Called to build, not destroy

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday, Feast of Sts. Simon & Jude, Apostles, 28 October 2022
Ephesians 2:19-22   ><))))*> + ><))))*> + ><))))*>   Luke 6:12-16
It has always been your desire,
O God our Father that we may
all be one in you that was fulfilled
in Jesus Christ your Son who
had come to call and gather 
first his Twelve Apostles 
who prefigured the Church
representing all the peoples 
of the world.

Brothers and sisters: You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone. Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord; in him you are also being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Ephesians 2:19-22
What a beautiful way to cap
this week with these words 
reminding us of our great honor 
in being called in Jesus Christ
to build up his body the Church 
here on earth,
of being a part of the bigger
whole of peoples gathered 
as one in God;
may we realize that you call
everyone - regardless of color
or gender or status or whatever
differences we may all have
just like the Twelve who 
were united in Christ.
Help us, dear Jesus,
to imitate your two Apostles,
Sts. Simon and Jude whose feast
we celebrate today; fill our hearts
with the zeal and ardent love
for you and your Church
like Simon called the Zealot -
whether he was in fact a member
of such political party or not, 
his love for you must be so evident
that he came to be known as a Zealot;
in this time when Catholics are declining
in numbers in going to church
and even in professing their faith, 
may we be filled wit enthusiasm in
making you known O Jesus especially
in our actions and celebrations.
Grant us also the strength,
clarity and courage like that of
St. Jude Thaddeus in dealing with
the many contradictions of the world
we live in today as Catholics and 
Christians:  "But you, beloved, 
build yourselves up on your 
most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit;
keep yourselves in the love of God;
wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus
Christ unto eternal life.
And convince some,
who doubt..." (Jude 20-22).
Bless us, dearest Jesus,
through the help St. Simon and
St. Jude, to rediscover
the beauty of our Christian
faith and of our Catholic Church
by working hard to build it up
without tiring through our silent 
and peaceful witnessing
of the Gospel.
Amen.

Getting up to follow Jesus

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday, Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle, 21 September 2022
Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13     <*{{{{><  +  ><}}}}*>     Matthew 9:9-13
Photo by author, Lake Tiberias from the side of Capernaum where Jesus called Matthew to follow him.
You never fail to amaze me,
Lord Jesus Christ with your
unique manner and ways
of finding us, calling us, 
and loving us.
Of your Twelve Apostles, 
only five were called while
working:  the brothers Simon
and Andrew, James and John
who were fishermen and 
Matthew, a tax collector;
the first four belonged 
to the most ordinary 
and lowliest job of the time, 
fishing, while Matthew did
the most despicable job of
collecting taxes unjustly for
Roman colonizers making him
both a sinner and a traitor.
But, you have your plans
that are so different from our
ways when you told the Pharisees
and scribes that "Those who are well
do not need a physician, 
but the sick do... I did not come
to call the righteous
but sinners" (Mt.9:12, 13).
Thank you, Lord Jesus
for still calling me when
I was at my lowest point in life,
when I was most sinful,
when everyone was rejecting me;
thank you, Jesus,
for believing in me,
in calling me to come,
follow you; help me to rise
from my pit of anger and
bitterness, hopelessness 
and desolation like Matthew,
leaving all evil and sins
to follow you
and share you with 
everyone.
Help me, Jesus,
to write the fifth gospel
according to my life
like Matthew
by "living in a manner
worthy of the call I have
received" (Eph. 4:1).
Amen.

St. Matthew,
pray for us!
Caravaggio’s painting, “Calling of St. Matthew” from en.wikipedia.org.

*You may also want to check our reflection on Caravaggio’s painting “Calling of St. Matthew” by clicking this link:

Following Jesus in lights and darkness by Caravaggio

When courts “court” troubles

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Tuesday in the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time, Year II, 06 September 2022
1 Corinthians 6:1-11    ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'>   Luke 6:12-19
Photo by Greg on Pexels.com
Dearest Lord Jesus,
you have always told us
in many occasions in your
teachings that we try to settle
our cases with one another
instead of waiting for the courts to
decide on them that we might 
end up in jail (Mt. 5:25);
Paul reiterates this wise teaching
to the Corinthians and to us today.
Open our minds and our hearts,
Lord, to the many implications of
our search for justice in our court
and judicial system that often leave
us with too much bitterness and
hurts not only when justice is not 
rightly served but the painful process
it entails, draining us of energies as
well as of goodwill for one another.
In this age of social media 
when even legal tussles in the 
courtrooms are televised for all
to see and make fun of, 
the more it becomes clear 
why we must avoid it at as much
as possible because Paul was 
absolutely right that as brothers 
and sisters in Christ, we must not 
resort to the courts of law at all!

