Most of us Christians have in one way or the other spent this Holy Week in prayer, spiritual exercises, liturgical ceremonies, pilgrimages and the like. We are fortunate that in the Philippines we have a strong Christian faith and tradition.
My reflection for this year was to see how the faith is so much alive! Filipino families doing the Way of the Cross and the Visita Iglesia, that’s going to at least seven churches to adore our Lord in the Holy Eucharist and to pray at the altar of repose. I remember visiting each church with a unique, creative and beautifully decorated “monumentos”, with the Holy Eucharist on a monstrance.
So, the vigil of Holy Thursday was to spend the night in prayer, meditating on how our Lord spent the night at the agony in the garden, being betrayed, arrested, abused with blows, spat upon, and all other types of cruel treatment. This Jesus allowed, for His love of us.
However, I spent the night of Holy Thursday looking for my lost wallet. It must have fallen in the taxi that I took from Cardinal Santos Hospital, after attending the liturgical celebration of the Lord’s Supper.
It’s a pain of loss, a material loss. Not just the money, but all my PRC licenses, a precious relic of St. Josemaria Escriva and the prayer card, family pictures, other Government I.D.’s, SSS, drivers license, receipts of a friend who I was to follow up for PRC, among others.
Seldom do we find honest taxi drivers who would go out of their way to return the “treasures” they find from passengers who loose their belongings.
Even if I have the name of the taxi, driver, plate no. , address and even the cell phone number of the taxi, no one has seen the wallet. All I requested was for the documents, identification cards, licenses. But still no one responded. I offered them a cash reward but all I get is silence. Yes, the saying “finders, keepers, losers, weepers…” is true.
Comes Good Friday and I am still at a lost on what to do without the cash for taxi to go to the services. Fortunately, I keep a piggy bank where I put coins from savings that I manage to keep. So, I opened it and to my surprise, I have more than enough of five peso coins that added to more than two hundred pesos. Well, I also found a small pouch and kept there some other coins that were in my pockets. Wow was it heavy.
This time, I decided to go to Mary the Queen Church for the Good Friday services. Walking down the street of Alfonso XIII via M. Paterno Street to find a taxi at N. Domingo Street was a good “penitencia”.
It was 2:00pm. Very hot and the sun was extremely bright that day. For one with lupus, walking under the heat of the sun is deadly. My protection was putting on some sun block cream and praying to my guardian angels to give me the necessary protection and to Mama Mary to keep me safe under her maternal care and mantel. So, with confidence I walked under the sun. My crutches made the only sound on the streets. “Tik-tak-tak-tak-tik-tak”.
It did not take too much time to find a taxi. Time just seem to fly since I was meditating on the Way of the Cross and the Passion of our Lord. My simple offering was the pain of loss- the wallet. The suffering from the heat and a simple abandonment that I am being taken care of, even with lupus and not feeling well, this was all I could offer. Prayer, sacrifice, and trust in God.
Mary the Queen Church was not as full as in Cardinal Santos. But unlike at the chapel of Cardinal, which is cool with Air-conditioning, Mary the Queen Church was awfully hot, humid and yet I was happy. The joy of just sitting there waiting for the services of begin, help me remember my childhood days. I was one of the first altar boys.
The Good Friday services were as usual very meaningful and helps one go deeper into prayer, and with the help of grace, see the horror of sin, our falls and our need to demand more from self to do God’s will.
Saturday was a day of anticipation. Although “melancholic”, meditating on our Lord buried, we see our Blessed Holy Mother Mary in grief. “Mother, behold your son. Son, behold your Mother.” Jesus gives us His Mother. The words written by St. Josemaria in his book, “The Way of the Cross”, echoed in my mind. It helped me pray and join our Lady, waiting for sundown, and the joyful celebration of the Easter Vigil.
Today we begin this Easter Sunday with great joy! The Resurrection of our Lord is the central meaning of our salvation. Life, the author of life, overcomes death. Jesus is our life, happiness, peace and hope for the next life. This is what gives meaning to all and the realization, that this short life on earth is nothing. We all hope for eternal life, a hope that gives meaning to our faith. And, our faith is what will sustain us in doing well on earth, to sow kindness, generosity, cheerful service in a word, charity and love.
I’m sharing a quote from the book, 365 Days with the Lord: “Jesus does not die for himself; he dies for us. Jesus rises again not only for himself but also for us. He rises from the dead so that those who believe in him and die to sin with him may also rise with him and live forever with him. Because God and Jesus love us, they have given us their Spirit, the Spirit of love, and thus conquered sin and death for us. Let us remember that the risen Jesus is always with us till the end of time as he promised. The risen Jesus journeys with us even in our darkest moments — until we see him face to face.”
Our Pope Francis, in his Easter message, urged the people of the world to pray that Jesus would inspire them to “change hatred into love, vengeance into forgiveness, war into peace.”
He is referring to the developing hatred and looming war between nations such as between South and North Korea in which he expressed desire for a “spirit of reconciliation”. He urged Israelis and Palestinians to resume peace talks to end their conflicts and urged for political solution in Syria. He also decried human trafficking which is described as 21st century’s most extensive form of slavery.
“And so we ask the risen Jesus, who turns death into life, to change hatred into love, vengeance into forgiveness, war into peace. Yes, Christ is our peace, and through him we implore peace for the entire world,” our beloved Pope said.
To show his care and heart for the needy, especially the persons with disabilities, he cradled and kissed a boy with disability during the Easter Sunday mass. I’m sure that was one of the best days for the boy and he was smiling in satisfaction.
Let us adhere to Pope Francis’ call to just be compassionate and give due care to the needy. Let us support our Pilipinos with Disabilities partylist.
May we all have a Blessed, Happy Easter!