Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-22 ng Pebrero 2023
Paloob ang Kuwaresma
Katulad nitong ating buhay
na papaloob at hindi palabas.
Pagmasdan mga tanda
at kilos nitong panahon
habang Panginoon ang tinutunton
hinuhubad ating kapalaluan
upang bihisan ng kababaan,
sinasaid ating kalabisan
upang punan ng Kanyang
buhay at kabanalan.
Paloob ang Kuwaresma,
Simula ay Miercules de Ceniza
mga noo'y pinapahiran ng
paalala ng kamatayan
tungo sa buhay na walang-hanggan
at pagsuko ng mga kasalanan
talikuran at labanan
gawi ng kasamaan.
Paloob ang Kuwaresma
hayaan saloobin at hiling
isalamin ng buhay natin;
pag-aayuno ay higit pa sa
di pagkain ng karne
kungdi mawalan ng laman
ating tiyan, magkapuwang
sa Diyos at sino mang
nagugutom at nahihirapan;
ano mang kaluguran ating
maipagpaliban ay ilalaan
buong katahimikan maglimos
tanda ng kaisahan
kay Hesus nasa mukha
ng mga dukha
Paloob ang Kuwaresma
Sa gitna nitong panahon
ng social media na lahat
ay ipinakikita at ibig makita,
lahat ay pabongga
ipinapaalala ng Kuwaresma
ang mga pinakamahalaga
ay hindi nakikita
nitong mga mata
bagkus ay nadarama
dahil sa paningin ng Diyos
ang tunay na mahalaga
ay yaong natatago,
napapaloob katulad Niya
sa ating puso at kalooban.
The Lord Is My Chef Simbang Gabi Recipe by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Monday in the Fourth Week of Advent, Day 4 of Christmas Novena, 19 December 2022
Judges 13:2-7, 24-25 ><}}}}*> + ><}}}}*> + ><}}}}*> Luke 1:5-25
As we get closer to Christmas Day, there is this post going around social media that I think is worth sharing this blessed season of getting together like parties and reunions especially after two years of lockdown and isolation in this pandemic.
I totally agree with this list and in fact, still thinking of adding some more to finally end our penchant for insulting others.
A very classic case of being “mema” – memasabi lang without thinking and caring for the well-being of other people as well as without realizing how stupid they are whenever they say these “eight things we should stop saying at family reunions for good.”
Notice how most of these are addressed to women.
First to single ladies in the family or circle of friends with the very common query “Kailan ka mag-aasawa/magpapakasal?” to the downright insensitive, “Ang tanda mo na. Bakit single ka pa rin hanggang ngayon?”.
Here we find the wrong notion of everyone that getting married is the most important thing in this life, no matter what!
It is a very rude and senseless comment to any woman, especially a family member or relative. Most guilty of this are moms and aunts.
Can a woman just get married with any man?
Of course, she has to be choosy, she has to think very, very hard about it because marriage is a lifelong commitment.
Married life is a call from God, not a cajole from relatives and crowd. Please, shut up and stop making these comments.
Next on the list are still women which shows how some of our family members and relatives -ironically also women – would not really stop in their insulting spree.
They wrongly believe that relatives and friends have no privacy at all!
Next to single ladies, the married women are the favorite target of these insensitive relatives and colleagues with their question, “Kailan mo balak magka-anak?”
Whoa! For me this is a mortal sin. Something we should not let pass our lips because we will never know how difficult and trying it must be to some couples in working and praying for a child.
Life is a gift from God and only him can truly bless every couple with a baby. It is not magic or power given to humans.
Every couple wants to have a child, a baby, but, of course, like marriage, they have to prepare for it. They need to plan. And save and work to ensure their kids would get good education and comfortable life.
It is a struggle among many couples. Again, shut up and just pray for them to have their own “little bundle of joy”.
Now, we come to the third thing we must stop saying at all.
It is a comment directed to us who comprise more than half of the world population. Imagine if all of us fat people would unite, people would never dare speak these words….
Many times I just keep silent at people who say this.
If ever you tell them you have lost 20 or 30 kilos, the more they will insult you with “pumayat ka pa niyan?”.
