The attack on a Gonzales family in our beloved country of Trinidad last week, in which four members were killed while they slept, must be seen as an attack on all families. Here was yet another bold attempt to treat, with disdain, God’s gift of life and the institution meant to serve life; another instance of the invasion of intimacy and security that every home should be able to provide.
It reveals that in addition to the forces that attack the family from within – abortion, absent fathers, the contraceptive mentality, to name a few – there are others working on the outside that attempt to snuff out its life instantly.
What is to be done in such a situation? Much has been said about the ineffectiveness of law enforcement agencies to deal with the criminal elements which continue to create havoc in the society. The task grows seemingly more challenging for these bodies with each passing month when they fail to bring some measure of control to the wave of crime. But, they must continue to seek a solution to the problem.
Other institutions, agencies, groups and individuals in our society must do their part to reinstate the family and to help all citizens to grow in appreciation of the family, which the Church speaks of as “the first and vital cell of society”. In his Apostolic Exhortation “The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World” – Familaris Consortio (FC), Pope John Paul II says, “the future of humanity passes by way of the family” (86).
It is timely that the Archdiocese has made family life its priority this year, under the banner: “Catholic Family, Become What You Are”. It is a summons to Catholic families to become – what must be the case for all other families – an “intimate community of life and love”. Amid all the present challenges, each family must seek to become more and more that kind of community.
The family is central to God’s plan for humanity. It finds in the Creator its identity and its mission; what it is and what it can and should do. Ultimately, the family’s mission is to “guard, reveal and communicate love” (FC, 17).
Attacks such as the one last week that managed to jolt a society, growing accustomed to dastardly criminal acts, begin in people’s hearts, hearts that should be shaped by the family. It ought to be clear that the family cannot become what it is meant to be without men and women cooperating with God, the source of love.
The good news is that the desire of God, as Scripture continually shows, is to engage men and women in this work of transformation. It is “when the sun had set and darkness had fallen” that the Lord takes the initiative and draws Abram into a covenant to make good all that he promised. The assurance that God gives in his Word this Sunday is that he desires to come into the present doubt and despair to transfigure all.