By Leela Ramdeen, Chair, CCSJ, & Director, CREDI
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As we celebrate the solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord this Sunday, let us reflect on how well we followed Christ last year, and resolve to follow Him more closely this year.
According to the Gospel ((Mt 2:1–12), the Magi came from the east, followed the star and found the Son of God, Jesus. As St Ambrose said: “…wherever Christ is, the star is too, for he is ‘the bright morning star’. With his light, then, he points to himself.”
For all of us who are baptised, following the “star”, the Light of the World, is an ongoing process. Too often we allow ourselves to conform to the world rather than strive to follow and to lead others to the star.
Pope Francis in his homily on the feast of the Epiphany last year spoke about the three Kings/the Magi who, he said, “personify all those who believe, those who long for God, who yearn for their home, their heavenly homeland”. They reflect “the image of all those who in their lives have not let their hearts become anesthetised”.
Like these kings, he said, “a holy longing for God helps us keep alert in the face of every attempt to reduce and impoverish our life. That longing keeps hope alive in the community of believers, which from week to week continues to plead: ‘Come, Lord Jesus’…What the Magi found in Bethlehem was a promise of newness. There something new was taking place. The Magi were able to worship, because they had the courage to set out. And as they fell to their knees before the small, poor and vulnerable Infant, the unexpected and unknown Child of Bethlehem, they discovered the glory of God.”
If we are not to let our hearts become anesthetised; if we are not to lose sight of the star, we must constantly pray: “Come Lord Jesus”. Now that T&T will be moving into the Carnival season, let us check ourselves to see which road we are travelling.
Is it one that will lead us/keep us on the path to Christ? If we have a personal encounter with Christ, we will be able to discern right from wrong e.g. we will be able to state categorically whether some of our calypsoes are appropriate or not.
The dignity of the human person is the foundation of the moral vision of any society. Any song/calypso that denigrates man, woman or child diminishes all of us. It is about time that we speak out and call on song-writers and singers to help lift the nation by crafting offerings that will lead us to a higher, more noble place.
It is because many of us have failed to speak out, that the genre has gone wild and raw sexism and racism sometimes dominate calypsoes that assail our senses on the airwaves and lead to further divisions in our divided society.
The Son of God came not only for us Catholics, but for all humanity. Together with our newly installed Archbishop, Charles Jason Gordon, let us forge ahead as a Eucharistic people to build a just and peaceful society/world.
Pope Francis has asked us to be missionaries of hope “confident in the transforming power of the Spirit at work in our hearts and in our world”. He has reminded us that “no hatred is stronger than love”. It is time that we learn to embrace each ethnic group in T&T with the love of Christ who made us all in His image and likeness. Let us have “the courage to set out”; to change the culture and mindset of those who perpetuate distrust, hatred and discord in our communities.
Changing hearts and minds require us to focus also on our youth. My friend sent me a link to Young Community Mediators (http://youngcommunitymediators.how/ ) “a group established with the purpose of equipping young people with the knowledge and skills to become peer mediators, empowering the youth of society to play a greater role in addressing conflict in the community around them thus helping to create a brighter future…We, Young Community Mediators recognise that knowledge is power and that education is the tool that we can use to change the world, and this change can start at our own doorsteps.”
Young people, you who are “frustrated with the portrayal of youth; the negative association between youth and violence, crime and conflict… who seek to restore hope and bring about positive change”, help us to follow the star.
Happy New Year.