Imitating St. Matthew

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Tuesday, Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle, 22 September 2021
Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13   ><}}}'> + <'{{{><   Matthew 9:9-13
Photo by author, pilgrims ready to walk at a site in Jerusalem, the Holy Land, May 2019.

As Jesus passed by, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him.

Matthew 9:9
We know for sure, dear Jesus Christ
that you are always passing by,
calling us to follow you but
most often, we do not see you,
or worst, we refuse to look at you
nor listen to you.
Forgive us, dear Jesus
for choosing to be contented
and comfortable on our seats -
especially on those seats of power;
sorry when we are so glued on
our seats watching mostly trash
on television and internet;
drag us, if you may, if we choose
to be stuck on our seats of all
kinds of vices and sins.
Give us the grace, O Lord Jesus
of imitating St. Matthew
who immediately heeded your call:
open our eyes and our ears
to await your daily coming to us;
may we have the will and resolve
to change ourselves, to arise from our
being seated and slumped on our 
comfort zones of mediocrity and sins;
most of all, strengthen our knees and our feet,
our limbs that as we arise 
to listen to your voice, we may follow
you closely every step of the way
to the Cross.

Brothers and sisters: I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:1-3
Merciful Jesus Christ,
teach us to forget our desires
for positions and recognition,
for fame, power and wealth;
make us realize that what really
matters is not where we are seated
but where we make a stand -
and to how far can we go walking
in standing up for you always.
Like St. Matthew, 
your Apostle and Evangelist,
let us arise and follow you
daily in faith, hope and love
as we write another gospel of
 Jesus Christ according to each one of us.
Amen.

Urgency and Trust

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul, Saturday, Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist, 25 April 2020

1 Peter 5:5-14 ><)))*> ><)))*> ><)))*> Mark 16:15-20

Statue of St. Mark and his symbol the lion below him at the western facade of St. Mark Cathedral in Venice, Italy. Photo from Google.

Lord Jesus Christ, as we move into the final week of April and face – with dismay – the extension of this enhanced community quarantine into May 15, the celebration of the feast of your evangelist St. Mark today gives us the much needed boost to persevere in these trying times.

In writing the first gospel account, St. Mark stressed two important things that are very helpful for us today in this time of the corona virus: urgency in proclaiming your gospel and trust in you.

It is something very similar to Stephen Covey Jr.’s concept of “the speed of trust” that when there is trust among people like in a relationship or a team, speed goes up wherein costs are minimized, productivity is increased due to trust.

Give us the grace to trust in you, Lord Jesus, so we can urgently proclaim your gospel of salvation most especially at this time when people are feeling worn out by this lockdown.

So many people are already suffering not only physically but also emotionally and spiritually.

Help us to bring them more joy and hope, healing and renewal not only through our gifts and financial aid but also with our presence and concern for them.

Let us not worry in doing your work with the assuring words of St. Peter in the first reading:

The God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory through Christ Jesus will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you after you have suffered a little.

1 Peter 5:10

Like in the beginning of the gospel by St. Mark, may we always proclaim your good news Lord whenever and wherever there is a wilderness, emptiness, and weariness among peoples for you are always faithful in enabling us to fulfill your work. Amen.

Nuns bringing relief goods to remote villages in this time of Luzon-wide lockdown due to COVID-19.

Remembering Mary and our own mother on this month of Rosary

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul

Friday, Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist, 18 October 2019

2 Timothy 4:10-17 ><)))*> ><)))*> ><)))*> Luke 10:1-9

From Google.

Lord Jesus Christ, on this feast of your Evangelist and Apostle St. Luke that falls in the month of the Holy Rosary, we remember your Mother and our Mother too, the Blessed Virgin Mary.

It is so edifying to learn that St. Luke did not only write a two-part series of your gospel but is also considered as the first iconographer of the Blessed Mother Mary.

Mother of Perpetual Help. Photo from Aleteia/Google.

How wonderful that there are four popular icons of Mary attributed to him: the Our Mother of Perpetual Help, the Our Lady of Czestochowa, the Our Lady of Vladimir, and the Salus Populi Romani or Mother of the Savior of the Roman People.

These are considered as the earliest icons of Mary and although there are not enough historical proofs to ascertain these traditions of whether St. Luke could have painted these icons or not, one thing clearly remains: St. Luke had a particular trait of the Blessed Mother of being faithful in Jesus Christ.

Our Lady of Czestochowa. Photo from Aleteia/Google.

St. Paul tells us in our first reading this wonderful distinction of St. Luke that is so similar with the Virgin Mary for being faithful and true to Jesus most especially during his darkest moments in life while there on the Cross. See how St. Paul narrated in the first reading his sad plight with no one else left to accompany him but St. Luke.

Our Lady of Vladimir. Photo from Aleteia/Google.

Beloved: Demas, enamored of the present world, deserted me and went to Thessalonica, Crescens to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. Luke is the only one with me.

2 Timothy 4:10-11

Mary stayed at the foot of the Cross of Jesus Christ, remaining faithful and true to her Son and Lord. Like Mary, St. Luke stayed behind with St. Paul in prison.

Too often, O Lord, we feel like St. Paul, of being so alone and abandoned with no one to turn to in times of trials and sufferings.

Like that famous tune by the Beatles, we find solace in the warmth and love of our own mother who has become like Mother Mary to us. Paul McCartney admitted that those lines of their last famous song was inspired by his own mother and the Blessed Mother herself.

When I find myself in times of troubles

Mother Mary comes to me.

Speaking words of wisdom: Let it be.

Paul McCartney, “Let It Be”

Maybe, St. Luke must have developed that devotion and love for the Blessed Mother Mary from the great love he had experienced from his own mother who must had been so loving and merciful, faithful and simple in her ways.

Salus Populi Romani. From Aleteia/Google.

Most of all, in both his gospel and Acts of the Apostles accounts, St. Luke never failed to mention the important role Mary played in giving birth to Jesus and taking care of his infant community, the Church, after he had Ascended into heaven.

Mary has always been there, her presence inspiring the Apostles and early Christians to strive further in the mission of evangelization.

And so, we pray for all mothers, especially our own mother who taught us our first prayers, narrated our first stories from the Bible, and taught us as well as made us feel the immense love of Jesus for each one of us.

Behind every evangelist and missionary is always a faithful and loving mother like Mary. In response to calls by Jesus Christ to pray that the Master of harvest may send out more workers for his harvest, bless all mothers to ensure that children continue to experience the love of the Father for everyone.

Always misunderstood in her ways and concern for us, we pray for all mothers may have the strength and patience to stand by their children even in their old age. And when their final hour comes to leave this earth, we pray Lord Jesus that you make it peaceful as you grant them eternal rest with your Mother Mary. Amen.

St. Luke, pray for us to genuinely love our mother and the Blessed Mother Mary too!