Praying not to be deceived

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Monday in the Thirtieth Week of Ordinary Time, Year II, 24 October 2022
Ephesians 4:32-5:8   ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'>   Luke 13:10-17
Photo by author, 2018.
Lord Jesus Christ,
help me to be kind
to one another, 
compassionate and 
forgiving as you have
forgiven us (Eph.4:32);
let me live in love
by being true always
to you in words and
in deeds.
In this world and life
saturated in media whose 
only concerns are profit and
influence, let us not be deceived
with its colorful displays of images,
and most especially of talks and 
languages full of obscenities and
curse, reducing persons into things
who can be dispensed in the name of
"human rights" and then portrayed as cool
and progressive; worst, many of them
claim to be your followers as Catholics. 

Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient. So do not be associated with them. For you were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.

Ephesians 5:6-8
Give me the courage,
Lord, to stand for what
is true and good like you
in healing the crippled woman
who was bent and incapable of
standing erect;  let me choose to
do what is right and pleasing
to you, doing justice to everyone,
following your straight path
of kindness and compassion
for everyone especially the weak
and powerless.
Amen.

When people malign us

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Tuesday, Week XVIII, Year I in Ordinary Time, 03 August 2021
Numbers 12:1-13   ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'>   Matthew 14:22-36
Photo by Mr. Raffy Tima of GMA7-News, Batanes, September 2018.
Dearest God our Father,
you are just, always demanding 
us to be fair and just like you,
to never malign and bear false
witness against one another
especially those serving you.
We pray, loving Father
for those among us buffeted
with nasty talks, malicious
stories and gossips especially 
fake news that besmirch one's name
just to make them or their masters look good.
Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses
on the pretext of the marriage he had
contracted with Cushite woman.
Now, Moses himself was by far
 the meekest man on the face of the earth.
So at once the Lord said to Moses and 
Aaron and Miriam, "Come out,
you three, to the meeting tent."
Then the Lord came down
in the column of cloud,
and standing at the entrance of the tent,
called Aaron and Miriam.
When both came forward, he said,
"Now listen to the words of the Lord:
Why, then, did you not fear to speak
against my servant Moses?"
So angry was the Lord against them
that when he departed, and the cloud
withdrew from the tent, there was
Miriam, a snow-white leper!
(Numbers 12:1, 3-6, 8-9)
Please, Lord, keep us
 and those being maligned
 to be meek like Moses,
 remaining kind to those
who speak ill about us, especially those
supposed to be closest or dear to us.
Jesus said, "Come."
Peter got out of the boat
and began to walk on the water
toward Jesus.  But when he saw
how strong the wind was
he became frightened; and,
beginning to sink, he cried out,
"Lord, save me!"
(Matthew 14:29-30)
Give us, O God, the courage
and strength to withstand the fierce
winds of criticisms and lies hurled
by our detractors, unlike Peter
let us never doubt the love and mercy
and protection of your Son Jesus we follow.  
Amen.

Christmas: A call to openness and sincerity

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe for the Soul
Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, 03 January 2021
Isaiah 60:1-6  >><)))*>  Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6  >><)))*>  Matthew 2:1-12

Christmas is the greatest exchange gift of all when God became human like us so that we in turn can become holy like Him. For some, it is something so unthinkable even impossible but history proves Jesus Christ did come while our faith continues to affirm this reality daily when we continue to tell and relive the story of Christmas through every new year.

And this we can only do if we become open and sincere to God who revealed Himself to us in His Son Jesus Christ. No need to hide things from Him. He knows everything but He does not force us to come to Him. He merely invites us. Just like the three wise men from the East or Magi who came to pay homage to Him in Bethlehem.

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”

Matthew 2:1-2

The meaning of magi and star.

After the Nativity of the Lord and the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God we celebrate this Sunday the third major feast of the Christmas Season called the Epiphany from the Greek term that means manifestation or appearance of Jesus to pagan wise men symbolizing the peoples of the world.

So much attention has always been given on the magi and the star that we sometimes forget that the stories in the Bible are not pure accounts in history that are factual to satisfy our curiosities; it is not that they did not happen at all but the most important thing is the meaning they impart to those reading the Sacred Scriptures.

