Chapter 31: - Page 4 of 8

The Sermon

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

His hearers, including even Capitan Tiago, yawned little by little.  Maria Clara was not listening to the sermon, for she knew that Ibarra was near and was thinking about him while she fanned herself and gazed at an evangelical bull that had all the outlines of a small carabao.

All should know by heart the Holy Scriptures and the lives of the saints and then I should not have to preach to you, O sinners! You should know such important and necessary things as the Lord’s Prayer, although many of you have forgotten it, living now as do the Protestants or heretics, who, like the Chinese, respect not the ministers of God.  But the worse for you, O ye accursed, moving as you are toward damnation!

Abá, Pale Lamaso, what![3] muttered Carlos, the Chinese, looking angrily at the preacher, who continued to extemporize, emitting a series of apostrophes and imprecations.

You will die in final unrepentance, O race of heretics! God punishes you even on this earth with jails and prisons! Women should flee from you, the rulers should hang all of you so that the seed of Satan be not multiplied in the vineyard of the Lord! Jesus Christ said: ‘If you have an evil member that leads you to sin, cut it off, and cast it into the fire—’

Having forgotten both his sermon and his rhetoric, Fray Damaso began to be nervous.  Ibarra became uneasy and looked about for a quiet corner, but the church was crowded.  Maria Clara neither heard nor saw anything as she was analyzing a picture, of the blessed souls in purgatory, souls in the shape of men and women dressed in hides, with miters, hoods, and cowls, all roasting in the fire and clutching St. Francis’ girdle, which did not break even with such great weight.  With that improvisation on the preacher’s part, the holy-ghost friar lost the thread of the sermon and skipped over three long paragraphs, giving the wrong cue to the now laboriously-panting Fray Damaso.

Who of you, O sinners, would lick the sores of a poor and ragged beggar? Who? Let him answer by raising his hand! None! That I knew, for only a saint like Diego de Alcala would do it.  He licked all the sores, saying to an astonished brother, ‘Thus is this sick one cured!’ O Christian charity! O matchless example! O virtue of virtues! O inimitable pattern! O spotless talisman! Here he continued a long series of exclamations, the while crossing his arms and raising and lowering them as though he wished to fly or to frighten the birds away.

[3] To the Philippine Chinese d and l look and sound about the same.—TR.

Learn this Filipino word:

magalíng ang bibíg