HOLY Week 2018 officially started yesterday, Palm Sunday. Like we usually do, we bought coco leaf crosses that my son and I waved while we lined up during the start of the mass as the priest sprinkled us with holy water. The reading was unusually long and dramatized, a fitting introduction to a solemn week--at least for Catholics, or should I say devout Catholics.
Holy Week is actually the last week of Lent, which opened on Ash Wednesday last month. Interestingly, Ash Wednesday this year fell on Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, offering a dilemma for Catholics because of the obligation of abstaining from meat and fasting. I don’t know if there was a study then on whether Ash Wednesday slayed Valentine’s Day or vice versa.
Meanwhile, there’s the other Lent twist: Easter Sunday will be on April 1, April Fool’s Day. The last time Ash Wednesday fell on Valentine’s Day and Easter Sunday on April Fool’s Day was in 1945.
That’s 73 years ago. Will someone dare to come up with an April Fool’s Day joke on Easter? Or will April Fool’s Day be ignored because of Easter?
Holy Week is supposed to be a solemn week for Catholics. But in these times when curses and irreverence are the norm and the Catholic belief is ridiculed even by Catholics, I expect that solemnity to be broken often. Like, will the diehard Duterte supporters momentarily stop spreading fake news and lies against the political opposition? Will the “riding-in-tandem” killers momentarily halt their operation?
But I personally won’t let those fake Catholics ruin my Holy Week. The reason they are effective in destroying institutions and threatening our values is because we allow them to distract us. The truth is that if we ignore them, they become ineffective. That has been my advice to my friends whose accounts on Facebook are swarmed by these trolls. Ignore them and block or unfriend those who are the most virulent. Let them curse in the wilderness.
Incidentally, while I was brushing up with Catholic teachings on Holy Week, I came across the story of Egeria, the woman who chronicled Christian customs and rituals during her visits to holy places, including Jerusalem, from the years 381 to 385. How the Christians celebrated Holy Week in the old days is surely an interesting read.
So the people of Jerusalem at that time referred to the Holy Week as the Great Week? Here’s a portion of the article, “Egeria’s Pilgrimage Blessed the Ages” by Diane Severance posted on www.christianity.com that quoted some passages Egeria’s letters:
“Friday was the most solemn day of the Great Week in Jerusalem. In the morning the wood of the cross Queen Helena had found was brought out for reverence. For hours pilgrims filed by to see the holy relic. But for Egeria, the three-hour service that began at noon was most meaningful. Nothing was done during all of that time except the reading from the Scriptures…
“...And so, during these three hours, all the people are taught that nothing happened which was not prophesied, and that nothing was prophesied which was not completely fulfilled.”
May the Holy Week have us reflecting on how far we have deviated from the teachings of our faith.