Knowing Jesus like the Apostles

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Tuesday, Feast of St. Philip and St. James the Less, Apostles, 03 April 2022
1 Corinthians 15:1-8   ><}}}}*> + <*{{{{><   John 14:6-14
Jesus teaching his Twelve Apostles, from GettyImages.
Lord Jesus Christ,
on this feast of your apostles 
Philip and James the Younger, 
grant me the grace to discover 
your true identity the way they
got to know you too; draw me
closer to you to be familiar with
you and your ways, to always
"come and see" you in prayers
and experiences in life.
Keep me close to you, dear Jesus,
so that I may truly lead people to you
and not to me nor to my beliefs; 
let me lead seekers of you find you 
both in your glory and in your Cross 
for without your sufferings and death,
everything becomes a novelty and
a fancy, or a philosophy and never 
a life and a union in you.

For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures; that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.

1 Corinthians 15:3-5
Like Philip, keep me open in
expressing to you my views
when asked like at the wilderness
when you tested him where to find
food for the crowd; in another instance,
let me be like Philip entertaining requests
from others to see you like those Greeks 
who have come to Jerusalem;
most of all, keep me open to you,
dear Jesus to accept and treasure
your words and teachings even if I
do not understand immediately if that
is the way to know you more clearly
and eventually see and experience
God our Father. 
Like your cousin James the Younger,
let me keep in mind that closeness 
with you does not come  through mere
affiliations nor with names because 
knowing you is a habit that we must strive 
and work for by coming to you daily, 
following you even up to the Cross;
it is only in following you, becoming
like you we truly become your 
disciples like James who taught
and witnessed your love for everyone
by working so hard with Peter to 
intervene in the difficult relations 
between the early Christians of Jewish
origins and those of pagan converts; 
in practice and in his writings, James
showed that faith in you is fulfilled 
in a life lived in love and respect 
for each other:  "As the body apart 
from the spirit is dead, so faith apart 
from works is dead" (James 2:26).
Philip and James were not perfect,
just like me; but in their humility
and obedience, you perfected 
them in their lives of witnessing
that cost their lives; keep me
faithful to you, dear Jesus,
and let others see you in me
in words and in deeds.  Amen.

Tasting and seeing God

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday, Feast of St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor, 29 April 2022
Acts 5:34-42   ><}}}}*> + <*{{{{><   John 6:1-15
Photo by author, Bolinao, Pangasinan, 20 April 2022.
On this feast of the first
woman doctor of the Church,
St. Catherine of Siena,
let me borrow her beautiful words
as my prayer to you, 
O God our loving Father:

Eternal God, eternal Trinity, you have made the blood of Christ so precious through his sharing in your divine nature. You are a mystery as deep as the sea; the more I search, the more I find, and the more I find the more I search for you.

From the Office of Readings, “On Divine Providence” by St. Catherine of Siena
Very often you send us
men and women you use to change
the course of history with their 
practicality and spirituality like
Gamaliel the Pharisee - through him,
the Apostles were finally set free
to go with their mission after
convincing the Sanhedrin that 
"if this endeavor or this activity 
is of human origin, it will destroy
itself.  But if it comes from God,
you will not be able to destroy them;
you may even find yourselves fighting
against God" (Acts 5:38-39).
You are indeed a mystery as deep 
as the sea using even enemies to
work in our favor so that the more 
I search you, the more I find you, 
and the more I find you, the more 
I search you as you slowly reveal
yourself in every unfolding of your works;
if others would only allow your grace 
for them to desire you, dear God, 
then they would realize this wondrous
gift and joy of living in you in Christ.

I have tasted and seen the depth of your mystery and the beauty of your creation with the light of my understanding. I have clothed myself with your likeness and have seen what I shall be. Eternal Father, you have given me a share in your power and the wisdom that Christ claims as his own, and your Holy Spirit has given me the desire to love you.

From the Office of Readings, “On Divine Providence” by St. Catherine of Siena
In your Son Jesus Christ's most
precious gift of his presence in the
Holy Eucharist, like the people at the
wilderness with him, we have felt 
how you work in our midst, most of 
all how we must cooperate with Jesus
to accomplish your work.
Despite her being illiterate and lack of
so much worldly credentials, 
St. Catherine eventually succeeded in 
bringing back the Papacy to Rome
even long after her death while her
writings and reflections have 
become a treasury of testament
to how you work among us despite
our many limitations.  May we have
the courage to allow you to do your
work in us, in Christ.  Amen.

