Message to the Nation from Dr the Honourable Keith Rowley Prime Minister on the occasion of Corpus Christi 2020
I extend greetings to the Christian community on the celebration of the holy feast of Corpus Christi from the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and also my own family.
Corpus Christi is a time of rejoicing within the Christian community in which the Holy Eucharist, the body of Christ, is celebrated as a direct connection to another important event on the Christian calendar, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Before his death, as an act of remembrance of his message, Jesus took bread and wine and shared a meal with his disciples, explaining that he was going to die a sacrificial death for the sins of the world, and that his body and blood would be the sacrifice that would establish a new Covenant.
Today’s celebration, as expected, is unique. Christians will not partake, in the usual numbers, in the traditional gathering at churches, the singing of hymns, the Eucharistic Exposition, Benediction and Corpus Christi procession will be limited -- together in worship and spirit, but physically apart.
As we all celebrate today, with the Christian community, I continue my appeal to those among us to continue that spirit of sharing a meal, with those in need, ever mindful that Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you”.
As Prime Minister, I must say that I am deeply touched by the acts of kindness and charity which I have observed among citizens during this crisis. I have seen citizens forgetting their entrenched differences and communing selflessly with each other since the arrival of COVID-19.
In these acts, I saw citizens living the words of Jesus that “the measure you give will be the measure that you get back”.
I saw citizens recognising their common humanity, their interconnectedness to each other, and being sensitive to the fact that life on earth is indeed a web of relationships.
The virus that has been sweeping across the earth, killing thousands, may have pointed clearly to the reality that, to a great extent, modern man has been living in a bubble.
With science and technology as his tools, he has become distinctly individualistic and alienated. Living in that bubble, he has become separated from his being, from others, even his creation, and the cosmos.
We are discovering that the Covid-19 experience is pointing us to our false reality, one dominated every day by anger, fear, mistrust, suspicion and violence.
On the other hand, it may contain a solution -- telling us that everyone is human, not separate, but interconnected to each other.
It may be saying it is time to forget our differences of race, colour, class, gender and geographical origin. Instead, time to connect with our hearts, acknowledging only our common humanity.
This Corpus Christi, let us plant seeds of hope in which Christians and non-Christians alike, in Trinidad and Tobago, will create a new society, a new covenant, a new direction.
I encourage you, as I did when I shared with you a few weeks ago, from my kitchen garden, plant something, eat what you grow and grow what you eat.
Let the symbolism of a seed speak to the struggles and growth which we as a people must experience to overcome, not just COVID-19 but all of the nation’s other challenges.
A seed never stays as a seed but bursts its shell, becoming a plant and eventually produces fruits.
In like manner let us seek to grow, as one people in our homes, our communities and our country; allow our roots to go deep, strong enough to build a more united nation.
Let our story be one that tells of attempts to create bonds of unity, which neither race, class nor creed can easily assail.
I deeply believe this is time in which we can pause, and plant new seeds. But, first let us reflect on our many and varied national accomplishments.
Then envision the seeds, we plant today bearing fruits in a new society -- a better tomorrow for ourselves, and our nation’s children.
Holy Corpus Christi to all citizens.