Coming to Jesus who comes

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Monday in the First Week of Advent, 28 November 2022
Isaiah 4:2-6   ><000'> + ><000'> + ><000'>   Matthew 8:5-11
Photo by author, 27 November 2022.
Thank you very much,
dear Jesus for the gift of Advent,
for your promise to come again
after you have come
and still come;
let me come rejoicing
to your house, O Lord!

I rejoiced because they said to me, “We will go up to the house of the Lord.” And now have set foot within your gates, O Jerusalem. Because of my relatives and friends I will say, “Peace be within you!” Because of the house of the Lord, our God, I will pray for your good.

Psalm 122: 1-2, 8-9
As I look back to 2022 about to end,
the more I believe in your Second Coming,
Lord Jesus; with grateful heart,
I praise and thank you, Lord,
in letting us survive this year,
in letting us survive this pandemic
as you washed us all clean from our sins
that was long seen by Isaiah
and fulfilled in your coming.
Let me come to you, Lord,
like that centurion,
filled with faith and trust
in his belief in you,
in your powerful coming
even in words.
Amen.

Praying to face, embrace every “end”

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Tuesday, Memorial of St. Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr, 22 November 2022
Revelation 14:14-19    ><}}}}*> + ><}}}}*> + ><}}}}*>   Luke 21:5-11
Photo by author, 18 November 2022.
Many times, O Lord Jesus,
I find it very amusing 
that despite our facing 
of so many "endings" 
each day in our lives, 
we are still bothered
and afraid of the end,
always wishing how things
especially the most wonderful
and memorable ones to
remain and never end;
every day the sun sets,
tasks and work are
completed,
songs and movies are seen
until the end,
yet, we refuse to embrace
this reality of the end.

While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, Jesus said, “All that you see here — the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

Luke 21:5-6
As you teach us today of the
certainty of the end, 
you remind us too, 
Lord Jesus,
that YOU are our only
security and surety
in this life;
everything, 
everyone 
will end
but only YOU shall remain;
give us the grace to cultivate
your gifts of faith and trust in you,
Lord Jesus;
like St. Cecilia whose memorial
we celebrate today,
may we muster all our courage
to be firm in our giving witness
to you dear Jesus every day,
every moment of our lives
for your judgment comes
surely as John had seen
in his visions;
in the same manner
as we end our prayers with
firm faith in eternal life in you,
may we befriend every ending
as your blessing leading us
to new beginnings in you.
Amen.
Photo by author, 16 November 2022 in Pulilan, Bulacan.

Daily presentation to the Lord

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog 
Monday, Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 21 November 2022
Revelation 14:1-3, 4-5   ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'>   Luke 21:1-4
Lord Jesus Christ,
as we enter today this final stretch
of the current liturgical calendar,
you gave us the Memorial of the 
Presentation of your Blessed Mother
as an occasion for us to present ourselves
to you fittingly like her.
Help us to always remember your love
and mercy, Lord, so we may remain on track
on your path of humility and obedience
like Mary; may we always remember
your call to holiness and to mission
being sent like you by the Father;
may we always remember like Mary
to be always truthful and clean in our lips.

These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been ransomed as the first fruits of the human race for God and then Lamb. On their lips no deceit has been found; they are unblemished.

Revelation 14:4-5
Help us imitate, dear Jesus,
that poor widow at the temple area
who gave everything she had - 
"two small coins" - into the treasury box;
grant us the grace to be like her,
to be like your Mother Mary,
to be like your grandparents St. Joachim and St. Anne
who offered their whole lives, 
their whole livelihood to God
because they believed,
they trusted, and hence,
they loved without measure.
Amen.

Inviting Jesus into our lives

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Tuesday in the Thirty-Third Week of Ordinary Time, Year II, 15 November 2022
Revelation 3:1-6, 14-22   ><000'> + ><000'> + ><000'>   Luke 19:1-10
Forgive us, dear Jesus,
when many times in life
we appear to be so good and pious,
religious and devout in our religion
when in fact we lack faith in you
like the people of Sardis:

“I know your works, that you have the reputation of being alive but you are dead. Be watchful and strengthen what is left, which is going to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember then how you accepted and heard; keep it, and repent.”

Revelation 3:1c-3a
Your words are so timely, Lord,
as we ourselves often hear the same words,
of how our Church is dying
because we are already dead in our faith;
we have been so complacent in our faith,
so focused with 
duties and obligations,
rites and rituals,
tasks and schedule
but so empty of YOU.

