Tagle: ‘Will you crucify Jesus for some king?’

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 30) — Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle refrained from making a political statement in his homily on Good Friday, but gave the faithful some food for thought about choosing leaders and making wise decisions.

Tagle shared his reflections on the Gospel reading which tackled the public trial and crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Ang isang bahagi na talagang nakakapanghina sa akin, ay noong inilabas ni Pilato si Hesus,” Tagle said, “Nagtanong muli si Pilato, kumbaga, huling pagkakataon. ‘Ipapako ko ba sa krus ang inyong hari?’ Pinagdedesisyon ang mga tao.”

[Translation: One moment which really makes disheartens me is when Pilate took Jesus outside and asked, for the last time, "Should I crucify your king?" People were made to decide.]

At ang sigaw ng mga tao, ‘patayin sya. Ipako sya sa krus!’” Tagle said, quoting the gospel where the Jews insisted that Caesar was their king.

[Translation: And the people shouted, "Kill him! Crucify him!"]

According to Tagle, Filipinos today are constantly bombarded with the same question.

Tinatanong tayo ngayon muli. Ipapako ba sa krus si Hesus?,” Tagle said. “Papayagan ba natin ipako sa krus si Hesus? O baka meron tayong ibang poprotektahan na hari? Ano yung hari na isasalba natin?”

[Translation: We are asked again now. Should Jesus be crucified? Should we allow Jesus to be crucified? Or are we protecting some other king? What king are we saving?]

Tagle became a bit emotional several times during his sermon while narrating personal experiences.

He recalled a mother at a recent Catholic Bible convention in Vietnam who shared her dilemma about whether or not to go through an abortion as her family could not afford to have another child because of financial difficulties.

But by attending regular Bible-sharing sessions, Tagle said the woman and her husband eventually decided to keep the baby. The child, now eight years old, was present at the convention.

Minsan, ang tanong dyan ay, ipagpapalit mo ba ang buhay ng taong ito, para sa mga Caesar ng convenience, pera, at ‘wala nang problema?,'” Tagle explained, pointing out that the parent’s decision “meant life or death” for the child.

[Translation: Sometimes the question is, "will you trade your life for the Caesars of convenience, money, and no problems?"]

Tagle also cited the case of a government worker who was being bribed “half a million pesos” to prevent her from exposing anomalies in her office.

She was tempted to accept the money to pay for her mother's operation, but made her decision after a visit to the Blessed Sacrament.

Nung makita nya yung krus ni Hesus, naalaala nya, ‘Ikaw nga pala’y ibinenta. Ibebenta ko ba (pati) ang nanay ko?,’ Tagle said.

[Translation: When she saw the crucifix, she remembered, "You were sold. Should I also sell my mother?"]

The Cardinal was seen wiping tears from his eyes as he recalled an incident at an airport years back where he was bumped off from a flight to Manila.

Outraged, Tagle demanded that he be included on the priority list of those to be waitlisted for the next flight.

While sitting beside two Filipino overseas workers (OFW) at the airport, he could not help but overhear their conversation.

Both had not been able to return home for years because they were illegal immigrants and had just managed to get amnesty.

Embarrassed and humbled by their predicament, Tagle said he realized how selfish he was to insist to be prioritized to fly back to Manila, when there were these OFWs who had not seen their loved ones for years.

Tagle said there’s the constant need to reexamine one’s values, not only during the Lenten season.

He ended his homily with a challenge to Filipinos.

Kailangan tayong sumagot. Ipapapako ba si Hesus? Sinong Caesar? Sinong hari ang iyong bubuhayin? Baka si Hesus ang ating pinapako sa krus muli.”

[Translation: You should answer. Should Jesus be crucified? Who is Caesar? Which king will you let live? It could be Jesus that we are nailing to the cross again.]