By Kaelanne Jordan
“Mary’s obedience brings salvation; Eve’s disobedience brings confusion. Which mother is your mother?”
Archbishop Jason Gordon posed this question to faithful gathered for the annual Laventille Devotions Sunday, October 13 at the Marian Shrine, Laventille. Last Sunday marked the last in this year’s series of Devotions which began in May.
Responding to the query, faithful shouted “Mary”, to which the Archbishop affirmed, “If Mary is your mother and my mother then we should be living in obedience to God.”
The conscience is the aboriginal Vicar of Christ.
Archbishop Gordon, in explaining this doctrine, said that one’s conscience existed long before civilisation existed. The conscience, he added, is acting internally like the Pope acts in the Church.
“We living in a time where people want to buy, choose and sell whether or not they want to listen to the Pope,” the Archbishop observed.
He further mentioned WhatsApp messages against the Holy Father which he described as “simply slanderous”.
Disobedience to and ridiculing the Holy Father “could never be a virtue.” Rather, it is a cancer that is causing a deep wound in the Body of Christ today.
“Because this is a cancer that is being bred into our Church and it is disobedience at its root and its core. It’s a disobedience that will cause a schism in our Church unless we are very careful.
He continued, “That belongs to a people who are out in the North. It has nothing to do with Catholics in Trinidad and Tobago today. Do not bring that cancer into our Church here in Trinidad and Tobago,” he urged.
Archbishop Gordon made the analogy that the way persons treat the Holy Father—God’s representative on earth/the Vicar of Christ on earth is the same way we treat our conscience.
Citizens are only not listening and living by their conscience, but they are also not listening and living by the law of the Church and by the guidance of the Pope.
Archbishop highlighted the first reading (2 Kings 5:14–17) and the gospel reading (Lk 17:11–19) both spoke to obedience.
In the first reading, Naaman, a leper, experiences healing through his obedience. The gospel reading, which spoke of 10 lepers were obedient to the Word of Jesus and cured.
“That my brothers and sisters is the disposition of a Catholic. The obedience to do what is required by law, by conscience and by God…. The gratitude of the leper and the gratitude of Naaman is the hallmark of spirituality.”
To this end, Archbishop Gordon opined the wound in our Church, in our families and the nation will not be severed outside of disobedience.
The Archbishop observed that people think that happy people are grateful. That’s not true, he said. He believed that grateful people are always happy. A grateful person will always have more than enough and an ungrateful person even with more than enough will always feel as if they lack.
Gratitude is not only the hallmark of Catholic spirituality; it is the spirit of the Catholic.
The Archbishop then implored, “And let us be like Mary, people of gratefulness and gratitude for everything that God gives to us: good, bad, rich, poor, ugly and pretty. Let us give God thanks.”