The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Thursday, Week XIX in Ordinary Time, Year II, 04 June 2020
2 Timothy 2:8-15 ><)))*> ><)))*> ><)))*> Mark 12:28-34
Remind people of these things and charge them before God to stop disputing about words. This serves no useful purpose since it harms those who listen.
2 Timothy 2:14
For today I just wanted to be silent before you in prayer.
But, you spoke a lot in that silence. Or, did I?
You know very well, Lord, how we have been silent since the start of this quarantine period due to COVID-19 pandemic. We bore everything in silence as much as possible, giving our government officials and lawmakers a chance to redeem themselves.
After all, we are in this mess because of their refusal to listen what others have been saying for the safety of the country, speaking of diplomacy and friendships among the originators of COVID-19, not knowing two of them have been infected with corona while here visiting. One eventually became the first fatality of COVID-19 outside China.
Those in government have always been doing all the talking that has always been non-sense and rubbish. They thought that the more words they used, the more things get clearer.
That is the problem, Lord: those in government like many of us your people are not aware that your silence always precedes your speaking; that your words are full of power, full of life, the fullness of meaning because every word comes from silence.
We humans, especially our elected officials, are all speaking out of noise and void, not from silence which is fullness.
We keep on talking in the hope and belief that the more we talk, the more our words become meaningful.
Lately, it is the opposite that is happening: the more our government officials speak, the more their words become empty while their tongues get sharper like swords, inflicting more pain and causing more shame.
They speak of lies after lies after lies hoping they become true if repeatedly said but the more they are lost.
They speak so tough, complete with warning against violators of quarantine rules but they are the ones who fall into their own pit, becoming like dogs eating what they have spit.
They speak of opening shops and offices, but they are closed to the plight of the commuters.
Worst and most unkind of all, they speak shamelessly of blaming the people for all their woes in this time of pandemic quarantine while they were busy silencing us the people, closing ABS-CBN and just this week, surreptitiously passing the anti-terror bill that silences all critics of this administration mired in profanities, lies, and insincerity.
They make so many laws, using so many words, and yet not a single word proved to be good like the scribe who asked Jesus:
“Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Lord God of power and might, you are the only we have always count on for our protection and salvation.
You know what is in our hearts and you know very well what we are willing to do if you just say so.
For the sake of peace in our country, let our leaders eat their words or at least, keep their mouths shut to stop all their shows and start to listen, accept and love.
The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul, Wednesday, Easter Week VII, 27 May 2020
Acts of the Apostles 20:28-38 ><)))*> 000 + 000 <*(((>< John 17:11-19
What a true and great friend we have in you, O Lord Jesus Christ! You are not only faithful and loving to us but most of all, so true to us that you pray for us that the Father may always keep up.
Every day we pray to you asking for so many things because you are life yourself.
We pray for our family and friends because we love them, and you surely love them too.
And here you are, dearest Jesus, praying for us to the Father!
Thank you so much for thinking of us always.
Forgive us Jesus for the many times we have turned away from you, when we have refused to love you in others.
Enlighten our minds and our hearts, Lord, about your prayer consecrating us in the truth, the word of the Father, when you are in fact, the Word who became flesh.
Grant us the grace to be like St. Paul in the first reading who can sincerely proclaim to everyone his fidelity to your words and mission that was attested with the deep love of the presbyters of Ephesus who were deeply saddened when he bid them goodbye.
In this time of COVID-19 when life is so uncertain with so many people dying, may we give some precious moments of prayer and reflection with the life you have gifted us, you always prayed for.
Give us the courage to examine the kind of life we are leading, if we can have the sincerity of St. Paul in boldly declaring how we have lived and toiled among others.
Pray harder for us, dear Jesus that we may be always one with you in the Father and the Holy Spirit through others. Amen.
Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-14 ng Mayo 2020
Madalas nating isipin
mapalad o pinagpala
ang taong walang tiisin
buhay ay sagana at magaan
walang pinapasang hirap at sakit
nabibili lahat ng magustuhan:
malaking tirahan, magarang sasakyan
hindi kinakailangan may pinag-aralan
wala tayong pakialam
saan nagmula kanyang kaban
na tila di nauubusan kahit baon sa utang.
Huwag nating lilimutin
ang tunay na pagpapala
wala doon sa kayang bilhin
anoman ibigin, pagkain o inumin
o doon sa matatamo sa pagsisikap natin:
kapangyarihan at pangalan, maski pangangatawan.
