And be kind to one another, compassionate,
forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.
So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love,
as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us
as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.
My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
Already the beginning of August! For parents or grandparents or guardians, the beginning of August starts a ‘new year’ as we prepare our children to return to school, whether Catholic or public. For those children who attend public school, we are also registering our children for Faith Formation classes. St. Paul speaks to us about how we should live out our baptismal call – in thought, word and action. The family is essential to the plan of God for the sake of our salvation in Jesus because the family is the place where our Catholic faith is handed on and lived.
The family is a holy community and as we live “in Christ,” the family is the ‘domestic church’. The family is called to seek to do what is good in fulfilling their baptismal call. To see the family as the Church “in miniature,” and to call the Church itself the “family of God,” are ideas that have been present from the early centuries of Christianity.
St. Paul says we are to be kind to one another, to live in love. We are to put on the order of charity. The passage from the “love of God” to the “love of neighbor,” begins with the family. Pope Francis says that families are the ‘authentic living stones of the ecclesiastical construction’ of the Church. Each family extends God’s love from its own holy community to others marking the earth holy.
It is through formation that we learn to grow as a holy family, as a holy community. This formation is not something that happens on its own. We participate with each other in the formation. Mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, guardians, brothers, sisters bring forth God’s love through the opportunities for formation. The formation is not one in which you ‘drop off’ the family member and forget about him/her. The formation is integrally woven into each family structure so that God’s house is being built through the formation of the family.
Starting with one family, we are invited to join together in our understanding and love of God so that we are building His kingdom on this earth. We bring our uniqueness, born of God, and celebrate the beauty of this gift of life in all its splendor. The Church looks at the individual as a member of a family, and at the family in relation to society. By our Baptism, we imbue our daily living with a ‘sweet aroma’. The family has an evangelizing and missionary task (CCC 2205).
Parents and guardians, you are the “first catechists” of your children. Teach your children that the primary vocation of each human person is to know, love and serve God in this life, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.
How will we be imitators of God if we don’t learn about God? As children participate in their classes, we adults also participate and learn with them. Perhaps we may attend Scripture studies or read and reflect upon Church documents. Just as the children are nourished with study, we also continue to learn about God. The celebration of Mass is our spiritual nourishment as we join with Christ who loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God. We with utmost humility offer ourselves to God and receive Him that we might become what we receive.
May we be beloved children and live in love.