As we have noted during our Simbang Gabi, Matthew has the most unique in beginning his gospel account with “the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Mt.1:1) to show right away to his readers that Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise of God in the Old Testament. Recall how behind every name in the genealogy of Jesus is a story and history full of meaning and significance.

Matthew continues this in his story of the epiphany to show us again that Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promises since Abraham by using the story of Moses as his framework.

See how the story of Jesus resembled that of Moses, the greatest figure of the Old Testament: the flight to Egypt, the threat of murdering all infants in the time of the Pharaoh and then of King Herod, and the saving act of God in the exodus which is fulfilled in Jesus Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection.

See my dear Reader that in the story of the epiphany of Jesus is also found glimpses of His crucifixion and death: at His birth, the magi were the first to recognize Jesus as the new King of the Jews while at His death, there hung above Him the sign “Jesus of Nazareth, king of the Jews” with a Roman centurion, another pagan like the magi who would declare to himself, “Truly, this was the Son of God” (Mt.27:54).

Here we find Matthew’s infancy narratives of Jesus are not only appealing to our sentiments and emotion but on a deeper level, these stories reflect how we Christians have always believed based in our experiences and faith that indeed Jesus is the Emmanuel of God, His presence among us who truly walked this planet and continues to guide us in the power of the Holy Spirit after His Ascencion into heaven, making Him truly a star above us guiding us in this life’s journey.

Unfortunately, for some people, it is something unthinkable and even impossible, choosing to live in their own follies and blindness like King Herod and yes, some Christians who claim to believe and know God.

When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet… Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.”

Matthew 2:3-5, 7-8

Jesus calling us to our "epiphany".

I like that part when Matthew tells us how “Herod called the magi secretly” to inquire further to them about their knowledge about Jesus and the star. How ironic and tragic that they in Jerusalem were the ones who did not even notice the unusual star above them and worst of all, with the information and knowledge they have, not to have known the birth of Jesus Christ!

How sad that so many times, we keep on looking so far without even noticing those nearest to us!

Most of all, of our blindness and refusal to accept what is obvious, what is so clear like the love and mercy Jesus pours on upon us despite our sinfulness.

See at how some government officials are making a mockery of our laws and of their very selves, trying to cover up their wrongdoings, trying to defend their mistakes and sins not knowing the more they sink in their follies with all their lies and secrecies.

Keeping secrets can sometimes be needed for a good reason; but most often, to act in secret is often indicative of something sinister like in our story today, of Herod calling the magi secretly to snoop around and eventually launch his evil plot.

What a shame that Jesus, Mary and Joseph were never in hiding yet here were people secretly plotting something against them — just like inn our own lives, in ur own time when we try to deceive even those dearest to us, hiding in our so many secrets and lies that eventually come out in the open.

How sad that while Jesus keeps on revealing Himself to us but we still hide many secrets from Him as if he would not know!

This Epiphany Sunday while Jesus appears to us in His words and in the Eucharist, He invites us to open up to Him, to be sincere and have our own epiphany too. May this prayer help you in discarding your many secrets that are after all, very known to Jesus who merely waits for us to come to Him in our openness and sincerity.

Lord Jesus Christ,
in so many instances this past year 2020
You have continued to reveal Your presence among us,
in my own life, in keeping me safe from so many harm,
in healing my sickness, in providing for my needs,
in obviously being my Lord and my God;
You know everything in me, my many secrets
that I continue to hide from You.
Forgive me Jesus in hiding from you 
even if I know you know better than I am.
I have no gold, frankincense nor myrrh
but this Christmas help me offer to you
my many "secrets" I hide  from you and others
so I may fully experience your love and mercy poured out
since that first Christmas when you first came to us.
AMEN.

A prayer for trolls and liars

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul, Saturday, Easter Week-IV, 09 May 2020

Acts of the Apostles 13:44-52 ><)))*> ><)))*> ><)))*> John 14:7-14

According to Pope Francis, the serpent is the first peddler of “fake news” when it deceived Adam and Eve into eating the forbidden fruit in Paradise. Photo from gettyimages.com.

