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Family: Home for Wounded Hearts

Fr. James Kroeger
Living Mission
‘Year of Eucharist and Family’ Reflections


THE World Meeting of Families, one of the largest events in the Church, is held every three years. Begun in 1994, this event was held in Manila in 2003. Cardinal Tagle gave the keynote address for the 2015 event in Philadelphia; his chosen topic was: “Family: A Home for the Wounded Heart.”

Admittedly, we all are wounded people; we have wounded hearts. These wounds are of different types; they may be spiritual, emotional, relational, or financial. However, “whatever the nature might be of a personal wound, it always affects the family and, consequently, a person’s social relationships.”

“All wounds hurt. But wounds are more painful and hurtful when we see our family members suffering.” But, “wounded-ness” also involves entering into “the mystery of it all.” Tagle asserts: “Even when homes are hurt by wounds, it is also the home that is the privileged place for comforting and healing wounded hearts…. The wounds may come from the family, but it is also the family that becomes the source of comfort and healing.” Tagle challenges all families: “Open your eyes. Listen to the cries of the wounded.”

The Compassion of Jesus. Yes, all families experience “wounded-ness”; this reality invites us to focus on Jesus and his compassionate ministry of healing.“The Good News of the Reign of God is manifested in healing as caring, assisting people, accompanying them, reconstituting relationships…. When God rules, when God reigns, persons are saved, honored, and served with care. Where God rules, wounds are attended to.”

“Remember how in John 13, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, including those who had planned to betray him…. We all know the parables of mercy: in Luke 15, three parables, all about lost objects or persons—the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son.”

All these three parables end with rejoicing and feasting. Why? “Because the lost, now found, is coming home…. The wounded and lost is my own. It is mine…. I will carry it home.” Central to the mission of families is healing the wounded—right in our very own home and family.



A Compassionate Church. Cardinal Tagle also described the Church as “the home for wounded hearts.” This includes all communities within the Church (e.g. parish, diocese, religious order, etc.), but “most especially, the family, the home, the domestic church, the church in the family.”
“The Church of wounded members [all of us are included] becomes a Church of solidarity and compassion…. Not only in glory, but most especially in wounds…. We are one Church, one home, one family. The Church must embody the redemptive mission of God.”

Self-sacrificing love, practiced daily in imitation of Jesus, promotes healthy, mature, loving family relationships. Undoubtedly, such selfless love demands deep faith in Jesus as a model of genuine self-giving.

“We must realize that all healing comes from God” and that “healing is situated best in a community, the family.” Indeed, the family and the wider family of the Church are to be a welcoming home for healing wounded hearts!

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