Conquering the world

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Monday after the Ascension, Memorial of St. Rita of Cascia, Religious, 22 May 2023
Acts 19:1-8   ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'>   John 16:29-33
Photo by Mr. Mon Macatangga, 12 May 2023.
Thank you dear Jesus
for conquering the world for us
(John 16:33) in your Passion,
Death and Resurrection;
Your gift of the Holy Spirit
affirms each day in us your
conquest of the world.

Forgive us, dear Lord,
when so many times we refuse
to let your Holy Spirit
operate and work in us;
so many times we take your
 Holy Spirit for granted 
that we are easily
attracted and swayed by others
to leave our Catholic faith
when we see "the light" in other
Christian sects and other 
modern beliefs.
Remind us, O Jesus,
that to live in the Holy Spirit 
and conquer the world is to nurture
its dwelling in us in prayers and the
sacraments, particularly the Holy Eucharist
which animates and empowers us to come
in close contact with other faithful to form
your Body, your community of disciples;
Help us, O Christ,
to renew our commitment in Baptism
to proclaim your good news of salvation
in the context of a community of disciples
united and led by the Holy Spirit.
Like St. Rita de Cascia
whose memorial we celebrate today,
give us the courage to
affirm your victory in the world
by being more firm in our stance
for what is right and good,
fair and just and true
in the spirit of a community
and oneness.
Amen.

Staying attuned with God

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday in the Sixth Week of Easter, 17 May 2023
Acts 17:15, 22-18:1   ><)))*> + <*(((><   John 16:12-15
Photo by author, Sacred Heart Novitiate, Novaliches, Quezon City, 20 March 2023.
Keep us attuned with you,
Lord Jesus in the Holy Spirit;
grant us the grace to cultivate
that deep and lively prayer life
making a specific time for us to
commune in you in prayers
so we may be enlightened always
in witnessing your gospel in this 
world no different in the past wherein
we never learn from their mistakes,
merely continuing their errors.
How funny that just like before, Lord,
the cities and peoples we consider advanced and
sophisticated like Athens in the time of Paul
were also centers of superstitions and paganisms!

How funny that until now, the modern societies
professing to be progressive in their thoughts
with all arguments for pluralities and 
inclusiveness are actually backwards and
primitive!

More funny, Lord, is how these modern and
sophisticated societies insist on their modern
thoughts and ideas are merely masks of 
their being primitive, and arrogant as they
reject the God who revealed himself to us
definitively in Jesus Christ who rose from the dead;
what a shame at how they would hold on their
various esoteric beliefs than accept you,
O Lord, who is so true!

St. Paul said it so well, 
"He (God) made from one the whole 
human race to dwell on the entire surface
of the earth, and he fixed the ordered seasons
and boundaries of their regions so that 
people might seek God, even perhaps grope
for him and find him, though indeed he is not
far from any one of us" (Acts 17:26-27). 
Make us humble before you,
dear Jesus, accepting our own 
limitations, admitting our weaknesses
that we need the Spirit of truth to
guide us always
in realizing and experiencing first hand
your truth so we too may preach you
to others, especially the simple ones.

Let us not be deceived by modern
thoughts and beliefs that have long been
debunked, disproved and discarded 
as untrue
and baseless.
Amen.

When catastrophes happen

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Tuesday in the Sixth Week in Easter, 16 May 2023
Acts 16:22-34   ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'>   John 16:5-11
Photo by author, Katmon Nature Sanctuary & Beach Resort, Infanta, Quezon, 04 March 2023.
Today dear Jesus we pray 
for those going through
catastrophes in life:
victims of natural and man-made
calamities,
victims of wars and persecutions,
people going through everything
that is wrong in life, so to speak.
Teach us Lord to stay still
in you in times of catastrophe;
like St. Paul and Silas who remained
inside their prison cell when a powerful
earthquake struck Philippi:

About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God as the prisoners listened, there was suddenly such a severe earthquake that the foundations of the jail shook; all the doors flew open, and the chains of all were pulled loose. When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, thinking that the prisoners had escaped, But Paul shouted out in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself; we are all here.”

