Hold on to God

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Thursday, Memorial of St. Andrew Dung-Lac & Companion Martyrs, 24 November 2022
Revelation 18:1-2, 21-23; 19:1-3, 9   ><}}}*> + ><}}}*> + ><}}}*>   Luke 21:20-28
As we get closer to the end
of this liturgical year,
we get more excited with 
Advent and Christmas;
please help us, Lord Jesus,
to see more at the moment 
the meaning of the end of this
calendar, the end of time,
the end of everything that would
be renewed in you.
Many of us are so blessed
with family and friends,
jobs and education
that after two years.
we are looking forward
to a face-to-face
Christmas;
but, keep us aware
and conscious of the many others,
definitely more than most of us
who have lost so much these
past years of the pandemic;
many have lost loved ones,
until now have not moved on yet
with their lives, grieving in pain
made worst with other losses like
jobs, careers, business and livelihood;
many are still facing so many forms
of sufferings and trials in life
as individuals and communities;
we pray for them, Lord Jesus.

But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.

Luke 21:28
Help us, Lord, 
in our lives to witness 
the strength and courage
in you to forge on in life's many trials
and difficulties so that those deep 
in trouble may be encouraged to believe
and trust more in you;
more than our words of encouragement,
help us to show in our actions
and commitment to others
that always in this life,
God and good have the final say.
Amen.

Praying for those persecuted

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday in the Thirty-Fourth Week of Ordinary Time, Red Wednesday, 23 November 2022
Revelation 15:1-4    ><000'> + ><000'> + ><000'>  Luke 21:12-19
Today, O Lord Jesus Christ,
we join your whole Church in 
observing "Red Wednesday"
to voice our concern
and make our stand against
the persecution of Christians
and all faiths globally that sadly
remain unnoticed.
According to the 
Pew Research Centre,
"Christians suffer persecution -
from harassment to murder -
in more countries than any other
faith group.  What a disturbing fact
that too often we thought have ended
many centuries ago!
You have warned us about this persecution
a long time ago while still here on earth;
it had never stopped but simply persisted
maybe partly because many of us have chosen
to be silent and deaf to its realities especially
where Christians are a minority.

Jesus said to the crowd: “They will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. It will lead to your giving testimony. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”

Luke 21:12-13, 19
No action,
no contribution,
no prayer
is too small for each of us
to make a difference this year
in supporting our persecuted 
brothers and sisters
and most of all, 
in putting an end to this kind of hatred
and violence simply because
of faith and belief in you our God!
We pray that one day.
we will finally sing face to face
with you Lord Jesus Christ in heaven
the hymn of praise and adoration
John saw in his vision those
"who had won the victory over the beast";
enable us to make the right choices 
like them on this Red Wednesday to
both pray and act 
for the suffering members of
your Body, the Church.
Amen.

Yakapin pagwawakas, salubungin pagsisimula

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-22 ng Nobyembre 2022
Larawan kuha ng may akda, 16 Nobyembre 2022 sa Pulilan, Bulacan.
Nakakatawang isipin
na palagi nating nararanasan
mga pagwawakas at katapusan
nguni't bakit lagi nating kinatatakutan?
Sa dapithapon naroon ang takipsilim,
ang lahat mababalot ng dilim
na kinasasabikan natin dahil
tapos na rin mga gawain at aralin;
batid natin, ano mang kuwento
maski Ang Probinsiyano
magwawakas din;
mahirap isipin, maski tanggapin
kapag mayroong mga gusali na gigibain
lalo't higit mga ugnayan at kapatiran
na puputulin at papatirin
dahil sa alitan at, kamatayan.
Mismo ang Panginoong Hesus
tumiyak sa atin lahat ay magwawakas
hindi upang tapusin kungdi
muling buuin buhay at mundo natin
na mas mainam kaysa dati.
Kaya huwag isandig sarili natin 
sa mga bagay ng daigdig na maglalaho rin
katulad ng dapithapon at takipsilim
bagkus ay ating yakapin 
bawat wakas na tiyak darating
upang salubungin pagbubukang-liwayway
ng bagong araw ng buhay, pag-asa
at pagpapanibago kay Hesu-Kristo
na sariling buhay man ay nagwakas din 
doon sa Krus upang muling mabuhay
at mabuksan Paraiso para sa atin --
ang tunay na katiyakang nakalaan sa atin!
Larawan kuha ni Bb. Danna Hazel de Castro, Sagada, Mt. Province, 2017.

