FAMILY IS THE FIRST CHURCH

Homily for December 30, 2016. Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
Bible Study: 1 John 2:3-11 and Luke 2:22-25.

No one can function to his or her fullest capacity without a family. And a family is not restricted to those to own one is related by blood. Those you meet and interact with on a daily basis are your family, even your work colleagues, you fellow team members. These are people you did not select but as long as you live, they are essentially part of your story. We all need persons around us we can call family. More still, the fact that God himself has been born and raised in a human family shows that family is essential to human survival. If family was not so important, God could have made Mary raise Jesus as a single mother but God had to send an Angel to Joseph requesting him to marry Mary and raise the boy Jesus.

Children who do very well in life are those raised in environments of strong moral families. A broken home, an abusive parent, a dysfunctional home always leaves a terrible scar on the children. But how can a family succeed in its aim of producing great men and women capable of raising our society to a higher level? The answer lies in today’s liturgy.

Take a look at the picture of the Holy Family. Do you notice that Jesus Christ is at the middle of Mary and Joseph? What does this say to you? That for any family to survive, God must be at the middle. So, if we want our families to be holy, if all we want is to hear good things about our family, then we must put God at the very centre of our family.

Sing: “When Jesus is in the family…happy happy oh… happy happy oh…

The Bible says: “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he grows, he will never depart from it.” On the other hand, Children must learn to respect and honour their parents. As we saw in the Gospel passage, when Joseph and Mary eventually found Jesus, they took him home and “he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them.” If God himself was obedient as a child, then who are you to be stubborn towards your parents?

Remember the fourth commandment which states: “Honour your father and mother so that your days would be long.” The book of Sirach further clarifies this commandment in our first reading today: Those who honour their father atone for sins, and those who respect their mother are like those who lay up treasure….when they pray they will be heard…. For a father’s blessing strengthens the houses of the children, but a mother’s curse uproots their foundations… For kindness to a father will not be forgotten, and will be credited to you against your sins; in the day of your distress it will be remembered in your favour; like frost in fair weather, your sins will melt away.

In our Gospel passage this morning, we read about how Joseph and Mary “forgot” to take Jesus with them when they were on their way home. They had to go through the hurdle of making a three days temple back to the temple to look for him. At times, as families, we do not remember to bring Jesus with us. We try to move on with our lives without the rhythm of daily prayers, we assume that things are fine and that money answereth all things such that we can afford to simply come home to sleep and rush back to work again. Joseph and Mary had not gotten home yet when they noticed Jesus was missing, they refused to enter their house till they were re-united with Jesus.

The question for us today is: “Is Jesus missing from my family?” or put it this way “How often do we talk to Jesus, listen to him, play with him, worship him and allow him guide us as a family?” A family that does not pray together cannot stay together. If truly Jesus is missing from your home, then no need going home. Home is supposed to be a place of peace but when a home lacks Jesus, the Prince of Peace, then that home become a place of restlessness, endless trouble and scatter scatter.

The best way to allow Jesus take the middle position in our family is to re-think our understanding of the family. We must start seeing the family as a church. My family is not just a place to go and rest or have fun, rather it is a place to meet God. If this is how I see my family, I will ensure I take out anything that is alien to God from my home. I must ensure that those I call family are close to God. I must ensure that we all gather every day to pray and share the word of God. A family that lacks God is like a church that lacks a tabernacle, it is like Joseph and Mary furious searching for Jesus, it is always chaos and trouble.

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, come into my family and make it holy. Amen

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you and Merry Christmas

Fr. Abu.

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