Jesus and our Vote

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday in the Third Week of Easter, 06 May 2022
Acts 9:1-20   ><))))*> + <*((((><   John 6:52-59
Photo by author, Puerto del Sol, Bolinao, Pangasinan, 19 April 2022.
Our readings today,
O God our Father, 
are very much alike with
our situation these days:
so many tensions, so many
quarrels among friends and
families due to elections on
Monday.

Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the 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.

Acts 9:1-2

The Jews quarreled among themselves…

John 6:52
Only Jesus Christ your Son,
our Lord can dispel all these 
negative feelings and disharmony
if we can be humble like Paul and 
Ananias who prayed over him;
"level up" our thoughts to higher
realities in life, in spirituality so
that we may realize the inner truth
and beauty of Jesus our bread of life;
how sad that in this highly advanced
age and time, we can "shift" our 
thoughts to higher levels or 
advanced stages in terms of material
things only like garnering most scores
or sales or followers and other numbers
that rarely speak about realities in life.
In this final stretch of the campaign
period, remind us anew like Paul that
we are all brothers and sisters in Christ,
that whatever we do to one another,
we do exactly to you, dear Jesus;
open our minds and hearts to listen
to your voice, Lord Jesus Christ
on whom to vote this Monday based
on your teachings of love and truth.
Amen.

Lent is for uniting

40 Shades of Lent by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Thursday in the Third Week of Lent, 24 March 2022
Jeremiah 7:23-28   <*(((>< + ><)))*>   Luke 11:14-23
Photo by author, 11 March 2022.
Bless us, dear God our Father
this Lent which happens to be
the campaign period for our
coming elections in May, a day
of deliverance towards true 
freedom and democracy, 
most of all, political maturity
if we choose rightly.
But, I have long felt so saddened
at how this election campaign has
been going on, pushing aside the
beautiful and rich and meaningful
lessons of Lent:  we have not only 
forgotten that we are in a 40-day journey
in you and to you with Jesus Christ
but we have forgotten to listen to 
your voice.

This is the nation that does not listen to the voice of the Lord, its God, or take correction. Faithfulness has disappeared; the word itself is banished from their speech.

Jeremiah 7:28
Awake us, O Lord,
before we perish and lost again:
many among us in the Church
have taken side with candidates
pretending to take side with 
truth and with you; many among
us have drag your holy name
in the pulpit, trying to be modern 
prophets when our lives are not
prophetic at all, when we have forgotten
to tend the sick and poor among your flock,
when we smell more like politicians we
rub elbows so often than smell like
your sheep; worst of all, O God, is how
we hurl harsh words, spewing them like
an erupting volcano when deep within
us are all the dirt and sins 
we have refused to face and clean 
amid our many double standards.
How easy, indeed, for us to find
the devil, the power of Beelzebul
present in our society specially in 
politics without seeing more 
and presenting more your Son,
Jesus Christ to everyone that too often,
we scatter than unite; teach us to
speak and act more to unite your
people than divide them.  Amen.

Praying for EDSA ’86

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday, 36th Anniversary of the EDSA People Power, 25 February 2022
James 5:9-12   ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'>   Mark 10:1-12   
Photo by Roger Buendia/Presidential Museum and Library via esquiremag.ph.
Forgive me, Lord,
a veteran of EDSA 1986
for having lost these past
years the joy and fervor in
celebrating your miracle at
the world's first 
"People Power Revolution";
I really had no plans of praying today
so as not to remember the 
February Revolution of 1986
because I have always felt 
betrayed by our so-called
"EDSA heroes" who turned out
to be modern Judas Iscariots 
who have used us for
their personal interests and 
prostituted the People Power Revolution.
I have long felt within this pain, this anger,
frustration and disappointment at
how our supposed leaders 
have wasted the victory and 
most importantly, the lessons of 
EDSA '86; oh how my stomach 
burns in acid, making me belch
and throw up whenever I would 
see or remember those traitors, Lord! 
Photo from en.wikipedia.org.
But, as I prayed today and see
our nation's precarious situation,
I felt ashamed, Jesus, at how I have
acted like Judas Iscariot,
not so much in betraying EDSA '86
in some ways too
but in losing hope in you,
the giver of that precious gift of
freedom and democracy
now under threat again from the
same people who enslaved us,
aided by these traitors.

Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another, that you may not be judged. Indeed, we call blessed those who have persevered… let your “Yes” mean “Yes” and your “No” mean “No,” that you may not incur condemnation.

James 5:9, 11, 12b
Take our hearts so
hardened with bitterness,
frustrations and disappointments;
and yes, also of personal desires
not met after 1986 and give us
natural hearts that beat with
firm faith, fervent hope
and unceasing charity and love
for you and our Motherland.
EDSA is not just a clogged
highway of vehicles;
EDSA was first of all a sea
of humanity who have banded
together to stand for what is true,
for freedom and democracy
all meant to bring back each
person's dignity, created in your
image and likeness.
You are the God of history, Lord,
bring us back to the spirit
 and ideals of EDSA '86
 to claim again its grace
and promise of a matured nation
you have gathered and joined
together to become one
in Jesus your Son with his Blessed
Mother Mary who is our Mother too.
Amen.
From Pinterest.

Salamin, sabihin sa akin

Lawiswis Ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-14 ng Pebrero 2022
Larawan kuha ni Jenna Hamra sa Pexels.com
Salamin, 
salamin sa dingding
sabihin sa akin at
ipakita rin
mga puwing 
na hindi ko pansin
ni ayaw kilalanin
ni tanggapin!
Ayoko sanang sabihin
ngunit ito binubulong
ng aking damdamin:
paano nga ba tayo humantong
at ganito ating narating
sa tuwing halalan darating
nagpapanting mga tainga natin
sa mga usaping alam na natin?
Paulit-ulit pinag-uusapan
walang kinahihinatnan
pagkatapos ng halalan
kaya paulit-ulit na lamang
walang katapusang 
mga pangakong binibitiwan
nakakalimutan, pinababayaan
pasan ng taong-bayan, di maibsan.
Tingnan nga natin
at suriin ang sarili
kung atin ding sinasalamin
magagandang adhikain
o mga paratang at
pambabatikos natin
dahil kung tutuusin
ang pamahalaan ay larawan natin.
Larawan kuha ni STANLEY NGUMA sa Pexels.com
Galit tayo sa mga sinungaling
dahil tunay nga sila'y magnanakaw rin;
nguni't paanong naaatim
ng marami sa atin araw-araw
magsinungaling sa kapwa
lalo na't nagtitiwala sa atin
maging Panginoong Diyos
pinagtataksilan natin?
Paanong diringgin
panawagan ng nagmamalinis
gayong batid kanilang
mga bahid na dungis
kaban ng simbahan
pinakialaman
para sa sariling kaluguran
maging kahalayan?
Sila ba'y naparusahan
marahil ni hindi pinagsabihan
at ang masaklap
hinayaan na lamang
alang-alang sa habag
at awa, palaging katwiran
kapatawaran
ng mga kasalanan.
Katapatan sa pangakong
sinumpaan, hindi rin mapangatawanan
kunwa'y maraming kaabalahanan
 ang totoo'y puro kababalaghan
maraming pinupuntahan
kasama'y mayayaman
mga aba at walang-wala
kanila ring iniiwan.
Larawan kuha ng may-akda, 2020.
Totoo na malaki ang papel ng Simbahan
na ginagampanan tuwing halalan
ngunit huwag sanang makalimutan
sa araw-araw na katapatan ang tunay na labanan
kung saan mga alagad at pastol ng kawan
magsilbing huwaran sa paglilingkod
kaisa ang bayan ng Diyos
sa karukhaan, kagutuman at kapighatian.
Salamin, salamin sa dingding
kami ba'y marunong pang manalangin?
Bakit tila hindi dinggin ating mga panalangin
gayong mabuti ating layunin?
Diyos pa ba pinagtitiwalaan,
pinananaligan natin o baka naman
lumalabis mga salita natin
habang salat mabubuting gawa natin?
Salamin, salamin sa dingding
kung kami ay magising
maging kasing ingay ng batingaw
katapatan namin sa araw-araw
na gampanin, hindi katiting
pinagaganda lang ng kuliling
lalo na kung mayroong nakatingin
para lang mapansin.
Ang dapat nating ipanalangin
hindi lamang ang halalang darating
kungdi makatotohanang pagsusuri
at pag-amin sa mga kasalanan natin;
pagkaraan ng limang-daang taon
pagkakanya-kanyang dinatnan ni Magellan
umiiral pa rin habang mga puna at pansin 
nina Rizal at GomBurZa nananatiling pangarap pa rin.
Larawan mula sa commons.wikimedia.org

