Year in and year out, hundreds of thousands of devotees participate in the Feast of the Black Nazarene, braving the heat and just the sheer number of people in order to get near the carriage and be able to touch the image of the Black Nazarene.
Devotees who join the annual Feast marking the “Quiapo Day” as well (every January 9), believe that touching the image of the Black Nazarene bring answered prayers and miracles.
I’ve been a witness to this annual spectacle, having lived in Quiapo when I was still in high school.
A sea of humanity occupies every square inch of Quiapo as each devotee joins the Feast of the Black Nazarene. Later in the day, Quiapo residents celebrate thew feast with an abundance of food, drink and merrymaking.
What amazes me is the fact that devotees, some even coming from as far as Visayas and Mindanao, would fly to Manila, endure the heat, the pushing, shoving and jockeying for position just to be able to get near the carriage and touch the image.
The latest reports revealed that more that 250,000 devotees joined the annual festivities with at least 800 of them either ending up getting hurt in their attempt to touch the image or faint due to the extreme heat.
While Filipinos are generally known for being religious with a good number of people from our country still going to church whether once a week or once a month and participating in various church-related occasions, festivities and other activities, all of us can learn a thing or two from Black Nazarene devotees.
As we watch the news and updates unfold on the Feast of Black Nazarene, it has been my prayer that God will turn this passionate one-day devotion into a lifelong pursuit for the Person of Jesus Christ, who, by the way, is the very reason why we all celebrated Christmas just a month ago.
You see, Jesus desires to have a lifelong relationship with every person in this planet, a relationship that goes beyond the “okay-I -already-went-to-church” Sunday thing.
Jesus desires to fulfill His plans and purposes in our lives. And this only begins when we acknowledge our need for a Saviour, asking for forgiveness for choosing to live life our way than His way, and finally, letting Him become King of our life.
As we start the New Year, let Jesus take the first place in our life – in our thoughts, our words, our motives and our deeds.