By Lara Pickford-Gordon
It is tradition for people to visit the shrine at La Divina Pastora RC Church, Siparia to lay their burdens down and seek intercession and favours but they must also follow the example of her Son, the Good Shepherd.
“You can’t come asking the Divine Shepherdess for favours and then you want to go and lick up your neighbour …Remember, the sheep hear His voice; the sheep know Him; the sheep follow Him. If we are following Jesus Christ then our hearts have to be open to each other,” Archbishop Jason Gordon said at the annual feast day Mass yesterday (Sunday).
As usual the Marian feast of La Divina Pastora, the Divine Shepherdess attracted a large crowd that participated in the procession through the streets after the Mass. The fourth Sunday of Easter was Good Shepherd Sunday and the Archbishop’s homily focused mainly on the Gospel of John, 10:27-30.
He emphasised the followers of Jesus cannot have cold hearts, be angry or “embroiled in bacchanal”. Archbishop Gordon told the congregation they must open their hearts to their brothers and sisters, recognising the face of Jesus Christ. “Part of this journey that La Divina Pastora is leading us on…is that we become hospitable to each other.”
As the one who raised Jesus, Mary is the Divine Shepherdess and He entrusts all His loved ones to her. “Mary takes nothing for herself but she works on our behalf as a good mother, as a queen in Heaven, as La Divina Pastora,” Archbishop Gordon said. She leads those who have strayed, back to her Son to follow Him.
The Good Shepherdess was sent to the people of Trinidad and Tobago where the value of hospitality has been lost—people have become “hard” in their encounters with each other. They are angry and bitter. Archbishop Gordon said the anger, hatred and other things in the human heart which are base and destructive are being passed on to children and they were passing it on to their children.
Archbishop Gordon observed, “That’s where so much of our violence comes from and the only way out of this violence we have as a scourge in this nation, is if we would open our hearts to the Good Shepherd and the Good Shepherdess and if we allow her to lead us back to the path which is Jesus because that is the path to peace.”
He called for deep conversion of hearts to Jesus Christ if the Good Shepherdess is to hear the voice of those seeking her help. He appealed for the congregation to pray to La Divina Pastora, the “little miracle worker” for all citizens. They were instructed to recite “that our hearts be turned toward your son the Prince of Peace”. He added, “That is a miracle beyond all miracles.”
Archbishop Gordon paid tribute to mothers for Mother’s Day saying the bond between mothers and their children was very powerful. They knelt in prayer and begged for help for their children.
As human mothers knew what they wanted for their children and what they were capable of, he commented, “How much more mother Mary wants for each one of us—what is absolutely amazing, what is powerful, what is good, what is noble, what is true…”