Come, Lord Jesus!
Maranatha!
Give us the holy longing
and desire of Zacchaeus to meet you,
to exert every effort to be with you
and to be filled with you!
But the most truest of your words today Lord
and most disturbing are your words to the
Church in Laodicea:

“I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”

Revelation 3:15-16
Let us be clear with our stand in you, Jesus;
let us be firm in our faith and in our resolve
to follow you like Zacchaeus who gave
half of his wealth to the poor and repaid four times
those he had extorted money;
let us come to you with sincere hearts
and humility, empty us of our pretensions
and fill us with your presence and truth,
Lord Jesus!
Amen.

Prayer against complacency

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Tuesday in the Thirty-Second Week of Ordinary Time, Year II, 08 November 2022
Titus 2:1-8, 11-14   ><]]]'> + <'[[[>< === ><]]]'> + <'[[[><   Luke 17:7-10
Lord Jesus Christ,
as we approach the end of the year
before we get carried away
with the excitement of your birthday
that is Christmas, help me focus on you
more earnestly these days.
Do not let me be complacent.

Jesus said to the Apostles: “Who among you would say to your servant who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here immediately and take your place at table?’ When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.'”

Luke 17:7, 10
Forgive me, Jesus
when there are times I feel so entitled
to you after I have done your assigned
task and mission;
let me keep in my mind always
that more than fulfilling the will of the Father,
what matters most is our relationship with God.

Do not let me be complacent in being good,
in being faithful,
in being a good example to others
as St. Paul instructed Titus
to remind everyone,
both the elder men and women,
 and younger men and women too!

For the grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age, as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of the great God and of our savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people as his own, eager to do what is good.

Titus 2:11-14
Keep me temperate,
dignified, self-controlled,
sound in faith, love and endurance,
showing myself as a model of good deeds
in every respect, with integrity in teaching,
dignity, and sound speech 
that cannot be
criticized.
Amen.

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.

Losing one’s self in Christ

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Thursday in the Twenty-Ninth Week of Ordinary Time, Year II, 20 November 2022
Ephesians 3:14-21   ><000'> + <'000>< = ><000'> + <'000><   Luke 12:49-53
Photo by author, 2018.
Dearest Jesus,
Help me imitate St. Paul's
beautiful prayer for the Ephesians:
may the Holy Spirit strengthen my 
"inner self" so that you may dwell
in my heart that is "rooted in faith"
and "grounded in love";
grant me the "strength to comprehend" -
not just understand but embrace totally
"the breadth and length and height and depth"
of your love that "surpasses knowledge"
by entering into a communion in you,
an intimacy "with all the fullness of God"
(Ephesians 3:16-19).
This can only happen to me,
Lord Jesus Christ,
if I allow myself to lose my soul to you
in order to gain it by allowing
your fire to purify me of my sins
and self-centeredness
(Luke 12:49-51).
Set me on fire, Jesus,
as you have declared in the gospel:
lit me with courage and joy in witnessing
your Cross in this time of darkness
when everybody follows the artificial lights
of the world that lead to emptiness;
let me be immersed into your paschal mystery
of Passion, Death and Resurrection,
of bearing all the pains that lead to conversion
and to true peace as you have promised
at the Last Supper that is the fruit of
love and sacrifices, not of compromises
as the peace of the world offers.
Dearest Lord,
let me see everything in your love
even if it seems so impossible
like your victory over death;
seduce me, O Lord,
dupe me like Jeremiah
to join you in your adventure,
to go beyond my limits
even if it may be fatal
for that is the only way 
to lose myself
in order to gain you,
Jesus Christ our Lord!
"Now to him 
who is able to accomplish
far more than all we ask or imagine,
by the power at work within us,
to him be glory in the Church
and in Christ Jesus to all generations,
forever and ever.  Amen."
(Ephesians 3:20-21)
Photo by author, 2018.

Without exceptions

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday in the Twenty-Ninth Week of Ordinary Time, 19 October 2022
Ephesians 3:2-12   ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'>   Luke 12:39-48
Photo by author, 2021.

Then Peter said, “Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?”

Luke 12:41
Teach me, Lord Jesus,
to be your "faithful and prudent
steward" like St. Paul, "the very
least" of your Apostles you have
called to preach to the Gentiles
your "inscrutable riches" (Eph.3:8);
forgive me, Lord, when many times
in life I take exceptions from your
teachings and instructions, 
having that feeling of entitlement
and even privilege.
Help me realize, dear Jesus,
this wonderful gift you have 
given each one of us of being
called to reveal and make known
to everyone your mystery of
love and mercy, kindness and
compassion; deepen our faith
in proclaiming your good news
of salvation to all so that like
St. Paul, we may "have 
the boldness of speech 
and confidence of access
through faith" in you.
Amen.

