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Lack of authentic worship in T&T
Roman Catholic Archbishop Joseph Harris has admitted he was pained by the slaughter of the innocents in 2013, saying this was a reflection that the worship of God is not what it should be. Harris’ statements were made during his New Year’s Eve homily at the St Theresa’s Roman Catholic Church, Woodbrook, on Tuesday Abuse in all forms, Harris added, has also become commonplace.
“It would seem therefore that even though we have so much for which to thank Almighty God in this nation of ours, as a nation our worship of God is not what it should be,” he said. “The slaughter of our innocents, the abuse which seems to be spreading like wildfire... We see it in the bullying in our schools, the discrimination practised because of gender, or ethnicity, or illness all speak to us of the lack of authentic worship in our land,” Harris said.
Urging people take stock of their actions to “reverse this situation,” Harris said the relationship which God wanted to have with people was essentially a relationship of justice. “It is a relationship in which people give to God what is his due and God gives to us what is our due,” he said. “If the relationship of justice which we are called to have with God is to be evident in our land, for a relationship of justice with God is only realised in a relationship of justice with other human beings.”
Saying it was important people emulate proper role models, Harris said these included the Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, St Damien of Molokai and T&T’s late Archbishop Anthony Pantin. “These are three examples of men and women who offered true worship to God, because they let their faces express the welcome, acceptance, mercy, reassurance, and love to the most vulnerable around them that God wanted expressed,” Harris said.
He said those convinced that God was a vengeful God who punished people for their sins must be assured that God would smile upon them. “In many ways we today still believe in a vengeful God. Religion has so often taught us that God punishes. We tell our children that God will punish them and for many of us the basic relationship that we have with God is coloured by the fear of punishment,” Harris said.
“We need to know that the Lord lets his face shine upon us and is gracious to us, that the Lord looks upon us kindly and gives us peace.”
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