Friends in Christ

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday in the Fifth Week of Easter, 12 May 2023
Acts 15:22-31   ><)))*> + ><)))*> + ><)))*>   John 15:12-17
Photo by author, Chapel of the Holy Family, Sacred Heart Novitiate, Novaliches, Quezon City, 2016.
As we come to close the week,
I tried reimagining your last supper,
that Holy Thursday before you were
betrayed, arrested and tried 
then sentenced to death 
the following Good Friday;
also known as Maundy Thursday
from the Latin word "mandatum, mandatus"
which is "commandment" because
it was on that evening you gave us 
your only commandment.

Jesus said to his disciples: “This is my commandment: love one an other as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.”

John 15:12-15
Oh sweet Jesus!
Earlier after washing 
your disciples' feet that evening,
you told them you were their
Lord and Master 
even if you acted like their 
slave in washing their feet;
but still in that scene came 
these words, you calling them
and us --- as friends with whom
you have revealed everything
from the Father, and most of all, 
friends for whom you offered
your very life for our salvation!
That evening, you have shown us,
dear Jesus, that love is our destiny;
to love like you is more than obeying
your commandment to love but 
becoming like you who is love himself!
Is it not that is the goal of every love,
to become like the beloved?
You first showed us how is that possible
when you as the Son of God became human
like us, your beloved so that
we may become like you,
holy, our beloved.
Let us grow in that wonderful friendship
only you can offer us;
may we not be like those some early
Christians who insisted on imposing
their beliefs on others;
let us learn that to truly love like you
is to think less of ourselves,
of our beliefs
in order to see your face on
others not like us
so that we start becoming
like you, Jesus our beloved
found in others;
teach us, Jesus, 
to be a friend 
to others especially
those in the margins
who for the longest
time have been looking 
at us from afar,
hoping they could be
like us too -
"upwardly mobile",
with access to education,
to clean water
and decent home.

Wash and cleanse
our eyes, Lord, 
so we could also see
others wishing to be
your friends too
in us.
From Google.

The companionship of Christ

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Third Sunday in Easter, 22 April 2023
Acts 2:14, 22-33 ><)))*> 1 Peter 1:17-21 ><)))*> Luke 24:13-35
The Road to Emmaus” painting by American Daniel Bonnell from

As I have been telling you, the beauty and joy of Easter is in its “nothingness” like the empty tomb of Jesus and its “darkness” found in the setting of the Lord’s appearances. We have found these in the past two Sundays when Jesus appeared to the Twelve “on the evening of the third day” and “eight days later” amid locked doors.

This Sunday is very different. It is the story of two disciples going back home to Emmaus whom St. Luke did not identify except the one named Cleopas. There is still the setting of darkness as it happened at sunset to early evening while news of the empty tomb was still trending amid reports Jesus had appeared to some women but still nowhere to be seen. But this time, darkness is more evident inside the two disciples walking away from Jerusalem – sad, disappointed and frustrated, forlorn.

Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?” They stopped, looking downcast.

Luke 24:13-17

Did you feel the sadness of the two disciples? Today, Jesus assures us of his companionship especially when we are in a “perfect storm”, when everyone and everything are against us, when it is all darkness within us, when we are at our lowest low awaiting for the next worst thing that could happen to us.

It is during these times we think of quitting, of just going home, going back where we have been before, abandoning everything because it seems better to start all over again as everyone/everything have been lost. There need not be tragedies in life for these to happen. Many times it could be when we are in the midst of grave sins or even with our most common sins repeated over and over like venial sins. We feel discouraged, even depressed we could not see any sense at all in going back to God in prayers and the sacraments especially the Holy Eucharist. Those moments we tell ourselves and everyone, “para que?” or “para saan pa?” that we would go back to God, our Jerusalem.

Like the two disciples, we have become so nega that as we walk to the opposite direction in life, we fail to notice Jesus accompanying us, making sakay (ride on) with our trip, just listening to our woes and complaints, stories of sins and failures, pains and hurts, disappointments and frustrations.

Here we find Jesus our only true friend who allows us to be our truest self, even our worst self. He walks with us not only in darkness but in the opposite direction, waiting for the prefect timing to gently bring us back to the right path to Jerusalem. And sometimes, he does it with a splash of humor like when he told the two disciples “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that prophets spoke!” (Jn. 21:25).

