The Heart of John Paul II-On Family

"He lived our human condition in everything"
Pope John Paul II
Excerpt of General Audience
December 29, 1993

Almost immediately after his birth, the gratuitous violence that threatened the life of Jesus fell down on many other families too, provoking the death of the Holy Innocents. By recalling this terrible episode of the life of the Son of God, that involved also the life of other children of his time, the Church is invited to pray for all the families menaced from the inside and from the outside...The Holy Family of Nazareth is a permanent challenge for us, that obliges us to go further in the understanding of the mystery of the “domestic church” and of each human family. It is for us an incentive to pray for the families and with the families, and to share with them all their joys and hopes, but also their preoccupations and fears.

Actually, the experience of the family is called to become a daily offertory, as a holy offering to God, a gift of pleasing fragrance. The Gospel of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple suggests us this same idea. Jesus, the light of the world but also “a sign that will be contradicted” (Lk 2,32.34), desires to receive this offering of each family as he receives the bread and wine in the Eucharist. He wants to join to the bread and wine destined to transubstantiation these human hopes and joys, but also the inevitable sufferings and preoccupations of each family, by incorporating them to the mystery of his Body and his Blood. He then in turn gives them back - the same Body and Blood - in the communion, as a source of spiritual energy, not only for each single person but also for each family.

May the Holy Family of Nazareth give us an always-deeper understanding of the vocation of each family, that finds in Christ the source of its dignity and of its holiness.


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