Let Jesus shine in us!

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Thursday, Week X in Ordinary Time,  10 June 2021
2 Corinthians 3:15-4:1, 3-6   ><)))*>  +  <*(((><   Matthew 5:20-26
Photo by Dr. Mai B. Dela Peña, Santorini, Greece 2016.

Lord Jesus Christ, please remove the veils that cover our minds that prevent us from truly seeing and meeting you. Let us remove the many veils we have unconsciously put on ourselves like our stubbornness and conservatism, legalism and formalism that have made our prayers and worship empty of you.

Brothers and sisters:
To this day, whenever Moses is read,
a veil lies over their hearts of the children of Israel,
but whenever a person turns to the Lord
the veil is removed.
(2Corinthians 3:15-16)

Teach us to submit ourselves more to the promptings and light of the Holy Spirit so that we may reflect you more, dear Jesus, than ourselves.

So many times we have forgotten that we are just bearers of your light, “slaves for your sake” (2Cor.4:5), dear Jesus task to bring people closer to the glory and brightness of God.

Do not let us fall into the same mistakes of the people of your time when praise and worship of God was focused more on the externals than what is inside our hearts expressed in our genuine concern for one another like people we may have hurt or neglected.

Jesus said to his disciples:
"I tell you, unless your righteousness 
surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven."
(Matthew 5:20)

Teach us to go beyond the letters of the Laws.

Enable us to see the deeper and wider meaning of the commandment not to kill by respecting in words and deeds the value of every person, of not maligning any one with nasty talks and through the social media.

Enable us to see the direct link of our celebration of the Eucharist with our behavior and dealing with one another, seeking peace and reconciliation to be truly one in you and with the Father in heaven.

O sweet Jesus, we pray most dearly for those people who have boxed us and refused to give us the chance to show our goodness and goodwill; for those whose frame of mind is so fixed that they would not make the necessary adjustments in this time of crisis to accommodate so many people in great sufferings and trials in their lives.

Let your brightness shine on us, Lord Jesus, in these times of darkness and storms. Amen.

Photo by Ms. Ria De Vera at Bgy. Lalakhan, Sta. Maria, Bulacan, 01 June 2021.

Prayer to be devout like Simeon

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul
Tuesday, Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, 02 February 2021
Malachi 3:1-4  >><)))*>  Hebrews 2:14-18  >><)))*>  Luke 2:22-40
“Presentation at the Temple” painting by Italian Renaissance artist Andrea Mantegna done around 1455; Mary holding Baby Jesus while St. Joseph at the middle looks on the bearded Simeon. The man at the right is said to be a self-portrait of the artist while the woman at the back of Mary could be his wife. Photo from wikipedia.org.

Dearest God our Father:

It has been 40 days since Christmas when you sent us your Son our Lord Jesus Christ! Thank you very much for this wonderful gift but, have we had him? Have we truly met him?

Fill us with your Holy Spirit like Simeon, dear God: make us devout like him who finally “met” Jesus Christ on his presentation at the temple by Joseph and Mary.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God…

Luke 2:25-28
“Simeon’s Moment” by American illustrator Ron DiCianni. From http://www.tapestryproductions.com

Only St. Luke used the word “devout” in the scriptures. First in describing Simeon, and thrice at the Book of the Acts of the Apostles to describe the Jews who attended the pentecost at Jerusalem (2:5); “the devout men who buried” our first martyr Stephen (8:2), and called Ananias a “devout observer of the law” when you told him to pray over and heal Saul who got blinded on the way to Damascus (22:12).

Teach us to be devout like Simeon, give us a “good heart, ready to believe, and then to act openly and with courage” (Timothy Clayton, Exploring Advent with Luke; page 125).

More than being faithful to you, a devout person O Lord is one who does not only wait patiently for your coming but most of all, looks forward to its fulfillment by making it happen. Exactly what Simeon and Anna did on that day when Mary and Joseph presented Jesus at the temple.

So many times in our lives, Jesus comes, enlightening our minds and our hearts but we are so busy with so many other things that do not truly fulfill us, that in the end, would be more of an excess baggage on our way to you and others. And eventually, making death difficult and devastating instead of becoming a blessing like with Simeon and Anna.

Let us spend more time meeting Jesus in prayers to be more attuned with his coming so that we may be ready to follow his promptings and leads.

