Faith in this Holy week   

Published April 6, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

The Christian  world  is now in the middle of Holy Week.  It should have begun , as in the past, with festive palm-waving crowds in churches all over the country,  in commemoration  of the welcome the people of Jerusalem gave Jesus on  that  first Palm Sunday.

But all that festivity  which we reenact in this country with our version of  palm leaves — coconut fronds — was absent  his year, for we are in the midst  of a lockdown and quarantine banning any mass gathering  because of the  ongoing  coronavirus  (COVID-19) pandemic.

The whole world – Christian or otherwise – is quiet  today. The  COVID-19  virus  has now quickly spread around the  world after  it first emerged in China.  It hit  hard at Italy, forcing a lockdown in Rome and the Vatican, as well as in staunchly Muslim Iran. For the virus recognizes no boundaries and no political or religious orientation.  It now threatens  to  make  the  United  States the next epicenter of the pandemic.

After  that  glorious  welcome on Palm Sunday,  Jerusalem settled down into a quiet period much like the quiet we are having today.  The Bible recounts  that  Jesus  continued  to go to the temple to teach those who came to listen to him, then rested at night with his disciples on the Mount of Olives.

Many of his parables and  other  teachings  are  recorded  during this period that was quietly leading to Good  Friday, when,   Jesus  said, his purpose for coming to this Earth  would be fulfilled. That purpose was  stated  by  St.  John  who  wrote the  fourth  gospel  of the New Testament of the Bible: “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world;  but  that the world through  him might be saved.”

The world today is  going through a period of great uncertainty.  We have had periods like this before because of wars, of famine, of widespread destruction by storms, earthquakes,  and volcanic eruptions. The fears  we  have today are due to an unseen enemy which we do not  fully understand. All we know is that  so many  are dying  in so many countries around the world, even in such advanced countries like the United  States. The quiet of this Holy week   reflects  that  uncertainty  we  feel.

But  our  faith tells us there is a glorious Easter Sunday after all the  gloom and the fear and the  uncertainty. The  COVID-19  pandemic may be  surging around the world today,  claiming thousands of lives, but we believe and we have faith  that like all previous plagues before it,  COVID-19 too will come to an end.