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12/30/18 Holy Family - Deacon Tony

Deacon Tony Conti

Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Lectionary: 17

  • We can tend to put the Holy family on a pedestal believing that all was well in this most special of families…
  • We assume that in the Holy family there were no disagreements, no tension, no anger… all was calm and peaceful
  • But have we ever challenged those notions?
  • Today’s Gospel passage challenges them…
  • Joseph and Mary were not only worried about their son, but were genuinely upset with Him for the anguish that they went through while He was missing.…
  • We sometimes forget that Joseph and Mary were human too…
  • Many of us who grew up in the 50’s and 60’s watched TV shows like “Father Knows Best” or “Leave it to Beaver,” or “Ozzie and Harriet…” which portrayed families in an idealized setting…
  • Everything was great… No real anger, no real disagreements, no annoying habits…
  • Watching these shows could make us feel that there must be something wrong with us… as if our family must be the lone exception…
  • As we grew older however; we painfully discovered that there are no picture perfect families in this life…
  • We learned that all families struggle
  • As we gained wisdom in life, we came to realize that it’s in this struggle that we learn how to love
  • St. James parish in Stratford has a replica of Michelangelo’s Pieta… where Mary cradles the broken body of her Son…
  • Above the chapel are the words: “Even in their brokenness – Your family is sacred…”
  • I never forgot those words… and perhaps neither should we
  • 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…

Families struggle with a multitude of issues… but regardless of the struggles - God is always there to help us cope…

  • However; without Faith… without a belief in a Creator Who’s bigger than us… we can tend to make ourselves the center of the world
  • And when we do this… we cast out everyone around us as unimportant
  • And it’s in this type of environment that our family can sometimes suffer…
  • From St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians: “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… And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection.”
  • Love is the balm that can heal all wounds, settle all differences, and calm all angers
  • Love can take many forms, but at its heart – Love is about putting others first
  • It’s about caring for another more than we care for ourselves
  • It’s about believing in the One Who become one of us, that He might show us through His life - How love can change the world
  • Someone once observed that holiness is not the absence of sin, but rather the presence of God – And as St. John reminds us that God is love
  • The Holy Family no doubt had their share of struggles and trials like everyone else, but a big part of what made them holy was the presence of God, in the form of love and selflessness, which carried them through the rough spots… as it can for us as well
  • Throughout the Gospels, Jesus is commanding us to love… to forgive… to find a middle way… to remain faithful to our commitments to others
  • The law of love is written on our hearts... But our ego’s, our busyness… the distractions of the world can cause us to stray from what we know to be right and true
  • It’s admittedly hard to focus on what’s important in the midst of the busyness of this world... yet if we allow our busyness to push the important aside, we lose the opportunity to allow God to change us...
  • We lose the opportunity to be renewed in the hope and promises that Jesus came to bring us... we lose and the world wins... 
  • As Christians we believe that there’s more to this life than meets the eye
  • We see this life as a prelude to an even bigger life
  • And we see this life as an opportunity to develop the virtues that help to make life more meaningful… not just for us, but for everyone
  • Jesus showed us the way – The way of love
  • But our willingness to follow Him ultimately depends upon our willingness to embrace change in our lives…
  • Are we willing to see our lives differently… Are we willing to see our families differently?
  • In other words – Are we willing to learn to see the world and our families through the eyes of Christ?
  • None of us has the singular ability to change the greater world around us… But each of us has the ability to change our world…
  • We may not immediately be capable of changing our circumstances, but we can change the way we respond to our circumstances…
  • How we approach life, how we approach our families makes all the difference…
  • If we approach them in the faith that God is walking with us… that God cares for us… that God has a plan for us… and that everything in life is redemptive
  • Then our lives and our families will begin to look and feel different, because we’re now able to see differently
  • Because we’ve now found meaning in something and Someone bigger than ourselves
  • When we can finally believe that we’re no longer alone… When we can come to see order in the apparent chaos of daily life…This is when we begin to see through the eyes of God…
  • And this is when life and our families begin to take on new meaning…
 
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