The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Monday, Week XXXIII, Year I in Ordinary Time, 15 November 2021
1 Maccabees 1:10-15, 41-43, 54-57,62-64 > + < Luke 18:35-43
Your words today, O God
our Father are so perfect
to what is happening exactly
in our country: politicians
busy entering into all kinds of
alliances just to have power
and control in the country.
What a pity, O Lord, that in
the name of politics and power,
they have forgotten all about
their dignity and honor, families
and the nation and ultimately,
you dear God.
The proposal was agreeable; some from among the people promptly went to the king, and he authorized them to introduce the way of living of the Gentiles. Thereupon they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem according to the Gentile custom. They covered over the mark of their circumcision and abandoned the holy covenant; they allied themselves with the Gentiles and sold themselves to wrongdoing.
1 Maccabees 1:12-15
Keep us faithful to you, Father
and to your ideals of justice,
mercy, and charity; let us choose
righteousness amid afflictions
and never give into the evil
ploys of the enemies for the
sake of convenience and power.
Let us imitate the blindman of
Jericho who persevered to get
near Jesus to be healed of his
blindness: we pray O God for
our politicians and most specially
voters blinded by power and
wealth, forgetting your laws
that value life and the human person.
The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Monday, Memorial of St. John Chrysostom, Bishop & Doctor of the Church, 13 September 2021
1 Timothy 2:1-8 ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]*> + ><]]]]'> Luke 7:1-10
Your words today, O God our Father
through St. Paul are so difficult,
so hard to accept:
Beloved: First of all, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity. This is good and pleasing to God our savior, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:1-4
You know very well
the kind of leaders and
people in authority that we have;
however, you know so well too
how they came to power through
our ignorance and/or arrogance.
Yes, Father, the fault is in us
and that is why we pray also
today that we may be gifted with
"holy hands that pray without
anger or argument" as St. Paul
Cleanse our hands through
your Son so we may imitate
the centurion in humility,
admitting before Jesus
that he is not worthy
to have him enter under his roof
that is why he never bothered
to come near him too; but,
with clean and holy hands,
he asked Jesus to only say the word
and his servant shall be healed
and it was granted him! (Lk.7:6-7)
Through the intercession of
St. John Chrysostom whom you
have gifted with "golden mouth"
to speak what is true
following long hours of prayer,
cleanse us of our sins so
we may pray to you with holy hands
and holy lips, without anger or argument
for our leaders.
Quiet Storm by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, 17 August 2021
We are almost done with the first week of our third lockdown with nine more days before it is either extended or modified depending on what jumbled letter combinations come out from the magic roulette in the Palace. Either way, hail to all couch potatoes for longer weeks in front of that magic screen!
Thanks for the gift of Netflix in keeping our sanity in this pandemic. And more thanks again Netflix in streaming more television shows lately especially coming from the Philippines.
Forget My Amanda that should have been called My Cars or My Abs or My Hair…
One series you should not miss before the end of this Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) is Bagman starring Arjo Atayde.
First released in 2019 as an original series in iWantTFC, Bagman is so unique as a Filipino series because of its fast-paced tempo of less than 30 minutes per episode without the usual Pinoy director’s penchance for intense close up shots on faces of the characters with nothing expected to happen at all.
Everything in the production is superb, especially cinematography and musical scoring as well location sets that are characteristically the hallmarks of every ABS-CBN film undertaking. In fact, Bagman is one perfect reason that ABS-CBN should get back its franchise to operate for helping elevate television and film in the country.
Unlike other socio-political movies where we already know how low and evil is politics in the country, Bagman challenges us for a more personal response in ending this vicious circle of corruption and decadence in our culture and life as a nation.
Kudos to its creators Philip Kind, Lino Cayetano and Shugo Praico who directed the two-season series we hope would still have a final sequel. Their great attention to details with subliminal meanings on the roles and manners of different characters make the viewers “experience” – not just watch – the series done in first-person storytelling with narrations by Atayde himself as a former barber becoming a bagman of the governor. Each episode opens with a disclaimer that it is a work of fiction based on realities we have heard and read.