May we also learn to respect and care for others in order to meet Jesus like Simeon who recognized his parents for their roles in bringing the child into this world; likewise, the attitudes of Mary and Joseph in giving Simeon and Anna the child Jesus. What a beautiful scene of loving and caring for one another, especially of respect for the elderly! So many times we forget that truth, that we meet Jesus coming in others.

Lastly, fill us with joy no matter how difficult life may be has for us; we can never meet your Son Jesus if all we have are bitterness and resentments. Like Simeon and Anna, they were overflowing with joy, so excited to meet Christ and upon encountering him that day, they embraced him in their arms, expressing their readiness to die and rest in peace.

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, an d glory for your people Israel.”

Luke 2:29-32

Dearest Father in heaven, make us devout like Simeon and Anna with hearts overflowing with joy, striving to realize its fullness only in Jesus Christ, in this life and hereafter. Amen.

Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

Walking in the light

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul
by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Tuesday, Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas, 29 December 2020
1 John 2:3-11     >><)))*>  +  <*(((><<     Luke 2:22-35
Photo by Mr. Marc Angelo Nicolas Carpio, 06 December 2020.

As we leave 2020 and approach the new year, we pray dear Jesus to let us walk and live in your light of love. Your beloved disciple is right in saying that it is not enough that we know you in our minds, in our intellect; that we must keep most of all your commandments.

Whoever says he is in the light, yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother remains in the light, and there is nothing in him to cause a fall. Whoever hates his brother is in darkness; he walks in darkness and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

1 John 2:9-11

How sad, O Lord, that these days everybody is claiming to be speaking of the truth, of having the light, of knowing you and yet all they do is spread lies and animosities among people, instead of bringing together they draw us apart from each other.

And worst, is how many of those in authorities disregard the laws of the land, selecting only to follow whatever suits their personal needs and agenda.

We pray, O Lord, to please end this darkness looming above us. Enlighten the perpetrators and supporters of all these lies and inanities being spread by those in powers.

Purify us with your light and law of love, of loving like you even if we have to suffer and die for what is true, just, and good.

Give us the courage to abide always in you, sweet Jesus, to remain faithful to what is true and just. Amen.

Photo by author, 20 December 2020.

Prayer in darkness

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul, Wednesday, Easter Week-IV, 06 May 2020

Acts of the Apostles 12:24-13:5 ><)))*> + ><)))*> + ><)))*> John 12:44-50

Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

Our lamentations continue, O Lord, as our nation is plunged into deeper and disturbing darkness. How can all kinds of darkness fall upon us in this administration? First, they found death as solution to many problems. And then came all their lies and fake news.

Not to mention their diplomatic ties with a godless government that has been dishonest from the very beginning regarding this pandemic.

They themselves have chosen to be in darkness at the very start of the COVID-19 pandemic who would rather pass blame and wash hands for every confusion in implementing the quarantine.

And, now comes their most serious attack to light, in shutting down a beacon of light of news and information.

The more we cry out to you, O dear Jesus, please come to us now. Quickly. And save us!

Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me. I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.”

John 12:44-46

We pray for those in government, in this administration who’s leader had blasphemed your Most Holy Name not only once or twice for the grace of enlightenment and decency from the Holy Spirit.

We pray like your early church for the Holy Spirit to set aside just one or two good souls in this government – if there are still any – to be sent to bring enlightenment to this administration who thrives on lies and malice along with their minions and supporters.

Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.

Hear our cries and our pleas, O Lord of justice.

Show us your path of holiness amid this time of darkness and evil. Amen.

Photo from the Varistarian of UST.

Meeting Christ, the Light of the Nations

presentationtemple
14 Giotto Presentation of Christ in the Temple 1310s Fresco North transept, Lower Church, San Francesco, Assisi….Web Gallery Of Art

The Lord Is My Chef Special Recipe, 02 February 2019
Feast of the Presentation of the Lord at the Temple
Malachi 3:1-4//Hebrews 2:14-18//Luke 2:22-40

            Here’s good news to those who have not yet removed their Christmas decors:  today’s Feast of the Presentation of the Lord is the actual end of Christmas Season when the Child Jesus was presented at the Temple in Jerusalem 40 days after Epiphany.  According to this tradition, it is also on this day when the Vatican removes its giant Christmas tree at the St. Peter’s Square.   And so, after this day and you still have your Christmas tree and other decors hanging, then you must be a certified slob or simply one who refuses to move on to meet Jesus Christ.