Ang tunay na pagpapala
nagmumula lamang sa Diyos
hindi materyal kungdi espiritwal
kaya nang mangaral si Jesus sa burol
lahat ay nagimbal dahil kanyang pinangaral
salungat sa takbo at hangad ng sanlibutan.
Mapapalad kayong mga aba,
mga nahahapis at mapagkumbaba;
mapapalad din kayong mga mahabagin,
mga nagmimithing makatupad sa kalooban ng Diyos,
lalo na mga gumagawa ng pagkakasundo
at mayroong malilinis na puso.
Mapalad din mga pinag-uusig
pinagwiwikaan ng kasinungalingan
alang-alang sa Panginoong Hesus
na di lang minsan tiniyak ang tunay na mapalad
ay yaong nakikinig, tumatalima sa salita ng Diyos.
At sino ang unang tumanggap,
tumalima sa Salitang naging Tao
kungdi si Maria na Ina ng Kristo
na bukod na pinagpala sa babaeng lahat!
Alalahanin matapos niyang tanggapin
bilin ng anghel ng pagsilang niya sa Emanuel
nagmadali siyang dalawin si Elizabeth
nakatatandang pinsang nagdadalantao rin;
pagkarinig sa kanyang tinig
kinasihan ng Espiritung Banal at ang nausal
"mapalad ka sapagkat nananalig kang matutupad
ang mga ipinasabi sa iyo ng Panginoon."
Ngayong panahon ng pandemya
hindi pa ba natin nakikita
walang saysay at kahulugan
mga inakala nating pagpapala
gaya ng kayamanan at kapangyarihan
o maging kalusugan?
Sa lahat ng panahon na sadyang walang katiyakan
wala tayong ibang kaseguruhan, maaring sandigan
kungdi ang Panginoong Diyos lamang!
Kaya kung ikaw ay magdarasal
laging hilingin tanging pagpapala sa Maykapal
pananalig at paniniwala salita niya di naglalaho parang bula.
The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul, Friday, Easter Week-IV, 08 May 2020
Acts of the Apostles 13:26-33 ><)))*> +++0+++ <*(((>< John 14:1-6
Your words today, O Lord Jesus, are so assuring, so refreshing like the rains last night. Even if all our problems and worries remain, your words are more than enough to banish their power over us as we gain that trust and confidence to forge into this day we do not know where it would lead us to.
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.”
Keep us by your side, Jesus.
Let us take your path of love and humility, kindness and mercy especially in this time when patience is running out among many of us and emotions in everyone go high that we lose sight of the other persons going through troubles similar with ours.
Sometimes we fail to recognize you like what St. Paul said in the first reading because we always seek something more tangible, someone we can talk to like another person.
Let us be calm and trust in you that no matter what happens, you will never leave us alone and eventually lead us home to the Father’s house in heaven. Amen.
Isaiah 55:10-11 +++ 0 +++ Matthew 6:7-15 03 March 2020
Slow me down Lord, especially this Lent, a season when you invite us to rely in you alone as our life and fulfillment.
Forgive us Lord for being so impatient, when we cannot wait because we want to rush everything simply because we always have so many plans in life; hence, we want total control that we refuse to trust others, especially you, our dearest, loving God.
We always want to rush you, to be quick in fulfilling your words. We refuse to trust in your words that never fail.
Thus says the Lord: “Just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to the one who sows and bread to the one who eats, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.”
Teach us to purify our dispositions and attitudes to you this Season of Lent, Lord.
Teach us that attitude of giving our complete selves to you, O God our Father especially in calling out to you as Jesus had taught us in his Lord’s prayer.
When we say “Our Father” in praying, may we submit ourselves to your Divine will and design, O God, so we may learn to set aside out own plans and agenda so we may experience fully you power and grace. Amen.
The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe for the Soul, Week VI-A, 16 February 2020
Sirach 15:15-20 ><)))*> 1 Corinthians 2:6-10 ><)))*> Matthew 5:17-37
Jesus continues his Sermon on the Mount this Sunday, expounding the meaning of his teachings called the Beatitudes. As we have reflected last week, the Beatitudes tell us the person of Jesus Christ as being “poor, merciful, clean of heart” whom we must all imitate to become the salt and the light of the world.
