Missing Jesus

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Tuesday, Week XV, Year I in Ordinary Time, 13 July 2021
Exodus 2:1-15   ><)))*> + <*(((><   Matthew 11:20-24
Photo by author, St. Agnes Church at Bethsaida, Israel, 2017.
Jesus began to reproach the towns
where most of his mighty deeds 
had been done, since they had not
repented.  "Woe to you, Chorazin!
Woe to you Bethsaida!  For if 
the mighty deeds done in your midst
had been done in Tyre and Sidon,
they would long ago have repented 
sackcloth and ashes."
(Matthew 11:20-21)
I could hear you, Lord Jesus
crying again the same words
to us in this generation
of not heeding your voice,
of refusing or failing to recognize
God's loving presence among us
in you through the Church.
If our non-Christian brothers and
sisters were given the same 
chance we have been given in
belonging to your Church, 
maybe they have been more 
generous, more kind, and 
more ardent in their faith.
Forgive us, dear Jesus,
for not listening to your words, 
for not meeting you,
for always missing your coming to us
in the Church, in the Sacraments,
and most especially, in the Scriptures.
Sometimes, Lord Jesus
we are like those two Hebrews fighting
pacified by Moses in the first reading
who missed the opportunity of meeting God,
of discovering God among our community
when the culprit dared ask Moses:
"Who has appointed you ruler
and judge over us?
Are you thinking of killing me
as you killed the Egyptian?"
Then Moses became afraid and thought, 
"The affair must certainly be known." 
(cf.Ex.2:11-14)
Teach us, dear Lord
to be like the sister of Moses
who ensured she would not miss
the important opportunity when the Pharaoh's
daughter found baby Moses in a basket among
the reeds while taking a bathe at the river
to find their own mother to nurse the child
you have destined to set free your people from Egypt.
Make us realize every moment a grace of encountering
you Lord, of making your wonderful plans happen.
Amen.

True greatness in being small to become part of the whole

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Solemnity of the Pentecost, 23 May 2021
Acts 2:1-11  ><}}}*>  Galatians 5:16-25  ><}}}*>  John 15:26-27.16:12-15
Photo by Ms. Jo Villafuerte at Atok, Benguet, 2019.

Today we bring to completion our celebration of the Lord’s Paschal Mystery – his Passion, Death, and Resurrection, Ascension and Coming of the Holy Spirit to his disciples. Although this mystery is one single reality, we have stretched its celebration over a period of 50 days (hence, Pentecost) or more than seven weeks because it will never be enough to fully grasp its whole meaning for it is a continuing reality and mystery in our midst just like the Ascension last week.

Note the upward movement of the Ascension that calls us to “level up” our relationships with God and one another in Christ; today, the downward movement of the coming of the Holy Spirit calls us to being small in order for us to be broken and shared with others. Whenever there is a downward push, what happens usually is a breaking down into smaller parts to fuse with the larger whole like a mix.


...our greatness is in our sharing ourselves with others...  
It is in our becoming small to participate in the whole 
that we truly become great - 
whether in the Church or a community, 
in our personal relationships...

Jesus had taught us in his life and example especially on the Cross that our greatness is in our sharing ourselves with others like him. It is in our becoming small to participate in the whole that we truly become great – whether in the Church or a community, in our personal relationships like family and circle of friends and most especially in the union of man and woman as husband and wife in marriage.

That is why the Pentecost is called the birthday of the Church when the disciples after being filled with the Holy Spirit came out in the open to proclaim the Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ. It was actually more of a “coming out party” of the Church that was established by Christ during his Last Supper.

See that since the very beginning, the Church started as a catholic – a whole – at the Last Supper of the Lord when he also instituted the Holy Eucharist that has become the sign of our unity from then on that enabled the disciples to recognize him at Easter at the breaking of bread.

Jesus promised them at the Last Supper how things would get clear to them when the Holy Spirit comes.