At its best, Bagman can be described as “totoong-totoo” – very true with its great storyline with characters played out so well by every actor like a thespian, beginning with Atayde and his co-stars that included the resurrected former sex-goddess Ms. Rosanna Roces and former Bagets Ms. Yayo Aguida.
Personally striking for me as a former smoker and police reporter is Atayde puffing his cigarettes clipped between his middle and ring finger.
So classic, tsong!
They must really have a superb study for Atayde and even everyone, like Mr. Joel Saracho who played a supporting role in a few episodes as a former cobbler turned “assistant” of the evil congressman played by Romnick Sarmenta. A writer himself and a veteran to many great productions on stage and the movies, Saracho brought his usual finesse in the few scenes he was included with great impact.
Bagman teems with many scenes focused on marginalized people forced to make that desperate “kapit sa patalim” due to poverty and exploitation by crooks who come from both the rich and poor alike. Here lies the beauty of the series in teaching everyone without pontificating the need to always choose the right path in life, to be careful of getting stuck into a situation one can no longer get out and cost one’s life or loved ones, or both.
One unforgettable scene for me is that episode focused on Atayde’s father-in-law played by Rolando Inocencio as a Political Science professor telling his class the story how three congressmen died and were held at the gates of heaven by St. Peter for interview. The first two were sent to hell for their sins but the third lawmaker made into heaven after “bribing” St. Peter!
The whole class burst into laughter while Inocencio lamented in a very fatherly manner how deeply ingrained is corruption among us Filipinos until the bell rang and his class dismissed. In a later episode, Inocencio would ask their hostage-taker (Karl Medina) claiming to be his former student how did the third congressman get into heaven to check if he was indeed in his class at the university.
Medina would not give any reply at all to Inocencio who would again lament how every student of his would surely know the answer because he tells the same story in every class he handled. For me as a priest, the scenes that followed reverberated with voices, asking us teachers and educators what have we really done in forming the minds of the young in our schools and parishes when corruption is even getting worst?
Bagman is a timely reminder for us in this time of pandemic of rectifying the excesses of our “old normal way of life” that is so unfair and unjust that many clamor to bring back in theface of the “new normal” that is still far from what is just and true.
One downside for me with Bagman is the excessive use of foul language, one of the worst “new normal” introduced to our society four years before COVID-19 came. The series could have been more effective and compelling minus those p*@#&^_!
See it for yourself. Enjoy and reflect the series.
The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Saturday, Solemnity of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, 12 June 2021
2 Corithians 5:14-21 ><)))'> + <'(((>< Luke 2:41-51
Praise and glory to you, O God our loving Father for your immense love for us. Yesterday we celebrated the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus your Son who revealed to us the boundless love you have for us all as your beloved children.
But, such great is your love for us, God our Father, that today, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of your Son Jesus Christ who gave her to us to be our Mother too!
All for your love for us!
What a wonderful twin celebrations of your love for us which must also be the main reason, the very essence of everything in our existence. St. Paul expressed it so well in today’s first reading, “The love of Christ urges us” (Caritas Christi urget nos, 2Cor.5:14).
Love is the very reason, the only reason why you have created us, why you have saved us, why you have given us your Son, why he had given himself for us.
Forgive us when we refuse to accept and recognize, and most of all, when we refuse to share your great love for us with others.
Teach us to be like the Blessed Virgin Mary whose heart is so inflamed with great love to you and her Son Jesus Christ.
Open our hearts to welcome you always, Lord.
Dwell in our hearts, reign in our hearts, dear Jesus, so that we may work for peace, for reconciliation in ourselves with the Father, with our family and friends, and with our countrymen. Help us to heed these beautiful words of St. Paul today:
So we are ambassadors for Christ,
as if God were appealing through us.
