Welcoming Jesus who knocks at our door

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Tuesday, Week XXXIII, Year II in Ordinary Time, 17 November 2020
Revelation 3:1-6, 14-22     >><)))*>  +  <*(((><<     Luke 19:1-10
Photo by author, May 2019 Holy Land Pilgrimage.

Your words today, O Lord, are so comforting — after some reprimanding for our sins and misgivings!

And that is how you display your love and mercy and forgiveness that sometimes we fail to see and even recognize.

Despite our being “alive but dead” like the church in Sardis (Rev. 3:1) when we backslide to our old ways of sinfulness as well as our being “neither cold nor hot” like those in Laodicea when we refuse to make a stand for what is true and just, you still come to us, seeking us, trying to bring us back to your fold.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me.

Revelation 3:20

Keep us humble, Lord Jesus, like Zacchaeus who openly admitted his “being short in stature” (Lk.19:3-4) that he had to climb a sycamore tree to see you passing by. And when you finally met him and told him of your coming into his home, he welcomed you right into his heart by being sorry for his sins, promising to repay or recompense those he had extorted money from.

A sycamore tree at the world’s oldest city of Jericho in Israel, 2019.

Like the blind man you have healed yesterday and now Zacchaeus, keep us following you Jesus on the middle of the road, leaving our comfort zones, to dirty our hands and garments in doing your works among the poor and needy specially in this time of calamity.

Open our ears to listen to your voice, to be on guard waiting for your coming, to your knocking at our door to welcome you back into our lives.

May we grab every opportunity to welcome you into our lives, Lord Jesus, by turning away from sins and heeding your voice of love and compassion among the poor and suffering. Amen.

When less is truly more

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Thursday, Week XXXI, Year II in Ordinary Time, 05 November 2020
Philippians 3:3-8   >><)))*>  +  >><)))*>  +  >><)))*>   Luke 15:1-10
From Google.

So many times I wonder, O God, why do you have to let us go on first with our lives, see and experience and have everything in the world before we realize that less is always more, that in losing that we truly gain?

Thank you for being so kind and generous with us! You are truly a Father who allows us to discover life by ourselves without forgetting to teach and remind us all the important things like faith, hope, and love.

There are times our values are misplaced but you take time before intervening like with the experiences of St. Paul and the other saints. You “let us” get lost only to seek and find us later so we learn your lessons first hand.

But whatever gains I had, these I have come to consider a loss because of Christ. More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

Philippians 3:7-8

Yes, dearest God: less is always more when all we have is you in Jesus Christ who had come to fulfill our lives, our longings and our emptiness.

Teach us to appreciate the value and importance of little things, of the small ones we take for granted because in life, they are the ones who complete, who make everything a whole again.

Most of all, one is always too many to lose because each of us is so unique, so special and “irreplaceable”.

May we keep that in mind to be like Jesus the Good Shepherd always seeking and caring for the lost and the sick. Amen.

Photo by author, Sacred Heart Spirituality Center, Novaliches, 2018.

Imitating the attitude of Christ

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Tuesday, Memorial of St. Martin de Porres, Religious, 03 November 2020
Philippians 2:5-11  +++ ||| +++   Luke 14:15-24
Photo by author, Chapel of the Holy Family, Sacred Heart Center for Spirituality, Novaliches, 2018.

Brothers and sisters: Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus. Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.

Philippians 2:5-6

God our Father, I feel too small, even ashamed before you today as I prayed on your words through St. Paul; it is not just a very tall order but the sad part is the fact that we have all known it all along since our catechism days in school or the parish but rarely put into practice.

We admit it is the fundamental rule of Christian life, to be like Jesus Christ your Son who had come to show us the way back to you is by emptying one’s self for others, to be one with others especially in their pains and sufferings, of being the last, being the servant of all, being like a child.

Unfortunately, we always find it so difficult to learn.

Partly because we lack the very attitude of Jesus Christ we must first imitate according to St. Paul.

And that is the attitude of being small, being the least.

