Feast of the Holy Child

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.

Worship / Office Schedule

HOLY CHILD & ST. MARTIN EPISCOPAL CHURCH

777 Southgate Avenue Daly City, California, 94015-3665

Telephone (650) 991-1560    Website: www.hcsmdalycity.org

The Rev. Leonard B. Oakes, Vicar

The Rev. Dr. Lynn Bowdish, Associate Priest

The Rev. Tricia Rosso, Deacon

The Rev. Jonathan Owens, Deacon , Youth Director

Mariterie Adams, Administrative Officer

Sadje Guillermo, Music Director

WORSHIP  SCHEDULE

SUNDAYS

9:00 A.M. Holy Eucharist                   10:30 A. M. Holy Eucharist

           (English)                                      (English/Tagalog/Spanish)    

Children Sunday School at 10:30 A.M.  

Baptisms, Marriages, and other services by appointment

Emergencies:  (650) 534-5831    –   E-mail:  RevLeonardOakes@gmail.com

Website: www.hcsmdalycity.org

Facebook/Holy Child & St. Martin’s

WEEKDAYs PRAYER MEETINGS

Monday 8:30-9 am at Church Hall, Prayers of Concern.

Friday 6:30 PM, Healing Prayer

Wednesdays 7 PM, Holy Rosary

Sundays 12:15 PM Novena to San Martin

Sundays 1:30 PM Novena to the Santo Nino

OFFICE HOURS

Wednesdays,  Fridays, Saturday & Sunday – 9 A.M – 5 P.M

Thursdays – Pastoral visitation

Have you Epiphany?

First Sunday in EPIPHANY

The Rev. Leonard Oakes

A husband composed a song to convey his story:
“On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me: A note that says, “Let us save our money for the new year, which means you will not get a gift this Christmas. “On the 12th day of Christmas my true love sent to me, long list of bills”

Today is the day after the 12th day of Christmas, Epiphany, “God is revealed to us”. You may not have gotten any gift during those 12 days of Christmas but God has given you the most gift you ever have, His son our Saviour Jesus Christ, the light of the world, who, through him, God the father is revealed. He is the light that will guide us back to God the Father. In him, will never get lost.

On our way back from sacramento last night, we lost our way going to San Francisco . It was too late when I realized that the road I took was taking us to 99 South towards Lodi and Jackson. No, no, we were not looking for Jackson Rancheria Casino. Thanks to GPS, we found our track back. It took us three hours from sacramento to San Francisco, which should have been two hours only.

I wonder how the three Magi in the Gospel story found the Child Jesus by just following a star? It was suggested that they were astrologers who studied the stars and other heavenly bodies but I don’t think they had an improvised GPS then. I don’t think that just by following the direction of the star, there were no cliffs or water either? Riding on the back of a Camel? I am pretty sure they had to avoid those roads and took a longer route. The Wise men came following a star searching for the one born King of the Jews. The Bible says they came from the East. It was probably Persia. They traveled hundreds of miles and even on camel back they probably did not move much faster than a quick walk. Back then they did not have travel insurance or Highway Patrol or even a gasoline station to ask a map. It was a dangerous journey especially for three very wealthy men with chests full of treasure. They probably had to bring their own security force with them to protect them from robbers. They took at least one wrong turn. They assumed that anyone born to be King of the Jews would be in the palace of the King of Israel. They came to King Herod who became interested to see the Child with a dark intention. They finally got on the right path with the help of an angel who told them not to go back to Herod. And with God’s help they finally found Jesus.

I can only assume that these three Magi went through many hardships and a few wrong turns, but I aslo believe that amidst those challenges, they kept searching and they found God come in the flesh to save us all. God reveals himself all the time if we only seek. The problem is that many people are not looking. How many people saw the star of Bethlehem but failed to notice it. And how many more who saw it failed to ask what it meant. God is being revealed to us all the time. So why don’t people see God. For the most part, it is because they are not looking for God. They may see things and simply overlook them. So they may walk right by and not question what they have seen. So we need to seek. If we want to find God in our world we need to seek. We need to open our eyes and be looking. We need to expect to see something and then we need to question what it means. Like the Wise Men we need to seek to find. Seeking may not be easy. But if we only make our resolves and determinations to find God, we will find him with much joy.

One can’t seek God for granted. If the Wise men had only sought the Messiah on the weekend they would have never have found him. They had to dedicate their lives to it. It probably took them years and cost them a fortune. It was also a trip that include some wrong turns and some dangers. When you seek, know that there will be missteps. You may go down some valleys and peaks, some deeo water or dead ends. But keep seeking. Keep looking despite the dangers. Somewhere, somehow, you will find God revealing Himself to you and the things around you. And you will be able to say, “Aha!” Much to your surprise, He has been there all the time and that you didn’t have to look farther.

Would you like to have an Epiphany experience? Would you like to have the spiritual lights turned on in your heart and soul or turned brighter. Would you like to be suddenly aware of the presence of God in your life? Then seek. Look for God in your life. Don’t do it on just Sundays. Seeking God is not for granted; it is life endeavor. It may take a while so keep seeking. It may be hard to job at this time or home for a shelter this cold season. There may be hardships and wrong turns but keep seeking. Like the wise men follow the light of the star that you have seen and let it lead you to Jesus. Then when you arrive at your epiphany, you can open the treasure chest of your heart, and you can worship God almighty come in the flesh to save us all!

In our journey to seek God, let us bring Christ to others.Here’s my suggestion in doing so:

We are going to kick start our new year with a plan and the plan will revolve around our calling from God to make a difference in our lives, families, church and community.

Invite one friend next sunday. It will be the feast of the Holy Child Jesus, Santo Nino. Let your guest feel the revelation of God’s presence in our worship and fellowship. David and Marie had their Epiphany experience when they first came for a visit here in our midst. They are back because they felt the presence of God in our worship and fellowship.

Let it be our goal to bring at least one or two friends this year. It doesn’t hurt to ask. Just say, “come and see, we are a loving and caring community.”Build that friend to be part of one of our programs. Let him or her feel God’s calling to seek for the star in Jesus through our church and community program.

The revelation of God does not end in the birth of Jesus. It goes beyond the spirit of the Birth, it goes through our hearts and beyond, to the next person whom you bring Jesus to. It goes beyond the walls of this Church. God reveals himself to us at Holy Child and St Martin through our compassion to the poor and the uninsured in our community. I ask you all to turn on your lights and join me in the distribution of the health flyer to anyone, anywhere for people to know that the star of God is just right here in our midst. We will be going door to door in the neighborhood, in every bus stops, in every laundry area to invite people to come and see how God is being revealed through our programs for the community. You will also find that on our meeting with the people, God is also revealed to us. God has been calling us all along to do this kind of ministry. Keep your hearts open that God may enter and reveal himself to you. May the light of God revealed in the word made flesh, Jesus our Lord, be with you today and as you leave this place to proclaim God’s love to the world. Happy Epiphany to all. Amen.