Thank God for life’s mysteries

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity-A, 04 June 2023
Exodus 34:4-6, 8-9 ><}}}*> 2 Corinthians 13:11-13 ><}}}*> John 3:16-18
Photo by author, sunrise at Anvaya Cove, 19 May 2023

Our Sunday gospel on this Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity is one of the shortest proclaimed in the year with just three verses that may be finished in just two minutes. And yet, it contains the most popular verses from the whole Bible used in the song “Tell the World of His Love” when St. John Paul II visited our country in 1995.

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

John 3:16-18
Photo by author at the Anvaya Cove, 19 May 2023

See how these three verses powerfully summarize our Christian faith of a personal, relating God who is love himself, doing everything in love which is the very meaning of the doctrine of the Most Holy Trinity.

The word mystery is from the Greek mysterion, something hidden but now revealed by God. While it is true that a mystery is beyond human reason because it is divine, it may still be explained and understood though not fully. That is why it is described as non-logical or beyond reason but not illogical which lacks reason.

Most of all, a mystery is not a problem to be solved because it simply cannot be solved at all. In fact, we need to keep mysteries like secrets because mysteries give meaning and depth to our very existence, to our lives. This is the problem with so many people these days lacking mysteries in life when everything about them is shown, even overexposed in the social media. Perhaps that is why so many people are losing meaning in life because they no longer have depth as everything is bared and opened. Life has become so artificial for many not realizing that the most wonderful things in life are those hidden and not seen. Like mystery of God!

Photo by author at the Anvaya Cove, 19 May 2023

There lies the beauty of mystery that is not a problem to be solved but a reality we need to accept and embrace, or better, to allow ourselves to be wrapped by it. As we try to learn and understand more of every mystery in life, especially of God and of our very selves, the more we find life meaningful, the more we appreciate it especially our gift of faith.

When we allow ourselves to be absorbed by life’s mysteries, primary of which is the mystery of God in three Persons, the more we appreciate life itself and our very selves who are in fact a mystery too to ourselves. As we move on in life, as we age and mature, we realize life is not about covering distances but going deeper within ourselves, being transformed into better selves and persons like God, loving and merciful. Eventually we realize too that each one of us is in fact an indwelling of the Holy Trinity, an image and likeness of God himself.

Here we find mystery as a call to a relationship, a communion with God and with others that is why Jesus told Nicodemus in the opening verse of our gospel today that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.

A mystery is a mystery because it is shared. It is nothing if it is merely in itself. We are intrigued with stories and reports because they create relationships in us and with us. That is why God in himself as a mystery is a community of persons. Person implies relationship. From the Latin word persona which is a translation of another Greek word prosopon or the mask worn by stage actors/actresses to indicate their roles in a play or drama.

Remember the term dramatis personae or list of actors in a play and their roles? To a certain sense, there are three persons or personae, that is, roles in our God as we profess in our Creed: the Father as Creator of everything, the Son as the Savior, and the Holy Spirit as the Sanctifier. With God, his persona is eternal while in drama or play, it is temporary.

The more we enter into relationships, the more we relate with other persons, the more we discover the many mysteries of this life, of God because we sooner or later find out we in our selves and humans are not enough. Things cannot relate no matter how hard Steve Jobs and his successors tried their best to design Apple gadgets that conform to human form to give them a sense of relating. Not even animals nor plants no matter how intimate we grow closer to them. Only God suffices.

Photo by author at the Anvaya Cove, 19 May 2023. Though I do not know how to swim, I have always loved the beach where everything and me becomes one in God like the sky that is so far and yet so close. A mystery so lovely!

That is the good news of this Sunday – our awesome and all-knowing, all-powerful God opening himself to us to enter into a personal relationship in him and with him through his Son Jesus Christ who sent us the Holy Spirit to enable us in this sacred mystery.

In sending us Jesus Christ his Son, God took the initiative to be close to us. In fact, closest to us as our breath in sending us the Holy Spirit.

