The Christian Family

Sunday, October 3rd 2021 | By Rev. Michael P. Hanifin

“The Christian family constitutes a specific revelation and realization of  ecclesial communion, and for this reason it can and should be called a  domestic church.” It is a community of faith, hope and charity; it assumes  singular importance in the Church, as is evident in the New Testament.”  (CCC 2204) 

The readings this weekend speak to each of our individual domestic  churches — the little churches that we call our family.  

The First Reading from the book of Genesis takes us to the beginning of  creation when God made man and woman. When Adam saw the woman  he said, “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this  one shall be called ‘woman.’” (Genesis 2:23)  

We can almost hear the longing, gratitude, and appreciation in Adam’s  voice when he met Eve for the first time as he said, “at last.” She was  God’s gift to him because she was not inferior but an equal partner to him.  This was before man’s fall in the Garden of Eden, meaning sin had yet to enter the world. Adam and Eve treated each other with only total  acceptance and love.  

The Gospel this weekend brings us to life after sin had poisoned the world  — a time that is familiar to us modern people. As the Pharisees questioned  Jesus about divorce, He expressed that Moses permitted it because of the  hardness of the human heart. However, Jesus was calling them to deeper  

holiness. He was calling them to return to the original plan God had  intended for marriage, “A man shall leave his father and mother and be  joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24) 

Jesus’ words still apply to us here and now in each of our domestic  churches that we know as the Christian family. It is the task of each family member to tirelessly work to restore God’s original plan for marriage and  family life — homes filled with gratitude, acceptance, and love. 

Today, the Christian family is challenged by the influence of a secular  society that wishes to shape marriage and family life according to its false  utopian vision. It is the responsibility of the greater community including  government to honor and protect family life, to assist it, and to ensure the  stability of Christian marriages, as well as the institution of the family, and  the freedom to embrace the children God gives them, and to bring them up  in keeping with the family’s own moral and religious convictions. (CCC  2211) 

It takes a daily commitment and effort to live out our call to holiness, to  renew and restore Christian families that are created in the beautiful image God originally intended for the success and benefit of society.