Caribbean family life is notably marked by the absence of the father in the home. This absence is in many instances supplanted by the extended family through other males in the household. Often, no such male is present as in the case of single mothers and sometimes even the extended family has none. In many instances, children are taking care of children with no adult in the home.
The absence of the father must never be romanticised. His role can never truly be supplanted, and even while we have grown accustomed to his absence, we ought not to accept this as the norm since children take into adulthood the “father wound” and while some are able to break out of it, others simply perpetuate the cycle of absence and neglect.
Today’s gospel offers some insight here. St Luke has a cycle of three couples in his infancy narratives: Mary and Joseph, Zechariah and Elizabeth, and Simeon and Anna, the latter, unlike the rest, not being married. However, all show the place of the male in the upbringing, and very importantly, religious upbringing of a child, and both men and women are involved in the fulfilment of prophecy.