Faith + works = discipleship

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday, Week VI, Year II in Ordinary Time, 18 February 2022
James 2:14-24, 26   ><)))*> + ><)))*> + ><)))*>   Mark 8:34-9:1
Photo from, 2021.
Awaken us, O Lord,
from our mistake and
error of insisting 
that our pious and religious 
exercises are the "good works"
that express our faith in you;
let us realize that it is not 
enough that we simply 
celebrate Mass, recite the
Rosary, join processions and
pilgrimages and keep other 
devotions that make us good
practicing Catholics; these are
not the good works that St. James
is asking from us in the first reading:
faith is the true living out 
of our faith in you, Jesus Christ!

For just as a body without spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

James 2:26
True faith in you,
O Lord, is forgetting 
one's self to reach out
to those in need, fighting
for justice and peace,
being more loving and kind,
forgiving and understanding
of others just like you, dear Jesus.
True faith in you,
dear Jesus, is being 
your disciple which is  
a call to deny one's self,
to take up one's cross in life,
and to follow YOU always
(Mark 8:34).
Give me the grace
this day, Jesus, 
to sincerely look into
myself and examine 
how true is my
faith in you, 
how my very life
and actions reveal
the faith I have
or simply do not have
at all.  Amen.

Praying to be in the world, not of the world

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday in the Seventh Week of Easter, 19 May 2021
Acts 20:28-38   ><)))'> ><)))'> ><)))'>   John 17:11-19
From Facebook, 04 April 2021: “There is an urgency to announce the Joy, the joy of the Risen Lord.”
Lifting up his eyes to heaven,
Jesus prayed, saying:
"I do not ask that you take them out 
of the world but that you keep them
from the evil one.
They do not belong to the world
any more than I belong to the world.
Consecrate them in the truth.
Your word is truth.
As you sent me into the world, 
so I sent them into the world.
And I consecrate myself for them, 
so that they also may be consecrated in truth."
(John 17:11, 15-19)

Oh what a feeling, Lord Jesus Christ for us to be prayed for by you! What an honor and a great privilege for us all to be prayed for and consecrated by you, the Son of God to the almighty Father in heaven.

Thank you very much, Lord, for putting us in the world and consecrating us to you to be not of the world! Help us to keep this in our minds and in our hearts, that we are in the world but not of the world.

Help us remember your beautiful prayer when things are getting so difficult, when troubles bombard us daily, when our burdens get heavier that the temptations to follow the ways of the world by escaping pains and sufferings become so strong and even so enticing.

Make us remember this beautiful prayer you said for us all during your Last Supper so we may remain one in you as brothers and sisters, one as husband and wife, one as a family, one as a community, one in our places of work and studies, one as a nation.

May your prayer, sweet Jesus, prepare us in facing every kind of hostility and indifference of the world as we witness your gospel of salvation in the world through love and mercy, joy and kindness especially to those losing hope, those tired and exhausted, and those in the margins of the society.

Photo by author, November 2020.

Give us the grace to be like St. Paul who faithfully completed his mission at Ephesus that as he bid goodbye to the people there, “they were all weeping loudly as they threw their arms around Paul and kissed him, for they were deeply distressed that he had said that they would never see his face again. Then they escorted him to the ship” (Acts20:37-38).

We are all “overseers” of your people and wealth entrusted to our care, Lord; keep us true and faithful, honest and sincere in taking care of them. It is you, O Lord Jesus, whom they must experience and love, not us.

We pray today for those holding positions in government and in the Church, in the private sector specially in our places of work and studies that they may always keep in mind all powers are from God that must be exercised for the good of the people they serve. Keep all authorities aware of their great responsibilities in the world and be careful not to fall into the traps and evil of the world. Amen.

When troubles happen

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Monday in the Seventh Week of Easter, 17 May 2021
Acts 20:17-27   ><)))*> + ><)))*> + ><)))*>   John 16:29-33
Smoky skies from the northern California wildfires turn the sky a glowing orange in San Francisco, California on 09 September 2020. Photo by Ray Chavez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images

What a blessed Monday you have given us today, our loving Father, filling us with so many hopes for better days ahead of us. Yes, work has piled up for most of us with so many demands and targets to be met, so many obligations and responsibilities to fulfill this week, not to mention our many concerns in the family and with our very selves.

But, like the apostles in the gospel today, we are joyful even if we do not fully understand everything in life because you have assured us of your loving presence especially when troubles and problems arise.

"Behold, the hour is coming 
and has arrived when each of you
will be scattered to his own home
and you will leave me alone.
But I am not alone, 
because the Father is with me.
I have told you this so that 
you might have peace in me.
In the world you will have trouble,
but take courage, I have conquered the world."
(John 16:32-33) 

Truly, indeed, Lord, troubles have never stopped coming our way especially since the start of this pandemic.