Acts 16:25-28
Oh what a beautiful event
for that jailer, Lord!
Twice he faced situations with
catastrophic consequences that could
have cost his own life - first the severe
earthquake and second the possible escape
of Paul and Silas;
but you spared his life, Lord,
not only in making him survive
the earthquake but most of all
opening eternal life to him
in hearing your gospel from Paul
and eventually being baptized with
his whole family!
In the gospel, amid the 
dangers lurking with your 
impending arrest and pasch,
you told your disciples that it
is better for you to go and leave
so you could send the Holy Spirit,
the Advocate (Jn.16:7).
Teach us, Jesus,
to be still, to be not foolish
in rushing, to avoid panic 
when catastrophes happen;
let us trust in you alone;
let us think clearly of avoiding
drastic steps that may put us
and others in harm's way;
let us cultivate a prayer life,
a relationship with you that 
would keep us attuned with the
Holy Spirit in reading the signs 
of the times so we may find you
always especially when uneventful
things happen to us.
Amen.

Bringing Jesus

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Thursday, Feast of the Presentation of the Child Jesus, 02 February 2023
Malachi 3:1-4 ><}}}*> Hebrews 2:14-18 ><}}}*> Luke 2:22-32
It has been 40 days since
your birth, Lord Jesus Christ
that today we celebrate your
Presentation at the temple;
how lovely it is to contemplate
how on that day your parents,
the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph
obeyed the law that "Every male that
opens the womb shall be consecrated
to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice
of a pair of turtledoves or two young 
pigeons," in accordance with the 
dictate in the law of the Lord (Lk. 2:23-24)
when you are the Lord Himself,
the Son of God!
But more lovely too are the presence
of Simeon and Anna who both waited 
for your coming, the promised Messiah
of Old; inasmuch as we are challenged 
to share you Jesus with others like your
parents, we are likewise challenged more
to be like Simeon and Anna in receiving
you our Savior into our arms and hearts.
Teach me, Jesus, to be like
Simeon and Anna who patiently 
waited for your coming,
staying attuned with the Holy Spirit
in silent prayer and fasting,
quickly recognizing your coming
as the "light for revelation to the
Gentiles" (Lk.2:31) amid the many
other infants presented on that day;
grant me the discerning spirit of
Simeon and Anna to recognize Christ
among the so many infants there at
that time; strengthen my will and spirit
to endure the day of your coming, 
Lord (Malachi 3:2) so I may recognize 
you and take you to my hands and arms
to raise you up for all to see like Simeon
and Anna proclaiming your coming to
everyone.
Most of all, Lord Jesus,
let me take you to my heart,
like Simeon who prophesied how
you would be a sign of contradiction to many,
piercing hearts like a sword to bare
the truth within us (Lk.2:34-35);
give me the courage, O Lord,
like Simeon to embrace death and
suffering for that it is indeed the 
meaning of your presentation
at the temple; it is only in presenting
myself to you, Jesus, will I be able to
bring you too to others when like you
I go through what they suffer.

In your light, Jesus, lead me.
Amen.

Guided by the Holy Spirit

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday in the Twenty-Eighth Week of Ordinary Time, 12 October 2022
Galatians 5:18-25     ><000'> + ><000'> + ><000'>     Luke 11:42-46
Photo by Dr. Mylene A. Santos, MD, 2020.
Come, O Holy Spirit,
guide us in our daily life;
give us the courage 
to do what is good,
to follow what is true,
to practice justice,
most of all, to love
until it hurts.
So often
we are focused 
with the flesh 
with the corporeal
with the material
aspects of life that
only lead to dissension
and divisions among us
because of our pride
and selfishness
that evil thoughts form
and preoccupy our minds
that we eventually express in
our words and then in deeds.

Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like.

Galatians 5:19-21
Be the "silent guest 
of our soul" (St. Augustine),
O Holy Spirit so we may
fulfill the law of Jesus Christ,
the law of love; 
overshadow us
with your fire and zeal,
power and wisdom,
gentleness and kindness
so we may remain with
Christ crucified
witnessing his loving
service to one another
without imposing 
heavy burdens on them
as we bring out your goodness
and presence within them.
Amen. 

