Advent is being at home – with self, with others, and with God

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday, Memorial of St. Francis Xavier, Priest, 03 December 2021
Isaiah 29:17-24   ><)))*> + ><)))*> + ><)))*>   Matthew 9:27-31
Photo by author, Mt. St. Paul, La Trinidad, Benguet, 2020.
Your words today, O God,
are so Fatherly - comforting
and reassuring of your great
promises of redemption and
liberation from sin and miseries; 
your words are so "homey" too - 
help us this Season of Advent to find 
our way back home to you, O loving
God our Father!
Inasmuch as your words today
also speak of seeing and hearing,
make us feel at home first with
our very selves, to be at home with
who we really are, especially with our
past that no matter how dark or
painful life may have been, we are loved
most specially by you - no ifs, no buts.
Bring us home to you, Father, free from
any shame at who we really are!

Thus says the Lord God: but a very little while, and Lebanon shall be changed into an orchard, and the orchard shall be regarded as a forest! On that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book; and our of gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind shall see. The lowly will ever find joy in the Lord, and the poor rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. Now Jacob shall have nothing to be ashamed of, nor shall his face grow pale.

Isaiah 29:17-19, 22
I wonder, Lord, how so often
I feel one of those two blind men
who have followed you into your 
house - of how you first lead me into you,
into your presence, into your love 
and mercy and forgiveness before 
you make me see and hear again.
Thank you dear Jesus for always
coming to us even if so many times
we do not see nor notice you passing by
especially through others; grant us the 
zeal of St. Francis Xavier in reaching out
to others specially this season amid the
pandemic; may we try to see you among
one another as we listen to each one's
cries of pains and joys.
Most specially, let us keep our eyes
and ears and hearts open like St. Francis
Xavier who always believed in your
presence and providence even in the most
difficult and alienating situations
in life because he has always been
at home with you.  Amen.

Advent is being at home with God

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday, Advent Week I, 02 December 2020
Isaiah 25:6-10     >><)))*>   +   <*(((><<     Matthew 15:29-37
Photo by Dr. Mylene A. Santos, MD, Katmon Harbor Nature Sanctuary, Quezon, March 2020.

O God our loving Father, as we eagerly await the coming Christmas break to finally come home and be with our loved ones, may we also pray and reflect the greatest homecoming of all when your Son Jesus Christ returns to bring us back to you in heaven, our truest home.

How interesting that Jesus must come again to finally bring us home to you; yes, he had already come and always comes to us but unfortunately, we rarely come home to you. We insist on going somewhere or to someone else who just leave us empty and disappointed.

Home is where the heart is and that is you, Father, in heaven. May we constantly search you and dwell in you while still in this world; destroy the “veil that veils all peoples, the web that is woven over all nations” (Is.25:7) that mislead and imprison us with false hopes in superficial relationships and materialistic briberies of the world.

Sometimes we have to go hungry and thirsty to realize the more essential things in life like you, dear God and the people who truly care for us and love us like our immediate family and friends.

Like the crowd who have followed Jesus in the wilderness for three days with nothing to eat: they experienced advent, the coming of God when Jesus fed them after they were first disposed to desire the longings of their soul than of their bodies. It was only then when Jesus fed them through the miraculous multiplication of the loaves of bread for the second time.

May the darkness and gloom that envelop us this season of Advent like the pandemic and other personal crises dispose us to desiring you alone, God our Father, so we may finally enter your heavenly banquet with “rich food and choice wines” (Is.25:6). Amen.

We are God’s indwelling

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul, Monday, Easter Week V, 11 May 2020

Acts of the Apostles 14:5-18 ><)))*> ><)))*> ><)))*> John 14:21-26

Photo by Ms. Ria De Vera, Blessed Sacrament Procession in our Parish during quarantine, May 2020.

As we brace ourselves, O Lord, for the announcement this week of another possible extension of our quarantine period, we pray for more of your grace of presence and indwelling in us during this time that our churches remain closed to public worship.

Give us the fire and zeal of Paul and Barnabas in proclaiming your Gospel in words and in deeds.

Most especially, give us the same humility and decency to direct all praise and glory to your Divine Majesty and not to us.

Let us abide in you, O God our Father so that we may be your indwelling in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Photo by author, our closed church in time of corona virus, March-May 2020.

Jesus answered and said to him, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.”

John 14:23

May we always have the courage, O dear Jesus, to accept your invitation to belong to you wholly, to be at home in you.

Most often, we are so anxious of so many things, peace and calmness become elusive because we cannot rest in you, we cannot persevere and wait in finding you here in our very selves, in our daily life, in our worries and concerns.

