– Archbishop at CCR Caribbean Conference
Being a follower of Christ is not an exercise in private faith but a call to be part of community and to witness to the love of God.
“Witness isn’t first and foremost trying to convince somebody that God is alive, witness is …people see the way you live and decide ‘this person has something special, they have something extra’ and therefore…I want what they have,” Archbishop Jason Gordon said.
When someone enquires about the joy and generosity displayed, then the witness can share the love of God and bring others to know Jesus Christ.
Archbishop Gordon was speaking on ‘The Holy Spirit, Community & Discipleship’ Acts 2:42–47 at the 23rd Catholic Charismatic Renewal’s (CCR) Caribbean Conference Saturday, January 8 at the CCR Centre, Caroni. The CCRTT marked 50 years last year and the milestone was celebrated at this year’s event.
Archbishop Gordon’s talk was broadcast by Trinity TV and streamed on Trinity’s Facebook page. The virtual CCR conference January 7 to January 9 had the theme Renewed in the power of the spirit.
He said the generosity of spirit shown by the early Christian community drew people to them. There has been a “shift” and faith in today’s culture is seen as a “private thing”.
Some Catholics avoid talking openly about religion and politics, and there is the view the Church has no business commenting on things happening in the society. “My faith is reduced to what I do when I come to church and what I do… in my house …it is not something that is shared or that is lived or that is demonstrated in the public sphere, and I think this is one of the great challenges that is facing us.”
He added that this was a false notion stopping people from understanding what it means to be Catholic. Archbishop Gordon explained, “My faith is personal in that God saved me for this community, it can’t be private because He saved me, personally, but for this community.”
On Pentecost, through the Holy Spirit, people gave their lives to God, were baptised, and became part of a community. “That connection between Holy Spirit, conversion, God, and community is an inseparable connection, and that’s why we belong to a parish… ecclesial community, prayer group…. God calls us to a faith and that is a social faith, and it has a social dimension that we cannot take away.”
Discipleship is the “epicentre” of community life. In the absence of community is a cacophony but there is harmony when the collective seeks discipleship. Each person using their gifts and vocation to build up the body of Christ, and for the sake of His Kingdom.
Archbishop Gordon said the disciple puts God first and follows what God does. The disciple is generous with their wealth for the Kingdom of God. It is not how much is given but how much remains. The widow who gave two coins was more generous than those who gave from their excess.
“It is really [about] what God has asked you to do and how you respond to that… It is not just with money…it is your time, yourself to other people, that’s with ministry; if you are married, your vocation as a married person in your family.” —LPG
Friday, January 7
Fr Anthony Abraham, ‘Holy Spirit and the Church’ Rev 1:3, Acts 15
Saturday, January 8
– Mary Baptiste of Zion Community, ‘Mary and the Holy Spirit’ Acts 2
– Dr Wendy Ann Jones, ‘The Holy Spirit and the Word’ John 6
– Bishop John Persaud of Mandeville, Jamaica, ‘The Renewal of the Social Life/Social Justice’ (See page 18)
Friday, January 7
Sunday, January 9
– Holy Mass with the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu
– Book launch presentation/documentary
– Jubilee Festival Celebration (Gospelypso Competition Prize Distribution, Youth Art Competition Display, Video segments on the ‘Story of CCRTT’, Distribution of Papal blessings and tokens)