MANILA, Jan. 8, 2016 ? A devotee of the Black Nazarene believes public figures whose faces and names are expected to appear anew on banners and tarpaulins on the Jan. 9 feast should be given the “benefit of the doubt” as to their motive, saying that ultimately the Lord has a way to find out their sincerity or lack of it.
“I’d rather let these politicians do what they want. We do not know their real intention anyway. At the end of the day, it’s God who will judge them,” stressed Mharbert M. Canilang, a florist from Sta. Elena, Hagonoy, Bulacan, who has been a Nazarene devotee since childhood.
According to him, if what these people do will directly or indirectly inspire devotion, he sees no problem with it, leaving instead the judgment to the Lord.
Moreover, Canilang lamened over what he perceives as a “double standard” when it comes to the Quiapo fiesta and other Catholic celebrations.
“When politicians all over the country make an effort to hang tarpaulins to greet leaders of a certain influential religious sect on their birthdays and anniversary, nobody bats an eyelash. But when these people do roughly the same on the feast of the Black Nazarene and other Catholic occasions, everyone is quick to cry politicking,” explained Canilang.
In an earlier CBCP News post, Msgr. Hernando Coronel, rector of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene (Quiapo Church), asked candidates for the forthcoming May 2016 elections to refrain from “self-promotion” by putting up streamers and posters along the route of the procession.
“Our focus is the Black Nazarene. Let’s give Him our due respect and love,” the priest pointed out.
Coronel also warned against distribution of shirts bearing not only an image of the Black Nazarene but also names and faces of politicians, pointing out these things are discouraged.
Meanwhile, Nestor Awitan, a member of Hijos del Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno, called on those who intend to take part in the fiesta, especially the procession, to always observe discipline and remain calm to avoid any potential harm on oneself and on fellow devotees.
“Be collected. Make sure everyone is following the rules. Respect your fellow “mamamasan” (image bearers) as well as the marshalls. Most important of all, attend Holy Mass. Afterall, Christ is always present in the Eucharist. The Nazarene procession is just a bonus. (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)