“Stretching out his hand toward his disciples, Jesus said, ‘Here are my mother, and my brethren! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Matthew 12:49-50)

“God said, ‘I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18

God calls every human person to become his son or daughter, and to come into His true family in Christ. The Church is the assembly of all who respond to that call.

The image of the Church as the Family of God is found in the teachings of Christ. This motif of the family is found in Christ’s definition of his mission, his Person, his commands, his relationship with God the Father, and with his disciples, and the Church’s relationship with God. Christ is the eternal Son, sent to regather in himself those whom the Father has called to be his beloved daughters and sons ( see Ephesians 1:5). For this reason, the CCC teaches that “the Church is nothing other than the ‘family of God’” (CCC. 1655)

When we were baptised, we received the sanctifying grace that incorporates us into God’s family. This phenomenon is known as Divine Filiation – God accepts us as his son or daughter. This Divine Filiation given at Baptism is strengthened through the Sacrament of Confirmation (CCC. 1213, 1303, 2026, 2798).

In Christ, is the revelation that God is an eternal and perfect father – Abba Father (CCC. 2214, 2398), while Christ is alone the eternal and Only-Begotten Son of the Father, we are exhorted by him to approach God as “our Father” (CCC. 854, 959).

The motif of the Church as the Family of God can and should be extended into our domestic spheres. In Ephesians 3:14, we are reminded by St. Paul that God’s Fatherhood is the origin and standard of human fatherhood. While our families are not perfect, we are invited to become perfect as the Father himself is perfect. With this model then, we are invited to follow the Will of God our Father, most especially in our everyday and close interactions, our family meals at table, and to become a real Family of God within our own families.

By Brian Bartholomew Tan

Sources: Catechism of the Catholic Church; Didache Bible