Miel is a licensed teacher, a "Jane-of-all-trades" master of none, with a passion for writing.
Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region. He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all. He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord. Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, "Today, this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing." And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.
In the Gospel, Jesus stood up to read. He chose a verse from Isaiah that expressed about the oppressed, the poor, the prisoners, and of the blind. The passage echoed the situation of the people in the Galilee during the time of Jesus.
So, Jesus stood for His people. Christ defined His mission with the passage from Isaiah. He is to declare the liberty of the oppressed, the Gospel to the poor, the freedom to prisoners, and to give sight to the blind.
The Feast of the Black Nazarene
The Philippines now celebrate the feast of the Black Nazarene. The Black Nazarene statue is a representation of Christ carrying His cross on his way to his crucifixion. An unknown Mexican sculptor carved the wooden sculpture from a dark wood in the 16th century in Mexico and was then carried to the Philippines in 1606.
Together with its golden crown of thorns, the head of the statue of the Black Nazarene carries a braided wig from dyed abaca. The crown has the traditional "Tres Potencias" that means three powers that symbolized the Holy Trinity.
But, why is it the most popular object of devotion for Filipino Catholics? The devotion in Quiapo, Philippines portrays an equivalent pilgrimage experience where people participate and pray for spiritual change or purification.
The Traslación in Quiapo means the transfer of the image of the Black Nazarene. And devotees crowd the street to touch the image and throw cloths to touch the image as well before taking the fabrics back.
It's not obscure that many Filipinos live a harder life. The Black Nazarene reminds these people of Christ's promises in the Gospel today; to give justice to the oppressed, freedom to prisoners, a sight to the blind, and to spread the Good News to the poor.
Many non-Catholics criticize the Traslación, but we Catholics know for sure that neither the image nor the statue is the source of our salvation and hope. The Traslación merely portrays Christ's life and His promises.
But, may our hearts be not filled with Christ's promises alone. Some of us would like to receive the blessings and miracles from God but are not willing to walk with Christ to His crucifixion carrying the cross.
For some, Christ already died for us. We don't need to dwell on His sufferings and death anymore for salvation is already at hand. Let's not forget that we still have to carry our crosses and walk with Christ in a way that we need to fight the demons inside us, our recurring sins, and our bad habits.
We still need to mind our words, our actions, and even so, our thoughts. May we not only focus on Christ's promises in the Traslación but may we also walk with Him carrying the cross towards our salvation.
as God's image and likeness, may Christ's promises be fulfilled to our brothers and sisters through us by helping those in need and supporting those are imprisoned by their addictions, sinful acts, or their past. May the oppressed and the poor remember Christ's promises not only from the words we speak but also from what's in our hearts through our actions.
© 2020 Miel Reyes