Holy Week spells traditional hot cross buns, sumptuous lamb dishes, Easter egg hunts, and family gatherings—of course there are also those who fast and attend in special church services—but is there more to this three to four-day long holiday? Back in the Philippines, you surely remember reading the pasyon, participating in the visita iglesia, or witnessing the senakulo. But still, are practices and observances all there is to this annual occasion?
When I was still an activist, I suffered from all sorts of pain: angry stomach pangs during hunger strikes, cuts and bruises from riot dispersals, snickers and insults from apathetic passersby, death threats from the powers that be, and isolation from behind prison doors.
But here’s one confession: I could have easily refrained from taking part in the rallies and spared myself from those troubles. I had no personal issues with the factory owners and hospital administrators I was fighting against, anyway. But why did I risk the trouble? Why did I choose pain over comfort? Because in my heart is an ever-burning feeling that demands to be noticed: my love for the poor—the poor who, no matter how badly they want to, can give me nothing in return.
Now, multiply that love and that pain a million times. THAT is the whole meaning of Holy Week.
The most beloved Son of God—His only Son—humbled Himself by leaving the comforts of the heavenly throne, stripped Himself to nothing by assuming the form of a weak and imperfect human being, and subjected Himself to the scorn and rejection of men. He was betrayed, accused, spat at, taunted, and mocked. And as if those were not enough, He was lashed over and over with a heavy whip, crowned with long, sturdy thorns, and nailed to the most barbaric cross between two notorious sinners!
You ask, “Why endure such great a pain? He IS God. He could have spared Himself the trouble!” The answer lies in this truth: Because in His heart is that never-ending, never-failing, unfathomable, and unconditional love for us—us who are unworthy sinners, created by His very hands, but gave Him nothing but sorrow.
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.” (John 15:13)
Now, would any of us dare say that Holy Week is a mere holiday or a mere time for penitence? Or would any of us would, upon knowing His great sacrifice, dare thank Him, praise Him and love Him only on Holy Week? Let us daily offer our lives to the Greatest Lover of our souls: our Saviour Jesus Christ.
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Jesus Is Lord Church is a Philippine-based, Christ-centred Full-Gospel Christian Church that is doing ministry work since 1978. It is currently present in 55 countries around the world. In 1987 Jesus Is Lord Church started its ministry work in Canada and found a home in 8 of its provinces today - British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.