Cardinal Tagle marks Holy Thursday by washing feet of former drug addicts

Cardinal Tagle marks Holy Thursday by washing feet of former drug addicts

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle washes and kisses the feet of former drug addicts, drug surrenderers, policemen, government officials, volunteers and relatives of victims of extrajudicial killings during Mass of the Lord’s Supper at the Manila Cathedral, April 13, 2017. ROY LAGARDE

MANILA— The head of Manila’s Roman Catholic Church has washed and kissed the feet of former drug addicts and said that they too are children of God.

In a gesture that preached support and not judgment, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle warned the faithful not to simply point the finger at others but to recall that “we are all sinners”.

“And, we’re just like them. We all have dirty feet that Jesus needs to wash,” Cardinal Tagle said in his homily during an evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper at the Manila Cathedral.

He said they are former illegal drug users now working hard to get back to society and even someone who was jailed because of wrongdoing but now a changed man.

The Maundy Thursday rite re-enacts the foot-washing ritual Jesus performed on his apostles before being crucified, and is meant as a gesture of service.

The solemn reenactment saw the cardinal washing the feet of drug surrendereers to the government’s anti-drug campaign, policemen, community volunteers and barangay officials.

“We have barangay officials and police officers who believe that every life is important that’s why they will help those who want to change,” he said.

He also washed the feet of a mother whose child was a victim of alleged summary execution. “A painful journey,” Tagle said.

“We are not here to judge others but to remember what Jesus did,” he said.

In fact, he added, the reason Jesus came was to die in the place of dirty sinners so that they can be cleansed.

He also said that Jesus’ example of humility in washing His disciple’s feet gives the people a practical example of how they can love even those who do not deserve it.

“My dear brothers and sisters, even with our dirty and wounded feet, Jesus will always be with us,” Tagle said.

The rites also saw human trafficking victims from the Middle East participating during the Offertory.

In previous years, the cardinal has observed Holy Thursday by washing the feet of the elderly, women, and people with disabilities. CBCPNews