- The Washington Times - Monday, December 30, 2002

The following are excerpts from a sermon given yesterday by the Rev. Mike Wilson at St. Mary of the Mills Catholic Church in Laurel.
God in three persons, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, exists in love. And because God created us in His likeness, we have the same purpose of love in our families.
We celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family today because, once the child Jesus is born, Joseph and Mary have a family. The family is the basis of our society, and as God is love among the three persons, love is to bind together all our families' relations.
Now, notice I say love, not "like." We don't always like our family members all the time, or what they say or do, right? Yet through all of this, we love them. This distinction is important. What we like can come and go like feelings. But love is not a feeling. It is a choice. Love will last, and God made us in His image and likeness so that it never changes.
When I was 7, my siblings and I weren't getting along. So one day I said, "I'm running away from home." As I was packing my clothes, my brothers made me a lunch to take along. Once I got a mile down the road, I stopped to eat my lunch. Then I went back. I told them, "I'm going to give you another chance."
To love our family is a choice we make. Unfortunately, we emphasize this love only at Christmastime, birthdays or anniversaries. We don't express our love to our families enough. The word holy means "other" or "different," so we celebrate the holy family because they have a special relationship with God and right relationships with each other [Luke 2:22-40].
As a child, we know, Christ was obedient to his parents, though like any child he wanted to have adventures. The Scripture tells how He stayed behind at the temple, and His parents didn't know where He was. Well, the same with everyone's children. When they are loved, they want to obey their parents, but they also want to experience their freedom.
When I talk to youth groups, I ask them, "Do you think your parents are limiting your freedom to hurt you or because they are thinking of your best interests?" Everyone says, "My best interests." Then I ask them, "Do you think of your parents' best interests?" They say they will try. We are so busy and don't have time for each other in our families. Make time, love each other and say you love them.
Families are not without problems, and sometimes there has to be a separation. Sometimes the anger and bitterness is so great that the bonds are broken. But we always have to work toward God and try to remember the love that created our family. Jesus told us in the great commandments, "Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself." Who is our neighbor? Our neighbor is our spouse, our parents, our extended family.
Christ and His family have given us the example of how to live for others, to live selflessly. He has shown each of us our purpose. And what is that? Remember the catechism. Why did God make us? "To love and serve Him and to be with Him in this world and the next."
We generate our love by our willingness to be selfless, not selfish. Today we read about Abraham being called by faith, and he followed God [Genesis 15, Hebrews 11]. God promised to give him many generations. At his age, Abraham couldn't believe it, but God said, "Trust me." And Abraham did. He had a son, and now so many people, Jews, Christians and Muslims, believe in one God because of his faith.
Whatever your situation in life, whatever your hurt is, God is there saying, "Trust me." For the new year, I challenge us all to be loving members of our families. In the family of God, the Holy Trinity, the Father asked Jesus Christ to die for us. That is the love of family. That is the hallmark of Christianity. It is not to win, not be right, but to love.
Next week: a sermon at a congregation in the District

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