It has been the fourth time since Arbie and I have been going to Shrine Hills Matina every Good Friday for the Way of the Cross (also known as Stations of the Cross). Together, we have been going there to pray, to ask for forgiveness, and to renew our faith to God. Aside from the two of us (of course!) and as expected, a number of people have been going there to do the same things. People’s intention to pray and reflect is there. However, do we really profess our faith faithfully as we should?
My husband and I went to Shrine late in the afternoon to avoid the rush of people and the intense heat of the sun. When we arrived, we were amazed of how plenty still were the people heading to the Way of the Cross. Hence, we started walking a bit fast so we could start.
As we started the Way of the Cross and prayed, I (or maybe my husband also) started to observe things that were happening there. As we transferred from one station to another, different things (and people) were in plain sight that you could not help but notice and ‘ask’.
It was taken that we could see candle vendors there. But, how about those belt, bag, shoe, and toy vendors? Maybe we could consider those who sold bottled waters and soft drinks, too, but how about those who sold ice scramble and shake? And there was this one thing that really caught my attention: the HUGE stall of children and ladies’ clothes! I am NOT against them, but was it timely for them to be there? I mean, maybe they were taking chances that people would still buy from them, but then again, was it timely – for a Good Friday? Aside from the vendors, there were also those (how would I say this?) those who were visually impaired and differently abled people asking for alms. I just wondered how were they able to get there, especially to the fifth or sixth station? With a companion? Maybe.
So we continued walking, returning our focus and attention to our main reason why we were there – the Way of the Cross. As we approached the final station (which was quite a distance from the prior station), our attention was then again caught by things that were so ‘unfortunately’ noticeable – the canteen! Oops, I mean, the array of stores. From drinks to food, from toys to clothes, they were there. Goodness! Never had it been in my wildest imagination, that Good Friday would become a “festive holiday!”
At last, after all those stuffs that we went through, we reached the fourteenth station! Yes, at the fourteenth station, where stores were everywhere, people were everywhere, and trashes were everywhere. Yes, trashes. There were these candy and junk food wrappers and the like, but at the fourteenth station, the plastic wrappers, which were used to place fourteen (14) candles and were sold at Php 20.00 each pack were a “box-office hit!” My husband and I just shook our heads, felt dismayed at such sight before us.
the plastic wrappers scattered at the fourteenth station
Those things really made us feel bad. As what my husband said “Hay, Pinoy! Kung asa nag-last station, tu-a pud ang mga basura sa kandila!” It is true. What pains us most is that, we were there for the Way of the Cross. Do those trashes mean that we are going to dirty the Way of the Cross? That was how I perceived it! There is no question on our faith. However, as I asked, do we really profess our faith faithfully? Do we really meditate on the message that the Way of the Cross tells us? Do we really repent for our sins? Do we show love to Jesus Christ through those trashes, especially those at the fourteenth station?
These questions will remain unanswered; unless, people will realize that Good Friday is not a holiday, and the Way of the Cross is not a garbage field. People should realize that on this day and way, Jesus died for all of us. We are to repent for our sins, not to aggravate our sins. I just hope and pray that all of us will reflect on how important this day and this way are in our lives.
(Oh, by the way, you might wonder. I still have with me the wrapper of our candles. It is still in the pocket of my pants.)
Have a blessed Good Friday!