Tagle: ’We all need to get our feet washed by Jesus’
“We all need to have our feet washed by Jesus,” Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle stressed this message in his homily during the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper at the Manila Cathedral.
And, following Jesus’ lead, that’s what he did: He washed the feet of former drug addicts, relatives of victims of extrajudicial killings, police officers, and government officials –
“Sa gabing ito, ang atin pong huhugasan ng mga paa ay merong mga kuwento ng buhay, ng paglalakbay,” Tagle said in his homily. “May mga nalulong sa iligal na droga at ngayon ay nagsisikap, sa tulong ng Diyos at ng kapwa na nagmamalasakit. Meron po tayong nakulong na dahil sa mga maling ginawa at nagbago. Meron tayong huhugasan ng paa, isang ina na ang anak ay napatay – napakasakit na paglalakbay.”
(“Tonight, we will wash the feet of the people who have stories of their journeys in life. There are former illegal drug dependents now working hard with the help of God and those who symphatize. We have here someone who was jaiiled because of wrongdoing and who is now a changed man. We will also wash the feet of a mother whose child was killed – a painful journey.)
“May kasama tayong barangay officials, mga nasa kapulisan na naniniwala na ang bawat buhay ay mahalaga. Kaya tutulungan ang ibig magbagong-buhay,” he added.
(“We are also with barangay officials, police officers who believe that every life is importan. That’s why they will help those who want to change.”)
The washing of the feet involves 12 people representing the 12 apostles whose feet Jesus Christ washed during the Last Supper, on the even of his crucifixion. He instructed the apostles to this practice for the faithful to remember.
A statement posted on the Radio Veritas website identified the 12 “apostles” as follows:
- Joana Vicencio and Joseph Guinto, both relatives of victims of the war against illegal drugs
- Dr. Ervin de la Rosa and Maria Victoria Grande from the government
- PO1 Florence Gumilab and PO2 Johnny Acebes
- Volunteers Jacqueline Portugal and Dominic Portugal
- Drug surrenderees Alison Salonga and George Mamañgon
- Rehabilitated addicts Bong Lazo and Ferdie Santos
This is the first Holy Week under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, who had declared a war on illegal drugs that has resulted in over 7,000 deaths of suspected illegal drug users and pushers in police operations and alleged summary executions, often called extrajudicial killings (EJKs).
Whenever authorities are asked to explain the rise in the drug killings, Duterte and police officials would often say that addicts and pushers get killed for resisting arrest and that the cops needed to defend themselves.
The President’s war on drug has been heavily criticized by the Catholic Church and by human rights groups, both local and international.
Last February, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) staged a protest called “Walk for Life,” to call for an end to killings amid the ongoing war on drugs and to also oppose the reintroduction of the death penalty. Around 20,000 people attended the protest.
There is also a network of six Catholic parishes that have been providing shelter to drug war targets.
However, the issue of drug war was not the highlight of the Maundy Thursday evening Mass, but the “passover.”
Tagle emphasized the need to shed judgment against others, saying that Jesus “lowered” himself to “pass over” to His death in order to save people.
“Mga kapatid, sa kanilang mga putik-putik na paa makikita natin ang ating mga sariling paa. Hindi tayo nandito para manghusga. Nandito tayo para sariwain ang ginawa ni Hesus,” Tagle said.
(“Brothers and sisters, in their muddy feet we can see our own feet. We’re not hear to judge. We are here to remember what Jesus did.”)
“Lahat po tayo may maruming paa,” he added. “Wala sa atin dito na dapat magmalinis. Lahat tayo naputikan, naalikabukan, nasugatan, nadapa. Lahat tayo nangangailangan ng paghuhugas ng paa mula kay Hesus.”
(“We all have dirty feet. Nobody here should pretend to be untained. We have all gotten muddy, dusty, wounded, fallen down. We all need to have our feet washed by Jesus.”)
Human trafficking victims also participated in the Offertory.
Offerings from the Mass would go to the Archdiocese of Manila’s “Sanlakbay Para sa Pagbabagong-Buhay,” a community-based program for the rehabilitation of drug surrenderees.
Tagle will also lead the Good Friday commemoration on April 14; Easter vigil on Black Saturday, April 15; and Easter Sunday Mass on April 16. /atm
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