God living among us

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday in the Thirty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time, 25 November 2022
Revelation 20:1-4, 11-22:2   ><]]]'> + ><]]]'> + ><]]]'>   Luke 21:29-33 
God our loving Father,
your words today spoken both by
John and your Son Jesus Christ
are frightening at first hearing;
but, as we dwell more on your words,
we are comforted because your promised
end of the world is the beginning
of "new heaven and new earth"
(Revelation 21:1-2);
it has started coming already
in the birth of Jesus Christ 
as we join the psalmist
in proclaiming this wonderful truth,
"Here God lives among his people"
(responsorial psalm).
"My soul yearns and pines for 
the courts of the Lord.
My heart and my flesh 
cry out for the living God.
Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest in which
she puts her young ---
your altars, O Lord of hosts,
my king and my God!
Blessed they who dwell in your house!
Blessed the men whose strength
you are!"
(Psalm 84:3, 4, 5, 6)
Despite the many trials
and sufferings we have been going 
through, you never ceased to
guide us to life and fulfillment
in you through Jesus Christ.
Make us aware and conscious
of your presence among our brothers
and sisters especially those in pain
and in the margins;
may our eyes,
our minds,
and our hearts
be open to your presence
in everyone we meet inasmuch
as we can read the signs of 
the fig tree and other trees
(Luke 21:29-30);
may we stop for a while
in our tasks and duties
to feel each one's humanity
and personhood to find you
and experience you.

Blessed are those lost

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Monday, Week XVI, Year I in Ordinary Time, 19 July 2021
Exodus 14:5-18   ><]]]'> ><]]]*> ><]]]'>   Matthew 12:38-42
Photo by Mr. Raffy Tima of GMA7-News, June 2020.
What a beautiful day to reflect
on your very unusual ways, O God our Father;
once again, there is that issue of 
being lost in our readings today:
your people have to take a long and 
circuitous route out of Egypt
going to your Promised Land only to be
caught up near the Red Sea by
their former masters pursuing them
to take them back to slavery.
But Moses answered the people,
"Fear not!  Stand your ground,
and you will see the victory 
the Lord will win for you today."
Then the Lord said to Moses,
"Why are you crying out to me?
Tell the children of Israel to go forward.
And you, lift up your staff and,
with hand outstretched over the sea,
split the sea in two, that the children
of Israel may pass through it
on dry land." (Exodus 14:13,15-16)
Yes, dearest God our Father,
sometimes we need to get lost
in order to find you and one's self;
we have to be led to unfamiliar routes
and places and situations in life for indeed,
complacency breeds contempt.
Set us free from our routines and
own ways of thinking and doing
 that have unconsciously enslaved us
that we no longer trust you.
Teach us to "stand our ground"
like when Moses answered his
people amid their many complaints
that we may be consistent with our
desires to be truly free and fulfilled.
Teach us to "go forward"
as you commanded your people
to cross the Red Sea and believe in you,
follow your lead to experience
your great power and wonders.
He said to them in reply,
"An evil and unfaithful generation
seeks a sign, but no sign 
will be given it except
the sign of Jonah the prophet."
(Matthew 12:39)
Forgive us, dear Jesus
in seeking so many signs from you,
doubting you, mistrusting you 
despite all the love and mercy 
and blessings you have showered us.
When we are lost in the many 
trappings of this world,
help us find our way back
home to you, to rest anew 
in your gentle mercy and love.  Amen. 

God in the signs of the times

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday, Week XXXIV, Year II in Ordinary Time, 27 November 2020
Revelations 20:1-4, 11-21:2     >>>  +  <<<     Luke 21:29-33
Photo by author, October 2020.

O God our loving Father, today I echo the song of the psalmist, yearning to be with you, hoping to dwell with you: “My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest in which she puts her young — Your altars, O Lord of hosts, my king and my God!” (Ps.84:3, 4).

As we come closer to the end of the current liturgical calendar, looking forward to Advent and Christmas, make us more sensitive in finding you Lord in the signs you always give us by cleansing our hearts so that there is always a sacred space for you there within us.