See what I mean. They are the worst kind of insensitive people on earth without any knowledge at all about biology and medicine, imbeciles with little brains, asking “malakas ka bang kumain?” Of course! Would you get fat by just deep breathing?
It is the fourth day of our Christmas novena and why do I tell you these, or entertain you with these?
Our readings today show us how two great prophets were conceived and born in miraculous manner. In the first reading we have the story of the conception of Samson in the Old Testament. His mother was barren. Perhaps, she was also a subject of many insults and jokes, of nasty talks and insensitive comments like what most women experience today.
Then we have the story of the annunciation of the birth of John the Baptist to his father Zechariah, himself already old unable to make a baby while his wife Elizabeth was barren. Despite their stature in the society with a pedigree equal to many of the gentry, they never have a child who would continue their lineage.
But here we find God finally answering their prayers in the midst of their nothingness.
Here are couples who have been praying all their lives for a child when God finally answered them.
Sadly, Zechariah doubted it that he was silenced by the angel, indicating the need for us to be silent always, to be empty to let God fill us with his work and grace.
Many times in life, nothingness is actually fullness.
See when a guy texts a lady, saying “hi” just because or “wala lang” or “nothing”.
But, that is something! When we tell people “wala lang”, it is “meron.”
The same in life. In fact, we have to be empty in order to be filled up by God. Zechariah was silenced while Elizabeth on her own decided to “quarantine” herself by going into “seclusion for five months, saying, ‘So has the Lord done for me at a time when has seen fit to take away my disgrace before others'” (Lk.1:24-25).
Many times in life we get impatient. We doubt and sometimes easily give up.
Like St. Joseph yesterday, we just have to accept that we have to set aside our own plans to follow God’s better plans for us. We have to accept everyone because Christ comes in everyone. We have to accept in order to understand life better.
I know it is easier said than done, especially for all single ladies, childless couples and fat people like me praying to God, asking what is most dearest to us like the vocation in life or the right man, a baby, and a good health; God hears and answers all prayers.
Just be patient. In our emptiness and nothingness, God comes. Just be sure to have that space for God always, unlike Zechariah who doubted the power of God.
Sometimes, we hurry God to answer our prayers especially when the insults and comments from others become unbearable. That is fine. God listens and understands it so well. That is why today, we pray for those with urgent prayers before God:
God our loving Father,
we praise and thank you in sending
us Jesus Christ your Son,
our Lord and Savior,
the one whom you raised from
the root of Jesse;
come now, do not delay any longer!
Come and deliver us, O Lord,
remember your promise to us,
and keep us open always like
Elizabeth to find you still in our
barrenness and nothingness;
help us create and preserve
that sacred space for you within
us always so that even in life's
emptiness, we are fulfilled in you.
The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Easter Sunday, 17 April 2022
Acts 10:34, 37-43 ><}}}*> Colossians 3:1-4 ><}}}*> John 20:1-9
Easter is one big event composed of so many stories of openness and emptiness that all started and were prepared at Holy Thursday and Good Friday. In fact, our celebration today is the one we have prepared these past 40 days of Lent and what a tragedy – and a foolishness – when people skip Easter!
Easter is so big an event that beginning today until the Pentecost – all 50 days are counted as one big day for we cannot contain all the joy and mysteries of Christ’s Resurrection in just one day or even one week.
Most of all, the joy of Easter is a reality that continues to happen to us everyday as we join Jesus Christ in our daily passover or pasch by remaining open and empty in him, with him, and through him.
On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
One of the many rituals I began having since turning 50 years old was preparing my daily medicines which I put into those little boxes with labels of the day of the week and time like morning, mid-morning, noon, evening and bed-time. For those of my generation, I’m sure you can relate so well that it is like playing sungka when we were kids!
Last Monday as I prepared my meds and reflections for the Holy Week and Easter, I noticed how it has become more difficult to open bottles, boxes and packets of medicines that all come with a reminder, “Do not accept if seal is broken”. In an instance, I realized how we have been so conscious with our safety and privacy these days that everything now goes so tightly sealed with a lot of other safety features to prevent it from contamination and hacking that include food and drinks, gadgets like cellphones and computers, and smart devices. It is more difficult and frustrating for non-techies and forgetful like me when online bank accounts and various social media accounts require many verifications and updating of passwords due to threat of scams and other cybercrimes.
