Sourced from UCA News by Tracy Cabrera
Devotee Greg Meer Horton is nailed to a cross once more in Santo Thomas, Batangas. (Courtesy|UCA News)
SANTO TOMAS, BATANGAS — Despite overtures from the Catholic Church that tagged flagellation and the Pinoy Lenten tradition of self-crucifixion as unsanctioned ways of professing one’s faith in God, a devotee from Batangas re-enacted the passion of Jesus Christ by allowing himself to be ‘crucified’ a day before Good Friday—the day Jesus is said to have died more than 2,000 years ago.
Claiming he had himself crucified despite advice from local authorities to discontinue his devotion at this time of health crisis, Greg Meer Horton said it was his way of praying to the Almighty Father for the deliverance of the Philippines from the coronavirus and its social ills.
In an interview, the 57-year-old enthused that he believes that the pandemic should not stop devotions made by the faithful—and so is his yearly promise for corporal mortification to wash away his sins.
“This act of crucifixion is my way of sacrifice this Holy Week. I used to do this as a promise to our Lord for repentance, but last year it was postponed due to quarantine restrictions,” he said.
He added that he had been doing the act of crucifixion for eight straight years except for last year.
Horton pointed out that his re-enactment was more than a spiritual act and was meant to remind government authorities to address social ills in Philippine society.
“This is what I want government authorities to know: Let us all sacrifice and let us let go of something that makes us greedy … especially those who are in government service. Let us let go of our selfish interests for the good of all,” he stressed.
The Batangueno devotee also offered his pain for government officials to stop corruption while Filipinos are battling with the coronavirus.
“If we want to have a solution to the present pandemic, that solution must not come from any selfish desire but from good motivation. We need to let go of our greed for the common good,” he advised.
Several churchgoers praised Horton for his courage.
“Talagang kakaiba ang kanyang ginagawa at tapang pero may punto siya sa kanyang paniniwala. Ang Holy Week ay nagpapalala sa ating mga Kristiyano na isaisip ang kapakanan ng nakakarami at hindi yoong magpayaman sa sarili sa pera at mga materyal na bagay,” said parishioner Sabrina Marinas from Paco, Manila.
She noted that Horton’s sacrifice and faith remind Filipino churchgoers to have a break from work to reflect on the life of Christ.
“Devotees being nailed to the cross is more than a tradition. Some may even say it’s senseless. But what makes it a tradition among Filipinos like Horton is what is interesting. The tradition points us to reflection — to stop our lives and refocus it on Christ,” Marinas highlighted.
In reflection, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates reminded Catholics not to forget who their ‘first love’ is.
“We have forgotten our first love. We have been engrossed and engulfed, swallowed by duties while wallowing in entitlements, reveling in success,” said Villegas in his homily during Chrism mass on March 31.
“We must have more time for the Lord, our first love. The Lord seems to complain, ‘We have time for everything and everybody.’ We have no time for him,” the prelate concluded. (AI/MTVN)