MANILA Archbishop Antonio Cardinal Tagle called on the faithful to always stand up for what is morally right and to remain faithful to Jesus.
Tagle said Jesus Christ was betrayed thrice by his own people for money and convenience that eventually led to his death on the cross.
“It was a pity that Jesus had been repeatedly betrayed. He was betrayed [by his apostle Judas]for 30 pieces of silver. He was denied by [apostle]Peter to save his life [from the Roman soldiers], and he was betrayed by his people [before Pontius Pilate]for [Julius] Ceasar,” the cardinal said in his homily during a mass commemorating the passion of Christ on Friday.
“Despite everything, Jesus never gave up on us up to his death on the cross. But the people gave up on Jesus. The Lord is faithful to us, can we be faithful to him at all times?” he added.
Denial, he said, can come in many ways. He cited the case of a couple who almost resorted to abortion because they had no money for another pregnancy.
“What was in the couple’s mind then was money. They need money for delivery, for additional room in their home, among other things. You choose – abortion or no more problem about money?” the prelate added.
“The question there is will you exchange life for convenience and money so that there will be no more problem?” he said.
In another instance, Tagle narrated the case of a man who discovered some anomalies but was afraid to crack open the case because those involved were powerful people.
The auditor consulted his wife, who told him to stop acting like a messiah as he was no match to the people that he is going to implicate.
“But the auditor was bothered by his conscience. What those people are doing was wrong. So in spite of his wife’s strong opposition, he came out with a report,” Tagle narrated.
The cardinal said one of the accused offered the auditor a huge amount if he will not testify.
“At that time, he badly needed the money because his mother was in the hospital. He was tempted to accept the offer. He went to the Blessed Sacrament, he prayed and cried and saw the crucifix of Christ and remembered how the Lord was betrayed for money. He did not sell the life of his mother,” Tagle said.
He called on the faithful to choose carefully the kind of leader that they will protect.
“Tinatanong tayo ngayon muli, ipapako ba sa krus si Hesus? Papayagan ba natin ipako sa krus si Hesus? O baka meron tayong ibang propotektahan na hari. Ano yung hari na isasalba natin?”
Tagle said the question of Pontius Pilate still echoes to this day.
Araw araw tinatanong tayo ni Pilato, ‘Ipapako ko ba sa krus si Hesus?’ Araw araw sumasagot tayo, sino ang pinipili nating ipapatay, si Hesus o ang ibang pinipili nating hari? Kailangan tayo sumagot. Ipapapako ba si Hesus? Sinong Caesar? Sinong hari ang iyong bubuhayin? Baka si Hesus ang ating pinapako sa krus muli.”
with JAE ALDE