Every time we think of God, when we marvel at him and his creations, the more we find ourselves so different, even too distant from him while at the same time we also feel and experience in the most unique manner how closest we are to him. That is one of life’s most profound and deepest mysteries when are so surprised to our very core of our being that despite our sinfulness and worthlessness, we are still so loved and cared for by God. Difficult to explain but go back to our lowest moments in life when suddenly we sighed for a brief relief that amid our pains and tears, God suddenly comes to comfort us like when Moses met God face-to-face at Mount Sinai.

Having come down in a cloud, the Lord stood with Moses there and proclaimed his name “Lord.” Thus the Lord passed before him… Moses at once bowed down to the ground in worship.

Exodus 34:5-6, 8

Note that God is called “Lord” or “Adoni” in Hebrew because the Jews do not speak out loud the name of God spelled as YHWH, or Yahweh as we say. It is interesting to know that the first letter for God in Hebrew, Yoda, is pronounced like a breath, yahhh. Because that is who God is, our breath, our life, so closest to us but we rarely recognize him because we are so busy with our selves and many endeavors.

That is why I always insist until now to everyone especially seminarians to seriously and faithfully do the sign of the Cross which is more than a prayer but an expression of the mystery of the Trinity not far from us. Every time we make the sign of the Cross properly, that is when we let our selves be wrapped by God and his mysteries.

Photo by author, Anvaya Cove, 05 January 2023.

In the sign of the Cross, God comes closest to us in our very selves and body, relating to us in our head being the Father who is over and above us always, the creator of everything; as the Son who became human like us born by the Virgin Mary passing through her womb, experiencing everything we went through except sin; and as the Holy Spirit on our shoulders giving us balance in this life.

See that at the resumption of Ordinary Time last Monday, we transition to Ordinary Sundays today and next week celebrating the two most important doctrines and mysteries of our faith, the Most Holy Trinity and the Incarnation of Jesus which is what is next Sunday’s Body and Blood of Christ is all about.

Today we reflect on the highest truth of our faith, the mystery of one God in three Persons to remind us that our faith is more than knowing the teachings but most of all of relating in love and mercy, kindness and service like God. Finding that mystery of the Trinity in ourselves leads us to finding God in others too. Amen. Have a blessed week.

Faith is relationship with God

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday, Memorial of Sts. Marcellinus and Peter, Martyrs, 02 June 2023
Sirach 44:1.9-13   ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'>   Mark 11:11-26
Photo by author, January 2023.
Praise and glory to you,
God our loving Father,
for this first Friday of June;
your words are very interesting
with Ben Sirach calling us to
recall and remember the faithful
men and women who have lived'
and gone ahead of us while Mark
combined two stories in our
gospel scene today.

Now I will praise those godly men, our ancestors, each in his own time. But of others there is no memory, for when they ceased, they ceased. And they are as though they had not lived, they and their children after them. Yet these also were godly men whose virtues have not been forgotten.

Sirach 44:1, 9-10
So true indeed are his words
until now!  There are many great
people we remember their names
for their great faith and but there 
are still far more than them whom we
know remain unnamed having served
God so well among his people;
may we try to remember today 
our simple folks whose faith
have inspired us to be more
faithful and charitable like
On the other hand, 
Mark combines two stories
in the life of our Lord Jesus 
to instill in us the importance 
of faith not just as a belief
nor a system of theology
we must learn but a relationship
we must keep with God through
our brothers and sisters.
Forgive us, Jesus,
for those times our faith
bore no fruit and withered 
so dried like the fruitless fig tree;
forgive us, Jesus,
when we make religion
an economic enterprise 
like what happened to the
temple of Jerusalem during
your time; cleanse us of our 
selfish motives that faith
has become more of a means
for social mobility than for
spiritual growth through
meaningful relationships
with God and with others.
Grant us, Jesus,
the courage and fidelity
of Sts. Marcellinus and Peter
to be firm in our faith in you.