Many times, we fail to bring back to God and to the right path our lost family and friends because we lack the compassion and gentleness of Jesus. Very often, fail because we react than act like Jesus who’s companionship and compassion opened the hearts of the two disciples: it was only after they have unloaded their burdens when Jesus loaded them or filled them with his words and eventually with his very presence at the breaking of the bread.

“Supper at Emmaus” by renowned painter Caravaggio from See the emotion depicted by Caravaggio with his trademark of masterful play of light and shadows. At the center is the Risen Lord blessing the bread that caught the two disciples who are seated in disbelief, one outstretching his arms and the others pushing back in his chair. The third character in the painting is the innkeeper unaware of the significance of the gesture of Jesus. It was at this instance that the two disciples recognized Christ as the traveling man with them to Emmaus.

Human transformation happens only in Christ, with Christ and through Christ in the Eucharist where we also experience a reversal of roles in our relationships with God and with others. Notice how the attitudes and perspectives of the two disciples changed when Jesus broke the bread. Remember it was the two disciples who invited Jesus inside to stay because it was getting dark, hosting a meal for him as their guest but that changed at the table: the two disciples ended up as guests of Jesus who merely joined them in their journey!

And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?” So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

John 21:30-35

One thing I have found in life these past 25 years as a priest is that we can only realize and understand, even see the clearer and bigger picture of our life later after so many years of series of trials and tribulations, joys and celebrations. And often, what we see is the Lord, the companionship of Jesus Christ even in those times we were in sin and away from him. St. Peter said it so well in the second reading that we are in a “sojourning, realizing that you were ransomed from your futile conduct with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Pt. 1:17, 18, 19).

Photo by author, Sacred Heart Novitiate, Novaliches, QC, 20 March 2023.

Many times in life we feel as if we are really the captain of our ship, we direct everything, we control everything but it is actually Jesus. There is always Christ our companion in this journey of life, our true host and we are his guests who shared himself with us on the Cross so we can share in the mystery and victory of his Resurrection. In being one with us in our brokenness, Jesus immediately vanishes the moment we recognize him so we may keep on following him by changing course and direction in our lives.

In this time when people have lost interests in the Church, the Sacraments especially the Holy Eucharist, and the Scriptures along with prayers and devotions, we who are inside the church especially us priests are reminded of this important truth by Jesus, that he is the one in command, he is our host. We only share him in our co-journeyers in life, he is the one who opens our eyes, the one who effects transformation and changes within us. Not us.

Are we one with Jesus, especially in the Eucharist we manipulate so much with our many rituals and acts not necessary? See that the more we manipulate the Mass and other devotions, the more Christ disappears and persons especially priests become the focus.

In Emmaus, Jesus walked with the two disciples going the opposite direction to lead them back and never the other way around as it happens when we priests and volunteers are the ones who mislead people away from Jesus with our lack of warmth and charity for people like the unchurched.

Jesus is truest in the Eucharist when we touch people literally with our hands, when we get our hands dirty in taking care of the sick and needy, when we are truly present with them especially in their griefs, emptiness and sinfulness. That is when they experience, not just know that Jesus is real and true in the Eucharist when they first experience him in us his disciples, in our companionship and compassion with those suffering.

Nobody is perfect. As St. Peter had noted in the first reading, we are all responsible for the suffering and death of Jesus with our sinfulness; however, God’s love for us is far greater than our sins so that in our darkness and emptiness, we are able to see and have fulfillment in Jesus his Son. Amen. Have a blessed week!

Photo by author, Sacred Heart Novitiate, Novaliches, QC, 20 March 2023.

Ang “isa pang Maria”

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-13 ng Abril 2023
Larawan ng painting ni American painter Henry Osawa Tanner, “The Three Marys” (1910) mula sa
ang mga ebanghelista 
sa paglalahad 
ng mga kababaihang naiwan,
sinamahan si Jesus sa Krus
hanggang sa kanyang kamatayan;
tatlo sa kanila ating nakikilala
na sina Maria na Ina ni Jesus,
Maria Magdalena at 
Maria asawa ni Clopas.

Subalit, sino 
iyong "isa pang Maria"
na binabanggit sa ebanghelyo
ni San Mateo na kasama
ni Maria Magdalena
"nakaupo sa tapat ng
libingan" ni Jesus (Mateo 27:61)
na hindi naman niya kinilala
nakatayo rin sa paanan
ng Krus?

