Family remains the strongest bond in life

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I don’t know if it’s part of the ageing process as you become older you discover you have less tolerance and patience. Situations begin to annoy you which once wouldn’t have cost you a second thought. Or worse still, it could be the realisation you’re turning into your parents. I seem to be alternating between my mother’s easy going manner and my father’s OCD. I don’t like clutter, mess or untidiness but it would take me a fortnight before I’ll do anything about it. At some level we’re all a curious mix of our parents and family genetics, not to mention the impact of our social conditioning. Differentiated by our uniqueness as persons we also share in the trials and triumphs of the human condition. Having recently spent time under the one roof with my two brothers I was soon reacquainted with the joys and sorrows of being a brother.

I don’t know if it’s part of the ageing process as you become older you discover you have less tolerance and patience. Situations begin to annoy you which once wouldn’t have cost you a second thought. Or worse still, it could be the realisation you’re turning into your parents. I seem to be alternating between my mother’s easy going manner and my father’s OCD. I don’t like clutter, mess or untidiness but it would take me a fortnight before I’ll do anything about it. At some level we’re all a curious mix of our parents and family genetics, not to mention the impact of our social conditioning. Differentiated by our uniqueness as persons we also share in the trials and triumphs of the human condition. Having recently spent time under the one roof with my two brothers I was soon reacquainted with the joys and sorrows of being a brother.

The most fundamental relationships which characterise our place in the world can be found at home as we come to terms with being a child or being a sister or brother, mother or father, grandparent, aunt, uncle or cousin. There is something fundamental to who we are which is shaped by being part of a family. Of course family life at best is eventful, at worst, full of tensions. Growing up I had the unique perspective of being an eldest child and having to cope with the arrival of three other children in the form of two younger brothers and a younger sister. I could never quite could understand my parents’ desire to have other children after me. First of all my inheritance was halved, then reduced to a third until finally my retirement package has been quartered. I’m sure as well as remembering the good times we still are haunted by the fights, arguments and the stand-offs which seemed to be the product of living in too close proximity for prolonged periods. Hurts and jealousies from childhood can still linger long into adulthood and surface without warning or reason. Yet for all these incidents and ordeals family remains, for the majority of people, the single strongest bond in life.

We all crave for the ideal of family life enjoying a sense of belonging, or having a home, a place we can call our own. Of having a people to claim you as their own ensuring you have a sanctuary and a shelter were we feel safe and protected. Of experiencing a warmth and an acceptance which go beyond words when an embrace from a love one can mean the world. This is the type of relationship and love which Jesus wishes to establish in his family the church. More than words Jesus has given us an example of how to love, he loved us to the end. Jesus extends the boundary of love to its very limits by loving all humanity, by loving and preferring all his sisters and brothers at the cost of himself. Jesus valued our lives more than his own when he chose to die on the cross. Such was his great love for his Father, for all women and men, he gave his very self on the cross. As Christians the challenge is to become witnesses to this love without limits. Only then will we live as God’s family, recognising everyone as a brother and sister.