I say this to shame you. Can it be that there is not one among you wise enough to be able to settle a case between brothers? But rather brother goes to court against brother, and that before unbelievers? Now indeed then it is, in any case, a failure on your part that you have lawsuits against one another. Instead, you inflict injustice and cheat, and this to brothers.

1 Corinthians 6:5-7, 8
Lord Jesus Christ,
teach us to live harmoniously
with each other despite our many 
differences; teach us to always
find our similarities as beloved
and forgiven children of the Father;
teach us to always be one in the
Father like you; may we find the
great honor and value of being 
called by you to be your apostle,
to be specially close to you and 
to each other; most of all, let us
reach out to you like the sick who
find hope and healing only in you
in their afflictions and troubles,
not in man-made remedies that
often hurt us in the process.
Dear Jesus,
we pray in the most special
way today for those awaiting
court decisions in their cases,
especially those who have been
waiting for so long, for the
disadvantaged like the poor
and innocent.  Amen.

Of skin and saints and layers of faith

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday, Feast of St. Bartholomew, Apostle, 24 August 2022
Revelation 21:9-14   ><}}}}*> + ><}}}}*> + ><}}}}*>   John 1:45-51
Photo by author, Sacred Heart Spirituality Center, Novaliches, QC, 2018.
Everywhere we find
layers of everything:
layers of clothing,
layers of skin,
layers of meaning;
thank you, dear God
our Father in inviting me
today as we celebrate
the feast of St. Bartholomew
to examine the different
"layers" of my faith and
knowledge of you in
Jesus Christ.
First is the layer of my
self-knowledge:  how true
am I with myself?  How free
am I in being myself, in
expressing freely my thoughts
and feelings?

Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth.” But Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Here is a true child of Israel. There is no duplicity in him.”

John 1:45-47
Dear Jesus,
grant me that kind of
sincerity and honesty
of Nathanael/St. Bartholomew:  
you were not disgusted with his words 
for they were very true;
most of all, you even praised
him for being a true Israelite
without any guile!
What a revelation of the true
layer of St. Bartholomew
bared for everyone to see
unlike us in many occasions when
we hide our identity in many layers
often not true, so unreal of who
we are; teach us to come and see
you in your deepest layer, Jesus,
so we may be at home too with
who we really are.

Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”

John 1:48-49
Grant me also the grace,
Lord  Jesus like Nathanael/
St. Bartholomew to perceive deeply
your true identity as "Son of God"
and "king of Israel"; two different layers
of your person that can only be perceived
by a deep faith, to see you who you really are,
the Son of God, and also the fulfillment
of our aspirations here in this life,
in this world as our Christ the King!
How interesting,
O God that St. Bartholomew
died a martyr after being skinned
alive and crucified upside down
like St. Peter; it must have
been his most glorious achievement
that after being skinned alive,
his persecutors must have seen
and realized too his faith was not that
skin-deep after all, that layers upon layers
of skin, they have found only you, Jesus
deeply ingrained in his very person.
Amen.
St. Bartholomew depicted by Michelangelo at the Sistine Chapel holding in one hand a large knife said to have been used in skinning him alive with his own skin held by his other hand. Photo from Pinterest.

We are “earthen vessels” handled with care by Jesus

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Monday, Feast of St. James the Greater, Apostle, 25 July 2022
2 Corinthians 4:7-15   ><)))*> + ><)))*> + ><)))*>   Matthew 20:20-28
Photo by author, 2018.
Praise and glory to you,
Lord Jesus Christ for your
saint and apostle, James the
Greater!
His martyrdom and holiness
are testaments to your
gentleness, Lord, 
for we are all earthen vessels
keeping you, proclaiming you
to all nations.

