Vatican City, 2 September 2015 (VIS) – The family as the conduit of faith was the theme of Pope Francis' catechesis during September's first general audience.
Francis remarked first that Jesus, both in His words and His signs, frequently presented family bonds as an example of our relationship with God. These bonds “within the experience of faith and God's love, are transformed and acquire a higher meaning, and are able to go beyond themselves, to create a broader paternity and maternity, and to welcome as brothers and sisters those who are at the margins”. To this purpose, the bishop of Rome cited the Gospel passage in which Jesus responded to those who said that His mother and brothers were seeking him outside: “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother”.
“The wisdom of affections that cannot be bought or sold is the finest quality of the family. It is precisely in the family that we learn to grow in that atmosphere of emotional wisdom. … When family affections are allowed to be converted by the witness of the Gospel, they become capable of unimaginable things, the actions that God works in history, like those that Jesus achieves for the men, women and children he encounters. A smile miraculously snatched from the despair of an abandoned child, who starts to live again, explains to us God's work in the world better than a thousand theological treatises. One man and one woman, capable of risking and making sacrifices for the child of others and not only their own, tell us things about love that scientists are not able to understand”.
“The family that responds to Jesus' call restores the rule of the world to the alliance of man and woman with God”, Francis emphasised. “Let us imagine that the helm of history (of society, the economy, politics) is finally passed to the alliance between man and woman, so that they might govern with a view to the generation to come. The themes of the earth and the home, the economy and work, would play a very different tune!”
“Effectively, the alliance between the family and God is called upon to oppose to the community desertification of the modern city. But our cities have been desertified through a lack of love, a lack of smiles. There is so much entertainment, so many things to pass the time, to make us laugh, but there is a lack of love. The smile of a family is able to conquer this desertification of our cities. And this is the victory of family love”.
“No form of economic or political engineering is able to substitute the contribution families make”, he concluded. “The project of Babel builds lifeless skyscrapers. The Spirit of God, instead, makes deserts bloom. We must leave the towers and strongholds of the elites, in order to frequent once more the homes and open spaces of the multitudes, open to the love of the family”.