A word I have reflected on in recent weeks is what the Roman Catholic Church means by the word “wounded” in some of the recent documents coming forward from the Synod of Bishops. Today we got another theology on the meaning of “wounded” at the World Meeting of Families 2015 from Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle of Manila, Philippines, in a keynote address titled, “The Family: A Home for the Wounded Heart.”
One might think that a talk/homily on “woundedness” would be dreary or dark. Not so with Cardinal Tagle (aka Filipino Rock Star)! With warmth, authenticity and a twinkle in his eye, he started by promising to try his best in one hour to present the family as a home for wounded hearts, reminding us first that wounded hearts = wounded persons. He defined the many ways in which the people of this world may be wounded today: physically, spiritually, emotionally, financially, relationally.
While the causes and consequences may be different, a common denominator is that when one family member is wounded it impacts the whole family.
But even when the sacredness of the family is violated by one family wounding another, Cardinal Tagle said “the mystery of it all” is that “the home is the privileged place for healing wounded hearts. The family is the source of comfort and healing.”
Referring to the Gospel parables of Luke on the “lost” and the friends of the paralytic who opened a roof to bring their wounded friend to Jesus, he said those friends are “a home, a parish, a diocese, a Church -- they didn’t give up” on their wounded friend or the healing power of Jesus.
Cardinal Tagle also made the point that “the wounded must be courageous in taking the path toward this healing” and the Church as a field hospital. Quoting Pope Francis and Joseph G. Kelly (of the Diocese of Rochester), Cardinal Tagle emphasized the importance of the Church and local parishes embracing the identity of field hospital: focusing on Jesus as the chief physician, recognizing our own wounds, not being afraid of the darkness, being agile and flexible, being hopeful, and providing a loving presence – the very definition of “home.”
Underscoring his definition of family as a home for the wounded heart, with joy and playfulness, Cardinal Tagle shared the following lyrics to ponder from Burt Bacharach’s “A House is Not a Home”:
A chair is still a chair
Even when there's no one sitting there.
But a chair is not a house
And a house is not a home
When there's no one there to hold you tight
And no one there you can kiss goodnight.
A room is still a room
Even when there's nothing there but gloom.
But a room is not a house
And a house is not a home
When the two of us are far apart.
And one of us has a broken heart.
Now and then I call your name
And suddenly a face appears.
But it's just a crazy game
And it ends,
It ends in tears.
So darling, have a heart.
Don't let one mistake keep us apart.
I'm not meant to live alone,
Turn this house into a home.
When I climb the stair and turn the key,
please be there,
Still in love with me.
As parish homes, may those with wounded hearts (ALL of us) always find a loving presence in the Church, knowing always that Jesus is still in love with each and every one of us.
Love is our mission!