Most important of all, Matthew presents to us at the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus is more than the new Moses as giver of laws like at Mt. Sinai in the Old Testament: Jesus himself is the Law, who is both our Teacher and Redeemer.
This we see in his teachings today when he claims to be the fulfillment of the Laws and the Prophets from God in the Old Testament.
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill it. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.”
Essence of the Laws: reflection of God, the good of man
Today, Jesus is teaching us to see the laws in the right perspectives, in the light of the will of God for the good of every person. Throughout his ministry, Jesus has always been consistent in reminding everyone that the laws were made for man, not the other way around.
During Christ’s time, people have lost the real meaning of the Commandments of God as priests and religious leaders focused more on its letters than in its essence and spirit that in the process, the laws have become burdensome. It has continued in our own generation with laws taking precedence over God and persons.
At the Sermon on the Mount, we find Jesus restoring and recalibrating the laws so that these become more relevant and powerful as reflections of God in the service of man.
Jesus “relectures” us the laws in this part of his Sermon on the Mount by adding more righteousness (holiness), declaring that,
“I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
By using a pattern where he would cite Laws, saying, “You have heard that it was said”– Jesus shows us his fidelity and obedience to Judaism, contrary to his enemies’ accusations that he had abolished their laws. Moreover, in fulfilling the laws, Jesus put himself in the midst of every law and precept by declaring, “Amen, I say to you” or “but I say to you”.
In following that formula, Jesus gave the laws with a human face and a human heart in himself as its fulfillment so that from then on at his Sermon on the Mount, Christ made every law, every tradition, everything else to be seen always in his person.
Performative powers of the laws in Jesus Christ
With Jesus in the midst of every law and precept as its fulfillment, God’s laws then become not only informative but most of all, performative to borrow one of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s favorite expression. This we find Jesus teaching us in three stages in our long gospel this Sunday.
Education of the heart.
The first two laws cited by Jesus in this long list of commandments are “You shall not kill” and “you shall not commit adultery”. Both laws bring us to the very core of our personhood, of what is in our hearts and in our minds. The Lord explains that being angry as well as saying bad words against another person is like murder while looking lustfully at a woman is a form of adultery because in both cases, we have ceased to regard the other individuals as persons to be loved and respected, created in the image and likeness of God.
It is an invitation for us to purify our hearts and minds for what defiles man is not what enters him but what comes out from him (Mt.15:11). Whatever is within us will always have an effect in all of our actions, for better or for worse.
What a tragedy that right here in the middle of our wired world of social media and instant communications, we have actually grown apart than together in the last 35 year with so much animosities fed on by lies and misinformation.
How ironic also that despite the information explosion from the Net, we have more benighted souls today than ever before who have actually gone to schools who know nothing of our history and geography?!
Education of the heart is formation of the whole person, not just a training of skills. One problem we have these days is when information is geared on data and facts without integration that we forget our relationships as well as the values we keep like respect, kindness, and dedication. Unless we have an education of the heart, a wholistic and integral formation, we can never be transformed into like Jesus Christ.
2. Get into the roots of our sins.
In telling us to pluck out our right eye or cut off our right hand if these cause us to sin, Jesus is inviting us again to probe deep into our hearts and being to understand what causes us to sin.
The key here is to be totally free. In the first reading, Ben Sirach counsels us to “choose” rightly what is good and avoid what is evil.
We can only exercise our true freedom when we have clearer knowledge and understanding of ourselves and of things within us. We fall into vices and sins because we do not know what is going on inside us; hence, we are enslaved by our desires and sins to be not free at all.
Once we understand our sins, we commit them less often. Most of all, when we understand our sins, our struggles against committing these become more persevering, resulting to more triumphs than defeats.
The Season of Lent is near. Once again, we shall be busy with fasting and abstinence, contrition and confession of sins, almsgiving and other spiritual works that make us holy. But too often, these acts become mechanical that sooner, we sometimes reach that point when we cannot find meaning in doing them anymore that we sink deeper into sins and evil.
This happens when we get focused with letters of the laws and we forget its spirit that we become mechanical because we have failed to understand our very selves as well as our sins.
3. Be true.
Jesus said it perfectly well at the end of his teachings today,
“Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one.”
In this last installment of reviewing the laws, Jesus underscored the problems with divorce as well as with lies that continue to this day because we always choose not to be true at all with ourselves, with God, and with others.
