Love in the family is the first step to teaching the world about the love of God, said Cardinal João Braz de Aviz during Mass at the World Meeting of Families.
“Only by starting from love can the family manifest and spread and generate God’s love in the world. Without love, we cannot live as children of God, as couples, parents, and brothers,” he said Aug. 23.
The prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life, Braz de Aviz celebrated Mass for the second full day of the family meeting in Dublin, which is taking place through Aug. 26.
In his homily, the cardinal said that “today is a day of families and love. ‘Love endures all things,’ [this is] why strong marriages make strong societies.”
“Today we are to focus our attention on the reality of the family and love. Love is called to be at the heart of the Christian family,” he said, emphasizing that no experience is as necessary for the family as the experience of love — for all its members.
“Father, mother, sons, daughters, experience joy when they try to daily manifest love. And it is in this way that the family becomes a joy for the world.”
Braz de Aviz explained that a lack of love in the family and in society wounds God, because God has given the world his ‘yes’ to the union of a man and a woman, to live “in openness, in service to life and to faith.”
He referenced Pope Francis’ 2015 apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, the title of which is translated in English as, “The joy of love.” The cardinal said he is “very happy” the exhortation has been put at the center of the World Meeting of Families, showing that the family “continues to be good news for today’s world.”
He also reflected on a passage from the day’s first reading, which says, “I will give you a new heart and a new spirit I will put within you; I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
This passage, he said, shows that “for people to live the holiness of God is not an unattainable goal.” He added: “The holiness of God will be shown in the sanctity of the family.”
This holiness is the holiness of those who have decided in their hearts to live out love in the family, the cardinal continued. In this way, the Lord “will form a heart of flesh and not of stone in every family member.”
Mentioning briefly some of the challenges the family faces today, in particular an “exaggerated individualism” which considers family ties unnecessary, he said Christians must continue to struggle to show the good of marriage and family, that it is not a burden.
Even in the midst of difficulties, “the family of God finds paths of new strength,” he encouraged.
“In this Eucharist today, at which there are so many families making their way on the pilgrimage of a search for an authentic life, we can feel that love gives sustenance to all things.”