We implore you on behalf of Christ,
be reconciled to God.
For our sake
he made him to be sin who did not know sin,
so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.
(2 Corinthians 5:20-21)
Like Mary, along with Joseph, may we always find our way back to God our Father when they decided to go back to Jerusalem to look for the missing child Jesus. And once found, may we imitate Mary who “kept all these things in her heart” (Lk.2:51). Surely, you must have told her many other things, Lord, but most of all, it was YOU whom she must have kept and treasured in her heart!
And that is why on this most crucial part of our history as the only Christian nation for 500 years in this part of the world deeply caught in all kinds of crises especially moral decadence in governance despite our celebration of 123 years of Independence from foreign rule, help us to consecrate our nation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary of the Blessed Virgin Mary so that your love Jesus Christ may impel us to never waver in our efforts for true reconciliation, for real transformation to be truly a people dedicated to God our Father. Amen.
The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Tuesday in the Third Week of Easter, 20 April 2021
Acts 7:51-8:1 <*(((>< + ><)))*> John 6:30-35
Praise and glory to you, O God our loving Father in heaven! Thank you in sending us your Son Jesus Christ our Bread of life who taught and showed us how to be a food ourselves to one another by giving and sharing our very selves in loving service especially in times of crisis like this pandemic.
Thank you very much for the grace and inspiration by the Holy Spirit for the people behind this movement fast spreading called “Community Pantry” teaching us to see one another as a brother and a sister who needs to be helped, that each can be of help to anyone in need.
So many times, in our search for food that perishes like wealth and power, we get more focused on “doing” than “being” and “becoming” like those people who have followed Jesus in Capernaum after being fed with bread and fish at the wilderness last week.
The crowd said to Jesus:
"What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you?
What can you do?"
Forgive us, Father, when until now we still ask the very same question to you and one another, “What can you do?” like the devil’s first temptation of Jesus in the wilderness, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread” (Lk.4:3).
Make us aware of this ploy of the devil to keep us doing everything, to claim everything as our work in order to forget you or even discredit you.
How sad that we are so concerned with doing than with being and becoming, forgetting the value of every person, asking more of “what you can do” than “who are you?” which is more essential because we are all from you, O God our Father, our image and likeness.
No wonder, we have become like the members of the Sanhedrin addressed by Christ’s first martyr, St. Stephen during his trial:
"You stiff-necked people,
uncircumcised in heart and ears,
you always oppose the Holy Spirit;
you are just like your ancestors."
We have never grown and matured in our relationships because we have refused to see each one’s worth as a person, measuring our value in what we can do than in who we really are as your beloved children. As a result, we continue to refuse surrendering ourselves to the Holy Spirit for you to do your work in us. Unfortunately, as we keep on doing everything, the results are always miserable. And the more we get into bigger mess in life.
Teach us, especially our leaders in government, to open their minds and their hearts to what your prophets are saying from the various sectors of the society, especially the masses involved in the Community Pantry movement.
May our government officials led by the President realize that ever since this pandemic started, what we have been saying has always been for the good of one another as brothers and sisters, valuing life above all, and not for any achievement nor fame at all that they are so intent on having.
How sad that the more government officials dare and insult people with what they can do, the more it becomes truer that they cannot do anything good at all. Amen.
The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Thursday in the Second Week of Easter, 15 April 2021
Acts 5:27-30 ><)))*> + ><)))*> + ><)))*> John 3:31-36
Your words today, O Lord, from the first reading invites me to examine my attitude when somebody or something reminds me of my sins and sinfulness. What a shame that too often, we are like the members of the Sanhedrin who refused to acknowledge their complicity in your crucifixion, much less even mention your name.
When they heard this,
they became infuriated
and wanted to put them to death.
Forgive us, Jesus, when our worldliness prevents us from seeing you and others, when we tend to see only ourselves that we do not care at all to others, thinking we have a monopoly of truths, of having so many excuses and alibis defending ourselves.
