By Kaelanne Jordan, email@example.com
The season of Advent is a period to begin building the habits that are necessary to enter the Kingdom of God. It is also during this time of creative waiting, one must ask, “Will I be ready for Him? How do I get ready?”, Archbishop Joseph Harris said as he delivered the homily during a farewell Mass hosted by the Sangre Grande/Coryal/Toco/Matelot cluster December 9. Archbishop Harris concelebrated the Mass with Fr Matthew Ragbir at the Cumana RC Church.
The Archbishop affirmed that God asks two simple things: to put Him first, to love Him above all things and to love your neighbour as Christ loved all. He said, “Not one of us can say I am perfect; I could go with the Lord immediately. All of us have bad habits that we created over the years and that remain with us. And so all of us need repentance so that when the Lord comes to us we are ready for Him.”
Archbishop Harris informed the congregation that God does not send people to hell. Rather, he explained, people walk into hell of their own volition. “You see, every human being is a creature of habit. We do what we are accustomed to do. And if we spend our lives walking away from God when God calls us…we walk into hell.”
The Archbishop reiterated that the criteria for entry into God’s Kingdom can be found “very clearly” in the scripture passage of Matthew 25. He reminded the parishioners to make habits of feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, welcoming the stranger and visiting the sick and imprisoned.
The Archbishop wished the Catholic Church would change the words of the Creed to “I believe the God, I believe Jesus Christ, I believe the Holy Spirit, I believe the Church.” “And forget the ‘in’,” he said, “because you see when you say I believe in God, you are recognising that God is a person whom has spoken to us, and we believe what God says, we accept what God says, and we let what God says force and shapes us. This is faith.”
Archbishop Harris warned that some have changed from God to another god—the god of money. He commented that during his 49 years of priesthood, he has never seen money in any coffin and urged the congregation not to go chasing what they can’t take with them. “The only thing you can take with you is a life lived in conformity with what God asks. That’s the only thing you can take,” he said.
At the end of the Mass, the archbishop was gifted with a recliner chair from parishioners, a mug and a special token from the altar servers. Chairman of the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation, Martin Terry Rondon, and former Works Minister, Jack Warner gave brief remarks and wished the archbishop well in his future endeavours.