To care for God’s creation
On Jan. 9, 1787, the image of the Black Nazarene, popularly known as the “Nazareno,” was transferred to Quiapo Church from its home in Intramuros, Manila.
To this day we commemorate the event every year. We remember it as the “traslacion” and we mark it with a procession that devotees from different places participate in to pay homage and give thanks to the Nazareno for the blessings that they received in the year just past. Figurines, towels and shirts printed with the image of the Nazareno are hawked around the Quiapo area and they sell fast among the devotees.
This year the procession took almost 20 hours; when it was over two participants had died and many others were injured. Tragic, unnecessary and avoidable though the deaths and injuries may have been, in a sense they manifested the extent of risk devotees are willing to take to “fulfill” their faith.
But when the procession was over, an extra number of garbage collectors and several dump trucks had to be deployed to collect and dispose the piles of litter that the devotees left in its wake.
Devotion should be a holistic exercise of faith. If we can be passionate about our faith during such religious festivities, we should be as dedicated to fulfilling our responsibility to the environment. Our devotion to the Nazareno is a clear manifestation of our deep faith in Jesus. But why destroy His gift of creation in expressing that faith? Our home is the earth, our faith is a great legacy we can hand down to our children, grandchildren and the next generations. We are stewards of the environment, so we must care for God’s creation.
I hope next year will be the start of clean and more eco-friendly traslacion commemorations.
—MARK BENNETT F. GONZALES, firstname.lastname@example.org
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