We pray most especially to our government officials led by the president himself who continues to see himself self-righteously, maligning his detractors and critics despite the many deaths and sufferings of the people especially the poor.
We pray for their blind supporters that you open their minds and hearts that “we must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29) as Peter had told the Sanhedrin during their trial.
Most of all, dear Jesus, only you has the power to cast away all evil and convert hearts: we pray for our leaders and their blind supporters to be reminded always that it is only you “who comes from above is above all” (Jn.3:31), that there is no other God except you!
How sad and tragic that while this pandemic is raging around the world, so many people, world leaders and nations are acting as if they are gods who are above all, doing everything that pleases them, unmindful of you and of others.
For so long, our government leaders have been “rationing God’s gift of the Spirit” (Jn.3:34), feeding us with half truths and worst until now, they have no definitive plan in containing the pandemic except quarantines that have severely affected the poor.
Like the psalmist, we trust only in you our Lord and our God.
The Lord confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them on the earth.
When the just cry out,
the Lord hears them,
and from all their distress
he rescues them.
40 Shades of Lent by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, 25 February 2021
Thursday, Week-I of Lent, 35th Anniversary of EDSA People Power Revolution
Esther C:12, 14-16, 23-25 ><)))*> + ><)))*> + ><)))*> Matthew 7:7-12
Late have I realized, God our Father and of history, that our much revered event/experience of the past, the EDSA People Power of 1986, happened during the Season of Lent. Was it because we were sincere in our prayers that the impossible happened on those days from February 22-25, 1986?
I believe so.
And that is why I pray again for our beloved country before EDSA is totally relegated to just dates in our poor memories or worst, as the most notorious symbol of everything wrong in us which is the highway where it all happened 35 years ago today.
In this Season of Lent as we celebrate another EDSA People Power Revolution Anniversary, teach us again how to pray.
First, to have that attitude of total surrender to you, O God, like when we faced tanks and soldiers in full battle gear holding flowers and rosary beads and images of Mary and the saints at EDSA.
Like Queen Esther in the first reading today, may we pray in total surrender and dependence on you.
Queen Esther, seized with mortal anguish, had recourse to the Lord. She lay prostrate upon the ground, together with her handmaids, from. morning until evening, and said: “God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, blessed are you. Help me, who am alone and have no help but you, for I am taking my life in my hand.”
Esther 12, 14-15
Most of all, teach us that in order to obtain whatever we may pray from you, let us ask only for what is good for us and for others like during those days at EDSA. So many times you neither hear nor grant our prayers because it is not good enough, for us and for others. Teach us to be good, to desire only what is good, for you are the only Good One.
“Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asks for fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.”
You know very well how most of us, the ordinary people who came there, simply wanted change in our country. You know so well we have neither lands nor money nor names to keep and safeguard. You know so well how most of us simply have you until today.
How sad some persons of power and influence took advantage of that and fooled us into believing they we were one with us in the ideals of EDSA. You also knew so well what were in their hearts then which they still keep to this day — self interests and greed for power, wealth, and fame.
Forgive us, Lord, in allowing them to prostitute EDSA.
Never again should it happen again.
Please show us again the way to regain its glory, its dreams and aspirations especially at this time we are at our lowest point in history as a nation. Send us selfless men and women willing to leave everything behind to you for the good of the nation.
Yes, Lord, “The Filipino is still, and always, worth dying for.”Amen.
The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Week XXIX-A in Ordinary Time, 18 October 2020
Isaiah 45:1, 4-6 ><)))*> + <*(((>< 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5 ><)))*> + <*(((>< Matthew 22:15-21
People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.
“I Like You Just Because” by Albert J. Nimeth, OFM
We live in a world with so many divisions of our own making. Most of the time we are divided on the things we possess not only of things like properties and borders, inheritance, and toys but also of persons like in child custody and “trading” players in sports! So many times these divisions have caused harm and destruction among us as nations and as individuals.