How ironic that the more we are supposed to be free and mobile, when life is meant to be easier and enjoyable but in reality, the more we are locked up to ourselves for fears of being hurt or disrespected, even killed!
And so, instead of opening, the more we close in, the more we hide, the more we become secretive, worst, the more we are imprisoned by our own devices as the Eagles claimed in their classic hit in the 70’s, Hotel California.
Easter is opposite: the grace of this event and season is experienced and received when we open ourselves to the many new possibilities in life Jesus himself had opened for us when he rose from the dead conquering evil and sin.
Like that stone in his empty tomb, Jesus had removed everything that have locked us inside our insecurities and fears, sins and failures, pains and hurts in the past so that we can go out freely each day to face the world with joy in order to grow and mature as persons.
Jesus had removed everything that blocks us and prevents us from seeing the many beauties and wonders life offers us found in the people God sends us to express his love and care, mercy and kindness for us.
But, are we also open to him and to life itself?
In the first reading, Peter spoke to the people of Jerusalem, asking them to open themselves to the truth about Jesus as the Christ sent by God to save us from our sins being his witnesses to “what had happened in Judea that started in Galilee” (Acts 10:34).
Recall last night how Luke in his version of the Resurrection recorded the two Angels telling the women who had come to the empty tomb to stop “seeking the living among the dead” (Lk.24:5).
Being open means breaking the news to others that Jesus is risen with our very lives full of joy and hope. Unlike Mary of Magdala and Simon Peter on that early morning of Easter, we need to be empty first of our suppositions and doubts about Jesus Christ. See how they at first doubted the empty tomb but later especially after Pentecost, they all proclaimed the good news of salvation of Jesus Christ.
Being open to Jesus and being empty of doubts of his Resurrection mean that we have to focus more of the things of above, of the more essential than the superficial and fleeting.
Please forgive me but I felt so sad with the people during the celebrations these Holy Thursday and Good Friday: so many of us are trapped in those little cellphone cameras spending more time recording the beautiful rites we have had after two years of lockdown. Experience the moments! Experience Jesus Christ, experience the person next to you! Keep those cellphones during celebration of the Sacraments which is the saving presence of Jesus! Remove the “media” and be actually present.
Maybe you have seen that cartoon of the Resurrection before pandemic when Jesus was surprised coming out of the tomb with people waiting for him with their cellphones; yes, it is funny but the joke is on us. We have been trapped and imprisoned by these gadgets that we have stopped living in reality and more in virtual reality so that many of us are no longer grounded, so out-of-touch, even alienated with self, others and sadly, with God.
Brothers and sisters: If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above… Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.
Open yourself to Jesus, empty yourself of all fears and doubts. Be kind and be gentle with yourself. Jesus had forgiven you, forgive yourself for your sins and mistakes in the past if you have confessed these or gone to confessions this Lenten season.
Move on with the present moment, dare to go out and challenge yourself to learn again, to work again, to love again, to dream again! COVID-19 may still be around but Jesus Christ is stronger, so let us rise again from our sickness and diseases! Let us not be afraid of the giant stone covering us for Jesus had removed it so that we can go out and celebrate life in him.
Lord Jesus Christ,
let me celebrate the joy of your
Resurrection not only today but everyday
by being open to your daily coming
by emptying myself of my pride;
like the disciple whom you love,
let me believe in your rising again
by being contented with the little
signs of life and order you give me,
with the little bursts of joy and light
that assure me that it is you whom
I follow each day. Amen.
40 Shades of Lent by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday after Ash Wednesday, 04 March 2022
Isaiah 58:1-9 ><]]]]'> + <'[[[[>< Matthew 9:14-15
Thank you for this gift of first Friday
in March, a Friday after Ash Wednesday
as we begin our 40 day journey of Lent;
forgive us, dear God our Father, that
gone are the days when we your children
religiously observed fasting and abstinence;
we have ceased fasting not only on the
prescribed days of Ash Wednesday
and Good Friday but even before receiving
the Holy Communion in the Sunday Mass,
making all kinds of excuses with bold claims
of having sacrificed so much in doing "good deeds"
that we need not fast from food anymore.
