The Church in Trinidad and Tobago is called to be a “network of mercy” for the nation dispensing divine mercy to every “nook and cranny”, every village in the country.
“There are people in our land who already starving, who do not know what will happen tomorrow, who cannot feed their children already, and we now starting,” Archbishop Jason Gordon said giving a clarion call for acts of mercy to people experiencing hardship during the COVID-19 lockdown.
“Unless you and I touch Divine Mercy, we will not be what God wants us to be for His people,” he said during Divine Mercy Sunday Mass on Trinity TV at the Living Water Community Chapel, Port of Spain. The Mass was livestreamed on Facebook.
He added, “What He wants us to be is a concrete, tangible sign of Divine Mercy by the way we give people, for the needs that they have today so they can last for tomorrow.” This will require people to reach deeply into their “pockets” and into their hearts and souls.
Archbishop Gordon asked each person and each parish to “bask” and “swim” in mercy and be mercy, “for this land, our land needs mercy”. He said Divine Mercy, the second Sunday in Easter, is special this year because Church is being led “to what they will become”.
This year is the 20th year of the Divine Mercy Sunday instituted by St Pope John Paul II at the canonisation of St Faustina Kowalska. A plenary indulgence is given on this day after fulfilment of sacramental confession, Holy Communion, and prayer for the intentions of the Pope.
The Archbishop described mercy as something the lover does when the beloved “messes up”. He asked, “When your loved one messes up, do you quarrel, complain and go on and on or do you come to mercy and show that love?”. Love, he continued, has a depth of union and forgiveness that flows because it has no bounds and no ends. When Jesus appeared to the disciples in the Upper Room after His Resurrection, He greeted them “Peace be with you” (Jn 20:19–31). The disciples had “let Him down”, Judas betrayed Him, Peter denied Him, but His first greeting was not scolding but peace. “That is the divine mercy; that is the demonstration of who God really is.”
At the start of the Mass there was an Examination of Conscience, based on the Seven Capital Sins and the Ten Commandments. He told the faithful even if their sins are “red as scarlet” reconciliation is offered by the Church.
He cited the Catechism of the Catholic Church that “If we made a genuine Act of Contrition, and we have a desire for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and if for some reason we cannot go, then God already forgives us our sin in that desire”.
The condition attached is that people go to Confession as soon as it is possible. In the absence of Holy Communion, he said a “spiritual communion will suffice” under present conditions and he directed the faithful to pray the Divine Mercy chaplet at 3 p.m. as a family. The Archbishop said through the plenary indulgence the soul will be as it was at the time of baptism. —LPG