By Leslie Ann Aquino
Devotees of the child Jesus were urged by a Catholic prelate not only to deepen their faith but also defend their faith against those who teaches wrong.
“Let us protect and defend our faith especially at this time when our Christian belief is being contradicted,” Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said in his homily at the Sto. Nino de Tondo Parish Church, where he presided the Mass for the Sto. Niño feast, Sunday.
Although the prelate did not mention any name in his homily, he said these are those who called God stupid, those who discourage people from going to Mass, and those who urge people to steal and kill.
“Are these right? These are contrary to our faith that’s why we should defend it,” said Pabillo.
He said faith should also be nurtured for it to deepen. One way to do this, he said is by reading the Bible daily.
“Since you have with you different images of the Sto. Nino it means you have altars in your homes. I hope the bible is included in the altar,” Pabillo said.
“Let us make it a habit to read the bible in front of the Sto. Nino daily even for just 10 minutes for us to get to know Him (Lord),” he added.
Another way to deepen the faith, the Manila prelate is by taking part in church activities.
“It’s best if we make going to church a part of our devotion to the Sto. Nino,” said Pabillo.
Helping others is another way of deepening one’s faith, he said.
“Helping others, showing our love to them show that we recognize Jesus in those who need,” Pabillo said.
But the Manila prelate said aside from deepening the faith it is also important to help bring others closer to the Lord.
“Our churches are full but there are still those who do not go to church. Let us invite those in our homes, barangays to bring them closer to the Lord,” said Pabillo.
Traditionally celebrated every third Sunday of January, the feast of the Sto. Niño traces its roots back to the 16th century when Princess Joanna of Cebu was given an image of the Sto. Niño by Ferdinand Magellan, the Portuguese who discovered the Philippines.
It is considered as one of the most popular Philippine festivals probably because of the belief that the Santo Nino or Child Jesus, like any innocent child will be able to grant the most fervent wish.