Becoming like Christ, our eternal high priest

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Thursday after Pentecost, 
Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Eternal High Priest, 01 June 2023
Genesis 22:9-18   ><]]]]'> + <'[[[[><   Matthew 26:36-42
Photo by Mr. Mon Macatangga, 12 May 2023.
God our loving Father,
thank you for allowing us
to reach the first half of the year
and what a tremendous blessing
on this first day of June we are
also celebrating the Feast of 
your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Eternal High Priest.
In Jesus Christ
you have given us
the perfect mediator
to you, our Father
and to one another
as brothers and sisters.
In Baptism,
you have made us share
in your priesthood, Lord Jesus;
you have weakened the
COVID virus and how sad
that now we are free to 
travel, many of us have refused
to come back to Sunday
Eucharist when we exercise
Christ's priestly ministry.

May our lives be a life of
worship to you, O God,
like Abraham, trustingly 
obeying you even in 
giving up those most 
precious to us.

Again then Lord’s messenger called to Abraham from heaven and said: “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your beloved son, I will bless you abundantly…

Genesis 22:15-17
Also on this Feast of Jesus Christ
our Eternal High Priest,
we pray most fervently for our
priests that each of them may be
a man of the Word,
a man of prayer
 in intimate
relationship with you, dear Jesus
so that they may give us only you, Jesus,
always you, Jesus.

We pray for priests
most especially bishops too
who have no more time to pray
to be one with you, Jesus,
as they spend more time with
people, sad to say, with the rich
and powerful forgetting your little ones
like the poor and the sick;
transform our priests and bishops,
Jesus, to be more like you
in thinking,
in speaking,
in doing,
in living, 
and in loving.

Our God of surprises

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday, Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 31 May 2023
Romans 12:9-16   ><}}}}*> + ><}}}}*> + ><}}}}*>   Luke 1:39-56
Photo by author, sunrise at Anvaya Cove, Morong, Bataan, 19 May 2023.
Glory and praise to you,
God our loving Father 
who had come and comes
daily in Christ Jesus our Lord!
Just like in this Feast of the 
Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
you always surprise us dear God
like Elizabeth.
Every visitation is always
surprising, especially when 
you are the one coming,
O God.

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”

Luke 1:41-43
Like Elizabeth,
we are so surprised
with your visitation in
Christ Jesus because
if ever there is anyone
who should be making 
the visit, it should be us -
or Elizabeth who should 
have visited Mary who was
pregnant with Jesus Christ.
What a beautiful anticipation
it was of Christ's mission through
his self-emptying or kenosis
when he said "The Son of Man
has come to serve and not to be
served" (see Mt.20:28, Mk. 10:45).
Keep us home,
keep us grounded in you,
Lord, like Elizabeth,
always ready to be
surprised with your visit,
to welcome your coming
in the Holy Spirit to shake us 
and examine our many beliefs,
traditions and conventions
that have prevented us from 
making Jesus more present among us
especially the poor and marginalized;
keep us home,
keep us rooted in you
like Elizabeth, Lord,
ready to be radical,
to go back to our roots
and rootedness so that only
what is most essential we must
keep - the person of
Jesus Christ himself
because many times,
we do not recognize your coming,
your visits as we are busy
"visiting" worldly concerns
than being focused in you
our Lord.
Come, Lord Jesus,
visit us like when you
visited Elizabeth and 
John through Mary your
Mother so we may imitate
her in bringing you to the
hungry and poor so that 
we may learn to practice
St. Paul's admonition,
"Let love be sincere:
hate what is evil, hold on
to what is good; love one
another with mutual affection;
anticipate one another in
showing honor" (Rom. 12:9-10).
Surprise us, Lord!

Sino ang “special”?

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-30 ng Mayo 2023
Larawan kuha ng may-akda, exhibit ng Sto. Nino sa Malolos Cathedral, Enero 2022.

Kailan ko lamang napag-ukulan ng pansin – at pagninilay – itong isang bagay ukol sa mga tinagurian nating “special child”, yaong mga isinilang na mayroong iba’t-ibang kapansanan sa pangangatawan, pag-iisip at pandamdam (emotional).

