"The Cross reminds Christians of God's act of love in Christ's sacrifice at Calvary - 'the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.'
It also reminds Christians of Jesus' victory over sin and death, since it is believed that through His death and resurrection He conquered death itself. Christians venerate it not as a material object seen in isolation but as the symbol of the sacrifice by which Christ saved them, as the instrument of Christ's triumph, according to Colossians 2:15 ("Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross"), and "as the instrument of our God's saving Love." [Source]
However, I'm not sure if these photos - showing tourists having too much fun in a supposedly holy site for 'Penitensya' in Barangay Lourdes North West Angeles City, Pampanga - reflect that.
Posing in such a way that she'll be able to highlight her legs and armpit whilst mounted on the very symbol of Christianity, this girl - wearing her shades and skimpy shorts - appears to enjoy all the attention from the crowd.
The person who took these photos uploaded them on Facebook on Easter Sunday and understandably so, the images instantly caught the ire and belligerence of a lot of Catholic Filipinos who grew up venerating the cross and seeing it as a representation of their faith, causing the disturbing shots to go viral on the popular social networking site;
"Sa ibang tao it is like souvenir pero ginamit ba nila isip nila na ang isang akala mong souvenir ay pwedeng pagmulan ng batikos mula sa sambayanang matatag ang pananalig sa Dakilang Nilalang na napako sa Krus?" Nancy Dimaranan Romano asks other Pinoys on FB.
"Walang kasalanan ang nagtayo ng Krus nyan! Ang mas higit na may sala yung mga taong ginawang katawa-tawa ang Krus at nagawa pang mag pose para lamang may maipost sa FACEBOOK! Hindi man lang nangilabot yung mga tao sa ginawa nila hindi man lang inisip na si Kristo nakatingin mula sa langit dito sa lupa habang ginagawang katawa-tawa ang Krus na ginamit [Nya] para sa pagtubos ng mga kasalanan natin!," shares Yasz Mean.
"That's the problem with foreigners, most of them don't believe in God that's why it's just normal for them to disrespect sacred items," says Ace Revil.
Interestingly though, there are some Pinoys on Facebook who chose not to crucify the offenders with demeaning comments;
Wyn Tomimbang told other Pinoys on the Facebook Photo Page, "Over naman kayo kung mag react! Krus lang yan! It won't actually save you at all. It's your act and faith that will save you. You don't have to patronize anything that isn't God at all! It's also in the bible na di kayo dapat sumamba sa kung anuman."
Thomas Paine Terodillo, on the other hand, advised other Pinoys to look at themselves before judging others, "Daming ipokrito! MAGSALAMIN KAYO!"
I vividly remember being a mass commentator on several occasions as a school boy in a Catholic school in Quezon City. I guess I was that hardcore a Catholic when I was younger and I'm thankful that there are still parts of me that never quite outgrew that. For one, to this day, I still deeply believe that the cross is not just a symbol of my faith but an actual representation of God's presence in my life.
But here's the thing, as a grew older, my faith also evolved. I've come to understand my religion better and more importantly, I've learned to communicate with God in a way that only the two of us could understand. I guess you can say that while I continue to respect my religion's sacred objects like the Cross, my faith has gone beyond that. Personally, I'm now more into reading the Bible when I have questions about life or when I need inspiration. Nothing like getting things straight from Him, right?
Like what I said in a previous TP post, I'm not good at quoting verses from the Bible. But here's one I found that's quite fitting - I think - for what we have in hand,
"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." Matthew 7 : 1-5
Really, that goes for me too. Happy Easter, TP Friends!