Prayer is emptiness

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Thursday, Memorial of St. Bruno, Priest, 06 October 2022
Galatians 3:1-5   ><000'> + ><000'> + ><000'>   Luke 11:5-13
Photo by Dr. Mylene A. Santos, MD, 10 September 2022.
Remind us, 
O Lord Jesus Christ,
that "while the world changes,
the cross stands firm",
that you alone, 
Jesus Christ
is our salvation
and way to perfection
as the Carthusians
had held for almost 
a thousand years.
Like St. Bruno
their founder and father,
let us "seek God 
assiduously
to find God promptly
and to possess God
fully."

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks the door, the door will be opened.”

Luke 11:9-10
Stop our foolishness,
our being stupid like the
Galatians as St. Paul
called them in the first reading:
prayer is not an ATM
where we go to get cash
we need nor an apps
when we can just seek,
find and have whatever
we desire and need;
PRAYER IS EMPTINESS.
Teach us Jesus 
to lay ourselves bare,
to strip ourselves
naked before you;
teach us to ask for YOU,
to seek YOU,
and to enter YOU.
How foolish we
have become
that we have been
misleading people
from you because 
we teach wrongly
about prayer that
is centered on us
and our needs and
desires, making God
a Santa Claus
or even a genie.
Make us persevere
in emptying ourselves
of our pride
to be filled with your 
humility and love,
to be an indwelling
of the Holy Spirit
so that we become more
like you, Jesus,
fulfilled and at peace.
Amen.

The Spirit of God

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Tuesday in the Twenty-second Week of Ordinary Time, 30 August 2022
1 Corinthians 2:10-16   ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'>   Luke 4:31-37
Photo by author, September 2020.

Brothers and sisters: The Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God. Among men, who knows what pertains to the man except his spirit that is within? Similarly, no one knows what pertains to God except the Spirit of God.

1 Corinthians 2:10-11
Your words are so comforting,
so consoling and so soothing today,
God our loving Father that I praise
and thank you for this most wonderful
gift we never acknowledge or
even recognize because to be spiritual
these days is laughed upon.
Or worst, to be spiritual these days
is something of different kind,
products of the human mind that
pretend to be esoteric and exclusive
only to a few; many times, we believe
these days in dark spirits and other
kinds of spirits instead of knowing 
and nurturing your Spirit, O God,
in Christ Jesus.
Help us to be truly "spiritual people"
who share and understand 
"the mind of Christ" (v.16) we all have
that enables us to see people and 
things the way Jesus sees
and values them, sharing in his
vision of the meaning and goal of
our lives which is communion 
in you, God our Father through the
scandal and mystery of the Cross.
Many times in life, 
you know how we always
feel at a loss for your will,
for your plans and for your
love for us because we never
allow your Spirit to grow and
reign in us as we are so busy
and delighted listening and
watching and reading all those
horror and crazy stuffs of the
bad spirits; we would rather go
to witch doctors than to priests
and nuns or any spiritual people
in the real sense, believing more in
the power of evil subjecting us
to all forms of malady and sufferings.
May we nurture your Spirit in us,
O God, so we may live authentically
and with authority in our words 
and deeds like Jesus in today's
gospel when he cast out a demon
from a possessed man just with
his words; let us grow in your Spirit,
God, so we may finally find and 
experience peace and harmony in
our lives and relationships.  Amen. 

Pentecost for “top gun” Christians

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Solemnity of the Pentecost, 05 June 2022
Acts 2:1-11 ><]]]]'> Romans 8:8-17 ><]]]]'> John 20:19-23
Photo by author, St. John the Baptist Parish, Calumpit, Bulacan, 02 May 2022.

Today we close the Easter Season with the Solemnity of Pentecost, 50 days after the Resurrection of Jesus when he sent the Holy Spirit to his Apostles gathered with his Mother the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Upper Room in Jerusalem.

As promised by Jesus at his Last Supper, the Holy Spirit which he called the Advocate in the form of “tongues of fires” came to fill each disciple with wisdom and courage to remember and understand everything he had taught them, moving them from fear to courage to boldly proclaim his good news to everyone from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. It continues to happen in our days wherever the Sacraments are celebrated and every baptized Christian becomes open to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Pentecost is the “schooling” of every Christian to become a “top gun” – the “best of the best” – disciple of Christ. That is why he sent us the Holy Spirit! St. Paul perfectly said it to Timothy to “stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control” (2Tim.1:6-7).

