When she was a kid, during holy week she used to watch the passion of Christ, What she understand about that time is that Jesus was crucified, in her innocent mind she often asked why did God let those Romans torture Jesus, well in fact He is a God. But, then as Anna grew up those curiosities starts to be cleared.
It has become a tradition that during holy week, Filipino Catholics remember Christ’s passion, suffering and death by staying at home to pray and reflect on Christ’s death. It is also a time to remember family and the faithful who have died. However, at present, some people opt to use the Holy Week to go to the beaches, in the province, or spending time with their family.
In an article written by Carl Olson over time, the practice of observing Holy Week spread throughout the Christian world, with prayers, historical re-enactments and special liturgies. During the Middle Ages, the celebration of the Easter Vigil gradually fell out of practice. The important days of the week were Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
For the Roman Catholic and some other Christians, the Triduum is the three-day period marking Jesus’ death and burial. It begins on Holy Thursday and concludes as Easter begins. Some Christians observe the Triduum by attending a worship service on each day, including a long Easter Vigil service on the night before Easter.
In his homily, the pope Benedict XVI shared that we are called to follow a Messiah who promises us not an easy earthly happiness, but the happiness of heaven, divine beatitude. So we must ask ourselves: what are our true expectations? What are our deepest desires, with which we have come here today to celebrate Palm Sunday and to begin our Celebrations of Holy Week?
‘Based on my experience, I used to disobey these practices; I am not saying that I am not a Christian, because I am not doing it. It is because I believe that it not a basis to be a good Christian or in order for your sins to be lessen. Maybe, someone will say that I am not an obedient person, but I just stand for what the bible say,’ emphasized Joe Sugot, a theology student.
Tracing the History
Osv.com published that the Vatican re-established the Easter Vigil as an important part of Holy Week observances. During the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), the bishops called for the restoration of the early Christian rituals for receiving new Christians into the Church at the Easter Vigil. In 1988, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults was issued.
Today, Easter Vigil with the Easter fire, the lighting of the paschal candle, the reading of salvation history, the celebration of the sacraments of initiation for catechisms and renewal of baptismal promises for the faithful is once again an integral part of Holy Week celebrations.
Holy week as relaxation
Moreover, some grab holy week to spend time with their family because of hectic schedule. For those devoted catholic they really do the ten traditional practices. According from Alixandra Caole Vila of Philippine Star, one of the traditional practices is fasting, a reminder of what it means to suffer and to understand the sacrifice Jesus did for humanity. As a form of penitence, many people fast or voluntarily give up certain types of luxuries during the Lent season.
On the other hand Fr. Bel R. San Luis pinpointed that, while rest and recreation are part of the Holy Week break, let us not forget to devote time for prayer, reflections, and penitential acts. One way of doing this is to participate in the Church’s liturgical services or join a Lenten retreat or recollection in your own parish.
In an article titled Meaningful Holy Week by Bong Austero, most Filipinos do try to still find deeper meaning in the observance of the Semana Santa even if most of us, particularly the younger set, do see it as opportune time to hide off to some vacation place, and to party like there’s no tomorrow. It is a matter of public record that the Holy Week is the top peak season for vacation spots such such as Baguio, Puerta Galera and Boracay.
Commercial touches will continue to alter the way we observe traditions, including those associated with the Holy Week. It is truly important is what is in people’s hearts; even more important, we can all take comfort in the fact that the traditions continue to be observed even in the midst of rapid changes.
We are in the 21th century, wherein everything changes. Let us keep and be aware on the changes happening around us. Our greatest shield against them is our Faith and Values that we stand. After all laws and practices are made by humans, such that they will serve as reminders only. Not what the world dictates us to do rather our advocacies in life to make a change and let us keep the Faith burning.#Grazilla P. Manengyao