The first Sunday of 2010, I was attending a mass and I was pissed to hell. Ironic right? Apparently God and our parish priest thought so too.

So there I was, sitting on the front row of our parish’s pews and boiling inside with fury. My wrath was crying for an outlet to the point that I was staring daggers to our parish priest because he was taking his glorious time while I was sitting there and burning with emotions.

But throughout the mass I tried  to calm it out because 1. I was inside the church, 2. I was attending a mass, and 3. for all my derailed-mind I am afraid to go to hell by committing sacrilege.

Then the first strike of irony came. You see, I think it would be perfectly normal that once a person was embroiled in the emotion of fury that person could not focus on any other thing than the emotion itself. So there I was, generally pissed off at the world (yes, I was arguing with it) when a church server asked my whole family to go at the back. We were invited to bring do the Offering of the Gifts.

Cold water thrown all over me and I cursed. Both mentally of course. I asked God, why of all the days in my life had he chosen that time to choose our family to do the Offering of Gifts. I was wishing to do that kind of task for our parish ever since I was a kid but to no avail. Then, when I was not at my finest (I was at my foulest really) he chose that moment to let me experience it.

I wanted to bang my head for feeling angry and at the same time guilty. Angry because the timing couldn’t be so wrong in my opinion and guilty because I was wishing for that opportunity and I was being ungrateful when it was already given.

However, that quelled my emotion just a little bit. I was having more self-control and stopped sending dagger stares to our parish priest, icy stares would do. Then it was the time for Homily and the second Armageddon came my way, well that was solely my opinion.

Our parish priest was talking about really being Catholics and doing the things what Catholics should do. He then pointed out how even though the Philippines is the biggest Catholic population in Asia, its people are not living its religion properly.

That’s when he asked the question, “Katoliko nga ba tayo, o tayo ay laging Katok-Liko?” (Translation 1: Are we really Catholics or we are just a bunch of crazy [katok = have mental incapacity] people who always turns [liko] away from our supposed religion? ; Translation 2: Are we really Catholics or all we just do is knock [katok] on the door of our God’s mercy but ‘turn away’ [liko] from our true duties as Catholics?).

He then gave out examples. The first one was to castigate the people who would always be present in the church, would always be doing church services but does not live like a Catholic. Those people who would deem themselves to be religious but would not be generous as to share their blessing with others. Our priest also pointed out how our people would always call of cooperation yet our nation is so entrenched with crab mentality.

His question threw my composure out and have officially branded myself a Katok-Liko type. I am a Catholic and was supposed to attend Sunday masses but I don’t attend regularly and I was attending the first mass of 2010 with fury in my being. I was given the chance to do the Offering of Gifts (although it was given like after 13 years?) and all I felt doing was tell the Lord how bad his timing was because I was not at my best to appreciate it.

Realizing it also made me feel sad. Such reality is so entrenched in our society, how are we supposed to take it out? How would we change it? My idea right now is focusing towards the children, because Rizal was right in saying that ‘the children are the hope of our nation’ however, he did miss the fact that the adults teach the children. How would our next generation become genuine Catholics (and thus nationalistic Filipinos) if the people who they look up to and rear their personalities would all be Katok-Liko in religion and in culture… and could we ever break from a vicious cycle?