Once upon a time … there was a Priest.
The Priest was assigned to a town far out of Manila. In fact it was outside of Luzon, the island where Manila was, and in so far in fact that the people there spoke a different language. Now the Philippines being an archipelago or a group of islands it was no wonder that different languages developed.
Now when the Priest learned that he was be to assigned to this town, learned also that there was a need for him to learn the language: the local tongue. And weeks before he left he read all the books about this language and started to read and write … at least try to.
When he left he brought with him the most biggest dictionary about the language. A proper dictionary hardbound and not concise.
He was much welcomed in the town. And his command of the common tongue or at least attempt at it greatly endeared him to the people of the town. And he was pleased.
Every Saturday evening the priest prepared a speech for his homily in the vernacular or language of the town.Two or three books he did consult – the Bible and the proper Dictionary. Following the rules, guides and strategy he composed his speech. Minding his ps and qs but at the same doing a bit of storytelling he composed his speech.
He would look over it again and again. Speaking out a loud. Checking and checking. Fortunately, the church stood at the end of the village and only the frogs and other creatures of the rice field could hear the Priest write and practice.
The next morning at mass the speech was said. And the church goers were happy. A speech in their own tongue.They were happy. So happy indeed that they congratulated the Priest.
Much encourage the Priest composed a new speech again the following Saturday night. And the Priest talked about the worshippers and their offerings at the temple. He did not stop till he was content with the speech.
The next morning. Success repeated itself. The community was so happy. In fact, the oldest citizen a grandmother who was alive when the Priest were Spaniards and said Mass in Latin was so overcome by it that she wept and almost broke down in tears if not for her daughter ,who was just a kid when General McCarthur came back and kicked the Japanese and was more less used with the Mass in American English, held her up.
Again the people came up and congratuled the Priest. Who was so proud and pleased at himself that he bought and ate a bag og chicharon that day.
This went on and on. Every Sunday of the week. The Priest was happy and reassured himself that he was doing his God’s work.
Till one day, the People stopped congratulating the Priest. They would still and wish him a good day but that was that.
And it was like that for another two or three weeks.
After today’s mass the Priest was so angry. So angry that his face began to look like old Beelzebub himself or one of those blood colored demons from Down Below. He was so angry that he began to think how ungrateful these people were.
Then he looked outside the window and then he began to remember the sermons and the first days he realized something. It was a shame a sinner felt once he realized a sin he had done. The realization was as deadly as hemlock, which was used to end a famous Greek Philosopher’s life. Hemlock as a poison worked at a constant pace killing a person bit by bit. First the toes and then the legs – It was a creeping death … slow but sure. And so it was with this realization and shame that came upon the Priest.
As shame came upon the Priest he began to cry.