If God tries us in “court”

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Monday in the Sixteenth Week of Ordinary Time, 18 July 2022
Micah 6:1-4, 6-8   ><))))*> + ><))))*> + ><))))*>   Matthew 12:38-42
Photo by author, Tagaytay City, February 2022.
Your words today, 
O God, are so reassuring
and most of all, refreshing;
I feel so blessed with you
as our Father, so loving and 
merciful!
I know that if ever
we are charged in court
for our sins against you
as expressed by your prophet
Micah today, we would all
end up guilty as charged;
we have no alibis nor excuses
to make except we have been
stubborn and so proud, and yes,
ungrateful to all your love and
blessings; no amount of any 
sacrifice and offering we can
give you will suffice to remove
our sins but here you are, God
and Father, full of love and tenderness
asking us only one thing:

You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8
Open our eyes,
open our minds,
open our hearts
to your presence,
to your coming 
in our Lord Jesus Christ;
let us not harden our hearts
to see your presence among
us most especially in the little
miracles you shower us daily
like waking up every morning
filled with life and love
in our family and friends.

Here I am, Lord, welcoming
you into my life as you make me
share in your life daily.
Let me not look for any other
signs for to be able to pray
to you in Christ is more than
enough proof of your love
and forgiveness.  Amen.

Meeting Jesus who comes as guest

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Sixteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time, Cycle C, 17 July 2022
Genesis 18:1-10 ><}}}}*> Colossians 1:24-28 ><}}}}*> Luke 10:38-42
An icon of Jesus visiting his friends, the siblings Sts. Lazarus, Mary and Martha. Photo from crossroadsinitiative.com.

Immediately after Jesus our “Good Samaritan” had told this parable on his way to Jerusalem last Sunday, Luke now tells us the Lord making a stop over at the home of two sisters named Martha and Mary.

The two ladies were of contrasting attitudes in receiving Jesus as guest that he took it as an occasion to teach anew on “what we must do to gain eternal life” when Martha complained to him of Mary not doing anything to help her prepare for him.

Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need only of one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

Luke 10:40-42
Photo by author, Baras, Rizal, January 2021.

Focusing on Jesus more when he comes

We are again presented here with a very familiar story only Luke has like the parable of the good Samaritan last Sunday. Almost everyone feels like knowing Martha and Mary so well, that they have covered everything when Jesus dropped by to visit the two sisters.

And that’s the problem when we feel so familiar with a story by Jesus or in an event in his life that we take it lightly and miss the more essential aspects as well as learn new insights being presented to us.

In this story of Jesus visiting the two sisters, Martha is often presented as the “active” type while Mary is the “contemplative” who sat at the Lord’s feet to listen to his words. As a result, many have thought Jesus favored Mary over Martha, that praying is more important than acting.

That is absolutely wrong! Jesus is not saying it is best to be a contemplative than active, nor Mary is better than Martha.

From Facebook during the first wave COVID-19 pandemic in May 2020.

Through Mary and especially Martha, Jesus is reminding us today not to be so preoccupied or “anxious and worried about many things” in life like food and clothings, money and wealth and other material things.

Jesus had always been consistent in teaching everyone not to be so concerned with wealth, power and fame that prevent us from growing in the kingdom of heaven like in the parable of the sower, of how the seeds that fell among thorns “were choked by the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life, and they failed to produce mature fruit” (Lk.8:14).

Most of all, recall that when his pasch was approaching, Jesus became more pronounced in warning us all in having that overwhelming concern and cares for things of the world especially in relation with his second coming, “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth” (Lk.21:34-35).

Such preoccupation with things of the world detracts us from the most essential which is Christ himself and witnessing him in this world so concerned with wealth and power, with fame and ego.

And that is what Martha was missing in having Jesus as guest in their home — she was so busy preparing meals that she had entirely forgotten Jesus himself was in the house! Mary was praised because she chose the most important – Jesus himself who was their guest and the Word he spoke to them! Every time we recognize Christ’s coming in our home and in our very selves, something wonderful always happens. The good news is made known to us like a mission or a plan from God we have long been praying over.

The famous icon of The Trinity visiting Abraham at Mamre by Russian artist Andrei Rublev done in the 15th century. Photo from en.wikipedia.org.

This is the reason we have the beautiful story of Abraham welcoming three guests who turned out to be God himself, the Blessed Trinity coming to his tent at Mamre in our first reading today.