Presence of God

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Tuesday, Memorial of St. Josephine Bakhita, Virgin, 08 February 2022
1 Kings 8:22-23, 27-30   ><]]]]'> + <'[[[[><   Mark 7:1-13
Photo by Ms. Mira Mandal Sibal, 2021.
God our loving Father,
I praise and glorify you for
your might and majesty!
Like your servant King Solomon,
I wonder in great awe at how
you choose to dwell in our hearts,
in our homes, in our churches
when you cannot be contained 
in your vast universe!
You are so kind and merciful
that when you sent us your Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ, he chose to
be even smaller just to be closest to
us as close as our breath; it is a marvel
of faith at how he can be truly present 
with us in the words proclaimed and 
prayed everywhere, most specially in
those tiny tabernacles and little hosts
we receive at Holy Communion.

Solomon said, “Can it indeed be that God dwells on earth? If the heavens and the highest heavens cannot contain you, how much less this temple which I have built! Listen to the petitions of your servant and of your people Israel that they offer in this place. Listen from your heavenly dwelling and grant pardon.”

1 Kings 8:27, 30
Like my prayer yesterday,
let me be intense in seeking you,
in finding you, and having you,
Lord; while at the same time, 
teach me to learn to limit my 
imaginations and thoughts that
eventually limit your presence 
like the Pharisees and some scribes
who have questioned you, Jesus,
"Why do your disciples not follow 
the tradition of the elders but instead
eat a meal with unclean hands?"
(Mk.7:5).
Gift us with the same grace of
courage and perseverance amid
severe hardships and sufferings in
life like St. Josephine Bakhita who 
still found you and experience your
loving mercy and justice in the terrible
ordeals she had gone through since
childhood after being sold as a slave
in Sudan.
St. Josephine Bakhita had shown us
in her life and example that you, O God,
cannot be limited to any particular
place nor time, nor people nor anything;
you are more than this world and our
experiences, more than our thoughts
and ideas for you are totally free 
to fulfill your grand designs for each one
of us to find joy and peace, fulfillment and 
meaning in this life despite and in spite
of whatever circumstances we are into.
Amen.

When evil overtakes us

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday, Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest & Doctor of the Church, 28 January 2022
2 Samuel 11:1-4, 5-10, 13-17   ><]]]]*> + <*[[[[><   Mark 4:26-34
Photo by Ms. Ria De Vera, 25 January 2022.
Why do we always try to "imprison"
or keep you in a place, God our Father?
Why, despite our faith and knowledge
of your power and might, we insist on 
trying to entrap you in the hope we can
get away with our evil deeds or sins?
Praying over the first reading for today
on how King David committed his first 
grave sins against you, I could see myself
in him overpowered by evil during those
instances when I thought you were out
or far from my side not to see my sins:

At the turn of the year, when kings go out on campaign, David sent out Joab along with his officers and the army of Israel, and they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. David, however, remained in Jerusalem (while the ark of the covenant was lodged in tents while his soldiers fought the Ammonites, cf. v. 11).

2 Samuel 11:1
What happened with David that
after getting Bathsheba pregnant,
he tried to dupe her husband Uriah
by luring him to sleeping with his wife
that when it did not work, he had him
positioned in a battle to die and get away
with his sins?
How sad and so shameful when we,
like David, fall into a series of sins we
thought we could get under control
only to find ourselves imprisoned
in the darkness of evil.
Make us realize, Lord, the enduring
truth of your powerful and silent 
presence even in the darkest night
when nothing seems to happen:

Jesus said to the crowds: “This is how it is with the Kingdom of God: It is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise, night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how.”

Mark 4:26-27
"Grant me, O Lord my God", 
as St. Thomas Aquinas would 
pray to you: 
"a mind to know you,
a heart to seek you,
wisdom to find you,
conduct pleasing to you,
faithful perseverance in waiting for you,
and a hope of finally embracing you."
Amen.

St. Thomas Aquinas,
Pray for us!

Panatilihin ang Alab sa Diyos

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Miyerkules, Paggunita kina San Timoteo at San Tito, mga Obispo, 26 Enero 2022
2 Timoteo 1:1-8   ><}}}}*> + ><}}}}*> + ><}}}}*>   Lucas 10:1-9
Larawan kuha ni Irina Anastasiu sa Pexels.com

Tatlong taon bago nagsimula ang pandemya noong 2017, naanyayahan ako na pangunahan ang pananalangin sa “retirement ceremony” ng kaibigan na dati ring kasamahan sa trabaho. 

Nakatutuwa pala na makita at makausap muli mga dating kasamahan maging mga naging “bossing” namin na dati’y aming iniilagan dahil baka kami masabon.  Ganoon pala ang magka-edad, ang pumalo sa 50 anyos pataas, pare-pareho kaming nakasalamin at malalabo mga mata, mapuputi ang mga buhok at bago kumain, umiinom ng iba’t ibang mga gamot. 

