Catholics around the globe have been waiting for this time in the ecclesiastical calendar. This particular period is a time of prayer, penance, devotion and almsgiving. Other Christian sects use this time to observe the holiness of the passion of the crucifixion and the death of Christ.
This year's Holy Week is the third during the COVID19 pandemic. And while everything is finally re-opened, our world is still uncertain as we continue to struggle for peace and unity. News of defiance by church leaders from authority have flooded timelines on both primetime newscasts and social media. Sytemic racism and other social issues continue to haunt mankind, global economic meltdown is looming, and the world we live in is slowly coming to a full halt.
This time two years past, there was a global chaos. An invisible enemy stopped the world from spinning, and made everyone rethink about life. Doors totally shut down, the fiscal market crashed and bodies after bodies dropped like hot potatoes straight out of the oven. We were overwhelmed. Panic buying seemed like a time travel back in the days where Jesus entered the temple to see the sacred place desecrated and turned into a marketplace of busy people exchanging goods and even lascivious services.
With three years into the pandemic, a looming war of the world, and a global climate crisis, what did we really learn? Are we not thrice as much divided ever than before COVID19?
If we factor in faith, how did we as humans fair or fail in the way we respond to the virus, to the Russian aggression on Ukraine, to the call for action against climate change, and to the different social issues surrounding the world?
Are we not the same shameful people who exclaimed, "Hosannah!" on the streets of Jerusalem and shouted, "Crucify!" on Calvary Hill in just a matter of days? It is become easier for us to change loyalties these days. Honor, respect and diplomacy have been harder to come by.
So, what's our takeaway from the past two Holy Weeks that we could carry on to this third one under the pandemic?
Depending which lens are we looking through, the pandemic period could be interpreted in many ways. We can look through the lens of Jesus and see the past three years as our own way Via Crucis. The way he obeyed and let what was written in the scripture happen - death by crucifixion. The death that served as a flicker of hope to every sinner for salvation. It is a bittersweet event where a sinless man took the will of His Father to take death for sinners. This time two years ago, COVID19 vaccines is in its early stage of research and clinical trials. Today, it has been rolled out to many; and despite some setbacks, everyone can only hope that our deliverance from the dreadful disease is arm length away.
We can also look at this pandemic through the eyes of Judas and Peter, the Apostles who resorted to betrayal. Around the globe, COVID19 vaccine and other medical mandates have been making the news rounds, polarizing mankind either siding with the health measures or against them. There is both acceptance and resistance, where some obedient groups exercise health and safety protocols and waywards defy the law. Even if all the health mandates are lifted, the aftermath of the pandemic still remains polarizing.
In the High Priests Pontius Pilate perspective, we can look at this pandemic as an opportunity to wash hands on decisions and actions we knowingly made that harmed others, and the times we hurt someone while we cowardly did not take accountability of our actions.
We can further look back to the past three years under the pandemic like Mary Magdalene who humbled herself in sorrowful passion and took the death of her son in a way that no other mother could; yet displayed a hopeful heart and a forgiving thought to those who crucified Him.
Regardless of what or who we believe in, may this past three years be a reflection of the goodness of humanity. That despite all the restlessness and uncertainties, we are hopeful and steadfast in our faith like the optism that goes with the line, "On the third day, He rose again".
And so, do all the good you can, by all means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, every time you can, to all the people you can, as long as you can.
And as the Easter promise of deliverance has reminded us of the greatest life story ever told, we too should look forward spreading goodwill, offering peace and burning in steadfast faith looking from a single lens - the lens from which most saints lived, worked and died for.