Make us realize these are the same mistakes
of the people in the Old Testament
of having themselves as the focus of fasting
than you, O God, through others:
“Why do we fast, and you do not see it?
Afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?”
Lo, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits,
and drive all your laborers.
Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting,
striking with wicked claw.
Would that today you might fast
so as to make your voice heard on high!”
In this age of affluence even in the midst
of a pandemic, make us realize, Lord Jesus
your mystery of Incarnation through "kenosis" -
of self-emptying which is what fasting is all about.
Teach us not to be always adequate, not to be
too self-sufficient that we forget the value of
being empty and in need of others and most
especially of you; let us rediscover this Lent
the beauty of denying ourselves of things
that give us pleasures and comfort
that we forget you and others; may we realize
that it is only in emptiness through fasting
that you can fill us with yourself, almighty God;
it is only in emptiness through fasting
we can learn to truly trust and believe
in you, dear Lord, as our only strength
Surprise us, O Lord, of the many
benefits of self-denial, primary of
which is becoming better persons
without us really knowing it and most
of all, unconsciously becoming your
very presence among other people:
“Then your light shall break forth
like the dawn, and your wound
shall quickly be healed; your vindication
shall go before you,
and the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer,
you shall cry for help,
and he will say, Here I am!”
How wonderful it is
when eventually we become
your presence, O God,
speaking through us,
saying, “Here I am”! for it is
only then your Son Jesus
is indeed the groom celebrating
with us. Amen.
The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Tuesday, Memorial of St. Sr. Faustina Kowalska, 05 October 2021
Jonah 3:1-10 ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]*> + ><]]]]'> Luke 10:38-42
My Lord and my God, Jesus:
as we celebrate today the memorial
of your modern saint, Sr. Faustina Kowalska
whom you have chosen to deliver
to the modern world your message
of Divine Mercy which is as old as eternity,
I have realized too how I have not
fully grown nor matured in you -
in prayer and in spirituality;
like our readings today, I can see myself
so clearly both in the persons of
Jonah in the first reading and
Martha in the gospel.
Jonah began his journey through the city, and had gone but a single day’s walk announcing, “Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed,” when the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on a sackcloth. When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes.
Forgive me, Jesus,
for being like your prophet Jonah
in so many times and occasions:
always running away from you,
always reluctant to proclaim your words,
and always thinking of myself;
like Jonah, I pray but as much as
possible, I cannot let go of myself,
of the things I know and feel so much
that I cannot let you control
everything in me, including me!
The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”
Forgive me again, Jesus,
for being like your friend Martha
in so many times and occasions:
always busy working for you
without really doing your work,
always looking at the shortcomings
of others without seeing mine,
and always complaining to you
of having my hands filled with
things I believe you want me to do;
like Martha, I love having you in my life,
always welcoming your coming to me,
but always forgetting the most important
of all, YOU.
Lord Jesus Christ,
help me shed off the Jonah
and Martha in me; let me be like
St. Sr. Faustina to give not from
my wealth but from my want:
too often, I just give you some
of my time, some of my money,
some of my talents, some of myself,
keeping more to maintain my security;
teach, Lord, to give more of my time,
more of my money, more of my talents
and more of myself so that
I may truly give you the chance
to show me and let me experience
your boundless love, your Divine Mercy.
It is only in totally surrendering
myself to you can I truly pray,
"Jesus, King of Mercy,
I trust in YOU."
Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-20 ng Agosto 2020
Minsa'y lumapit kay Hesus
kabataan na ibig malaman
tunay na kabutihan
kulang aniya sa kanya
pagtalima sa mga utos
at tuntunin ng Diyos
kaya sinundan niya
ng isa pang tanong ang Panginoon:
"Ano pa po ang kulang
upang aking makamtan
buhay na walang hanggan?"
ngunit nang mapakinggan
anyayang talikuran mga ari-arian,
dagli siyang lumisan na luhaan
si Hesus ay iniwanan,
kayamanan hindi niya kayang talikuran..
