Claiming God’s grace

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Tuesday, Week XXIX, Year I in Ordinary Time, 19 October 2021
Romans 5:12, 15, 17-19, 20-21   ><)))*> + <*(((><   Luke 12:35-38
Photo by Roberto Nickson on Pexels.com
Praise and glory to you,
our loving God and Father
in giving us so much hope today,
inspiring us to be better, to be free
to choose and follow you,
to love and serve you in one another.

Where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through justification for eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 5:20-21
Let us live in your Son
Jesus Christ, in the realm of grace
than live in Adam in the realm of sin
and death, enslaved to our passions
and selfish desires.
Let your Holy Spirit work within us,
dear Jesus, to allow us to live in a way
pleasing to God our Father.
Like the psalmist, enable us to proclaim,
"Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will."
Open our eyes to the reality,
O God, of the two kinds of humanity
pervading:  the sinful humanity and the
redeemed humanity in Christ;
how sad that so often, especially
in the news we read and follow,
it is always the humanity in solidarity
with Adam in sin that seems to prevail.
Let us claim your abounding grace,
"girding our loins and lighting our lamps"
to be focused more on our justification
found in your righteousness in Christ.
Amen.

Being present with God, in God

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Tuesday, Week XXVIII, Year I in Ordinary Time, 12 October 2021
Romans 1:16-25   ><)))*> = ><)))*> = ><)))*>   Luke 11:37-41
Photo by Dr. Mai B. Dela Peña, MD, 2017, Japan.
Open our eyes 
and our hearts today
to your loving presence, 
God our loving Father!
Make us stop for a while
to feel your presence in us
and among us to experience
true wealth and real wisdom
so unlike with what the world
offers that is always misleading.
Like St. Pau, may we feel that 
deep pride in you who loves us, 
accompanying us in this life,
leading us to fulfillment and joy.

Brothers and sisters: I am not ashamed of the Gospel. It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes… For what can be known about God is evident to them, because God made it evident to them.

Romans 1:16, 19
So many times,
we have chosen to follow
 the flow of this world,
"claiming to be wise" when in fact,
we have become fools in our own making;
like that Pharisee who had invited
Jesus to dine at his home,
we have become so unaware
of the presence of Christ and have 
become more amazed at finding
faults and criticisms at what is outside
of us, not realizing the need
to look more inside to cleanse our
hearts and souls where you dwell
and see you present in every moment
 especially among others we least expected.
Amen.

Miserere Friday

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday, Week XXVII, Year I in Ordinary Time, 08 October 2021
Joel 1:13-15, 2:1-2   ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'>   Luke 11:15-26
Photo by author, Franciscan Monastery on Mt. Nebo, Jordan, 2019.
God our merciful Father,
thank you very much for this
wonderful and blessed Friday!
Everybody loves Friday
primarily because it is the weekend
to work and school leading to
Saturday and Sunday rest.
But for me and my brothers, 
we love this because it is 
"Miserere nobis" Friday
when we pray Psalm 51:
"Have mercy on me, God,
in your kindness.  In your compassion
blot out my offense.  O wash me
more and more from my guilt
and cleanse me from my sin."
Help us to cleanse our selves
most especially today in 
memory of your Son's
Good Friday; may we heed
the call of your prophet on a
daily basis to keep ourselves 
clean.

Gird yourselves and weep, O priests! Wail, O ministers of the altar! Come spend the night in sackcloth, O ministers of my God! The house of your God is deprived of offering and libation. Proclaim a fast, call an assembly; gather the elders, all who dwell in the land, into the house of the Lord, your God, and cry to the Lord!

Joel 1:13-14
So many are our sins against you,
O God, that people have not only turned
against us priests but most of all, they have
turned away from you largely because
we have misled and abused them.
Cleanse us with your mercy and
forgiveness in Jesus Christ your Son; 
exorcise us of our many demons
possessing us, allowing ourselves
to be overrun by evil and sin.

