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TT in dark times

by ALEXANDER BRUZUAL Thursday, December 26 2013

ARCHBISHOP of Port-of-Spain Joseph Harris yesterday delivered a sombre Christmas Day homily at the St Francis RC Church in Belmont, telling worshippers that even during these “dark times” where almost 400 murders had been committed to date, it was their responsibility to spread hope across this country.

“I urge you to shine light by those who walk in the darkness of despair, to persons who have lost so much this year, through the deaths of their loved ones via vehicular accidents, by fires, by violence. Be the light that they need, and send hope so the message of peace can touch their hearts. This season of goodwill means we actually and profoundly need to spread that goodwill. Let us not be ostriches in the sand but disciples hearing the message of Christmas, taking it across this land. Be bearers of hope to those who see no reason to hope,” Harris said.

At the time, the archbishop was sitting down in a wooden chair outside the RC Church which is currently undergoing renovations. He had informed the congregation that he would be sitting during his homily as he had received strict instructions from his doctors to “take it easy” this month, as he “was recently suffering from health issues”.

The archbishop told the congregation, while Christmas was a time of celebration, he urged them to also reflect on the things that happened this year — the good and the bad.

“My dear friends we gather once again to remember and celebrate, to fill us with hope not amnesia. And while the festive activities are all worthy of being enjoyed, we must not let it make us forget the situation in which we live in as a nation. If we do forget, and do not let the events which have taken place this year influence the way we celebrate, then we are like ostriches hiding our head in the sand until disaster strikes.

“So what are we called to remember? Think about the 400 murders committed during this year, and that 28 of those killed were under the age of 18 — they were minors. Remember that seven of those were under the age of 12. Remember those who lost their lives, and the families who lost their loved ones to road accidents, because of floodings, because of fires and other disasters. It is tempting to ask why remember these distressing statistics in this season of cheer and goodwill. The reason is that we must remember these things in this season of good, so that will we allow the gospel messages and readings to enlighten us and to come forth and be better persons,” Harris said.

He noted that while there were several things to thank God for, such as the fact that the country was not in the throes of civil war, not currently experiencing a famine, or the victim of natural disasters, there were many families grieving in this country, who would not recognise these blessings.

“I often wonder if those who lost sons and mothers, fathers and daughters, see much to thank God for in the midst of what can only be described a dark period in the history of our young nation. However, no matter how dark things get, there is a light — you. This is why the good news given to the shepherds in the fields some 2000 years ago still resonate today and still fill us with hope. Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, which will make everyone happy. This very day in King David’s hometown a Saviour was born for you. He is Christ the Lord,” Harris said.

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