More than the story of Abraham’s hospitality is the announcement of the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham of finally having a child of his own with Sarah:

They asked Abraham, “Where is your wife Sarah?” He replied, “There in the tent.” One of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah will then have a son.”

Genesis 18:9-10

In both the Old and New Testaments, the Bible teems with so many lessons and admonitions from God and his prophets and later from Jesus himself on the need to always welcome and accept strangers especially the poor and the sick for “whatsoever you do the least of these, that you do unto Christ”.

Jesus comes to us daily but are we home to welcome him, to receive him and most of all, listen and act on his words? Or, are we so preoccupied with so many other affairs that we forget his presence, not only among those in need like the priest and Levite last week who just passed by a victim of robbery left half-dead in a street?

The grace of this Sunday lies in the very fact that many times, it is Jesus himself who comes to us right in our homes, in our family members and loved ones, in the ordinary people we take for granted but we are like Martha “so anxious and worried about many things” that we miss the good news he brings to us often. That is why we only get tired with all our efforts, not bearing fruits because we miss the most important of all, Jesus himself!

Let us imitate Paul in the second reading trying to see Jesus in everyone by deepening his reflection last week of Christ as the image of the invisible God and now “Christ in you, the hope for glory” (Col.1:27).

It is our task and mission like Paul to reveal in our lives of loving service to others God’s plan that Jesus came to dwell in us his believers and followers so we may participate in his glory. But how can we participate in God’s glory when we fail to meet Jesus coming daily to our lives because we are like Martha?

Photo by author, Tagaytay, February 2022.

The simplest way to receive Jesus our guest is to seriously participate in our Sunday Eucharist which we tend to take for granted. In the Eucharist, we gather as the Body of Christ with Jesus as our head, the Church.

Notice that in Rublev’s icon of the Trinity at Mamre, the three men are actually gathered in a meal, the Eucharist. When you try to view the icon, you become the fourth person in the painting sharing the meal with the three angels.

That is the mystery of Christ’s coming to our homes daily, in our loved ones and right in our hearts too to share us himself and tell us the good news daily. The Eucharist is in fact our rehearsal in entering heaven in the future, that is why this Sunday, cast away all your anxieties and simply focus in the Lord and you will never get lost! Have a blessed week ahead! Amen.

Putting on love

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday, Memorial of St. Bonaventure, Bishop & Doctor of the Church, 15 July 2022
Isaiah 38:1-6, 21-22, 7-8   ><]]]'> + ><]]]'> + ><]]]'>   Matthew 12:1-8
Photo by author, 2020.
Praise and glory to you,
our loving God and Father
for another week that had passed,
we are halfway through July,
and most of all,
thank you for all the wonderful
gifts and blessings you
have given us without us even asking
you these.
Truly, that is how much you love us
which we fail to recognize, of how you
lavish us with blessings we never asked
for but so necessary, so important.
Teach us to be like you, God:  to be more
loving than precise in keeping tabs
with our obligations;
Teach us to be like King Hezekiah in
the first reading:  he never asked to be
healed of his sickness nor be given
another chance to live when told he
would die; he simply reminded you of how good
and kind he had been all his life, of "how faithfully
and wholeheartedly" he conducted himself in
serving you that you.

Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: “Go, tell Hezekiah: Thus says the Lord, the God of your Father David: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you; in three days you shall go up to the Lord’s temple; I will add fifteen years to your life.”

Isaiah 38:4-5
Forgive us, Father, 
when we get to focused with
the letters of your laws like 
the Pharisees that we forget its
aim which is for us to love you
more through the people we meet,
the people who come to us asking
for help.
May we love more than
obey your laws;
May we put more love
in our obedience to you
and your laws, Father;
Like St. Bonaventure, may
we seek answers to our many
questions in God's grace,
not in doctrine; in the longing
of the will, not in the understanding;
in the sighs of prayer, not in research;
and look not to the light but rather 
to the raging fire that carries the soul
to God with intense fervor and
glowing love.
Amen.

Light but not easy

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Thursday in the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time, 14 July 2022
Isaiah 26:7-9, 11, 16-19   ><}}}*> + ><}}}*> + ><}}}*>   Matthew 11:28-30
From argusleader.com
God our loving Father,
thank you for sending us 
your Son Jesus Christ to clarify
to us what is really to be "light" 
in this age when we always want
to have our cake and eat it too!
When we are so obsessed in being "light",
with everything that is "light" especially
food and drinks that would give us
the satisfaction minus the guilt
feelings of calories and sugar, fats and carbs.
For the world, being "light" means
being easy but Jesus tells us it is 
not true at all.

Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

Matthew 11:28-30
Help us realize,
please enlighten our minds
and hearts that being "light"
still means carrying our 
cross but this time with you;
being "light" does not mean 
doing everything and anything
lightly without any sense of 
responsibilities like what the light
food and drinks try to portray 
that resulted to nothing as 
Israel had experienced when they
turned away from you, Lord.

As a woman about to give birth writhes and cries out in her pains, so were we in your presence, O Lord. We conceived and writhed in pain, giving birth to wind; salvation we have not achieved for the earth, the inhabitants of the world cannot bring it forth.

Isaiah 26:17-18
May we continue to learn from you,
Jesus our Lord and Teacher,
how to be a light leading others
to you by seeing you in us
through our love and sacrifices
the world sees as burdens
but in fact very light when done
in your most holy Name.
Amen.

Seeking the face of the Lord

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday, Memorial of St. Maria Goretti, Virgin and Martyr, 06 July 2022
Hosea 10:1-3, 7-8, 12   ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'>   Matthew 10:1-7
Photo by Mr. Jay Javier, January 2020.
Today's responsorial psalm 
perfectly says our prayer, O God,
which is to "Seek the face 
of the Lord".
But, what is your face,
O Lord that we must seek?
Do you have a face like ours,
now covered with masks due to
pandemic?  The author of Genesis
claims you created us, O God,
in your image and likeness but
how can that be if you are spirit? 
Indeed, the beloved disciple of
Jesus was right:  "nobody has ever
seen God.  Yet, if we love one another,
God remains in us, and his love is 
brought to perfection in us" (1John 4:12). 

To seek your face, O Lord, is to be one
in you, one with you.
To seek your face, O Lord, is to be
intimate with you.
To seek your face, O Lord, is to be 
like you, holy and loving.
To seek your face, O Lord, is to be
pure and chaste in thoughts and
in deeds like St. Mary Goretti who
chose death than sin.
Forgive us, merciful Father,
in choosing to love wealth and power,
in becoming to look like money -
so "mukhang pera" as we would say
in Filipino for our hearts have become
false as we turned away from you in sin.
Thank you that despite our sins,
you continue to call us in Jesus Christ
to be his apostles, being sent out to
seek those who are lost; help us to always
seek your face, Lord, for in every ministry,
it is your face of mercy and love that we
must share with everyone.  Amen.

Five things to keep in your pocket as you move on to Senior High

Homily by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Baccalaureate Mass, 04 July 2022
Grade Six and Grade Ten, Our Lady of Fatima University in Valenzuela City,
Fairview, Quezon City and San Fernando, Pampanga
Photo by olia danilevich on Pexels.com

Congratulations, our dear graduates in Grade Six and also to our “completers” of Grade Ten! As you “move up” to Junior and Senior High School, please consider these five things I strongly recommend you must always have in your pocket or purse as you pursue your dreams in life.

These are the fruits of my own journey from elementary school to college and professional life and later, as a priest in the past 24 years. I have shared these with my former students in Malolos and later when some of them got married and asked me to officiate their wedding, I have used this again as my homily.


First thing you must always have is a handkerchief.

Photo by Zaid Ali on Pexels.com

If you are a man, make it white. And better, make it two – one for wiping your face and the other for sneezing. Or, who knows, someone might need a handkerchief in an emergency; it is good to always have an extra one like in my experience here at the National Shrine last week when I officiated a wedding.

Forgive me, my dear students and parents and faculty members: I was aghast – shocked and so kadiri to see the groom crying and sniffing as he pressed his nose and rubbed his eyes with his fingers when he saw his bride walking down the aisle because he did not have a handkerchief! I hope the video editor had edited that part of his wedding. It was good that his best man had some paper napkins and gave it to him.

It was exactly what my father used to tell me in elementary school to always have a handkerchief to wipe dirt off my face, adding that “baka mamya mabahing ka at sumambulat mga sipon mo tapos ni wala kang panyo, nakakahiya ka.”

Very true! It is part of good hygiene. And remember that saying we learned in Grade One, “Cleanliness is next to godliness”. And that is the deeper meaning of having handkerchief always: for us to stay clean. Be faithful to God who gave us his Son Jesus Christ to wipe away and cleanse us of our sins. That is the message of the prophet Hosea in our first reading today: be faithful to God. Remain clean before the Lord.


