During the months of May and June we set time aside time to honor our mothers and fathers in heaven and here on earth. We gather to celebrate and give thanks in family for all that our parents do for us. Yet there are many families in our midst who do not have the opportunity to enjoy this gift that some of us may take for granted.
This past month there was so much sadness in our city. We, as Church, can help families become stronger and healthier.
Just this past month, parents have lost their son to senseless violence or find their child in the hospital in critical condition. A young mom stabs her young son and kills him. A young teen kills another for a cell phone. Tears ran down my face as I heard of the killing of this 14-year-old boy by a 13-year-old for a cell phone.
Seeing one family at the funeral crying for their son, asking why, and seeing the other family at the court room with their arms around each other crying. My heart went out to both families. They both have lost.
These are more of the tragic things that have happened in families today but I hear from friends who are teachers of students who go to school, disrespect the teachers and when they tell them that they will call a parent they say, "Go ahead." Their parent doesn't care or won't do anything anyway. When they contact the parent, the child was right. So much depression.
These are difficult times for raising a family but what does the Bible tell us about how we should bring up our family? We have the key. We have the Good News to bring these families!
In one of Pope Francis' audiences in May he said, "All of us know people who have experienced difficult situations, so much pain.
Let us think of those men and women who have a difficult life, who fight for the survival of their family, educate their children. They do this because the Spirit of fortitude helps them."
In Ephesians 6:4 we read: "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up with the training and instruction of the Lord."
Take some time to meditate on this and other verses directed toward families and have a family Bible study night. We can help our families learn what this Scripture reading tells us.
The Year of the Family was started in 1994 by St. John Paul II, and is now organized by the Pontifical Council for the Family. It takes place every three years, with the purpose of strengthening sacred family bonds all over the world. Next year from Sept. 22-27, 2015, the World Meeting of Families will take place in Philadelphia and the theme that they chose is, "Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive." It is not official yet but there is a possibility of a papal visit by Pope Francis during that week.
One of the priorities for Pope Francis is the family. One of the first actions as pope was to send the bishops around the world a survey entitled, "Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization," in preparation for the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops that will take place in Rome Oct. 5-19. The survey that was filled out by representatives around the world.