At ang mga usapan, puro “noong araw”!

Kaya naman hindi maiwasan magkumparahan sa bagong henerasyon at isang nakatatanda na retiree dati naming boss ang nagsabi, “bakit kaya mga bata ngayon maski 40 anyos na, bata pa rin?”            

Napagnilay ako ng katanungang iyon at habang nagkakasiyahan kami sa mga alaala ng aming kabataan, naalala ko ang mga kuwentuhan namin noon kasi ay bihirang-bihira mapag-usapan ang Diyos at mga tungkol sa Kanya gaya ng pagsisimba at mga paksang espiritwal maliban lamang na ako ay kanilang tatanungin lalo na kapag nasa lamayan.

Kaya nawika ko sa aking sarili “marahil kaya bata pa rin mga bata ngayon maski 40 anyos na” dahil nagkulang kaming nakatatanda, ang mga magulang at mga lolo at lola ngayon sa pagdiriin ng pangangaral at pagsasabuhay ng pananampalataya. 

Pansinin po natin si San Pablo paano niya itinuring sina San Timoteo at San Tito bilang kanyang mga anak habang ipinagdiinan ang kanilang pagkamulat sa pananampalataya:  “Hindi ko malilimutan ang tapat mong pananampalataya, katulad ng pananampalataya ng iyong Lola Loida at ni Eunice na iyong ina.  Natitiyak kong taglay mo pa ngayon ang pananampalatayang iyon. Dahil dito, ipinaalala ko sa iyo na maging masigasig ka sa pagtupad sa tungkuling tinanggap mo sa Diyos nang ipatong ko ang aking mga kamay sa ulo mo. Sapagkat hindi espiritu ng kaduwagan ang ibinigay sa atin ng Diyos kundi Espiritu ng kapangyarihan, pag-ibig, at pagpipigil ng sarili” (1Tim.1:5-7).

Larawan kuha ni G. Jim Marpa, 2017.

Hindi ba nakakahiyang isipin na sa ngayon, ang mag-igib at maglinis ng bahay ay pawang mga “reality games” na lang sa telebisyon gayong ganito ang ating buhay noon? 

Hindi ba nakakabahala na parang malaking balita ngayon yung makarinig ng mga tao na nagsusumakit sa pagsisikap na maging mabuti at marangal sa buhay at gawain?

Bakit mangha-mangha mga tao ngayon sa mga kuwento ng pagmamalasakitan ng pamilya at magkakaibigan gayong dapat naman ganoon talaga tayo sa buhay?

Hindi kaya masyadong na-spoil mga henerasyon ngayon, lahat ng kanilang hilig ay ibinigay ng mga magulang at lolo at lola di alintana masamang epekto sa gawi at pag-uugali ng mga bata?  At dahil nga “napanis” o na-spoil ang mga bata, pati ang disiplina ng buhay espiritwal gaya ng pagdarasal at pagsisimba ay napabayaan. 

Opo, disiplina ang pagdarasal at pagsisimba. Kapag pinabayaan mga ito at nawala sa mga tao, wala na tayong igagalang na kapwa o lugar man lamang at pagkakataon dahil maski Diyos at simbahan hindi na kayang igalang pa. 

Nananatili hanggang ngayon lalo sa ating nakatatanda at di lamang sa mga bata ang misyon ni Hesus kaya siya humirang pa ng pitumpu’t dalawang mga alagad na kanyang sinugo na mauna sa kanya (Luc.10:1-9).

Larawan kuha ni G. Jim Marpa, 2019.

Tayo ang mga iyon sa panahong ito, tayong mga nakatatanda na dapat puno ng alab para sa Panginoon at Kanyang mabuting balita na hatid sa lahat na sa panahong ito ay litong-lito maski na sagana sa mga bagay na materyal.

Tayo ang inaasahan ni Hesus na gagabay sa maraming naliligaw ng landas, lalo na mga kabataan na ibig siluin at lapain ng mga nagkalat na “asong-gubat” sa gitna ng saganang anihin.

Tayo ang mga makabagong San Timoteo at San Tito, dalawang banal na nagparubdob ng alab para sa Diyos sa pagpapahayag nila noon sa salita at gawa na “Nalalapit na ang paghahari ng Diyos sa inyo” (Luc. 10:9) dahil sila rin mismong dalawa ay naranasan ang sigasig sa pananampalataya ng kanilang mga magulang at ninuno noon.  Amen. 