Praying to face, embrace every “end”

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Tuesday, Memorial of St. Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr, 22 November 2022
Revelation 14:14-19    ><}}}}*> + ><}}}}*> + ><}}}}*>   Luke 21:5-11
Photo by author, 18 November 2022.
Many times, O Lord Jesus,
I find it very amusing 
that despite our facing 
of so many "endings" 
each day in our lives, 
we are still bothered
and afraid of the end,
always wishing how things
especially the most wonderful
and memorable ones to
remain and never end;
every day the sun sets,
tasks and work are
completed,
songs and movies are seen
until the end,
yet, we refuse to embrace
this reality of the end.

While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, Jesus said, “All that you see here — the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

Luke 21:5-6
As you teach us today of the
certainty of the end, 
you remind us too, 
Lord Jesus,
that YOU are our only
security and surety
in this life;
everything, 
everyone 
will end
but only YOU shall remain;
give us the grace to cultivate
your gifts of faith and trust in you,
Lord Jesus;
like St. Cecilia whose memorial
we celebrate today,
may we muster all our courage
to be firm in our giving witness
to you dear Jesus every day,
every moment of our lives
for your judgment comes
surely as John had seen
in his visions;
in the same manner
as we end our prayers with
firm faith in eternal life in you,
may we befriend every ending
as your blessing leading us
to new beginnings in you.
Amen.
Photo by author, 16 November 2022 in Pulilan, Bulacan.

Daily presentation to the Lord

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog 
Monday, Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 21 November 2022
Revelation 14:1-3, 4-5   ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'>   Luke 21:1-4
Lord Jesus Christ,
as we enter today this final stretch
of the current liturgical calendar,
you gave us the Memorial of the 
Presentation of your Blessed Mother
as an occasion for us to present ourselves
to you fittingly like her.
Help us to always remember your love
and mercy, Lord, so we may remain on track
on your path of humility and obedience
like Mary; may we always remember
your call to holiness and to mission
being sent like you by the Father;
may we always remember like Mary
to be always truthful and clean in our lips.

These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been ransomed as the first fruits of the human race for God and then Lamb. On their lips no deceit has been found; they are unblemished.

Revelation 14:4-5
Help us imitate, dear Jesus,
that poor widow at the temple area
who gave everything she had - 
"two small coins" - into the treasury box;
grant us the grace to be like her,
to be like your Mother Mary,
to be like your grandparents St. Joachim and St. Anne
who offered their whole lives, 
their whole livelihood to God
because they believed,
they trusted, and hence,
they loved without measure.
Amen.

Christ our King & our overcoming of sin

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Solemnity of Christ the King, Cycle C, 20 November 2022
2 Samuel 5:1-3 ><000'> Colossians 1:12-20 ><000'> Luke 23:35-43
Painting of Christ’s Crucifixion by Tintoretto in 1565 portraying Jesus so “kingly”; interesting too were the people dressed as Venetians of his time as reminder that the evils that crucified Jesus continue in our own time. Photo from wikiart.org.

We now come to the final Sunday of our liturgical calendar called the Solemnity of Christ the King with a scene from his crucifixion on Good Friday. All these Sundays since June “When the days for Jesus’ being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem” (Lk.9:51), Luke had been showing us that Christ’s crucifixion and glory are one just like John in his gospel account.

But the most beautiful part of our gospel on this solemn celebration is the fact that inasmuch as Jesus had clearly showed in all eternity his kingship while dying on the Cross, it is also right on the cross of sufferings as we strive to resist temptations of turning away from God that we proclaim Christ’s kingship. Please bear with me, my friends in reflecting Luke’s artistic presentation of Christ’s crucifixion as the expression of his kingship.

Notice how Jesus was “sneered, jeered, and reviled” at the cross, reminding us of the devil’s three temptations in the wilderness after his baptism at Jordan by John. After failing to tempt Jesus at the wilderness, Luke said the devil “departed from him for a time” (Lk.4:13), returning at his crucifixion as the most opportune time to test him.

