The best day
It is among the most beloved of our days. The sun rises, breaking the night’s vigil—and the light covers everything. It is possible to dream of the most amazing things. For Filipinos, this Sunday morning is unlike any other Sunday of the year. Easter Sunday is the most meaningful celebration for the country’s countless Catholics. It is an occasion that bathes us in the light of resurrection—as a people and as a nation. It is an experience that goes beyond the rituals and conventions of denomination and faith.
In a way, Filipinos have institutionalized Holy Week, ensuring that most everyone, regardless of religion, somehow commemorates these select, soulful summer days. Although some of the sacred meaning of Holy Week may have been lost on the way to the beaches and other heavily populated vacation spots, there is a reason Filipinos of all sorts respond to that resonant call to come home regardless of where they are and what they are doing. That reason is to find silence within—and think. During this time every year, much of the country stops and most everyone, regardless of creed, spends the days reflecting on times past and what they could have done wrong, and ponder on how they can make amends. There is no better time to do so.
Easter Sunday may then be considered a call to renewal, not only in a spiritual sense but in a civic sense as well. It is an opportunity to imagine a rebirth of Filipinos as a people. There may be no more appropriate opportunity for this than now. We can identify in ourselves our failings as individuals and find the resolve to do better. Around us, the world seems to be falling to pieces. In these tense days of spiraling oil prices and an alarming rise in crime, it is so easy to waver and lose faith in ourselves and the things we believe in.
One of those things is government, the institutions set forth to serve and represent us. Yes, the young Aquino administration has had its fair share of failure and fumbling, but there has never been a more crucial time to participate in the dream of good governance than the present. We must be hopeful that those who were elected to lead us will indeed carry out the tasks set before them. This is not to say that we should follow our leaders blindly, to our own undoing, only that these days are a perfect occasion to imagine the kind of leaders we seek, want—and deserve.
Fittingly in a metaphorical sense, the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona has taken a break and will resume in May. During this hiatus, we can look back at the proceedings, study all who are taking part in this important constitutional exercise, and deliberate on their merit. It is a critical exercise that we can carry over to the entire government. We can look upon our officials and evaluate their abilities and their performance, and then imagine them doing better. The most enlightened kind of following is a discerning kind, and we shall manifest our support for our leaders by demanding that they live up to the promises they made and the oaths they took two summers ago. We expect from them, not miracles, but nothing less than the best of their abilities.
We can think of the same thing about ourselves, regardless of where we are and how we came to be here. It falls on us to give as much as we take, to conduct ourselves in the way we expect of our leaders. We must commit to do our share, to do the things, large and small, that help build a nation, to not forget them in the frenzy of the ordinary day. Pay what is due. Work hard and honestly. Bless the beasts and the children. Study. Sing. Pray. Dream.
For what is Easter Sunday if not the best day to start over? What does this day mean but the greatest second chance in all of creation? Humankind finds its salvation in a loving, selfless sacrifice. How can we then awake to this bright day and not find it in ourselves to imagine the best versions of ourselves?
The day is infinite with possibilities, the sense that we Filipinos instinctively know that we are meant for greater things, that despite the lowered expectations of experience and the cynicism that comes with our unique history, we know that better days await us if we dare want them. And today is the best day to envision the modern miracle that can be the next chapter in our continuing story as a people—this bright Easter Sunday, leading the way for all that comes next.