Certain days and events stand out from the sweep of Philippine history: the moment our National Hero was shot at Bagumbayan; the day the cry of independence at Kawit Cavite was made; the week of EDSA Revolution and People Power.
For us Christians, however, these events are mere foothills of Picuaria before the high mountain of Isarog, the Passion Week, the greatest week in world history. Within the week, we remember Jesus’ triumphal entry as his concrete decision to die for his people. Ninoy Aquino did the same. Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem and Ninoy’s return to the Philippines entailed death, death for the life of the people. Within that week, Jesus instituted the Eucharist, where he will continuously share himself, body and blood to all his followers. When he washed the feet of his apostles, he gave us the new commandment of love. In that commandment, he teaches leaders not to serve themselves through SOPs, but to serve the society. Then, he showed us the narrow road to eternal life, his passion and death. This is how great the Passion Week is for all of us.
Walk in spirit with Jesus today. You may join the crowd in cheering at him. Realize that the sin that yet is in your heart makes you howl at his blood at the end of the week. If you recall any sin, run immediately to confession. Jesus will preach at temples the following days. Go to your parish, check the schedule for recollections. Listen to him. On Holy Thursday, he will institute the Eucharist. Sit with him at table as he pours out his deepest love and choicest gifts. Join him in his agony. Fast and abstain; join Church activities like vigils and holy hours. Follow him dragged through the night to Caiaphas, paraded off to Herod. Gaze at his bloody scourging and grueling way of the cross. Ask who is willing to be Simon of Cyrene of our day?
The Passion week is a week of many spiritual treasures. We need refreshed eyes of faith to find all of them, lest we tread on them. This is the longest and richest of the weeks. Rejoicing does not begin on a Friday evening. In this week, nobody says “Thanks God, it’s Friday.” This Friday is the most solemn and quiet Friday of the year. No malls, no shops, no bars, no discos. It is the Friday of redemption, when our Lord died in order to save the world and redeem it from sin. Only after observing the solemn afternoon that extends its mourning until Saturday can we really say “Thanks God, it is Easter Sunday.”
This is the story of the Passion Week. It is a long week of sacrifice, but a prelude to eternal happiness. It is the story of our redemption.