Photo from themoviedb.org.

I know. Some of you might not agree with my using of a very secular term “top gun” but if you have seen this latest Tom Cruise starrer, you will find it has some semblance with the Pentecost.

While it is about fighter pilots who are the best men and women on air with their sophisticated planes, Tom Cruise as their instructor insisted how everyone should be deeply grounded with themselves and with everyone. That is his first lesson to them: it is the pilot, not the plane.

For me, the turning point of the movie is when Tom Cruise realized the need for his pilots to play football at the beach in order to have bonding as a team.

That scene shows us the essential downward movement of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to break all barriers and remove every excess baggage with us and among us so we may rise, go upwards to higher level of relationships and living in Christ and with Christ who ascended last week to the Father. See how at the first reading Luke describes to us the great joy among peoples that despite their differences in language and even in cultural background, they understood each other. There was openness and understanding that led to communion, exact opposite at the Tower of Babel that the builders failed to rise to their desired heights as everyone became a burden to each other.

Pentecost is grounding below to be rooted with one’s self and with others to realize our higher goals in life who is God in heaven which we said last Sunday as intimacy with the Father in Jesus Christ. Pentecost reminds us of God’s belief and trust in each of us, of how much he loves us that he gave us his Son Jesus Christ who now sends as the Holy Spirit to fill us with his life and breath.

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

John 20:19, 21-22
Photo by author, St. John the Baptist Parish, Calumpit, Bulacan, 02 May 2022.

Our gospel this Pentecost Sunday may be short but it is so rich in meaning. First of all, it is reminiscent of the story of the creation of the first human when God breathed on him his very life (Gen.2:7) and became alive. But, that life was destroyed with his fall into sin. God then promised to transform human life that had become like dead and dried bones by breathing on them the Holy Spirit (Ez.37:9-10).

That prophecy is fulfilled in Jesus Christ at his Resurrection when his first official act upon seeing his disciples was to greet them peace and breathed on them the Holy Spirit, the breath of God, to transform their lives. It is a beautiful imagery of us being filled with God, the literal meaning of the word “enthusiasm” which is from the Greek words en theos.

When we are enthusiastic of something or someone, we feel so energized, even inspired to do and achieve great things (inspired/inspiration literally mean to be filled with spirit of God too). That is why the Pentecost is also considered as the birthday of the Church not because it was established on that day but it was on that event when it came out to the world to transform not only individual lives but the whole world and creation itself.

Recall three Sundays ago when Jesus told his disciples at the Last Supper that whoever loves him and keeps his words, he and the Father will dwell on that person (Jn.14:23). What a beautiful imagery of us being the indwelling of God!

Here at the Pentecost as Jesus breathed on us the Holy Spirit, we have become his very presence in the world – not just his proxy because he is not absent at all.

It has always been said that if you want to change the world into a better place to live in, you must first change yourself. In Jesus Christ’s saving works, from his Incarnation to his Passion, Death and Resurrection and now in his sending of the Holy Spirit, we have no more reasons to be at the pit of life’s basket. We are God’s greatest miracle on earth – he has not only equipped us with a marvelous body so capable of doing many things but had even blessed us abundantly with every spiritual blessings in the world (Eph.1:3), primary of which is the third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit.

Everyday is a Pentecost, a coming of the Holy Spirit who enlivens us, inspires us to be the very best disciple of Jesus, truly the presence of God in this world so badly damaged with so much darkness and divisions, pains and sufferings, poverty and injustices happening not merely in individual cases but even on a large-scale basis. That is why the world needs top gun Christians these days to show everyone how wrong and erroneous are the ways that the world has chosen, that despite all the affluence and technology it has, people are more sad and lost, with some rejecting life itself resorting to violence and subtle attacks on life like abortion.

From pinterest.com.

Pentecost is something we have to live out daily as St. Paul reminds us in the second reading, of trying to shift our sights and way of life to God, of living in the spirit and not in the flesh as the world would teach these days.