Remaining in Christ

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Tuesday, Feast of St. Luke, Evangelist, 18 October 2022
2 Timothy 4:10-17   ><}}}}*> + ><}}}}*> + ><}}}}*>   Luke 10:1-9 
Photo by author, 2018.
Dearest Jesus:
as we celebrate today
the feast of your Evangelist
St. Luke, I pray for the grace
to be like him - prayerful
and faithful to you,
especially when 
things become so tough
and difficult.
Of the four Evangelists,
St. Luke emphasized most
your praying so often
to show your oneness
in the Father, of your
going to deserted places
to pray especially before
major events like the choice
of the Twelve Apostles
and the Transfiguration,
clearly showing that prayer
is the very center of the life 
of every disciple to be able 
to follow Jesus closely by
carrying the cross "daily" (Lk.9:23).

Like St. Luke,
may my life be a prayer,
a gospel in writing.
Photo by author, 2018.

Beloved: Demas, enamored of the present world, deserted me and went to Thessalonica, Crescens to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. Luke is the only one with me.

2 Timothy 4:10-11
Let my prayers,
O dear Jesus, 
lead me to deeper
faith in you especially
when in severe tests
like St. Luke who remained
faithful to you by standing
by his mentor St. Paul 
even in prison.

Like St. Luke, keep me faithful
to you, Jesus, by always remembering 
the poor and marginalized in the
society especially the women
and the sinners this Evangelist
had put on the limelight
like Elizabeth, Anna the Prophetess 
and the widow of Nain 
as well Zacchaeus and Dimas.

Like St. Luke, keep me faithful
to you Jesus by being faithful too 
to your Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary: 
St. Luke was the only one who sought her
in Ephesus to give us the lovely story
of Christmas from the Annunciation 
to the Visitation, the Nativity and 
the Presentation up to her presence
at the Pentecost found in his
second book called the Acts,
the gospel of the Church
which is the other side of 
every fidelity to you and Mary
is fidelity to your Church!
Dearest Jesus,
in writing the Gospel 
and the Acts of the Apostles, 
you have touched St. Luke so deeply 
that he narrated your story in great details
as if he was touching you 
that in the process,
he has touched us too,
enabling us to experience 
as well as paint and picture 
your Divine Mercy for everyone
Amen.
Painting of “Saint Luke Drawing the Virgin” by Flemish painter Roger van der Weyden (1400-1464); photo from en.wikipedia.org.  

We are God’s handiwork

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Monday, Memorial of St. Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop & Martyr, 17 October 2022
Ephesians 2:1-10   ><)))*> + <*(((>< + ><)))*> + ><)))*> + <*(((><   Luke 12:13-21
Photo by author, April 2021.
Praise and glory
to you, God our Father,
so "rich in mercy" and love
and "kindness in Jesus Christ"
(Ephesians 2:4,7); sometimes,
I wonder why can't we just be
like the trees and other plants
that keep on blooming with flowers 
and fruits so delightful to sight 
and tastes without any efforts at all
except to simply follow your flow
of seasons unlike us spending
our entire lives earning and
amassing wealth and things
that do not fulfill us but even
rob us of peace and joy!

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from your works, so no one may boast. For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.

Ephesians 2:8-12
You have created everything,
everyone so beautiful by nature,
dear God, but here we are,
destroying earth and our selves 
with our own "creations"
that do not last at all.
Forgive us, O God,
that in our pursuits to earn
for ourselves, we fail to learn
that the "bestest" things in life
come only from you - Jesus Christ
and his gifts of faith, hope and love
lived sincerely in our family and
friends and community.
Forgive us, Father,
in coming to you in prayers 
like that "someone in the crowd" 
asking for material favors and 
treasures of this world not realizing
the most important which is to be
"rich in what matters to God"
(Lk.12:21).
May we heed and contemplate
the words of your great Saint,
Ignatius of Antioch,
Bishop and Martyr who 
wrote the Christians in 
ancient Rome:
"Do not talk about Jesus Christ
as long as you love this world."
Help us forget ourselves,
Lord, so we may love you
more through others.
Amen.
St. Ignatius of Antioch,
Pray for us!