As we end another week O Lord, we pray this time for those who refuse to follow your path of truth. We pray for all trolls and peddlers of fake news and lies, including those who concoct and spread nasty and malicious talks about us.

The gossipers and slanderers.

We pray for them, Jesus, that they may finally come to their senses to see and accept the realities around them.

We pray that they may stop living in darkness, speaking of lies that have destroyed many good names and have caused so much heartaches to those they have maligned.

How sad, O Lord, that these liars and trolls are using the modern means of communications to spread their fake news and lies and gossips to mislead a nation, destroy families and organizations.

Photo by author, February 2020.

In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we saw how Jews were filled with jealousy against Paul and Barnabas while proclaiming your Gospel at the synagogue of Antioch in Pisidia.

Not contented in engaging your apostles into “violent abuse of contradicting” their teachings, they also “incited the women of prominence and leading men of the city” to persecute Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13:45, 50) because they cannot accept the truth, they cannot accept you, Jesus.

And that continues to happen today when people cannot accept you as Lord and God who truly loves us, forgiving our sins and setting us free to become better persons despite our sins and weaknesses.

Keep us faithful to your words, Lord, and purify our minds and our hearts that we may be one with you in the Father in thoughts, words, and deeds.

Likewise, we pray for everyone that we may always be on guard in examining information and stories we read and hear in order to stop the spread of fake news and lies. Amen.

Prayer for those persecuted

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul

Friday, Memorial of St. Pope John XXIII, 11 October 2019

Joel 1:13-15; 2:1-2 ><}}}*> <*{{{>< Luke 11:15-26

Photo by author, Holy Family Chapel, Sacred Heart Novitiate in Novaliches, 2016.

Dearest Lord Jesus Christ:

Today I thank you for consoling those persecuted when in the gospel episode after you have driven out a demon, some of the crowd said:

“By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons.”

Luke 11:15

Very consoling, Lord, because despite your exercise of divine power, some people still maligned you, accusing you of working with the devil?!

How could we not feel consoled when we have done nothing that can be compared close to your exorcism and yet we are also falsely accused of so many things?

I really wonder, Lord Jesus, what evil had possessed so many among us that they can fabricate so many lies, insist on their myopic views of things and events, and totally disregard the truth without any qualms at all?

From cbcpnews.net

From the ordinary verbal rumours spread by backstabbers daily everywhere to cyberbullying by trolls to spurious whistleblowers and state officials silencing those standing for what is true and just, more and more people are persecuted like you.

It is very disheartening, Lord, and we have no one to turn to except you whom the psalmist describes as the one who “would judge the world with justice”.

“Gird our loins, Lord, as we weep” (Joel 1:13), trying to bear these persecutions in your name. Help us to persevere for we know “the day of the Lord is coming” (Joel 2:1).

Through the intercession of St. John XXIII who helped so many Jews persecuted during World War II and called for world peace (Pacem in Terris) when he became the Pope in 1958, we pray in the most special way for those persecuted in our country especially our Bishops and priests, as well as professionals like doctors and teachers silently serving your flock.

Keep them close to your heart, Jesus, because you told us

“Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.”

Matthew 5:10-11

St. Pope John XXIII, pray for us. Amen.

From Google.

Allowing God to Work In Us

be-a-light
The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe-Prayer
Wednesday, 07 November 2018, Week XXXI, Year II
Philippians 2:12-18//Luke 14:25-33

            Bless me, O Lord, when sometimes I feel tired in trying to follow you.  When I feel tired not really of the cross I have to carry but of living “in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.” (Phil.2:14)

            How can some people follow what is wrong, believe in what is false, rejoice in what is offensive and disrespectful, and still project themselves as better and truthful?  Where have all our values gone like honor and dignity?

            I am not complaining, Lord.  I just feel so sad at how things are going on.

            Give me the grace to keep on following you, to do your work by holding on to your word of life without grumbling or questioning so that I may shine like a light in the world covered with darkness (Phil.2:13-15).  AMEN. Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Parokya ng San Juan Apostol at Ebanghelista, Gov. F. Halili Ave., Bagbaguin, Sta. Maria, Bulacan 3022.

*Images from Google.

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