Author: Dr Jenny O'Brien
It is striking how often Pope Francis refers to the family in his writings and homilies. In the week after Christmas we celebrated the feast of the Holy Family, and now at the beginning of February, the Presentation of Jesus in the temple. Both feasts call us to reflect on the vital link between a strong Christian family and a fruitful celebration of parish liturgy.
Mary and Joseph did not stand out as an exceptional family. Jesus spent 30 years in the family home in Nazareth where, Luke’s Gospel tells us, he ‘grew and became strong, filled with wisdom.’ Just as Mary and Joseph handed on faith and wisdom to Jesus, so parents today provide for their children ideals to live by and values to sustain daily living. Pope Francis once said, “Mothers are the strongest antidote to individualism because they “divide” themselves from the moment they give birth to a child.’ And Jesus himself gave God the Father the intimate name of “Abba” (Dad), shared by fathers today when they spend time in conversation, play and prayer with their children.