Marahil iyo ring naranasan
maging katulad niyong kabataan
na maguluhan at mag-asam
sa kabila ng marami nang nakamtam
bakit parang kulang pa rin
itong buhay natin
walang kahulugan at kaganapan
hindi na tayo masiyahan
sa dating kinagawian;
anong laking kabalintunaan
sa tuwing nagtatanong
sa gitna ng katahimikan
itong ating kalooban
"Ano pa nga ba ang sa akin ay kulang?"
samantalang ating katayuan
sapat lamang sa pangangailangan
hindi nagkukulang maging sa
mga kaibigan at gawang kabutihan.
Pagmasdan bugtong at palaisipan
nitong ating buhay at kapalaran
kailanman hindi kayang tapatan
ng ano mang kayamanan o katanyagan
maging ng sino pa mang nilalang
sapagkat itong ating kalooban
sadyang nilikha upang panahanan
ng Panginoong Diyos na ating pinagmulan
at siyang ring hahantungan;
tuwing sumasagi itong katanungan
"Ano pa nga ba ang sa akin ay kulang?"
iyan ay tiyak na palatandaan
na tayo ay nasosobrahan
kailangan nang mabawasan
tangi ng Diyos lamang
na Siya nating kapanatagan at kapayapaan.
The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Monday, Week XX, Year II in Ordinary Time, 17 August 2020
Ezekiel 24:15-23 >><)))*> || + || <*(((><< Matthew 19:16-22
The young man said to him (Jesus), “All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
The young man’s question to you, Jesus, still echoes in me: “What do I still lack?” A question that reverberates in me on many occasions for different reasons. So many times, Lord, I felt the answer lies on something that my hands can simply grab or hold to take and be not lacking anymore.
What do I still lack? A question I automatically ask because I have always felt I have the answers, I can always work for it and have whatever I lack.
When tragedy and failures strike, I ask the same question, what do I still lack? What have I missed? What went wrong?
It is a question I have always felt as a problem needing solutions, of something missing that must be filled to be no more lacking.
But today, Lord, I felt the emptiness of the young man too.
It is not just lacking of something but more of a longing for you. It is an emptiness of the heart and soul that nothing can ever fill because “What do I lack” is not a problem to be solved but a situation, a condition to be with you always, Lord.
That is why, sometimes, you have to “take away the delight of our eyes” (Ez.24:16), Lord, so we may see what we lack ––YOU!Amen.
The Lord Is My Chef Recipe, Holy Thursday, 09 April 2020
Our altar is ready
the tabernacle is empty
but are we also hungry
or thirsty for Thee?
O Lord have mercy
and please empty
our hearts of pride,
fill us with your humility,
justice and love
so we may say to Thee
on this Holy Thursday
"Lord, I am not worthy
to receive Thee but only
say the word and I shall
40 Shades of Lent, Friday after Ash Wednesday, 28 February 2020
Isaiah 58:1-9 +++ 0 +++ Matthew 9:14-15
Have mercy on us, O God, have mercy… for we are still totally lost on the real meaning of fasting and abstinence. We have lost its spiritual meaning, focusing more on ourselves for vanity reasons like losing weight and looking good, totally forgetting fasting is all about you and others than us!
How unfortunate, dear God, that we no longer fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday but even on Sundays before receiving your Son Jesus in the Holy Communion by making all kinds of excuses with bold claims of having sacrificed so much in doing good deeds for you.
Thus says the Lord God: Cry out full-throated and unsparingly, lift up your voice like a trumpet blast. Tell my people their wickedness, and the house of Jacob their sins. They seek me day after day, and desire to know my ways, like a nation that has done what is just and not abandoned the law of their God. They ask me to declare what is due them, pleased to gain access to God. “Why do we fast, and you do not see it? Afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?” Lo, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits, and drive all your laborers. Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting, striking with wicked claw. This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own.”
Isaiah 58:1-4, 6-7
Make us realize that fasting is not punishing ourselves, of denying ourselves with goods and pleasures of the world that leave us empty, wanting for more but never fulfilled deep inside.
Fasting is actually rewarding ourselves with you, O God, our only wealth and treasure, our only fulfillment.
Help us create an empty space within ourselves through fasting and abstinence so that your Son Jesus may dwell and reign in our hearts, saying from within us, “Here I am!” (Is. 58:9).Amen.