During the Holy Week we will once again be reflecting on Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection. Our thoughts often focus primarily on how he suffered and died. It was a painful death. It showed how he was falsely accused, unjustly condemned, betrayed and meted capital punishment and abandoned by his disciples. Why did he suffer and die? It is not enough to say: “because of our sins.” His passion was the consequence of his prophetic mission – of announcing the Good News of the reign of God – a good news of liberation, of justice, of peace. This mission also involved speaking out against evil in all its manifestation. For this, those in power reacted violently. His crucifixion symbolized the reign of sin and evil manifested in the culture of death. It was an apparent victory of darkness – of evil. Yet ultimately the cross became the symbol of self-sacrificing love that overcomes sin and darkness. Good Friday was not the end of the story. It was followed by Easter Sunday – his rising from the dead, the triumph of light over darkness, of good over evil. His resurrection was the inauguration of the reign of God that grows steadily through the centuries in spite the apparent persistence of evil. His resurrection is an assurance that evil will not reign for ever and ever. This what we believe, this is the source of our hope. This is what we celebrate this Holy Week.
We Filipinos can easily identify with the suffering and death of Jesus. This is why we continue to observe Holy Week at a time when darkness and evil seem to reign, when the poor continue to suffer because of poverty, when thousands of people have been murdered extrajudicially, when those in power perpetuate the culture of death and mock God and religion, with the support of a multitude lacking in conscience and ignorant of what they are doing.
In face of these, when we feel helpless and hopeless, full of despair and anguish, let us always remember the message of Holy Week. There is an end to evil. Light overcomes darkness. Let us continue to hope and to struggle against evil and darkness. We will overcome.