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12/29/19 Holy Family - Deacon Tony

Deacon Tony Conti

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Lectionary: 17


  • Today we celebrate the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph…
  • We can sometimes tend to think that our family is somehow “unique” because of the many issues that we face…
  • We can falsely assume that everything was always “well” within the Holy family… but to do this would be to deny their humanity…
  • All families struggle with various issues… There are no “perfect families” out there…
  • There will be disagreements, strife, and struggles in every family… but at the end of the day, as long as there is loveThey’re still family
  • When we care for another’s welfare and accept them where they are, just as they are because we love them despite their inherent faults… We’re family
  • Families are intended to be a refuge where we’re free to be ourselves... where we know we’re accepted just as we are...  and where we know that we’re loved...
  • Families come in all shapes and sizes… there’s no singular definition of what a family looks like…
  • All families, regardless of their form… whether they’re traditional families, single parentsgrandparents raising grandchildren, adoptive parents, foster parentsyou name it: All families are sacred in God’s eyes
  • Because all families are intended to mirror the unconditional love that God has for each of us…
  • Our second reading today from St. Paul’s Letter to the Colossians says everything we need to know about our Christian faith journey… and about what it takes for families to survive
  • “Brothers and sisters: Put on, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.  And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection.
  • What else do we need to know about living a healthy family life?
  • What we know for sure, is that family life isn’t always this way
  • We’re all human and we all have flaws which are most visible when we’re with family…
  • Our family members know us better than anyone… and yet they still accept and love us for who we are…
  • We need to become aware that we are also part of God’s family...
  • That we’re free to be ourselves with God...
  • That we don’t need to put on a show for God...
  • It can be a lifelong challenge to learn to be open with God
  • And this can only happen by accepting that we are already accepted and loved by God just as we are… with all of our faults, and all of our weaknesses
  • Paul Tillich writes: “Faith is the courage to accept acceptance.”
  • Christ offers to lead us along the path of life… of everlasting life
  • Christ offers us a life of meaning and lasting significance
  • But the road that Christ beckons us toward is a demanding road
  • The road of self sacrifice… the road of forgiveness… the road of compassion… the road of mercy… the road of selflessness
  • The road that Christ leads us on is truly the road less traveled
  • Jesus doesn’t ask these things of us because He’s looking for sacrifices: God needs nothing from us
  • He’s asking these things of us to teach us a valuable lessonPerhaps the most important lesson we will ever learn in life… and that is: How to Love
  • Jesus’ entire life and teachings were all centered upon leaving us with this one over-arching task… to learn how to love
  • We choose what road we will walk each day through the choices we make…
  • Will we choose the road of bitterness… or unforgiveness… or dishonesty… or self-righteousness… or anger & hatred… or selfishness and self-advancementor… will we choose the road that Christ offers us which leads to life?
  • Not just everlasting life… but a greater joy in the life that we’re living right here and right now
  • Are we exhausted by the endless chaos and malaise we see each day all around us?
  • Our fatigue as a society is not only due to the frenetic pace of our modern lives, but also from the boredom that results from using only a small portion of our potential as human beings…
  • It often results from doing things that don’t feed our souls… from chasing after goals and dreams without real substance… and from living lives without really knowing what our purpose is and what road we’re on
  • Every road that the world beckons us toward will eventually lead to a dead end – Every-one
  • Because we’re not of this worldNone of us
  • We’re merely on a journey through this world for a limited period of time…
  • Without this wider perspective, our faith can never make any sense
  • St. Paul famously stated in 1st Corinthians (15:19): “If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all.”
  • Without a greater perspective on life, (which our faith is intended to help us find)… Life can become cheap… and in a sense… meaningless
  • We were made for so much more than we can ever comprehendOur lives are far more important than we can ever imagineAnd our lives are not intended to end here
  • The end of the calendar year often affords us some time and perhaps some perspective to look at our lives and decide how we will move forward
  • We’re each called to eventually awaken to a greater reality...
  • To consider the opportunity to chart a new course that may be more life-giving
  • This can be a time to take a deep breath and consider starting off the new year not with resolutions that we’ll soon abandon, but with a deeper faith… and an unshakeable conviction that we’re already accepted and loved by God and that our lives have meaning and value just waiting to be revealed
  • We’re all called to a life that will yield a legacy that will outlive our short time on this earth...
  • The question for all of us to ponder is simple and yet profound: What road are we on?


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