Archbishop urges devotees to live a life of charity and justice

By Myrna Bermudo


Archbishop Tirona, in his homily on January 9, said that devotion to Black Nazarene urges devotees to live a life of charity and justice.


Most Rev. Rolando J. Tirona, OCD, DD, Archbishop of Caceres, was the main celebrant of pontifical mass as the Parish of Holy Cross in Tabuco celebrated in a simple manner, the feast of the Black Nazarene this year. The feast coincided on a Sunday commemorating the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.


He said that the Feast of the Lord’s Baptism closes the Christmas season. “ It officially starts the ordinary time of the liturgical year. Inspired by the Christmas celebration, we are encouraged, as we welcome the new year, to live our Christian life joyfully, faithfully and with enthusiasm,” Archbishop Tirona exhorted.


Addressing those present during the pontifical mass, he asked: what is the message of the Black Nazarene?


“ We should not focus on the suffering of Jesus. We should focus on the love of God given to us through Jesus. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish, but have eternal life.” (Jn.3:16) Jesus of Nazareth is God’s love for you and for me. Jesus of Nazareth is the longing of God for our soul because he loves us, “ he explains.


Referring to the image of the suffering Jesus, Bishop Tirona exhorts: “It is the fruit of Jesus’ sacrificial obedience and love. Out of his love for God the Father and for us, he willingly embraced suffering. Jesus invites everybody to participate in his sacrifice, to carry one’s cross daily. We are invited to follow his commandments which entails sacrifice on our part: to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, give shelter to the homeless and help those in need.”


Addressing the devotees, he said: “we can only be authentic disciples of Jesus Nazareno if we follow Jesus’ commandments to help the poor, feed the hungry and help those ‘nasa laylayan ng lipunan’ or those in the fringes of society.”


“This is the mystery of the devotion to Jesus Nazareno. We are invited to enter into a life of charity, a life of justice and a life of peace. Jesus moves on to change people. Jesus invites us to move on to change the society as a contribution for the betterment of our country,” Archbishop Tirona elucidates.


He concluded his homily by inviting the faithful to pray to Jesus Nazareno: “O God, I worship Jesus. Give me strength to face the challenges of life. Give me strength of spirit. Give me profound faith amid problems, amid the darkness of this pandemic. Amen.”