Deacon Lazarus Jonathan from the Penang Diocese proclaimed the Gospel (Luke 2:22-40) and preached the homily at the Sunset Mass on 30th December 2017 at the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Fr. Sebastian, a priest from India, celebrated the Eucharist.
“Today, we honour and show respect to the Holy Family: Jesus, Mary and Joseph”. The Universal Church celebrated this feast on 31st December 2017. Deacon Lazarus who spoke very captivatingly, said, “Today the family institution is in danger of erosion, or disintegration. Working hours has changed, with many working long hours, and money becoming more important than building relationships.”
The permanent deacon told the story of a boy who lacked the attention of his father, and went on to ask his father to spend some time with him in exchange of money. Deacon Lazarus then related the moral of the story “Satan is working overtime to destroy the human family. Satan wants to corrupt the family and destroy society. Satan wants to destroy marriages. Strong family ties are necessary for a strong society.” He added, “Social Media is defending infidelity. Do we realize that? When a marriage fails, it makes headlines, to shame couples.”
Going on to reinforce the three important essences for a family; firstly, it must be a place of refuge and respect. When any problem arises, the family must be the place for children or spouses to turn to for refuge, and to find resolve.
The second is the necessity of prayer in family life. A family that prayers together, stays together.
The third is the need to have God in the family and the need to communicate with each other. Deacon Lazarus reiterated that God must be in the family; if not the family institution will suffer. No doubt, God can be found in the Church, but He also must be found in the family.
Being the feast of Holy Family, both Fr. Sebastian and Deacon Lazarus went around the pews to bless the congregation with holy water after Mass, as they sang the Recessional Hymn.