Kataka-taka sino nga ba
itong kasama ni Maria Magdalena
"Makaraan ang Araw ng Pamamahinga,
ng unang araw ng sanlinggo, 
pumunta sa libingan ni Jesus 
si Maria Magdalena
at isa pang Maria" (Mateo 28:1)
na unang pinagpakitaan
ng Panginoong muling nabuhay?
Hindi na natin malalaman
tunay niyang pangalan
maliban sa "isa pang Maria"
na hindi kasing tanyag
 ni Magdalena,
 ni walang nakakakilala
ni pumapansin
bagama't matitiyak natin
hindi siya mahuhuli
 pagbibigay ng kanyang sarili
bilang tapat na alagad
ng ating Panginoon din!
Bawat isa sa atin
katulad ni Maria Magdalena,
dapat ipagpasalamat
 kasama at kaibigan
maituturing din na
  "isa pang Maria" - 
tahimik at walang kibo
subalit buo ang loob
tayong sinasamahan
saanmang kadiliman
basta patungo kay Kristo
na kapwa nating sinusundan!
Larawan ng painting ni French painter James Tissot ng “The Two Marys Watch the Tomb” (1894) mula sa

Our sins, our relationships

Quiet Storm by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
The Seven Last Words, 01 April 2023
Photo by author, Chapel of the Holy Family, Sacred Heart Novitiate, Novaliches, Quezon City, 2014.

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”

Luke 23:33-34

Such is “the breadth, and length, and depth, and height of Christ’s love for us all” (Eph. 3:18-19) that right upon His crucifixion, Jesus begged God for our forgiveness. And that was not only for those who nailed Him on the cross on that Good Friday but also for us today who continue to crucify Him whenever we destroy our relationships.

In the Jewish thought, “to know” is not just of the mind but of the heart because to know is to have or enter into a relationship with others. Hence, Jesus begged first for our forgiveness when crucified because if there is something we must “know” above all is the fact that we are brothers and sisters in Him, one family in God our Father.

Every time there is a breakdown in our relationships, when we destroy our ties with one another, that is when we sin and know not what we do. And crucify Jesus anew.

We sin and know not what we do when we hurt those dearest to us – our mom and dad, sisters and brothers, relatives and friends – when we speak harsh words to them, calling them names, denigrating their persons as things.

We sin and know not what we do when we betray the trust of those with whom we promised to love forever, keep their secrets and protect them like your husband or wife, your children, your BFF, your student, your ward.

We sin and know not what we do when we lose hope in persons around us, choosing to do them evil because we thought they could no longer change for better, that they could never learn and overcome life’s pains and tragedies, that they could no longer get well from an illness or, sadly, because they are old and dying.

We sin and know not what we do when we cheat on those true to us, when we hide from those open to us, when we back stab those who believe and support us.

We sin and know not what we do when we abuse and use those people we are supposed to serve and protect, when we regard persons as objects to be possessed even if we do not know them personally.

Is there anyone whom you might have hurt in words or in deeds which you might not be aware of?

Who are the people who cause you pains and sufferings, who do not know what they are doing?

Let us pray:

Lord Jesus Christ,
I am sorry in crucifying You again,
when I know not what I am doing
like hurting the people You give and send me
to experience your love and mercy,
your trust and confidence
your kindness and fidelity;
I pray also for those who make me
suffer physically and emotionally,
those who do not know what they are doing;
help us build again 
our many broken relationships;
make us humble and true;
let us believe in Your love
expressed by our family and friends
and by everyone who cares for us.
Photo above is a sculpture called “Love” by Ukrainian artist Alexander Milov he created in 2015 showing two adults after a disagreement sitting with their back to each other while their inner child in both of them wanting to connect. A beautiful expression of how we are all interconnected and related as brothers and sisters. This Holy Week, let us mend and heal our broken relationships, let the inner child within us come out and simply say “I am sorry” or “I forgive you” and most especially, “I love you”. Photo from See also our blog,

The basis of our relationships

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Tuesday in the Thirtieth Week of Ordinary Time, Year II, 25 October 2022
Ephesians 5:21-33   ><000'> + ><000'> +><000'>   Luke 13:18-21
Photo of my altar in my room taken in 2021.
Praise and glory to you,
O Lord Jesus Christ!
Thank you for coming,
for dying and rising for us,
in being the sole basis of
all of our relationships;
so many times, 
we forget this grace
you have given us,
not realizing this great 
"mystery" of your loving
presence in us and among us.

Brothers and sisters: Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church and handed himself over for her… This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the Church. In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband.

Ephesians 5:21-22, 25, 32-33
Your words today,
O Lord through St. Paul
are not only meant for
married couples 
but for everyone
who believes in you,
who follows you,
and loves you - 
that to be a Christian
means to see everyone
as a brother and sister
in you, Jesus the Christ.

