In parishes, it is challenging to preach about the family on this feast day. In the pews are many people not living in families like the one that Jesus grew up in, the traditional nuclear family. But notice, the nuclear family is not the family that Jesus held up to us for admiration. In Luke 8:19ff, Jesus says about his mother and family: “my mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.” That is what family seems to mean to Jesus. In the early church, it also is not the blood of genealogy or physical relationship but rather the blood of Christ that binds people together as “fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19). Families can be places where members learn to be compassionate and generous toward those outside the family group, learn to be leaders and teachers of good relationships. I’ve been blessed to know families like that. But Jesus and we both know that families also can become insular and selfish enclaves. The same is true of family-type groups like parishes. Is there anything I can do to help the family-like groups I belong to become holier in this next year?
— Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia