Going home from my cousin’s condo early morning wearing shorts, which is not actually too short, when older women stares at me kinda like judging. On my mind was, what’s with wearing a not-so-short shorts? Then I remembered what my grandmothers usually told me when it’s Holy Week – not to wear shorts, not to go out of the house, not to play, not to get any wound because it won’t heal, etc. etc. Maybe that’s whats going on inside their heads.
However, as obedient as I was when I was a little girl, I realized that I do not live my life with religion anymore, there are no more do’s and don’ts over my life, for I know and believe as Jesus said, “It is done.” I can wear shorts as long as my conscience is clear that I am modest enough not to show any hint of immorality or be a stumbling block to others. There are lot of things that I did as a child during this so-called Holy Week that I won’t do again.
Here are the things that I did (but I wouldn’t now) during Holy Week:
1. Going to cathedrals or buildings that house the church of God or the so-called Visita Iglesia. Why? Because it is said that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and God is everywhere; I can call and pray to Him anytime. I don’t need to travel much or go in and out of buildings to pray. I can visit His churches by fellowship with people who have Jesus Christ in their lives, for they are the real churches.
2. Hearing the 7 last words. I remember my younger days when I have to sit for long hours, just to listen to those words, and I always cry remembering the death of Jesus. His last words are indeed worth reminiscing, but I realized that Jesus’ last words were actually these… “go and make disciples of all nations…” before He ascended to heaven. I know that those 7 words were referring to His words before He died, but He rose again.
3. Watching the washing of the feet. I loved this! Why? Because Kuya Jong was always one of the apostles, and it always give him the pressure to clean and scrub his feet because the whole town will see his feet being washed. I’m not going to watch this anymore because I’d rather focus more on how to serve God’s people than simply watching it, but it’s a good picture to remember though; it’s one of the greatest example of servant leadership and humility.
4. Following the station of the Cross. Under the heat of the sun, I loved to follow all those people who persevered to walk through the different stations. However, no matter how good it is to feel and walk with Jesus with His sufferings as He carry His cross to calvary, I realized that I walk with Him daily and that feels much better. Furthermore, I follow Him and carry His cross daily whether under the heat or under cold weather.
5. Believing that Jesus Christ is dead for a day. I asked myself, does it mean I’m dead as well for a day? For I call myself a Christian, meaning without Christ I am nothing. Without Him, I’m dead. We remember Christ’s birth during Christmas and we REMEMBER His death for all of us but to think and believe that He is dead for a particular day is far different because JESUS IS NOT DEAD. HE IS SURELY ALIVE.
6. Singing and dressing like an angel. I won’t do it again because I’m not a little girl anymore, and there was really no angels during the time that Jesus and Mary meet after His resurrection. But, I loved doing these before even if it means I have to wake up at 4am for the Salubong.
7. Looking for eggs on Easter. This was my most awaited event of the year when I was a child aside from Christmas because aside from the Easter egg hunts that we have in the park for all the children in the village, we also have our own hunt at home with chocolates hidden by our grandparents for me and my cousins only. But, there is no Easter bunny in the Bible! When Jesus resurrected, no one hides eggs and asked the children to search for it.
Now, here are the things I observed some people do during Holy Week that I’m sure I will never ever do:
1. Hitting my back with cat-o-nine tails. Aside from the fact that it hurts so much, the reason behind why they do it hurts my ears as well. Why? Because some of them said that it is how they repent. Once a year? With that? The purpose why Jesus Christ came is to spare us from that kind of suffering! He don’t want us to suffer that way because He love us. He offered His body as a sacrifice. God is pleased not just with our sacrifices but with our obedience. Like the Catholic Church, I’m not really against this practice. But, I believe it is always better to repent everyday than to repent one time big time with that.
2. Nailing myself on the Cross. I praise the Lord for my Catholic Theology in my younger days because I get to know the apostle Peter and all the other martyrs well. The principle behind the inverted cross of Peter was he don’t feel he’s worthy of the same way of death with Jesus. See? An apostle of Jesus felt that he’s not worthy to die such way, and here we are trying to imitate the death of Christ nailing ourselves to that cross. Jesus Christ died once and for all! This is not the kind of repentance or sacrifice that God wants, He longs for us. He wants our whole hearts not our pierced hands.
Now, I reach the end of my piece with what I won’t do this Holy Week. Maybe some of you will say, “You’re not a Catholic so you really won’t do those things, you won’t understand us.” My response to that will be, I praise God that I was raised a Roman Catholic. Am I excommunicated? I don’t think so. I’d been singing Laudare, Benedicere, Praedicare for more than two decades now and I still live the way it means. Attending a different congregation with different set of beliefs and practices doesn’t make me forget who I was – a girl raised by the RVM and Dominican sisters.
So, what will I do this week? God said, “Be holy for I am holy”. God did not said any particular day for holiness. Therefore, we ought to be holy every single day and every single week. I live every day as Christmas, being grateful for the coming of Jesus. I live every day remembering that Jesus died the death I should have died. I live every day celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, knowing that He conquered death for me.
How about you? How do you spend this week? Whether its for vacation or nailing yourself at the cross, remember that in whatever you do, God sees your heart. Please Him and not men neither yourself.