The nobility of respect

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday, Memorial of St. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr, 21 January 2022
1 Samuel 24:3-21   ><]]]]'> + <'[[[[><   Mark 3:13-19
Photo by Dr. Myelene A. Santos, MD, 2020.
Just the other day, Wednesday,
you invited us, God our Father, 
to examine how we "look at each
other", what do we really see in the
other person:  friend or a foe, 
companion or rival, good or evil?*
Today, you teach us to always
"respect" one another despite 
each one's flaws and sins, especially
those in authority above us; after all,
to "respect" is "to look again" to the 
other person, from Latin words
"re" (again) + "specere" (to look/see).
So many times, we fail to respect one
another because we have refused to see
or look at them as a brother or a sister,
most especially as your anointed authority
above us or at least find your image and
likeness in each one of us.

David also stepped out of the cave, calling to Saul, “My lord the king!” When Saul looked back, David bowed to the ground in homage and asked Saul: “Why do you listen to those who say, ‘David is trying to harm you?’ You see for yourself today that the Lord just now delivered you into my grasp in the cave. I had some thought of killing you, but I took pity on you instead. I decided, ‘I will not raise a hand against my lord for he is the Lord’s anointed and a father to me.’ Look here at this end of your mantle which I hold . Since I cut off an end of your mantle and did not kill you, see and be convinced that I plan no harm and no rebellion.'”

1 Samuel 24:9-12
Make us like David, full of nobility
in his respect even to an enemy!
While it is a given that we must respect
one another as your beloved children,
O God, perhaps respect is truly earned
most by the one giving respect to
someone who had lost respect to 
others and self!
Enable us to imitate your Son
Jesus Christ full of respect to the
Twelve men he had chosen to be
his apostles even if he knew they were
of diverse backgrounds and most of all,
one of them would betray him.
But, that is respect to the highest
degree, Lord, when you choose
to always respect us and our choices
in life.
O blessed St. Agnes, martyred
at so young an age, pray for us
to be always pure like you, 
respectful before God and everyone,
including our persecutors!  Amen.

*https://lordmychef.com/2022/01/18/how-do-we-look-at-each-other/

Advent is being at home – with self, with others, and with God

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday, Memorial of St. Francis Xavier, Priest, 03 December 2021
Isaiah 29:17-24   ><)))*> + ><)))*> + ><)))*>   Matthew 9:27-31
Photo by author, Mt. St. Paul, La Trinidad, Benguet, 2020.
Your words today, O God,
are so Fatherly - comforting
and reassuring of your great
promises of redemption and
liberation from sin and miseries; 
your words are so "homey" too - 
help us this Season of Advent to find 
our way back home to you, O loving
God our Father!
Inasmuch as your words today
also speak of seeing and hearing,
make us feel at home first with
our very selves, to be at home with
who we really are, especially with our
past that no matter how dark or
painful life may have been, we are loved
most specially by you - no ifs, no buts.
Bring us home to you, Father, free from
any shame at who we really are!

Thus says the Lord God: but a very little while, and Lebanon shall be changed into an orchard, and the orchard shall be regarded as a forest! On that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book; and our of gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind shall see. The lowly will ever find joy in the Lord, and the poor rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. Now Jacob shall have nothing to be ashamed of, nor shall his face grow pale.

Isaiah 29:17-19, 22
I wonder, Lord, how so often
I feel one of those two blind men
who have followed you into your 
house - of how you first lead me into you,
into your presence, into your love 
and mercy and forgiveness before 
you make me see and hear again.
Thank you dear Jesus for always
coming to us even if so many times
we do not see nor notice you passing by
especially through others; grant us the 
zeal of St. Francis Xavier in reaching out
to others specially this season amid the
pandemic; may we try to see you among
one another as we listen to each one's
cries of pains and joys.
Most specially, let us keep our eyes
and ears and hearts open like St. Francis
Xavier who always believed in your
presence and providence even in the most
difficult and alienating situations
in life because he has always been
at home with you.  Amen.

Fluidity in life

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Thursday, Memorial of St. Martin of Tours, Bishop, 11 November 2021
Wisdom 7:22-8:1   ><]]]]'> + <'[[[[><   Luke 17:20-25
Photo by author, La Union, 2018.
Today O God I am so struck
by your words from the first reading:
"For Wisdom is mobile beyond all
motion, and she penetrates and 
pervades all things by reason of 
her purity.  For she is an aura of 
the might of God and a pure effusion
of the glory of the Almighty; 
therefore, nought that is sullied
enters into her... Indeed, she reaches
from end to end mightily and
governs all things well" 
(Wisdom 7:24-25, 8:1).
What a beautiful description
of Wisdom, of you, dear God!
Someone so fluid, so natural 
like water:  everything flowing
naturally in order - so subtle yet
powerful, hidden but evident and 
felt that so often for those with 
closed minds and closed hearts,
you seem to be so far, even 
unrecognizable.

Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, Jesus said in reply, “The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is’. For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.”

Luke 17:20-21
Teach me to be fluid, Jesus,
like St. Martin of Tours who
naturally cut his tunic into two
to share it with a poor beggar
one cold evening; his kindness was
instinctively filled with Wisdom, fluidly
finding you among the least of our
brethren; may we have the same grace
of  St. Martin to find you among the needy
and most specially to look up to heaven
for our soul's journey back to you.
Amen.
St. Martin of Tours, Patron of my hometown Bocaue, Bulacan; photo from the Parish Commission on Social Communication.

Aral at alaala ng kapa ni San Martin ng Tours

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-10 ng Nobyembre 2021
Larawan mula sa Parokya ni San Martin ng Tours sa Bocaue, Bulacan.
Mula pa sa aming kabataan
palaging nilalarawan kabutihan
ng Patron naming mahal 
San Martin ng Tours sa France 
kung paano niyang hinati 
kanyang kapa upang damitan
at huwag malamigan dukhang
matanda nakasalubong sa daan.
Kinagabihan ay kanyang napanaginipan
Panginoong Jesus sa kanyang paanan
tangan-tangan kapang ibinigay sa 
matandang tinulungan, kaganapan ng
kanyang katuruan na ano mang kabutihan
ang inyong gawin sa mga maliliit at 
nahihirapan ay siya rin ninyong
ginagawa sa Kristo na sa atin nakipanahan.
Nguni't hindi lamang iyon ang hiwaga
ng kapa ng ating Patrong mahal 
na dating kawal, sanay sa mga digmaan:
nang siya ay mabinyagan, 
hinasa niya kanyang isipan upang matutunan 
mga aral ng pananampalataya na kanyang
dinalisay sa taos-pusong pananalangin
kaya't lubos siyang napaangkin sa Panginoon natin.
Upang maging mataimtim 
sa kanyang pananalangin, 
nagtutungo si San Martin sa kagubatan
at hinuhubad suot niyang kapa upang 
isampay at ibitin upang sakali man 
siya ay kailanganin, 
madali siyang tuntunin 
tanging kapa niya ang hahanapin.
Mula sa "kapa" ni San Martin
na noo'y kawal sa France
nanggaling salita na "kapilya"
na mula sa "chapele" ng mga Pranses
na tumutukoy sa kanyang kapa na hinuhubad
tuwing nananalangin at ngayon gamit natin
sa munting pook-dalanginan upang tulad
ni San Martin taimtim din tayong makapanalangin.
Kay sarap pagnilayan at tularan
halimbawa ni San Martin ng Tours:
hinubad kanyang "kapa" ---
kapangyarihan at katanyagan
upang maramtan ng katauhan 
ni Kristo-Jesus na "hinubad kanyang 
pagiging katulad ng Diyos upang mamuhay 
bilang alipin tulad natin" (Fil.2:7)!
Mula sa flickr.com.

The only debt that is good – love!

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday, Memorial of St. Martin de Porres, Religious, 03 November 2021
Romans 13:8-10   ><]]]'> + ><]]]'> + ><]]]'>   Luke 14:25-33
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
Your words from St. Paul today
are so sweet, O God our Father:
"Brothers and sisters:  Owe nothing 
to anyone except to love one another; 
for the one who loves another has
fulfilled the law" (Romans 13:8).
That sounds so heavenly music to me,
Lord!  In the world where we spend
so much time and money paying off
our debts, here is something that is so
good that we would never be able to
write off - the debt of love - because
the more we love, the more we are
indebted, the more we love it!
But it is not the kind of love that
the world knows which is not love
at all, a love that is just a feeling,
a self-serving desire with so many
attachments to self, things and others
that create a false sense of sufficiency
that we think the world owes us without
realizing we owe nothing to anyone 
except to love one another.

Great crowds were traveling with Jesus, and he turned and addressed them, “If any one comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

Luke 14:25-27
Teach us to be simple and humble
like St Martin de Porres of Peru
whose feast we celebrate today;
enable us to imitate him in living
out the gospel of Jesus daily,
forgetting his very self to follow
his Lord and Master on the Cross
by sharing whatever he has 
not only to everyone but 
even to animals and pests
that he became known as 
"Martin the charitable"!
Amen.
St. Martin de Porres,
Pray for us!