Mabuti nga sa panahong ito ay “special” na ang tawag sa kanila kesa noong dating panahon namin na wala pang mga “sped” o special education. At least, hindi pa laganap lalo sa mga lalawigan. Noon basta hindi normal ika nga ang isang tao lalo na mga bata na ipinanganak na mayroong kapansanan na tinatawag na Down Syndrome, “mongoloid” ang tawag. Kaya naman ako noon sa mura kong isipan at katangahan, hindi ko mawari bakit siya kumain ng lapis o pencil na noo’y Mongol ang tatak?! Sorry po pero yun talaga naisip ko noong elementary ako lalo na nang biniro ng guro namin isang kaklase na palaging kagat-kagat ang lapis niya na magiging mongoloid siya sa ginagawa niya! Siyempre, ako man noo’y palaging kinakagat ang lapis at marahil kaya ako kung minsan ay parang special din.

Pero wala pong biro at mabalik tayo sa ating paksa, pansin ko lang sa pamilya ng mga kapatid nating mayroong mga naturang kapansanan na madalas at mabilis nila kaagad sinasabi na ang kanilang anak o kapatid ay “special”. Minsan mararamdaman mo rin kanilang lungkot marahil hindi sa ano pa man kungdi ang pag-aalala paano magiging buhay ng kanilang special child lalo na sa pagtanda nila.

Noong ako ay batang pari pa sa isang barrio na aking minimisahan ay mayroong special child na palaging nagsisimba. Masayang-masaya ang batang iyon sa pagsisimba at halos sumigaw sa pagsagot at pag-awit sa Misa. Napansin ko tumatahimik siya at masugid niyang tinitingnan ang lahat ng nangungumunyon.

Kinausap ko ang bata na siguro ay labing-limang taong gulang na noon. “Ibig mo ba na magkomunyon? Alam mo ba ko kung ano yun tinatanggap?” Sabi niya sa akin ay si Jesus daw iyong nasa Banal na Ostiya. Kaya kinausap ko kanyang magulang na di makapaniwalang pwede iyon. Inihanda ko ang special child at makaraan ang ilang linggo, siya ay binigyan namin ng “first communion”. Tuwang-tuwa ang bata at kanyang mga magulang. Hanggang ngayon siya ay masayang nagsisimba sa kanilang bisita.

Dati naman sa pinanggalingan kong parokya ay ipinahanap ko sa mga katekista ang lahat ng mga bata na sampung taong gulang pataas na hindi pa nakukumpilan. Isang teenager na special child ang kanilang natagpuan sa aming depressed area. Pinuntahan namin upang kausapain at himukin ang mga magulang ng special child na siya ay pakumpilan yamang libre naman. Nagulat ang ama na puwede daw palang kumpilan kanyang anak at noon siya ay naiyak nang ikuwento sa akin na kaya dalawa lang kanilang anak. Natakot daw siyang special muli ang ikatlong anak nila.

Larawan kuha ng may-akda, Baguio Cathedral, 2018.

Bakit nga ba tinatawag na special child mga batang isinilang na mayroong iba’t-ibang kapansanan at pangangailangan? Hindi ba kapag special dapat ay mahusay at magaling. Halos perfect, hindi ba?

Special child ang tawag sa kanila kasi sila ay espesyal sa Diyos. At higit na espesyal sa lahat ang kanilang mga magulang at kapatid na pinili ng Diyos upang ipagkatiwala sa kanila ang Kanyang mga special children. Sila lang marahil sa dami ng iba pang ama at ina at mga kapatid ang may higit na pagmamahal at malasakit upang arugain at palakihin ang special child ng Diyos.

Noong magbuntis ang kapatid ko sa kanyang ikatlong anak, siya ay nakunan. Malungkot na malungkot ang kapatid ko noon dahil hirap siya sa pagbubuntis. Ipinaliwanag sa akin ng kanyang doctora na kapag daw ang sanggol sa sinapupunan ng ina ay na-detect na magkakaroon ng kapansanan o sakit, mayroon daw mekanismo mismo yung baby na mag automatic shut off para di na siya lumaki at mabuhay pa. Kaya nakukunan ng baby.

