SERMON – THE HOLY FAMILY OF JESUS, MARY AND JOSEPH
ISAIAH 63:7-9, HEBREWS 2:10-18, MATTHEW 2:13-23
Lord God, the father of every family, we give you thanks for bringing us together in a single family, people of every nation, culture and language. We praise you because you reconcile us to one another and to the Father.
May you strengthen the bonds of love in our homes, so that, like the Holy Family, we may live in harmony and peace with one another. Help us as Christian Community to set an example of unity and peace for our world wounded by conflict and division.
Now, O Lord as we go into your Word, give us grace not only to hear your Word with our ears, but also to receive it into our hearts and to show it forth in our lives; for the glory of your great name. Amen
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!! Praise the living Jesus!!!
Turn to your neighbour and say – “Neighbour, the Lord will convert your home into dwelling place for Jesus.”
Those who claim it say a big Amen to that.
What a mighty God we serve
He has done for us, He has done for us
Almighty God that is your name, you will never share your glory with anyone
Let us put our hands together for Jesus…….
My friends who are here and those watching and following us on face book, I welcome you in the name of our Saviour Jesus Christ. Thank you for you for your time and effort. I pray that Christ will fill you with His grace; May He grant you a glimpse of His glory, in the name of Jesus.
Today is the very last Sunday of the year 2019, and it is a privilege to be a partaker of today; to be a living being today. It is not an entitlement, or something earned by us but it is simply by the grace of God. That is why today calls for praising and for thanking God.
Turn to somebody, hold their hand and say “congratulations; I made it.”
You will make it gloriously into 2020 and beyond, in the name of Jesus. Today will not be your end; every of your blessings for 2019 shall be fulfilled, in the name of Jesus.
My friends, the focus of today’s feast is on the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
And, the theme of my sermon is, “THE ROLE OF THE FAMILY.” Somebody repeat after me, “THE ROLE OF THE FAMILY.”
The feast of the Holy Family presents to us an ideal family for Christians. So, who are they and what set them apart to be our model?
Well, we know that it is the family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Let’s look at their roles?
Joseph’s role was that of a guardian and protector, while being a mother to Jesus was Mary’s most important vocation.
And, one of the most notable things about them as a family was that they had a lot of problems. Does that sound familiar with any family here? They lived all their lives in the deep shadow of the cross. During Christ’s infancy they fled the country in fear and sought shelter in Egypt as refugees in order to keep out of harm’s way and avoid the violence of King Herod. They were a family away from home, lost and lonely, terrorised and afraid.
Also, things did not get any easier as Jesus grew up and until he breathed his last on the cross. Indeed, scripture tells us that a sword kept piercing, his Mother, Mary’s heart.
So, my sisters and brothers, you can see that the Holy Family is not too ideal for us to relate to. They were like many of us; in many ways they were ordinary people; they were economically poor and, in spite of their privileged status with God, they too were constantly struggling to find God’s will in their lives. And, yet they succeeded in making their family holy and happy. This is why they are the ideal family for you and me and for Christians.
You see, there isn’t such a thing as the perfect family. There isn’t a family that doesn’t have its fair share of trouble, its ups and downs, challenges and problems. Suffering seeps under every doorway.
And, as you and I know, families sometimes are faced with unexpected sorrow and unbearable stress. So, in these circumstances, there is no better model that we can call upon for inspiration and comfort than the Holy Family.
My sisters and brothers let me say this; despite all the challenges and problems of family and family life, there is no other structure that can replace the family. Of all the influences upon us, the family is the greatest. Family is the centre of our affection round which our hearts’ best wishes entwine.
Yes, it is true that we live today in a commercialised, go-it-alone, competitive, and sometimes brutal and heartless society. Nevertheless, the fact still remains that nobody grows alone; people need people and it is in the family that the foundation of human relationship is laid, upon which faith and morality are built. For example, many of the personality problems and disorders that grown ups encounters have their roots in family deficiencies during childhood. So, family plays a central role in human formation and growth. It provides the suitable soil for Christian virtues that builds and fosters community virtues to flourish.
Beloved, as we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family, let us look with gratitude to our own families and to the family of believers; the family that needs the young, middle-aged and the old.
I urge you, like the Holy Family, to centre your family life in God; because, if you do, you will be able to endure whatever hardships, anxieties and insecurities that come your way. You can be sure that the grace of God will help you, enable you to bear the hardships willingly, even joyfully. Beloved, be convinced and do God’s will; I pray that your faith in the divine providence will surely sustain you in all your travails.