Second thing you must have in your pocket or purse for ladies is money. Never leave home without some money, at least a hundred pesos in case of an emergency.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

My mother used to tell me whenever I would go out with my classmates on weekends to watch a movie or visit friends to always have some extra money, saying “baka makatisod ka ng isang tumpok na kamatis wala kang ibayad sa tindera”.

I’m sure you do not understand what I am speaking of: before the coming of supermarkets, during our time, vendors would sell their goods on sidewalks like tomatoes and calamansi that are always grouped together (that is, tumpok). There were no weighing scale then. If you are careless in walking, you might step on the tomatoes and surely, you will be charged to pay for it.

You are so lucky these days, children. During our time, we only have either baon like sandwich that was actually a pan de sal with Cheez Wiz or money; today, you both have baon and money!

And I won’t be surprised at all that some of you might have G-Cash too! My point is, have some money for emergencies. Learn to budget. Never spend beyond your means. And, be generous to those in need. Remember, money is important in life but not the most essential; learn how to manage your wealth at a young age.


Photo by Plush Design Studio on Pexels.com

Third, always have a pen or a ballpen. I was a reporter before but after I have resigned and went to the seminary to become a priest, I have realized the importance of having a pen like when you witness a hit and run accident: you can always write down on your palm the plate number of the vehicle in the accident.

In this time of the pandemic, it is very important to have your own pen than borrow or use those pens laden with virus and bacteria in filling up forms to enter an establishment.

It is sad that in this age of computers that had gone paperless, your generation is missing a great deal about life itself in the art of writing. Look at the penmanships of your elders, how legible their writings are unlike us today who are more used to pounding keys than “romancing” the paper with pen.

My lesson for you my dear students is that like the pen, always leave a mark. And the mark you must always leave is the mark of Jesus Christ. The marks of kindness and respect, of love and generosity. What marks are you leaving behind at our Basic Education Department?


Photo by Mk7 Bober on Pexels.com

Fourth, always have a comb. I am sure the ladies among you always have brush or even a blower or hair dryer in your bag! A comb is our best weapon for looking good even on “bad hair days” so to speak.

But please, do not comb your hair in public. Go to the washroom to fix your hair. It is not vanity. It is good grooming, having proper decorum before other people. You might say what is essential is invisible to the eye, of what is inside us; yes, that is true. But keep in mind that what others see in us outside, in our appearance is an indication of what is inside us. If you look good, most likely, you must be a good person because you give importance to others you meet by looking good!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Last but not least you must have in your pocket or purse is a Rosary. It is not an anting-anting meant to keep you safe from all harm. It is to remind you to always pray, to never forget God and our Lady of Fatima, our Patroness.

I know some of you are not Catholics but my message is simple: never forget God. Handle life with prayer. As you advance in your studies, there will be more trials and hardships coming your way. But Jesus is with you, will help you in everything. So, hold on to him. Imitate Mary his Mother, our Lady of Fatima in being a faithful disciple of Jesus by remaining at his side at the Cross. Always begin and end the day with prayer.

In our gospel today, Jesus brought back to life a dead young girl who was about 12 years old, the daughter of a synagogue official. Just like some of you today.

See how Jesus held her hand and raised her up. Notice also how Jesus turned his face toward that old woman who touched his garment along the way to be healed of her sickness? That is how Jesus Christ would always want to relate with us, with you especially, young people: always touching us, calling us by our name, speaking to us. But, do we listen to him?

Since I came here last year, I have been telling our students to study hard, work harder and pray hardest. To you, I say the same. And add these five things you must have in your pocket or purse. Hope to see you again in August as you rise to the top! God bless you all!

Photo by Mr. Chester Ocampo, springtime in Japan 2017.

God our first love

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Monday in Week XIV of Ordinary Time, 04 July 2022
Hosea 2:16, 17-18, 21-22   ><]]]]'> + <'[[[[><   Matthew 9:18-26
Photo by author, oasis at the Dead Sea area, May 2017.
Indeed, O God our Father,
you are "gracious and merciful"
as the psalmist declares today
for you have never stopped from
loving us and restoring us to 
health and to life despite our
repeated sins against you.
As you have told your prophet Hosea
today in the first reading, "allure" us
and "lead us into the desert and speak 
to our hearts" (Hosea 2:16) like a lover;
let us realize and rediscover anew you
are our first love of all for you were the
one who first loved us and still love us.
Lead us back into the desert
to realize you are our only hope,
the only one we can rely on and
trust wholly for you are life yourself;
like that sick woman in the crowd,
turn to us anew in Jesus for we do not
have the courage to face you;
heal us of our afflictions that separate
us from you and from everyone;
raise us up in Jesus like that dead
daughter of the synagogue official
to rise to new level of relationships
and new level of existence and relating
with you, O God, and with everyone.
Amen.

