By now, thousands of people have already made the expected “exodus” from Metro Manila as they spend time in their provinces or hit the nearby resorts and gather with their families for the Holy Week.
Others though observe their age-old family tradition, visiting various religious sanctuaries during the Lenten Season.
In the Philippines, the Holy Week remains as one of the most anticipated religious seasons.
Given the long weekend, people make the most of the time to be with their families, pray together, while some, who take the Lent seriously, go to the extent of flogging themselves with the sharpened tip of a whip, believing that doing so would earn God’s favor and forgiveness.
Usually, we hear the traditional “Pasion” as sung by our neighbors in Mandaluyong, while still others observe the “no-meat-no-play” tradition because they believe Jesus is dead during Good Friday.
But as I look back at the Christ’s gruesome journey in Calvary in the Bible, we’ll be able to discover that man doesn’t really have to subject himself with physical pain in order to gain His favor.
Instead, God made things easier for man to be reconciled to Him by sending His Son Jesus.
Here’s a passage in John 3:16-17 in the Message translation that talk about God providing the solution so man’s relationship with Him can be fully restored –
“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.”
The phrase by believing means, not the usual expression of, “Yes, I believe” or a mere intellectual response. But it is to fully entrust your life to Jesus. That HE ALONE can change us inside and out.
By holding on to this truth, the Bible points us to a new and fresh way of looking at the Lenten Season: free from the hold of our old life, free from guilt and condemnation and free to live a life of victory.