See the wisdom of Jesus in putting together divorce and oaths, the two great lies that until now continue to mislead so many among us who refuse to accept and carry the cross of Christ, preferring only the Easter Sunday minus the Good Friday.
Being true is embracing the Cross of Jesus Christ like St. Paul in the second reading. It is something we cannot deny in this life. There will always be pain and sufferings. As Dr. Scott Peck put it in his book The Road Less Travelled, “life is difficult.”
At his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus clearly showed in his Beatitudes that he and his values are in sharp contrast to the wisdom of the world. And this wisdom is only accessible to those willing to embrace the crucified Christ and the scandal of the cross.
It is there on the Cross with Jesus Christ we truly find the fulfillment of the laws as well as our fullness as persons. Amen.
2 Samuel 7:4-17 ><)))*> ><)))*> ><)))*> Mark 4:1-20
God our Sower, every good seed is from you.
Thank you very much in giving us the best seed of all, your Son Jesus Christ, the “Word who became flesh”, himself the very fruit of the “seed” you promised to King David long, long ago.
That night the Lord spoke to Nathan and said: “Go, tell my servant David, ‘The Lord also reveals to you that he will establish a house for you. And when your time comes and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make his Kingdom firm. It is he who shall build a house for my name. Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; your throne shall stand firm forever.'”
2 Samuel 7: 11-13, 16
Cultivate us, O Lord, to become good soil who will be open to receive your seed to make it sprout and grow and bear fruits.
So many times in our lives, we choose to be like the “path” where seeds fall and we do not mind at all. Likewise, we sometimes choose to be like the rocky ground who joyfully received Jesus for a while but when trials come, we give up on him because we have not taken him into our hearts to take root in us.
There are those among us, O Lord, who choose to be among the thorns, who choose to believe in science and technology, in materialism that choke the word in us until it dies out and bear no fruit.
In all instances, the problem is with the soil, never with the seed that is so good if given a chance to grow on rich soil would surely be fruitful.
Teach us to be a rich soil, one who is patient and still, willing to wait for your coming each day sowing us the good seed who value silence, and most of all, who uphold the sanctity of life itself so that YOU, O Lord will grow in us, be nurtured by us, be loved and embraced by us.
Show us anew the beauty of your words, O Lord, so we may immerse ourselves in you, be still in your presence to receive and digest your words as food that delights us and strengthens us. Amen.
The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe for the Soul, Week IV-A, 26 January 2020
Isaiah 8:23-9:3 ><)))*> 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17 ><)))*> Matthew 4:12-23
In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters.
The Bible clearly tells us everything in the beginning was dark. And since then, almost everything has always begun in darkness, like human life itself, or every new day, even new year!
Some relatives and friends have been complaining to me how 2020 started off with a lot of darkness.
And I totally agree with them!
Since the Christmas Season until last Friday, I have been officiating funeral Masses for parishioners and friends as well as praying for some relatives and friends who have passed away this January abroad. Also included in this vast swathe of darkness are some relatives and friends diagnosed with serious illnesses like Alzheimer’s and cancer.
In the news we find so many darkness at the start of 2020 like fears of World War III when an Iranian military officer was killed in an American drone attack in Baghdad on January 03; the January 12 phreatic eruption of Taal Volcano now threatening a catastrophic eruption anytime; and, this fast-spreading new corona virus from China that is reportedly so deadly.
Everything is so dark at the start of 2020 and January is not even over yet!
Darkness leads us into light
Even our readings today speak about darkness, especially the beginning of the public ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ after John the Baptizer was arrested.
When Jesus heard John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Napthali, that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled.
However, these same readings assure us that not all darkness are gloomy after all. In fact, it is in darkness where we see the light of the gospel shining brightly.
Despite that dark note on the arrest of John the Baptizer, we actually have here the beginning of the good news of salvation with the start of the preaching and public ministry of Jesus Christ.
Darkness is always a prelude to light, like chaos is to order.
Sometimes, we need to experience some darkness for us to realize the need to be enlightened, to see more the beauty of light, to seek light – most especially of the love and mercy of God in Jesus Christ who had come to us on the darkest day of the year, December 25.
See how in our lives when bad things have to happen first before we can learn our lessons so well or find particular values we now treasure in life.
Sometimes, God allows us to be plunged into darkness to find him, to see him, to desire him and eventually have him.
