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Holy Week Thoughts 2018

Holy Week Thoughts 2018

Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas

Saint Mark retells the last hours of Jesus on the cross by simply telling us that a few minutes before Jesus breathed His last, the Lord said “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” Saint Mark’s story of the passion and death is brief, direct and forthright. It was as human as can be.

In this passion and death story written by Saint Mark, the last question of Jesus was “Why”. He was begging for reasons.

My God my God…I obeyed, you abandoned me. I proclaimed your greatness, you allowed me to be shamed. Father…I healed them in your name, you now leave me in great pain. I loved them as you loved me, now you leave me alone. I trusted them with the secrets of heaven, now you leave me naked, mocked and laughed at. I called them friends not slaves, now I look like not even as slave but like a wretched worm.

Why Father?

He heard no answer. He received no reason. He got no explanation. Jesus asked “Why” and his question was met with silence. No reply but just silence. This is the mystery of the Father’s love.

Centuries later, Blaise Pascal will say “The heart has reasons that reason does not know”. Indeed that was what happened at Calvary. The logic of human reason failed the grasp the logic of the Father’s love.

Love is a mystery. Love is not illogical. Love is beyond logic. There was no reply even if there was much love.

Nineteen years before Calvary, when Jesus was only twelve years old, Saint Luke recorded the first word of Jesus recorded in the Bible “Why were you looking for me?”

His first word was “Why” like His last word was also “Why”.

Why were you looking for me? Were you afraid you lost me? Were you afraid to be punished for being negligent parents? Were you afraid I could have fallen into criminals’ hands? Were you looking for me so I can give you the joy of having a child? When children lose parents they are called orphans; when parents lose an only child like me, there is no word to describe the loss. Were you afraid?

As at Calvary, so was it in the temple when the Lord was twelve. He received no answer from Mary and Joseph. His question was met with silence. Mary and Joseph could not understand.


Our Holy Week coincides with the Passover of the Jews. The Jewish feast of Passover commemorates the “crossing over” the Red Sea from the slavery of Egypt into the Land of Promise. The Christian Passover is a commemoration of Professional viagra online, No Prescription Needed! Generic Cialis.from $0.46 per pill. Cialis Super Active. from $2.13 per pill. Brand Cialis. from $4.68 per pill the “passing over” of the Lord Jesus from death to new life.

The real meaning of Easter is our passing over from darkness into light, from sin into grace, from despair into hope, from death into new life, from suffering into glory, from the old self to new self.

Easter can only become a feast of joy if we accept the challenge of passing over. Easter is about leaving our present condition and crossing over to the other side—the side of God—the side where He always wants us to be.

All crossing over is painful because all crossing over means saying goodbye. Every crossing over entails a little dying. It is leaving behind our fleeting comforts and false securities into where God wants us to really be.

God does not wish us to remain in our confusion. God does not like us to remain with our divisive attitude, egoism and self worship. God does not like us to remain in fear, in guilt or in hopeless shame. God wants us to be free. Freedom is his promise to those who are willing to pass over to His side. If you do not cross over and choose essay writer your false comfort now, you refusing growth. Do not be afraid to cross over.

Happy Easter! Happy crossing over!

From the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist, Dagupan City, April 1, 2012



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Apostolic Administrator of San Fernando de La Union

Alternative Holy Week

The season of lent stands on three co-equal legs—prayers, penance and love. The prevailing atmosphere of this season is truly penance and mortification. More prayers are also offered to God on these penitential days. Sadly, the almsgiving and charity component of the Lenten season lipit06.3is not given the consideration it rightfully deserves. It is good to be reminded that what make the Holy Week holy are not the prayers we offer and penances we do. Prayers without love are empty. Penance without almsgiving could be just an ego trip on strengthening will power. Love makes this season holy. Prayers can be inspiring and penances can be admirable but only love can redeem. Only love saves. Love alone sanctifies us.

As we move closer to Holy Week, the Archdiocese of Lingayen Dagupan will carry a pilgrimage of charity in the poor sections of Central Pangasinan by conducting charity medical, dental and surgical missions. The sick and the poor in our marginalized areas will receive charity medical assistance from their healthier brothers and sisters.

The pilgrimage of charity will start on April 4 at the Parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Canan, Malasiqui. Here are the succeeding areas of piligrimage—April 7 at Saint Catherine of Siena Parish, Villanueva, Bautista; April 9 at Cristo  Divino Tesoro in Buenlag, Calasiao; April 11 at Holy Family Parish, Tandoc, San Carlos City; April 16 at the Lay Formation Center, Bonuan Gueset, Dagupan City; and May 2 at the San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish, Wawa, Bayambang.

Our friends from Pangasinan, Edsa Shrine, Order of Malta, Makati Medical Center and the Saint Paul de Chartres Sisters will extend their help for the project.

Let us explore an alternative way of celebrating Holy Week. As we keep our pious practices like the stations of the cross, confessions, visita iglesia and penitensiya, let us also consider making acts of charity to the poor as the way to share in the spirit of the Lenten season. DSC_0300

Our Catholic faithful can consider visiting fourteen patients in our government hospitals and meditate, as you visit them, on the sufferings of Christ. As we console them or bring them some food or drink, we can see how the sufferings of Christ continue in the midst of us.

In honor of the passion of the Lord who was treated as a criminal although he was sinless, we can visit the jails in our towns and cities and share the mercy of God to those behind bars. We can bring them our prayers and greetings and volunteer to be couriers of their letters that they want to send to their loved ones who are unable to visit them.

DSC_0268We can bring food to the children in the Mother Teresa Home of Charity in Dagupan City or clear our clothes cabinets and send our used clothes and footwear to the poor in honor of the stripping of the Lord and his humiliation at Calvary.

In 1981, when Pope John Paul II visited the Philippines for the first time, he expressed his wish to visit the lepers in Tala leprosarium in Novaliches. Because of the restrictions of security, he was unable to visit but the lepers were brought to Radio Veritas in Fairview so the Pope could at least bless  them. As soon as the Pope saw the lepers lined up behind stage in the auditorium, even before the lepers could kneel to kiss the hands of the Pope, Pope John Paul II knelt down in front of the leper, kissed his leprous hands and exclaimed before the leper “My Lord!”

Give love this Lenten season. Pour love into your prayers. Let your penance overflow into charity.

From the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist, Dagupan City, April 1, 2011


Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan

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