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.

	

In praise of the Community Pantry

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

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

Lugaw sa Biyernes Santo

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Biyernes Santo, Ika-02 ng Abril 2021
Larawan mula sa wikipediacommons.org ng “Ecce Homo” ni El Greco.
Kung mayroon mang higit na malungkot
ngayong Biyernes Santo
habang tayo ay muling binalot
saka pinalaot sa gitna ng bulok
at kawalang sistema sa pandemya
noon pa, iyan ay tiyak walang dili iba
kungdi si Hesus na ating Panginoon
at Manunubos; marahil hindi Niya maubos
isipin sa gitna ng masasamang nangyayari sa atin
mas binibigyang pansin ng maraming hangal
sa ating pamahalaan mga bagay-bagay
kay daling isipin habang mga paksa 
nagiging usapin dahil sa pagsisinungaling!
Ngayong Biyernes Santo
araw ng pag-aayuno 
upang ating mapagtanto
Panginoong Hesus ay naririto
sa ating pagtitiis ng kagutuman
nalilinis ang puso at kalooban 
nawawalan ng laman
upang tayo ay mapunan 
ng Diyos ng kanyang kabanalan;
kay laking kahibangan
lalo ng mga nasa kapangyarihan
kalimutan at talikuran tuluyan
mga payak at aba, lugaw ang kumakatawan!
Pinakamalungkot pa rin 
ngayong Biyernes Santo
ang Panginoong Hesu-Kristo
dahil katulad niya noon
patuloy pangungutya sa kapwa
lahat hinahamak at minamaliit
gayong kanilang mga isipan 
ang walang laman, sadyang
mapupurol at makikitid
na hindi nababatid 
ang tao na higit na dakila
hindi masalita, nakikilala sa
busilak ng kanilang puso at diwa.
Huwag nating kalimutan
bago sumapit ang Biyernes Santo
noong gabing ipagkanulo si Kristo
pinili niyang walang hanggang tanda
ng kanyang kapanatilihan sa atin
tinapay na walang lebadura
na alalaong-baga sa atin dito sa Asya
kapantay ay lugaw na siyang inihahain
sa mga panahong alanganin
ito ang kinakain upang maging sapin
sa tiyan na dumaraing sa maraming hinaing
di lamang sa gutom kungdi pati
kawalan ng mga pumapansin.
Alalahanin tuwing ikaw ay kumakain
nitong paborito nating pagkain
lugaw marahil ang hihilingin
ni Hesus na Panginoong natin;
napakadaling pakisamahan
lasap kanyang linamnam
hindi maselang lutuin
walang ulam na aalalahanin
ano man maaring isahog at i-pares
sarap at ginhawang walang kaparis
kaya nakakainis mga nagmamalinis
sana'y umalis na
dahil sila ang mga panis!
Salamat sa mga taong simple at payak, maasahan kailanman tulad ng lugaw: mahalaga at mainam sa katawan!

Palm Sunday in the Lord’s palms

40 Shades of Lent by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, 28 March 2021
Photo by Ms. Kysia Cruz, 28 March 2021.
Dearest Lord Jesus Christ:
Today we started the most holy week
of the year celebrating Palm Sunday 
listening to your Passion story proclaimed;
but, today was so different 
when people were gone
and all we have were palms
and more other fronds.
Photo by Ms. Kysia Cruz, 28 March 2021.
It pained my heart, dear Jesus
when all the people and familiar faces
I see every Sunday morning
were all praying and standing
outside, hoping they could come in
while we are under strict quarantine
as between our glancing, my heart was shrinking
so I raised my hands, and began praying on them.
Photo by Ms. Kysia Cruz, 28 March 2021.
Lord, I cannot understand nor see clearly
things happening except hear people silently crying;
all I know is that you are passing
still on a donkey riding
a king not domineering but serving;
open our eyes of faith to see your indwelling
so we may learn self-emptying
thus, becoming like you, an offering.
Photo by Ms. Kysia Cruz, 28 March 2021.
As we begin this Holy Week journey
in the most unholy time of our history
let us not miss this opportunity
to be filled by you in our being empty 
joining you to the calvary
with the cross that we carry
to rest and trust in your palms fully
serving you in others lovingly and faithfully.
Photo by Ms. Ariane Distor, 27 March 2021.

The colors of Lent

Quiet Storm by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, 16 March 2021
Lately
 I have been feeling gladly
at how the Lord is blessing me abundantly
showing me daily
how life is a journey like Lent
bringing me to desert and valleys
where me and the holy
parry attacks by the wily
making me see the beauty
of colors mixed playfully
in a huge tapestry
woven in mystery.
What I like most in Lent
is its shades of violet
calling us to repent and relent
our ways of evil and sin
so we begin to see God again
in the face of every human being;
if Lent were a palette of spirituality,
imagine mixing white of the Father's purity
with Christ's love colored red so bloody
then everybody shall rejoice in ecstasy
with colors bursting in pink so rosy
as Easter promises it to be!
Photo by author, Laetare Sunday 2020.