	

“Ashes to Ashes” by Dennis Lambert (1972)

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Music by Fr. Nick F. Lalog II
Photo by author, Mt. Nebo, Jordan overlooking Israel, 2019.

Blessed Sunday, everyone! It was a very tiring but fulfilling week that after our Saturday evening Mass, I just thought of listening to Mr. Dennis Lambert’s music “Ashes to Ashes” released in 1972.

I have always loved the voice and music of Mr. Lambert, especially his love song “Of All the Things”; but, as I listened to “Ashes to Ashes” last night, I realized the song is perfect match with our gospel this Sunday where Jesus reminded his disciples and us to “do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven” (Lk.10:20).

Discipleship – and life in general is about relationships. It is never about the things we can do or have achieved because everything and everyone is passing. Nothing is permanent in this world except love who is God himself (https://lordmychef.com/2022/07/02/maintain-safe-braking-distance/).

When we speak of heaven, we speak of intimacy with God; its opposite, hell, is separation from God. That is why Jesus tells us to rejoice our names are written in heaven, that we are one with the Father in him now. It does not really matter to him whatever we can do or whatever we have achieved but what matters most is what we have become: have we been more loving and faithful? Kind and understanding?

That is what Mr. Lambert is telling us in his “Ashes to Ashes” which is of biblical origin: “We’re only living to leave the way we came”.

They’re tearing down the street
Where I grew up
Like pouring brandy
In a Dixie cup
They’re paving concrete
On a part of me
No crime for killing off
A memory
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust
Can you find the Milky Way
Long Tall Sally and Tin Pan Alley
Have seen their dying day
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust
It’ll never be the same
But we’re all forgiven
We’re only living
To leave the way we came

But of course, it is not the end of everything.

Our Christian faith tells us we have direction in this life wherein death is not the end but the beginning of eternal life which is still, about perfect relationships with God and one another.

Have a blessed Sunday everyone – eat, pray and unwind with your loved ones.

*We have no intentions of infringing into the copyrights of this music and its uploader except to share its beauty and listening pleasure.

“Maintain safe braking distance”

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C, 03 July 2022
Isaiah 66:10-14 ><}}}*> Galatians 6:14-18 ><}}}*> Luke 10:1-12, 17-20
Photo by d0n mil0 on Pexels.com

One of the most repeated messages you see upon entering North Luzon Expressway in its electronic billboards is the call to “maintain safe braking distance” that, unfortunately, many do not observe, causing accidents daily that result into monstrous jams at the super highway.

That warning to “maintain safe braking distance” is what Jesus Christ is also telling us today in the gospel after the 72 disciples he had sent returned to him, rejoicing at their successes that even demons were subject to them because of the Lord’s name.

Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky. Behold, I have given you the power to ‘tread upon serpents and scorpions and upon the full force of the nemey and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

Luke 10:18-20
From Facebook, April 2021: “There is an urgency to announce the Joy, the joy of the Risen Lord!”

Resolutely determined in the name of Jesus

We have seen last Sunday how Jesus was “resolutely determined” to go to Jerusalem, asking us with the same resolve in following him, imitating him, and doing his work for the people; but, being resolutely determined like him is not about powers but union with the Father.

The “harvest is always abundant” – there are so many things to be done but the most important thing of all is our oneness with God in Jesus Christ. What matters most in discipleship is not the accomplishments we have but relationships we keep with God and one another. St. Mother Teresa said it so well, “We are called to be faithful, not successful.”

That is why Jesus asked us to pray for more laborers, not budget nor gadgets nor things but persons to work in the abundant harvest that refers to the kingdom of God; hence, the Lord’s reminder to “do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” To have our names written in heaven is to be one with God because heaven is about relationship with God, an intimacy with God. Hell is separation from God.

Hence, a disciple can only share and give peace to others when the disciple himself/herself is in good relationships with one’s self, with others and with God.