In the wilderness, the temptations by the devil to Jesus applied very well with us too but, here on the cross, it was totally different. The devil himself was nowhere to be found because he was in the person of the rulers, the soldiers, and the thief! And that is how evil and sin have become so “powerful” in a pernicious manner among us when many times we are the devil in fact.

Here, we are reminded to be aware always of that opportune time when the devil attacks us when we see or face many sufferings in life by reflecting the last three temptations of Jesus on the Cross.

Photo by author, 2017, Sacred Heart Novitiate, Novaliches, QC.

The rulers sneered at Jesus and said, “He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God” (Lk.23:35).

Just like at the wilderness when the devil tempted Jesus with what he can do as the Son of God by changing stone into bread, at the Cross it was the same temptation hurled on him by the rulers of Israel, the priests and the scribes.

How sad that amid the many sufferings in the world today we contemptuously mock others like the poor for not working so hard to liberate themselves from poverty and hunger. There is the tendency among us blessed with better living conditions to look down at others without considering how they never have the same opportunities in life like us in having good education or a caring family or worse, not having the right connections.

The tragic part of this “sneering” by the rulers on Jesus is when we look at others as if they are not humans and persons like us who play gods knowing everything even who should live and who should die like in the systematic approach by state rulers to come up with what St. John Paul II called as “culture of death” in solving poverty and crime with abortions and capital punishments.

Let us examine our attitudes at the way we look at those going through sufferings and pains like sickness, poverty and other social ills we do not go through. Let us stop the mockeries of blaming them for their plight because many times like Jesus Christ, they were betrayed by loved ones like us, by the society, or even by the institutions meant to uplift them.

Photo by author, 2017.

Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine they called out, “If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.” Above him there was an inscription that read, “This is the King of the Jews” (Lk.23:36-38).

Sneering and jeering are both contemptuous mocking or insulting of others; they are both employed by those in vantage positions of power and control like the rulers of Israel. Going “higher” than the priests, the Roman soldiers sneered Jesus by rudely mocking him in loud voice. Sneering is a superfluous display of might, of superiority, of power. It is a kind of vanity that is why in the wilderness, the devil tempted Jesus to have all the kingdoms in the world for him to be famous and popular in exchange of worshipping him.

Sneering is something so prevalent these days in our use of the social media where we practically scream and insist on everyone to notice and recognize us, that we have “arrived” in having the latest and most expensive clothes, food, gadgets and everything. There is so much wild attitude among us like the soldiers at the cross when we use social media in too much talks, even of spewing foul languages and invectives as well as lies. Fake news and lies spread so fast and are sadly taken as true to the detriment of its victims because we have been so gullible for gossips and rumors too.

But the worst part of our imitation of the soldiers jeering at Jesus is when many of us are afflicted with this perversion called exhibitionism – from those salacious posts in TikTok to those “food porns” and too much display of everything about ourselves and of our loved ones. When do we get tired of all these selfies that have become so sickening that we do not realize of how we make known to everyone of our emptiness and lack of the more essential things like love and self-respect? Like the soldiers, the more we promote ourselves, the more we affirm the obvious that Jesus indeed is the King we needed most.

Photo by author, 2017.

Now one of the criminal hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us” (Lk.23:39).

Reviling is also kind of of mocking others like sneering and jeering; however, to revile is the lowest kind because it is to insult somebody you are with in a same situation. To revile is the lack of recognition of one’s faults and sins that he would rather insult others like this thief traditionally identified as Hestas. In reviling Jesus while also hanging on the cross, Hestas went down deeper his lowest point as a convicted criminal when he had the gall to insult Jesus!

And that is the most unkind evil of all when we become so numb, so dense and stupid to even mock others we are with us in a similar situation. It happens daily when even we are in deep shit, we still see ourselves cleaner and better than others! Just read or watch the news about our politicians.

In the wilderness, the final temptation of the devil to Jesus was to jump from the top of the temple because his angels would not let him fall and even touch ground; here at the cross, Hestas saw himself no different from Jesus, feeling so entitled to be liberated. Many times, this is the problem why evil continues among us: when people from below are promoted to higher positions, they forget their roots that they also forget to fix the problems of inequalities and injustices down below where they came from. The key is to always remember. Like Dimas, the good thief.

