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Families, ask for outpouring of Holy Spirit

Archbishop at Pentecost Mass

Is your family Babel or Pentecost? Archbishop Jason Gordon asked the congregation while presiding at the Pentecost Vigil Mass for families June 4 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Port of Spain. “Communication inside the family is a major challenge,” he said.

Archbishop Gordon used the First Reading (Gen 11:1–9), the building of the tower of Babel, to discuss this challenge. “Sometimes in the family you talking but like nobody understand what you saying,” he said. He instructed family members to turn to each other and ask if their family was Babel or Pentecost.

Archbishop Gordon cautioned about Babel in relationships. He said two people love each other and got married, then suddenly “war starts because of foolishness”.  “Babel” stemmed from pride, wanting to dominate and be “bigger than and better than” or from fear, of being put down or treated as a doormat. “Either fear or pride runs Babel…so what we do is we lock down and we stop hearing, we stop speaking, we stop communicating.”

On Pentecost, God sent the Holy Spirit and the apostles receiving it spoke, and everyone understood in their own native language. “The Spirit undid Babel”. Archbishop Gordon said the Spirit brought harmony and peace again in the human family. He told families that if they are experiencing a bit of Babel that was okay: beg God for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. “That will shift us from our pride, wanting to make a name for ourselves, wanting to dominate or from fear we will be dominated,” Archbishop Gordon said.

He commented that people are living in a time when they are completely missing God’s agenda and desire for the family because they have put their own agenda to the forefront.

Referring to St Paul to the Ephesians [5:22-33], he said wives and husbands are to surrender to Jesus Christ and the family has to be a family of Jesus Christ, discerning the will of God.

“The family needs to be a community of discernment, where husband and wife are discerning the will of God in the little and big things in their lives…it’s about hearing the Word of God, hearing the impulse in this situation and surrendering to whatever God is asking.” He added that if this was done, families would be different.

In the gospel (Jn 20:19–23) Jesus gives His peace. To have “shalom”, Archbishop Gordon said everyone in the family bends to God’s will becoming a community of love and life.

He mentioned the Church [March 19] celebrating the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia on the beauty and joy of love in the family. The Year of Amoris Laetitia Family will end June 26 this year. Archbishop Gordon said in 2020 missioning the domestic Church was launched in the Archdiocese, “setting the domestic Church on mission”. He reminded that the identity of domestic Church was patterned after the “big Church” in prayer, sacrifice, meeting, prayer, and discernment.

To the question: who are you, he stressed, “you are a community of life and love…a community learning to love and learning to forgive”.

After the homily there was a moment for reflection, to ask God to reveal the unforgiveness and pain carried within. Archbishop Gordon directed the congregation to ask God for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit into self and the family. Deborah de Rosia of the Eternal Light Community led a time of prayer over families.

The Mass began with a liturgical dance and procession of families, and as part of the offertory symbols of family life were brought to the sanctuary.

The celebration was organised by the Archdiocesan Family Life Commission and its stakeholder family life ministries. —LPG