"When the Advocate comes whom I will send you
from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds
from the Father, he will testify to me.  And you 
also testify... I have much more to tell you,
but you cannot bear it now.  But when he comes,
the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth."
(John 15:26-27. 16:12-13)

Believing in the Holy Spirit, Believing in the Church

Every Sunday in the Mass we profess our faith, declaring “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church” but, do we really understand its meaning? To believe in God is to believe in the Holy Catholic Church, to forget one’s own agenda in life, to submit ones self to her teachings from Christ our Lord and Master.

It is a declaration of the mystery and reality of the Pentecost, reminding us that becoming Christian means receiving and embracing the whole Church!

This is the beautiful meaning of the account by St. Luke at the first reading of the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost at Jerusalem when all barriers – physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual – were broken as the disciples went around speaking in various languages to proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ.

When the time of Pentecost was fulfilled,
they were all in one place together.
And suddenly there came from the sky a noise
like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house
in which they were.  Then there appeared to them
tongues of fire, which parted and came to rest
on each one of them.  And they were all filled 
with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues,
as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.
(Acts 1:1-4)

Here we find the disciples of Jesus and their converts on that day of Pentecost allowing themselves to be taken up into the Church!

And how did this happen? St. Luke tells us “Then there appeared to them tongues of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them.” Each one was parted, was broken down from their sins and selfishness that they became open for each other, trying to understand and accept each one as brother and sister in Christ.

It was a reversal of the story of Babel in Genesis when people were so arrogant and proud building a tower that reaches to heaven who were punished to speak in different languages that led to their confusion and quarrel until they all perished along with their ambitious plan.

Pentecost was different. There were different languages, different peoples with different backgrounds yet they were united and understood each other because everybody tried to become small, to mix into the whole and thus becoming a part of the Church on that day.

Unless we are willing to be parted by the Holy Spirit’s “tongues of fire” and “strong driving wind” like a storm, we can never be filled with God and his holiness to experience his peace and his joy.

It is a lifelong process and that is why Pentecost is a daily reality, happening to us especially when we sometimes have to be shaken by so many events and circumstances that come our way.

In the second reading, we heard St. Paul reminding the Galatians, including us, to “live by the Spirit and not gratify the desire of the flesh” (Gal.5:16). At that time, some missionaries sowed confusion among the Galatians, telling them to follow Jewish practices and Mosaic prescriptions to be fully Christians like circumcision. The issue had long been settled at the Council of Jerusalem but some Jewish converts persisted.

Here, St. Paul teaches us a valuable lesson in resolving conflicts and confusions in daily life in the light of Jesus Christ, of salvation, of the Church. For St. Paul, we always have to ask the Holy Spirit in guiding us in everything, no matter how secular and mundane it may be to find the theological and spiritual implications of our experiences.

What he told the Galatians remains true to our days, that freedom is not the ability to do whatever we want but to choose and do what is good. Every person has that tendency to sin, an imperfection in the “flesh” that is always in contradiction with the “spirit”.

As we have mentioned earlier, our greatness lies in our ability to share and give ourselves to others by dying to our sins and selfish motives, precisely what St. Paul is telling us:

Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like.

Galatians 5:19-21

These are the things that the Holy Spirit “part” in us when it comes to us daily especially in our prayers and in the celebrations of the sacraments like the Holy Eucharist. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are unified as a person, we become whole and integrated that we see the value and importance of being one with God and with others. It is not longer the rituals that become the law guiding us but the interior law of love of Jesus Christ that enables us to get out of our selfishness to give ourselves in loving service to others.

When we live in the power of the Holy Spirit guided by this interior law of love, that is when we become truly free and experience the gifts and fruits mentioned by St. Paul like peace and joy.

In our world today marred by sin and so many divisions happening in our society and even in the Church, in our communities and right even in our families and personal relationships, let us pray today to the Holy Spirit to come to us, break down within us the many walls we have and lead us to surrender ourselves to God to be led by his hand in continuing the mission of love and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

A blessed week ahead of everyone!

Photo of the stained glass with the Holy Spirit bringing light into the altar of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Photo from wikipediacommons.org.

