Archbishop: Redeem TT from wickedness
By Richardson Dhalai Monday, August 20 2012
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Archbishop preaches: Roman Catholic Archbishop Joseph Harris at yesterday's Independence mass in Couva. ...
Declaring “love speaks the truth to the other”, Roman Catholic Archbishop Joseph Harris yesterday advised the nation that its 50th Independence anniversary was an opportunity to redeem itself from the “wickedness” which was currently plaguing the nation.
Addressing thousands of Catholics at a special mass to commemorate the nation’s 50th Anniversary of Independence at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva yesterday, Harris also rebuked those persons whom he said were apt to describe the nation as a “rainbow people” saying the nation still has a long way to go before this vision becomes a reality.
“We love to call ourselves a rainbow people but allow me, respectfully to say, that this is not reality,” he said, adding, “at most it is a deep aspiration which will only come about in all of us if together we take the necessary steps to make this a reality.”
In a hard-hitting sermon, Harris also reproved those persons who “glibly” pronounced the nation’s 50th anniversary as a “year of jubilee” saying, according to the Old Testament, in which the phrase has its origins, that this was a period of debt, forgiveness and grace.
“This 50th anniversary, this year, which so many glibly call a jubilee gives us the opportunity to find ways of making this deep desire a reality,” he said.
“The jubilee year is thus a year of grace, the grace of the jubilee however is not vague or abstract, it is expected to be expressed in very concrete ways,” he added. “In the Old Testament, the jubilee year is expected to change the ways we relate, the debts we owe and thus change the structure of our society.”
The Archbishop continued, “This change comes through forgiveness, the forgiveness of economic debt and the return of ancestral land is an outward sign of the inward grace that the jubilee brings.”
He spoke of the violence, corruption and murders that plague the country.
“Many see clearly the wickedness of our times, the mass murders, the senseless violence, the disrespect and abuse of women and children, the unchecked corruption in the financial sectors, this wickedness is redeemed not by our words, and we Trinis have a lot of that, it is redeemed by our lives, by the kind of people we are, by the ways we form our children,” he said. “None of this wickedness will change until we change,” he said.
He then urged leaders to develop a passionate love for the nation saying this type of love is the true character of true leaders.
“This passionate love is what characterised blessed John Paul the Second and Archbishop Anthony Pantin, this is what most characterises true leaders,” he said. “This love speaks truth to the other.”
He also gave an explanation to the congregation, among them Senate President Timothy Hamel-Smith and Arima Mayor Ghassan Youseph, who had gathered at the venue, many travelling by maxi taxis and private vehicles to the stadium saying the venue was chosen because of its central location.
“We thought it would be good symbolically to celebrate this Eucharist in the centre of the country, saying with that, that all peoples, not only those who live in the north, but all peoples, indeed form part of our church and of our nation,” he said.
Earlier, during the processional entry of the celebrants and national flag, the three elements of the nation — earth, fire and water — were symbolically brought into the stadium where prayers and songs were offered on behalf of the nation.