My last memory of Fiesta ng Quiapo was back in college. From my campus to the bus station going home I need to pass Quiapo church. And since I was new in Manila, I didn’t know this whole Quiapo celebration so I was stuck in a long traffic that took like forever to move and forced me to walk from Quezon Blvd up to Jones Bridge down to Lawton. From then on, I made sure to always remember that January 9th is Quiapo Day.
I grew up Catholic but I didn’t know why the Black Nazarene runs up devotees. Today as I see thousands and thousands of advocates that seems to multiply each year, I perceive an incredible display of faith from people in almost all walks of life. It’s unbelievable how legions of its followers are geared up to brave all kinds of obstacles just to get near the statue and believe that just the mere touch of it brings restoration and healing to their lives.
This is like the story in the bible where Jesus feeds the five thousand (John 6:2).
The only difference is that, in the bible, the great crowd of people followed Jesus and not a statue. With due respect to the followers of Black Nazarene, growing up, I also lined up for the image of Sto Nino to kiss its feet and wipe my hanky on it. I didn’t have a clear understanding on what was that for but I just followed what my Dad was doing who was a devotee of Sto Nino himself.
I didn’t give much thought about it until I began to wonder about the people who go to church but just stay outside talking with friends or meeting up with boyfriends or girlfriends while the priest is doing his homily. I would assume that those are the same people who joined catholic processions and kiss an image. And so I thought that Catholicism is a label that a person believes in God but not necessarily follows Him. What these people follow is the tradition that they were born into and not Jesus himself.
Following Jesus is not easy. It is in fact the hardest thing to do especially now where deception thrives in this world we live in. People can easily be lured by others to believe this and that and that’s exactly my point. Don’t let yourself be a follower of something you don’t really know about. Do your own research. In John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
You only need Jesus in your life, nothing else and no one else.
Mark 8:34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.