Archbishop Gordon: Family is about love, sacrifice

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

RC Archbishop The Most Rev Jason Gordon is calling on people to remember that the family is a school of love.

Gordon celebrated the Feast of The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph at the Living Water Community chapel on Sunday.

He called on people to remember that the family is the way to redemption and an instrument of God’s salvation.

“I want families to pause for a while today and reflect that your family is an instrument of God’s salvation – not the neighbours, but your family. And through your family God is rebirthing the world and doing something to bring about harmony in our world.

“If we understand that the family is not simply a sociological unit that happens because a man and a woman happen to like each other, but is part of God’s mission, that means that every member of the family has to see itself as being on mission, as the family at its very essence is a school of love.

“You don’t go to school because you know what to do, you go to school to learn, and there are many trials and errors.”

Gordon said disrespect in the family, especially between parents and children, is a major factor causing problems in today’s society.

“When we don’t give children secure boundaries, we destroy their soul. When a child doesn’t know when no means no and there are some boundaries you will not cross because I love you, we set them up for failure and then when as teenagers turn around say I hate you, you can see how not setting up boundaries early has fed into foolishness in the adolescent years.”

He said love in a family should be sacrificial, the way Christ sacrificed for his church. He said people in families have to understand they are part of God’s plan for a nation and the world.

“If they do that, they can find a way beyond what I need, like, desire, to what God needs, likes, and desires. I think the fundamental problem facing the nation is that everyone wants to do what they want to do and what pleases them and what they feel good about and that’s not the purpose of our living and will never bring human happiness, which comes from doing what God asks us to do and responding to what God asks for us, and being sacrificial for the sake of the other, because love is making a sacrifice for yourself for the sake of the other.”

Gordon said if husbands and wives surrendered to God first, there would be no ego battles and destruction in marriages. He said children had to live under their parents’ authority as Jesus did, but that parents have to exercise that authority in a godly way, not through ego battling and one-upmanship.

“Husbands love your wives and treat them with gentleness. A sacrificial love is to go to the cross for the sake of your wife and family and endure whatever pain and suffering there is and I am sure that if a wife found a husband who was loving her sacrificially there would not be a problem as she would see Christ in him and know what he was asking would be in the best good of the whole family. The role of the mother is to ponder the mysteries of the family and get wisdom out of that. The role of the family is to help a child grow in wisdom, stature, and in grace, before God and before men.”

Gordon ended the sermon by asking people to ponder how they might have offended their loved ones over the past year.

“Don’t let tonight come without saying sorry because this has been such a terrible year for so many families, and such a beautiful year in so many ways but let us get past the hurt to get past this feast to get to the grace that God wants for your family.”

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