May we always abide in you, O Lord, living in your precepts, finding you among us in the many signs you send us so that when your promised “new heaven and new earth” is realized in Jesus Christ, may we find favor in his judgement as we strived to live his gospel.

You have created us, fashioned us in your hands, breathing in us your life-giving spirit, Father; we are yours and meant to dwell in you in all eternity. Amen.

Faith to read signs

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Monday, Week XXVIII, Year II in Ordinary Time, 12 October 2020
Galatians 4:22-24, 26-27, 31-5:1     ||| +++ |||     Luke 11:29-32
Cross of Christ atop the church of our Lady of Lourdes in France. Photo by Arch. Philip Santiago, September 2018.

Today O God our Father I thank you for the gift of faith we have always taken for granted. Faith is not just for believing in you, God; faith is for believing what is true! Without faith, life would be a drab and even senseless for there is nothing we can ever hold as reliable and true.

Without faith is like living without friction with everything sliding, slipping, escaping our grasps. There is nothing we would ever believe in. Most of all, without faith we can never read and understand any kind of signs, especially your saving work in Jesus Christ.

While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation.

Luke 11:29-30

We live in a world of so many signs and symbols but it is only through your gift of faith that they all become meaningful and useful.

Teach us, Lord, to deepen our faith so we can read your signs better like St. Paul in the first reading whose deep faith in you enabled him to interpret the meaning of the signs of Abraham’s two sons, Ishmael by Hagar and Isaac by Sarah.

May we love and care more for your gift of faith to us, Lord, because it is through our faith that we know and discover, follow and hold on to your plans for us. Amen.

God never fails in finding us

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday, Memorial of St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, 28 August 2020
1 Cortinthians 1:17-25 <*(((><< ||+|| >><)))*> Matthew 25:1-13
Philippe de Champaigne’s painting “Saint Augustine” (1645-1650) from wikimedia.org.

Whenever I look back in my life, Lord, the more I realize the truth that it is YOU who finds us when we are lost. Even before we searched for you, you have been asking us to come home to you. In fact, to look for you is a grace in itself because that is when you have finally found us!

Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you… You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness… You touched me, and I burned for your peace.

From the Confessions of St. Augustine

Thank you dearest Jesus in giving us the great St. Augustine, another version of St. Paul who started so wrong in life but ended right on your side.

Please be patient with us, Lord, specially in those times we feel so wise, thinking we know everything, that we can direct our own lives without you.

Open our hearts and our minds that we may heed the words of St. Paul like St. Augustine:

For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

1 Corinthians 1:22-25

We pray, O Jesus, for the gift of wisdom like the wise virgins of your parable that even in the darkness of our lives, our hearts may always be aflame with your love. Amen.

Photo by author inside our parish at sunset, 25 August 2020.

Let nature remind us of God

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Monday, Week XVI, Year II in Ordinary Time, 20 July 2020
Micah 6:1-4, 6-8 <*(((><< )) + (( >><)))*> Matthew 12:38-42

Praise and glory to you, O God our loving Father for this beautiful Monday! We are midway through the month of July in this challenging year. Yes, 2020 is heavy for most of us with all the various problems we are going through but you have never left us, O Lord.

And that is why, Father, we also wonder what else have we not done that would set things right again?

Let us heed your words, O God.

Let us be reminded of your ways, of your very self by nature around us!

Hear what the Lord says: Arise, present your plea before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voices! Hear, O mountains, the plea of the Lord, pay attention, O foundations of the earth! For the Lord has a plea against his people, and he enters into trial with Israel. O my people, what have I done to you, or how have I wearied you? Answer me! You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:1-3, 8

Forgive us, merciful Father, for being “an evil and unfaithful generation” always looking for signs of your loving presence.

Teach us to trust you even if we cannot understand your plans.

May we learn from nature around us that thrives so well in your loving care – full of life, full of zest even without so much attention, reminding us of your saving power in Jesus Christ. Amen.

All photos by author except bougainvillea with our parish church by Gelo Nicolas Carpio in the collage above.

