I haven’t seen this since I was a little boy: an Ocean of People flocking at the courtyard that sat around a Cathedral and statues of Saints, of the Virgin Mary and of Jesus are like islands atop crashing waves. To move you got to rub shoulder to shoulder. One can hardly breathe. Don’t get me wrong, I go through this Good Friday ritual procession in Manila but the crowd isn’t like this. At all.
Have I ever mentioned how much I hate crowds?
Anyway, so it took awhile but we made our way inside this massive Cathedral, the lights blaze bright. At the end of the massive hall, there stood the Altar, bare. To its side, lines have formed as Men, Women and Children kiss a small statue of the Crucified Jesus.
It isn’t idol worship. Is it?
The status around this massive Cathedral are used as teaching aide. It gives people something tangible to hold on to. It helps a religious people to visualize history like their saints, and the abstract concept of their God.
Some part of me thinks… there are Catholics who don’t see it that way because there is so much more to the faith than this. There is the lesson and wisdom of service in the washing of the feet, for one.
And another is this NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory snap of a very young and powerful pulsar, (PSR B1509-58):
An image of a cosmic hand, as if reaching out.
Faith need not be at odds with Science; the latter is a quest to describe and discover this Universe of myriad possibilities and beauty. This is a universe that Faith believes was made by the hand of God and can be a celebration of that belief. If you happen not to believe, the universe is still a beautiful place, isn’t it? And yet I can not help but wonder that a lot of people will spend this Easter missing that point too.
Credit NASA/CXC/SAO/P.Slane, et al.
This entry was originally published at Filipino Voices on 11 April 2009.