Holy week is an opportunity, not obligation – Archbishop Soc

Holy week is an opportunity, not obligation – Archbishop Soc

Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan ROY LAGARDE

By Roy Lagarde

March 26, 2018

MANILA

Holy Week is not just an obligation but an opportunity to ponder more deeply the two-fold mystery of love and cross, a Catholic archbishop said.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan said finding the real essence of the Holy Week should be a reflection of how one lives his or her life.

It’s not what Catholics must do nor it is about religious traditions and pious practices done to “feel good” after but what good they do to others, according to him.

“This week is holy because of love. Love alone can make us holy,” Villegas said.

The archbishop urged the faithful not to waste the chance to saturate themselves in God’s graces, both by praying and doing acts of charity.

“Let the memory of God’s mercy sink in without any compulsion to do something. Just relish His mercy and bask in the radiance of His love. During Holy Week, tell God ‘Thank you,’” he said.

Villegas pointed out that fasting is good but means nothing without concern for others.

In the same manner, he stressed that prayer is a must but it is just an “ego trip” if done without remembering others and laying aside personal comfort.

Even almsgiving, he said, if done for show or to get a “feel good” reward later, is reduced to “a noisy bell”.

The prelate also said visiting churches this Holy Week is good practice. But it would be better, he added, if one visits patients in the charity ward of a hospital to bring them food.

“Instead of spilling your blood on the streets, why not walk into a Red Cross office and donate blood? Choose to share life. Share your blood,” said Villegas, apparently discouraging self-flagellation and crucifixion.

“Must the face look sour and gloomy during Holy Week? Love begins with a smile. Make someone happy this Holy Week. Make someone feel loved. With your smile, show that God is love,” he said.