HAVE you ever experienced any untoward and unpleasant incident while inside the church attending mass or any church service? No, I don't mean the kind of horrid experience one gets from lame homilies of boring priests or the ones dished out by the remnants of Fr. Damaso.
Or maybe you are attending an early dawn mass in the Cathedral and lost your wallet after kneeling!
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You'd probably say you have a good dose of the first scenario more than the second. But God forbid, being a victim of theft while solemnly praying "Give us today our daily bread as we forgive those who sins against us . . ." would be, should I say, divine comedy. I should know: I was once a victim of churchgoer-cum-pickpocket inside a church.
It's been many years since that awful incident. Now I wish there were monitors or hidden cameras installed inside the church to check on several enterprising Simons and Judases who are eking out a living at the expense of the gullible faithful inside the church. Since then, I never attended mass at the San Agustin Cathedral anymore, preferring instead to go to small community churches.
But how about the feeling of fear and trembling swiftly traveling down your spine as you look at hand grenades about to explode while you are attending the mass?
Sick joke, you'd probably say, as fast as invoking fire, brimstone and thunder to strike the perpetrators. But it did happen in early morning mass yet when three hand grenades were thrown inside the Roman Catholic Church at St. Vincent Ferrer Parish in Kalilangan, Bukidnon few days past. Of the three grenades lobbed inside the church, two unfortunately didn't explode while the third went off, injuring those sitting in the last pews fronting the main door.
Reports further said the incident was a handiwork of a 12-year-old boy, who was seen by several faithful throwing the said grenades around 8 a.m. and fled on a waiting motorcycle. That boy, of course, was merely exploited, receiving a few pesos probably as reward for doing the job. Police said the motive could be retaliation. The possible perpetrators, police said, could be Maranao Muslims seeking vengeance when a RTMI bus ran over a Muslim boy and killed him a weekend before the church bombing.
By now, many probably who were in attendance in that fateful Holy Eucharist are either traumatized and or are thinking twice whether to hear masses at all.
As practicing Catholics, such unpleasant incident is definitely the least we would expect. But as terrorism knows no bound, everything is possible under the sun. Thus, let's accept it as a fact of everyday life. But I ask: How much blood would be shed to restore peace in this troubled island of Mindanao?