Sad to say, these divisions come from within us in our hearts where we always try to divide our lives between God and our very selves, especially in the realm of religion and civic life.
The Pharisees went off and plotted how they might entrap Jesus in speech. They sent their disciples to him, with the Herodians, saying, “Tell us, then, what is your opinion: Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?”
Matthew 22:15-16, 17
When our possessions possess us.
Today and next Sunday, Jesus is confronted by his enemies who have increased their efforts in finding faults against him in his speech to charge him with serious cases and get rid of him; but, more than dispatching his enemies with his brilliant answers to their question, Jesus brought to the fore the real score of the great divide within us.
In our gospel scene today, we can see clearly how divided within were the enemies of Jesus like the Pharisees and Herodians who joined forces to put Jesus down despite their being poles apart in their beliefs: the former who were against the Romans taking control in Israel while the latter were members of a faction supportive of the occupying forces.
As they sought the Lord’s opinion on the perceived deep divisions many still believe to exist up to this day between “Caesar” and God, Jesus brought to the open how divided inside were his enemies after all —- just like us today when we have been possessed by our very own possessions!
Knowing their malice, Jesus said, “Why are you testing me, you hypocrites? Show me the coin that pays the census tax.” Then they handed handed him the Roman coin. He said to them, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?” They replied, “Caesar’s.” At that he said to them, “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”
Jesus is not proposing a compromise in his answer but rather trying to heal the false divisions we have created inside us.
Aside from the silly alliance of the Pharisees and Herodians, Jesus bared how divided within they have always been when they gave him a coin used to pay taxes to the Caesar that has an image of the emperor and the inscription that says “son of god” – something that was clearly against the First Commandment of God that in fact, they should have not been carrying at all when in the temple area!
They have been divided inside because they have been possessed by their possessions like money. In telling them, and us today, to “repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar”, Jesus reminds us that what belongs to Caesar are inanimate objects that are external to the heart of things. When a young man asked Jesus one day to tell his brother to give him his share of inheritance, the Lord stressed that he had not come to settle our disputes about money and properties (Lk.12:13). Today, Jesus is telling us that it is our responsibility and not for him to decide for us how to settle our political and other problems.
Our undivided hearts are God’s alone.
Jesus clearly points out that what belongs to God is our whole selves, our whole hearts undivided by pride, hypocrisy, and selfishness. While we must give back to Caesar what is due them as further taught by St. Paul and St. Peter in their letters to the early Christians, Jesus directly tells us that our duties to God bind all, everywhere and all the time.
Unlike the image of the Caesar found on coins, we are stamped with the image and likeness of God who created us out of his immense love. It is our duty and moral obligation to always ensure that this image of God in us is never destroyed and always upheld.
Here falls the sensitive – and false issue of “separation of Church and state” in our time like the payment of Roman tax raised by the Pharisees and Herodians. Nowhere does the concept forbid us priests nor the Church as an institution not to speak out when the very image of God is destroyed among men and women with injustice, violence and abject poverty.
What the separation of Church and state forbids is the support and endorsement of a state religion; in a sense, it promotes more harmony and unity among government and religions in their exercise of their true freedom among peoples.
Even God himself works within our own settings in this world to fulfill his plans for us. Trust him because everything works best for those who have believe wholly in God.
In the first reading from the prophet Isaiah we find the most amusing bit of history of how God had used a pagan ruler, Cyrus the king of Persia or Iran today to become his anointed savior or messiah of Israel then in their Babylonian exile. Imagine how God used an outsider, an unbeliever to free his chosen people from one of their darkest moments in history to show us that God is the master of history because everything is his.
May we heed St. Paul’s words to the Thessalonians and to us today to never doubt it was God in Jesus Christ who called us out of darkness and sin to be his new chosen people. Everything in our lives specially in our ministries and apostolate are the initiatives of God – may our hearts be undivided in giving him back everything through Jesus Christ, our life and meaning. Amen.