Buhayin mga Pangarap sa Panahon ng Kuwaresma

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-08 ng Marso 2021
Larawan kuha ni Dr. Mylene A. Santos, MD sa Candaba, Pampanga, Pebrero 2021.
Ang buhay natin ay 
paulit-ulit na Kuwaresma
na sa atin ay nag-aanyaya
buhaying muli ating mga pangarap
upang bigyang katuparan
at tayo ay maging ganap;
mga mata ay ating idilat
muling tumanaw sa malayo
sikaping abutin ating mithiin,
magagandang adhikain huwag limutin;
huwag hayaang maging sagwil
pagkakasala at pagkakamali,
kabiguan at sakit ng nakaraan
kalimutan at lampasan 
matutuhan at tandaan
kanilang iniwang mga aral. 
Liparin ang himpapawirin
mga pangarap sa Panginoon ay hilingin
dahil tanging ibig Niya
kabutihan at kaganapan natin
kaya paanyaya Niya sa atin
 linisin kalooban at budhi natin
upang pagkatao dalisayin
palawakin yaring pananaw
hindi lamang paningin
na kung minsa'y makitid,
madalas ay madilim
kaya sa Panginoon idulog natin
mga gumugulo sa atin
upang Kanyang liwanagin
at hawiin mga tumatabing
upang sigla at sigasig panumbalikin.
Larawan kuha ni Dr. Mylene A. Santos, MD, sa Rhode Island, 07 Marso 2021.

Kuwaresma: Bundok ng Buhay, Bundok ng Krus ng Pagpapanibago

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-01 ng Marso, 2021
Larawan kuha ni P. Gerry Pascual sa Switzerland, Agosto 2019.
Noong mga araw na iyon, 
umakyat si Jesus sa isang mataas na bundok. 
Wala siyang isinama kundi 
sina Pedro, Santiago at Juan. 
Samantalang sila'y naroon, 
nakita nilang nagbagong-anyo si Jesus, 
nagningning ang kanyang kasuutan 
na naging puting-puti, anupa't 
walang sinumang makapagpapaputi 
nang gayon (Marcos 9:2-3).
Kay sarap pagnilayan mga paglalarawan
 ating buhay katulad ng kabundukan
dapat akyatin upang marating
rurok ng tagumpay na ating mithiin;
gayun din naman sa ganitong paglalarawan
ating matatanawan ating napagnilayan
paulit-ulit na Kuwaresma yaring ating buhay:
mula sa ilang, mataas na bundok pinuntahan
 kasama tatlong alagad upang masaksihan
pagbabagong-anyo ng Panginoong Jesu-Kristo
paalala na Siya ay kasama at kaisa natin
umaahon upang matunton kabanalang nilalayon.
Alisin at iwanan mga dala-dalahang
sagabal katulad ng mga kasamaan at kasalanan
bunsod ng paghahangad sa mga walang kabuluhan
o kinalaman sa ating kaligtasan gaya ng
kayamanan, kapangyarihan at kapalaluan;
madalas pananamapalataya natin ay sinusubukan
tila ang Diyos mga pangako Niya ay nakakalimutan
basta makinig lamang at Siya ay sundan
asahan gagawa Siya ng paraan at daan
lalo kung tayo ay laang isuko ating pinanghahawakan
upang Kanyang mapalitan
ng higit na mas mainam.
Madalas sa itaas ng kabundukan
hindi kaagad nababanaagan tinutunguhan
ngunit nararamdaman
pagbabago sa pangangatawan
maging sa kalooban;
higit sa magagandang tanawin
pagkaunawa at pananaw kapansin-pansin
lumalawak at nagiging malinaw ang lahat
kapag nataas antas ng ating karanasan
kaya mula sa itaas ng kabundukan
ibaba sa pangkaraniwang pamumuhay at pag-iral
natalos nating karunungan sa Krus ni Hesus!
Habang bumababa sila sa bundok 
mahigpit itinagubilin sa kanila ni Jesus: 
"Huwag ninyong sasabihin kaninuman 
ang inyong nakita hangga't hindi 
muling nabubuhay ang Anak ng Tao." 
Sinunod nila ang tagubiling ito, 
ngunit sila-sila'y nagtanungan 
kung ano ang kahulugan 
ng sinabi niyang muling pagkabuhay
(Marcos 9:9-10).
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Pasko… na naman?!

