God in the signs of the times

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday, Week XXXIV, Year II in Ordinary Time, 27 November 2020
Revelations 20:1-4, 11-21:2     >>>  +  <<<     Luke 21:29-33
Photo by author, October 2020.

O God our loving Father, today I echo the song of the psalmist, yearning to be with you, hoping to dwell with you: “My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest in which she puts her young — Your altars, O Lord of hosts, my king and my God!” (Ps.84:3, 4).

As we come closer to the end of the current liturgical calendar, looking forward to Advent and Christmas, make us more sensitive in finding you Lord in the signs you always give us by cleansing our hearts so that there is always a sacred space for you there within us.

May we always abide in you, O Lord, living in your precepts, finding you among us in the many signs you send us so that when your promised “new heaven and new earth” is realized in Jesus Christ, may we find favor in his judgement as we strived to live his gospel.

You have created us, fashioned us in your hands, breathing in us your life-giving spirit, Father; we are yours and meant to dwell in you in all eternity. Amen.

From “cage” of sin to heavenly wedding

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Thursday, Week XXXIV, Year II in Ordinary Time, 26 November 2020
Revelation 18:1-2, 21-23; 19:1-3, 9     >>>  +   <<<     Luke 21:20-28

Praise and glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ for your words today that offer us with clear images about true freedom that leads to fullness of life. So often, many among us are greatly misled by the belief that true freedom is breaking free from sufferings and God and morals, of having absolute freedom to do everything.

That has always been one of the fundamental tenets of pagans of ancient Rome you have banished for being a “cage”, an imprisonment!

“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great. She has become a haunt for demons. She is a cage for every unclean spirit, a cage for every unclean bird, a cage for every unclean and disgusting beast.”

Revelation 18:2, 21

True freedom is choosing what is true and good, trying to bear all pains and sufferings that purify us into better persons, that free us from impurities to enter into your heavenly banquet of eternal life.

Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.”

Revelation 19:9

Life continues to bear down upon us these days, Lord, especially the poor who are left with almost nothing in this life; worst, with nothing else but their dignity as persons, there are times they are being forced to give it up for a price.

Give us the grace of perseverance, to withstand all pressures by holding on to you, clinging to your merciful love that amid all the trials and sufferings going on, we may “stand erect and raise our heads because our redemption is at hand” (Lk.21:28).

Let us not be ashamed of being faithful to you, Jesus, for you alone can lead us to true freedom as a person. Amen.

Photo by Ms. Ria De Vera, Christ the King celebrations in the parish, 22 November 2020.

Walang walang kuwenta

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-18 ng Nobyembre 2020
Larawan kuha ni G. Jim Marpa, 2019.
"Walang kuwenta"
madalas masambit ng matatanda
sa maraming bagay noong araw
panahon pa ni Kopong-Kopong
kung sino man iyon...
"Walang kuwenta"
ay walang suma,
walang halaga,
walang kabuluhan
kaya hindi na binibilang.
Nguni't kung ating 
lahat sa buhay natin
ay mahalaga kaya
mayroong kuwenta ang bawat isa.
walang kuwenta
sa mundong ito
dahil sa kahuli-hulihan
ang lahat ay kukuwentahin
upang tingnan
kung tayo ay sapat o
kulang sa timbang
batay sa ipinagkatiwala
ng Diyos na biyaya sa atin.
Hindi mahalaga kung
marami o kakaunti
 binigay Niya sa atin
dahil iisa pa rin
ang pagsusuma
 na Kanyang gagawin:
naging tapat ba tayo
sa atas Niyang gampanin
palaguin, pagyamanin
kaloob Niyang bigay sa atin?
ang aliping tapat,
pinagyaman, pinalago
kanyang buhay at talento
sa langit kanyang makakapiling
itong Panginoon natin!
Ngunit sa aba
na sinayang ang lahat
sa paghuhukom
siya ay titimbangin
at kung kukulangin
magngangalit mga ngipin
sa walang hanggang apoy
siya susunugin.
biyaya sa atin
ng Panginoong butihin
na siyang puhunan
din natin 
sa buhay pang darating!

Being servants and stewards of Christ

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
First Friday, Week XXII, Year II in Ordinary Time, 04 September 2020
1 Corintians 4:1-5 /// Luke 5:1-11
Photo by author, Lent in our parish 2020.

Dearest Jesus Christ:

Your words today through St. Paul are very edifying but also demanding, even scary and frightening.

But, I would rather have it that way than get them into my head.

Brothers and sisters: Thus should one regard us: as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Now it is of course required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.

1 Corinthians 4:1-2

Yes, it is an honor to be chosen as your servant, Lord, and a steward of the mysteries of God.

It is so pleasant to the ears and so flattering to one’s self to be a steward of the mysteries of God, of his wisdom – of Jesus Christ crucified.

Keep me lowly and humble, Lord. Remind me always that everything is about you and never about me. Keep me faithful to you and your call that whatever others may say about me, let me be concerned solely with your words and with your judgment. At the same time, keep me silent too, never to brag of my mission and most of all, never to judge others for that resides in God alone.

Keep my mind and my heart open to you always, Lord, so I may always be like a fresh wineskin to be poured on with new wine to mature and grow spiritually in you. Amen.

How much do you love?