Lawiswis Ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-24 ng Agosto 2020
Ang sabi nila
buhay ay parang isang pelikula
tayong lahat ang bida at artista;
kaya lalo nang malaking pelikula
at tiyak patok sa takilya
pelikula ng ating republika!
Siyempre, lahat ay pabida
hindi lang sa Palasyo at Kongreso
pati na rin sa mga paseo basta matao.
Ang nakakatawa pero bumebenta
lalo na sa mga tanga
mga artista nagpipilit sa pulitika
mga pulitiko umaarte, nagpapabebe!
Dating pelikula ng ating republika
makasaysayan at makahulugan
maituturing na isang sining
nababanaagan maningning na liwanag
katulad din ng pinilakang tabing
kapupulutan ng mga ginintuang aral
mga talastasan at eksena
mula sa mga aninong gumagalaw;
nang magdeklara ng Martial Law
nagsimula rin ang kasalaulaan
ng pamahalaan maging sa sinehan
kung saan mga hubad na katawan
pinagpipistahan, kunwari'y film festival
ang totoo ay karnabal.
Nagwakas din at nagsara ang tabing
ng malagim na yugto ng kasaysayan natin
bagong simula ang dokyu ng EDSA
kinalaunan naging trahedya
pelikula ng republika, naging telenovela at komedya
nang maupo tunay na artista ng masa,
nagreyna sa media at chika
puro artista, kaya dumagsa na rin sila
naging zarzuela pelikula ng ating republika
naglabo-labo at moro-moro, gumulo nang gumulo
kaya heto tayo horror na nakakatakot
at kasamaang bumabalot parang bangungot
hugot sa isang eksena ng pelikula na sana'y matapos na.
Ngunit kung titingnan
mga pelikulang horror walang laman
puro kabobohan at katangahan
dinaraan lang sa gulatan
hanggang maging katatawanan.
Hindi ba't ganyang-ganyan
ating lipunan at pamahalaan
isang malaking pelikulang katatakutan
na puro kabalastugan at kahangalan?
Kaya aking payong kaibigan,
sa susunod na halalan
tanggihan, huwag nang pagbigyan
mga artista sa pulitika,
mga pulitiko na payaso!
Together with the psalmist today I sing to you, O God our Father: “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love is everlasting.”
Yes, O Lord, your love is everlasting, your fidelity is so true and whatever that is good for us, there is no stopping you from doing it because of your love for us.
Thank you for fulfilling this promise you made to Ezekiel your prophet in the Old Testament:
Thus says the Lord God: O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them, and bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and have you rise from them, O my people! I will put my spirit in you that you may live, and I will settle you upon your land; thus you shall know that I am the Lord.
Through the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus your Son, you have indeed opened our graves and put your spirit upon us for we have been dead to sin but now raised to life in Christ.
Unfortunately, many of us have turned into spiritual “zombies” by being dead to sin again – lifeless and therefore loveless!
Revive your Spirit in us, O God, the spirit of love that Jesus poured on us.
Let us love you beyond words and letters of your laws but in flesh and blood by being loving to our brothers and sisters, in loving you by loving others.
May we continue the work of St. Pius X whose papal motto was “Renew all things in Christ” by returning to you in Jesus through the Blessed Sacrament and the Holy Eucharist.
St. Pius X came at a crucial stage in Church history in the early 1900’s when the world was experiencing great changes and revolutions not only in many nations but most especially in the thinking and outlook of people of his time — exactly like today, Lord.
May we restore all things in you, Lord Jesus by awakening in us anew the basic spirit of love through kindness and generosity to one another specially in this time of the pandemic.
We also remember today the assassination of Benigno S. Aquino Jr. who had offered us his life because he believed we “Filipinos are worth dying for.”
As our nation slid back to darkness these past decade, help us, O Lord, to rise again, to be filled with life and love for one another, for our nation and our future generation by being selfless and honorable before one’s self, others, and you. Amen.