Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno

January 9 in Manila is a great feast. It is the Feast of the Black Nazarene of Quiapo. Although it is not a liturgical feast, millions flock to venerate the image and also to join that immense procession that reenacts the transfer of the image to Quiapo Church/

The official name of the image is Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno. I have always been intrigued by this title. Why is the Black Nazarene called "Nuestro Padre?" He is God the Son and not the Father. So why should he be called "Padre"?

I think that we can explain this by affirming that the Lord Jesus is the First-born Son. Not only is he the first-born of the blessed Virgin Mary. St. Paul calls Jesus "the first-born of all creation" and "the first-born of the dead."

In the family, the first-born exercises some fatherly authority over the household. Parents entrust some parental responsibilities to the first-born over the younger sons and daughters. Thus, the first-born is "father" to his siblings. Not that he replaces the Father. Rather, the authority of the Father resides in him.

Thus, it is right to address him as "Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno" In fact, the title itself tells us that the Nazareno is the High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek. Before the priesthood was entrusted to the sons of Levi, it was first the work of the head of the household...a role which was entrusted to the first-born Son. Christ is the head of the Church. He is the first-born of creation. He is first-born of the dead. We see him carrying the heavy load of the Cross as Isaac carried the wood of the sacrifice. He is the Victim who will be laid on the wood of the sacrifice. He is the Priest who enters the Holy of holies not with the blood of animals but with his own Blood. Here is the Priest who walks towards the mountain of sacrifice. And the entire multitude follow him to the Altar.

Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno, Priest and Victim, offer now your sacrifice for us!

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