Every beautiful thing in community pantry

Quiet Storm by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, 26 April 2021
Patring the lovely lady
behind this community pantry
said it so well "this is not a charity"
but "like a mutual aid of helping each other in need".
All she did was make us see
those in need as a person like you and me
who lives and breathes
but worries and cries alone
creating the spark unknown 
that we started to believe
we can feed the hungry
with whatever we have
if everyone tries to live simply
by seeing everyone's dignity
of not taking anything 
more than what is necessary.
The beauty of every community pantry
more than the food aplenty
is the overflowing of the spirit of humanity;
kindness and tenderness again caressed
everyone who has been stressed 
and depressed not only by the distress
caused by COVID-19 but mostly 
the lack of interest for persons
blinded by personal interests
who thought money as ayuda
will solve the plight and misery 
of the many going sick and hungry.
The humility and simplicity
of every community pantry
are the key to its mystery
when everyone begins to see
the needy as another person with dignity
a brother and a sister, a kin and family
thinking of everybody not just self entirely;
everybody is suffering
but at the community pantry
generosity is overflowing
because everybody is thinking
somebody can be in deeper misery.
There is something holy about the pantry
where everyone goes when hungry
that Patricia has brought out in the community
to remind us we are one big family
a normalcy replaced with greed and apathy
with everybody wanting so many
using manipulation to control even the nation;
pray thee may this community pantry
be the start of a beautiful journey 
to a brighter future for our country
where everyone lives simply and responsibly
not taking what is more than necessary!
Photo from inquirer.net.

Praying for more conversions

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday in the Third Week of Easter, 23 April 2021
Acts 9:1-20   ><)))'>  ><)))">  ><)))'>   John 6:52-59
Photo by Dr. Yanga’s Colleges, Inc. in their “community pantry” in Bocaue, Bulacan, 21 April 2021.

Praise and glory and thanksgiving to you, God our loving Father in heaven for this amazing movement sweeping our country called “community pantry” started by a young lady in a quiet neighborhood last week in Quezon City.

Your ways, O God, are indeed strange, filled with so many extraordinary turn of events.

Who would have thought how this community pantry will awaken the whole nation to suddenly see one another as brother and sister, sharing according to one’s abilities and taking according to one’s needs that for over a week, we have never ran out of food with a lot of smiles and tenderness that delight the hearts and souls of everyone?!

You are so amazing, O God that I feel like Jesus your Son rejoicing while filled with the Holy Spirit, giving you praise, Father, “for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike” (Lk.10:21).

Full of confidence in your power, I believe you can still win over the hearts of many of our generals and government officials to be converted like St. Paul on the road to Damascus to persecute Christians; how ironic, dear God, are the similarities of that story with how our government and military officials malign the people behind the community pantry movement!

Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord,
went to the high priest and asked him for letters to synagogues in Damascus,
that, if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way,
he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.
On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, 
a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him.
He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him,
"Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"
The reply came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do."
(Acts 9:1-7)

Please, Lord, despite the malicious words some government and military officials have said about the people behind the community pantry movement, we still believe they can still be converted like what happened at EDSA in 1986.

Come, Jesus our Lord and Savior, blind us with your light of truth and humility so we may imbibe the true meaning of the Eucharist which is more than the sacramental partaking of your Body and Blood but, most of all, meeting and being one with you always in our daily lives, becoming the very food for others like you.

We pray also most specially for the well-being of Ms. Ana Patricia Non and her followers. Bless them and keep them, O Lord, and may they continue to inspire others in seeing everyone as a brother and sister in you. Amen.