Brothers and sisters: We hold this treasure in earthen vessels that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.

2 Corinthians 4:7-10
Despite his weaknesses
in having a big ego as seen
in many instances like when he 
his brother John told you to send 
fire to a Samaritan village that have
refused you to pass through and
making a request through their mother
to be seated at your right later when
you have established your kingdom,
you never dismissed James as a 
hopeless case; instead, full of love and
mercy, kindness and patience, you
"handled him with so much care" by 
bringing him along during your transfiguration
and agony in the garden; you let him
experienced your gentleness and humility
that after you have gone back in heaven,
he became the first bishop of Jerusalem
and because of that, the first among 
your Apostles to die like you, 
for you and your flock.
Dearest Jesus,
please be patient with me,
with my pride and arrogance;
let me realize that I am nothing
but like an earthen vessel, a claypot
so privileged not because of my own
merit but due to your own choosing
to be a vessel of your love and mercy.
Thank you, Jesus,
for taking care of me, 
for handling me with care
the way you did with James
the Greater and all the others saints
who were all like us - sinful and weak
but so loved and blessed by the Father
in you.  Amen.

Won over by Christ

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday, Solemnity of Sts. Peter & Paul, Apostles, 29 June 2022
Acts 12:1-11 ><}}}*> 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 17-18 ><}}}*> Matthew 16:13-19
Photo by Mr. Lorenzo Atienza, Malolos Cathedral, 12 June 2019.
God our loving Father,
as we celebrate today the
Solemnity of the two pillars
of the Church, St. Peter and St. Paul
who are poles apart in their 
temperament and in their social,
cultural, and religious backgrounds,
help us imitate them in being open
to your grace always, in being open
to your plans so we may set aside
our own agendas in order to be won
over by your Son Jesus Christ. 
Nothing is impossible with you,
dear Father:  
Peter denied Jesus
during the passion while 
Paul persecuted Jesus in
the persons of his disciples;
Peter was impetuous and 
presumptuous but sometimes
hesitant yet solidly loyal to
Christ while Paul was proud 
of his Roman citizenship and of
his being a Pharisee, demanding
his title as Apostle but likewise,
admits his fragility as a "pot of
clay", most unworthy vessel of Christ; 
Peter was attached to his Jewish
roots and convictions but did not resist 
the Holy Spirit in leading him where 
he did not want to go while Paul was 
resolute in being led by the Spirit in
proclaiming Jesus to the gentiles
while deep inside was torn within 
by the resistance and
rejection of his fellow Jews.
Merciful Father,
let your Son Jesus Christ
win over us like what he did
to St. Peter and St. Paul
who both gave their lives as 
a living worship to you,
witnessing your love and mercy,
kindness and majesty;
give us the grace to know Jesus
and love Jesus first so we may
follow him to his Cross 
for your greater glory.
Amen.
Photo by Mr. Lorenzo Atienza, Malolos Cathedral, 12 June 2019.

Knowing Jesus like the Apostles

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Tuesday, Feast of St. Philip and St. James the Less, Apostles, 03 April 2022
1 Corinthians 15:1-8   ><}}}}*> + <*{{{{><   John 14:6-14
Jesus teaching his Twelve Apostles, from GettyImages.
Lord Jesus Christ,
on this feast of your apostles 
Philip and James the Younger, 
grant me the grace to discover 
your true identity the way they
got to know you too; draw me
closer to you to be familiar with
you and your ways, to always
"come and see" you in prayers
and experiences in life.
Keep me close to you, dear Jesus,
so that I may truly lead people to you
and not to me nor to my beliefs; 
let me lead seekers of you find you 
both in your glory and in your Cross 
for without your sufferings and death,
everything becomes a novelty and
a fancy, or a philosophy and never 
a life and a union in you.

For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures; that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.

