Social media presents images daily depicting relationships between one’s family and friends. It is difficult to ignore when scrolling through Facebook or other sites to see happy images of gatherings of people who love one another and who share photos with friends and contacts. One may ask the question: as a person of faith is in more important to honor family first or are friends just as important? What does Jesus have to say about this? What does the Church say?
The importance of family
There is no doubt that our faith teaches us the importance of the domestic church which is the family. For those blessed with family, this is the place and the people we call “home.” Whether it consists of parents and children of various ages, one-parent families, younger families, older families, or the many variations, family are those people who we have lived with, who we love, and where we learn about life and the world. Parents are those people, if done correctly, are those who give life, love, sacrifice, and teach. For some people, “family” are friends, and there are many reasons too many to mention as to why this occurs in life some of the time. Family can be positive for many and not so positive for others, and that is why in the end friends are integral to their “family experience.” Either way, the family IS the domestic church, and the Lord healed individuals and families during his ministry on earth. The Church speaks volumes about the importance of family and our need to love and serve together in mission and in love.
Having good friends
Friends are also extremely important in our lives as they are those people we choose to befriend and have fellowship with. Jesus himself made himself available to those who were outside of his family and referred to friendship as of utmost importance in life in terms of loving and serving. Friendship is a way we as Catholics and Christians can go beyond our own boundaries inviting others to walk beside us in fellowship and in love. It is a beautiful aspect of our life of faith. We cannot ignore the relevance of having close friends and people we hold dear to our hearts in friendship
So, which is more important?
In our culture today, friendship seems to have more influence and relevance to younger people as well as middle age and even older people. Sadly, some neglect family to spend time with and place first even above responsibility with family. From an early age, children are taught to value socialize, and spend plenty of time with friends even to a point of ignoring the importance of family time. Although both family and friends have great relevance in daily living, the family suffers more in terms of our society recognizing the true importance as the domestic church.
As it has been said by many in the past, the family is under attack in many ways. What can we do about it? Prayer is number one.The best thing we can do is to put our own families first even above time with friends. When the family is strong, so is society. Friendship has its place, but it should not go beyond family. Make it a point to fellowship, pray, and spend quality time with family to not only love one another but also to imitate the Lord by loving those he has placed closed in our lives. In the words of Pope Francis, “…. don’t forget that the family that prays together remains together...” These are words which will help us to remember that as important as friends are, yes, family does come first. In the end, this helps not just "families" but the entire world in service of others.