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-25 ng Disyembre 2020
Larawan kuha ni G. Marc Angelo Nicolas Carpio, Pasko 2020 sa aming parokya.
Pasko na naman.
Yan palaging sambit ng karamihan
minsan hindi maintindihan
palaging inaabangan
pero kapag nariyan na
parang tinatabangan
inaayawan
maski kinaiinisan.
Kapag natutuwa, nakangiti mga labi
sabay sabi, "(Yehey!) Pasko na namann!!!"
Pero kung nagagalit, mata'y nanglilisik:
"Pasko na naman!?!"
Kapag nagtataka, nagugulat,
mabilis pagbigkas, sa dulo umiigkas
"Pasko na naman???"
At kung walang pakialam,
malamlam mukha, halos ibulong
"Pasko na naman."
Larawan kuha ni G. Marc Angelo Nicolas Carpio, Pasko 2020 sa aming parokya.
Iisang pangungusap
nababago dating
kung saan ang diin
kung bigkasin
batay sa damdamin
nababago ibig sabihin
ngunit kahulagan
at aral nananatili pa rin.
Hindi maililihim
sa likod ng mga katagang
"na naman"
nararamdaman
panghihinayang, pagsisi
tila mayroong gustong aminin;
ang iba naman pilit walang kibit
dahil sa sakit at pait na sinapit
kunwa'y walang pakialam
Pasko kinakalimutan.
Larawan kuha ni G. Marc Angelo Nicolas Carpio, Pasko 2020 sa aming parokya.
Pasko ay higit pa sa petsa
pera, damit at mga regalo
magarbong pagsasalo-salo;
Pasko ay pagparito sa mundo
ng Diyos na nagkatawang-tao
pangalan ay Jesu-Kristo
upang iligtas tayo
mahango sa pagkakasala.
Mababago pagbigkas
pagbati ng "Maligayang Pasko"
ngunit kahulugan mananatili
magpakailanman
ang pag-ibig na walang hanggan
ng Diyos na atin unang nagmahal
gumawa ng paraan
kaya sumilang sa sabsaban
sa ilalim ng malaking kadiliman
Kanyang Anak upang tayo samahan, damayan!
Larawan kuha ni G. Marc Angelo Nicolas Carpio, Pasko 2020 sa aming parokya.

Nang dumalaw at manahan kasamaan sa ating bayan

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-21 ng Disyembre 2020
Larawan ni Lucifer, ang Satanas, mula sa wikipediacommons.org.
Nakapanlulumo
nakalilito
mga nakita
sa maigsing video
mga nanglilisik na mata ng bata
iginigiit ama niya ay pulis -
walang mintis
napaka-bilis 
mag-inang tumatangis
bumulagta sa lupa
lahat hilahod
sa eksenang napanood.
Pilit kong binabalik-balikan
ebanghelyo ng Simbang Gabi
kanina at kagabi
parehong nagsasabi ng mabuti:
dinalaw ng anghel si Maria
hatid Mabuting Balita
kaya nagmamadali siyang
 dumalaw kay Elizabeth
upang ibahagi at makihati
sa tuwa ng pagpapala
kay laking hiwaga
ating napala.
Ano nga ba ang nangyari
ating hinayaan
na dumalaw at manahan
sa ating bayan
itong mga kasamaan
araw-araw na lamang
bukambibig
kayabangan at kasinungalingan
pagmumura binibigyang katuwiran
kamatayan tanging nalalaman
sagot sa ano mang
sakit ng lipunan?
Balikan din mga lumipas na Kapaskuhan
bakit mga pelikulang katatakutan
pinararangalan mga impakto at demonyo
gayong ito ang pagsilang ng Kabutihan?
Hindi maikakaila 
ang kakayahan ng kasamaan 
na dumihan at linlangin
ating kaisipan upang wasakin
kaayusan at kapayapaan
na dapat nating pangalagaan 
at ipaglaban na kinakatawan ng Sanggol 
na sumilang doon sa sabsaban!
Larawan kuha ng may akda, Pasko 2018.

Grace in every space

Quiet Storm by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, 09 December 2020
Photo by author, 09 December 2020.
As I closed my prayers today
got my stares fixed on empty space
that stirred me into a daze;
And I was amazed at how we are in a place
so vast we cannot keep pace
yet we say in everyone's face
we need a space, we have no space!
If we can appreciate
the shape in every space
our heart will ablaze
with so much praise
for in between is grace
of a sacred space 
to raise
our living
and relating
in sharing God
dwelling
in every being
loving 
and caring.
What is a space?
A place or a dimension
 a creation for correlations
to locate persons and things
and every entity
yet always considered as empty
only a reality in relativity;
but, as far as
every soul can desire
every mind can imagine
space is there to see
like the deep, blue sea
an infinity and mystery
our entry into divinity!