A historic day is upon us. The World Meeting of Families will take place in Philadelphia next week. This international celebration of family, community and faith will happen in the United States for the first time. On September 22, our nation will welcome an authentically humble visitor with a revolutionary mission.
Although many will be miles from this historic celebration, the importance of observing this time in our society should not go unrecognized. Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, Islamic, spiritual or agnostic, most can agree the mission of this observance is purely good. It is also a much-needed focus in American society.
For the past several decades the family unit has diminished in importance in our society. Lost somewhere in the noise of overloaded schedules, electronic devices, careers and restlessness, our families have taken a back seat to the urgent and disruptive. As America becomes increasingly secular in nature, worldly success, power, rights and material goods often come before people, simplicity, service and selflessness. This is all evident by our distorted view of the family ideal.
The Pope radiates goodness and his mission is simple. Still America complicates his visit, aligns it with politics and misses the boat on his need to be here. As I read through headlines surrounding this upcoming event, American arrogance takes center stage and our ignorance shines. Many are suffering and a renewed focus on core family values is much needed. I can’t help but wonder why this isn’t the focus of our news media and what is making headlines. After all, he is coming for the World Meeting of Families, isn’t he?
Pope Francis comes with message of mercy and love. God meets each of us where we are. No family is perfect. And we all need healing. We all need His mercy and we all need to be more merciful. It starts in the home. It starts with your God-given vocation. It starts by focusing on your role as a father, mother, wife, husband, daughter, son, granddaughter, grandson, brother or sister.