LAST year, Easter Sunday saw five people in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Port of Spain with Archbishop Jason Gordon being one of them.
This year, instead of preaching to a camera, two musicians and one deacon, Gordon was able to speak to an almost full, yet socially-distanced cathedral. And his joy was palpable.
"Hallelujah, hallelujah, that's why it's so joyful. When you think back to last year and how it was, this year really having the congregation is amazing," he told reporters after his Easter Sunday service.
Hundreds of people attended Easter Sunday Mass at churches all over the country despite the pandemic but ever-mindful of the need to social distance and wear masks.
Easter is considered to be the most important observation by Christians as it commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead on the third day after his burial following his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary.
"Easter has been brilliant. The services have been wonderful. As you can see, the people have been joyful. In the midst of the pandemic that has been rising, and still we are able to celebrate the light of Christ's love for all of us."
The cathedral was three-quarter filled on Sunday, and Gordon said there were only a few vacant seats during the service on Gloria Saturday.
PRAYERS IN A PANDEMIC
"For the cathedral this is a very good crowd. Before the pandemic, we would not have been filled this way." He said many churches in the west are now overcrowded, and he's been telling people to go to the cathedral for mass. "If you can't find a place, come, the mother will always house you."
During the homily, Gordon told the congregation that Jesus' resurrection light needs to shine through the country which still experiences violence including violence against women and police brutality.
"Early in the morning, it was the first day of the week and it was still dark, because the minds of the apostles who saw what had happened, they hadn't quite understood yet that Jesus had risen from the dead...they were still in the dark as our minds are in the dark. Do you think, brothers and sisters, that we have more light now?"
He said the resurrection is not just a historical story of something that happened 2,000 years ago, but is a living reality today because Jesus Christ rose from the dead. and death has no power of humanity. Yet, people in the country choose to death over life.
"The resurrection light has to illuminate the darkeners in our world. The thing that illuminates the darkness in our world, brothers and sisters, must first illuminate the darkness in my heart and in my life. I have to be willing to open my mouth and say Jesus Christ, please come in with your resurrection light and illuminate the darkness in my heart, because when my heart is illuminated, then all hearts are illuminated."
He said if TT had more "light" now, than when the apostles first found Jesus, then the country would not be living in so much violence.
"We would allow this light to illuminate the darkness that pervades this nation. When we look at the way women have been subjected to violence while trying to get home safe, that is a happening and we have to bring the resurrection light."
OUR NAME IS OUR ONLY POSSESSION
At Easter Sunday Mass at the Lady of Perpetual Help RC Church in San Fernando, Fr Jason Grell said people's only real possession is their name and they must do what they can to protect it.
In his sermon, Grell observed that when Jesus Christ was resurrected "he did not cling to anything worldly."
He asked his congregation, "What does that say to us?" Grell opined that the answer was "if we must rise with Christ we must equally be ready to detach ourselves from worldly things."
While people preoccupy themselves with many things during their time on Earth, Grell said, "You and I know, when you die, when you go to the grave, we will not carry any of these worldly things. It stay back."
But he added, "What we do take is our name." Grell explained, "That is why you see when some may try to tarnish and harass you and to tarnish your name, it's not a good thing."
He declared, "That is the only thing that we will go with, is our good name we can't take anything else with us." As Easter Sunday is a celebration of the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness, Grell said it was the duty of Catholics "to spread the good news of the Lord's resurrection."
Additional reporting by CLINT CHAN TACK