Photo by Fr. Pop dela Cruz in San Miguel, Bulacan, 15 June 2022.

Peace happens when there is the gift of presence with self, others, and God, implying a loving relationship. This is the very essence of the second reading from Paul’s letter to the Galatians wherein the apostle explained the meaning of being justified in Christ through his Cross: we are saved, our names are written in heaven not by our own doing but by the Lord’s self-giving. Our task is to nurture and deepen these relationships effected by Jesus in his coming to us, in making us one again in the Father. It is very interesting how Paul ended his letter to the Galatians by using his standard greeting in letters:

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your sprit, brothers and sisters. Amen.

Galatians 6:18

Experts say that Paul could have employed a secretary in writing this letter who altered his style by placing his usual salutations to the ending. On the other hand, other experts believe there is a hidden meaning in the construction of the conclusion, that if we let the grace of Jesus in our relationships, the more we regard each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.

When Jesus decided to resolutely determined to go to Jerusalem, his focus was not the place but the people, always stopping to interact with everyone by teaching them, healing the sick and blessing the children.

Photo by author, 19 April 2022, Pangasinan.

As we mature in life, we realize and imitate Jesus in this journey by seeing it more as a direction than a destination. We have experienced how our journey and trips have become more fulfilling and enriching from the more fun and adventure we discover in our many stops and detours than going straight to our destinations. Life is more of seeking directions than fixation on a destination to be reached that becomes very rigid and bereft of meaning and sense that can be found only among fellow human beings, not things.

In the first reading, we find a hint of this direction than destination with the prophecy by Isaiah of the coming home of the exiles to Jerusalem. There is always the joy of coming home but, we cannot all go at the same time, the tension of already here but not yet of heaven. There is always the need of keeping and nurturing our relationships and presence, peace and oneness with one another in Jesus Christ amid the abundant harvest of heaven for us all.


Going back to our analogy of the NLEX reminder of maintaining a safe braking distance, entering the super highway assures us of many directions to take in our journey to Jesus, journey with Jesus. But we have to be alert and careful in our driving, be mindful of others using the roads. We need to be alert and careful in driving to avoid causing accidents and mishaps that could misdirect us to the hospital or, worst, six feet below ground!

In the same manner, we are already in the harvest time, in this time of Christ’s presence and oneness with the Father and with everyone of us. This Sunday, Jesus reminds us to maintain safe braking distance in our many pursuits and attention in our abundant harvests that in the process we have forgotten those dearest to us, those we love and who love us truly. Amen.

Have a blessed week ahead!

Photo by Ms. Jo Villafuerte, Atok, Benguet, September 2019.

Won over by Christ

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday, Solemnity of Sts. Peter & Paul, Apostles, 29 June 2022
Acts 12:1-11 ><}}}*> 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 17-18 ><}}}*> Matthew 16:13-19
Photo by Mr. Lorenzo Atienza, Malolos Cathedral, 12 June 2019.
God our loving Father,
as we celebrate today the
Solemnity of the two pillars
of the Church, St. Peter and St. Paul
who are poles apart in their 
temperament and in their social,
cultural, and religious backgrounds,
help us imitate them in being open
to your grace always, in being open
to your plans so we may set aside
our own agendas in order to be won
over by your Son Jesus Christ. 
Nothing is impossible with you,
dear Father:  
Peter denied Jesus
during the passion while 
Paul persecuted Jesus in
the persons of his disciples;
Peter was impetuous and 
presumptuous but sometimes
hesitant yet solidly loyal to
Christ while Paul was proud 
of his Roman citizenship and of
his being a Pharisee, demanding
his title as Apostle but likewise,
admits his fragility as a "pot of
clay", most unworthy vessel of Christ; 
Peter was attached to his Jewish
roots and convictions but did not resist 
the Holy Spirit in leading him where 
he did not want to go while Paul was 
resolute in being led by the Spirit in
proclaiming Jesus to the gentiles
while deep inside was torn within 
by the resistance and
rejection of his fellow Jews.
Merciful Father,
let your Son Jesus Christ
win over us like what he did
to St. Peter and St. Paul
who both gave their lives as 
a living worship to you,
witnessing your love and mercy,
kindness and majesty;
give us the grace to know Jesus
and love Jesus first so we may
follow him to his Cross 
for your greater glory.
Amen.
Photo by Mr. Lorenzo Atienza, Malolos Cathedral, 12 June 2019.