Hopeful challenge-A A +A
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
THE religious aura of the recent celebration of the feast of the Infant Jesus continues to glow and dazzle the “natives” but the fire of faith is being turned into a challenge by Church leaders to “push (our) country to prosperity.”
The Sinulog festivities captivated the people more than ever for them to ask for the miracle of economic development to draw us all forward into a future truly worth hoping for, and praying to the Christ Child about.
In the recent mass held at the Basilica del Sto. Niño to formally close the fiesta celebration, the Basilica’s rector hurled a challenge to his “fellow clergymen to avoid displays of worldliness and ostentation.”
The Father Rector also asked the students to stay honest, (the) teachers to be diligent and (the) politicians to handle carefully the people’s money, which to me, is like saying be careful with looking for a way to secure a pork barrel “substitute.”
What has happened is that it is the first time in memory when the religious aspect of the Sinulog and the lay activities of the faithful had somehow jived. This is probably the consequence of the new direction of the Church leadership, too, as exemplified by Pope Francis himself.
Even from the start, we were already told about the simplicity of Pope Francis’s ways, such as riding in buses when he was still a priest in his native land, Argentina.
Recently, the Pope remarked that the internet is a gift of God, signifying that the Catholic Church has embraced the reality of scientific progress and development, and that it is reconciled with the advances of science and modern civilization.
While in the past, the impression that the Vatican projected is its being deeply conservative, with Pope Francis that impression has changed.
There is the speculation that the Pope might travel to the Philippines when the next Eucharistic Congress will be held here. If that happens, we would happily be embracing a religious icon who is truly of the masses, for he would be the first religious personality who has lived and behaved like an ordinary man of faith.
Cebu would then be truly blessed to receive Pope Francis in its arms. It is said that the Vatican itself has also undergone an attitudinal change.
In his homily during the “hubo” or changing of the Child Jesus’s clothes, the Basilica rector, Father Mejares, compared our country with an old taxicab that suddenly “conks out” in the middle of a travel.
He said that as Christians we must leave “our comfort zones and start pushing our country to prosperity. We must learn how to sacrifice ourselves to help our respective communities prosper.” He pointed out there are many other ways to help our country prosper.
The present Church and the lay Catholic faithful have finally come to embrace themselves as one great people in faith and hope.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 29, 2014.