Bishop’s message on Holy Monday: ‘Be truly holy’

By Christina Hermoso

As Christendom marks the second day of the Holy Week tomorrow, Holy Monday, a Catholic Church leader called on the faithful to be “truly holy and to share this holiness with others.”

Bishop Ruperto Santos (CBCP / MANILA BULLETIN)
Bishop Ruperto Santos

“As we begin the Holy Week, let us make it truly holy. Let us not observe it as just an ordinary week but as a rare chance for us to be holy and to share this holiness to others,” said Balanga Bishop Ruperto C. Santos.

“Holiness,” the bishop said, “pertains to God. Holiness is to be with God, to belong to God. To begin, let us always think of God. All our thoughts, our words, our deeds should be pleasing to God. What we think, we plan, or say must be godly,” Santos said.

The prelate said that holiness in words translates to words of compassion and care.

“Speak always of God. All our words must be words of God, that is, words spoken with care and compassion; with truth and honesty. Let us also strive to do to others what God does to us, that is, to help and heal; renew and give hope. With these we make our week holy and we live a holy life,” the head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People stressed.

Pabasa begins
The three-day “pabasa,” a well-preserved Holy Week tradition begins today, Holy Monday, particularly in the provinces where it has remained a common Holy Week observance.

Also known as “pasyon” in reference to the Passion of Christ, the Gregorian chanting of the poetic prayer story on the life, passion, death, and resurrection of Christ, is traditionally led by the town elders who sing in shifts. In recent years, the melodies of popular tunes are alternately used with the traditional chanting in monotone to make it sound more interesting, lively, and appealing even to the young.

The marathon chanting of verses on the life of Jesus from the pages of the Sacred Scriptures is also observed in some churches in Metro Manila such as at the Quiapo Church.

Under the scorching summer heat, penitents and flagellants walk the streets while whipping their backs as a form of penitence or sacrifice. The practice, which has been discouraged by the Church and most recently, even by the Department of Health, is traditionally done annually by penitents in the provinces as a form of “panata” or vow in thanksgiving for an answered prayer or for a standing request or petition. Many of the flagellants, some even wearing a crown of thorns, bear visible scars on their backs, a sign of years of self-flagellation and sacrifice.

Holy Monday in the life of Jesus narrates the story of the Anointing at Bethany, which focuses on Mary, the sister of Martha, and the resurrected Lazarus. Mary anoints Jesus’ feet with costly perfume and wipes them with her hair. Many of the Jews were also starting to affirm their faith in Jesus on seeing Lazarus whom He raised from the dead.

From today until Holy Wednesday, prayers and reflections will focus on the theme: Jesus as the Bridegroom of the Church. Church leaders continue to call on the faithful to hear mass, go to confession, perform works of charity, and to offer prayers at the Adoration Chapel. to offer prayers at the Adoration Chapel.