Samakatwid, natural sa plano ng Diyos na lahat ng isisilang ay buo at walang kapansanan ngunit kung sakaling mayroong makalusot at mabuhay hanggang mailuwal ng kanyang ina bilang special child, ito ay kalooban ng Diyos. Siya ay biyaya ng Diyos. Regalo ng Diyos. Kaya sinasabi ng iba “suwerte” daw ang special child. Malaking biyaya ng Diyos ang bawat buhay, lalo na kung mayroong kapansanan dahil sila ay pinahintulutan niyang isilang at mabuhay para sa isang misyon para sa ating lahat. At ito iyon: espesyal bawat isa sa atin sa Diyos.

Noong isang linggo ay nagmisa ako sa pumanaw na kapatid na special child ng isang ka-opisina. Natapat noong araw na iyon ang ebanghelyo ay napakaganda sa wikang Inggles na ganito ang sinasabi:

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed, saying: “Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world.”

John 17:24

Kay sarap namnamin mga salita ni Jesus, “Father, they are your gift to me.” Sa Tagalog ay hindi ganoon ang pagkakasalin at hindi binanggit ang kataga na regalo o gift. Ito yung tagpo ng kanyang pananalangin para sa kanyang mga alagad matapos ang kanilang Huling Hapunan bago siya dakpin noong Huwebes Santo.

Sino ba tayo para ituring ni Jesus na regalo o gift sa kanya ng Ama?

Sa kabila ng ating maraming kapintasan, kakulangan at kasalanan, iyan ang katotohanan: regalo tayo ng Diyos Ama di lamang sa isa’t-isa kungdi maging sa Anak niyang si Jesus.

Tayong lahat ay regalo ng Diyos. Napakahalaga, lalo na yaong mga mayroong kapansanan at iba’t ibang kahinaan sa pangangatawan at buhay.

Sa bawat special child ay mayroong extra-special na ina at ama at mga kapatid. Kaya kung ibig mo ring maging extra-special sa Diyos, kaibiganin, tulungan, at pahalagahan mga special children at kanilang pamilya. Amen.

Larawan kuha ni G. Jim Marpa, 2018.

Why give?

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Tuesday in the Eighth Week of Ordinary Time, Year I, 30 May 2023
Sirach 35:1-12   ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'>   Mark 10:28-31
Photo by Mr. John Ryan Jacob, December 2022, Paco, Obando, Bulacan.
Why give at all, Lord?

Today you answer this 
"frequently asked question" 
of so many people especially
Christians:  why should I give?

Appear not before the Lord empty-handed, for all that you offer is in fulfillment of the precepts. The just one’s offering enriches the altar and rises as a sweet odor before the Most High. The just one’s sacrifice is most pleasing nor will it ever be forgotten.

Sirach 35:4-6
There are so many reasons
why we should give but in the
wise words by Ben Sirach today,
one clear reason why we should
give is because everything is yours,
O God; we own nothing at all!

Whatever we have is yours
and the more we give,
the more we share,
the more you bless us!
Teach us, O God,
not to be selfish,
to be open,
to be generous
for we are mere channels
of your blessings and 
grace; forgive us, Jesus,
when we are like the rich man
who asked you about gaining
eternal life but unwilling to give
up his possession to share with others
or like Simon Peter counting 
whatever we have given
and shared, most especially 
what we have given up for you
as if everything we have is 
totally ours, that we owe no one
except ourselves in having them
without realizing we are your mere
stewards of whatever we have;
so often, we fail to realize 
the simple truth 
that when everyone
gives, everyone receives.
That is why we must give.

