Ang Mahal na Birheng Maria at corona virus

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-26 ng Nobyembre 2020
Larawan kuha ni Arch. Philip Santiago, Lourdes, France, 2016.
Sana'y inyong ipagpaumanhin
at ako ma'y patawarin
ng Mahal na Ina natin
sa aking sasabihin
na noon pa man 
hindi ko inililihim:
Ano itong pagkahumaling
ng marami sa mga kapatid natin
sa pagkokorona sa Birheng Maria?
Mayroon pa bang hihigit
sa kanyang koronasyon 
sa langit?
Hindi kaya ito kalabisan
kaartehan 
o inggitan ng iilan
na ang tanging sandigan
ng debosyon kay Maria
ay panglabas lamang
upang hilig ay mapagbigyan
kahit walang kabuluhan
at katuturan
habang sambayanan
nanonood lamang
sa isang palabas na walang laman?
Pasiklaban, pabonggahan
tanging mga katangian nitong pagkokorona 
hindi birong halaga ginagasta
sa gitna ng isang pandemya
tila baga nawala na rin
panglasa at pang-amoy
nahawahan na rin
ng corona virus
debosyon sa masintahing Ina
di nila alintana
sila-sila lang nasa eksena
wala naman ang balana.
Larawan mula sa Pinterest.
Sana'y tigilan na
itong pagkokorona
ng Birheng Maria
na lumalaganap tulad ng virus
dahil natitiyak ko
hindi rin siya masaya
sa gayong parangal sa kanya;
malamang ipapaalala
din niya tulad ni Hesus
propesiya ni Oseas:
"habag ang nais ko
hindi mga susunuging hain."
Ang higit na nakakabahala
sa ginagawa nilang pagkokorona
sa Birheng Maria bilang Reyna
wala na ring pinagkaiba
sa mga monarkiya
lalo na sa Europa
na sadyang pang-aliw
na lamang sa mga turista
walang kahulugan ni
katuturan sa takbo ng buhay
maliban sa lumipas na kasaysayan
at yaman ng kanilang kalinangan.
Hindi ba ang korona
ng Birheng Maria
 ay ang putong niyang
katapatan at kababaang-loob
sa harap ng Diyos,
buod ng kanyang Magnificat?
Siya na ating Reyna
kayamanan at korona
ay mga dukha
at mahihina,
ningning at kinang
wala sa ginto at ano mang brilyante!
Balikan, higit sa lahat pagnilayan,
pagpapakita ng Birheng Maria
sa makabagong panahon
doon sa Lourdes, Fatima at Banneux
dama kanyang pagka-Reyna
dahil kaisa niya mga bata at dukha;
higit sa lahat, si Maria
ang tinutularan, pilit inaalam
kanyang larawan
hindi tulad ng kinagagawian
kanya-kanyang larawan
malayo sa katotohanan at kabanalan! 
Ang hamon ng Birheng Maria
siya ang ating makatulad
hindi siya manika o sagala 
na inaayusan dahil sa sariling kagustuhan!
Larawan niya ay karukhaan at kababaang-loob
hindi kapalaluan na pinaglalaruan;
huwag nating ipilit ang sa atin
korona ni Maria ay sirain
at maging koronang tinik
sakit at hapis ang kapalit;
koronang putik na ang dungis sa atin babahid
o corona virus sadyang wala na si Hesus!
Larawan kuha ng may-akda, Our Lady of the Poor ng Banneux, Belgium sa retreat house ng Boys Town sa Cavite, 2007.

Pitumpung alagad… nino?

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-15 ng Hulyo 2020
Sa gitna nitong mga balita
sa garapal at walang kahihiyang
ginawa ng pitumpung mambabatas
na nagkait ng prangkisa sa Kapamilya
aking naalala sa Banal na Bibliya
kuwento ni San Lucas na ebanghelista
nang ang Panginoong Hesus humirang noon 
pitumpung alagad o pitumput-dalawa 
na sinugo Niya ng dala-dalawa 
sa bawat pook at bayan na patutunguhan Niya.
Sinabi Niya sa kanila
"Sagana ang aanihin, ngunit kakaunti
ang mga manggagawa... Humayo kayo!
Sinusugo ko kayong parang mga kordero
sa gitna ng mga asong-gubat.
Huwag na kayong magdala ng lukbutan,
supot, o panyapak.  Huwag na kayong titigil
sa daan upang makipagbatian kaninuman.
Pagpasok ninyo sa alinmang bahay,
batiin ninyo ng kapayapaan;
Manatili kayo sa inyong tinutuluyan, 
huwag kayong magpalipat-lipat ng bahay.
Pagalingin ang mga may karamdaman
sa bawat bayan na inyong pupuntahan 
mga taumbayan ay sabihang nalalapit na 
ang paghahari ng Diyos sa tanan." 
Inyong tingnan sa Banal na Kasulatan
ito ay malalaman, matatagpuan sa Lucas 10:1-12
kahanga-hangang misyon ng pitumpung alagad
ng ating Panginoon noong unang panahon
hatid sa tao pag-asa at pag-ahon;
inyong tingnan ngayon mga pahayagan
pakinggan mga balita ng labis na kasamaan
kawalan ng kahihiyan ni pakundangan
nitong pitumpung nilalang 
turing sa sarili at mga kasamahan "kagalang-galang"?
Sila ma'y pinahayo, sinugo
ng pinapanginoon nilang Poncio Pilato
asal nila masahol pa sa asong-gubat
kaayusan at kapayapaan tinapakan
at niyurakan ng kanilang kapalaluan;
sa bawat halalan pangako paglilingkuran
nasasakupan agad namang tinatalikuran
palipat-lipat ng kakampihan kung saan makikinabang 
sa sama-samang pagsamsam sa kaban ng bayan;
kunwari'y mabuti ang kalooban 
kaban-kabang bigas pinamimigay
milyung-milyong kapalit naman ang dinudugas;
kunwari'y malasakit para sa may-sakit
pakilala sa lahat ay kuya na tila kapamilya
pati turo ng Diyos sinasalaula
manang mana sa kanyang ama.
Sa pagsusugo ni Hesus sa pitumpung alagad Niya
binigay din Kanyang babala 
Araw ng Paghuhukom malapit na;
kaya sana itong pitumpung kongresista 
pati na kanilang mga kasama
mabatid ang usapin ay hindi lang prangkisa
kungdi kanilang pagmamalabis;
huwag ninyong punuin ang salop
dahil ang Diyos Siyang kakalos
at baka sapitin ninyo ay kalunus-lunos.

