Cardinal Tagle’s Lenten Recollection

Three points on our current situation

1. Wash your hands but let God wash your heart.
2. Avoid Pilate's way of washing hands but imitate Jesus' way
3. This (corona) crown of suffering can become our crown of glory

1. Wash your hands… but let God wash your heart.

Feed your heart with the word of God that purifies the heart. Do not forget the Lord because if you do, you will become proud and a proud heart will not listen to God. Let your heart be purified for only a purified heart can stop the spread of the viruses of greed, envy, murder, unchastity, deceit, etc.
Wash your hands but do not forget Jesus’ hands.

“Wash me, O Lord and I will be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7)

Remember that it is the Lord who will wash us, his blood to wash us.

2. Avoid Pilate’s washing of hands but wash your hands like Jesus.

Pilate saw no virus in Jesus. He saw the real virus – envy of those who want to go against Jesus. Washing his hands, he cleansed himself of all responsibilities. It was insensitivity and not caring for others. This is not the washing that Jesus wants. Jesus had his own version of washing of hands. It is about letting tears of compassion to wash your vision to see a neighbor. Today is not the time for blaming institutions or excusing self from responsibility. We need Jesus to apply spittle or his saliva on our eyes for us to see a neighbor and be sensitive to their needs. Follow Jesus’ way of washing his hands so that others may live.

3. Corona and crown of thorns

The virus is called corona because of its spikes. This tiny virus crosses boundaries, kept us home, taught some fundamental lessons amidst humanity’s achievements…
With Jesus the crown of thorns was meant to insult him, mock him. In Jesus humiliated with the crown of thorns, we see wisdom, glory and the strength of God. This is our desire at this time of crisis – to see the wisdom and glory of God. Jesus crowned with thorns said, “Into your hands, I commend my Spirit”.
This crown of suffering can become our crown of glory if accepted like Jesus did – in faith and in hope with Mary to show us the way.

Recollection at Pontificio Collegio Filippino, March 15, 2020.