First the Lord degraded the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali; but in the end he has glorified the seaward road, the land west of the Jordan, the District of the Gentiles. Anguish has taken wing, dispelled is darkness: for there is no gloom where but now there was distress. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.
Jesus comes to us in darkness
Darkness in the bible signifies sin and evil, failures and disappointments, struggles and sufferings, and finally, sickness and death. No one is immuned from darkness.
But with the coming of Jesus Christ who conquered evil and sin, darkness has become a blessing, an invitation for us to find him, to listen to him, and to follow him.
Fram that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make yo fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.
Jesus opted to start his public ministry and preaching in the “darkest region” of Israel at that time, among the peoples living in darkness of sins and lack of meaning and directions in life. He comes to us most of the time during our moments of darkness to enlighten us and give us direction.
That makes every darkness a blessing in itself for that is when Jesus – the Gospel himself – shines brightly.
Let everything begin in the words of Jesus
Right away at the start of his preaching and ministry, people began following to listen to Jesus in Galilee, particularly at Capernaum where he used to preach in their synagogue near the shores of the Lake of Galilee (a.ka., Tiberias).
Everything began with the words of Jesus Christ: the sick were healed, those possessed by evil spirits were cleansed, sinners were forgiven, and those troubled found comfort in him.
Most of all, people found meaning in life as experienced by the first four disciples of Jesus, Simon and his brother Andrew, and the sons of Zebedee, James and John.
They were all rich and money was not a problem because they owned fishing boats that was very expensive at that time. Simon Peter is believed to be a very successful fisherman with many hired workers while the brothers James and John were beginning to learn the trade from their rich dad.
All four grew up together, worked together, most of all shared the same darkness in life, searching for meaning and direction in life that they have finally found in Jesus Christ while listening to his preaching. And that is why they immediately left everything and everyone behind after being called by Christ!
Very surprising was the attitude of Zebedee also who did not even bother to call or drag his sons back to their boat to help him because he must have felt and seen the bright sparks within his sons who have finally found meaning and direction in life through the preaching of Jesus Christ – “the Word who became flesh” – according to John who later wrote the fourth gospel account.
Such is the power of the word of God who cleanses us of our sins, empties us of our pride and foolish self to be filled with the wisdom and light of Jesus Christ.
In a decree issued last week, Pope Francis has declared every third Sunday of Ordinary Time as “Bible Sunday” to emphasize the importance of praying the Sacred Scriptures, listening to God himself present in his words found in the Bible.
Even today, everything begins with the words of Jesus Christ: that is why it is the very first part of the Mass, equally important with the Eucharist.
We can never experience Jesus Christ in his Body and Blood at the Holy Eucharist or even among our brothers and sisters gathered in the celebration of the Holy Mass unless we first meet and experience him in his words.
Most of all, we can never experience him in person without praying the Sacred Scriptures because according to St. Jerome, “Ignorance of the scriptures is ignorance of Jesus Christ.”
Is there ay darkness in your life these days?
Try dusting off that bible you have kept in a little corner of your shelf — read it, study it, and pray it.
Be surprised in its powers for,
“Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart”
Monday, Memorial of St. Martin of Tours, 11 November 2019
Wisdom 1:1-7 ><)))*> ><)))*> ><)))*> Luke 17:1-6
It is the start of work and school today, Lord.
Thank you for our jobs, thank you for our schools, thank you for the food and clothes we have.
Thank you very much for the gift of self and most especially for the gift of others.
Unfortunately, O Lord, they are the ones we always hurt with our painful words, and yes, with all sorts of profanities.
If our words were like swords or clubs, or even at least like thorns of the cactus, everyone of us would be beaten black and blue or worst, mangled.
For wisdom is a kindly spirit, yet she acquits not the blasphemer of his guilty lips; because God is the witness of his inmost self and the sure observer of his heart and the listener to his tongue. For the spirit of the Lord fill the world, is all embracing, and knows what man says.
Bless us today, Lord, to be like St. Martin of Tours who always spoke with humility and gentility, full of wisdom and kindness to everyone. Most of all, bless us to be like him to see you Lord among everyone and treat them with respect and dignity always.
Fill us with your wisdom, Lord, especially our public figures that they may never let speak evil of anyone and be an occasion of sin as you warned in the gospel today.
Help us to bring back decency and kindness especially in our language for indeed, “from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Mt. 12:34).