1 Corinthians 15:3-5
Like Philip, keep me open in
expressing to you my views
when asked like at the wilderness
when you tested him where to find
food for the crowd; in another instance,
let me be like Philip entertaining requests
from others to see you like those Greeks 
who have come to Jerusalem;
most of all, keep me open to you,
dear Jesus to accept and treasure
your words and teachings even if I
do not understand immediately if that
is the way to know you more clearly
and eventually see and experience
God our Father. 
Like your cousin James the Younger,
let me keep in mind that closeness 
with you does not come  through mere
affiliations nor with names because 
knowing you is a habit that we must strive 
and work for by coming to you daily, 
following you even up to the Cross;
it is only in following you, becoming
like you we truly become your 
disciples like James who taught
and witnessed your love for everyone
by working so hard with Peter to 
intervene in the difficult relations 
between the early Christians of Jewish
origins and those of pagan converts; 
in practice and in his writings, James
showed that faith in you is fulfilled 
in a life lived in love and respect 
for each other:  "As the body apart 
from the spirit is dead, so faith apart 
from works is dead" (James 2:26).
Philip and James were not perfect,
just like me; but in their humility
and obedience, you perfected 
them in their lives of witnessing
that cost their lives; keep me
faithful to you, dear Jesus,
and let others see you in me
in words and in deeds.  Amen.

Easter is speaking “new languages”

The Lord Is My Chef Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Monday, Feast of St. Mark, Evangelist, 25 April 2022
1 Peter 5:5-14    ><]]]]'> + <'[[[[><   Mark 16:15-20
Photo by author, Puerto del Sol, Bolinao, Pangasinan, 20 April 2022.
What a wonderful grace,
O God our Father on this 
Easter Season that we celebrate
the feast of St. Mark, the first
evangelist who reminds us all
of writing our own gospel 
account too!
And for us to write our own
gospel account, St. Mark reminds us
beautifully of something so essential
with Easter:  speaking the new languages
of love and humility in Jesus Christ
our Risen Lord not only in words
but most especially in deeds.

Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages….”

Mark 16:15, 17
While it is truly a gift 
to speak different languages,
but what is most wonderful
in proclaiming your gospel 
Lord Jesus is to witness to other
people your love and kindness,
your mercy and compassion,
your gentleness and humility
that is always the same in every
language spoken by everyone.
Amen.

Being faithful, being more loving

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Tuesday, Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, 22 February 2022
1 Peter 5:1-4   ><}}}}*> + ><}}}}*> + ><}}}}*>   Matthew 16:13-19
Photo from en.wikipedia.org.
Glory and praise to you, 
O Lord Jesus Christ, 
as we celebrate today 
a most unique feast, 
the Chair of St. Peter
your anointed leader of
your Church here on earth.

It is so unique especially 
in this time 
when we are so concerned 
where we sit - whether at home, 
in school, in offices, in churches,
and in buses and planes - everywhere!
because every seat is about position, 
rank, power and convenience,
always having the "keys" so to speak.

Sadly, as we seek the comfort
of our "asses", we have forgotten 
that more important than where we seat
is where we stand.

Remind us, dear Jesus, 
on this Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, 
especially us your priests 
of that beautiful example 
you have shown at the Last Supper 
when you left your seat 
to wash the feet of the Apostles.

How sad and shameful, O Lord, 
when we your priests fail to realize 
that the throne of the Eucharist 
is not a seat of power or prestige 
but a seat of loving service to everyone.

St. Ignatius of Antioch said it so well 
in his Letter to the Romans (year 110)
that the Primacy of Rome 
is the Primacy of Love 
because primacy in faith 
is always primacy in love, 
two things we can never separate.
May we all heed the call of St. Peter, 
the designated “owner” of that Chair, 
that we “Tend the flock of God in your midst, 
overseeing not by constraint but willingly, 
as God would have it, 
not for  shameful profit but eagerly.  
Do not lord it over those assigned to you, 
but be examples to the flock” (1Pt.5:2-3).  
Lord Jesus, 
as we grow deeper in faith,
make us more loving too!
Amen.

Pagbabalik-loob, pagpapaloob sa kalooban ng Diyos

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Kapistahan ng Pagbabalik-loob ni San Pablo, Ika-25 ng Enero 2022
Gawa ng mga Apostol 22:3-16  ><}}}*> + <*{{{><  Marcos 16:15-18
Larawan mula sa en.holyordersofststephen.org ipinapakita pagkamatay ng unang martir ng Simbahan si San Esteban habang pinapanood ni Saul na noo’y taga-usig ng mga Kristiyano habang napakita naman mula sa langit ang Panginoong Jesu-Kristo.

