I opened my smartphone again and checked the map to see if I was indeed going in the right direction―I was. Unfortunately I underestimated its distance from our hostel, which is why I was trudging along a bustling highway instead of sitting prettily inside an air-conditioned bus. Thank goodness it was still early in the morning and Bangkok’s air doesn’t seem like it will stimulate your lungs into spontaneous mutation like the air we have back in Manila.
It was a Sunday and The Actress, just like the good and obedient Born Again Christian that she is, was bent on not missing any church service while we were on the road. I initially planned on just staying at the hostel, but I had to get myself off the bed lest I develop a severe case of disgusting pressure ulcers so I decided to voluntarily go to church, too. Stop dialing the number of your local albularyo; I have not been possessed by some stray elemental spirit. However, because I’m Roman Catholic, I was off to a different church. So there I was at eight in the morning on my way to Bangkok’s Assumption Cathedral.
I’m not a fan of church masses. I start itching when I am forced to sit beside modern day Judases and Pontius Pilates. Sorry, but at 26 years old I still don’t know how to control my tongue, most especially my facial expressions. I avoid church masses, not for my sake, but for the sake of my fellow church-goers. My reflexes react unfavorably to fake and pretentious people and my arms automatically go around their necks and put them in a tight headlock. I have no wishes to disturb good and kind parishioners’ weekly communion with the Lord by hurling my seatmate’s skull to the nearest holy water font. I prefer going to churches when there are no ongoing masses and I can talk with God peacefully. Not to mention that I’m also a very harsh critic of church choirs.
I arrived a few minutes late. Unfortunately when I got pass the gates I was greeted by a church that was being totally renovated. I checked the inside and there was no mass happening there; only buff construction workers removing the church’s tiled floor. I saw a tarpaulin that informed visitors that the masses were being held at the auditorium of the Catholic school beside the church. I followed the directions and entered the room just in time as the priest was about to read his chosen scripture for the day.
“A reading from the gospel of Mark.” He started.
I glared at the priest. Seriously, Father? Couldn’t you have chosen a different apostle; a different book from the New Testament for this morning’s mass? Hearing your cheating ex’s name is not exactly a very good omen, you know? Anyway, I made my way over at the back where there were still vacant seats. I was thankfully seated beside fellow Filipinos.
It was refreshing to hear mass and not mistake it for a concert. Singing inside the church is obviously not the norm in this part of Southeast Asia, but I do miss hearing choir lead singers who look like they’re going to pop a blood vessel from trying so hard to upstage one another for that highly coveted spotlight, and at the expense of everyone’s eardrums. Oh, how I miss the Philippines.
“God is always with us; in the good and the bad, in success and failures, in happiness and despair.”
The priest left us with that statement as he finished his sermon. I tilted my head to the side. That’s something I have to keep reminding myself whenever life attempts to bury me deep in the ground while I am still clearly breathing and moving. A little positivity and a little faith can do wonders, after all.