September 21.   For many Westerners the complexities of extended family ties and the roles they play are a real mystery.  Why does an uncle get involved in wedding arrangements or why is a cousin called a sister or brother? Why does the firstborn remain responsible for the extended family in some cultures?  What about widowed persons and their role in a family, as they deal with grief and discrimination?  A nuclear family, of father, mother and children, is a common image which is not historically correct either. Family and even marriage relationships have changed and are still changing. The Catholic Church,  challenged by these changes, examined them at special synods.  Pope Francis’ THE JOY OF LOVE, (Amoris Laetitia) makes references to different types of family structures. Apart from marriage, cohabiting, single-parent, same-sex unions and child-headed units exist as well as remarried and divorced families. All are still part of the Church and live God’s plan even when in imperfect situations as best they can. The Church as Family of God also implies a different kind of belonging in a non-biological way where there is no relationship of blood or marriage. And going beyond the human family the ideal of the World as a Family of Families is something we have yet to get used to.    

 Jesus was told, your mother and your brethren are standing outside, desiring to see you. But he said to them, my mother and my brethren are those who hear the word of God and do it.  Luke 8:19-21. 

Pope Francis. The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to see a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. LS 13.  Everything is interconnected. Just as the different aspects of the planet -physical, chemical and biological are interrelated so too living species are part of a network which we will never fully explore and understand.   LS 138

ECO-TIP AND PRAYER:  Lobby against plastic and chemical pollution that destroys life.   Pray for commitment to ecological renewal. Pray Glory be to the Father………