Amoris Laetitia 182: A Holy and Ordinary Family

amoris laetitia memePope Francis invites reflection on Jesus, Mary, and Joseph:

182. No family can be fruitful if it sees itself as overly different or “set apart”. To avoid this risk, we should remember that Jesus’ own family, so full of grace and wisdom, did not appear unusual or different from others. That is why people found it hard to acknowledge Jesus’ wisdom: “Where did this man get all this? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary?” (Mk 6:23). “Is this not the carpenter’s son?” (Mt 13: 55). These questions make it clear that theirs was an ordinary family, close to others, a normal part of the community. Jesus did not grow up in a narrow and stifling relationship with Mary and Joseph, but readily interacted with the wider family, the relatives of his parents and their friends. This explains how, on returning from Jerusalem, Mary and Joseph could imagine for a whole day that the twelve-year-old Jesus was somewhere in the caravan, listening to people’s stories and sharing their concerns: “Supposing him to be in the group of travellers, they went a day’s journey” (Lk 2:44). Still, some Christian families, whether because of the language they use, the way they act or treat others, or their constant harping on the same two or three issues, end up being seen as remote and not really a part of the community. Even their relatives feel looked down upon or judged by them.

How many Catholics are convicted by this observation. I know a few people who have become very diligent in observing their faith. Yet they wonder why their children, siblings, neighbors, and other parishioners seem to shun them. Truth-telling may well be a burden to all involved, but is every fault open for rehashing at any time? Certainly we can respect the journey that has brought renewed conversion to some individuals and families. I’d want to hear about that. Often it is important to step back and make a judgment: What if I myself have become a poor messenger for the Gospel, turning people off rather than inspiring them to join me?

For your reference, remember that Amoris Laetitia is online here.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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