One of the constant concerns of the papacy over the last 30 years has been to strengthen our understanding of the role of the family in society. Without the family, in fact, society as we know it will crumble until it ceases to exist! Why do I say this? Simply because the family is the most basic unit of society and without it – without the values that families pass on to their children, the moral structure of our society will disappear.

Thus the family must always be a constant focus in our lives as Christians. We must do all that we can to try sand strengthen Christian families in particular or we will find that the values that the Gospel has given us will fade away from public life. If we give in to the secularistic tendencies of our world and place more value on things like jobs and money, then we will find that our society will reflect that trend. Society will lose a sense of the value of familial relationships and fail to protect them with its laws and policies of government.

If we open our eyes and look around us I think that we will see that this is already happening. Therefore, it is imperative for us to begin to redress the wrong emphases that have crept into our society. We can only begin with ourselves and let the witness of our renewed family lifestyles speak for themselves! It will be and is a great challenge for us to grasp, but if we fail to do it, what values will we be passing on to the next generation?

Jesus lived His childhood in obedient submission to His parents. He valued the human institution of the family! How much do we value it? Jesus’ life and ministry stems to no small degree from His childhood family values of obedience and love for all people. We can be sure that He learnt these values from Mary and Joseph! Yes, He is Son of God, but He is also a human being like each one of us!

What value do I place on cultivating my family relationships? Am I a good family member in that I continue to share and receive my values of life and love from my family?

Lord Jesus, you submitted your life to your parents, Mary and Joseph, in Nazareth. Help me to build a family life that holds true to all the values of the Gospel and thus true to your love.