By Kaelanne Jordan Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Don’t panic. Don’t worry. Don’t sweat. Do not be afraid because God is with you.”
Archbishop Jason Gordon gave this piece of advice on Thursday during a special Mass for students preparing to write the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA). The Mass was celebrated at the Archbishop’s House Chapel.
He appealed to SEA students to focus on schoolwork and revision but more importantly, to remember that their life is “more beautiful” and precious than that single day, March 31, exam day.
“That day is a day, but your life is a whole big life God has given you and God has a plan for your life. So don’t sweat it.”
“I could tell you a secret? The first time I sat SEA, I didn’t even pass. Serious….and I don’t think I turned out badly. So, what you worrying about? You can’t do worse than me,” the Archbishop said.
Referencing the gospel reading for the following day, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord (Lk 1: 26–38), Archbishop Gordon said just as God had a plan for Mary’s life, He has a plan for everyone.
“And if you believe that then you would know that when the day comes, and you go into that exam, that God is with you. When you sit down in that chair, the first thing you will do is lay out your instruments, not so? And when you finish doing that, the next thing I want you to say is ‘Do not be afraid, God is with me’.”
The Archbishop commented that the gospel reading illustrates a “wonderful encounter” between Mary and the angel. He asked the students to imagine a huge, majestic figure coming into their room with a message. “What will you feel? Fear?” he asked.
He opined that SEA may seem bigger than the angel to some. “If that angel is like 10 feet, SEA looking to you like 25 feet, correct?” He appealed “Do not be afraid.”
He then invited them to consider the angel’s special mission of delivering the news to Mary. “Can you imagine the angel being entrusted with this big, big message about what God intends for all of humanity? And the angel probably
rehearsing in his head how he’s going to communicate to Mary, what he’s going to say to her, how’s he going to make sure she understands everything that is being said.”
In a similar way, teachers and parents have been doing just that, Archbishop Gordon said. He again echoed his clarion call: “Do not be afraid”, because “you are highly favoured”. “Do you know that God loves you? How much? This much?” the Archbishop asked, stretching his hands as measurement.
“My hands not big enough to show you how much God loves you. …God counts you as a son or a daughter. He loves you with a love that is beyond anything that you will ever know and your whole life is to discover this love of this God the way Mary had to discover the love of God,” the Archbishop said.
Archbishop Gordon invited all SEA students gathered and those joined virtually to remember that if at any point during the exam they experience nervousness, to close their eyes for a second, take a deep breath in and out and say, ‘Do not be afraid, God is with me.’
The Mass saw parents, teachers and SEA students representing Success RC (Laventille), St Ann’s RC, Sacred Heart Boys’ RC, and Newton Girls’ RC.