The country’s Christian community is once again travelling the journey of Lent which culminates with the observance of the Holy Week.
The Holy Week is a timely period to cool the conflicts of politics, made even more intense with the prevailing election campaign atmosphere which has traditionally a dividing experience for Filipinos. Those engulfed in the political mudslinging are stymied in the quagmire of division. The political divide cannot be manifested more clearly than when there is a forthcoming elections.
There is a need to pause and search the soul. A time to free one’s self of the forces of partisanship and instead look at the lessons to be learned and re-learned from the journey of Christ.
With the church’s call to conversion of heart, re-living once more the terrible story of the betrayal, suffering and death of Jesus, Christians across the country arrives at the moment of joy which burst forth in the rising of Jesus from the dead. The extraordinary event is at the heart of the Christian faith. It is a celebration of the victory of love over hatred, of creation over destruction, of hope over despair and of life over death. Because of this Easter, the most important and central celebration of the Christian year, carries a message which speaks to every human heart because it expresses something that lies deep with us. Even for those who are trapped in despair the dream of having something to hope for, and the deep desire that things should and could be better than they are, never seems to die.
But there is no complete conversion if the church itself is engulfed by the political divide. There is no complete conversion when the church itself is battling its own integrity and reputation.
And as we consider the conflicts and suffering which confront Filipinos each day, overwhelmed by the horrors of the sexual abuse of young people even within the Church, the hatred and animosity in warring political sides, the struggles of the government to win a battle against crime, corruption and illegal drugs, it is refreshing to look at the qualities and attitudes of mind and heart which marked every moment of Jesus’ life and which led him, courageously, to his death.
We cannot solve the terrible problems which confront us each day, unless people can change and open themselves to transformation. The dream for peace and harmony may yet be too elusive but when people desire to leave their own interests and work together, then things will be better than they are at the moment.