I have just returned from a family party. It was nice to get away for a few days to celebrate my cousin’s wedding. Since most of my cousins are already married, the only time many of us are together is for funerals, and a wedding is a heck of lot more fun!
Not everybody could make it, but it was nice to connect with the people who were there. My family is pretty diverse. My mother’s parents were divorced and both remarried, so there are a lot of half and step siblings. Sometimes I can really relate to Jesus when he uses the corporate term of brothers and sisters.
With so many kids in the family, not everyone is close. I have step aunts and uncles and half aunts and uncles I haven’t seen for a pretty long time. But family is family. I have never thought of people as halves and steps. They are just family.
The past days have caused me to reflect a lot on what family means: biological and intentional family. As a priest, I am thankful for my own biological family, but I am also extremely grateful for my intentional family: the people of parishes where I have worked and ministries where I have served who have become very dear.
Since I moved back to Colorado, connecting with people has been much harder for me than it was when I worked in the Archdiocese of Washington. I lived in the Washington area for almost 20 years, so I had a lot of time to make friends and deepen relationships. Colorado Springs is a tough place to make friends, and it’s especially tough to make friends when one is in their 30s. People are pretty set in their social relationships.
It can also be tough to maintain relationships cross country. The saying out of sight out of mind often rings true. Staying in touch with people is easier with social media, but it still requires effort, and in the midst of so many things to do, it’s easy to let things slip.
With Lent coming, it’s a good opportunity for us to think about the relationships in our lives, and who is like family to us. Life is too short to take people for granted. If we have let our relationship with Jesus or with one another start to slide, it’s a perfect opportunity to get things back on track. We shouldn’t need a big event like a wedding to celebrate the ones we love.