How do we look at each other?

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday, Week II, Year II in Ordinary Time, 19 January 2022
1 Samuel 17:32-33, 37, 40-51   ><)))*> + <*(((><   Mark 3:1-6
Photo by Dr. Mylene A. Santos, MD, 2020.
Your words today, O Lord, 
invite me to examine and reflect
sincerely how do I look at others, 
what do I think, what do I search
on others I meet or encounter?

With his shield bearer marching before him, the Philistine advanced closer and closer to David. When he had sized David up, and seen that he was youthful, and ruddy, and handsome in appearance, he held David in contempt.

1 Samuel 17:41-42
Forgive us, dear God our Father
when so often we "size" up everyone
we meet, when we always try competing
with everyone, examining their outward
appearances to compare them with our
very selves, with our competencies and 
abilities, or records and backgrounds.

Jesus entered the synagogue. There was a man there who had a withered hand. They watched Jesus closely to see if he would cure him on the sabbath so that they might accuse him.

Mark 3:1-2
But the most unkindest look we make
at others is when we condition ourselves
at finding faults and sins and slightest malice
against others for whatever they do;  what
a shame when our hearts and minds "see"
evil when what our eyes truly "see" is all good.
How difficult it must be for you, merciful Jesus,
to experience it happening even among us who 
claim to be your disciples and followers, that until
now you are "filled with anger and grieving 
for our hardness of heart" (Mk.3:5).
Cleanse our minds and our hearts to find your
image and likeness in everyone we meet,
purify our biases with others so we start
to mean what we keep on hearing
and saying to one another, 
"may the Lord be with you".
Amen.

Opening to God

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul
Friday, Fifth Week in Ordinary Time, Year I, 12 February 2021
Genesis 3:1-8     <*(((><<   +   >><)))*>     Mark 7:31-37
Photo by author, Pililla Wind Farm in Rizal, 07 January 2021.

Listening to your words as the day unfolds, dearest Lord, I have realized that not all “opening” is good after all. Sometimes we want to open so many things in ourselves that only lead to opening to sin and evil, instead of opening to truth and peace and justice found only in you.

Teach us, O God our loving Father, to open only to you and completely trust you in your opening to us because it is when we start opening other possibilities like gaining more knowledge, more life, more of ourselves that we actually start closing out from you like in the story of the fall of man.

The woman saw that the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked. When they heard the sound of the Lord God moving about in the garden at the breezy time of the day, the man and his wife hid themselves from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

Genesis 3:6-7, 8
Photo by author, Mt. St. Paul Spirituality Center, La Trinidad, Benguet, February 2020.

So many times in life, dear God, we cannot accept other’s openness because we are so closed to ourselves. There are times that instead of going out into the open, we hide from you as if we can conceal what is exposed and open.

Open our eyes to see you in ourselves, to see ourselves in you and in others too.

How funny that in the gospel today, your Son our Lord Jesus Christ, healed a deaf man by opening his ears. And in doing so, he first “took him off by himself away from the crowd” (Mk.7:33), then healed him by looking up to heaven, groaning with the word “Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”).

Ultimately, Lord, it is always easy to open our eyes and see or, open our ears and hear without really opening ourselves, opening our hearts that connect all senses into our whole being.

What matters most which we all pray today is to open us, O God, to you completely so that we may see and listen with our hearts inclined to you. Amen.

What Jesus looks for and how we see

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul

Friday, Week XXIX, Year I, 25 October 2019

Romans 7:18-25 ><)))*> ><)))*> ><)))*> Luke 12:54-59

Photo by Noelle Otto on Pexels.com

What a beautiful way to end the week of work and studies, O Lord, when you asked us to read the signs of the times.

Jesus said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west you say immediately tat it is going to rain — and so it does; and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south you say that it is going to be hot — and so it is. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time? Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?”

Luke 12:54-57

In this age of social media where everything is being shown and seen by everyone, it is very unfortunate that we still fail to see beyond the physical realities.

In an age when everything and everyone is seen, we have become more superficial than ever and have refused to see more deeper than what appears to the eyes.

We look outside of us to explain everything like in the news and in the internet, at YouTube and Facebook, Google and Wikipedia.

Rarely do we look deep inside ourselves like St. Paul to realize the greater battle going on deep within each one of us between good and evil.

Teach us Lord to see more the spiritual meanings of the things happening in us and around us, to always look deep into our hearts to see and realize the need to be good and just, kind and loving.

Maybe if we can look more often into our hearts and look piercingly into the heavens to find you, perhaps we can have a better world with lesser crimes and hatred among peoples. Amen.

“Beautiful in My Eyes” by Joshua Kadison (1994)

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Music, 29 September 2019

Our gospel today speaks a lot about our eyes, of what we see and recognize, of sights and vision. For the third straight consecutive Sunday, we hear again another parable by Jesus proper only to St. Luke called “the rich man and Lazarus”.

Jesus said to the Pharisees: “There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor named Lazarus, covered wit sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.”

Luke 16:19-23

The rich man went to hell because amid his affluent lifestyle, he did nothing to help the poor Lazarus. He was so blinded by his wealth that he was so oblivious of the plight of Lazarus. Sadly, the same scene continues in our days despite the social media around us.

The famous blind American Helen Keller wrote, “the only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.”

Very true!

Many people are like the rich man who only have sight that can only see what is material and temporary, failing to see the face of God especially among brothers and sisters in need. Only a few people are like Lazarus with a vision who dare to look at things beyond what can be seen, even beyond time. They are the visionaries who dream with eyes wide open, working hard to make their dreams a reality.

Having a vision, of seeing beyond what is material and physical is essential in being a Christian tasked with a mission to lovingly serve others especially those living at the margins of the society.

No one can truly love and serve without having a vision, of seeing beyond the ordinary and the present moment. This is the reason why I always tell young people in choosing a wife or a husband, choose someone with a vision who would always look beyond sights and time.

This is the message too of American singer-songwriter Joshua Kadison’s 1993 hit “Beautiful in My Eyes” that delighted the romantic side of us Filipinos in 2009 and 2007 when Christian Bautista and Jericho Rosales respectively covered the song.

The song speaks of the great vision of the lover in seeing in his beloved everything wonderful and lovely. Most of all, the man is also a dreamer and a visionary who could see their future as a couple still in love because she’s always “beautiful in his eyes”.

You’re my peace of mind,
in this crazy world.
Your’re everything I’ve tried to find,
your love is a pearl.
You’re my Mona Lisa, you’re my rainbow skies,
and my only prayer, is that you realize,
you’ll always be beautiful, in my eyes.
The world will turn,
and the seasons will change.
And all the lessons we will learn,
will be beautiful and strange.
We’ll have our fill of tears, our share of sighs.
My only prayer, is that you realize.
You’ll always be beautiful, in my eyes.
You will always be, beautiful in my eyes.
And the passing years will show,
that you will always grow,
evermore beautiful, in my eyes.