The “International Day of the Family” is celebrated every year on 15 May. In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed this day, dedicating it to the “fundamental social group and natural environment for the development and well-being of all its members, particularly children”.

International Day of the Family


Rivers of words will be written for the occasion, and many individuals and associations will put forward their theses on the subject.

I thought to deal with the topic of the family from a Christian point of view, drawing on Holy Scripture, specifically the letter to the Ephesians in chapter 5, 21 – 31 – 6,1.

Within the family, it is charity that must reign, because the model with which the family must measure itself is Christ. It is the authoritativeness of Christ that teaches how to set the relationships between spouses and those between parents and children.

Christ: the good shepherd who offers his life for the sheep out of love. Christ who does not set his own aims, his own aspirations, before him, but those of the other members of the family. He urges us to follow him in the attitude of the slave – who in his time was not considered a person – who washes the feet of others.

This is the submission that wives must have towards their husbands and vice versa! A submission that is measured with love: to make the other person happy because in him I meet the Risen One, and if I meet the Risen One I will be a happy Christian, because I will realise that I am loved gratuitously by the Father and, consequently, I will understand that life is not taken away but transformed. The other person will come first. Spouses and children will be people to be made happy, according to the gospel!

It follows that no one in the family will find himself alone in time of need, but will feel the love of the other members around him, which is a sign of the Father’s love.

Between spouses, each will take care to love the other according to their own nature: a woman feels loved if she is listened to; a woman feels loved if she knows where her husband is and what he is doing. Then, if one spouse will take into account the nature of the other spouse, in this way, the ordinary maintenance of marriage will be accomplished according to the gospel and Christian marriage will be sought out by other people because it is beautiful: this is evangelisation!

The family will not have to be at the centre of the world where children will have to do what their parents want them to do or, out of spite, they will choose what their parents do not like, so as to feel free: individualism is the death of the person! But, in the family, care will be taken to do the Father’s will: Lord what do you want me to do? Parents, by living their marriage according to the Father’s will and carrying out its ordinary maintenance, through their mutual love, witness to their children the happiness of having followed the Lord and of serving the Church and the world with joy in their vocation.

This is the Christian family that I hope will increasingly be a model for every other family.


Fr. Giorgio Bontempi C. M.