Photo by author, 2017.

The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk.23:40-4).

See how Luke inserted here the fourth verb “to rebuke” to break the series of sneering, jeering, and reviling of Jesus. Like Dimas, we have to strive in breaking the cycle and series of evil especially in this time.

To rebuke means to express sharp disapproval. Imagine Dimas contradicting Hestas and even the rulers and soldiers as well by defending Jesus Christ while hanging there on the cross.

How sad when we remain silent, when we just walk away from people sneering, jeering and reviling Jesus in those who suffer in life because we are afraid to make a stand for what is true and good, what is right and just. How ironic that another thief hanging on the cross was the only one who made a stand for Jesus on that Good Friday along with the Mary and the beloved disciple below.

Every time we make a stand for life and dignity of every person, when we stand for what is true, right and just, that is when we imitate the tribes of Israel in the first reading coming to David to pledge their loyalty and allegiance to him as their king.

When we submit ourselves to Jesus Christ as our only King to be obeyed and followed, that is when our celebration today becomes a daily reality.

That is when we also earn heaven right on the Cross of our sufferings like Dimas when we “remember” Jesus.

Normally in the whole Bible, it is God who remembers. People always forget. When we sin, we forget consciously and unconsciously God and all the good things he had done to us. We forget others too.

There on the Cross, see the reversals of roles Luke has presented so beautifully, from the devil replaced by the rulers, the soldiers and the other thief; and now Dimas sort of assuming God’s role who remembered everything and everyone, especially Jesus our Savior. Dimas remembered what St. Paul expressed to the Colossians that Jesus is Lord in whom, with whom and through whom everything was created and renewed because he is the Christ!

From Google.

The word “remember” literally means to make member or part again, that is, “re” + “member”.

When we remember somebody, we make that person present with us again.

In asking Jesus to remember him when he comes into his kingdom, Dimas was assured that right now as he remembered everything including his sins, he already becomes a member, a part of his kingdom.

May we not forget and always remember Jesus and others always to experience Paradise even when we are on the cross. Amen. Have a blessed week ahead!

Tasting Jesus Christ

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday, Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilicas of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, 18 November 2022
Revelation 10:8-11   ><000'> + ><000'> + ><000'>   Luke 19:45-48
Lord Jesus Christ,
as we celebrate today the
memorial of the Dedication of the
last two Basilicas in Rome -
St. Peter's in Vatican and 
St. Paul's Outside the Walls -
you give us a "taste" 
of what is to be your Church,
your Body,
and your accompanying mission.

I took the small scroll from the angel’s hand and swallowed it. In my mouth it was like sweet honey, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. Then someone said to me, “You must prophecy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.”

Revelation 10:10-11
Thank you, Lord Jesus Christ,
for the sweet taste, 
for the sensation of being a Christian,
of listening to your words,
of being a Catholic,
of serving you,
of worshipping you,
of being loved by you.
Definitely so sweet indeed
to experience you in the Church!
But everything becomes sour
and bitter when we internalize
your words,
your call,
your mission
for that is when reality happens,
when we realize being your disciple
is a way of life in you,
a way of the Cross,
of giving one's self
to others like
the two pillars of your Church,
St. Peter and St. Paul.
Sometimes, Lord Jesus,
give us a taste of your anger
like when you cleansed the temple; 
let us taste your strong words
when we make the church a den of thieves
literally speaking;
let us have a taste of your discipline
when we dirty your Body,
when we hurt your Body,
and worst, 
when we mutilate your Body,
the Church with our lives so far from
your calling and mission
especially us your apostles.
Let us learn to love and accept
being Christian is savoring both
the sweet and sour tastes of
proclaiming your gospel 
both in words and in deeds.
Amen.

*Photos from en.wikipedia.org.

