‘Life is not about power. We were
born without power, and at the hour
of our death, we have no power. Live
not lusting for power, and you will
become a person who is truly alive’
MANILA – As millions of devotees prepared to join the procession of the image of the Black Nazarene on Tuesday, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle invited them to let Jesus Christ show them the way to become truly human.
That is, by feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, helping the oppressed, and most of all, by not chasing after power.
Before an audience that included Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, former Senator Jinggoy Estrada, and Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, Tagle said in his homily during the midnight Mass at the Quirino Grandstand: “Ang buhay, wala sa kapangyarihan. Pinanganak tayong walang kapangyarihan, at sa oras ng kamatayan, wala kang kapangyarihan. Mabuhay ka nang hindi ganid sa kapangyarihan at magiging tunay kang buhay na tao (Life is not about power. We were born without power, and at the hour of our death, we have no power. Live not lusting for power, and you will become a person who is truly alive).”
The Cardinal pointed to the example of Jesus who, though equal with God the Father, let go of his divinity in order to become human.
“Embracing the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the abused. He can say, I am one with them because they are my fellow humans. We see in Jesus the way to becoming human because he holds the truth about what it is to be truly human,” Tagle said, in Filipino.
One who is truly human does not pretend that he or she is God. Nor does he or she try to compete with God. Rather, he or she acknowledges that he or she is merely a creature, and accepts his or her lowliness, he added.
“Kung minsan, hindi natin taglay ang katotohanan ng pagiging tunay na tao. Ang kinakapitan natin, ang sinusundan nating mga daan ng pagpapakatao ay huwad na daan, patungo sa huwad na pagkatao (Sometimes, we do not manifest what it means to be truly human. What we choose to hold on to, what we follow, instead, are the false paths to being human, which lead to false humanity),” Tagle said.
Some people chase material wealth, or fill their closets with branded clothes, including those with crocodiles on them, the Cardinal noted in stark allusion: “If you wear that, does it make you human?” he paused. “I won’t answer that.”
He urged the flock: Be the way to a full life for others. Why do we grasp for disparate lifestyles when our lives are simply about being human?”
During the Traslacion, he admonished the devotees: Focus on Jesus.
“Train our eyes on Him. Hold on to Him. Go not astray. If we follow him, we know where that will lead: Toward God, toward our neighbor, toward being truly human.”
And as they follow the procession from Quirino Grandstand in Luneta Park to Quiapo Church, the Cardinal urged, “keep in mind our fellowmen who are in need, especially those affected by the recent successive typhoons … those displaced by the fighting in Marawi City.
“Let us be one with them. Lift them up and carry them on our journey, just as Jesus journeys with us while we carry our crosses,” Tagle said. “Huwag paghinaan ng loob, dahil merong nakikipaglakbay sa atin – si Hesus, kasama natin lagi sa mga Traslacion ng ating buhay (Don’t be daunted, because someone journeys with us – Jesus is always with us during the traslacions of our lives).”