family and community?” Let love be our mission and let our family be fully alive in Christ.

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