Exactly like St. Martin de Porres:

From Pinterest.com

Such was his humility that he loved them even more than himself and considered them to be better and more righteous that he was. He did not blame others for their shortcomings. Certain that he deserved more severe punishment for his sins than others did, he would overlook their worst offenses. He was tireless in his efforts to reform the criminal, and he would sit up with the sick to bring them comfort. for the poor he would provide food, clothing and medicine.

Homily by St. Pope John XXIII at the Canonization of Saint Martin de Porres in 1962

So often, our attitude is like with those invited by the king to his great dinner: feeling great, feeling so important with themselves that they find no need to be with others that they all turned down the invitation.

Sometimes our arrogance and high regard for ourselves miserably fail us in being like Jesus; hence, we continue to be divided into factions because no one would give way for others that lead to peace and harmony.

Teach us Lord to change that attitude of greatness in us with an attitude of smallness, of leaving a space for others in our lives so we can all work together as one community of believers in you like St. Martin de Porres and all the other saints. Amen.

Prayer to become small

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday, Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, 19 June 2020
Deuteronomy 7:6-11 ><)))*> 1 John 4:7-16 <*(((>< Matthew 11:25-30
Photo from Google.

O most Sacred Heart of Jesus, make my heart like yours — make me small and little in standing, hidden and unknown among many, simple and humble in a world now measured in influence, popularity, and following.

On this Solemnity of your Most Sacred Heart, I thank you dear Jesus in choosing to be small and little, always hidden in the simplest things of life like soft voices of kindness and mercy, reason and wisdom, gratitude and love.

You have shown us that to be truly loving like you, we have to be small and little like children.

Most of all, free to be ourselves as beloved children of the Father!

Free from inhibitions and guilt to truly express the love and joy within.

Help us, Jesus, to cast all our worries to you, to take your yoke that is easy, burden that is light.

It is so difficult to love when we are burdened by many concerns and considerations, when we cannot be our true selves that we lack spontaneity, of being natural and easy.

In the same manner, it becomes hard for us too to love or even please someone who sees him or her self bigger than reality, when they see themselves as “big shots” and “heavyweights” who have to be pleased and “followed” or affirmed.

May we always keep in mind the words of Moses so applicable also to us today:

“It was not because you are the largest of all nations that the Lord set his heart on you and chose you, for you are really the smallest of all nations.”

Deuteronomy 7:7

O Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, you have given us your heart that bleeds due to the thorns of our sins, yet aglow with the fire of your immense love and mercy.

May we come to you, today and always to find rest, to learn from your gentle and humble ways so needed in our heartless world. Amen.

Photo by Mr. Jim Marpa, 2019.

True greatness is in smallness

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday, Week X, Year II in Ordinary Time, 10 June 2020
1 Kings 18:20-39 ><)))*> ooo + ooo <*(((>< Matthew 5:17-19
View from inside the Old Jerusalem. Photo by author, May 2017.

Jesus said to his disciples: “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 things have taken place. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:18-19

O Lord Jesus, these are heavy words for things we consider too small, too little that we take them for granted because they do not have much impact unto this big, wide world.

Like the salt you spoke of yesterday when a dash or a pinch can bring out a burst of flavors from food or a taste that can awaken us.

So many times in our lives, we forget the reality that great things always start with small beginnings.

That people who can be trusted with little things can be trusted with great things; and people who cannot be trusted with small things cannot be trusted too with bigger things.

Forgive us, Jesus, when we tend to look into the size and amount and number as bases for our decision and choices in life, when we continue to hold on to the belief the bigger is always better, the more the merrier.

But you, O Lord, are so different: you chose to be small being born as an infant, waiting for 30 years before coming out in public, having only a band of 12 followers who were practically a nobody in the society then, choosing an unleavened bread and ordinary grape wine as signs of your presence and eternal covenant for all time.

And here we are, like the Israelites of the time of Elijah who chose to to be quiet and doubt you because you only had one, old prophet; but when they his saw many counterparts of Baal, they all rooted for the false god whose only edge was number.

