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The family is God’s instrument of salvation – Archbishop Gordon

The family is an “instrument of salvation”, Archbishop Jason Gordon said on the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

Preaching the homily on last Sunday’s readings, he said the feast is celebrated the Sunday after the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas). God sent His Son to redeem His people and He chose a family to do this, said the Archbishop, and thus “the family is the instrument to redeem the world”.

He explained that it was through the family (Adam and Eve in Genesis) that the world “was first plunged into disarray” and therefore God wanted redemption to come through a family, so “every human family becomes an instrument of redemption for the world”.

He told the congregation at the Living Water Chapel and those participating in the liturgy virtually to reflect on the fact that each family is an instrument of salvation.

“Through your family God is rebirthing the world. The family is not simply a sociological unit but part of God’s mission in the world and every member of the family has to see themselves as being on mission.”

Reflecting on family life today, Archbishop Gordon said the disrespect some children show their parents was because boundaries were not properly set. “If we don’t give children boundaries, we set up our children for failure. The disrespect seen in society today starts in the family,” he commented.

The Archbishop said happiness comes from doing what God wants us to do, not by being selfish but sacrificial. He called on husbands and wives to give way to God’s will and not allow the ego to affect their relationship. “The ego is so enflamed in our time it is causing destruction in family and society. We need to reverse this trend by surrendering to God first,” he remarked. The Archbishop gave background to the gospel (Lk 2:41–52) noting that Jews went three times a year to Jerusalem, travelling many miles for their religious festivals, and the Holy Family was part of an extended family so Joseph and Mary believed that Jesus was with a member of the extended family.

He said for parents to lose a child was difficult but there were many ways to lose a child, like spoiling a child and allowing him/her to do what he/she wants.

Archbishop Gordon said in the gospel, Jesus already was conscious of what was His purpose, and this was something all families can hope for their children, “to be conscious of what God is asking of them”.

He said children have to live under their parents’ authority, but parents have to “exercise that authority in a godly way”. “The role of the family is to help the children to grow in stature, wisdom, grace before God and society.”

Archbishop Gordon ended saying 2021 has been a difficult year for many families and invited everyone to ponder how each family member has offended the other, and to say ‘sorry’ to each other. “Get past the hurt and into the grace God wants for your family.” —RS