The Lord is with us amid COVID-19 scourge, bishop tells Black Nazarene devotees
MANILA, Philippines — Bishop Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila, celebrated the first mass for the Feast of the Black Nazarene on Saturday by reminding devotees of the presence of God and Jesus Christ amid the sufferings spawned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Ang Poong Nazareno ay ang pag-ibig ng Diyos. Ang ating Panginoon [ay] nakikiisa sa ating kalagayan lalung-lalo na po ngayon na mas naging mahirap ang buhay dahil sa pandemya. Maraming nawalan ng trabaho, maraming nakakulong lamang sa ating mga bahay, ating mga barrio, mga barangay, ngunit alam natin nandiyan ang Diyos, nakikiisa sa atin,” Bishop Pabillo said in his homily
(The Nazarene is an expression of God’s love. The Lord is with us especially now that the pandemic has made our lives more challenging. Many people lost their jobs, most of us are confined to our homes, barrios, barangays. But we know that God is with us.)
“[Siya] ay nakikiisa sa ating kalagayan. ‘Di lingid sa kanya ang krus dala dala niya, nadadapa siya dahil sa krus ngunit kasama natin siya. Anumang krus ang meron tayo sa ating buhay, ilagay natin doon si Hesus kaya ipagdasal natin, isama natin sa pag-aalay sa kanya lalung-lalo na sa banal na misa at tayong lahat ay mapapabanal,” he added.
(He [referring to Jesus Christ] joins us in our situation. He doesn’t mind the cross that he is carrying. He is with us even though the cross makes him stumble. No matter what kind of cross we are carrying in our lives, let us pray to Christ, especially during this holy mass, to make us holy.)
This year, traditions such as the “traslacion” or the annual procession of the Black Nazarene image from the Quirino Grandstand at the Rizal Park to the Quiapo Church was canceled in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The “pahalik” ritual or kissing of the image of the Black Nazarene was likewise scratched to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Only 400 people will also be accommodated per mass inside the Quiapo Church. Those unable to enter the church, meanwhile, may hear the mass through the 12 LED screens installed within the vicinity of the church.
‘Nandito pa rin si Hesus’
“Sino ba ang nakaisip sa atin noong 2019 na magkakaroon ng ganitong pandemya? Sino ba nakaisip sa atin noong nakaraang taon ng January 9 na hindi na tayo magkakaroon ng traslacion, na hindi na tayo makakapunta sa Luneta? Pero si Hesus, he’s assuring us, nandito pa rin siya,” Bishop Pabillo said.
(Who among us thought in 2019 that there will be a pandemic? Who thought during our celebration last January 9, 2020, that we won’t be able to have the traslacion this year, that we will not go to Luneta? But Jesus, He’s assuring us, He is here with us.)
“Iba na ngyon ang pahayag ng ating paglapit sa kanya, ‘di na sa traslacion. Ngunit ang pag lapit sa kanya sa pamamagitan nitong ginagawa natin, in a way, ‘yun po ay isang paraan din na pinapakita sa atin ng Panginooon na makalalapit tayo sa kanya sa pamamagitan ng kanyang salita,” he added.
(We now have a different way of expressing our devotion to Him, which is not through a traslacion. In a way, the Lord is showing us that we can still go to him just by listening to His words.)
Faith, physically or virtually
Quiapo Church Rector Msgr. Hernando Coronel on Friday encouraged devotees to join online Masses and stay at home with their families instead to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Kahit di tayo physically present dito ngayon, sa ating pagdadasal sa ating mga tahanan, sa ating mga bahay, sa online connection lang, lumalapit tayo sa Diyos at lumalapit tayo kay Hesus – ang pag ibig ng Diyos sa atin,” said Bishop Pabillo.
(Even though not all of us are physically present in our Mass here today, through our prayers, even if we are only inside our homes, we are approaching God and Jesus who is the expression of God’s love towards us.)