Feast of the Holy Child
January 13, 2013
The Rev. Leonard Oakes
On my way to church this morning, I saw the beauty of the daly city bay and I found myself singing this song: “beautiful Sunday, whoo it’s a beautiful day.” Good morning!! I’m pretty sure that most of us had a wonderful night last night? The SF 49ers won the division play off and advanced to the NFC! (I was just told by our church assistant administrator marieterie adams that her husband Jim hid the TV remote control.) You saw it, and you have come to talk about it. But there is nothing better to talk about than what is happening and on going to happen here at HCSM.
On our Church website you will read a motto that says, “Come, See, Be renewed, Be empowered and Be a part of a community of Love and Hope.”
“Come and See” are invitations of something very interesting, something that is out of the ordinary. When someone asks you to “come and see”, the question that always come to mind is, what is it there to see? Is there something worth coming here to see? Is there something worth to prove? We invite people to “come and see” because there are wonderful blessings being transformed and shared happening in our midst. We are called by God to a wonderful cause and we are unable to keep that among ourselves alone because the blessing overflows freely out from our heart to the rest of the people around us and beyond.
This invitation takes us back to that unforgettable incident in our life as a church when the Sanctuary was engulfed by fire on Good Friday night in 2005. I was the first witness on how the fire devastated the inner part of the Church and the Fire Battalion commander took me in at 1 o’clock in the morning, when every fire was put to rest and the smoke has cleared the air. I saw the Santo Nino standing without any damage or form of melting on his face. I knelt down and thank God for such miracle. It was a sign that this Church will rise again and be filled with people and blessings. In the article written by our brother Gino Soberano he wrote, “Sto. Nino originated in Europe in the early 15th century. It spread its popularity throughout the Christian world including the Philippines after Ferdinand Magellan had discovered the Island in 1521. It traces its roots in a small town in Prague where the Holy Infant image was molded in a wax form and given as a gift to an Empress. Even Queens possessed this Holy image. From generation to generation, it has been told that in different places in Europe and in many different countries, the Holy Infant Jesus worked miracles where he was honored and adored. He turned barren towns into prosperous cities. He turned Churches alive with people, he cured many diseases.”
In 1993, the Holy Infant Jesus Replica was airlifted from Manila to San Francisco and was officially enthroned by Bishop William Swing of the Episcopal Diocese of California on that same year With The Rev. Vito Villalon as the Vicar. Mng. Gino revealed to us of an inscription he once read, “The more you honor me, the more I will bless you.” I remember what my mom told me when I was a lad of 10, that the sto. Nino is a patron of water. That to me and the rest of us was a miracle that happened in this Church. Yet, a miracle continues to happen in this Church. People have been healed and touched. With your presence and more others to come, bringing forth your talents, time, treasures and skills before God in this Church is certainly a miracle worth celebrating. Because this Church is Alive!
There is life among us shared in every moment we come together for worship. There is something worth coming to see in this blessed place; Our Health and Wellness will launch her Health Faire on January 26, 2013,Saturday from 10 am to 3 PM. City officials will be here as well as our different partners from the health community and volunteers.We have invited people to “Come and See” So that in coming, they may be renewed and empowered and be among us, a community of love and hope.
Today, We celebrate the feast of the Sto Nino as a testimony of the Love of God through His Son Jesus Christ and the Guidance of the Holy Spirit in this place and her people.
There are more miracles to come and I tell you my brothers and sisters in Christ, there is nothing that we cannot do because God is with us! If God is with us, who can be against us? No one, because we all take it to God in prayer.
In the Gospel according to St. Luke read this morning, we heard a wonderful miracle that happened to Jesus just as he was praying and was baptized by John, the Holy Spirit of God descended like a dove and a voice from Heaven said, “You are my beloved Son, in you, I am well pleased.” That was a miracle that happened right there. Through Jesus Baptism, we became partakers of the kingdom of God. We are all God’s beloved children and in us, God is well pleased.
A Mother looked out the window and noticed Her son “playing church” with their cat. He had the cat sitting quietly and he was preaching to it. She smiled and went about her work. A while later she heard loud meowing and hissing and ran back to the open window to see his son baptizing the cat in a tub of water. She called out, “Richard, stop that! The cat is afraid of water!” the kid looked up at her and said, “He should have thought about that before he joined my church.”
Jesus reminds us of our identity. It reminds us of who we are and Whose we are. By baptism we become sons and daughters of God, brothers and sisters of Jesus, members of his Church, heirs of heaven and temples of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ baptism reminds us of our mission: To experience the presence of God within us, to acknowledge our own dignity as God’s children, and to appreciate the divine presence in others by honoring them, loving them and serving them in all humility; To live as the children of God in thought, word and action. To lead a holy and transparent Christian life and not to desecrate our bodies by impurity, injustice, intolerance, jealousy or hatred; To grow daily in intimacy with God by personal and family prayers, by meditative reading of the Word of God, by participating in the Eucharist and the mission of Christ in the world.
Let us all subdue our passions and improve ourselves as baptized Christians . The eyes of the community are upon us, let us act truly and faithfully as people of God. Let our dreams be realized today in this church by putting together all our resources so that our aspirations and goals may be met through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Let us set our feet to the community and knock at every door to distribute the flyers on Health Faire, the flyers that knows no bound, the flyers that reach out to where God may also be found, in every home, in every person, to the less fortunate in our society, the poor, the uninsured, the homeless.
I would like to thank all the volunteers and donors to our bread for the world program. To Deacon Jon Owens who got us grants for that ministry.
Last monday, we distributed 80 sandwiches, bottled waters, socks, scarfs and sweaters to the true homeless in San Francisco. That is how we bring Christ to others and there we also find him, there among the forgotten people in our society. Let us not limit God’s love to our own needs only, let us also be mindful to the needs of others. The needs of our seniors, our children who needed to be loved. People who are depressed and alone need us. Let us all be an instruments of love.
Our annual meeting is also fast approaching on the 27th of January. The Bishop committee will then meet at the end of this month to prepare the budget for this year. I ask you all to participate during our annual meeting and have a part in the different committees. I assure you with the blessings of God, you will see greater things than these, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending like a dove upon the Church, the Body of Christ with a loud voice saying, “You are my beloved child, in whom I am well pleased.”
May we all be renewed, Be empowered and continue to be a part of a community of Love and Hope.” Amen.