Friday the Thirteenth comes early this year. Does the day bid luck or doom, really? I say it depends on one’s past experiences of such days. For me it’s been normal, like any other Fri-yay although in my mind there’s this exchange between my ego- don’t go out! it’s the thirteenth! you might slight and hurt your ankle! to which my id goes, you kidding me? shall I rot then? I’ve mostly sided with practical.
Speaking of doom, I came by on CNN this bizarre practice of a pastor in South Africa who uses Doom to heal people of their ailments. Doom as in Tiger Brands’ Multi Insect Killer spray! It was discovered through social media, on Facebook, wherein the pastor posted photos of the session, and not because there had been complaints from those that were sprayed. Apparently, the people insisted they were healed after being treated with the bug spray. Why their skin did not break out is even more baffling. A bugged out twist to the placebo effect?
In the Philippines, Traslacion or the annual procession of devotees in honor of the Black Nazarene that’s in the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene or more popularly Quiapo Church, has just been staged for the year, on January 9 which is the Feast of the Black Nazarene. Ahead of the event, national government declared the date a holiday in Metro Manila.
A secular Catholic of today might say, my god, what’s all that for? To understand that level of devotion one has to have an understanding of the life of Catholic Filipinos masses which can be said is a reenactment of The Nazarene’s Passion, the role and influence of religion and symbolism in their lives, and their childlike grip on hope.
But when Jesus, carrying the cross, heard the throng of “women of Jerusalem” who came out especially to see this man who calls himself God, and seeing that he’s almost disfigured from his burden they broke into such “bewailing and lamenting,” well, he stopped and said- do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. The people must’ve been stunned by that unexpected straightforward rebuke.
My theory is that advanced liberal arts education, international travel, exposure to cultures and peoples, and overall, economic progress among Catholic Filipino masses will see a more tempered (or, shall I say authentic) approach to religion.