Archbishop preaches spirituality of Nazareno devotion
By Myrna S. Bermudo
In his homily on the Feast of the Black Nazarene, Caceres Archbishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona gave three important aspects that should become part of one’s Christian life. “We have this big devotion to the image of Jesus, the Black Nazarene where the Filipinos’ capacity to endure suffering and strong faith to carry one’s hardship in life is displayed, “ Archbishop Tirona said. “It is easy to carry our problem. But we also want to sanctify the hardships we are experiencing in life by offering them to God. Thus, it is necessary that we have a clear understanding of the spirituality of our devotion to Jesus Nazareno.”
“God is always present in our lives, in our society and in our world,” the Archbishop assured. “This is the first aspect: Jesus as our Savior implies that God is always with us. He is present every second, every minute, every hour, every day in our life.” He explained that the name Emmanuel means God-is-with-us and that there is no moment that God is absent in our life. Jesus went around helping those in need especially the poor. Tirona added, “Jesus went around doing good. So beautiful! He went everywhere, he heals, he gives new beginnings. He enlighthens the hearts of people because of his teachings. He let them feel that salvation has come. Indeed, in God’s presence, we can see the saving power of Jesus.”
Continuing his homily to a large crowd gathered at Plaza Quezon, Naga City, Tirona said that, “Jesus Nazareno’s presence is one full of love and sacrifice. This is the meaning of Jesus Nazareno. He came not just to be the presence of God. Jesus came to be the presence of God’s love to all of us.” Quoting the gospel according to John 3:16 he said: “ God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. And in John 15:13 it is written that ‘there is no greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Archbishop Tirona further said that Jesus Nazareno is telling us that God cares for us, deeply loves us and that God is attentive to our needs and worries. God wants to help us in our life. All because God is love. This is the second aspect, he explained.
Saying that Jesus Nazareno is an image of Christ as Savior, Archbishop added that the saving act of Jesus Christ gave us the truth that death was defeated because Jesus rose again. “He won over death and darkness because He died out of love and love can never die,” he said. “ Jesus’ resurrection is a powerful message of hope. His suffering, death and resurrection is a strong assurance that whatever we are going through, we should not be discouraged nor lose hope.” With strong emphasis, Tirona said, “Now at this very moment, He will give you the strength of the spirit so that you can rise up to carry on and move on. Let us show that we are strong, faithful Christians, that we do not grow weary and will be ready to face any harsh reality.”
A Eucharistic Celebration on the Feast of Jesus, the Black Nazarene was presided by Caceres Archbishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona, OCD, DD at the Plaza Quezon in Naga City on January 9, 2024. He was joined by Fr. Eugene Lubigan, parish priest and Fr. Aljan Galvez, parochial vicar of the Tabuco parish. A penitential procession bringing the image back to the Holy Cross Parish in Tabuco was held after the mass. (CCCOM photos)
‘At times, it is in our pain, in our sorrow and in our difficulties that we see a glimmer of hope and a new beginning and healing. This is what Jesus is telling us. Life is not easy. It is hard. But we should not give up. We should show that we, as Christians, as Catholics, through our faith in Jesus Christ, will move forward. We will live. We will do good things. That amid the hardship we are experiencing, we know that there is hope and a new dawn will come,” Tirona exhorted.
Pointing to the image of Jesus the Black Nazarene, Archbishop said in conclusion, “Let us look at the image of Jesus of Nazareth. He is the image of God’s presence saying, ‘Do not be afraid. I will be with you until the end of time”. Let us find consolation in those powerful words of Jesus and believe it. He will be with us until the end of time. He will help us to carry whatever we are going through. He also wants us to live a life full of hope. Because God is a God of love.”
The Eucharistic celebration presided over by the Archbishop was held at the Plaza Quezon on January 9 at 5:00PM. It was preceded by a series of Masses held at 6:00 AM, 9:00 AM, 12:00 NN, 3:00PM at the same venue. After the Mass, a penitential foot procession bringing the image of the Black Nazarene to Tabuco Church followed. The event was hosted by the Holy Cross Parish in Tabuco, Naga City, headed by Fr. Eugene Lubigan, parish priest.