Cardinal Tagle on Maundy Thursday: Guide the youth, don't abuse them
MANILA, Philippines – On Holy Thursday, April 18, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle called on all the faithful, especially those in positions of responsibility, to guide and love the youth rather than abuse them.
This was the main message of his homily during the Holy Thursday Mass he led at the Manila Cathedral. A highlight of the ceremony was the Washing of the Feet in which 12 young persons stood in as Jesus' disciples. In a reenactment of the Last Supper, Tagle washed the feet of the youths one by one.
"Para sa mga may responsibilidad sa lipunan, ang mga kabataan ay dapat gabayan, hindi dapat pagsamantalahan. Ang kabataan, minamahal, hindi ibinibenta, niloloko, at pinagkwakwartahan," said Tagle.
(To those who have responsibilities in society, the youth should be guided, not exploited. The young should be loved, not sold, not fooled, not taken advantage of for profit.)
Tagle reminded young people who are bullied or who fall into vices that they are loved by no less than Jesus Christ, who himself was young when he died on the cross.
"The youth who are bullied, the youth who are lured with vices and then are put in danger, they likely ask, does anyone love me? Youths, someone loves you. Jesus loves you and he has proven he loves you until the end," said Tagle in Filipino.
He then asked young people to open their hearts to Jesus and not to reject his love out of shame for any wrongdoing.
"Let Jesus wash you. Don't be afraid, don't be ashamed. The world will judge you but Jesus will wash you, wash you with his blood. That's how precious you are to him," said Tagle.
'Wash wounds of others'
But the cardinal had another appeal for the youth: demonstrate to others Jesus' love for them.
"Hugasan niyo rin ang sugat ng iba (Also wash the wounds of others). Be compassionate, but self-focused. Be a servant rather than wait to be served. Love others and not just expect to be loved," said Tagle.
The 12 youths whose feet Tagle washed came from different backgrounds. Carlito Sapunta, who suffers from cerebral palsy, is a church volunteer at St Dominic Savio Parish in Mandaluyong.
Twenty-three year-old Nicole Anne Perez is a call center agent who was chosen by Pope Francis to join the 2018 Synod of Bishops on Young People.
Ferdinand John Azogue and Daisy Jane Azogue are a young couple who got married just two weeks ago.
Two are foreigners: 26-year-old Sister Antonisa, from Bangladesh, and 23-year-old missionary Joel Obreo from India. Sister Antonisa has spent the past 5 years helping care for abandoned children at the Alay ng Puso House in Del Pan, Binondo. Obreo has spent 10 months in Manila serving at the Ligaya ng Panginoon Community and Christ Youth in Action.
Also among the 12 were Rafael Villegas, Luna Mirafuentes, Jeffrey Ranola, Janrey Nevado, Jenezis Kaliwag, and Jinky Pelopero.
The ceremony featured young people because 2019 is celebrated by the Catholic Church in the Philippine as "Year of the Youth."
It was at the beginning of 2019 when the Philippine Congress lowered the age of criminal responsibility to 12, sparking a heated debate.
President Rodrigo Duterte is the most powerful advocate of lowering the age of criminal responsibility, insisting that current laws have created a "generation of criminals."
Duterte's campaign against illegal drugs has also led to killings of several young people, the most prominent case being the murder of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos. In November 2018, a court convicted policemen involved of murder. The cops had killed Delos Santos during an anti-drug operation. – Rappler.com