Passing through 30 streets in a 6.3-kilometer procession route, about 2 million devotees of the Black Nazarene joined this yearly event which started at the Rizal Park and ended up in Quiapo Church Manila. Many of the devotees braved the heat of the sun and the risks of being hurt on the way just to fulfill their yearly bow to the icon. But as it happened in the pasts there are always casualties reported. And in this year’s procession 2 devotees had died: a certain Rodrigo Ocampo, 42 years old, who died of cardiac arrest at the Ospital ng Maynila; and Bernardino Basillo who died at the Jose Reyes Hospital after falling from the Black Nazarene carriage before the start of the procession. There are other people who were reported rushed to the different hospitals in Manila for various reasons in connection with their participation to the Black Nazarene’s procession. Authorities had laid out and execute various plans to protect the devotees and to minimize if not eliminate casualties.
Despite the risks and danger of joining the Black Nazarene’s procession, devotees are unperturbed to reported deaths and injuries. Even the family of victims to previous Black Nazarene’s procession have not given up their faith and vow. They insist still to join or participate in the even. Is this a manifestation of faith and spiritual transformation alone or there are still other material reasons the devotees are apt too such as good health/cure of diseases, protection, prosperous life, and empowerment?
We can not question people’s faith and devotion to the Black Nazarene but some religious groups are not comfortable with this kind of manifestation of faith in God. For one ministers of other Christian groups and religion consider this act of faith as a blasphemy to God. Why do you impinge your spiritual life and salvation to an image only crafted by the hand of man? Is it not the Bible alone which prescribes us the rightful way to serve the Lord and to fulfill the Divine will of God.
Okay theological and doctrinal debates are enormous in connection with this seemingly “paganistic” ritual as non-believers may term it but how can you question good results that the devotees have gained when they joined the procession like healing of a cancer patient, finding a lost relative, saving a marriage, economic prosperity, life transformation, health, power, protection, etc. People could debate endlessly on this issue/topic but said tradition remains for as long as our nation still live in poverty, our economy is weak, our natural resources are depleted each year, there is plenty of crime and violation of human rights, many of our businessmen and government officials are corrupt and abusive of power, government is poor yet indebted to something like 4 trillion pesos of foreign debt?
In a country where there is immense disparity between the rich and the poor. The Black Nazarene might just be the answer to their needs and problems; an equalizer for social justice and mobility.
Sabi nga ng mga matatanda, nasa Diyos ang awa ngunit (dapat lang) nasa tao ang gawa. Marami sa atin ang umaasa ng mga himala, maganda iyon dahil ibig lang sabihin may pananampalataya tayo sa makapangyarihan at mapaghimalang Diyos, ngunit ano nga ba ang mga prayoridad natin sa buhay? Ano nga ba ang nasa ating mga puso kung tayo’y nananalangin, ang tayo ay maging karapat-dapat sa Diyos dahil sa malinis nating pamumuhay o ang magkamal ng limpak-limpak na salapi at kapangyarihan.
Alam ng Diyos ang pangangailangan ng bawat isa sa atin, at siya lamang ang makapagpapasya kung tayo’y pagbibigyan sa atin mga kahilingan. Kaya nga sa Lord’s Prayer ay may phrase doon na “Thy will be done” para malaman natin na hindi maaring puwersahin ang Diyos na tugunan ang ating mga pangangailang ayon sa ating mga kagustohan. Sa akin lang naman ang pagpapakasakit para sa ating Panginoon ay nasa puso at damdamin, hindi iyong mga bagay na pisikal kagaya ng pagpaparusa sa ating mga sarili tuwing Biyernes Santo at ang paglalakad na nakatapak sa mga procession.
Paniniwala ko lang naman po ito, maaring magka-iba tayo.