The word family has many meanings and connotations. There is the traditional nuclear family understanding. There are those whose definition of family has been changed by tragedy and sickness. The word is used as a metaphor for other groups of people. We speak of a “parish family”, or the “family of nations,” or in my own Dominican community the “Dominican family.” Regardless of how we understand it, the Holy Family provides a model for what it means to be family.
One of the great images of the Second Vatican Council was viewing a family as a domestic Church. This is a natural outcome when the Church is seen as the Bride of Christ, for it is this relationship that marriage is called to emulate.