Pantry for the body, pantry for the soul

Quiet Storm by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, 22 April 2021
The beauty of this community pantry
that have sprouted all over the country
in just a week exactly
is not found only in the wide variety 
of food to the needy but most of all
for food that enrich so many souls:
kindness and tenderness are aplenty
with everyone considered a family.
It was the Lord Himself 
who gave us the first community pantry 
intended for soul when he said:
"All you who are thirsty,
come to the water!
You who have no money,
come, receive grain and eat;
Come, without paying and without cost,
drink wine and milk!
Why spend your money for what is not bread;
your wages for what fails to satisfy?
Heed me, and you shall eat well,
you shall delight in rich fare.
Come to me heedfully,
listen, that you may have life."
(Isaiah 55:1-3)
What is so amazing now happening in the country
is how those with least to offer
are always the ones with most to share
like that widow praised by Jesus in her poverty
gave her all in the temple treasury:
for the community pantry
there was so much camote
coming from hard pressed farmers
from Paniqui and another load from Mindoro
shared by the child of a Mangyan aged nine
while an elderly man peddling chicharon for a living
asked for two cans of sardines
leaving the pantry with a precious smile of gratitude
with a plenitude of goodwill,
donating two packs of his precious chicharon.
Like manna in the wilderness
the community pantries were heaven-sent;
like the feeding of five-thousand in the wilderness
the community pantries of sharing was the miracle;
like Jesus Christ at the Last Supper,
the community pantries have taught us 
to be the bread ourselves, broken and shared
if only to prove there is enough for everyone's needs.

	

Awit para sa Paminggalang Pampamayanan (Community Pantry)

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-21 ng Abril 2021
Mula sa Facebook ni Jean Palma noong ika-18 ng Abril 2021 na nilagyan niya ng caption: “All these community pantries in four days, and counting. What a powerful movement.” #CommunityPantry

Tila magpapasko, presko at mahangin ang panahon noong Lunes ng umaga dito sa Pambansang Dambana ng Birhen ng Fatima sa Valenzuela.

Natutuwa ako noon sa napakabuting balita ng paglaganap nitong tinaguriang mga “community pantry” na nagsimula sa kalye Maginhawa sa Quezon City noong a-kinse lang ng Abril. Wala pang isang linggo ay kumalat na sa buong kapuluan ang kilusan na kung isasalin sa ating sariling wika ay “paminggalang pampamayanan”.

Sa mga kagaya ko na inabot ang singko sentimos na de bote ng Cosmos, bago dumating ang pridyider ay paminggalan ang puntahan ng lahat lalo na sa bahay na matanda kung saan nakatira ang mga impo at lola.

At ang turo sa aming mga bata noon, maaring kumuha ng pagkain sa paminggalan pero huwag uubusan ang ibang kasama sa tahanan.

Higit sa lahat, magsabi lagi upang mapalitan o mapunan sakaling mauubusan lalo na ng kape at asukal.

Kaya naman napakagandang makitang muli itong mga paminggalan hindi na sa tahanan kungdi sa lansangan na tila baga bawat pamayanan naging isang malaking pamilya pinamamayanihan ng pagkakapatiran.

Iyon ang pinaka-buod at kahulugan nitong mga paminggalang pampamayanan na siya rin namang ipinahayag ni Bb. Ana Patricia Non: hindi aniya ito pagkakawanggawa o “charity” kungdi pakikipagkapwa-tao o mutual aid upang matulungan ang bawat isang nangangailangan.

Sa Banal na Kasulatan ay ating natunghayan kamakailan paglalarawan ng pamumuhay ng mga unang Kristiyano:

At nagsasama-sama ang lahat ng sumasampalataya at para sa lahat ang kanilang ari-arian. Ipinagbibili nila ito at ang pinagbilhan ay ipinamamahagi sa lahat ayon sa pangangailangan ng bawat isa.

Mga Gawa ng Apostol 2:44-45
Larawan mula sa inquirer.net.

Isinaysay sa atin ni San Lucas ang naturang bahagi sa buhay ng mga unang Kristiyano upang muling mahimok sa atin ang pagkakapatiran, ang magising ating mga kaisipan at kamulatan na sa buhay hindi pinag-uusapan at batayan ang ano mang kakayahang gawin kungdi ang pagkakakilala sa bawat isa bilang ka-patid, ka-dugtong, at ka-putol. Alisin mo ang unlaping “ka”, ika’y patid at putol. Hiwalay at nag-iisa, walang karugtong.

Kapatiran, samahan ng magkakapatid, hindi ng mga gawain.

Kung babalikan natin yung tagpo matapos mag-ayuno at manalangin ang Panginoong Hesus sa ilang, ang unang panunukso sa kanya ng demonyo ay gawin niyang tinapay ang mga bato.

