Noli Me Tangere by Jose Rizal, Chp. 30 “In the Church”

So funny. Felt like I was watching a movie. I think this is one of those chapters that people can understand and relate to without having read the other chapters of the novel.

It took only 4 pages of the book, but this chapter stands out in my head. Then again, it is difficult to think of this chapter without thinking of the chapter that follows. This chapter was about people getting ready for the sermon. The next chapter, which was also very funny, was about the actual sermon.

Some details:

  • p. 197 The holy water was the “color of mud” because everyone had come to church for the sermon. People were pushing and fighting each other to the water.
  • p. 197-198 The high cost of the sermon…250 pesos. A comparison of this sermon’s cost to the theater. The theater cost less (1/3 of the 250 pesos) and they worked for three nights. The sermon happens just once and is only by one person. How people would pay for the sermon no matter how high the cost because listening to the sermon apparently “takes you to heaven” and theater “takes the soul to hell.” Most people don’t understand the theater or the sermons.
  • p. 198 The little girl who kept falling asleep. Her grandmother would wake her up and call her “imp!”
    How to survive in church. I thought this picture was timely for those of you who go to church only on Christmas. Don't worry, I'm guilty of not going even then.

  • p. 198 This paragraph deserves to be quoted:

    Several men squatted and dozed near the confessionals. One old man, nodding, made our old woman, who was mumbling her prayers and running her fingers along her rosary with great haste, believe this was the most reverent way of exalting heaven’s great plan, so little by little she began to imitate him.

  • The magistrate arriving in clothes that make him look like an actor from the other night. Haha p. 199

    The magistrate rose in status in the people’s eyes, becoming an enchanted prince, a giant-killer.

  • Another fun one p. 199

    The transition from noise to quiet awakened our old woman, Sister Pute, who, thanks to the music, had been snoring.

  • p. 199 a woman beating her chest with great concentration and zeal…idk why someone would be doing this?

The whole chapter makes fun of the things that people do for religion. People think that rituals suffice as a way to be religious. That rituals are the path to salvation. Is this a case of hamartia?


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