Filipinos and The Black Nazarene
Filipino Catholic faithful are marking the 402nd Feast of the Black Nazarene, the patron saint of Manila’s old central business and political district of Quiapo.
The district is home to the Quiapo Pro-Cathedral, shrine of the deeply venerated black-wood image of Jesus Christ bearing his cross is housed.
The statue presents Christ as he falls on his left knee from the weight of his burden as his Roman, and Jewish tormentors jeered and spat on him on the way to be crucified atop Mt. Calvary between a thief and a murderer.
Devotees of Poong Itim-na-Nazareno mainly push, pull, and jostle in unison or against each other as they try to wipe the statue and benefit from its supposed healing powers.
But methinks the truly spiritual teaching the Black Nazarene offers is how we should each carry our individual crosses without misgiving nor grief.
In our temporal existence, suffering and challenges can only make us stronger rather than break our resolve to weather hardship, oppression, and injustice: the very wounds that Jesus endured through to his death.
In the context of Philippine society, the message of the Black Nazarene takes on profound significance given the wide gap separating Filipinos from the their government of the day.
To be fair, the national leadership works hard and takes pains to project sincerity and determination to overcome present socio-economic imbalances,
What is abundantly lacking is public faith in the leadership.
Some are mostly resigned to the situation and many are simply counting down to 2010 in the hope that honest and fair elections will usher in a positive change in leadership and governance.
Filipinos are keeping faith.