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MANILA, Philippines – If today’s standards were applied to Jesus’ mission, he would be considered a failure, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said on Good Friday, March 25.
In his homily for the Good Friday liturgy, Tagle criticized the “gospel of success” had has misguided people around the world as it pits people against each other for individual gain, be it in the work place or in politics.
“Ang mundo natin ngayon, ‘wag kang magpapatalo. Unahan. Yapakan. Ang hindi mayayapakan, ‘yan ang nakatupad ng kanyang misyon. Kaya punong-puno tayo ng inggitan; siraan. Bago ako maunahan, tapakan ko na,” he said.
(In today’s world, [the guiding principle is] don’t lose. It’s a race to get ahead. Those who stay on top are mission accomplished. That’s why we’re full of jealousy; malicious attacks against each other. I have to step on others before they step on me.)
Tagle also criticized politicians’ practice of using black propaganda, especially as the election of new Philippine leaders draws near, to further drive home his point.
The Manila archbishop said that in Philippine politics, rumors spread easily regardless of factual basis, fueled by the desire to win.
“Mukhang ganyan din ang takbo ng ating politika. Sige, siraan na lang, totoo man o hindi, bahala na basta mapabagsak mo ‘yung isa, at ‘pag bagsak yung isa, ‘Natupad na! Naganap na!” he said.
(It seems that the same thing is happening in politics where people attack each other, regardless of whether they’re telling the truth or not. And once the rival falls, you’ll declare, ‘Mission accomplished!’)
“Uhaw na uhaw sa posisyon, uhaw na uhaw sa tagumpay, uhaw na uhaw sa kayabangan pero nakakalimutan mauhaw sa misyon ayon sa Diyos, hindi misyon na dinidikta ng mundo. Tanging ang nauuhaw at tumutupad sa misyon galing sa Disyo ang makapagliligtas. Ang tumutupad sa misyong makamundo magpapahamak, hindi magliligtas,” he added.
(They thirst for power, they thirst for success, they want to show off but they forget to thirst for their God-given mission, and not the mission dictated by the world. Salvation lies only in those who thirst for, and accomplish, God’s mission. Those who are driven by the worldly mission would only endanger, not save, us.)
Unfair labor practices
Tagle said this also applies to unfair labor practices in the country. In his homily, he told a story of a supervisor who had asked him to be a retreat master for his employees. The employees, according to Tagle, were asking for a raise.
Instead of giving what they requested, the supervisor wanted Tagle to tell them to accept what they’re getting, and bear their suffering quietly, like Jesus.
“[May] mga kumpanya na hindi binibgay ang tamang pasuweldo sa kanilang mga empleyado at habang naghihirap ang empleyado, sasabihin ng boss, ‘Okay ‘yan, nakikiisa ka sa paghihirap ni Hesus,'” Tagle said.
(There are companies that don’t give the right wages and while their employees are suffering, the boss says, ‘That’s okay, you are one with the suffering of Jesus.)
The Manila archibishop reminded his flock that it is not correct to cause suffering nor justify it by using the name of Jesus.
“Mag-ingat po tayo. Hindi tinuturo sa atin na tayo ay magbigay ng dusa at pagdurusa at paghihirap sa iba at gagamitin natin si Hesus bilang dahilan sapagkat si Hesus hindi nagpahirap ng kapwa. Hindi ‘yan gawain ni Hesus. At ang nagpapahirap sa kapwa tapos gagamitin si Hesus, magisip-isip ka.”
(Let’s be careful. We’re not taught to inflict hardship and suffering on others, and then use Jesus as a reason because Jesus never caused others to suffer. That’s not Jesus’ work. If someone causes others to suffer, and they uses Jesus, better think twice.)
Pontius Pilate, high priest, or Mary?
At the end of his homily, the Cardinal told his flock that they should not be like Pontius Pilate who chose his ambition over Jesus; or the high priest who sent Jesus to Pilate.
They should instead be like Mary, who followed God’s mission for her, and stood by her son throughout his ordeal.
In his past two homilies this Holy Week, urged Catholics to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and go beyond pettiness. (READ: Cardinal Tagle: True love involves service)
During the Holy Thursday Mass, Tagle asked Catholics to remember how Jesus chose to love despite experiencing hurt and betrayal.
He told the crowd at the Manila Cathedral: “Puwede naman siyang manatili doon sa mundo ng galit. Pantayan niya ang galit sa galit, pagtataksil sa pagtataksil, pero tumawid siya. Samantalang siya’y pinagtataksilan, ipinakita niya ang kanyang pagmamahal.”
(He could have remained in the world of anger. Matched anger with anger, but he crossed that. Despite being betrayed, he showed his love.)
Tagle will also lead the Easter Vigil Celebration at 8 pm on March 26, Holy Saturday. – Bea Orante and Raisa Serafica/Rappler.com