According to Wikipedia, Pabasa (Spanish: pasión) is a narrative description of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ woven into a poem with stanzas of five lines and each line having eight syllables. Pasion is very popular in the Philippines during the season of Lent which is usually read (actually sung) at home or any other place where people gather. The article also said it is a form of religious expression, meditation and reflection.
The indigenization of the pasyon was begun by Gaspar Aquino de Belén in Ang Mahal na Passion ni JesuCristong Panginoon Natin na Tola (The poem of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ), published in 1703 or 1704.
The more popular version of the pasyon is the Casaysayan nang Pasiong Mahal ni Jesucristong Panginoon Natin na Sucat Ipag-alab nang Puso nang Sinomang Babasa (The History of the Passion of Jesus Christ our Lord that will set afire the heart of whosoever reads it).
An 1852 erudition by Aniceto de Merced, El libro de la vida (The Book of Life), did not, however become popular with the masses.
Today, we can hear Pabasa being sung into modern tunes. Some are even playing musical accompaniment like guitar or rondalla.
Our church, Day by Day Christian Ministries’ flagship ministry is cultural redemption. Briefly, this means cultures must be filtered, consecrated, and offered back at the feet of Jesus Christ, to be used only for His glory. I’ll be writing a post on cultural redemption soon. Anyways, pasyon or pabasa is one of many Filipino tradition that needs to be redeemed. And we have redeemed it for the glory of God!
Pabasang Kristiano as we call it is being conducted yearly at different Day by Day daughter and satellite churches. Last Saturday was my first time to witness how Pabasa is being done. I had a hard time singing the verses. haha. We used the book that Pastor Ed Lapiz wrote, which is being used for years now. FYI, the content was based on the Bible.
As I hear them singing, the words I heard were painting on my mind the picture of what Jesus did during His time. By just listening, I was able to reflect on the sufferings that my Savior experienced for me to have an everlasting life. Many people find it so “badoy”. But for me, the time spent listening to the chants made me realized the great things about my Redeemer. In between chapters of the Pabasa were exhortations by assigned members. The messages were great. They even challenged me to preach the Gospel that was shared to me. I’m talking Matthew 28 which was the last part of the Pabasa. It was time that Jesus ordered us to go and make disciples of all nations.
This season, take time to reflect. Go back to the Bible and remember the work that Jesus did on the cross.