“Kalooban ng Diyos.”  Ito ang sa tuwina palagi nating inaalam sapagkat batid nating ito ang pinakamabuti para sa atin.  Subalit kadalasan tayo ay nabibigo, naguguluhan kung ano ang kalooban ng Diyos dahil madalas akala natin para itong tanong na isang pindot ay malalaman kaagad ang sagot tulad ng sa Google.

Kauna-unahang hinihingi sa atin upang mabatid ang kalooban ng Diyos ang tayo muna ay “pumaloob sa Diyos” na ibig sabihi’y dapat nasa loob tayo ng Diyos. Kung ikaw ay nasa labas ng Diyos, tiyak ikaw ay lumayo sa Kanya dahil sa kasalanan; kaya, pagbabalik-loob sa Kanya ang kinakailangan.

Ibig kong simulan dito ang pagninilay sa Kapistahan ng Pagbabagong-buhay ni San Pablo Apostol na ating ipinagdiriwang sa araw na ito. Ito ang upisyal na salin mula sa Inggles ng “Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle” na tila may kulang.

Ganito kasi iyon: Tama rin namang sabihing “pagbabagong-buhay” dahil bawat conversion wika nga ay pagbabago tulad ng na-convert sa ibang relihiyon o sa ibang anyo o gamit. Ngunit sa bawat pagbabago, mayroong higit na malalim na nababago na hindi namang ibig sabihin ay nag-iiba o nagiging different.

Kasi iyong sinasabing conversion ni San Pablo o ng sino pa mang tao ay hindi naman pagbabago ng pagkatao kung tutuusin; sa bawat conversion ng isang makasalanan o masamang tao, hindi naman nababago yaong tao talaga kungdi kanyang puso na siyang naroon sa kanyang kalooban.

Ibig bang sabihin ang pagbabagong buhay ay yaong dating masayahin o palatawa magiging malungkutin o iyakin? Yaong dating mapusok at malakas ang loob magiging duwag? O yaong pagbigla-bigla at padaskol-daskol ay magiging makupad at mabagal sa pagdedesisyon?

Sa pagbabagong-buhay ng sino man tulad ni San Pablo, hindi nababago ang pagkatao: mapusok pa rin si San Pablo, palaban at matapang nang tawagin at sumunod kay Kristo. Hindi naman nabago kanyang karakter pero nabago kanyang puso na nahilig sa kalooban ng Diyos pagkaraan. Iyong kanyang dating kapusukan at katapangan sa pag-uusig ng mga Kristiyano ay nalihis naman sa pagpapahayag ng Mabuting Balita ni Hesus sa mga Hentil at kapwa niya Judio.

Kaya naman higit na malalim at makahulugang isalin ang conversion ng sino man sa katagang “pagbabalik-loob”. Bawat nagkakasala ay lumalayo ang loob mula sa Diyos na ibig sabihin ay “ayaw sa Diyos” gaya ng ating pakahulugan tuwing sinasabing “malayo ang loob”.

Kapag nagsisi at tumalikod sa kasalanan ang isang tao, hindi lamang siya nagbabagong-buhay o nag-iiba ng pamumuhay kungdi higit sa lahat, siya ay “nagbabalik-loob” sa Diyos. Tatlong bagay ang itinuturo sa ating ni San Pablo sa kanyang karanasan ng pagbabalik-loob sa Diyos.  

Larawan mula sa en.wikipedia.org ni San Pablo sa harapan ng Basilica ni San Pablo sa Roma, Italya.

Una, bawat pagbabalik-loob ay isang personal na pagtawag at paanyaya mula sa Panginoong Hesus.  Batay sa salaysay ni San Pablo, “Nasubasob ako sa lupa, at narinig ko ang isang tinig sa akin, ‘Saulo, Saulo!’”(Gawa 22:7).  

Araw-araw inaanyayahan tayo ni Hesus na magbalik-loob sa Kanya. 

Iyong mabatid lamang natin sa ating kalooban na mali ang ating ginagawa o kaya tayo ay kabahan at matakot sa isang masamang gawain, iyon na ang tinig ni Hesus na tumatawag sa atin katulad kay San Pablo. 

