Jesus’ Family Value
Thoughts on the First Readings – Joe Frankenfield
30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18

One of today’s headlines was census confirms recent trend: rich, poor gap widening. The only new part about this news was the recent census’ confirmation of what many observers have been reporting for several decades.

Some folks will hear this fact of life but let in pass with little notice or comment. Others hear it and are drawn up short. This information reveals several dangers: a danger to the individuals who have less than they need to live full lives and a danger to the community arising from the frustration of those denied access to opportunities enjoyed by those around them, even a danger to our economy from fewer folks able to purchase the goods and services others make their living producing.

While the economic and social dangers of unjust distribution of wealth are real and important, our faith concerns itself with Jesus’ teaching that all people are sons and daughters of one Creator and brothers and sisters of one another. Few believers question his point.

We sing about brotherhood, we write poems about it, we even lace commercials with it for a feel-good effect. But as easily as we celebrate the ideal, we find it difficult to live. Brotherhood entails viewing everyone as family and no one pretends that family is always simple or easy to deal with.

Long ago I learned: family are the people who have to care for you whether they want to or not. Why? Simply, family is us. Family is the milieu in which we have to acknowledge that there really is no “I” without “we,” no “we” without “you” and no “they” to be found.

Jesus didn’t put a boundary around family. In his world everyone prayed, “Our Father.” It’s always a challenge to live what we pray.