How sad that some
couples today even try
to disregard and tone down
the real meaning of this
admonitions by St. Paul,
devising their own kind
and meaning of marriage
and relationships that 
disregard its giftedness
and holiness, of being
open to life, literally
and figuratively speaking.
May we keep in mind 
your beautiful lesson of the
Kingdom of God 
that may be compared to
a mustard seed or yeast
mixed with flour, of how
everything in you and about 
you Jesus begins small; 
open our minds and our hearts 
to your divine realities that
always begin and happen
in little things like simple
gestures of kindness and
goodwill to others,
so ordinary, so hidden yet
so wonderful as it could grow 
and blossom into great relationships
if we could just find and
recognize you on the
face of everyone we meet,
especially on the people
you send us always.

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"
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.
St. Ignatius of Antioch,
Pray for us!

That most sweet 4-letter word, “Dear”

Quiet Storm by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, 02 August 2022
Photo from

Two amusing anecdotes happened with me recently that reminded me of this four-letter word rarely used these days that is so powerful yet very endearing and lovely, and so touching too. It is the word dear we often use in writing letters, at least for my fellow 57 year-olds and above.

Let’s begin with the more recent incident that happened yesterday when I went walking again after a one week break due to toxic schedules. I felt funny walking yesterday while stretching my arms and moving my head with everyone asking me what have happened that I was absent for so long. When I returned to the parish for a break, I met our Rector Fr. Elmer and told him to write me an “excuse letter” that says, “Dear Everyone: Please excuse Fr. Nick for not being able to walk last week due to pastoral reasons” which I would show whoever would ask me again of my long absence.

Photo by Eva Bronzini on

That was how I remembered – while still walking – something so stupid when I was in grade 3 after I had asked my dad to write me an excuse letter to my teacher after being absent due to a fever. Despite my failing memory at times, I vividly remembered yesterday that scene of how my dad took his yellow pad and removed the blue cap of his Bic Orange FINE BILLE CARBURE ball pen to write my excuse letter in just a minute which he asked me to read aloud.

That’s when problem arose: I protested to my dad why he wrote the word “Dear” in addressing my teacher!

Hindi ko malaman kung anong katangahan o kalokohan pumasok isip ko nung umagang iyon at hindi ko ma-take sinulatan ng daddy ko yung Grade 3 adviser namin ng “Dear Ms. Legaspi”? Kasi, akala ko noon yung “dear” ay para lang sa asawa at kasintahan. Akala ko nanliligaw daddy ko kay ma’am… Gara ano?

My dad, who has always been so cool, simply took off his glasses, grinned at me, impishly smiled and explained that “dear” was the standard salutation in letters. But I was adamantly holding on to my conviction that “dear” had romantic undertones that should not be used in writing excuse letters as I remained seated on our sofa, not touching my excuse letter and making face until my mom came to explain things to me, assuring me that it was ok with her for my dad to write my teacher with “Dear”.

Corny? Weird?

Yes, I am both corny and weird but as I matured – getting more corny and more weird than ever – I have come to keep that love affair with the word “dear” so alive and well with me. I use it to address not only friends and relatives, colleagues and acquaintances, but most especially God in my daily prayer blogs as I have learned that it expresses a special kinship, a special relationship that is so honorable and dignified.

Maybe it is no coincidence that dear is also a synonym for expensive, a direct opposite of cheap. It is very interesting that in Filipino, the words dear and expensive are translated as “mahal”, the opposite of cheap or “mura”. Mahal is love. From mahal comes mahalaga, equivalent to English as valuable and important. Things that are dear and expensive are always valuable.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

The same is true when you address anyone with the salutation “Dear” – he or she is loved and valued with respect and honor.

Maybe, one reason we have lost the art of letter writing is not just due to computers and text messages but because we no longer value persons that much unlike before. There is something so special, so touching inside when one receives a letter or a card or even a postcard that makes you feel so good inside because you were thought of, remembered and cared for.

Gladden the heart of someone today by writing him/her with a short note saying hi or anything by starting with the word “Dear”. Try it. It feels good too to the letter writer.

Now, the very first incident that reminded me of the word “dear” happened the other Monday afternoon when I was called to our hospital for an Anointing of the Sick by the family of a patient who was transferred from the ICU to a regular room. Actually, I have visited the patient that Sunday before at the ICU, anointed him with Holy Oil and even gave communion to his family.

