THE two days following Palm Sunday anticipate the drama that will unfold during the Paschal Triduum, the three days commemorating the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Randy Bayaua, OblOSB (Oblate of the Order of St. Benedict), the secretary of Diocese of Cubao Ministry for Liturgical Affairs, said the liturgical services during Holy Monday and Holy Tuesday prepare the faithful for the solemnity of the rest of the week.
“Everything is calculated to make a dramatic effect,” said Bayaua.
Holy Monday was when Jesus cursed the fig tree, cleansed the temple and responded to questioning of his authority.
On Holy Tuesday, Christ predicted his own death, Bayaua said.
Traditionally in the Philippines, the major procession of the Journey to Calvary is held on Holy Monday and Holy Tuesday, with Jesus as the main figure accompanied by the images of the saints present during Christ's walk to Calvary.
The activities are held in churches, streets, town squares and homes in a typical mood of feasting and celebration, Bayaua said. “Exuberance is a good word to describe it,” he said.
So while the rest of the Christian world wears a long face, Bayaua said Filipino Catholics are exuberant as they witness the procession of the tearful images of saints. “Catholic life never seems to be as vibrant as during these days of the Holy Week,” he said.
He said an anthropologist might explain such a disconcerting joyful mood as part of the Filipino people's propensity for putting to advantage any occasion as a moment to celebrate. “Wherever there is food and company, even in funerals, Filipinos will feast and put on a smile before a photographer. But how does a theologian explain such a phenomenon?”
With many Filipino families going on a vacation on Holy Week, Ozamiz Archbishop Martin Jumoad called on Catholics that if a holiday is unavoidable this time of the year, they should make sure to join in the solemn activities at the nearest church in the places where they plan to go.
“I really ask our Catholic faithful if they go on vacation then they should also choose a place where there is a church near to where they are staying; as much as possible commemorate the Holy Week because it is the core of our faith, without resurrection then our faith is nothing,” said Jumoad in a radio interview.
“As Christians, we need time to really reflect and attend the rites/rituals in our particular cathedral or churches; there is definitely a time when we can go to the beach or stroll, but not during Holy Week,” he added.
The archbishop said that it is not a good example for a Catholic to set aside Holy Week, especially the Paschal Triduum and focus instead on recreational activities.
He said the Paschal Triduum is the center and foundation of the Christian faith.
Papal Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Charles John Brown said that in addition to prayer and fasting, it is important for Filipino Catholics to participate in philanthropy and charity events as part of the preparation for the celebration of Easter.
“Everything that we have, that we possess is a gift from God. It's God's gracious presence in our lives that gives us material goods and we should be proud to share that with others, to help others,” Archbishop Brown said.
“From the very beginning, we as Christians try to help one another and help our less fortunate brothers and sisters to acts of charity. I know that Caritas Manila is having their telethon today, I will certainly encourage everyone to be as generous as possible,” said Brown.
Caritas “was absolutely the first to help on the ground in many cases with respect to Typhoon 'Odette.' I saw that when I was there in Siargao,” the Vatican representative said.
Caritas Manila is the social arm of the Archdiocese of Manila, while Caritas Philippines of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines is part of the 160 countries of Caritas Internationalis headed by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, who is also Prefect of the Dicastery of Evangelization of Peoples.
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