“When an unclean spirit goes out of someone, it roams through arid regions searching for rest but, finding none, it says, ‘I shall return to my home from which I came.’ But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there, and the last condition of that man is worse than the first.”

Luke 11:24-26
Let Jesus your Son
reign in our hearts and soul,
let him be the sole power within us
for he is the most powerful of all,
the only power there is;
let us welcome him inside us
to keep us clean
lest we sin more
and become worst
than before.
Amen.

Anger & Prayer

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday, Week XXVII, Year I in Ordinary Time, 06 October 2021
Jonah 4:1-11   ><)))*> + ><)))'> + ><)))*>   Luke 11:1-4
Photo by author, Benguet, 2019.

Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry that God did not carry out the evil he threatened against Nineveh. He prayed, “I beseech you, Lord, is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? This is why I fled at first to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger, rich in clemency, loathe to punish. And now, Lord, please take my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.”

Jonah 4:1-3
O God, our loving Father!
How I love your prophet Jonah
for many times, I am so like him!
Do I really have a reason 
to be angry with you,
when I knew very well 
how your kindness and mercy
would always prevail over people
I think deserve your wrath and
punishment?  How many times I felt
my judgment better than yours but,
like Jonah, I let your will prevail and then,
I complain.  Have mercy on me, Lord!

“I have reason to be angry,” Jonah answered, “angry enough to die.” Then the Lord said, “You are concerned over the plant which cost you no labor and which you did not raise; it came up in one night and in one night it perished. And should I not be concerned over Nineveh, the great city, in which there are more than and hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot distinguish their right hand from their left, not to mention the many cattle?”

Jonah 4:9-11
Now, you can no longer hide from me
your laughter, O God, to my folly of
being angry with you over simple things
I have no total control at all when I refuse
to do something on things I am capable
of affecting and changing for good 
like caring for people and persons 
more important above all. 
Like Jonah, I can see my problem
with anger lies deep within me when
I cannot accept that I am wrong,
that should have listened and followed you.
Teach me to tame my anger,
teach me to pray through your Son
Jesus Christ who taught us to call you
"Father" so I may learn to entrust 
myself to you fully and let go of the
many angers within that drive me to errors.

How lovely it is to contemplate the
sight of you, Lord Jesus at prayer:  so
peaceful and gentle, stable and sure 
in the Father that prompted your disciples
to ask you to teach them how to pray. 

Teach me to pray, loving Jesus,
to cleanse myself of impurities that
drive me to anger and hate so I may be 
filled with your Holy Spirit; like St. Bruno 
who founded the strictest order of
contemplative men - the Carthusians - 
may "I seek God assiduously, 
to find God promptly,
and to possess God fully".  Amen.

Becoming a messenger of God

The Lord Is My Chef Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday, Feast of Archangels Michael, Gabriel, & Raphael, 29 September 2021
Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14   ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'>   John 1:47-51
Photo by Dr. Mylene A. Santos, MD, 2020.
Praise and glory to you, O God
our loving Father!  Thank you for sending
us your Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and
Raphael for your special messages of
protection, love and healing for us all
though we are not always available.
But most of all, we praise and thank you
for sending us your Son Jesus Christ whom 
we may consider as the "Archangel"
of archangels - your ultimate Messenger
of your truth and love for us.
Through him, You O God had come to us;
through him, with him and in him, we are 
able to come to you, dear Lord. 

A surging stream of fire flowed out from where he sat; thousands upon thousands were ministering to him, and myriads upon myriads attended him. The court was convened, and the books were opened. As the visions during the night continued, I saw one like a son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven. When he reached the Ancient One and was presented before him, he received dominion, glory, and kingship; nations and people of every language serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed.

