1. Document: Holy Scripture Readings 1.1. First Reading: The Book of the prophet Hosea 6: 1-6 1.2. Gospel Reading: The Gospel of St Luke 18: 9-14 1.3. Simple Comment: The prophet’s appeal to return to God comes from the certain conviction that Yahweh’s goodness is never earned but is always wholly and freely given. The Pharisee in Jesus’ parable typifies every human attempt to win God’s favor by relying on one’s “good deeds”. The publican instead simply relies on God whose deeds make a sinner good because He is truly kind and merciful.
2. Monument: The Via Dolorosa 2.1. The traditional Way of the Cross begins at the north area of the Temple Mount. Today we would stand near or under an arch which stretches above and over the road about a hundred yards from St Stephen’s Gate. This arch for a long time was thought to be what remains as the spot on which Jesus stood when Pilate spoke his famous words to the crowd: Ecce Homo! (Behold the man!). The area on either side of this arch and stretching eastward from the arch is the site of the Fortress Antonia, a garrison occupied by Roman soldiers and at certain hours by Pontius Pilate during the Feast of the Passover. Such feast brought many Jews to Jerusalem and to avert any possible revolt against the Roman occupation, Pontius Pilate would increase the number of Roman soldiers in Jerusalem. 2.2. Even today this way to Calvary (or Golgotha) would wind through the Jewish and Arab agora (marketplace), making the devotion of the Stations not so recollected. Many pilgrims complain about this fact but others believe this circumstance brought immediate memory of what actually occurred in the time of Jesus – the confusion, the jeering, the taunting came from a crowd mindless of what was happening to Jesus, unknowing of the significance of the event for all humanity. How true this is even in our day when billions of people do not still appreciate the place of Jesus in human history and are not aware of his living – and still suffering –presence in our society. But what a pity if we Christians are unmindful and unappreciative of this supreme act of love on the part of God!
3. Lenten Reflection 3.1. Two men, two representative perspectives in life. 3.2. One way of looking at life is that
4. Contemporary Filipino Question: We hold dearly the title of Pueblo amante de Maria as fitting to our experience of Christian faith. We know that the spread of the Gospel in our islands came about by the Spanish missionaries’ use of the popular devotions – in particular the devotion to the Mother of God. We remember the miraculous defense of Manila against the Dutch through the assistance of Our Lady of La Naval. How many towns and villages everyday resounded with the prayer of the Holy Rosary and the Oracion of the Angelus towards six in the evening! Out of deep gratitude to her, we have dedicated our nation to her patronage under the titles of the Immaculate Conception and the Virgin of Guadalupe. The Shrine of our Lady of EDSA is the latest testimony of her undying love. Yet we cannot bask in the glories of our past without feeling responsible to the next generation of Filipinos. We strive to foster devotion to her in our families.