MANILA, March 5, 2014— Catholics must be on guard from being hypocrites. This was the warning of the head of Manila’s Catholic Church during his homily for Ash Wednesday Mass.
Drawing from today’s Gospel reading, Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle warned against people who engaged in almsgiving, prayer and fasting not for God but “to put themselves up”.
“Ano ang tawag ni Hesus sa mga ganoon? Hypocrite! Hipokrito! Engaging in religious activities not in order to return to God but to be full of self,” Tagle said at the Arzobispado de Manila.
“That is not holiness. That is definitely not a way to return to God. That is hypocrisy!” he said.
Instead of genuinely helping those in need, he cited for instance politicians who promote themselves in the guise of charitable activities.
“If I’m a politician, people will vote for me because of my charity work. It’s not for God but for one’s self,” he said.
The cardinal also reminded the Catholics that fasting should have an “element of self-discipline” and must not be used as just a way to reduce weight.
According to him, these “hypocritical” practices are unfortunate since Lent should be a good occasion to return to God.
Lent, he added, is a “wonderful, holy season for us to recognize how far we have been away from God and to awaken in ourselves the desire to return to Him, with our whole heart.”
“Lent offers to us some disciplines or ways by which we could return to God with our whole hearts,” Tagle said.
Aside from getting on track spiritually, he also said that Lent is also a time of good works and charity.
He urged the faithful to take part of the Church’s “Fast2Feed” program, which aims to feed hungry children from disaster-stricken areas in Bohol, Leyte and Cebu.
“I deny myself of food, I become poor so that a malnourished child could be enriched by my love… everyday, we strive to be a little poorer so that somebody else could be enriched by our generosity and our love,” Tagle said. (CBCPNews)