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‘Jesus no longer stirs our blood’

By LAUREL V WILLIAMS Saturday, April 19 2014

click on pic to zoom in
POLICE AT PLAY: Constable Subera, left, on 'Hassan' and Constable Bonatien on 'Herra' played the roles of mounted Roman Soldiers yesterday during the ...
POLICE AT PLAY: Constable Subera, left, on 'Hassan' and Constable Bonatien on 'Herra' played the roles of mounted Roman Soldiers yesterday during the ...

CERTAIN words like self-fulfilment and self-actualisation have gained popularity in this age, but words like abnegation and self-sacrifice seem to have disappeared from people’s lexicon, Archbishop of Port-of-Spain Joseph Harris says.

“The disappearance of these words from our lexicon is a sign that the memory of Jesus no longer stirs our blood. Unless leaders pattern themselves on Jesus Christ, what we find in them is arrogance and self-serving attitudes which cannot bring about peace and harmony which we all desire,” Fr Harris explained.

He made these points while delivering the homily at the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper held at the Pro Cathedral of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church at Harris Promenade, San Fernando.

As is traditionally done in the Roman Catholic faith on Holy Thursday, the religious leader washed and kissed the feet of 12 people (in this case, members of the church’s confirmation class). The act represents Christ washing the feet of the 12 disciples and the teachings of The Last Supper which was the First Mass.

Addressing the congregation on Thursday night, Archbishop Harris noted that the act of feet washing must not simply be a reminder to him and other religious leaders of the need for them (religious leaders) to be their (devotees’) servants.

“It is also a reminder to you the faithful that you have to create the atmosphere of servant-hood and humility which must undergird Eucharist, and all Eucharistic celebrations for the disciples were exhorted by Jesus,” Harris added.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish priest Msgr Christian Pereira was also present at the Holy Mass. The archbishop challenged persons who consider themselves disciples of Jesus Christ to develop the habit and attitude of servant-hood. “It is relatively easy to wash someone to whom we have an emotional attachment, or if we are being paid to do it but the attitude of servant-hood has to go beyond helping those to whom we are emotionally attached,” Harris added.

Referring to the scriptures of the Holy Bible, Harris recalled that Jesus also washed the feet of Judas Iscariot who, within a few hours, was going to betray him for thirty pieces of silver.

He told the congregation that Eucharist and servant-hood go together and the two must not be separated. He suggested that when the two are separated Christians are having a parody of Eucharist and not the real thing.

“As present day disciples of the Lord Jesus, as a community whose predominant habit is Eucharist, we must be characterised by love, expressed in the habits of welcome, servant-hood and humility, for habit is not something which we live only on occasions. Habit defines us,” Harris noted.

Harris explained that as a Eucharistic people, they must be defined by welcome servant-hood and humility, both inside and outside of church.

Once they are characterised by welcome servant-hood and humility they become symbols of hope for this land which Harris acknowledged is so divided by ethnicity, politics, social status, and financial possibilities.

“As we live this Holy Thursday then, let it be for us a recommitment to servant-hood as practised by Jesus so that Eucharist which is the habit of all Christian communities be really an engagement with others bringing to our world the harmony which is God’s desire and gift to us.

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