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Archbishop Gordon: A conscious negotiation of space with humility

Renee Smith

Catholics within the Caribbean are baptised and sent to the give the most precious of all gifts —mercy and love.

Yesterday, September 23, at the finale of the Antilles Episcopal Conference: Pontifical Mission Congress, Archbishop Jason Gordon reminded faithful of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross as “a symbol of mercy and love all are called to be”.

“There will be no poor among us, marginalisation of people, and injustices among our Caribbean people if we aim to have balance in our Caribbean societies,” he told attendees of the rally. “When we slip into the cycle of following false gods, we slip into the cycle of sacrificing the poor on the altar of progress.”

The poor and marginalised in society, the Archbishop said, should be treated with “dignity” not just “pandering” which maintains their status quo. Promoting autenthic human development and creating a space for interdependence is the ideal: “… a civilisation of love and righteousness will emerge and we will become a people of witness to the region of God’s everlasting love.”

Live stream of the AEC Mission Congress Closing Mass courtesy Trinity TV

Referencing last Sunday’s gospel reading (Lk 16:1–13) Archbishop Jason Gordon also encouraged Catholics to be “stewards wasteful with mercy”.

“If we are baptised and sent, the thing the baptised Christian does over again is give away mercy in a prodigious way because that is what the Father has given us”.

He explained the gift of mercy and love shows a belief in the “Kingdom values” of justice and peace, and moves the Kingdom of God forward step by step. The baptised Christian lives in tight space—between faith and presumption. “Some might say it is presumptious of us to be doing what we are doing [Mission rally], while others may say it is faith and courage.” The “tight space” has to be negotiated carefully with humility, “…otherwise we can easily move from faith into presumption”.

The rally was originally scheduled for the Queen’s Park Savannah to accomodate thousands of Catholic faithful, bringing a close to the five-day Congress meant to prepare Catholics in the AEC region for the Extradorinary Month of Mission in October.

It was relocated to the Centre of Excellence due to the announcement of Tropical Storm Karen’s passing over the island. Despite the news of the storm, a large gathering turned out on Sunday at the closing Mass which was moved from 3 p.m. to 9 a.m.

Speaking to the Catholic News after the Mass, Archbishop Jason Gordon commented it was “exactly what God wanted for us”. He did not believe the early end on Sunday affected the overall objective of the Congress.

“It focused on the discipleship challenge. Sunday’s rally was still a climax of the week. Those who attended were moved to mission and many saw it on TV. Once the weather system emerged, we knew we were in God’s hands. Our job was to interpret the times and flow with God. There was grace in abundance.”

Archbishop Gordon announced the cancellation of the rally after Mass so attendees could safely return to their homes.