Facing God again

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Monday, Memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church, 29 May 2023
Genesis 3:9-15, 20   ><)))*> + ><)))*> + ><)))*>   John 2:1-11
God our loving Father,
as we resume the Ordinary Time
this Monday, grant us the grace
your Son Jesus Christ had given
his Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary,
to "face" you again,
to be sincere and true before your
holiness and perfection,
power and might.
How sad that despite
the graces of his Cross
and Resurrection, we remain
too far from you, O God, because
we are still ashamed like Adam and Eve
to "face" you as we constantly turn away from
you in sins.
Remind us how on that
first miracle of Jesus at the
wedding in Cana when Mary
interceded for the newly-wed couple
that they have ran out of wine,
our worthless selves marred with
sins and imperfections like water
have been transformed into beloved
children of the Father,
so beautiful,
so lovely,
so noble 
like an excellent wine.

Braving the storm

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Solemnity of the Pentecost Sunday, 28 May 2023
Acts 2:1-11 ><}}}}*> 1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13 ><}}}}*> John 20:19-23
Photo from, 9PM, 27 May 2023.

Super typhoon “Betty” (aka, “Mawar”) provides us with some interesting insights on today’s celebration of the Solemnity of the Pentecost Sunday which closes the Easter Season after the last Mass tonight when the paschal candle is extinguished and brought back to the baptistry as we resume Ordinary Time this Monday.

St. Luke described in our first reading how the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary at the upper room in Jerusalem was like the coming of a powerful storm.

And indeed, it was a storm so powerful that have swept the whole world since then, still happening these days calling on us all Christians to be filled anew by the Holy Spirit to continue Christ’s saving work especially in these troubled times when the world is so fragmented and divided.

When the time for the Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

Acts of the Apostles 2:1-4

On the other hand, we have heard in the gospel today how on the evening of the third day – that is, on Easter – Jesus came to his apostles amid locked doors and breathed on them the Holy Spirit after greeting them with peace twice. It does not really matter how the Holy Spirit came into the world, whether 50 days after Easter as narrated by St. Luke in the first reading or right on the evening of Easter as claimed by St. John in his gospel account. What really matters is the fact the Holy Spirit was given to the early Christian community who has continued to stay in the Church and in each one of us, renewing us constantly ever since. It is the same Holy Spirit alive and present in our congregations and parishes today

Photo from

Pentecost is a different kind of storm we badly need these days in the Church. Unlike weather disturbances, Pentecost does not destroy but in fact builds people, specifically the Church as the Body of Christ and People of God. But, it is also very much like a typhoon in the sense that it batters us to destroy our pride and selfishness that in the process we forget our selves and start thinking of others.

The Holy Spirit is like the power of any typhoon that can shake the very foundations of our long held beliefs and traditions to give way to new ways of living and believing, opening ourselves to the movements of the Spirit that makes Jesus Christ more present in our time.

Let us allow the Holy Spirit to sweep us and the Church like a storm to enable us to see life and world in new perspectives, to find new ways of reaching out to others especially those in the margins we have always forgotten, even taken for granted.

I used to tell people that it is always after the storms when the leaves are greenest and rich soil are deposited that become seedbeds for bountiful harvests in the future. If we can allow the Holy Spirit to sweep us like a storm, then we also learn to hope and trust more in God than in ourselves, as well as in our traditions and even technologies that have prevented us from maturing as Christians and disciples of the Lord.

Every year, more than a dozen typhoons hit and devastate our country; worst, as we have seen in the last ten years, typhoons are getting stronger every year. If we apply that reality to the Holy Spirit, Pentecost is a constant call for conversion among us. And it is in this aspect that I wish to recall another news item we have had last week to appreciate the Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Photo from, 24 May 2023.

While we were busy tracking the movements of super typhoon “Betty” last week, a huge fire razed the historic Central Post Office building early Tuesday in Manila. I personally felt so sad seeing the images on TV news of the Post Office building engulfed in fire having been there at least thrice to drop mail and visit the iconic edifice as part of our humanities class in college.

Watching it burned made me asking myself, “is there a war again?” because the last time the Post Office building was burned was at the liberation of Manila in 1945.

And indeed, there is another great war still raging, the war between good and evil, the war between life and death.