Ganyang-ganyan pa rin ginagawa ng diyablo at kanyang kampon sa ating panahon na ang palaging tanong ay “ano ba ang nagawa mo?” o “mayroon ka bang naambag?”: para sa kanila, pinakamahalaga yung nagagawa kesa makipag-kapwa.

Hindi nila batid na ang sino mang tunay sa pakikipag-kapwa, laging kasabay ang gumawa ng mabuti.

Kaya hindi rin kataka-taka sa kanila na ang mga addict at kriminal ay patayin dahil para sa kanila walang nagagawang mabuti mga ito sa lipunan.


Isang magandang pagkakataon itong pag-usbong 
ng maraming paminggalang pampamayanan 
na muli nating mapagtanto dangal ng bawat tao 
na dapat mahalin at igalang bilang larawan 
at wangis ng Diyos na lumikha sa tanan.

Larawan mula sa Dr. Yanga’s Colleges Inc. sa kanilang “community pantry” sa Bocaue, Bulacan, 20 Abril 2021.

Isang magandang pagkakataon itong pag-usbong ng maraming paminggalang pampamayanan na muli nating mapagtanto dangal ng bawat tao na dapat mahalin at igalang bilang larawan at wangis ng Diyos na lumikha sa tanan.

Inyong pagmasdan, madalas mga taong mapagbilang at mapaghanap ng mga nagawa ay siya ring mga mapanaghili, binibilang mga gawain na tila lahat dapat tumbasan o mayroong kapalit.

At ang pinaka-masaklap, sila din yaong mga wala ring ginagawa, puro salita kaya sila’y katawa-tawa parang sirang plaka katulad ng kanilang pamumula at “red tagging” sa mga nasa likod ng paminggalang pampamayanan o community pantry.

Ayaw nila sa paminggalang pampamayanan dahil doon ang batayan ay pagtuturingan bilang magkakapatid; walang ganid at sakim, nasa isip palagi ang kapwa na maaring mas kawawa kaysa sarili.

Kaya heto ang aking awit na handog sa mga nagpasimuno at nagpapalaganap nitong community pantry.

Kasama na rin ang mga hindi naniniwala, namumula.

At, sumasalaula.

Humuhuni ang ibon
Nagsasayaw sa hangin
At laging masaya
Bakit kaya ang tao may isip at talino
Nalulungkot pa siya

Matutuhan lang ng bawat nilikha
Ang umibig sa tao't daigdig
Lungkot nila'y mapapawi ligaya'y ngingiti

Pagibig at pag-asa
Ang damdaming gigising sa taong mahimbing
Ang tunay na ligaya sa ating puso
Muling magniningning

Ikaw at ako
Hindi man magkalahi
Ay dapat matutong magmahal
Ituring mong tayong lahat ay magkakapatid
(New Minstrels, 1980)

When moving out is the best way to move in

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday in the Third Week of Easter, 21 April 2021
Acts 8:1-8 ><)))’> + <‘(((>< John 6:35-40
Photo by Dr. Mylene A. Santos, MD, March 2021.
And this is the will
of the one who sent me,
that I should not lose anything
of what he gave me,
but that I should raise it on the last day.
(John 6:39)

Oh, dear God our loving Father! How can we stop praising and thanking you especially in times like this when those in power harass and malign us working for your people when in their efforts to ignore and dismiss they red tag us and see commies and enemies instead of the beauty of the “community pantry”.

But like the first Christians when they were persecuted and scattered, driven out of Jerusalem except for the Apostles, the more that the Gospel of Jesus was proclaimed to the known world, the more followers were added to the early Church.

After calling us communists and maligning the efforts of the those behind this movement of community pantry, the more it is now spreading far and wide, the more people are beginning to see each other’s face again as a brother and a sister in Jesus Christ hungry and thirsty for food and drink of the body and soul.

Thank you, dear Jesus, in keeping company with us in doing your work ever since.

We trust that not one of us will ever be lost as we lift up to you the organizers of the community pantry, the people who support and the people who benefit from this worthy cause.