How sad that this past week, the two most trending topics in social media are the separation of popular husband-and-wife music tandem of Jason Hernandez and Moira dela Torre plus the court decision in the multi-million dollar defamation case of former couple Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. The sad thing about these viral showbiz news items is how people closely followed them as if they are the most vital topics in the world at the moment, forgetting all about human trafficking, peoples displaced by wars, the many people without the basic necessities of life like decent housing and water. Until now, nobody is talking about keeping our population safe from violence especially the children except having more laws and more weapons. And most insane in the country as a result of the Jason-Moira split, people are again clamoring for the passage of the divorce bill as if it would solve all marital woes of infidelities.

Despite the coming of the Holy Spirit trying to level up our lives and existence by grounding us to the more real and essential issues in our person, we choose to ignore them and would rather sink ourselves deeper into the dirt of others.

Here, we really need a lot of enlightenment by the Holy Spirit like what Tom Cruise insisted to his team members in Top Gun: Maverick – it is the pilot not the plane. Yes, it is the person who must first be thought of, giving importance to his/her well being – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I think what makes this Top Gun sequel better than its 1986 original is the aspect of redemption of the characters played by Tom Cruise and Miles Teller who played “Rooster” as the son of his best friend who had died.

That is what the Pentecost is all about: the Holy Spirit was sent and continues to come to uplift us all, to transform us into better persons and disciples of Jesus. Are we ready to do the hard work of letting go of our personal issues and agendas to let the Holy Spirit fill us and lead us to higher heights in Jesus?

Have a blessed week ahead! God bless you all! Amen.

Photo from polygon.com.

Maturing in the Holy Spirit

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Monday in the Fifth Week of Easter, 16 May 2022
Acts 14:5-18   ><))))*> + <*((((><   John 14:21-26
Photo by author, Parish of San Juan Bautista in Calumpit, Bulacan, 02 May 2022.
Dearest Lord Jesus,
you have promised to send us 
the Holy Spirit to teach us everything
that you have told; bless us,
cleanse us to be open to you always,
to welcome the Holy Spirit so we may
always be disposed to its will and 
directions.
How funny to hear the experience 
of Paul and Barnabas today at Lystra 
where people insisted to offer
them with sacrifices and garlands to
honor them both as gods, Zeus and 
Hermes after they have healed a crippled
man; funny because it continues to happen
among us your disciples these days when at the 
other end are people persecuting us for
speaking about justice and truth while at the
other extreme are people who worship us,
regarding us like gods in bringing your good
news of salvation and healing to them.
In both instances, Lord, we need to mature
in the Holy Spirit:  that we be filled with courage
and determination to proclaim your gospel
among those who resist us and at the same
time that we may always be humble and 
sincere in our mission to share you alone, 
dear Jesus when people tend to see us more, 
almost adoring us that we forget we are your
mere servants and vessels of grace.  Amen.

Musings on Simeon’s Canticle

Quiet Storm by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, 02 February 2022, Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
“Simeon’s Moment” by American illustrator Ron DiCianni. From http://www.tapestryproductions.com

Strictly speaking, today’s Feast of the Presentation of the Lord should be the closing of the Christmas season. It is the 40th day since the birth of Jesus when Mary had completed her days of purification to leave Bethlehem and offer her child with Joseph in the temple in accordance with their law that “every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord” (Lk.2:23).

And like Christmas, we find in the Lord’s presentation his Cross looming tall, enlightening us how Jesus and his Cross, joy and suffering, life and death cannot be separated. In Simeon’s Canticle, we find that life’s many contradictions make living wonderful and meaningful, too! (See our Sunday homily, https://lordmychef.com/2022/01/29/living-loving-amid-contradictions/).


He (Simeon) 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 in his arms and blessed God, saying: “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 peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”

Luke 2:27-32
Photo by Mr. Raffy Tima of GMA-7 News, March 2020.

Coming to terms with death is coming to terms with life.”

First thing we realize in this beautiful canticle of Simeon is the true meaning of joy in finding Jesus wherein we learn to befriend death as we come to terms with life and living. It is difficult to explain but evidently, it was pure joy that led Simeon bursting into a song.

St. Paul had a similar experience while in prison which he tried to explain to the Philippians when he wrote, “For to me life is Christ, and death is gain. If I go on living in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. And I do not know which I shall choose. I am caught between the two. I long to depart this life and be with Christ, for that is far better. Yet that I remain in the flesh is more necessary for your benefit” (Phil.1:21-24).

