In his new exhortation,Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), Pope Francis has expressed the need to view the family unit as an opportunity rather than a problem, and has encouraged the Church to be more understanding and compassionate towards those who experience difficulties in family life. There is a real sense of challenge in the document; a challenge to a deeper, less self-centred love towards all people, coupled with a deeper sense of humility.
The document, which runs to 264 pages, also speaks highly of the value of children and the need for married couples to be open to the prospect of new life.
In today’s Gospel we hear about the washing of the apostles’
feet by Jesus. Peter was very resistant
to this as it seemed completely absurd to have Jesus do such a thing. This was, after all, God made man, the
Saviour of the world! It should surely
be the other way round would have been Peter’s thinking.
Yet Jesus makes it clear that this is something he must
do. Firstly, he makes it clear that “unless
I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.” This is a clear link to our Baptism and its
fundamental importance in our salvation.
Gospel (Matthew 16:13-19):
‘When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi
he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’
And they said, ‘Some say he is John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others
Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But you,’ he said ‘who do you say I am?’
Then Simon Peter spoke up, ‘You are the Christ,’ he said ‘the Son of the living
God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was
not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven.
Jesus was compassionate but firm in the Truth
Pope Francis, during his Sunday Angelus, has spoken about the
importance of Baptism and the role it plays in our lives. Having earlier baptised 26 baby girls and boys at
morning Mass, the pope was keen to impress upon the gathered faithful the
critical nature of this sacrament.
pope said that in Baptism the Holy Spirit "burns and destroys original sin, returning
to baptism the beauty of divine grace.”
pope then stressed the importance of following Jesus and being obedient to the
Truth whilst remaining true to Christ’s qualities of tenderness and humility.
Archbishop Charles J Chaput
Archbishop Charles J Chaput speaking about the Synod on the Family:
"Truth without love is bitter and can drive the wounded away; and love without truth isn't love at all, but a comfortable form of lying.
"There can be no real mercy, since mercy is an expression of love, without first grounding it in the truth about God's will for humanity. His will includes marriage and the family. And the source for understanding his truth in God's own Word and the Chuch his Son founded.
You may not have heard it on the news, but Pope Francis this weekend reaffirmed the truth of marriage as being between one man and one woman. He also reaffirmed his conviction that all life is worthy of protection.
It’s the kind of chat that will dampen the spirits of those who see so called ‘progression’ on these fundamental areas of Catholic doctrine. It’s also the kind of chat that will delight Catholics who hold true to their faith and who value marriage between one man and one woman as decreed by God Himself, and who value the sanctity of life from its very beginning.
Sunday’s First Reading (Genesis 2:18-24):
'The Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a helpmate.’ So from the soil the Lord God fashioned all the wild beasts and all the birds of heaven. These he brought to the man to see what he would call them; each one was to bear the name the man would give it. The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of heaven and all the wild beasts. But no helpmate suitable for man was found for him. So the Lord God made the man fall into a deep sleep.
We must take the narrow path to Christ
Today’s First Reading (1 Timothy 6:2-12):
‘This is what you are to teach the brothers to believe and persuade them to do. Anyone who teaches anything different, and does not keep to the sound teaching which is that of our Lord Jesus Christ, the doctrine which is in accordance with true religion, is simply ignorant and must be full of self-conceit – with a craze for questioning everything and arguing about words. All that can come of this is jealousy, contention, abuse and wicked mistrust of one another; and unending disputes by people who are neither rational nor informed and imagine that religion is a way of making a profit.
Sister Lucia dos Santos
As we approach the second and final part of the Synod on Marriage and Family Life it is important for us to remember these words of Sister Lucia of Fatima, one of three children who were visited by Our Blessed Mother Mary during the twentieth century.
Lucia describes how the final battle between the Lord and Satan will be about marriage and the family, but that anyone who stands for the sanctity of marriage and the family should not fear as "Our Lady has already crushed its head".
The TFP Student Action Group has set up a petition asking Pope Francis to reinforce Church teaching on marriage and the family at the upcoming Synod in Rome.
The petition has been started in response to some Bishops and also the mainstream media who are trying to force through change to fit with what society perceives as truth, as opposed to what Christ and his Church teaches as Truth.
Attacks on the family have been coming thick and fast over the last fifty or sixty years and this most basic yet most cherished aspect of life which has served us so well for so long is slowly being eroded to nothing.