By Christina Hermoso
A Roman Catholic Church leader called on the faithful to do corporal works of mercy in observance of the Holy Week.
Prelature of Marawi Bishop Edwin Dela Peña said doing corporal works of mercy will make the observance of the Holy Week more meaningful as we commemorate the sacrifices done by Jesus to save mankind from eternal damnation.
“Let us do corporal works of mercy instead of just simply observing traditional sacrifices like fasting. Fasting is good but maybe we can also opt for the kind of fasting that would benefit our brothers and sisters to make our sacrifice more meaningful,” Dela Peña said over Church-run Radio Veritas.
Corporal works of mercy may include feeding the hungry, visiting the sick and the prisoners, the elderly,and the dead, and almsgiving, among others.
“Doing corporal works of mercy is a form of social awakening when we become aware and open to the truth that we are responsible for one another and that we are our brothers’ keeper. Let us be more socially aware and socially involved,” the prelate said.
Dela Peña cited as example helping the internally displaced people (IDP’s) in Marawi, especially since many of the residents are still unable to return to their localities. The bishop said residents from around 24 barangays or those from severely damaged areas have not even begun rebuilding their lives.
Meanwhile, 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 likewise observed in some churches in Metro Manila such as at the Quiapo Church, where the “pabasa” is held from Holy Monday to Holy Wednesday.
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, bore 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 go to confession, to perform works of charity, and to offer prayers at the Adoration Chapel.
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