"You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them. Perhaps if we could, we might have chosen different brothers and sisters. Fortunately or unfortunately we can't. We have them as they have us. And no matter how your brother may be, you can't renounce him. He may be a murderer or worse, but he remains forever your brother. Can you imagine what would happen in this world if we accepted that fact about ourselves — that whether we like it or not we are members of one family?

"The wonderful thing about family is that you are not expected to agree about everything under the sun. Show me a man and wife who have never disagreed and I will show you some accomplished fibbers. But those disagreements, pray God, do not usually destroy the unity of the family. And so it should be with God's family. We are not expected at all times to be unanimous or to have a consensus on every conceivable subject. What is needed is to respect one another's points of view and not to impute unworthy motives to one another or to seek to impugn the integrity of the other. Our maturity will be judged by how well we are able to agree to disagree and yet continue to love one another, to care for one another and cherish one another and seek the greater good of the other.

"Another characteristic of the family is its willingness to share. The early church went so far as to have its members selling their property, each refusing to claim as his exclusive property what had belonged to him before. They had all things in common. When the one part suffered, the whole suffered with it, and when one part prospered, then the whole prospered with it. There was a mutuality in the relationship in which all gave and all received. Some gave more conspicuously in spiritual things while others gave in material gifts. In a happy family, you don't receive in proportion to your input. You receive in relation to your needs, the ones who make the least material contribution often being the ones who are most cared for — the young and the aged.

"How I pray that in our world we can learn to emulate a true family. Perhaps then we could address the injustices that cause a small percentage of our world to consume the vast majority of its resources — not unlike what happened under apartheid in South Africa — while the vast majority lives in poverty, with over a billion people living on less than a dollar a day. Would you let your brother or sister's family, your relatives, eke out a miserable existence in poverty? And yet ever 3.6 seconds someone dies of hunger and three-quarters of these are children under five. If we realized that we are family, we would not let this happen to our brothers and sisters.

"Members of a family have a gentle caring and compassion for one another. How I pray that we will open our eyes and see the real, true identity of each one of us, that this one is not a white or black, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, or Jew, but a brother, a sister, and treat each other as such. If we could but recognize our common humanity, that we do belong together, that our destinies are bound up in one another's, that we can be free only together, that we can survive only together, that we can be human only together, then a glorious world would come into being where all of us lived harmoniously together as members of one family, the human family, God's family. In truth a transfiguration would take place. God's dream would become a reality.”