Elijah appealed to the people and said, “How long will you straddle the issue? If the Lord is God, follow him; if Baal, follow him.” The people, however, did not answer him. So Elijah said to the people, “I am the only surviving prophets of the Lord, and there are four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal. Give us two young bulls. Let them choose one, cut it into pieces, and place it on the wood, but start no fire. I shall prepare the other and place it on the wood, but shall start no fire. You shall call on your gods, and I will call on the Lord. The God who answers with fire is God.” All the people answered, “Agreed!”

1 Kings 18:21-24

Please forgive us, Jesus, when we would rather go and accept whatever is popular, trending and viral, when we are so concerned with more likes and followers, with whatever is more and bigger without realizing you are so great because you are so small with a little voice so you can dwell inside our hearts.

Let us value whatever is little and small, uphold whatever is tiny and minute because most often you are there with most power. Amen.

Photo by author, Christmas in our parish, 2019.

Greatness in smallness

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul

Tuesday, Advent Week I, Memorial of St. Francis Xavier, 03 December 2019

Isaiah 11:1-10 ><)))*> ><)))*> ><)))*> Luke 10:21-24

What a blessed Tuesday we have today, O Lord, despite the threat of a super typhoon approaching us!

Your words console us, assure us of your protection and grace.

You give us today two beautiful images of greatness in being small which is the true spirit of Christmas, of you our God coming to us a child born in Bethlehem more than 2000 years ago.

First image is the “shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from its roots a bud shall blossom” (Is.11:1).

Every great thing always starts small. Most of all, they always happen where we least expect them like shoots sprouting from the stump of a tree! Help us to keep this in mind especially when we are losing hope.

How sad that in today’s world, people insist that “size always matter” that we always want to be the biggest in everything.

Second image, O Lord, that you have given us today of greatness in smallness is being childlike, your favorite:

Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.

Luke 10:21
Photo by Mr. Jim Marpa, 2018.

Being like a child is the very essence of your life and teachings, O Lord Jesus which we seem to fail to grasp and accept. All our lives we have always insisted on being so wise and learned that have often led us to more problems and disunity among us.

Teach us to be childlike, full of trust and confidence in you and most especially, with that sense of awe.

Like our Saint for today, that great child in faith of St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis Xavier who kept that spirit of being childlike in his going to mission as far as China and Japan working tirelessly for the faith.

O blessed St. Francis Xavier, pray for us to remain small and simple before God our Master like you so that his greatness and majesty be seen more in us. Amen.

Power of Greatness Is In Being Small

RaffyIceland8
The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe-Prayer
Tuesday, 30 October 2018, Week XXX, Year II
Ephesians 5:21-33///Luke 13:18-21

            O loving Father, you are such a joy to be with, filled with life and humor!

            Yesterday through St. Paul you asked us to “live as children of light” and today through him again you are asking us to “be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Eph.5:21) 

            Being children, being subordinate are both calls to become small, to be little.  In a world where size always matters, when we talk more about being bigger and biggest, we have always taken for granted being little, being small.  For some, life is measured in terms of power and reach, influence and domination while respect equated by with strength and humility with weakness.

            How ironic that the most powerful weapons in the world are called “atomic” that harness the power of the smallest particle of everything, the atom.  Moreover, some scientists have recently borrowed your name to designate the minutest particle that makes up an atom as “god particle” only to show that to be atomic, to be powerful is to very, very small.

            How could we forget, even disregard, this basic lesson of the universe, still unaware and unconvinced with your example of sending us your Son Jesus Christ who was conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb, born as an infant like everyone, grew and matured like any child in Nazareth except in sin?  Eventually, in conquering death, He fully emptied Himself by dying on the Cross in total weakness and surrender, so small in the eyes of the world when in fact He got the whole world in His hands?

            Help us, O God, to keep in our hearts Christ’s teaching that your kingdom is like the small mustard seed that becomes a large bush or the little yeast that leavens the dough.  Help us realize, O God, that for us to be truly great, we have to be small before you our Creator, to always subordinate ourselves with one another in Christ like husband and wife deeply in love.  AMEN. Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Parokya ng San Juan Apostol at Ebanghelista, Gov. F. Halili Ave., Bagbaguin, Sta. Maria, Bulacan 3022. 

*Photo by Mr. Raffy Tima of GMA-7 News, Iceland, October 2018.  Used with permission.