Archbishop Gordon on World Day of Migrants and Refugees
As the Catholic Church celebrated 106 years of World Migrant and Refugee Day, Sunday, September 27, Archbishop Jason Gordon is calling for all to think deeply of the ways they may have spoken about people of other races and the ways in which they have looked at and either acted towards their benefit or not. “And I’m not only talking now about our migrants and our refugees who are here with us now but also people from a different nation,” the Archbishop said during Sunday Mass at the Living Water Community Chapel.
Commenting on the theme of the observance: Like Jesus forced to flee, the Archbishop asserted that it is importance to recognise that the face of the migrant and refugee is the face of Jesus Himself. He acknowledged that this statement “may take some work” to accept, especially with the present “angst and anxiety” for the future of our economy.
The first and second readings were delivered by persons from the Venezuelan community.
Archbishop Gordon recalled when Venezuelans came to Trinidad “in huge numbers” in 1810, it created an oil boom in 1865. One billion persons, which account for one-seventh of the world population are migrants, he shared.
“So what we are experiencing here in Trinidad and the challenge to us is an international challenge and one that the Church is putting before our eyes,” the Archbishop said.
Sunday’s gospel (Matthew 21:28-32) emphasises the parable of the work of the Kingdom of God.
“If they had gone into the vineyard and done the work, they would have been working with God in understanding what God had put before them. The work of the vineyard is the work that we are called to do every day. And it is the work of our spiritual life. It is the work of our salvation. And the whole work could be summarised in one line or one prayer: Bend my heart to Your will O God.”
Archbishop Gordon shared that in the world of morality, there exists a fundamental option. The fundamental option, he explained are the little choices that we make, day in, day out, which sends us on a particular path.
He asserted if you keep choosing to treat people badly then you become the kind of person who will treat people badly “automatically and unconsciously”.
“That’s a fundamental option,” he stressed.
The Archbishop gave another scenario of a fundamental option—when persons choose to put God first in every decision and every area of their lives.
To this end, he reiterated that the first work of the Kingdom is to stop and ask yourself ‘What direction is my life heading?’ Is it in a direction God is asking of me?’
Repentance, the Archbishop observed connotes an image of an arrow heading towards a target.
“And if this is where the target is, and the person shoots the arrow towards the target, and hits the target that’s what righteous living is.”
If, however, the target and aim is in opposite directions, then one misses the mark.
To miss the mark is to miss the direction of the target God has set before you.
Archbishop Gordon concluded that the role of the Church is not to answer the current problems with contemporary wisdom “so that everybody can applaud”. The role of the Church, he clarified, is to answer the contemporary challenges with the values of the Kingdom of God and with the values of the gospel of Christ.
“And it is when we answer the contemporary problems with the values of the Kingdom that’s when the Church is at Her best and that’s when She is doing what She is supposed to be doing.”