The “ins and outs” to the Lord

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday, Week XVII, Year I in Ordinary Time, 28 July 2021
Exodus 34:29-35   ><]]]]*> + ><]]]]*> + ><]]]]*>   Matthew 13:44-46
Photo by author, Church of Dominus Flevit overlooking Jerusalem, 2017.
How lovely are your words today,
God our loving Father
leading us the way closer to you
through your Son Jesus Christ!
So many times, you lead us to
many detours in life, to many 
coming and going in order to
savor your loving presence.
How can we not appreciate
and be awed like your people
in the wilderness who witnessed 
your immense majesty 
on the face of Moses you met
frequently inside your tent
putting on and off the veil
that eventually played a role in our faith.
As Moses came down from Mount Sinai
with the two tablets of the commandments
in his hands, he did not know that the skin
of his face had become radiant 
while he conversed with the Lord.
Whenever Moses entered 
the presence of the Lord to converse
with him, he removed the veil until 
he came out again.  On coming out,
he would tell the children of Israel all
that had been commanded.  Then the
children of Israel would see that the skin
of Moses' face was radiant; so he would
put again the veil over his face until
he went in to converse with the Lord.
(Exodus 34:29, 34-35)
In your eternal wisdom, dear Father,
you eventually removed that veil
in the coming of your Son Jesus Christ
so we can go nearer to you than ever
to be one with you in him
through him, and with him
 by going through the same process
of going in and going out.
Jesus said to his disciples:
"The Kingdom of heaven
is like a treasure buried in a field,
which a person finds
and hides again,
and out of joy goes and sells
all that he has and buys the field.
Again, the Kingdom of heaven
is like a merchant
searching for fine pearls.
When he finds a pearl of great price,
he goes and sells all that he has
and buys it."
(Matthew 13:44-46)
We pray, O Lord, we remain focused
in you alone, learning to adapt,
 willing to let go whatever we hold so that
 even if we do not see you face to face
like your beloved disciple in the empty tomb
 that Easter morn, we may still believe
 even if we only see the veil that covered your face,
wrapped neatly into one place. Amen.

The “gift” of face masks

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul
Tuesday, Fifth Week in Ordinary Time, Year I, 09 February 2021
Genesis 1:20-2:4     >><)))*>   +   <*(((><<     Mark 7:1-13
Photo by Mr. Raffy Tima of GMA7-News, March 2020.

Praying over your words today, O Lord our God, made me rejoice and thank you in giving us the face masks that remind us of our being “created in your own image and likeness (Gen.1:26-27)”, helping us heal our broken relationships as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Thank you Lord for this face mask because we now look longer into the eyes of one another, trying to recognize everyone but most of all, trying to find you in every face we meet each day. Before the pandemic, we have taken everyone for granted. We would hardly even look into each one’s face and eyes but now, with masks covering our faces, we strive to recognize each one by looking into each other’s eyes, trying to listen to each one’s voice, trying hard to recall how we have met, trying to figure out how have we known each other.

Suddenly with the face masks, we have finally tried to look into each other’s face again to recognize each one as a friend, a brother and sister in you and to finally find you, too, sweet Jesus!

But there is still another blessing in disguise for us in the wearing of these face masks when we finally learned to become silent and appreciate silence too!

Before the pandemic without the face masks, we spoke too much, never looking into one another. We would rather speak and speak and speak without hearing nor listening nor feeling the other person, hardly looking into each other’s eyes, numbing our selves of our connectedness in the invisible ties that bind us as your children, almighty God our Father.

So true are your words today, Lord Jesus, especially before the pandemic when our mouths were exposed without masks that we have become a people more on lip service, “honoring you with our lips while our hearts are so far from you and from others that we nullify your words in favor of our traditions empty of meaning” (Mk.7:6, 13).

May we learn to internalize in our hearts the words we are about to speak so that like you, may we share in the power of your words that create than destroy, enlighten than darken so that one day, sooner or later, may contribute to the end of this pandemic.

Help us realize, God our Father, during these trying times that a more lasting solution to this pandemic is to go back to you in paradise, to experience true sabbath of having you as our God at the center of our lives, always listening and trusting in your voice and words. Amen.

Photo by Mr. Raffy Tima of GMA7-News, March 2020.

A prayer to be grateful

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul

Wednesday, Week XXII, Year I, 04 September 2019

Colossians 1:1-8 ><)))*> ><)))*> ><)))*> Luke 4:38-44

Photo by Ms. Jo Villafuerte, Atok, Benguet, 01 September 2019.

Heavenly Father, I always thank you in my prayers. Early in life, I have been told to always say “thank you” and I have diligently kept that, always thanking people especially you for your goodness to me.

But, now I wonder if I have been “thanking” so much without being truly grateful?

There are “thank you’s” that come from lips and there are “thank you’s” that come from the heart which is what gratitude is all about. So often, I say “thank you” out of habit without really looking into the heart, the goodness of the one doing or giving me a favor. Too often, I thank for the thing or favor, not the person.

“We always give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jess and the love that you have for all the holy ones because of the hope reserved for you in heaven.”

Colossians 1:3-5

How lovely it is to dwell on St. Paul’s expression of his gratitude, his thanksgiving that is clearly directed to persons – including you, O God!

Like the people of Capernaum where you have healed Simon’s mother-in-law and others, they saw your person to thank that they begged you to stay in their town.

Remind me always, Lord, that whenever I say “thank you”, I may first try to feel the heart and experience the goodness of the person doing me good for a grateful heart always sees the loving face. Amen.

Seeing Jesus, Seeing God

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul
Saturday, Easter Week IV, 18 May 2019
Acts 13:44-52///John 14:7-14
Facade of the wall enclosing the St. Katherine Monastery in Sinai, Egypt. At its back is Mt. Sinai where pilgrims begin their ascent to the mountain where God met with Moses. Photo by author 06 May 2019.

So many times, Lord Jesus, we desire to see your Father. But so many times, too, we forget that whoever has seen you has also seen the Father…

Philip said to Jesus, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”

John 14:8-9

But, what is really to see you, Lord, that we may also see the Father?

If seeing the Father is seeing in our lives its unity and oneness with you, then, let us imitate you Jesus that our lives may also be like yours.

If seeing the Father is seeing in our lives your mercy and forgiveness of our sins, then, let us be merciful and forgiving with others so we see more of you Jesus among us.

If seeing the Father is seeing in our lives the grace to rise above our lowly selves to become better persons, to be holy like the Father in heaven, then, let us strive to get closer to you Jesus by following you faithfully in loving service with others.

Through you, O Christ, you have brought the Father closest to us; and in you, O Jesus, the Father approaches us, drawing us unto him by leading us beyond ourselves into his infinite greatness and love.

Like what you did through the Holy Spirit to Paul and Barnabas in the first reading today, help us to keep our cool amid many adversaries, filled with joy in the face of many crises and obstacles because we have seen seen you and the Father too! Amen.

Kept inside this chapel in the Monastery of St. Katherine in Sinai, Egypt is said to be the burning bush where God first appeared to Moses. Photo by author, 06 May 2019.