Step back | Inquirer Opinion

Step back

Someone said there is traffic going to heaven. Why? Because the way to heaven is a narrow and winding stairway. On the other hand, there is no traffic going to hell. Why? Because the way to hell is an expressway, wide and open for so many.

Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. This week let us take time to step back, look into our hearts and reflect on the lives we are living and where we are heading. May the passion, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ remind us that we, too, have a journey to make, from death to life, that will lead us to heaven, our home, our final destination.

In today’s Gospel (Mk. 11, 1-10), we hear of Jesus’ final entry to Jerusalem. It was a triumphant entry, that first Palm Sunday that led to His passion and death on Good Friday, and eventually ended victorious on Easter Sunday.

We, too, are in a journey, and there are three questions we might want to ask ourselves this Holy Week. The first is: “Am I living a good life?” This question is not so much about living a successful or a comfortable life as about living a meaningful and an involved life. Is the life I am living now going to bring me to heaven someday? Indeed, what does it profit me to gain the whole world and in the end lose my soul? All my efforts for earthly treasure and honor, are they worth it?


The second question we might want to ask this Holy Week is: “Am I afraid of suffering and death?” Naturally, we don’t want to suffer, and we want to live long and “enjoy” life as long as we can. Is the life I am living all about being comfortable and pain-free? There will always be trials and even failures in life, and there is no complete happiness, or perfect relationships, in this life. May we find God in our sufferings, and may we find God in death itself.

The third question: “Do I believe in heaven?” Am I living my life as if there were no tomorrow and life after death? Am I enjoying as much as I can now, with no thought about my soul, or concern about the rights and welfare of other people? Our belief that there is heaven should lead us to live beautiful and meaningful lives.

The Holy Week is a good time for us to listen, really listen, to God. Oral prayer, practices, and devotions are fine, but more than these, let us allow the Lord to speak to us, and question us. Our observance of the Holy Week take on a deeper meaning if, and only if, we have a real relationship with God. Otherwise, it is all just tradition, obligation, and show.

The Holy Week is also a good time for us to listen to what is going on around us. What is happening to our country? How are we responding to the people around us? Are we reaching out, are we getting involved, do we care at all? Is life all about I, me, and myself?


Take time to do some “housecleaning” this Holy Week starting with our own hearts. A good confession is a good start. Next, clean up relationships that need it. Reach out in humility and revive relationships that have died. Finally, do some sorting and give away what you don’t need in your rooms, and in your homes. Remove all the excess luggage and clutter, and share them joyfully and generously.

Let me end with this story: “In a street accident, a woman was trying to help the victim but suddenly, a nurse came and said, ‘Miss, excuse me! Please step back! I’m a nurse. I’ve had a course in first aid and I’m trained in giving CPR.’” The woman stepped aside and watched the procedure, and said, “If you need a doctor …  I’m just at your back.”


This Holy Week, let us step back. Let the Lord take over, and lead us on.

One with you this Holy Week. March 25: Palm Sunday recollection and Mass, 9 a.m.-12 noon at Meralco Theater, Ortigas Avenue, Pasig City (live via PTV 4); March 29: Holy Thursday, 9 a.m.-12 noon recollection at Araneta Coliseum, Cubao, Quezon City, and Lenten TV special 4-5 p.m., ABS-CBN Channel 2; March 30: Good Friday, 9 a.m.-12 noon recollection at Lord’s Flock, Catanduanes Street, San Francisco del Monte, Quezon City, and Seven Last Words, 12 noon, IBC Channel 13.

A moment with the Lord:

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Lord, help us to step back, really listen, and be led once more by You. Amen.

TAGS: Gospel, Jerry M. Orbos, Moments

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