For those who commemorate the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, napakaraming mga activities ang ginagawa ng iba’t ibang grupo. But for this Holy Week 2020, as much as we try to still conduct the ceremonies and proceed with the activities na mga kinasanayan natin, dahil naka Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) ang mga taga Luzon sa Pilipinas at may “Safer At Home” Order naman sa ilang mga counties at states dito sa US, we will be doing some of these things quite differently.
Could there be a good and long-lasting impact on our faith and on our Christian life because of all this? I hope so. I would like to believe so.
What Holy Week Used To Be Like For Me
Bata pa lang ako, I had always been looking forward to the Holy Week. Sa bayan namin sa Binangonan, Rizal, gustong-gusto ko yung mga prusisyon pag Palm Sunday, Holy Wednesday, Good Friday, at Easter Sunday, mga Pabasa, Stations of the Cross, Vigil, Visita Iglesia, Salubong, Senakulo etc. Pati na rin yung mga palabas sa TV na tungkol kay Jesus, gustong-gusto ko ring pinapanood.
Pero ang pinakagusto ko sa lahat ay yung habang may pakain ang pamilya namin (spearheaded by my beloved Tita) sa gilid ng Simbahan (Sta. Ursula Parish) for like 4 to 5 hours sa gabi ng Maundy Thursday, tumutulong ako sa paghuhugas ng pinagkainan ng mga nagvivigil (ayaw ni Tita gumamit ng disposables so yung mga mabibigat na platito at tasa, at mga silverware ang pinapagamit). Kapag napagod ako, may ibang mga kamag-anak na papalit sa’kin at papasok ako sa Simbahan to spend a good 45 minutes to an hour or so sa pagdarasal.
I thought, yung oras na ‘yon ang pinaka pagkakataon ko para maibuhos ko kay Lord lahat-lahat ng gusto kong sabihin sa Kanya, lahat ng naipon kong dasal. At napakagaan ng pakiramdam ko pagkatapos. At my young age, may nararamdaman na akong sense ng parang narefresh ako o mas napapalakas yung faith ko.
Growing Up, May Nadagdag at May Nabago
A couple of weeks before my Highschool graduation, I joined the youth choir in our parish, Likha Handog Himig Chorale. Mas naging involved ako sa simbahan at sa community buhat nang sumali ako doon, mas lumawak ang mundo, mas dumami ang kaibigan, mas natututo.
I thought, lahat talaga ng paraan, ginagamit ni Lord para mas mapalapit tayo sa Kanya.
Every Holy Week, our choir group has always been so busy practicing for the songs that we are going to sing sa Mass for Last Supper and Washing of the Feet, Palm Sunday, or Easter Sunday, o kung anumang misa kami maitoka o mai-assign. Nakaugalian na rin naming magkakaibigan na makilahok sa iba pang activities ng simbahan na nakapagpatatag din ng samahan at ng pananampalataya, little by little.
Moving Overseas. Looking Back. Missing Home.
Nang mag migrate na kami ng nanay ko dito sa US, Homesick na homesick ako lalo na kapag Holy Week. I’m missing the traditions and all the activities we used to do back home. There have been similar activities here pero nothing beats home, I thought.
But ironically and quite surprisingly, even though I was not able to participate in those things I used to do, the Lord still has ways and opportunities to deepen my faith and understanding of all those traditions and activities. Those activities could either make us feel like obligated, burdened, and be focused on all sorts of things other than the true essence of the Holy Week, or they could be used by the Lord to draw us closer to Him, to make us appreciate more what He has done for us and how much He loves us if we would have a deeper and more profound understanding of these ceremonies and activities that have been part of traditions, and why we are doing them.
Sa medyo iilang taon ng pagcecelebrate ng Holy Week dito sa US, I have been blessed with opportunities to attend conferences and retreats not only for Lent but for any time of the year, in addition to reading books and literatures that could give more insight, inspiration, and enlightenment.
Virtual Holy Week
It has been weeks since we have been attending Sunday mass and services, conferences and group meetings virtually. So this Holy Week, gano’n pa rin for the most part. Halos lahat, online na muna sa ngayon.
Youngsters may not have so much problem with this. But I can only imagine how it would be like for our elderly. It must have been such an adjustment for them. But how about those who don’t have the capability na makapag online? Yung mga walang internet o pang-data, lalo yung mga walang kuryente? O kaya yung mga nagugutom o nagtatrabaho pa rin in this time of crisis?
I believe and I pray that we will be able to find ways and to adjust and adapt. May we find enough time and opportunity to pray, talk to Jesus like how we talk to that one friend who is nonjudgmental, understanding, and a good listener.
May we also allot time to listen to what He’s got to say—we can have a quiet time with God, we can read the Bible or any books or articles related to Him, we can research about the life of the saints, the Apostles, and the traditions, religious activities, ceremonies, and different church practices that we’ve always been curious about, we can write on a journal or a piece of paper or electronically about our thoughts and realizations, or our questions and doubts.
We can take this time as an opportunity to make a self-assessment, to evaluate our intentions and purposes on why we do the activities and practices that we’ve been accustomed to, why we believe what we’ve been taught, how we see our own church and the people in it, what we think of other people who do not share our faith and convictions and do not go to the same church or denominations.
It is easy to judge others based on what we see them doing and on what we hear them saying, or on what we think they believe in and why they do. But may this Holy Week be a time dedicated to looking into our interior life and faith.
I am looking forward to our own spiritual growth individually and as a community.
May this be a Holy Week that is like no other—more meaningful, more heartfelt, more Christ-centered, more spiritual than ever.
May we finally see and understand the real beauty and purpose of what may easily be perceived by others as irrelevant, too traditional or too religious, non-Christian or ungodly with a loving heart full of wisdom from Jesus. Amen.
P.S. We can also take this time to think of ways to help someone in need through donating or fundraising, or even just by making others smile or be encouraged.
Photo Source: Unsplash.com and Pixabay.com