We have so many worries and anxieties at the moment but we are thankful to your love and mercy. Your blessings and grace far outweigh all the troubles we have at the moment. Your kindness is more than enough as you give us everything we need.

Teach us to be content and grateful. Most of all, to remember and reach out to those with less in life, those who go through more troubles these days.

Like St. Paul who chose to travel “through the interior of the country down to Ephesus” instead of taking the usual and easier route to meet more people in need and rarely seen by almost everyone.

Give us the grace today to be one with those having many problems and troubles today. May our presence make them realize they are not alone, like you, dear Jesus who is always with the Father.

We pray most especially today for those going through many troubles whether by their own making or by others. Amen.

Prayer to work centered on the Lord like St. Joseph

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker, 01 May 2021
Genesis 1:26-2:3   <*(((>< + ><)))*>   Matthew 13:54-58
Photo by author, site of St. Joseph’s workshop in Nazareth beneath the chapel in his honor, May 2017.

God our loving Father, we praise and thank you for the gift of St. Joseph whom you have called to be the husband of Mary and the foster father of your Son Jesus Christ here on earth. In him, you have shown us the value of sharing in your work to nurture earth and its resources.

Most of all, in St. Joseph you have taught us to work centered on our Lord Jesus Christ by integrating work with family and with fatherhood to become truly a provider not only of food, clothing and other material needs but most of all in providing love and guidance to the family.

In St. Joseph, the motivation and the purpose of work is solely to serve Jesus Christ which is very evident in the gospel today.

Jesus came to his native place
and taught the people in their synagogue.
They were astonished and said,
"Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds?
Is he not the carpenter's son?"
(Matthew 13:54-55)

How beautiful that in the “wisdom and mighty deeds” displayed by Jesus, the people remembered St. Joseph the carpenter – what a marvelous job he must have done in forming and providing for our Lord!

He must have worked diligently for you, dear God, never focusing attention to himself so unlike these days when we have categories of workers like those doing “white collar jobs” and “blue collar jobs”.

Dearest God our Father, in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic when so many people have lost work and are now suffering the adverse effects of quarantine, we pray in the most special way for our workers to please protect them from all harm and sickness especially those working in the hospital.

We pray for those trying to find work these days so they may continue to provide for their families.

Photo by author, Chapel of St. Joseph, Nazareth, Israel, May 2017.

Open our hearts on this year of St. Joseph as proclaimed by Pope Francis last December 8 on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of his proclamation as patron of the universal church:

The crisis of our time, which is economic, social, cultural and spiritual, can serve as a summons for all of us to rediscover the value, the importance and necessity of work for bringing about a new “normal” from which no one is excluded. Saint Joseph’s work reminds us that God himself, in becoming man, did not disdain work. The loss of employment that affects so many of our brothers and sisters, and has increased as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, should serve as a summons to review our priorities. Let us implore Saint Joseph the Worker to help us find ways to express our firm conviction that no young person, no person at all, no family should be without work!

Pope Francis, “Patris Corde” #6

O most chaste St. Joseph, pray for us! Amen.

Nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-23 ng Hunyo 2020
Larawan kuha ng may-akda sa Marcos Highway pababa ng Baguio, 2019.
Isang kasabihang
ating kinalakhan
at pinananaligan
dahil sa katotohan:
"Nasa Diyos ang awa,
nasa tao ang gawa."
Sa paglipas ng panahon
napansin ko na mayrooon
tila kulang, hindi sang-ayon
tuon at tugon sa nilalayon
nitong kasabihang kinamulatan noon
na kailangang liwanagin ngayon.
Larawan kuha ng may-akda, Katedral ng Malolos, 2019.
Paano kung ang tao
gumawa nang gumawa
sa buong pag-asa
sa kanya ang Diyos ay maaawa
gayong kanyang mga ginagawa
hindi naman sang-ayon ang Bathala?
Kay rami nang binuhos na panahon
lakas at talino ngunit hindi nagkagayon
planong nilalayon
kaya luhaang bubulong
luluhod at didipa sa Panginoon
tapunan siya ng awa sa madaling panahon.
Larawan kuha ng may-akda, Tam-Awan, Baguio City, 2019.
Hindi maikakaila 
walang hindi magagawa
ang Mabathalang Awa ng Diyos
ngunit ito nga iyong hindi nating alintana
sa marami nating ginawa
ang Diyos ay nabale-wala.
Kaya nga hindi ba dapat
bago pa man tao ay gumawa
sa Diyos maunang humingi ng Kanyang awa
upang mabatid ano ibig Niyang ipagawa?
Ito ang diwa nitong ating kasabihan kung saan nauuna
tuwina "nasa Diyos ang awa", saka pa lamang "nasa tao ang gawa"! 

