God’s will vs Social Norms

Dearest Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This week we arrive at a very important station in our preparations for the Birth of our Lord. John whom we know as the forerunner to Jesus is born. In this passage we find the joy that the new born brings to the old and frail couple Zechariah and Elizabeth and we also see the calamity that society brings with it to override this joy. Zechariah and Elizabeth who had come to understand the will of God in their life, however their neighbours and relatives were still infused with the social precepts and laws. Elizabeth wanted to name her son John, which means God is compassionate, yet everyone around her thought that she was crazy because she was going against the norms of her society which dictated that he should be named Zechariah, after his father.  

Of course Zechariah who after many months of silence and full of the knowledge of God’s will for his family took action and in his muteness, spoke and broke all the barriers that society was choking him with. Although a priest and a man of great faith, society had been choking him with its expectations. Through his silence, he came to realise that following social norms was not so important. What was important was activating the will of God in his life. This activation of God’s will empowered him to speak up and break his silence.  

The question for us today is very important. Are we activating the will of God in our life or are we enslaving               ourselves to the social norms that our society demands of us? There is a constant pull in two opposing directions. Society pulls us in one direction while God pulls us in another. It is up to us to be strong enough to be able to pull harder in the direction that God leads us as this is the ultimate source of truth and life.  

On a parish note, last Sunday the Family Committee organised a beautiful one day retreat for families. Eighteen families attended the retreat and over half of them were new families who had not regularly attended such spiritual days. The theme of the day was “a family who prays together stays together.” The day was rich with spiritual and social activities and it truly emphasised the importance of the family in our society. Thank you to all who took part in the organisation of this day. A special thanks to the members of the Family, Fersen and Teens committees who have been working very hard to prepare the day. Also, our Christmas program has been finalised by the Pastoral Council who met this week. Please be sure to take a copy home so that you can fully participate in all the spiritual and social events and truly bring the spirit of Christmas into your lives this year. Our theme this year is: Emmanuel, The Light that the Darkness could not overcome. I will be speaking more about this in the weeks to come.

Father Tony Sarkis

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