I believe!

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul

Tuesday, Week VI, Year II, 18 February 2020

James 1:12-18 <*(((>< 0 ><)))*> Mark 8:14-21

Photo by author, Mt. St. Paul, La Trinidad, Benguet, 03 February 2020.

“I believe, Lord!”

I believe, Lord, that is why I understand.

So many times I cannot understand you, Lord, especially your words and your ways because my mind and my heart are always filled with so many other things and even persons that I cannot find a space for you.

Believing in you, O Lord, is the starting point of everything that enables us to understand things and persons. Belief in you, O God who is all-powerful and all-knowing, is on whom everything begins, the starting point of everything. It is when I believe that I understand, Lord.

Like the apostles traveling with you on the boat, I always “presume” what you mean when you talk to me, especially that “leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod”. You are our leaven, our faith.

I am sorry, Lord, when my heart is so hardened that I cannot understand or comprehend your teachings that invite me first to believe so I can understand.

Let me always have that firm faith in you, Lord, to always believe in you so that I may not be deceived that even temptations come from you.

“Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers and sisters: all good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.

James 1:16-17

Give me the grace to always look deep inside my heart, to look around and be surprised by nature proclaiming your loving presence among us.

To wonder and to believe always lead us to you, to believing in you even in the midst of trials and sufferings that never come from you. Amen.

Divine sighs, human signs

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul

Monday, Week VI, Year II, 17 February 2020

James 1:1-11 ><)))*> 0 <*(((>< Mark 8:11-13

Photo by author, Laguna Lake, Los BaƱos, Laguna, 13 February 2020.

How often does it still happen today, Lord Jesus Christ, that like in our gospel today you would “sigh from the depth of your heart” after we, your people, would ask you for more signs from heaven?

Have mercy on us, Lord, for our lack of faith in you after all these years.

Forgive us for being “unstable in all our ways” with you, always “a man of two minds” as St. James would describe us (James 1:8) in seeking wisdom and things from you.

Forgive us for those moments we doubt your presence and power especially when we fail to win your favor, to get your blessings for our particular prayers and supplications.

The fault is really on us, Lord.

If sighing is your way of keeping your patience with our being so stubborn, teach us to reach out to you in the depths of our hearts, to remember those countless occasions you have saved us.

That instead of asking for signs from you, we may just sigh deep inside us to experience you again. Amen.

How much do you love?

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe for the Soul

Week XXXIII-C, 17 November 2019

Malaci 3:19-20 ><}}}*> 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12 ><}}}*> Luke 21:5-19

The Wailing Wall of Jerusalem Temple, May 2019.

We are now at the penultimate Sunday of the year as Jesus continues to summarize his teachings today at the Temple area in Jerusalem about his final coming at the end of time.

While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, Jesus said, “All that you see here — the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.” Then they asked him, “Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?” He answered, “See that you not be deceived… “

Luke 21:5-8

On the surface, Jesus seemed like to be a “kill joy” in making those bold assertions about the coming destruction of the Temple while everybody was admiring it. But notice how the people reacted: instead of being worried, they asked when it would happen and what would be the warning signs before it takes place as if it is just an ordinary thing!

“Wala lang…” as the young would say these days. Nothing, duh…?

View of Jerusalem from the Church of Dominus Flevit where Jesus wept upon seeing the city from the Mount of Olives.

St. Luke tells us that before Jesus entered Jerusalem, “he wept over it” at the thought that it would be destroyed and that its enemies would not “leave one stone upon another” (Lk.19: 41-44).

If there is anyone deeply hurt and saddened with the Temple’s destruction, it is not other than Jesus Christ our Lord. He certainly shared the people’s admiration for the Temple which he had also claimed as “my Father’s house” (Lk.2:49) when he was accidentally left behind there by Mary and Joseph when he was 12 years old.

Imagine what Jesus must have felt when he spoke of the destruction of the Temple which is the heart of Jerusalem, the jewel of the city, and most of all, the sign of God’s presence among his chosen people!

