Whatever one’s religious orientation, Holy Week in the Philippines is typically a time to pause – for many different reasons.
Practicing Catholics commemorate the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, giving way to the salvation of mankind.
But millions of Filipinos also see this coming week as an opportunity to rest and take a break from their normal routine.
Because of the cancellation of work and school for several days, many are able to stay home, reconnect with family, go on vacation, catch up on their reading, do some overdue housekeeping, or reach out to friends with whom they have not spoken in a while.
Doing nothing is another attractive option.
But the coming days are a chance to reflect, as well, on how we have been living, and whether this is actually aligned to the purpose and direction we have set for ourselves.
This year is no different, and in fact might carry greater weight than in previous years.
Coming from a two-year, still-unfinished crisis that is the COVID-19 pandemic, we have come face-to-face with our own fragility and mortality, and been reminded to appreciate simple things every day because nothing lasts.
Now that restrictions are being loosened, we are also grappling with restoring economic and social activity while remaining cautious lest we get sick – or cause others to get sick.
We try to be flexible in adopting practices learned during the lockdowns and combining these with what we used to know as “normal.”
Most of all, now that we are just a few weeks away from the May elections,we should take pause and reflect on the all-important decision we are going to make.
Why are we voting? For whom are we voting? What kind of people are we voting into office?
WIth all the noise around us it may be easy to get carried away by the fanfare, with common sense getting drowned in the process. Let us refuse to be manipulated into thinking that we should elect someone just because they are who they are. Look at what they have done. Note how they are conducting their campaign. Imagine what they are likely to do.
Let’s take the opportunity to ponder how next month’s decision will affect the succeeding years in our nation’s history. Let there be quiet, and let us make use of that quiet to let some basic truths emerge.