11 April 2009

Holy week

For many years back home when I was still in school I associated the holy week with evening processions of saints on flowered floats, evening mass, kissing the statue of Jesus in the glass coffin, dropping coins as offering, as well as the roasted peanuts and bibingka (native rice cakes) sold in the town plaza. This was for Holy Thursday and Good Friday. The town was so quiet, and there was not much food to buy in the market. We had to eat mostly salted fish and vegetables during these few days. The elders told us we had to be careful because there was no God on Friday and Saturday as he was dead. That means if we got wounded it might not heal, or if we went out to travel we did not have any protection, as God was dead so He could not watch over us. Then came Easter Sunday. We had to wake up early in the morning for the "Bitay" (literally translated as "Hang") - a sort of a musical presentation wherein a main angel (usually hanging from something hence the term) and an angels' choir would announce through singing (in a monotone) that Jesus has risen and then the statue of Virgin Mary would come and receive a crown or something. In fact I did not really understand then as there was always a crowd and it was difficult to always see what was going on in front. Oftentimes we would just go there to watch whoever was chosen by the parish as the main angel. It was quite a status symbol then to be one.

It took many years for me to really, really understand what the Holy Week including Easter and even Palm Sunday was all about. That was when God revealed the truth to me in a personal way. Finally I was able to understand about all of it as told in the Bible and the reason for commemorating this event in the history of humankind and in celebrating Easter. Many things which I thought was true before had to be changed into the real truth. For e.g. it was not true that Jesus dies again every Good Friday of each year and that God is nowhere during that period. We are just commemorating what He did for us because of His great love for us and His desire that no one would perish. We remember that He suffered for our sins so we can attain the forgiveness and salvation. He bore it upon Himself, thinking of me above all things. Because He loves me and does not want me to perish, knowing that my sins have separated me from Him.

In addition to His death, we all the more remember and celebrate the fact that He did not remain dead. He resurrected from the dead. He conquered death! And that is what we celebrate as Easter. He rose again and He is alive. He remains alive up to this day! And what a joy to know this. It gives so much hope! May it not be only during Easter Sunday that we celebrate life with joy! Let it be that everyday of our lives we acknowledge that Jesus is alive, and so we can always rejoice in that truth.

My prayer is that the lives of each person who personally knows this truth will truly reflect that Jesus is alive and is working mightily - in us, around us ... and others will also come to know this truth.


Desert Aquaforce said...

Happy Easter! May His Life in us be the reason for our Easter celebration!


shaine said...

Happy Easter!!!
Because Life is beautiful, I have an Award For you po.