Parol ating pastol

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-16 ng Nobyembre 2021
Larawan kuha ng may-akda, 11 Nobyembre 2021.
Hindi ko maiwasang umindak
sa awiting "kumukuti-kutitap,
bumubusi-busilak" tuwing 
makakakita ng mga parol 
nakasabit sa mga binatana,
binebenta sa kalsada
kahit malayo pa ang Pasko.
Ang mga parol ay tulad ng pastol
umaakay sa atin sa gitna ng dilim
hatid ay liwanag at galak
upang matunton at marating
Sanggol na sumilang sa sabsaban
habang mundo ay balot sa kasamaan
upang tayo ay tubusin sa ating mga kasalanan.
Larawan kuha ng may-akda, 11 Nobyembre 2021.
Makukulay, puno ng sigla
alalaong-baga, buhay na buhay
itong mga parol at iba pang mga palamuti
hatid ay hindi lamang ngiti sa labi
kungdi tuwa at kagalakan sa puso at kalooban
isang taon na naman matatagpusan
kahit COVID-19 kayang lampasan!
Katulad ng mga bituin at tala
mga parol at palamuti ng Kapaskuhan
matutunghayan lamang sa gitna
ng malaking kadiliman kagaya sa ating buhay
kung kailan mayroong kapighatian 
at lahat ay nalalabuan, doon naman
nagiging maliwanag at makulay ang lahat!
Larawan kuha ng may-akda, 11 Nobyembre 2021.
Isang kabalintunaang tunay
ganda at busilak ng mga parol
sa atin nagpapastol tungo sa
liwanag ng kinabukasan;
sana manatiling nagningning 
liwanag ni Kristo sa puso at 
kalooban natin. 
Aking dasal at hiling
ngayong Paskong darating
sana matapos na itong COVID-19;
matularan sana natin mga parol
magpastol sa kawan, huwag silang maligaw
sa kadiliman  ng mga mapanlinlang 
tanging Diyos ang maging sandigan.
Larawan kuha ng may-akda, 11 Nobyembre 2021.

My screen this quarantine

Quiet Storm by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, 17 August 2021
Image from Pinterest.

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.

From Twitter.

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 the face 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.

More power to the people behind Bagman!

From Esquire Philippines.

