MANILA, April 10, 2014 – With only a few days left before the Holy Week, a bishop calls on the faithful to renew themselves by shunning prejudgments and biases against less fortunate individuals, especially those who are marred by poverty and hardships in life.
“I hope that we will not fall into the same kind of prejudgment done by the Jewish leaders [against Jesus Christ],” said Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo in his homily during the Manila Archdiocesan General Pastoral Assembly on April 5.
“When Jesus Christ first arrived in the mountains, the first ones who recognized him were shepherds, poor men and women—those who even had to work hard at night, and sinful individuals,” he added.
Pabillo echoed the call of Pope Francis, urging the faithful to value the importance of the poor for they are ones who possess a “special sensibility to the Good News.”
According to the bishop, the poor are the ones who first recognized Christ as the Son of God, and those who have always kept a deep faith in Him.
“We should not belittle our poor brothers and sisters. We, as active members of the Church, should be acquainted with the Bible… It should not be the case that we will be the first ones to discriminate [against] them,” Pabillo said, noting that the Catholic faithful must learn how to perceive faith through the eyes of the poor.
Like the Pharisees, possessing little knowledge about one’s faith and spirituality is the usual reason why individuals tend to believe false judgments, Pabillo noted.
“Some of us know Christ, but only on a shallow level. We have to deepen our knowledge of Him and of our faith because shallow understanding will not help us grow [in] our relationship with the Lord,” he said.
Pabillo noted that when individuals are honest with themselves, the Lord will not let them be fooled. Otherwise, when individuals become arrogant with their personal views, they will fail to feel the guiding presence of the Holy Spirit.
“It is good that people know how to be honest with their biases—they know where they are coming from and they recognize that their perceptions do not reflect everybody’s opinion,” he said.
Pabillo also called on the faithful prepare for the challenges they may encounter, noting that hardships are meant to strengthen their resolve.
“Others think that as long as they serve in the name of the Lord, they will be blessed with great and comfortable lives. This is why they become puzzled whenever problems arise in the course of their mission to serve the Lord,” he said.
Problems arise, Pabillo noted, because the Lord wants those who will serve in His name to be pure and sincere with their intentions.
This, according to Pabillo, is the journey that the faithful must prepare for in the coming Holy Week. (Jennifer M. Orillaza)