Indeed, so many times in life, we need to move out from our comfort zones in order to move in to your divine plan to be realized. Amen.

Posted by Jean Palma on Facebook, 18 April 2021 with the caption: “All these community pantries in four days, and counting. What a powerful movement.” #CommunityPantry

In praise of the Community Pantry

Quiet Storm by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, 19 April 2021
The beauty of this movement 
sweeping our country
called "Community Pantry"
is its essential Christianity:
"The community of believers
was of one heart and mind,
and no one claimed that any
of his possessions was his own,
but they had everything in common."
(Acts 4:32)
Earlier in our Church history
the esteemed theologian Tertullian
was so delighted to see
how the early Christians 
loved one another
and how they were ready
to die for each other
exactly the same scenery
we are having in our country this 21st century.
It all started simply
when in the street translated loosely
as living comfortably (Maginhawa)
somebody suddenly see
"any body" as a "some body"
can help alleviate our poverty
when we start to see "every body"
as a brother and a sister living simply
with one community pantry so "no body" goes hungry.
And the rest was history
as the story of good deeds inspired many
putting up their community pantry
and the best part of the mystery
there is no talk of money and popularity
plain and simple spirit of humanity
in the spirit of fraternity and equality
fulfilling the minimum requirement of charity
that is justice and mutuality.
There is a saying that
"Necessity is the mother of invention"
but this community pantry that I see 
is more than an invention or an innovation
but an extension of the fellowship of the table
where Jesus Christ is the invisible guest
appearing, speaking, and sharing a meal 
that fills our stomach and delights our soul
animating our hopes for a better future.
This community pantry
is a bright ray of hope,
a silver lining in the storm
that hit our nation last year
when this administration 
not only belittled but was also 
unprepared for the pandemic.
Is it a new kind of people power revolution?
Then, by all means, let it bloom!
Posted by Jean Palma on Facebook, 18 April 2021 with the caption: “All these community pantries in four days, and counting. What a powerful movement.” #CommunityPantry

*All photos used are from the Philippine Daily Inquirer, 17 April 2021.

Praying for those living in isolation

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul
Monday, Fourth Week in Ordinary Time, 01 February 2021
Hebrews 11:32-40     >><)))*> + >><)))*>  +  >><)))*>     Mark 5:1-20
Photo of Mang Dodong who was detained at a Navotas quarantine area for almost 30 days last summer for not having a quarantine pass while buying fish there that he would resell in Caloocan to earn much needed income during the lockdown. It was also during that time of his detention when a senator and a police general were caught violating more serious health protocols but were neither punished nor even reprimanded.

As we all go back to work and studies this Monday, so many of our brothers and sisters are staying home, some are remaining in the hospitals while many others are in some form of living in the territory of Gerasenes like in today’s gospel living in isolation, cut off from our human community.

I pray for them, dear God our Father.

I pray for those living in isolation due to various reasons like severe sickness and disability including old age, poverty and other social illnesses that have left them with marks and stigma that cut them off from the rest of our human community.

The man had been dwelling among the tombs, and no one could restrain him any longer, even with a chain. In fact, he had frequently been bound with shackles and chains, but the chains had been pulled apart by him and the shackles smashed, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the hillsides he was always crying out and bruising himself with stones.

Mark 5:3-5

So many people today are suffering loneliness and isolation, Lord, the plague of our modern age when we are supposed to be more mobile and connected with everyone due to modern means of communications and transportation.

Worst, the pandemic had cut them off so painfully from others as life gets more difficult for everyone these days.

Increase their faith, remind them like the author of Hebrews, of how men and women in the Old Testament trusted in you and overcame all obstacles in life.

Help us discern concrete steps we may take to reach out to those living in isolation so we may welcome them back to our community to experience again the joy of companionship especially in critical moments of sickness and difficulties.

Come, Lord Jesus Christ, come and set us free from the chains and shackles that bound us away from each other; heal us of our illnesses that separate us so that we may be cleansed anew to proclaim your glory of living together as a community. Amen.

Photo by author at Shambala, Silang, Cavite, September 2020.