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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Good Friday Should Have Been Really Good

"A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and become the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act." - Mahatma Gandhi

Some went as far as having themselves nailed on the cross last Friday to commemorate the death of Jesus on the cross at Calvary. I don't know if the term commemorate suits the act of penitence that is not required from anyone in the first place. When I was little, I have not heard of this painful actual dramatization of Jesus' death on the cross. What I came to know about is - Jesus did it for us once and for all - to redeem us from our sins because there was no worthy sacrifice that warranted forgiveness from our sins. But just like how technology has evolved at a dizzying pace, those who believe they are giving Jesus honor during Lenten season have also reason to believe they should not be contented with a lousy dramatization of His death and so they wanted to experience what had Jesus actually experienced on the cross. But then again no matter how hard they attempt to duplicate what appears to have become a carbon copy of the original one, they still fall short of a complete level of agony Jesus had gone through. Wouldn't it be more complete and praiseworthy had they allowed themselves to be stabbed with a spear and so perfecting their act?

Celebrating Good Friday indeed comes in various forms. Creating a spectacle in public by flogging oneself in a gory dramatization is one common form, and reveling in orgasmic proportion is another. Though we can perfectly understand how people wanted to be solemn and prayerful during Lent, some cannot be stopped from indulging themselves into drunkenness and other forms of revelry. No less than showbiz personalities proliferate popular spots during Lenten season, understandably not to meditate or experience solemnity but rather becoming tabloid staples for drunken rage and or hormonal innuendos. As this qualifies to be normal or traditional, it is no strange thing to predict that it's not gonna be obsoleted not any time in another hundred years. Such is the popularity of Jesus' death that Filipino Christians have and will always make this a reason to celebrate (read as: revel in debauchery).

And a first-hand proof:
This person lying in a stretcher below was one of the revelers on the eve of Good Friday. He is twenty, barely out of teens. At a young age, he has learned the trade of surviving in the street, literally. He drives a family-owned second-hand tricycle acquired from the sale of their only carabao (water buffalo). There is not much option for him but to toil his ass off to help his family get by. (His fiancee whom he took with him to his parents home is pregnant.) If most people believe Good Friday is a fitting day for making sacrifices, he also believes he has been sacrificing all his life and that he also deserves a break once in a while - and he has found no less a consenting duo - in the occasion itself and his bloating other half. It wouldn't take long before he found himself  being gifted with a smash on his head with a beer bottle by another drunken reveler in a videoke bar. He was not alone though, a friend whom he tagged along suffered the same fate. All the while, his parents did not know what he was up to thinking he has been raised well.

I had the liberty to take these pictures because he had to wait for five hours before he could be given medical care. (This patient came before the sun rose and waited till ten in the morning before the lone doctor in the hospital laid his eyes on him).   This is a government hospital that prides itself in its magnificent ratio of one is to one : not one doctor for every patient, but one doctor for every shift. The entire shift also covers the entire hospital, so imagine if you have the only doctor working his tail off in the delivery room, surgical unit and emergency room at once. I think I have done little research on this patient and I guess I'm now being accused of being intrusive, creepy or whatever. Don't worry, this post will not, for a reason go into the brink of dropping a bomb to pillory those in this story. I just find the necessity to take their story as an example of a polarizing modes of commemoration, celebration or allow me to call it blasphemy or any other term you may call it - of the death of Jesus. After all, the patient's mother is my sister and he is my nephew and I shouldered all the bills. ( Not the kind of thing I expect from a brief vacation.) I could only wish he should have stayed home on Good Friday and not played party to the contempt Jesus had on those who blasphemed His death. Sigh...


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Silay City, Negros Occidental, The Philippines

Some of the photos above courtesy of Arnaldo Arnáiz Díaz

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