MANY Filipinos are nominally Christian Protestants or Christian Catholics. They are just like the still sizeable number of Europeans and US and Canadian North Americans who identify themselves as believers of the Lord Jesus Christ and yet don’t really care to use the holidays (days off from work) occasioned by the Christian Holy Week to be closer to God and his angels and saints.
They are in that sense less pious–less determined to offer up acts of piety and charity, less willing to reflect on their relationship with their Creator and cultivate a spiritual and charitable disposition–than Muslim Filipinos during their holy month of Ramadan.
But this impiety during Lent and its final days called Holy Week is only a characteristic of Christian Filipinos–whether Protestants or Catholics–who belong to the economic classes that have disposable incomes that allow them to go on excursions to Boracay and Subic. This economic class includes members of the upper strata of salaried expert workers, through the managerial classes up to the highest levels of the rich who belong to the class of those who control and own profitable corporations. These are the Filipinos in the top economic bracket.
The Filipinos who are dirt-poor, about 30 percent of us, and those who make up another 60 percent who are statistically rated as “not poor” but who really are like the very poor because they use up all of their time looking for ways to survive, are more bound by love, doctrine and the hope and faith of being blessed to enjoy a roundly happier life in God’s and His Holy Mother Mary’s company in heaven. Most Filipinos in this 90% of our population are as pious as Muslims during Lent, specially during Holy Week.
These are the Filipinos whose prayers are heard. And it’s thanks to them that God has not made fire, brimstone and separated heads and bodies of infidels murdered jidadists Islamic groups fall on our malls, Malacañang and buildings of Congress.
These are the Christians who understand what happens during Palm Sunday. They are the ones who would rather emphasize the value of remembering God’s love for the human beings he created by thinbking of Palm Sunday as Passion Sunday. It makes them think of the “passion” — the suffering of Our Lord — to make Himself the bearer of sufferings that we should endure because of it is us who are the sinners.
Holy Week should be spent on penance and seeking God’s forgiveness and mercy. It should make us realize that on Maundy Thursday, Christ instituted the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist to make it possible for us to see the union of Heaven and Earth in the Holy Mass, the bloodless sacrifice and death of our Lord that makes it possible for us ordinary mortals to be deified, engoddened, and become Other Christs.
And we do become Other Christs, when we bear our own little crosses and allow ourselves to die by giving up our desires and comforts in a childlike imitation of His own sacrifice, which we remember on Good Friday and should continue to meditate on and be thankful for on Holy Saturday.
And then we become ready for our Lord’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday. Which should occasion our own resurrection as Other Christs.