Mahal na Araw has come to a new meaning for the present generation. Mahal – the Filipino word for both love and expensive. Over the years, God’s manifestation of love has evolved into an expensive week – the peaking of tourism-related rates as many workers, availing of the long weekend, take a break from the daily grind.
This Lenten reflection is not to rob us of the rest we need from the rush of life. The soul can sometimes wilt in our daily routines and indeed it needs to rejuvenate. In the hope that a good vacation allows us to wind down and reflect, this is an encouragement to assess how far we have come in our drive to achieve our goals – and more importantly, has this given meaning to our lives.
The season of Lent started more than a month ago, with the symbolic cross marking of ash on our foreheads. This reminds us that we have come from ash and to ash we shall return. It reminds us that in the end, all our personal gains will eventually become meaningless. As a saying goes, no one comes out of life alive.
Today, there are so many slogans bannered about. We are pushed to live always at the peak of sensations, convinced that this is the only way to enjoy life. Go for everything you want and the rest do not matter. YOLO - You Only Live Once. And then you die. It is true. When you live only for yourself, you become a finite individual – a fleeting speck of dust in infinity, eventually meaningless.
These remaining few days of Lent, let us remember the essence of what we celebrate during this season. We celebrate our redemption when Christ decided to take the cross so that we may be reborn into eternal life. Let this inspire us in defining how we live. It is true, we are only given this one chance to live. But do we shoot for the stars in the hope of five minutes of fame?
While we unwind from the pressures of work, from the pressures of society, maybe we can consider imagining a life beyond ourselves. Let us imagine a life where our actions can mean so much more than our personal aspirations. Let us imagine a life with a purpose – of creating a meaningful world, a world where maybe we can live in harmony instead of trying to outdo, outrun, outfame each other.
We are aware of the vicious levels personal ambitions have taken our society to. We see the impunity in killing our poor brethren. We see the incessant violations and abuse of human rights in the greed for material profits. But to what end are these sacrifices done?
Today, people live only for as long as they are remembered. Let us challenge this concept of living. Because true, we are finite, but our choice of actions can build into the infinite.
As Christ took the cross of our sins and in so doing gave us back our lives, we can take the cross of our social responsibilities. And maybe through this, we can restore human dignity and in so doing give meaning to our lives.
[Photo source: http://holyimages.net/jesus-on-the-cross-images/]