Photo by Daan Stevens on

When I arrived at the hospital room and saw again the wife seated on a wheelchair, crying like when I saw her at the ICU a day earlier, I realized it was not really the patient who needed me but his wife who could not accept the hard truth her husband was dying. So, I asked the other family members to leave the room as I counseled the wife to let go of her husband, to speak to him and tell him how much she loved him, not to worry about her, and most of all, to forgive him and say sorry as well for her sins to him.

The patient was 80 years old, so thin and pale, dependent on life-support system while the wife was 78 years-old who could barely walk except for very short distances. After a while of crying, the wife told me she was ready to speak to her husband to tell him those words we have rehearsed: “I love you”, “I forgive you”, “I am sorry” and “I now give you to Jesus, go and don’t worry about me.”

While assisting her to the bedside of her husband, I asked her how they called each other and, before answering me, she bowed her head, wiped her nose, and softly said, “dear”.

“Ah, dear po pala tawagan ninyo” as I led her closer to him.

Please forgive me… when I heard the woman told me how they called each other as “dear”, I felt the mischievous child in me giggling, so tickled with joy as I heard the woman almost whispering to her husband, “Dear… I love you”, “Dear…I forgive you for your sins against me”, “Dear… I give you back to God. I’m ok now.” What a kilig moment!

I felt like in a movie with two elderly couples together, the husband at the threshold of eternity with his loving wife calling him perhaps for the last time as “dear”. What a precious moment indeed when the patient responded by opening his eyes, making me wonder how he would say the word “dear” to his wife too!

The following day, the patient died peacefully. Most likely, after hearing again that lovely and assuring word, “Dear” by his wife. How I felt so dearly loved and blessed by God in answering his call to counsel the wife and return to anoint the man with Holy Oil for his final journey back home.

Thank you, my dear friends for bearing with me! Have a blessed, dearly loved week!

Photo by Mr. Chester Ocampo, springtime in Japan, 2017.

Jesus as friend and family

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday, Memorial of Sts. Mary, Martha, & Lazarus, 29 July 2022
Jeremiah 26:1-9   ><}}}}*> + ><}}}}*> + ><}}}}*>   John 11:19-27
An icon of Jesus visiting his friends, the siblings Sts. Lazarus, Mary and Martha. Photo from
Glory and praise to you,
O Lord Jesus Christ who 
had come to us not just a 
family but most especially
as a friend you have stressed
during the Last Supper 
(cf. Jn.15:14-15).
And even before that evening
of Holy Thursday came, you have
been a friend to the siblings 
Mary, Martha and Lazarus so 
dear to you, visiting them often,
sharing not only in their meals but
in their lives and death, joys and
pains; what a beautiful imagery 
not only of friendship but of the
neglected ties that bind brothers
and sisters in this time when
family is being destroyed 
by new emerging thoughts
and ways of life.
In this time of the pandemic
you know how, dear Jesus,
we have finally come together 
as families free from all excuses 
of work and studies, of being far and away; 
but sadly, many have ignored and missed
the opportunities to bond together
and mend many gaps long festering
among siblings; instead of fighting and 
rivalries, may brothers and sisters
in every family emulate the love and 
respect among Saints Martha, Lazarus and Mary. 
We pray for all siblings to gather anew
as one family in prayers before you, Lord, 
like Saints Martha, Lazarus and Mary;
help them create a space anew for God in our
lives, the surest bond among us despite 
our many differences as we open our ears 
and hearts like St. Mary to your words,
to heed and fulfill them unlike the people 
of Judah who cursed your prophet Jeremiah 
when he spoke to them
of the truth.
“The Raising of Lazarus”, 1311 painting by Duccio de Buoninsegna from
Most of all, give us the grace
to be the presence of Jesus Christ
when our siblings are sick and burdened 
with all kinds of sufferings and miseries 
like Martha and Mary present to each other
awaiting Christ’s coming after Lazarus had died:
Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died."  Jesus told her,
"I am the resurrection and the life; whoever
believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
and everyone who lives and believes in me
will never die.  Do you believe this?" (John 11:21, 25-26)
Like St. Martha, and most likely
her siblings, too, St. Lazarus
and St. Mary who may not have
understood fully your words and teachings,
keep us open to your coming,
to your visits, sweet Jesus;
make our hearts like theirs
filled with warmth and hospitality
to let you stay and reign inside us;
most of all, like the three holy siblings
let us share with others the gift of kindness,
of being a kin to everyone in you, with you.  Amen.