Praying for those in tears

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Thursday, Memorial of  St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious, 17 November 2022
Revelations 5:1-10   ><))))*> + ><))))*> + ><))))*>   Luke 19:41-44
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
Lord Jesus Christ,
today I pray for those who cry,
for those who weep,
especially those who
are shedding tears
in silence.
You yourself wept over
Jerusalem when you saw it
for its hardness of her heart,
in rejecting you, O Lord,
as the Christ, our Savior:
"As Jesus drew near,
he saw the city and wept over it,
saying, 'If this day you only knew
what makes for peace ---
but now it is hidden from
your eyes'" (Luke 19:41-42).
Thank you, dear Jesus,
in making our tears blessed
that cleanse us inside,
washes away our guilt
and other dirt,
pains and sins
and everything not nice 
from the past
to fill us with your joy
and life!
But most of all, Jesus,
thank you for suffering,
dying, and rising for us
that every time we cry and weep,
when there are tears rolling
down our cheeks,
we feel assured of your 
loving presence
in times of grief and sadness,
failures and disappointments,
sickness and death
because in your pasch,
you have triumphed not only
over sin and evil here on earth
but also assured us of entrance 
into heaven as seen by John:

I shed many tears because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to examine it. One of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. The lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has triumphed, enabling him to open the scroll with its seven seals.”

Revelation 5:4-5
Praise and glory to you,
dear Jesus, the lion of the tribe of Judah,
the root of David,
the Lamb who was slain and
found worthy to save us
and lead us back to the Father,
now and forevermore.
Amen.

God wants us all to win in life; do not be the biggest loser

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday in the Thirty-Third Week of Ordinary Time, Year II, 16 November 2022
Revelation 4:1-11   ><))))*> + ><))))*> + ><))))*>   Luke 19:11-28
Photo by author in Dau, Mabalacat, Pampanga, 24 October 2022.
Your words today, Lord Jesus Christ,  
are difficult to comprehend and imagine 
but John's descriptions of his vision of heaven
make us appreciate and realize
God's great love for us
and his desire for us to be
with him in eternity
enjoying this great mystery of his divinity.

After this I had a vision of an open door to heaven, and I heard the trumpetlike voice that had spoken to me before, saying, “Come up here and I will show you what must happen afterwards.” At once I was caught up in spirit. A throne was there in heaven…

Revelation 4:1-2
St. Paul had told us too 
"that the suffering of this present time are
as nothing compared with the glory to be
revealed for us" (Rom.8:18) as you have
shown John in this vision;
teach us to be more firm in our
faith in you, 
fervent in our hope in you,
and unceasing in our love for you
through others so that when the time comes,
we may also see and experience
what you have shown John.
Open our eyes and our minds,
especially our hearts and souls
to your reality, 
to your presence, dear Jesus,
that we believe in you
and hold on your promises of
returning unlike those people who 
refused to recognize their king
and became the biggest losers
of all in your parable.
To lose you, O Lord Jesus,
is life's most biggest lost.
Amen.

Inviting Jesus into our lives

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Tuesday in the Thirty-Third Week of Ordinary Time, Year II, 15 November 2022
Revelation 3:1-6, 14-22   ><000'> + ><000'> + ><000'>   Luke 19:1-10
Forgive us, dear Jesus,
when many times in life
we appear to be so good and pious,
religious and devout in our religion
when in fact we lack faith in you
like the people of Sardis:

“I know your works, that you have the reputation of being alive but you are dead. Be watchful and strengthen what is left, which is going to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember then how you accepted and heard; keep it, and repent.”

Revelation 3:1c-3a
Your words are so timely, Lord,
as we ourselves often hear the same words,
of how our Church is dying
because we are already dead in our faith;
we have been so complacent in our faith,
so focused with 
duties and obligations,
rites and rituals,
tasks and schedule
but so empty of YOU.

Come, Lord Jesus!
Maranatha!
Give us the holy longing
and desire of Zacchaeus to meet you,
to exert every effort to be with you
and to be filled with you!
But the most truest of your words today Lord
and most disturbing are your words to the
Church in Laodicea:

“I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”

Revelation 3:15-16
Let us be clear with our stand in you, Jesus;
let us be firm in our faith and in our resolve
to follow you like Zacchaeus who gave
half of his wealth to the poor and repaid four times
those he had extorted money;
let us come to you with sincere hearts
and humility, empty us of our pretensions
and fill us with your presence and truth,
Lord Jesus!
Amen.