REENACTMENT. Devotees join reenactment of the meeting of the risen Jesus and his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, at Sacred Heart Parish Shrine, Quezon City on Easter Sunday (April 8, 2023). Easter marks the end of Holy Week. (PNA photo by Robert Oswald P. Alfiler)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. is hopeful that the celebration of Easter Sunday would give Filipino Christians around the world a chance for “renewal and recovery”.

“May this day be an opportunity for us to pause and give thanks for the opportunity for renewal and recovery as we push through our quest for genuine unity and progress for all,” Marcos said in his Easter Sunday message.

“Indeed, Easter teaches us that as long as we live our life in Christ, love and hope will remain ever so boundless and will be the cornerstones for the positive transformation of our society,” he said.

Marcos said the resurrection of Jesus Christ not only affirms Filipino Christians’ deepest faith “but also signifies a new birth for all the faithful to walk in the new way of life and be granted eternal salvation.”

“Indeed, His selfless and unconditional love empowered us to conquer both sin and death, allowing us to deepen our relationship with God and become worthy Christians in this earthly journey,” he added.

He said the triumph of the resurrection of Jesus Christ inspires Filipino Christians to be “stewards of faith and compassion no matter the circumstances.”

Marcos likewise enjoined Filipino Christians to look forward to “better days.”

“As we celebrate the magnificent glory of our risen Savior, let us all take into heart this Christian foundation as we work for and welcome better days for ourselves, our families, and our neighbors as well,” he said. “I wish everyone a meaningful and solemn observance.”

‘Love and serve’

In an interview with reporters last month, Marcos said he will go on a retreat during the Holy Week and he will spend Easter Sunday with his family.

In a separate message, Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Amenah Pangandaman expressed hope that the Easter celebration would not only remind Filipinos to hold on to the Lord's promise of everlasting life but also inspire everyone to follow His example to love and serve one another.

“May we always remember that no matter who we are, no matter which part of the globe we are in, despite our differences in beliefs, religion or leaning, God is always with us. In suffering and celebration, He never leaves us. He is our hope and our salvation,” Pangandaman, who belongs to the Muslim community, said.

“May we use this time of renewal as an opportunity to recommit ourselves to showing God's love and mercy by praying and extending our hands to the least of our brothers and sisters,” she added.

Pangandaman is the first Muslim DBM secretary and the only Muslim in the Marcos Cabinet.

‘Beacons of hope’

Department of National Defense (DND) chief Carlito Galvez Jr. expressed hope that the miracle of Jesus Christ's resurrection inspires us to continue persevering over adversities.

"As we celebrate Easter Sunday, I wish everyone peace, happiness and thousandfold blessings. May the miracle of the Resurrection of Christ inspire us to triumph over adversities and become beacons of hope in our communities," he said in a separate message.

Galvez also said he and the "One Defense Team" are joining "brothers and sisters in the Christian faith" in the observance of Easter Sunday.

"During the Lenten Season, as in life, the auspicious and joyful day of Easter Sunday emanates from overcoming uncertainties and hardships, as symbolized by the Passion of Jesus," he added.

Galvez also expressed hope that this solemn period allows us to rejuvenate our faith, manifest temperance, and rekindle love in our hearts. "As we celebrate Easter Sunday, I wish everyone peace, happiness and thousandfold blessings. May the miracle of the Resurrection of Christ inspire us to triumph over adversities and become beacons of hope in our communities. A blessed and meaningful Easter Sunday to all!" he stressed.

‘Better and brighter tomorrow’

As this developed, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) joined members of the Christian community across the globe in celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

"May this occasion serve as an inspiration to all of us that despite the trials that come our way which test our resolve, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel and the promise of a better and brighter tomorrow," OPAPRU acting chief Secretary Isidro L. Purisima said in a statement.

And as the nation moves towards the peace process, he also expressed hope that Christ's resurrection may give us the strength to overcome challenges to this endeavor.

"As we continue to move forward the nation's peace process, ensure security and stability as well as economic development, may the risen Christ give us the strength of mind, body and spirit to overcome them, and bring us together in the spirit of peace, mutual understanding and solidarity," Purisima noted.

House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez likewise called for rest and reflection.

It is a time of great joy and jubilation, for our Lord Jesus rose from the dead after dying to redeem us from our sins. It is also a time of hope, for in our Lord’s Resurrection we find that the promise of eternal life holds true for all of Christianity,” Romualdez said.

He said we should thank God for “our health, our safety, and the blessings and bounty of nature,” and for the “opportunity to physically celebrate with our friends, family, and colleagues, which the restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic have prevented us from doing so in the past years.” 

Easter Sunday marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ, three days after he was crucified and died on the cross on Calvary.

In the Philippines, most commercial establishments either operate on shorter hours or remain closed until Easter Sunday.

The observance of Holy Week this year is from April 2, Palm Sunday, until April 9, Easter Sunday. (with reports from Priam F. Nepomuceno/Zaldy Delayola/PNA)