Semana Santa #5: The Good Old Days

If you have lived as I have in a predominantly Christian nation whose predominant denomination is the Roman Catholic Church, then you would be very familiar with this Gospel and the story why we call this day Good Friday.

But let me clarify as so many nominal Catholics would say that today,” Patay ang Diyos”. Though I understand what they mean and due to lack of a more in-depth understanding of the faith, I would say, Hindi po patay ang Diyos sa araw na ito. As the song goes, “Jesus is alive forever more”.

Hindi rin po ito ang araw kung san tayo ay dapat malungkot or maglungkutlungkutan, or araw na hindi daw maliligo dahil bawal (dahil nga patay daw si Kristo). Actually this is a time to be thankful; Not necessarily rejoicing, kasi nakareserve na yun for Easter and rightfully so, but it is truly a GOOD day, hence it should be a day of that silent, reflective and thankful Joy that the Son of God who took our flesh, willingly and lovingly died on the Cross for all of us. Then looking toward’s Easter, rose again.

Passion-Crosses-at-CalvaryHindi ba’t ganun naman talaga ang pagmamahal. Cliché na nga sabihin at pakinggan palagi na pag nagmamahal ka, hahamakin mo ang lahat, tiisin ang dusa’t hirap, magpapaka-martyr Nievera para sa minamahal. Maraming beses na akong nagmahal. Marami na akong nakarelsyun. Tatlo dun ay nagtagal ng halos tag-2 years. Isa dun naka-live-in ko pa ng halos 1 taon. How many times have I given my ALL? How many times have I swallowed my own pride, lowered my standards, and lowered my own self for that one person whom my heart beats for. And yet there are those times that I have been shunned away, Iniwan sa ere, cheated upon, not once, not twice but several times. Mga moments sa buhay na nagmahal ako ng buong puso at buhay, kulang na lang sumuka at umiyak ako ng dugo sa tindi ng pagmamahal ko ngunit sa bandang huli, iniwan lang, sinaktan, niloko, ipinagpapalit sa iba. Is this not a common and universal story of all of us? This is not unique to me only but to so many LGBT or otherwise.

And so early in life I have reflected that such is the same with the love of God. ang Diyos na gustong makasama at makaisa tayo, nagkatawang tao ang kanyang anak na syang Diyos ding tunay. Is that not the same with us when we are in love? We want to always be physically present with the one we love? And so because of Love, God was made flesh through Jesus Christ. Pagmamahal na nagpakasakit at binigay ang sariling buhay para sa kaligtasan ng kanyang minamahal. Will we not do the same for our mother, siblings and ultimately to our lovers? Our partners? Panginoon ilipat mo na lang sa akin ang Cancer. Ako na lang ang kunin mo kapalit ng buhay ng mahal ko. Is not that the same thing that Jesus did? Because of Christ’s love for the Creator and for all humanity, he was tortured, humiliated and nailed to the Cross. The ultimate sacrifice, all for Love’s sake.

Pero kasama ng pagmamahal na yan, ganu man kasakit ay ang pagbibigay sa atin ng choice. Sa kabila ng lahat ng pagpapakababa at sakripisyo, sa kabila ng patitiis ng hirap at ng mga binigay, maging ang sariling buhay at kaluluwa, you still have a choice to accept or reject. Dahil hindi natin pwedeng ipilit ang ating sarili sa taong ayaw tanggapin ang ating pagmamahal. In the end, tulad ng mga naranasan ko at marahil naranasan nyo, sa kabila ng mga pagpapasakit, in the end, we allow our lovers to make the choice to stay or to leave. And in those nights of tears and silent prayers, we simply remain hopeful that one day our love will either come back or be replaced by another. And so God painfully gives us a choice, hoping and waiting for our love.

As I look back and remember many of my relationships where I loved and died, I smile at the fact that I experienced them and learned from them. I smile that I felt God’s love through them. I smile that I am still here and I continue to love. I smile at the good memories, the drama series and the supposed katangahan moments and I say to myself, “Those were the GOOD old days.” And so as we remember Christ’s love today, let us say it was indeed a GOOD FRIDAY.

Written by: Joseph Tiu
Gospel Reference: John 18:1-19:37