Augusto Urbano II, Vicente Ignatius Mate IV
Palm Sunday at the Manila Cathedral. Photo courtesy of Augusto Urbano II of The LANCE.
As the Christian Community celebrates the Holy Week this April 2 to 9, it is important to ponder on the relevance of Holy Week in our lives. When people realize Holy Week is forthcoming, the first thing that comes to mind is a week of suspended classes and the only shows playing on local television networks are Superbook and the Passion of Christ. So, what truly is Lent?
The week-long celebration is one of the most important and widely celebrated religious observances in the Philippines. It is a time to reflect on God’s message and recommit to living as his disciples in the world today.
Beginning on Palm Sunday and ending on Easter Sunday, Filipinos participate in various religious activities and traditions reflecting their deep faith in God and intense devotion to the Church. Religious events, such as the Senakulo and Salubong on Easter Sunday, are what highlight the celebration. These events help people reflect on the true meaning of Lent: Love and Sacrifice.
Through the different traditions practiced during Holy Week, people are taught the importance of sacrifice. The season of Lent is about learning how to sacrifice the things we love. Depicted by Jesus sacrificing himself on the cross for our sins, Sacrifice could never be made without Love and only through this, people learn how to grow.
Pope Francis shares that "God’s mercy and grace surround His children not just in special times and places but especially during difficult times, Christians should accept the challenges and sacrifices made to learn and grow."
Lent is not just a week without classes and religious-related tv programs. Rather, Lent is a time to reflect. A time of sacrifice. A time of growth. A time to love.