Sharing Life Experience

The Hawaiian word for family is Ohana, the plural of oha (taro), the plant that provides poi, traditionally the most basic food of Hawaiians. A family includes all who come from the same root and survive on the same nourishment as well as those families take in through friendship and hospitality. Families walk together in life, link generations, care for each other. They experience fear and loss together, joy and support.

The Mexican familia spans generations in the Pixar film Coco, which takes place on Dia de las Mortos, the Day of the Dead (All Souls Day). In the film the dead visit the living only if their families remember and honor them with photos, food, and flowers on ofrendas (altars). Unremembered, the dead fade into oblivion.

Coco is the great grandmother of Miguel, a boy who wants to be a musician like her father, who supposedly abandoned the family to become a great singer. To them music is a curse. Miguel’s parents and abuela insist he make shoes as his whole family does.

Miguel runs away, discovers in the land of the dead who his great, great grandfather really is, and learns the song his ancestor sang to Coco, when she was a child. Coco remembers her father and restores his photo on the ofranda. The music in Miguel brings healing to the family across generations.

What unites the two daughters in Sunday’s gospel into one family is not taro root or music but faith in Jesus. A chronic hemorrhage has isolated an older woman from her faith family that worships in the temple. An illness threatens a young girl’s life and tears at her parents’ hearts. Both become members of Jesus’ new family, daughters of faith.

  • What is the root or music that unites your family? What role does faith play?