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe for the Soul

Week XXXIII-C, 17 November 2019

Malaci 3:19-20 ><}}}*> 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12 ><}}}*> Luke 21:5-19

The Wailing Wall of Jerusalem Temple, May 2019.

We are now at the penultimate Sunday of the year as Jesus continues to summarize his teachings today at the Temple area in Jerusalem about his final coming at the end of time.

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.” Then they asked him, “Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?” He answered, “See that you not be deceived… “

Luke 21:5-8

On the surface, Jesus seemed like to be a “kill joy” in making those bold assertions about the coming destruction of the Temple while everybody was admiring it. But notice how the people reacted: instead of being worried, they asked when it would happen and what would be the warning signs before it takes place as if it is just an ordinary thing!

“Wala lang…” as the young would say these days. Nothing, duh…?

View of Jerusalem from the Church of Dominus Flevit where Jesus wept upon seeing the city from the Mount of Olives.

St. Luke tells us that before Jesus entered Jerusalem, “he wept over it” at the thought that it would be destroyed and that its enemies would not “leave one stone upon another” (Lk.19: 41-44).

If there is anyone deeply hurt and saddened with the Temple’s destruction, it is not other than Jesus Christ our Lord. He certainly shared the people’s admiration for the Temple which he had also claimed as “my Father’s house” (Lk.2:49) when he was accidentally left behind there by Mary and Joseph when he was 12 years old.

Imagine what Jesus must have felt when he spoke of the destruction of the Temple which is the heart of Jerusalem, the jewel of the city, and most of all, the sign of God’s presence among his chosen people!

There must be something deeper with his warning words of the Temple’s destruction that pertains not only to his people at that time but also to us today.

Wailing Wall of Jerusalem, may 2019.

For the Jews at that time, the destruction of the Temple is the end of the world, the signal of the apocalypse. More than a catastrophe involving the destruction of buildings and almost everything including life, it is judgment day that must not be taken lightly.

It is a day calling for conversion as the prophet Malachi in the first reading reminds us that every coming of God is a day of judgment and salvation.

Lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire… But for you who fear my name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays.

Malachi 3:19-20

Christ had already come and will come again.

This was his promise and this is what he meant at the cleansing of the temple, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up” (Jn.2:19). At his Passion, Death, and Resurrection, Jesus Christ had replaced the old Temple worship with himself!

This is what we celebrate in every Holy Mass, God’s coming to us in Jesus Christ his Son.

Jesus comes in every here and now, and his every coming is a process of destroying our old temple of self to give rise to a new temple in Christ. Our concern need not be about a future date of his Second Coming or specific signs of its fulfillment.

Every day Jesus comes again and the challenge is for us to live authentically as Christians daily and not be bothered about the future. He warns us not to be deceived by all of these apocalyptic predictions and statements.

The key word is conversion, of living in the present. Jesus tells us so many things that can be very frightening and scary because what he wants us to do in preparation for his Second Coming is to love, love, and love.

And to love is to always suffer in Christ, with Christ.

He answered, “See that you not be deceived, for many will come in in my name… Do not follow them! When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end.” Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky. Before all this happens, however, they will seize and persecute you… You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair of on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”

Luke 21:8-19

Yes, Jesus will definitely come again at the end of time. Like last Sunday, definitely, there is a resurrection of the dead and life everlasting. But both must be seen in the context of the present time, of the here and now.

When Jesus comes again to judge us at the end of time, he won’t be asking us about the things we have been so preoccupied with in this life like how much money we earn, what car do you drive, or how big is your house?

When Jesus comes again, he will be asking us questions we have always refused to answer in our daily lives like how much have you loved, how much have you sacrificed and suffered for a loved one, or how much have you shared to a stranger?

These are the questions we must be asking ourselves as we near towards the end of the year: how close have I followed Jesus Christ in his Passion and Death so I may be with him in his Resurrection?

May we imitate St. Paul in his second letter to the Thessalonians today to faithfully and calmly fulfill our daily tasks in this life, avoiding being idle for each day is the day of the Lord. Amen.

Lent is judgment day

40 Shades of Lent, Monday, Week-V, 08 April 2019
Daniel 13:14-62///John 8:12-20
From Google.

It is the final week of our 40-day preparation for Easter, Lord, yet your readings today remind us of your coming judgment day. And you know how we feel whenever we hear those words, “judgment day”.

Fear always grips us because we always feel we are not ready.

But when do we really get ready to meet you and face your judgment, Lord?

He spoke these words while teaching in the treasury in the temple area. but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.

John 8:20

Unlike you, Lord Jesus, we are not God. We really do not know when that hour would come. But we are sure, O Lord, you will always give us the grace and the courage to face that hour that can be happening now. Right now.

Keep us rooted in you always, doing your holy will so that our works are verified in God.

From Google.

Keep us faithful to your laws, let us practice justice especially among women and the disadvataged. Like the prophet Daniel in the first reading, let us never allow ourselves to be silent where there is injustice going on. Disturb us where people are maligned, rights are disregarded, lives are taken for granted.

O God, let us never allow evil to triumph by doing nothing, saying nothing because today is your judgment day. Amen.

Batanes sunset after a storm. Photo by Mr. Raffy Tima of GMA7 News, October 2018.