Thursday, April 21, 2011

“Surprised” to “Enlightened”

You get yourself in midtown Cebu at this hour and you would certainly at the least think that you must be standing in an unfamiliar place. This is by far the first in my career years here in this part of the Philippines that I am experiencing what Cebu is like during Holy Thursday. I headed out late in the afternoon to check out if I can chill out in one of Ayala’s Coffee Shops, however, I was denied entrance to the mall because it is Holy Thursday. I thought, perhaps SM is open, but the security guard I chanced on said it, too, is closed and won’t open until Saturday.

Should I entertain anger and disappointment? Certainly not! It’s Holy Week.

Patiently, I waited until the jeepney I rode in arrived at IT Park. Here is where life seems to persist despite the occasion. Still, one will notice the apparent difference of the ambiance from the regular days. So I began my food search. Just as I entered Joe’s Barbecue and Grill, I was met by my housemate’s familiar face dining with his girlfriend and her family. Holy Week has narrowed even people’s choices of food shops. For some reasons, I felt that Cebu seems full of surprises.

Takes all around Osmeña Boulevard, Cebu City. The background shows the coarse texture of coating mixture applied on the actual driveway 

After dinner, I headed out to Cakewalkers in Osmena Blvd., my favorite hang-out for huge slices of chocolate cakes and speedy internet connection. As expected, the upper deck was empty and the comfy chairs were so inviting. The atmosphere wasn’t gloomy. It was just quiet. Very quiet.

I was contemplating and enjoying my quiet solitude when a text message popped on my cellular phone. It read,

“ All great Love Stories end up tragically. Like.. when Romeo drank poison for Juliet, or when Cleopatra let herself be bitten by a serpent (snake) for Mark Anthony, or, when Jack froze to death just to let Rose be safe from an icy ocean. But nothing is far greater Love Story than Jesus laying His life as ransom sacrifice for our sins… and that Love Story doesn’t end.  .. blessed Holy Week!”

Knowing it was meant to give meaning to the commemoration of Holy Week, I mindlessly forwarded it to several friends. One response, I got made mention that “happy Holy Week” didn’t seem appropriate to close any message and that I shouldn’t sin a lot this week. At one point it felt right, but on second thought, it also seemed wrong.

Holy Week is the last week of the 40 day season of Lent and the week preceding Easter ). It is said to be the final week of Christ’s life, his death, and his resurrection. At some extent, however, only the death of Christ in the week’s story is given much emphasis that it has unconsciously created gloom in peoples’ subconscious, making them consciously reacting to the occasion in sadness, loneliness, and sobriety. Generalizing it as such is an insult to the eventual and most important message of Jesus’ resurrection, his Victory. The issue on abstinence from immorality and sin during the observance of the Holy Week is also not good enough. Righteousness is a call for all which respects no time and occasion. It should be a daily goal.

He who is steadfast in righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God) attains to life, but he who pursues evil does it to his own death. Proverbs 11: 19

And the effect of righteousness will be peace [internal and external], and the result of righteousness will be quietness and confident trust forever. Isaiah 32: 17

These verses plus the enlightenment linger to this very moment. I dug for Christian Literary Books from my shelf, thinking that it was the only way I could get quality reflection of the occasion. In contrary, it was the element of surprises, the gentle experience, the quiet ambiance and atmosphere, and a few text messages which brought light to the meaning behind Holy Week: the blessed hope through the message of Christ’s resurrection and the persistent call for consistent righteousness.

A blessed Holy Week to all!


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