Huwag na nating hintayin pa ang isang “dramatic” o “bonggang” pagkakataon wika nga upang pakinggan ang tawag ng Panginoon katulad nang mahulog sa kanyang kabayo si San Pablo.  Hindi ibig ng Diyos na sumadsad pa ang ating buhay sa kasamaan at mawala na ang lahat ng pagkakataong makabalik pa sa Kanya.            

Ikalawa, madalas kapag tayo tinawag ng Diyos na magbalik-loob sa Kanya ay hindi kaagad maliwanag ang lahat sa atin kaya kailangan natin ng taga-akay: “Nabulag ako dahil sa kaningningan ng liwanag na iyon, kaya’t ako’y inakay na lamang ng mga kasama ko papasok sa Damaso” (Gawa 22:11). 

Larawan kuha ni G. Jim Marpa, 2019.

At hindi lamang basta taga-akay ang kailangan natin sa bawat pagbabalik-loob kungdi isang mahusay na gabay katulad ni Ananias na “isang taong may takot sa Diyos, tumutupad sa Kautusan, at iginagalang ng mga Judiong naninirahan sa Damasco” (Gawa 22:12). 

Si Ananias ang ginamit ng Diyos upang mapagaling ang pagkabulag ni San Pablo at malahad sa kanya ang kalooban ng Diyos na mapalaganap ang Mabuting Balita.

Ang mahusay na gabay ay yaong pumapawi at nagpapagaling sa ating mga pagkabulag sa katotohanan ng Diyos sa buhay na ito. Wika mismo ni Hesus, maaring bang maging taga-akay ng mga bulag ang isa pang kapwa bulag?

Magkaroon ng isang mabuting taga-akay o spiritual director na hindi namang dapat pari o madre lamang kungdi yaong isang mabuting pastol na kalakbay at kaagapay sa ating spiritual journey.

Ikatlo, bawat tawag sa pagbabalik-loob sa Diyos ay palaging paanyayang pumasok sa isang komunyon o kaisahan kay Hesus at Kanyang pamayanan o komunidad.  Ito ang magandang bahagi ng pagtawag kay San Pablo:  nagpakilala si Jesus bilang kanyang inuusig na Kristiyano, “Saulo, Saulo!  Bakit mo ako pinag-uusig?  Ako’y si Jesus na taga-Nazaret na iyong pinag-uusig” (Gawa 22:7,8)

Ang totoong pagbabalik-loob o pagbabagong-buhay ay yaong hindi lamang makita ang sarili kungdi makita ang kanyang kaisahan kay Hesus at sa kapwa-tao.  Walang kabuluhan ang ano mang pagpapakabuti ng sarili na nakahiwalay sa Diyos at sa kapwa.  Hindi kabutihan kungdi kapalaluan ang walang ibang makita kungdi sarili.  


Madaling sabihin ang mga bagay na ito at sadyang mahirap gawin.  Subalit kung ating susuriin ang naging buhay ni San Pablo, hindi lamang minsanang pangyayari ang magbalik-loob sa Diyos.

Isang mahabang proseso ang kanyang pinagdaanan sa kanyang pagbabalik-loob o pagbabagong-buhay; katulad natin marahil siya ma’y nagkakasala minsan-minsan sa Panginoon. 

Larawan kuha ng may-akda, 2019.

Ang mahalaga ay ang patuloy niyang pagninilay at pananalangin, ang pagsisikap niyang “pumaloob sa Diyos” upang mabatid at maisakatuparan ang Kanyang Banal na Kalooban na “Humayo kayo sa buong sanlibutan at ipangaral ninyo sa lahat ang Mabuting Balita” (Mc.16:15).  

Kaya, huwag manghinawa sakaling mabagal ang iyong “pagbabagong-buhay”; minsa’y akala mo lamang wala namang nababago at masama ka pa rin.

Hindi totoo iyan dahil batid ni Hesus, nakikita ni Hesus ang pagsisikap natin mula sa kaloob-looban natin hindi pa man tayo pumapaloob sa Kanya.

Ang totoo kasi, palagi namang nasa loob natin si Hesus, kahit anong pilit nating lumayo sa Kanya. Amen.