Joseph Peter Calleja, Manila
Updated: March 31, 2021 08:03 AM GMT
Greg Meer Horton is 'crucified' in Santo Tomas City, Batangas province. (Photo supplied)
A male parishioner in Batangas province, south of Manila, has re-enacted the passion of Jesus Christ by allowing himself to be “crucified” for deliverance of the Philippines from the coronavirus and social ills.
Greg Meer Horton, 57, believed the pandemic should not stop his yearly promise for corporal mortification to wash away his sins.
Two nails pierced his hands while he closed his eyes in prayer.
“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. So, this year, I am pushing through with it even before Good Friday,” Horton said in an interview on March 30.
He said he had been doing the act of crucifixion for eight straight years except last year.
Horton said 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,” Horton said.
Horton 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 added.
Several churchgoers praised Horton for his courage.
“His way is very unusual and even risky but I think he has a point. Holy Week is a reminder to Christians that we are called to think of the greater good, not only to enrich ourselves with money and material goods,” said Manila parishioner Joel Hababag.
He said Horton had reminded 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 life and refocus it on Christ,” Hababag added.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan Archdiocese in the north of Manila said Catholics must not 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 Archbishop Villegas in his homily during a 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.”