CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 18 August 2018

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Holy Week – an invitation to be prophets

Holy Week invites Christians to reflect on the Passion of Jesus Christ and relive the mystery of faith, suffering and resurrection, and examine their own conversion.
Holy Week begins with Passion Sunday, which takes its first reading from the Book of Isaiah. It narrates the Song of the Suffering Servant: “And I have not rebelled, have not turned back. I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting. The Lord God is my help, therefore I am not disgraced...” (Isaiah 50:5-8).
 
Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane strengthened him for his Passion and death which he had to undergo to accomplish his mission. The disciples with him in the garden had no knowledge of what was going to happen. To their astonishment, Jesus was arrested and that lead to the trial, both before Sanhedrin and the Roman governor, Pilate, whipping, soldiers’ ridicule, condemnation and death on the cross.
 
Judas betrayed him, Peter disowned him three times, and the rest of the disciples ran away. Only a few women including his mother and the disciple whom he loved were still standing near the cross.
 
The disciples, in grief and disappointment, feared arrest and losing their lives. Two of them left Jerusalem in the direction of Emmaus to find a new place to settle down.
 
Many in Hong Kong feel like the disciples after the execution of Jesus—disappointed and anxious. Twenty years have passed since the handover of Hong Kong to China, and it seems as if the political system is tilted towards one country while two systems is gradually being obscured. Development values only economic gains and profits while democracy and people’s livelihood are often ignored. 
 
In the Legislative Council (LegCo) by-election held on the March 11, the pan-Democrats managed to win back only two of the four seats vacated by disqualified pro-democracy LegCo members. As a result, they have lost important veto power over major legislation and their role of monitoring the government in the council will be further weakened. People wonder if it would be better to walk away or close our hearts to avoid any involvement. 
 
However, Christ conquered death, and his resurrection is the core of our faith. The resurrected Jesus intercepts the two disciples heading to Emmaus. Jesus encounters them, explains the scriptures, talks about the core of faith and re-kindles their hearts in the breaking of bread and prayers, motivating them to return to Jerusalem.
 
After the Ascension, the Holy Spirit comes upon every disciple so that they can participate in God’s work of salvation. St. Paul teaches us that through our Lord Jesus Christ we have access (by faith) to this grace in which we stand and we boast in hope of the glory of God. We even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance… and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us (Romans 5:3-5).
 
Faced with the current situation in Hong Kong, Christians have the responsibility to sow the seeds of hope in words and deeds as prophets without covering up the truth and witness to the love of Christ. SE