Legaspi: The Christ child, St. Sebastian and the Filipino

IN MANY parts of the country, the fiesta of the Christ child or Santo Niño is celebrated with all reverence and revelry. All fiestas begin with a Holy Eucharist and ends with the devotion to San Miguel (beer) in the evening. In short, the fiesta will not be festive without the presence of spirits or “tagays.” It seems like we start the day with God and we forget about God as the day progresses. Ati-atihan, Sinulog, or whatever we may call it, it all ends up with a secular touch and the spiritual forgotten. I hope that many of our elders would always remind the younger generation to really stick to the devotion and not to the secularism of the events.

On Wednesday, January 20, the Diocese of Bacolod will celebrate the feast of its patron, St. Sebastian. We Bacolodnons should and must emulate the virtue of loyalty and bravery of our patron Saint. His loyalty or fidelity to God has been tested but it was strong and firm that he remained with God and not with the riches offered him by his position. He was a person of bravery and prayer that he never forgot to pray to God in times of trials. God gave him the opportunity to be loyal to Him and really to give himself for the faith.

Of course, we are not asked to be martyrs today. Martyrdom is a time of the past, where one is tested physically to give up his faith. There are no warriors today that would behead one just to show that one is hard headed in giving up his faith. The martyrdom today is the temptations for us to give up our faith over material gains. Many young people today would like to choose material gains over prayer and relationship with God.

Many students would rather be in call centers or fast food chains on Sundays than in church. If one observes the youth in the church, they are now younger than what we had in the past. Where are the teenagers in our churches? Why are they not there during the celebration of the sacraments and the sacramental? It seems that the youth of today are now employed.

Today, we see that even the sacraments or the Eucharist and the feast day masses are being used by our politicians. Look at some of them, they have tarpaulins to support the fiesta of a barangay, town, parish, or city.
They congratulate the people but they forget to convey the real essence of the ferial day of the saint or of Santo Niño. We have to emulate the virtues of our saints, they are there as our models.
What I hate much today are the road projects of the government. Look at Alijis road. Once again, it is being fixed and refixed. Traffic is everywhere in Alijis during the early morning rush. Who is to be blamed here? The Circumferential roads are good piggy banks for our local and national politicians. Where are the graft watch and the bearers of truth? Is “Matuwid na Daan” that literal?

Anyway, congratulations to the new set of officers of the Negros Press Club headed by Inday Teresa Ellera. Congratulations to my former students Erwin Nicavera, Glazyl Masculino, Shiela Gelera, Merlinda Pedrosa, and schoolmate Eugene Adiong.

*****

Eternal rest grant unto Mrs. Mercedes Penascoza and let eternal light shine upon her. May she rest in peace. Amen.

St. Ezekiel Moreno; Sts. Pedro Calungsod and Lorenzo Ruiz; Mons. John Liu and Su; Fr. Cornelio Moral, OAR and Manoy Bill; and Sir Faraon Lopez, pray for us.
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