Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

First Sunday After Christmas (Yeldo)

Sermon / Homily on Luke 2:40-52

Fear, Family and Christmas

Feast of the Holy Family by Fr. Gerry Pierse, C.Ss.R.

Once again the Church reminds us of the importance of the family by celebrating the Feast of the Holy Family on the very first Sunday after Christmas.

If Jesus is to be born today he must be born in the hearts of people. He must be born especially in the hearts of the members of families if family life, and society in general, are to be better. The presence of Christ is the presence of love. Fear drives out love, just as love drives out fear. Unfortunately, all too often there is violence in families. Husbands are cruel to wives, wives sometimes are cruel to husbands. Parents are cruel to children, children sometimes are cruel to parents. Insecurity, another word for fear, is often at the root of this cruelty. The father may feel his authority is being challenged or threatened, so he asserts it by being authoritarian, the only way he knows. Other members react cruelly in defense. One violence leads to another kind of violence.

Very often we do not have listening in a family because there is fear. There may be fear of appearing weak, of losing face or authority, or of being refused or punished. This fear leads one to want to control by threat or violence so that the other person then becomes afraid. If, on the other hand, there is honest listening there will be a realization that there is a fearful human being at the other side. It is very hard, but necessary, for parents to admit their own fears and weakness to themselves and sometimes to their children. When the other's fearfulness and human condition is heard sympathetically fear is driven out and love can come in.

If we want Christ to be born in our families we should try to give each other the most important gift of all. It does not cost much. It does not need a wrapper. It is the most genuine sign of love. It is to just simply listen to one another from the heart without any defensiveness. It takes time to learn to do this. Just make a start.

Many find that one of the best ways in which to learn to listen and to overcome fear is through the daily practice of meditating. Just be still and know that God is there within you and many of your fears will vanish. This will make you a more sensitive and loving family member.

Source: Sundays into Silence - A Pathway to Life. Copyright 1998 by Claretian Publications

See Also:

Sermons, Bible Commentaries and Bible Analyses for the 1st Sunday after Christmas

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