Weekly Church Service – First Sunday after Christmas: 29 December 2019

Because Jesus himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested. Hebrews 2:18                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Almighty God,

who wonderfully created,

and yet more wonderfully restored,

the dignity of human nature:

in your mercy,

bring us to share the divine life of Jesus Christ, 

who came to share our human life,

and who now lives and reigns with you 

and the Holy Spirit, 

one God, now and for ever. Amen. 

  • Isaiah 63:7-9
  • Psalm 148
  • Hebrews 2:10-18
  • Matthew 2:13-23

next week

  • Isaiah 60:1-6
  • Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14
  • Ephesians 3:1-12
  • Matthew 2:1-12


First Sunday after Christmas

The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream: “Rise, take the child and his mother; flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you.”

Matthew’s Gospel continues his story of Jesus’ early years, focusing on the evangelist’s principal theme: that Jesus is the Messiah promised by God long ago.  Matthew portrays the Holy Family as outcasts, refugees in their own country.  Bound together by love and trust in God and in one another, they embark on the dangerous journey to Egypt to flee the insane rage of Herod.  Jesus relives the Exodus experience of Israel: he will come out of Egypt, the land of slavery, to establish a new covenant of liberation for the new Israel.

Today’s Feast of the Holy Family calls us to re-discover and celebrate our own families as harbors of forgiveness and understanding and safe places of unconditional love, welcome and acceptance.

The Holy Family is a model for our families as we confront the many tensions and crises that threaten the stability, peace and unity that are the joys of being a family.

Matthew’s Gospel of Mary and Joseph’s escape to Egypt has been lived by countless families in every place and time.  Today’s Feast of the Holy Family confronts us with the struggle of many families to escape the brutality and cruelty of the Herod’s of our time, seeking a new life in whatever Egypt they can find – and God’s call to us, as their brothers and sisters, to make a place for them where they will find safety, justice and dignity as God’s own.   

Matthew’s Gospel of the Holy Family’s fleeing the murderous wrath of Herod portends what is to come: the Christmas crib is overshadowed by the cross of Holy Week, that this holy birth is the beginning of our rebirth in the resurrection. © Connections/MediaWorks

Happy New Year to one and all may the year ahead be filled with God’s blessings


  •     Christmas 1

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