That is why, like the storm, the Holy Spirit is like fire in the positive sense. It purifies us, makes us stronger and more committed as disciples of Jesus Christ. Just what we needed in this time in history.

St. Luke tells us in the first reading how after hearing the sound of strong winds in the Upper Room on that Pentecost day in Jerusalem, “there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim” (Acts 2:3-4).

In the gospel, the Risen Lord’s breathing on the disciples was reminiscent of the Genesis account of the first man coming to life when God blew into his nostrils.

The Holy Spirit is life because of the fire and warmth it brings to every faithful and to the Church. It purifies our personhood into better persons to enable us to be converted into Jesus Christ.

It is this transforming fire of the Holy Spirit that we need to bring more warmth and life among us Christians who have become so cold in our faith, becoming more passive than ever with all the decadence going on in the world, even in the Church.

Indeed, as St. Paul said in the second reading, No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3) because to believe in Jesus Christ is to always accept everyone as brother and sister by standing for what is true and good, protecting life especially at its weakest moments of infancy and old age.

Let the fire of the Holy Spirit dissolve the walls that separate us from each other. Let the fire of the Holy Spirit bring out her gifts for us to be more understanding and wise, being able to forge on with life with fortitude and knowledge, able to counsel those lost and weak, as well as pious and fearful of the Lord,

If fire has the power to destroy great buildings like the Central Post Office in Manila, fire also has the great power to build up not only edifices and other things but most especially people when they are open to its great potentials of conversion and transformations.

May this Solemnity of the Pentecost make us more attuned with the Holy Spirit so we may constantly be converted into better persons and Christians to sweep the world like a storm with great changes in uniting people to work for peace and like fire in having the enthusiasm to work for true development and progress of mankind. Amen.

The “finger of God”

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday in the Seventh Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Philip Neri, Priest, 26 May 2023
Acts 25:13-21   ><}}}}*> + ><}}}}*> + ><}}}}*>   John 21:15-19
Photo by author, sunrise at Anvaya Cove, Morong, Bataan, 19 May 2023.
On this final week of the
Easter Season while praying
the Scriptures, I am reminded
O Lord Jesus by your expression
"the finger of God" in Luke 11:20
when people were doubting your
healing powers.
Very clear in the lives of St. Paul 
in the first reading, then in your 
commissioning of St. Peter in the 
Gospel as well as the wondrous works
by St. Philip Neri in Rome during his
time were clear manifestations of the 
finger of God working.
In the life of St. Paul, there was
the finger of God working at his trial
that brought him to Rome to testify
for you; the same thing is true with
St. Peter who denied you thrice and yet,
it was the finger of God that brought 
him back to you and to his fellow disciples;
in the life of St. Philip Neri, it was also
the finger of God that worked wonders
that he was able to gather followers
to continue his works of bringing
people closer to God through the
Eucharist and prayers.
As the Easter Season comes
to a close this Pentecost Sunday,
help us dear Jesus to recollect 
and reflect our lives to see God's
finger in our life stories too;
open our eyes and our hearts
to find God's finger pulling things
together to make our lives a great
coherence so many times with
amusing and funny incidents,
comedies that make not only our lips
but also our hearts to smile
and experience deep joy
in you.

Our unique giftedness

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Thursday in the Seventh Week of Easter, 25 May 2023
Acts 22:30, 23:6-11   ><))))*> + <*((((><   John 17:20-26
Photo by author, Anvaya Cove, 27 February 2023.
How wonderful and
so touching, Lord Jesus,
for you to call us 
a gift from the Father.

“Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world.”

John 17:24
Help me keep, dear Jesus,
that being of a gift to you
from the Father by being
a witness of your glory
which is standing by your
side at the Cross like St. Paul
whom you have called "to bear
witness to you in Jerusalem and
in Rome" (Acts 23:11).
May we always remember
this truth, our being a gift to
you dear Jesus, so that in moments
we feel so overburdened,
when we are losing hope,
when we feel like giving up,
we may forge on 
and persevere
in bearing witness 
to your Cross of suffering
so that eventually be one
in your glorious Resurrection.