Martes, 03 de diciembre de 2013

Continuando su visita pastoral en las Indias Occidentales (véase Fides 29/11/2013), el Cardenal Fernando Filoni, Prefecto de la Congregación para la Evangelización de los Pueblos, ha presidido la tarde del sábado, 30 de noviembre, la misa solemne del primer domingo de Adviento en la Pro-Catedral de San Fernando en Puerto de España (Trinidad y Tobago), a la que asistieron obispos, religiosos y laicos de las Antillas. (Fides)

Solemn Celebration in the Pro Cathedral of San Fernando in PORT OF SPAIN, Open to all with the presence of the Bishops of the Antilles and the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. HOMILY - FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT

November 30, 2013 – 18.30


1.  Greeting. My Dear Brother Bishops, priests, religious and faithful of the Archdiocese of Port of Spain, and honored guests! It is with great joy that I join with you in celebrating this solemn Liturgy for the First Sunday of Advent. Let me begin by expressing my sincere thanks to His Grace, Archbishop Joseph Harris, and to his newly appointed Auxiliary Bishop, His Excellency Robert Llanos, for their warm welcome. I would also like to acknowledge the presence of the many Bishops of the Antilles Episcopal Conference, together with its President, Archbishop Patrick Pinder of Nassau. Joining us are also many priests, religious brothers and sisters, and the large number of faithful. In a special way, I would like to acknowledge, and welcome, the Honorable Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona, President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, who is joining us today for this Solemn Liturgy.

2.  Liturgical Context.    In days to come, all nations shall stream to the LORD’S house; many peoples shall come and say: Come, let us go to the house of God, that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths (cf. Is. 2:1-5).

3. The hope that the Prophet Isaiah expresses in this passage, proclaimed in today’s First Reading, has already been realized in the Mystery of the Incarnation; a Mystery that the Church will celebrate Liturgically after completing her annual Advent preparation, which she begins today. Jesus Christ and the Church that he himself established, with Peter as head of the Apostolic College, is the house established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills. People of every nation are now climbing to this house of God. We are also invited by the psalmist, to go “rejoicing to the house of the Lord.”

4. If we are to enter this house, let us be mindful of St. Paul’s admonition that we heard in today’s second liturgical reading “it is the hour for [us] to awake … to throw off the works of darkness and to put on the armor of light.” To enter God’s house, we must be prepared to conform our attitudes and actions to the very Mystery that we will be celebrating. It is the Mystery of the Father sending the Son to be Emmanuel, God-with-us. This Mystery continues in us, who have also been “sent out” by Jesus to announce the compassionate love of the Father to the world.

5.  The Mission to Evangelize.  Last July, Pope Francis, when speaking to the Bishops in Brazil, invited everyone in the Church to respond to a vocation to “Missionary discipleship... The missionary disciple, is a self-transcending subject, a subject projected towards encounter: an encounter with the Master (who anoints us as his disciples) and an encounter with men and women who await the message.”

6. There was urgency in the Holy Father’s words. The world is in need of the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ and we are the ones being sent out to announce it. This sense of urgency and expectation is also a central theme during the season of Advent, which reminds us that we are now in a period of waiting, expecting the Lord to come again, for judgment and to bring all things to completion. We must be prepared, vigilant, and engaged in the mission of Christ. Because, as the Lord tells us today’s Gospel, “for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come” (Mt. 24:44).

7. The Church in Trinidad and Tobago has a particular responsibility for this mission here, in this Caribbean Region, since it is rightly seen as the “mother” Church to many of the other particular Churches in the Antilles. The Archdiocese of Port of Spain is faithful to the invitation it has received from Jesus, and continues to respond to the Lord’s invitation to mission. Nevertheless, like all of the other local Churches, in this region, this Archdiocese faces many challenges in its mission to make the love of God visible, of announcing the Risen Lord, and of inviting people into full communion with him, within his Mystical Body, which he founded on the Apostles united with Peter. 

8. One challenge is the secularist world view that relativizes the Faith, creating laissez-faire attitudes, which have led to ambiguity in moral values and doubt, which has resulted in a diminishment in the practice of the faith, especially among the young. Linked to this is another great challenge, namely, the presence of the poor, who were no recipients of the economic benefits of development.

9. The multiplicity of missionary and pastoral commitments pushes us to ask whether today there are generous and enthusiastic Christians to place themselves at the disposition of the poor, of the Gospel and of the good.

The mission of Christ needs, above all, those who would respond unequivocally to the invitation of the Master, who is inviting some to give the best they have for the service of the Gospel. Let us, therefore, not be afraid to invite young people, even more, to call young people to the priesthood, to consecrated life, and to many other services in the Church.

10.  I am well aware that the Catholic community in Trinidad and Tobago does not hesitate to give a generous response to Christ. To the Bishops, who are dedicated Pastors of God’s people, I say thank you for your tireless efforts in teaching the Faith in its integrity and in fostering ever deeper communion with each other and with the Successor of Peter. To the priests in Trinidad and Tobago, I thank you for every initiative that fosters greater collaboration with your proper Bishop and more zealous service of God’s people. To the religious, who strive to be living examples of Christ’s poverty, chastity and obedience, I say thank you for the witness of your lives and for your generous collaboration. Thanks also to all of you dedicated lay faithful, those who are courageously building bonds of communion in your local parishes, some of which are also members of different ecclesial movements and new realities that are bringing new joy and new enthusiasm for the Faith.

11. I assure you of my prayers and spiritual support, as I offer you to God, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of all the saints. May God send his bountiful blessings upon you all!


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