Those who have cared and lost a loved one to cancer or any terminal illness have experienced Simeon’s canticle. Remember when our loved ones have finally accepted their fate, when they suddenly become more emotionally stable and even joyful in their dispositions? Unlike before when they were first diagnosed with their illness, they were so afraid, always crying but as they came to embrace the reality, they cried less with a strong sense of courage while we are the ones crying more and most stressed out?

That is because the dying must have seen their direction, their final destination in life.

Like Simeon, they have seen God in the light of Jesus Christ while we who are to be left behind cry more not only due of the pain and sadness of separation but because we do not know where we are going, where we are heading to once our loved ones die. Feel the courage and confidence of Simeon boldly telling God to take him at that instance because he had found “the way, the truth and the life”, Jesus Christ!

Too often, we Filipinos take it as a joke, perhaps laughing to dismiss the topic or cope with the reality that to see God means to die like when we say “gusto nang makita si Lord”. But, that is the truth that Simeon is telling us in today’s gospel which is more “felt” in our own language, “Kunin mo na, Panginoon, ang iyong abang alipin, Ayon sa iyong pangako, Yamang nakita na ng aking mga mata ang iyong pagliligtas” (Lk.2:29-30). Imagine Simeon like the teenagers telling God to take him “now na!”?

Here we find at the presentation of the Lord in the temple how Simeon realized that coming to terms with death is coming to terms with life.

Photo by Ms. Nikki A. Vergara, 2020.

“Coming in the Spirit is living in the presence of God.”

Second thing we find in Simeon’s Canticle is the preeminence of the Holy Spirit in his life. We can never experience and find Jesus without being attuned first with the Holy Spirit who animates us and opens us to Christ’s coming.

Imagine the great crowds of people at the temple on that day, of couples trying to fulfill the law of Moses of purification and presentation of their first-born sons to God. How did Simeon know Joseph and Mary were the parents of Jesus? How was he able to accurately spot and find Jesus is the Messiah amid the many male children being offered on that day at the temple?

“To come in the Spirit” like Simeon is more than being faithful to God; it is having a good and pure heart that is ready to believe and act openly with courage, always looking forward at the fulfillment of what we believe. Coming in the Spirit is being at the right place at the right time when we make things happen than wait, exactly how Luke portrayed Simeon and Anna who both lived in the presence of God! Coming in the Spirit in living in the present moment in God.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“Principle and foundation of life”

Thirdly, we cannot see Christ nor live in the Spirit unless we humbly submit ourselves to God, our Lord and Master. Seeing Christ and living in the Spirit presuppose humility before God – we his creatures, he our Lord and Master.

Most of all, God our origin and our end too!

It is the principle and foundation of life as St. Ignatius of Loyola stressed in his Spiritual Exercises, “El hombre es criado para alabar, hacer reverencia y servir a Dios nuestro Señor, y mediante esto, salvar su anima”, that is, “Man is created to praise and serve God his Lord and Master and by doing this save his soul”.

There is something so beautiful and lovely, so touching in the opening verse of Simeon’s canticle that underscores firmly this basic truth we have always forgotten since the fall of Adam and Eve: “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 the peoples” (Lk.2:29-31). Every time we sin, we act like Adam and Eve, playing gods, desiring to be like God.

Also known as Nunc Dimittis, Simeon’s canticle echoes the fiat of Mary to God during the Annunciation, expressing his fidelity and humility, his total submission to God. Most of all, it summarizes both the Magnificat of the Blessed Mother and the Benedictus of Zechariah, making Simeon’s Nunc Dimittis the finale in Luke’s Christmas “concert” on the birth of the Messiah.

This is the reason why we sing or recite Nunc dimittis at the end of our Night Prayer called Compline from the Latin completorium for “completion of the waking day”. It is the perfect prayer to close each day as we prepare for the coming brand new day to meet Jesus again, hoping we may be enlightened us in our life’s mission.

Or, if ever we do not wake up the following day, we thank God all the more in making us meet Jesus the past day, eager to finally sing to him our praises in eternity. Amen.

Photo by Mr. Raffy Tima of GMA-7 News, 18 January 2022.