On the Day of the Family, celebrated in Mexico March 1, Cardinal Norberto Rivera laid out seven challenges the Church must face to help the family authentically be what every person truly needs. In his homily during Sunday Mass at the Mexico City Cathedral, Cardinal Rivera explained that, “the family has to be able to find the meaning of its vocation and its mission in today’s society,” according to the archdiocesan communications office. The cardinal drew attention to the problem of loneliness, “which cannot be cured automatically,” but rather “requires recommitting oneself to establishing the links between persons and the links with God in order to come out of this situation.” He laid out seven primary challenges facing the Church as it seeks to evangelize to families in the modern world: Guiding engaged couples in their marriage preparation; Staying close to couples in the early years of marriage; Concern for those living in a civil but not sacramental marriage or cohabiting; Care for single parent families and those wounded by separation and divorce; Pastoral care for persons with a homosexual orientation; Promoting the transmission of life amid the drop in the birth rate; and Supporting the family in the education of children and in evangelization. These challenges may seem overwhelming, Cardinal Rivera said. “But we are not alone. God is with us. He guides us. He gave us his son in the family of Nazareth so that we can always walk with hope.” The mission of the Church is to give hope to families, the cardinal emphasized, and Christ gives us good reason for this hope. “On one hand Jesus reaffirms God’s ideal plan from the beginning that allows us to look with hope at one’s own marriage and one’s own home with the certainty that sin and evil are not the masters over marriage, but rather love and what is good, shown forth in the indissoluble union between man and woman that should not be understood as a ‘yoke’ but rather a ‘gift’ made to the persons united in matrimony.” In addition, he continued, “we can never leave aside the fact that Jesus looked upon the men and women he met with love and tenderness, accompanying their steps with truth, patience and mercy, while announcing what is required for the Kingdom of God.” In conclusion, Cardinal Rivera encouraged the faithful to look at Jesus to experience “the certainty that even though many around us proclaim the death of the family, we lay our foundation on the love that raised Jesus from the dead. And this fills us with hope.”
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