Let us come home to you, Jesus, and abide in your love so that we become your indwelling of the Father and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“A House Is Not A Home” by Dionne Warwick (1964)

Lord My Chef Sunday Music, 21 July 2019
Old experiment from my room while assigned at the Fatima Shrine in Valenzuela City, June 2010-2011.

Our Sunday gospel today speaks about true hospitality that leads to an encounter of Jesus Christ in our home and family.

Burt Bacharach’s “A House Is Not A Home” composed in 1964 for a movie of the same title easily came as our choice for this Sunday’s music.

Problem was choosing which of the many versions to feature in our blog today.

Though the different versions do matter a lot with slight variations in the lyrics, we decided in favor of the original recording by Ms. Dionne Warwick in 1964 that was the B-side of her top 40 single “You’ll Never Get To Heaven (If You Break My Heart)”.

Despite her excellent voice (a favorite of Bacharach), Warwick’s “A House Is Not A Home” did not fare well in the US charts. However, since its release in 1964 it has become a classic for its lovely tune and truthful lyrics.

A chair is still a chair, even when there’s no one sittin’ there
But a chair is not a house and a house is not a home
When there’s no one there to hold you tight
And no one there you can kiss goodnight….
A room is a still a room, even when there’s nothin’ there but gloom
But a room is not a house and a house is not a home
When the two of us are far apart
And one of us has a broken heart

Hospitality is from the Latin hospes that means to welcome. From this root came also the word hospital.

The story of Martha and Mary reminds us of the need to first welcome our family members so Jesus could dwell in our home. And this calls for love and respect for one another, for kindness and care.

How sad that right in our own family we could feel unwelcomed, or even hostaged which is from another Latin word hostis that means enemy.

This Sunday, experience Jesus and his good news of salvation in your family by breaking those barriers that prevent you from welcoming one another.

Have a “home sweet home” in Christ Jesus with a lot of love and kindness to one another in the family. God bless everyone!

Going back to our roots

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul
Wednesday, Easter Week IV, 15 May 2019 (Feast of St. Isidore Labrador)
Acts 1224-13:5///John 13:16-20
Plants growing on walls along the Palm Sunday Path of Jesus in Jerusalem. Photo by author, 03 May 2019.

You know O Lord Jesus Christ how grateful I am and my fellow pilgrims for the gift of coming to your Holy Land last week. And you know how we felt later when we were so eager to come home, to get back to the Philippines.

Partly it was homesickness but largely I think due to our “rootedness”, to our desire to get back to our roots in our home, with our family, with my parishioners.

Yes, we have felt and experienced you Lord in the Holy Land but you are felt most when we all go back to our roots, when we touch base to our home, family and friends.

After Barnabas and Saul completed their relief mission, they returned to Jerusalem… While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

Acts 12:25, 13:2

This touched me so much,Lord: Barnabas and Saul began to venture far and wide in their mission to the Gentiles while they were praying with the others in Jerusalem. It happened when they returned to Jerusalem, their home, their base where you first gathered them together after Easter!

Yes… you are most present whenever we come home and touch base with our roots like family and relatives, friends and neighbors, even schools or places where we first met you!

You can boldly claim that whoever believes in you believes also in the Father who sent you because you remained rooted in the Father, Lord Jesus.

Help us, Lord, to find our way back home to you in the Father. Give us the courage to touch base with our roots, to find you in our selves, in others around us including our places of work and study.

Like St. Isidore Labrador who always prayed and visited you, touching base with you as his roots always before farming, may we come to realize that ultimately, our rootedness is in God alone. Amen.

The Our Father Church in Jerusalem. Photo by the author, 03 May 2019.

Lent is home.

40 Shades of Lent, Saturday, Week-V, 13 April 2019
Ezekiel 37:21-28///John 11:45-56
From Google.

After forty days, we are finally home in you, God our Father. Finally. But, are we really home? Are we ready for the holiest of all your days, Lord, set to begin tonight with the Palm Sunday of your Passion?

Continue to cleanse our hearts and our souls, Lord.

Continue to guide us into your direction, not like some of the people of your time.

Many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what Jesus had done began to believe in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.

John 11:45-46

Lead us home into the Father, Lord Jesus.

Fulfill in us Ezekiel’s prophecy:

My dwelling shall be with them; I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Thus the nations shall know that it is I, the Lord, who makes Israel holy, when my sanctuary shall be set up among them forever.

Thank you Lord for Lent, for the 40 days of journey. May each day be always a journey with you and in you always. Amen.

From Google.