Doing the work of God

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul, Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, 01 May 2020

Genesis 1:26-2:3 ><)))*> ><)))*> ><)))*> Matthew 13:54-58

Photo by author of the site of St. Joseph’s shop in their home at Nazareth found beneath the Chapel of St. Joseph near the Basilica of the Annunciation, Nazareth, Israel. May 2019.

As we start the third extension of our quarantine period, you have gifted us O God, our loving Father, with this Feast of St. Joseph the Worker to guide many of us working at home during this time of the corona pandemic.

St. Joseph must have been a very good father to Jesus at Nazareth and a very wonderful carpenter too to their neighbors that long after he had died, the people still remembered him being the father of the Lord.

Jesus came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue. They were astonished and said, “Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds? Is he not the carpenter’s son? Is he not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? Are not his sisters all with us? Where did this man get all this?”

Matthew 13:54-56

Remind us always, O Lord, that like St. Joseph, our main task in life is to do your work in the way you would want it to be done because all our work is just a sharing in your creation completed in six days, setting aside the seventh day of sabbath as a day of rest in you.

In this time of the corona virus when many of us are working at home with almost all establishments including churches are closed, may we find again the true meaning and value of all work and material endeavors in the light of Jesus Christ who did and spoke only what you willed, our heavenly Father.

May we break free from our works and be not their slaves that have destroyed our personal and family lives as well as our environment as we pursued in recent years material wealth and fame now useless in the face of COVID-19.

May we always find you, Lord, in all our work and undertaking as our only fulfillment. Amen.

Photon by Mr. Raffy Tima of GMA-7 News, March 2020.

Prayer to keep our “fire burning” for God

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul

Friday, Memorial of St. Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr, 22 November 2019

1 Maccabees 4:36-37, 52-59 ><)))*> <*(((>< Luke 19:45-48

Candles seen from our altar onto our church rear, 18 November 2019.

Lord Jesus Christ, Light of the World, please keep your fire burning within us, always aglow with your firm faith, fervent hope and unceasing charity and love.

On this memorial of your virgin and martyr, St. Cecilia who is also the patroness of sacred music, may we imitate her to keep on “singing the song of God in our hearts”, whether in good times or in bad.

Let us praise you both in words and in deeds without ceasing.

How sad that we are like the Jews after their victory over the Gentiles in the Maccabean revolt: very enthusiastic at first that eventually waned, becoming complacent that after a hundred years, the Romans easily conquered and subdued Jerusalem.

On the anniversary of the day on which the Gentiles had defiled the temple, on that very day it was reconsecrated with songs, harps, flutes, and cymbals. All the people prostrated themselves and adored and praised heaven, who had given them success.

1 Maccabees 4:55-56

Forgive us, Lord, on the many occasions when we are so eager and full of zeal in praising you and doing your will after we have gained particular blessings and intentions from you that later on, we become complacent like your contemporaries.

Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things, saying to them, “It is written, my house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.”

Luke 19:45-46
Candle in our sacristy, 19 November 2019.

Let us not be complacent, Lord.

Remind us that our work and mission from you will continue until we rest in you, O Lord.

Keep our lights and fire burning. 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.

It’s the Position Seeking the Person

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe-Prayer
Monday, 12 November 2018, Week XXXII, Year II
Titus 1:1-9//Luke 17:1-6

            Thank you for this Monday, Lord Jesus Christ.

            Remind us on this first day of work that it is the position seeking the person and not the person seeking the position.  Remind us of the meaning of vocation that every position and task in our lives is a call from you to serve.  Remind us that every position, every authority, every power comes from you and it is always a sharing in your work not for our personal interests.

            On this first day of work, St. Paul’s letter to Titus invites us all in the Church and in the civil society to remember that every task, every work, every position you give us is “to set right what remains to be done” (Titus 1:5) to maintain or restore order and harmony among  us.

            May we heed your warning “things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the one through whom they occur.” (Lk.17:1)  Many times, sins happen when we desire and get positions not meant for us, inflating our egos, and thus, start lording over everyone.  Grant us the humility to always be one in you and with you like St. Josaphat who shed his blood for unity and harmony among the people.  AMEN. Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Parokya ng San Juan Apostol at Ebanghelista, Gov. F. Halili Ave., Bagbaguin, Sta. Maria, Bulacan 3022.

leadershipnot positionS

*Photo from Google.