Sometimes, a sacred occasion can unexpectedly turn into an amusing gathering unless we be careful.

We all understand the solemnity of the Holy Supper or Banal na Hapunan.  We Christians partake of it once a year usually between February and  April.  It is an eager occasion awaited by each of us.  To assure the sanctity of the event, a one/two weeks devotional prayer is held and all the utensils including  the bread and wine of the grape (katas ng ubas) are checked to ensure that everything is in order. Dry runs are conducted further during the week of the devotional prayer.  So all things considered, nothing can go wrong … or could it?

During one of our lighter talks with my brother he confided to me a rather unexpected incident in one of the Sta Cenas held here as told by a close minister of ours.  This time however, let’s keep his name a secret for the sake of the pamunuan and the officiating ministers.

It was still dark but  you could see the sun’s silhouette slowly pushing its crimson head out in the horizon.  The chapel was brightly lit even at this early hour.  Brothers and sisters all waiting for the Banal na Hapunan to officially start.  The chapel was full overflowing out to the grounds.  The soft but distinct sobs of the brethren could be discerned as the choir quietly sang the hymns of the holy occasion.

[Everything was prim and proper from the very start until the taking of the katas ng ubas.  Somehow instead of the regular 100 percent grape juice (Welch) which we normally use,  the locale used a different brand – the reason known only to them.  They failed to notice a rather fine print in the bottle which said  “concentrated.” Everyone in that chapel were unaware of this.]

After all the kopita were served to the waiting brethren the officiating minister advised the flock to stand up.

“Matapos nating tanggapin ang tinapay na lumalarawan sa katawan ni Cristo, ngayon ay tatanggapin natin ang katas ng ubas na sumasagisag sa dugo ng ating Panginoon JesuCristo na namatay para sa atin.  Inumin nating sabaysabay”

(Have you ever tried drinking pure concentrated undiluted grape juice?  If you haven’t I suggest you try it and see what happens. Anyway, going back to my story …)

After drinking the katas ng ubas the brethren are expected to say “amen” but in this case a rather different scenario took place.  Immediately after drinking the katas the minister held his  breath and  couldn’t utter the word “amen ” and instead tried to clear his throat with a cough which refused to stop.  This was also the time the whole congregation started to cough in unison for maybe around thirty seconds.  Anyway somehow the Banal na Hapunan was completed  where the coughing slowly dissipated through the paglikom ng abuluyan until the basbas.

The morale of the story – Stick to the original (Welch),  immitations may cost you less but not worth it, right guys?