Rev Paul: Now’s time to repent

December 02, 2007
Trinidad Guardian

Trini PeopleRev Cyril Paul of the Presbyterian Church is urging citizens to use the opportunity of Advent Sunday (today) with its emphasis on repentance, to apologise for wrongs done.

Paul, in his Advent Sunday sermon, while noting that the issue of repentance was often fodder for cartoonists and subject to distortions, said: “Advent Sunday, with its emphasis on repentance, provides us with the perfect opportunity to apologise as a nation and as citizens for wrongs done, for hurts inflicted on others, for opportunities wasted, for irresponsible behaviour, for deliberate wrong-doing.

“There are a few things for which we simply have to do something about in our public life.

“Like John’s tax collectors and soldiers, there are concrete steps we have to take, and remarkably, they are essentially the same as those people of old had to face, namely, we have to stop ripping people off.

“We just have too much of this. At every level of our national life people are getting ripped off.

“You just have to start building a house or some other construction and the ripping off is present in every phase of the project.

Dishonesty, corruption, shoddy work, mediocrity, lying, cheating, cover-up have become some of our new national watchwords.

“We rip off each other of without having any pangs of conscience. Visitors to our country do not stand a chance. We seemed to have become a society of rip-off artistes.”

Paul said when confronted by the harm being inflicted to others and to the name of T&T, the rip-off artistes response was:

“‘Get real. You have to get it before the other guy does.’

“On this Advent Sunday, I say to the whole national community, if you are involved in any way with the ripping off taking place, you are part of the deadwood of the society and you had better change.

“You better repent, for the axe is already laid to the roots.”

Paul referred to the Biblical figure of John the Baptiser, who used the image of the tree being chopped down, because it no longer bore fruit, to show the need for repentance.

Noting the “big-time spending in the country,” the rising cost of living and rising food prices, Paul also called for greater attention to be paid to the poor in T&T.

“Time is running out in more sense than one… Unless we repent as a nation and change our attitudes about what we are entitled to use and spend of our nation’s resources, there will not be the will in this country to support any kind of vision—be it 2020 or what have you.

Paul also spoke about the need to preserve the environment and “not be side-tracked by the promise of jobs and wealth when the whole country is in danger of facing slow death.”