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JPII Families Become What You Are

Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching…always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:2, 5

Do you see yourself as an evangelist, sharing the Gospel in the world so in need of God’s love and mercy? The Gospel is “good news,” that God became man in the person of His Son Jesus Christ, that he died for the forgiveness of our sins, reconciling us to the Father, and that He rose from the dead. Every baptized Christian is called to share this good news with the world.

This is especially important in the family. Parents have the primary responsibility of bringing their children up in the faith. The most important document to come out the Second Vatican Council speaks of this important role of husbands and wives…

The family is, so to speak, the domestic church. In it parents should, by their word and example, be the first preachers of the faith to their children…where Christianity pervades the entire mode of family life, ala gradually transforms it, one will find there both the practice and an excellent school of the lay apostolate. In such a home husbands and wives find their proper vocation in being witnesses of the faith and love of Christ to one another and to their children. The Christian family loudly proclaims both the present virtues of the Kingdom of God and the hope of a blessed life to come. Lumen Gentium (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church), §11 and §35

The family is the bedrock of our society. This is where children learn love and virtues. When families are healthy and whole, a society is healthy and whole. When family breaks down, civil society breaks down. St. Pope Paul VI issued an Apostolic Exhortation on how we are all called to be evangelizers for the faith. He stressed the importance of the family in carrying out the mission to evangelize…

One cannot fail to stress the evangelizing action of the family in the evangelizing apostolate of the laity… In a family which is conscious of this mission, all the members evangelize and are evangelized. The parents not only communicate the Gospel to their children, but from their children they can themselves receive the same Gospel as deeply lived by them. And such a family becomes the evangelizer of many other families, and of the neighborhood of which it forms part. Evangelii Nuntiandi (Evangelization in the Modern World), §71

Families can transform our neighborhoods, our country, and the world. St. Pope John Paul II in his classic Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World), said that “The future of humanity passes by way of the family” (§86). He further states:

…parents must be acknowledged as the first and foremost educators of their children. Their role as educators is so decisive that scarcely anything can compensate for their failure in it. The right and duty of parents to give education is essential…The ministry of evangelization carried out by Christian parents is original and irreplaceable. It assumes the characteristics typical of family life itself, which should be interwoven with love, simplicity, practicality and daily witness. Familiaris Consortio (The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World), §36 and §53

In the midst of division and strife in our country and world, the family plays a critical role in restoring society. And it begins with just one family, your family. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “the role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute” (2221).

The family is a kind of school of deeper humanity. But if it is to achieve the full flowering of its life and mission, it needs the kindly communion of minds and the joint deliberation of spouses, as well as the painstaking cooperation of parents in the education of their children…the family, in which the various generations come together and help one another grow wiser and harmonize personal rights with the other requirements of social life, is the foundation of society. Gaudium et Spes (The Church in the Modern World), §52

You are called to the mission of sharing the Gospel, starting first with your family. St. Paul in his letter to the church in Corinth stresses the importance of this task that we have been given.

Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 1 Corinthians 9:16c

We are all in need of a savior. Jesus is the answer to every problem that we face in our families and our society. Souls are at stake. You are the hands and feet of Jesus. Proclaim the Gospel boldly and without fear. God is with you.