The 10th World Meeting of Families ends in Rome with the celebration of Holy Mass presided over by Cardinal Kevin Farrell in the presence of Pope Francis. During the homily, the Pope noted that “the family is the first place where we learn to love.”
By Linde Bordoni
In a world poisoned by the poisons of selfishness, individualism, a culture of indifference and extravagance, Pope Francis praised the beauty of the family and said “today more than ever” we feel compelled to defend it.
The Pope spoke during a homily at a Mass of Thanksgiving on Saturday at the end of the 10th World Meeting of Families in the Vatican on “Family Love: A Call and the Path to Holiness”.
The five-day event organized by the Dicastery for Lay, Family and Life ends on Sunday when Pope Francis is due to address families during Angelus.
He described moments of reflection and sharing, with their rich diversity of experiences, plans and dreams, worries and uncertainties, that occurred during the World Meeting of Families, describing it as “a kind of vast constellation”. He told all present: “Fathers, mothers and children, grandparents, uncles and aunts, adults and children, young and old”, each bringing a different experience of the family, but with one hope and prayer.
Pope Francis then referred to the liturgical readings of the day that illuminate various aspects of conjugal and family love.
Family is a place where we learn to love
In the Epistle of St. Paul to the Galatians, he tells us that the apostle tells us that the freedom given to us by God is entirely directed to love, so that “by love you may become slaves to one another” (Gal 5:13).
Addressing the married couple, he praised their courageous decision to build a family and “to use your freedom not for yourself, but to love the people whom God has placed beside you. “
Instead of living like small islands, he said, you became “servants to one another”.
This is how freedom is achieved in the family, Pope Francis explained, there are no “planets” or “satellites”, each traveling in its own orbit. Family is a place to meet, share, get out of ourselves to welcome others and stand by them.
Even as we confirm this with deep conviction, he said, we know very well “that this is not always the case, for a number of reasons and various situations”.
“And so, praising the beauty of the family, we also feel compelled, today more than ever, to defend the family. Let us not allow the family to be poisoned by the poisons of selfishness, individualism, today’s culture of indifference and wastefulness, and to lose its DNA as a result, which is the spirit of acceptance and service. ”
The relationship between the generations
The second book of kings tells of the relationship between the prophet Elijah and Elisha. It reminds us, the Pope said, of intergenerational relationship“Witness transfer” from parents to children.
He said that in a world where everything seems chaotic and insecure, some parents fear “that children will not be able to cope with the complexity and confusion of our societies.” That fear, he added, makes some parents anxious and others overly protective.
But reflecting on the relationship between Elijah and Elisha in which God shows us that he has confidence in the new generation, Pope Francis said, “How important it is for parents to think about God’s way of doing things!”
“God is not anxious and overly protective; on the contrary, He trusts young people and invites each of them to climb to the heights of life and missions,” He said.
And he encouraged parents not to protect their children “from the slightest hardship and suffering, but to try to pass on to them a passion for life, to awaken in them a desire to discover their calling and to embrace the great mission that God has in mind. them.”
“Dear parents,” he said, “if you help your children discover and accept their vocation, you will see that they too will be ‘affected’ by this mission; and will find the strength they need to face and overcome life’s difficulties.”
A journey without end
Finally, the Gospel of Luke tells us that to follow Jesus is to embark with him on an endless “journey” through life’s events.
The Pope said that our Christian vocation calls us to “experience marriage and family life as a mission, showing fidelity and patience in spite of difficulties, moments of sorrow and trials.”
Inevitably, he said, there will be moments of “resistance, opposition, rejection and misunderstanding born in human hearts,” but with the grace of Christ we are called to “transform it into the acceptance of others and free love.”
Accepting the invitation to marriage and family, the couples embarked on the journey, “not knowing in advance exactly where it would lead and what new situations, unexpected events and surprises would eventually await,” he said.
The church originated from a family
Pope Francis concluded by calling on families to continue to look ahead “because Jesus always leads us on the path of love and service; He encouraged them to share the joy of family love, which must always be open, outward-looking, able to ‘touch’ the weak and the wounded, the weak in body and the weak in spirit, and all you meet along the way ”; and assuring them that it is the Church with them and in them!
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