June 18th 2023 11th Sunday Ordinary Time (A)


Go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel’. As Jesus was commissioning His apostles to carry on His work, He advised them to begin at home. Religion does indeed begin in the home. Pope St. John Paul left the same message with the people of Ireland as he departed these shores in 1979 when he said: ‘The home should be the first school of religion as it must be the first school of prayer’. Parents are simply the most significant influence on the religious and spiritual outcomes of young people. They are the ‘first and best teachers in the ways of faith’. Nurturing the faith is not about parents adding more to their already busy ‘to do’ list, but instead it is about helping their children know God through the simple everyday moments of life. The little ‘habits of faith’ and ‘teachable moments’ developed in the home leave a lasting impression. The gathering for family prayer at meal time and at the end of the day, the sprinkling of holy water on leaving the home, the presence of sacred images and above all regular Mass attendance – these and more are the mustard seeds that grow into oak trees. Faith-filled families produce faith-filled communities and by extension, a faith-filled world. ‘As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live’. The challenge goes-out to every generation. We either hand-on faith or we hand-on unbelief! If one generation is lost to the faith, it is difficult and rare for the next generation to return once more to the faith of their grandparents. It all begins in the home.