There must be something deeper with his warning words of the Temple’s destruction that pertains not only to his people at that time but also to us today.

Wailing Wall of Jerusalem, may 2019.

For the Jews at that time, the destruction of the Temple is the end of the world, the signal of the apocalypse. More than a catastrophe involving the destruction of buildings and almost everything including life, it is judgment day that must not be taken lightly.

It is a day calling for conversion as the prophet Malachi in the first reading reminds us that every coming of God is a day of judgment and salvation.

Lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire… But for you who fear my name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays.

Malachi 3:19-20

Christ had already come and will come again.

This was his promise and this is what he meant at the cleansing of the temple, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up” (Jn.2:19). At his Passion, Death, and Resurrection, Jesus Christ had replaced the old Temple worship with himself!

This is what we celebrate in every Holy Mass, God’s coming to us in Jesus Christ his Son.

Jesus comes in every here and now, and his every coming is a process of destroying our old temple of self to give rise to a new temple in Christ. Our concern need not be about a future date of his Second Coming or specific signs of its fulfillment.

Every day Jesus comes again and the challenge is for us to live authentically as Christians daily and not be bothered about the future. He warns us not to be deceived by all of these apocalyptic predictions and statements.

The key word is conversion, of living in the present. Jesus tells us so many things that can be very frightening and scary because what he wants us to do in preparation for his Second Coming is to love, love, and love.

And to love is to always suffer in Christ, with Christ.

He answered, “See that you not be deceived, for many will come in in my name… Do not follow them! When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end.” Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky. Before all this happens, however, they will seize and persecute you… You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair of on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”

Luke 21:8-19

Yes, Jesus will definitely come again at the end of time. Like last Sunday, definitely, there is a resurrection of the dead and life everlasting. But both must be seen in the context of the present time, of the here and now.

When Jesus comes again to judge us at the end of time, he won’t be asking us about the things we have been so preoccupied with in this life like how much money we earn, what car do you drive, or how big is your house?

When Jesus comes again, he will be asking us questions we have always refused to answer in our daily lives like how much have you loved, how much have you sacrificed and suffered for a loved one, or how much have you shared to a stranger?

These are the questions we must be asking ourselves as we near towards the end of the year: how close have I followed Jesus Christ in his Passion and Death so I may be with him in his Resurrection?

May we imitate St. Paul in his second letter to the Thessalonians today to faithfully and calmly fulfill our daily tasks in this life, avoiding being idle for each day is the day of the Lord. Amen.

Angel of God, Reminder of God

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul

Wednesday, Memorial of Guardian Angels, 02 October 2019

Nehemiah 2:1-8 ><)))*> ><)))*> ><)))*> Matthew 18:1-5, 10

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Your gospel today, Lord Jesus, brought me with mixed feelings of embarrassment and joy.

Embarrassed because like your disciples then, until now we are still preoccupied with the same old question of “who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” (Mt.18:1).

How funny – and shameful too, Lord, that as we grow older, the less we believe or at least disregard your guardian angels assigned to each one of us. As we get older, we feel we know everything, we can do everything, and we can be on our own.

How sad that in similar manner of dismissing our parents and elders as guardians, we have also abandoned belief and acceptance of angels.

Thank you for never abandoning us despite of this attitude, O dear God!

Thank you most of all, dearest God, for not withdrawing from our side our guardian angels!

Joy fills my heart today on this feast of the Guardian Angels that even if so many times in the past I have turned away from you, my guardian angel never left me, guiding me back to you in those many instances of discovering your wonder anew.

Our guardian angels remind us O Lord of your great love for us.

I can still recall so many instances in my life how I felt someone I do not see yet so personally present with me, personally saving me from so many occasions and situations that were harmful and even fatal.

Yes, guardian angels are not only for kids but for everyone who believe in you, Lord, to remind us of you.

Teach us to be child-like, humbly admitting there is an angel on our side, and most of all, you are always with us, Lord Jesus Christ.

As your messengers who are very close to you and closest with us, teach us to be like our guardian angels always close to you too and with others guarding and protecting them from harm. Amen.

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com