We’ve come this far by faith.
Faith firmly roots the family
“This holiday is observed from December 26th through January 1st. Again its focus is to pay tribute to the rich cultural roots of People of the African Diaspora. Though first inspired by African-Americans, many of African descent celebrate this occasion today. Its reach has grown to include all whose roots are in the Motherland. Its’ concept is neither religious nor political, but is rooted strongly in a cultural awareness. This is not a substitute for Christmas; however, gifts may be exchanged with the principles of Nguzo Saba always in mind. Gifts are given to reinforce personal growth and achievement which benefits the collective community.
The principles are:
Umoja (unity) U-MO-JA
Kujicahgulia (self determination) KU-JI-CHA-GU-LIA
Ujima (collective work and responsibility) U-JI-MA
Ujamaa (cooperative economics) U-JA-MA
Nia (purpose) NIA
Kuumba (creativity) KU-UM-BA
Imani (faith) I-MA-NI“
©1996-2008: Nygamerz, Inc.
I would invite us to reflect on the principle of Imani, Faith. Faith roots us in our in our common identity as people of God. As families we recognize God is not only present to us but also how he acts in our lives. Faith is hoping in the things that are not yet, knowing that God is leading and guiding us into our future. We are ever becoming what God has called us to be. Paul in his letter to the Romans says “17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” As families this Kwanzaa we are called to faith through hearing. Parents pass on the faith to their children. Hearing Christ speaking through His word deepens and roots our faith. Much more than feelings and ideas about God, but rather a relationship with Him. The Old saying the family that prays together, stays together. The family deeply rooted in Faith that comes from hearing weathers the storms and challenges of life.
In the first reading from Genesis God makes a promise to Abraham, “The Lord took Abram outside and said,”Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can. Just so,” he added, “shall your descendants be.” Abram put his faith in the LORD,
who credited it to him as an act of righteousness.”
Abraham is a true witness of faith, he can’t fathom what God is promising, but he has faith. Faith brings us beyond the brink of total disillusionment. In promising a son, God asks Abraham to sacrifice him and again Abraham doesn’t lose faith, he trusts and has faith, that God knows what He is doing. God truly numbers his offspring as numerous as the sands of the seashore and the starts of heaven. We can’t see what God has for us, instead of doubt, denial, and gloom and doom, we must trust that God knows what God is doing. Faith keeps us inline with allowing God to act in our lives. To often we try to shape things in our image. Where is faith in our trying to get things to go our way, is church, Mass, prayer just motions, actions we do because we’ve always done
them? Or is it rather, an encounter with the author of life Himself and emptying ourselves to His will and action in our lives, our world even our parish. This feast of the Holy Family and Kwanzaa roots us all in our common identity as persons of faith.
As Family of God that sees in the Holy Family a model of Love, Trust, Faith and Commitment. “Brothers and sisters:
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance;”” he went By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was ready to offer his only son, out, not knowing where he was to go.”
You see Church, Faith is real and can have a real impact in our lives. St. Joseph is rich in faith and heritage, our future is tied to that faith. It can’t be sold off, stifled, nor trampled underfoot. There are plans that God has for us, “plans for our welfare, not for woe, plans for a future full of hope.” (Jeremiah 19) Let us, like Christ whom we adore as our Lord and God, grow strong, seek wisdom, and walk in God’s favor.
Harambee Kwanzaa to All.
Fr. Stephan Brown, SVD