Scoundrels are we?

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Monday, Week XI, Year II in Ordinary Time, 15 June 2020
1 Kings 21:1-16 ><)))*> ><)))*> <*(((>< <*(((>< Matthew 5:38-42
Photo by Mr. Raffy Tima of GMA-7 News, stranded people staying at the underpass near the NAIA after waiting for so long to catch their flights back to their provinces since March.

So many times in life, O God our Father, we hear so many stories of injustice, of how our neighbors are treated so badly that we feel so disgusted at how it could happen at all.

Like all these stories of people stranded in Metro Manila, of the lowly income earners who have to walk for hours just to get to work because there are not enough public transport system allowed to operate.

Of those made to suffer the strict quarantine rules when police officials and politicians were allowed to get off the hook or, the arrest and incarceration of a poor, elderly jeepney driver who had joined a protest rally while the former First Lady who was convicted of corruption charges two years ago was spared of any jail term because of her age.

So much inequalities happening shamelessly, with much impunity by those in power, O Lord!

Exactly like the evil Queen Jezebel who instructed her people to find two scoundrels to testify against Naboth so she could take his vineyard so desired by her husband King Ahab.

Two scoundrels came in and confronted him with the accusation, “Naboth has cursed God and king.” And they led him out of the city and stoned him to death. When Jezebel learned that Naboth had been stoned to death, she said to Ahab, “Go on, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite which he refused to sell you, because Naboth is nbot alive, but dead.” On hearing that Naboth was dead, Ahab started off on his way down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.

1 Kings 21:13-16

Such stories are so revulsive, O God, not only of their nature but more because partly to be blamed is us — when we have refused to do anything good in fighting evil. Indeed, the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

Yes, O God, we are ashamed because we have unconsciously sided with the scoundrels when we chose to “see nothing, hear nothing, and say nothing” of their lies, their harsh words and vulgarities, and their systematic killing sprees to solve the problems of the society.

We have misread the words of your Son Jesus Christ by becoming passive in the face of evil.

Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles.”

Matthew 5:38-39, 41

Give us the wisdom and courage to turn our other cheek, to go the extra mile in asserting to evil doers that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ who must treat one another with respect and equal dignity as a person created in your image and likeness, God our Father.

Inspire us, O God, especially our leaders in the Church who have gone so timid and silent except for a very few on how we can be more prophetic in this time of crisis under an unfriendly government. Amen.

A view from Tagaytay by the author, October 2019.

Prayer for us in having a new bishop

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul

Installation of the Fifth Bishop of Malolos, 21 August 2019

Judges 9:6-15 ><)))*> ><)))*> ><)))*> Matthew 20:1-16

Main Altar, Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Malolos City. Photo by Lorenzo Atienza, June 2019.

On this joyous occasion of the installation of our fifth Bishop, the Most Rev. Dennis C. Villarojo, we praise and thank you O God for this wonderful gift of finally having a local Ordinary to lead us.

Thank you in hearing and granting our prayers for a new Bishop. And surely, you will be hearing and granting us all our prayers for him too!

But, lest we forget, I pray also to you, O God our Father, the prophetic request of a lay-woman you sent us during our clergy recollection last June: “Let us not corrupt our new bishop.”

It was the most shaking voice we have heard from you for a long time, Lord.

We were shocked, even jarred to our very core because it is so true.

It is a truth you have been telling us for so long not only in the Church but even in the society in general.

So often, we pin too much hopes and expectations, even demanding a lot from our leaders everywhere but we alway forget our important role of helping them fulfill their mission.

May we take into our hearts the parable of the trees by Gideon’s youngest son Jotham when your people were so eager of having their own king because the problem, O God, with corruption anywhere is not in the sinful ways being done by the corrupt but lies more on the corruptors who feel entitled that they must be given with special treatment by every leader they try to manipulate for their selfish ends.

Let us not be corruptors of any one like those in the gospel parable today of the first group of workers who looked so highly of themselves, expecting higher wages than the others and what was agreed upon, forgetting they are not the owner of the vineyard.

Bless our new Bishop and keep him strong in resisting the temptations and lure of fame and power and wealth in this so blessed vineyard of yours. Amen.

The Immaculate Conception, Patroness of our Diocese atop the Cathedral Bell Tower. Photo by Lorenzo Atienza, June 2019.