Daniel 7:10, 13-14
Help us in our unbelief,
in our little faith in you, dear God;
through Jesus, open your heaven
for us and let us be like your Archangels
in these troubled times of the pandemic:
amid the many occasions of sins
and the seeming reign of evil,
let us be like Archangel Michael
fighting satan in your name
 to ward off his devious attacks
that fragment our relationships;
let us be like Archangel Gabriel
delivering your messages of
faith, hope and love to so many
people awaiting salvation;
and last but not least, Father,
let us be like Archangel Raphael
bringing healing to the many ailments
and diseases that afflict not only our bodies
but most especially our hearts and souls
that prevent us from becoming truly free
and faithful to love and serve you.
Amen.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Seeing Christ in what is traditional and what is new

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday, Memorial of St. Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church, 
03 September 2021
Colossians 1:15-20   ><)))'> ><]]]]*> ><)))'>   Luke 5:33-39
Photo by Dr. Mai B. Dela Peña, MD in Barcelona, Spain, 2018.

The scribes and the Pharisees said to Jesus, “The disciples of John the Baptist fast so often and offer prayers, and the disciples of the Pharisees do the same; but yours eat and drink.”

Luke 5:33
Oh yes, God our Father!
So many times we are like
the scribes and the Pharisees
asking Jesus not to seek the truth
but to confirm what we believe 
as true and proper, trying to find
justifications for what we are
doing which we hardly understand
the deeper meaning.
Like the gospel last Sunday,
we cannot distinguish what is
traditional and what is new,
what is clean and unclean,
and most of all, what is good
and what is evil because 
we are more focused with our
selves than with you and Jesus.

And he also told them a parable. Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilled, and the skins will be ruined. Rather, new wine must be poured into fresh wineskins. And no one who has been drinking old wine desires new, for he says, “The old is good.””

Luke 5:36, 37-39
Like St. Gregory the Great,
refresh us in your Son Jesus Christ,
dear Father.  
Make us "new wineskins"
to be poured with Jesus, the "new wine";
indeed, old wine always tastes good
but we have to become new wineskins too
to be able to adjust to the new wine
to bring out its goodness and zest.

For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the Blood of his cross through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven.

Colossians 1:19-20
Let us always seek first Jesus Christ,
loving Father in looking at things
in life and especially in the Church;
like St. Gregory the Great who
accomplished so much not only
in the Church but also in civil society
despite his short stint as Pope for
only 13 years, help us to center our
lives in Christ Jesus because
"he is the image of the invisible God,
the first born of all creation"
(Colossians 1:15).
Amen.

The gift of authority

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Tuesday, Week XXII, Year I in Ordinary Time, 31 August 2021
1 Thessalonians 5:1-6, 9-11   ><)))*> ><]]]]'> ><)))*>   Luke 4:31-37
Photo by author, ruins at the ancient town of Capernaum beside a modern church, May 2017.
God our Father,
thank you for being on our side:  

"For God did not
desire us for wrath, but to gain
salvation through our Lord Jesus
Christ, who died for us, so that 
whether we are awake or asleep
we may live together with him.
Therefore, encourage one another
and build one another up, 
as indeed you do." 
(1 Thessalonians 5:9-10)
May we always seek and respond
to your call to us, O God,
in every person and in every
experience we go through daily
so that we are not caught by surprise
in your Son Jesus Christ's coming.
May we learn to understand
and appreciate the true meaning
of "authority" like that of Jesus Christ:
an authority to serve
and not of domination.

Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee. He taught them on the sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching because he spoke with authority. They were all amazed and said to one another, “What is there about his word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” And news of him spread everywhere in the surrounding region.

Luke 4:31-32, 36-37
Remind us, almighty Father,
of your gift of authority
to each one of us -
in our family,
in our community,
 and in our jobs
or profession -
so that like Jesus,
 we may use our authority
to enhance, not to diminish,
the abilities of others.
Amen.

