A religious practice that tends to be hypocritical
There are miracle stories of the Black Nazarene and perhaps there are more to come.
But religious rites held to honor Him tend to make one feel self-righteous, leading him/her to think that “I am better than the rest because I attended the procession or I sacrificed my time for this feast,” or “I am favored by God because I devote my time to Him,” or “I am expecting a reward because I did this”—a kind of “I scratch your back and you scratch mine” arrangement, making God a slave of human want.
Thus, by joining the procession “I belong to the favored children of God.”
Media also make this religious celebration a hype obviously for their own self-righteous intentions. Even dzMM/ABS-CBN broadcaster Noli de Castro has made known his being a faithful Nazarene devotee.
There is nothing wrong with expressing our faith, for faith in God is a wonder, so mysterious in nature.
But if the consequence of doing that will result in a trance or self-righteousness or will lead one to become impractical, then such practice should be condemned. No less than the Black Nazarene himself once strongly warned his followers, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full” (Mat 6:5).
And who are the proponents of this self-righteousness? No less that the priests and ministers themselves. They who should urge the people not to push one another and to be disciplined in doing this act of worship and not to hurt each other just to get near or touch the image of the Black Nazarene.
Why, is it a competition to enter heaven? Is it not that God himself came down to us so we can be with him?
The Church should attend to those seeking a cure to their ailments by giving them opportunities to earn, not just with novenas or prayer booklets.
To the ministers and teachers of the law, the Black Nazarene once exhorted: “But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them” (Mat 23: 3-4).
Of course, to those whose lives have been changed for the better, and by that I mean are now helpful, kind, loving and compassionate to others especially to those who are in dire need, go on, practice your faith in your everyday lives—in secret and in the spirit of truth. But to those of us who are hypocrites and self-righteous, woe to us!
—CARLOS ERWIN FAJARDO,
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