I appeal to you, imitate the Holy Family, by allowing closeness and space in your own families. Let me hear somebody say CLOSENESS AND SPACE. By closeness, it means members of your families are able to provide mutual support to each other and space is ensuring that they do not stifle one another.
So, make your family a happy family where there is harmony, and where it has Christ at its centre and where his teachings become your family guidelines.
St. Paul in Colossians Chapter 3 verse 12, enumerates some of the virtues you and I require to make our families a happy Christian family; they are kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and mutual forgiveness. Of course, they are not easy virtues to practice, but when practiced with consistency, the rewards are great in terms of peace and harmony in the home.
Friend, some of the Christian values, which I urge you to follow and observe, and which must mark out every Christian family are summarised in more concrete terms by Dr Paul Kelly, an orthopaedic surgeon and family counsellors.
The first is Commitment, which is a lifelong caring for the other, in your family, no matter what happens.
The second is Communication; a willingness to take time to listen, to dialogue and share one another’s feelings in your families.
The third is Compatibility, which is the ability to get along, adjust and be flexible within the family set up.
The fourth is, Compassion; a capacity to understand weakness and sympathise with failure. Not the idea of “I told you so” that we often share in the family.
The fifth, is Confession; the readiness to say, ‘I am sorry’, the readiness to be reconciled and forgiven.
The sixth is Conviviability; it is the quality of being friendly and making members of the family feel happy and welcomed. It is a sense of humour, to laugh at oneself and make others within the family smile.
And the seventh; Children – whether they are your own, adopted, grandchildren or those of close relatives, with whom life and love can be shared. You see, like I said earlier, no family is perfect, but no better place for raising children has been devised. It was by living in a small community of love with Mary and Joseph at Nazareth that Jesus grew in wisdom and in favour with God and people.
So, summarising, the Christian values are; COMMITMENT, COMMUNICATION, COMPATIBILITY, COMPASSION, CONFESSION, CONVIVIABILITY AND CHILDREN.
For a Christian family to be truly Christian cannot be just immediate blood relatives. It is the children of God who have some relationship with the divine. Christian are together the body of Christ and so all people who are connected to God are mystically connected to you and me. Like Jesus said, these too are my brothers and my sisters.
A Christian family is a Church and a Christian family which is grounded in Christian values and socially conscious, can serve as an effective evangelising church.
We here at St Olave’s are a family, the family of Jesus.
Let us the family of St. Olave’s in this coming year clothe ourselves with love. Let us put on the garments of love in our dealings with each other. Allow love to guide your lives.
Remember, as 1st Corinthians Chapter 13 tells us, every of your actions that is not backed with love will produced very little, it will be useless. It is love that will make your actions and gifts useful. Verse 2 says, “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” Again in verse 3, “If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
Let us put aside in 2020 all forms of hatred, gossips and all that leads to division; let us all act and live for God day by day.
Follow the pattern of true love set by God in John Chapter 3 verse 16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The love you share with one another in 2020 must not be static or self-centred, but let it reach out to others in this Church family and let it draw them in. Be willing to give freely to others to the point of self-sacrifice. Be willing to give up your own comfort and security so that others in this church family in 2020 can join in receiving God’s love.
I challenge you, the St. Olave’s family to imitate Christ’s compassionate, forgiving attitude. Remember how much God has forgiven you. Romans Chapter 5 verse 8, says “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
So the family of St. Olave’s be willing and be ready to forgive those who have wronged you.
Again, my people I urge you in this coming year 2020, allow the peace of Christ to reign in this church, in your homes and in your lives.
Cultivate the spirit of thankfulness and gratitude to God. Always be thankful instead of always complaining. If there are things to be done, go ahead and do it, instead of complaining or accusing others of not doing it. Be part of the family, work within and among the family, instead of operating outside it. Let there be unity and oneness in all our diversities.
I appeal to you to keep God’s Word in you at all times. Psalm 119 verse 105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” In this coming year make the Holy Bible your light to show you the way ahead so that you won’t stumble as you walk. Make every effort to attend the Bible Study and study the Bible so you will be able to see your way clear enough to stay on the right path.
Finally and above all, my sisters and brothers, of the St. Olave’s family, live as Christ’s ambassador and representatives in this Church, in your family, community and the World.
I pray that the grace to be a Family under the guidance of God in this coming year 2020 the Lord will grant you, in the name of Jesus. The Lord will unite you in love and make you fruitful instruments for him, in the name of Jesus. Amen.