            Today’s feast has many names because it has many facets.  This was first celebrated in Jerusalem in the early year 300 as “the Feast of Presentation at the Temple” based on the Gospel account of St. Luke we have heard earlier.  The Syrians adopted the feast 300 years later, reaching the seat of the Eastern Church in Constantinople where it came to be known as “the Encounter” or Ypapante in Greek, emphasizing the “meeting” of the Savior and the two elderly people, Simeon and Ana.  At about that same time in Rome, Pope Sergius I adapted the same feast from Jerusalem with a procession of lighted candles to show Jesus as the “light for revelation” to Simeon and everyone.  When it reached France in the year 800, the French adapted it further with a new designation as “Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary” or“Chandeleur” which came to be known as “Candlemass” in English-speaking countries and “Candelaria” in Spain and her colonies like the Philippines.  Over a thousand years later in 1969 during the Vatican II reform of the liturgy, the Church decreed it to be known in its original name, Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.

            That’s the beauty of our Catholic faith when certain feasts evolved depending on the various emphases of the many periods in history yet remaining true to its very essence who is Jesus Christ our Savior and Son of God.  Anyone who truly meets or encounters Jesus is always enlightened by Him to meet Him among other peoples.  Recall how we started the celebration with the paschal candle also at the entry to our church.  It is the same paschal candle we have lighted and blessed during the Easter Vigil last year to symbolize the risen Christ lighting our path of salvation.  Today in our procession, the light of Candlemass announces that paschal candle:  inasmuch as we celebrate today the presentation of Jesus at the Temple by His parents, 33 years later or a little more than two months from now, Jesus would be back in Jerusalem to offer – or present – Himself to the Father in fulfilling His pasch or Passion, Death, and Resurrection.  This is the meaning of Simeon’s beautiful canticle we all sing at bedtime:  “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in sight of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel” (Lk. 2:29-32).

            Jesus is the light of the nations – lumen gentium – or light of men or peoples because He enables us to see the face of every human being as a brother and a sister in Him.  How sad that this human face has so often been disfigured, trying to hide or even remove the face of Christ in whose image we have all been created.  Imagine how Simeon and Anna were able to recognize Christ among the many infants being offered that day at the Temple in Jerusalem because both have always been opened with God.  We can never meet God unless we also meet others as brothers and sisters.  Remember during our Simbang Gabi how we reflected about true holiness through St. Joseph who always found God in everything so that upon learning Mary’s pregnancy, he decided to divorce her silently so as not to put her into shame.  But upon learning from an angel in a dream the circumstances about her pregnancy, St. Joseph took her as wife and Christmas happened with him standing as the Lord’s legal father.  When Joseph saw God in Mary, Jesus came; when he saw Jesus coming, Joseph accepted Mary.  That is the light of Candlemass when we are able to see God in each one’s face – most especially among our senior citizens.

            In a society where old age is seen like a disease with ads telling everyone to “arrest ageing”, giving so much premium on being young and looking young so glorified in media, we all fail to see the significance of this stage in life.  Worst, we abhor it, refusing to talk about it as if it is a curse.  Wrong!  Actually, most of the people God called for His mission in the Old Testament were mostly old people starting with Noah and Abraham as well as Moses who all performed great wonders for Him in their advanced ages!  Today’s gospel is no exception as it invites us to see Christ among our elderly brethren in the church and community, especially in the family whom we often take for granted.  See how St. Joseph and Mary shared Jesus with Simeon and Anna.  In 1999, St. John Paul wrote a letter to his fellow elders, saying that “The line separating life and death runs through our communities and moves inexorably nearer to each of us.  If life is a pilgrimage to towards our heavenly home, then old age is the most natural time to look towards the threshold of eternity (14).”

             Today’s Feast of the Presentation of the Lord at the Temple reveals to us the mystery of every encounter with God is often preceded with an encounter with another person, even strangers.  Every encounter with God is often verified by our encounter with others because through them, we experience that “invisible line” that seems to bind all of us as one big family.  And this is most true when we encounter the elderly people, especially those who have “aged gracefully” who often confirm with us the presence of God in our lives which they have already started to experience.  Every encounter with an elderly is an encounter with Jesus Christ because it is a prelude to our final encounter with Him in eternity.  And all these encounters are made possible by the grace and light only of Jesus Christ.  Remember:  the moment we are able to recognize the face of the person next to us as the face of a brother and sister in Jesus Christ, then we are sure that darkness has ended and day has begun.  Amen.  Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Parokya ng San Juan Apostol at Ebanghelista, Gov. F. Halili Ave., Bagbaguin, Sta. Maria, Bulacan.

Photos from Google.

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