Pakanin nagugutom, huwag pakialaman nagluluto

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-14 ng Hulyo, 2021
Larawan mula sa inquirer.net, 11 Hulyo 2021.
Isang katatawanan na hindi malilimutan
sa taong 2021 nang pagdiskitahan ng ilan
pagkain ng bayan
patunay na marami sa pamunuan
hindi ramdam pintig ng mamayan
lalo na ang kalam ng tiyan.
Unang katatawanan 
bunsod ng kayabangan nang 
paratangan na ang lugaw 
ay non-essential
pagkaing hindi mahalaga
kaya buong bayan nag-alma.
Heto na naman
mga henyo sa kalakalan
ibig nama'y magtakda ng batayan
sa pagluluto ng mga paboritong ulam ng bayan;
ngunit anumang paliwanag
kanilang sabihin
walang kabuluhang pakinggan
mga pinag-iisip nila'y walang katuturan
patunay lamang na manhid at mga payaso
 mga tao ngayon sa gobyernong ito.
Maari bang itakda ninuman
mga sangkap na ibig malasap,
sarap at linamnam na ibig namnamin
ng bawat kumakain?
Alalahaning hindi lamang laman ng tiyan
ang pagkain kung ating susuriin
inihahain pa nga lang, lasap na natin
diwa at katauhan nagigising
ng maraming alaala at kuwento
ng pagkaing bumusog sa atin.
Suriin bawat kalinangan
nasasalamin sa lutuin at pagkain
dahil doon sa mesa nagsisimula
 lahat ng ating kapatiran at kaisahan:
walang kumakain kasama ang kaaway,
ano mang kasunduan ay may handaang kasabay,
higit sa lahat, sa pagdulog sa hapag
doon nagaganap tunay na pagdadaop-palad
dahil sa tuwing tayo ay mayroong piging,
sarili ang ibinabahagi natin sa anyo ng pagkain at inumin.
Maging ang Panginoong Hesus natin
pinili ay pagkain at piging
upang gamitin tanda ng kapanatilihan
niya sa atin:  kanyang itinatag 
hapag ng Eukaristiya
doon sa mesa ng Banal na Misa.
Tangi niyang tagubilin
tinapay na walang lebadura gagamitin
sa bawat pagdiriwang ng piging
kung saan pinapaging-ganap natin
pagmamahal niya sa atin
nang ihandog sarili bilang ating pagkain.
Kaya, huwag nang pag-isipan
ng mga nagmamagaling
paano lutuin mga paboritong pagkain
bagkus kanilang isipin
paano mapapakain
mga nagugutom na kapatid natin.

Paalala ng Banaba

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-30 ng Abril 2021
Larawan kuha ng may-akda sa Immaculate Conception School for Boys, Malolos City, 27 Abril 2021.
Tirik noon ang araw 
aking ramdam ang init at alinsangan
sa paradahan ng paaralan, 
nanunuyo lalamunan habang 
tagatak ang pawis, naiinis 
naiinip, kailan aalis
virus ng COVID-19 sa atin;
kaya hanggang sa gitna ng init
sumasagitsit sa isip at kamalayan
paghihirap nating pinagdaraanan
nang ako'y maginhawahan sa malamig na lilim
ng nakayungayong mga dahon at sanga ng Banaba;
sa aking paglingon patingala
ako ay namangha at nabighani
mga lilang bulaklak namumukadkad
handog ay kagalakan at kapahingahan.
Luminga-linga pa ako sa kapaligiran
saka lamang napagmasdan
isa pang puno ng Banaba nalampasan
hitik sa mga bulaklak niyang lila
naroon din sa bukana ng paaralan
nagpaparamdam ng mahalagang aral
matutunan sa pandemyang pinagdaraanan:
kung kailan kainitan,
walang patak ng ulan
saka ipinagyayabang nitong Banaba
angking kagandahan at kabutihan
maging kahusayan dapat nating tularan
sa panahon ng kagipitan, doon lumalabas
tunay nating kulay -
ikaw ba'y matamlay at mapusyaw
at hindi makagalaw?
Alalahanin pangangaral ni Hesus nating mahal,
"At bakit kayo nababagabag tungkol sa pananamit?
Isipin ninyo kung paanong sumisibol
mga bulaklak sa parang, hindi nagpapagal
ni humahabi man; maging si Solomon
sa kanyang karangyaan hindi naramtan
ng gayong karinglan!
Kaya't huwag kayong mabalisa
sa inyong kakanin, iinumin o daramtin."
Madaling sabihin, mahirap gawin
lalo na sa marami sa atin sapin-sapin
suson-suson mga paghamon sa buhay
ngunit sa puno ng Banaba naroon
ating tugon:  magpakatatag sa pagkabaon sa lupa
paglipas ng taon uusbong mga dahon at bulaklak
dulot nitong bunga lunas sa maraming sakit at karamdaman.
Larawan kuha ng may-akda sa Immaculate Conception School for Boys, Malolos City, 27 Abril 2021.

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.

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.