Strengthen our hearts, Lord

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Thursday, Week XXI, Year I in Ordinary Time, 26 August 2021
1 Thessalonians 3:7-13   ><]]]]'> ><)))*> ><]]]]'>   Matthew 24:42-51
From inquirer.net, 20 August 2021.
Strengthen us, O God
in this trying time of the pandemic;
keep our body healthy and strong
to fight the virus and most especially
to take care of the sick among us.
Strengthen our hearts, loving Father
by cleansing it of our sins, taking away
our pride and filling it with your Son
Jesus Christ's humility, justice and love
that always have a space for those 
with less in life, to those most in need
like the sick, the children and elderly.
Strengthen our hearts, O God,
so that as St. Paul had reminded the
Thessalonians, we may "be blameless 
in holiness before you our God and Father
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ"
(1Thess.3:13) by being "faithful and prudent"
like the wise servant in the parable today.
Strengthen our hearts in Christ Jesus
so we may consistently seek and serve him
among one another at every moment
of our lives.  Amen.

What God is asking from us

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday, Week XIX, Year I in Ordinary Time, 13 August 2021
Joshua 24:1-13   ><]]]]*> + ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]*>   Matthew 19:3-12
Photo by author, modern chapel at the Milk Grotto in Bethlehem, the Holy Land, 2019.
I know, dear God our Father,
you have no need of our words 
nor works in exchange for your 
abounding love and grace given us 
in Christ Jesus; and there lies 
your goodness and holiness when 
all you ask of us is our fidelity
to your covenant, that we remain true 
to you by dealing with love and justice
to one another which is all for our own good too.

“I gave you a land that you had not tilled and cities which you had not built, to dwell in; you have eaten of vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.”

Joshua 24:13
You have given us everything, O God:
the earth and everything on it that we have
wasted and destroyed; worst of all, you
have given us family and friends, every person
 and people to love and cherish, respect and
be kind with but whom we have always
hurt with our words and actions when we
see only our very selves, failing to see
others as brothers and sisters in you
as Father from the the very beginning.

“Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate.”

Matthew 19:4-6
Forgive us, merciful Father
for the "hardness of our hearts" (Mt.19:8),
in our building walls among us instead
of bridges to bring us close together
as your children reconciled in Jesus Christ;
help us to find the common grounds that
make us all the same, not different;
make us find and accept our vocation
in life so we may fulfill your calling
by serving you through one another
with love and respect, kindness and mercy
especially in this time of the pandemic.
Amen.

God doing everything for us

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Thursday, Week XIX, Year I in Ordinary Time, 12 August 2021
Joshua 3:7-10, 11, 13-17   ><]]]]'>   Matthew 18:21-19:1
Photo by author, sunrise at Lake of Tiberias (Galilee), the Holy Land, 2019.
Praise and glory to you,
O God our loving Father!
How great indeed are your
works that you do everything for 
our own good even long before 
we are born, preparing us
for every great moment of 
trials long before we have seen
them coming or even happening!
You are always there, Father
ahead of us in every step of 
the way in this life like in the 
entrance of your chosen people
to your promised land preceded
by the ark of the covenant,
parting the Jordan River so that
your people may cross on dry land
reminiscent of the Exodus at Red Sea.

No sooner had these priestly bearers of the ark waded into the waters at the edge of the Jordan, which overflows all its banks during the entire season of the harvest, than the waters flowing from upstream halted, backing up in a solid mass for a very great distance indeed… While all Israel crossed over on dry ground, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord remained motionless on dry ground in the bed of the Jordan until the whole nation had completed the passage.

Joshua 3:15-16, 17
Dear God, whenever I review my life
especially those low moments of
failures and disasters, sins and evil,
sickness or wrong decisions when I thought
everything had collapsed and totally gone,
you were always there, bringing me to safer
grounds; you were always there five steps
or more ahead of me, fixing all the problems
and troubles I have fallen into, even trapped inside.
Like in the history of Israel from Abraham to Joshua,
you never stopped surprising me
with your mighty presence and love.
 
But the greatest of all
marvelous things you have done
to me and us all, loving Father,
is sending us your Son Jesus Christ
to save us from all our sins with your mercy
 and forgiveness that is without end.
Like in today's parable, teach us to be
merciful and forgiving to those who have 
sinned against us for we are all 
forgiven sinners you love so much.
You have done so much for us, Father,
but we have done so little for you through others.
Amen.