PARAÑAQUE City, June 22, 2015—While Mary seems to take much of the space in the picture, a Catholic priest reminded devotees that the famous icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help centers primarily on the Holy Child Who is Himself Perpetual Help made flesh.
According to Fr. Carlo Villaflor of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (C.Ss.R.), this is a fact the Blessed Virgin is only too “happy” to affirm given that the icon shows her with eyes fixed on the viewers, inviting them to come with her to her Son, Jesus.
Moreover, the priest pointed out in his homily on Sunday, June 21, at the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, that the icon highlights another truth of Salvation History.
“[It is that] the Savior was once a child, who experienced fear and also wanted the loving comfort and protection that only His mother—the Blessed Mother—could give … In Mary’s arms, the Holy Child found safety and peace,” he explained.
Villaflor stressed that being also human, the Child Jesus knew how it felt like to be afraid and troubled.
Tradition has it that when two archangels, St. Michael and St. Gabriel, appeared to Him bearing the instruments that would later kill Him, foreshadowing His future Passion—the cross, the nails, the urn filled with gall, and the sponge—He flew to His mother as any other child would.
In the icon whose alternate name is “Theotokos of the Passion,” one of the Christ Child’s sandals is seen almost falling off His foot.
“[But] how can we fight fear?” asked Villaflor.
“[It is only] with faith,” he added.
Quoting the Lord in Mark 4:26-34, Villaflor shared, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”
In closing, the Redemptorist called on the faithful to reflect on this great mystery the sandals symbolize: once upon a time Jesus, the Perpetual Help incarnate, needed help.
Meanwhile, the novena masses in Baclaran continue. The rest of the schedule is as follows:
- June 22, Monday, 5:45 p.m. Mata: Pagtinging May Awa at Malasakit
- June 23, Tuesday, 5:45 p.m. Kamay: Pagkalinga sa Mga Dukha
- June 24, Wednesday, 4:45 p.m. Hesus: Titig ng Kaligtasan
- June 25, Thursday, 5:45 p.m. Daupang Palad: Pangako ng Wagas na Biyaya
- June 26, Friday, 5:45 p.m. Gintong Larawan: Paglalakbay Tungo sa Kaluwalhatian
There will also be a short program on June 24 after the 7:30 p.m. regular Wednesday novena. On Jun 26, a lighting of candles will be held after the 5:45 p.m. Mass.
The Masses on the feast day proper, June 27, Saturday, are at 6:30 a.m., 8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 4:00 p.m., and 5:30 p.m., respectively.
The 5:30 p.m. Mass is a concelebrated one to be presided over by Parañaque Bishop Jesse E. Mercado.
A procession around Baclaran will begin afterwards, concluding the feast day. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)