The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul
Tuesday, Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, 02 February 2021
Malachi 3:1-4 >><)))*> Hebrews 2:14-18 >><)))*> Luke 2:22-40
Dearest God our Father:
It has been 40 days since Christmas when you sent us your Son our Lord Jesus Christ! Thank you very much for this wonderful gift but, have we had him? Have we truly met him?
Fill us with your Holy Spirit like Simeon, dear God: make us devout like him who finally “met” Jesus Christ on his presentation at the temple by Joseph and Mary.
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God…
Only St. Luke used the word “devout” in the scriptures. First in describing Simeon, and thrice at the Book of the Acts of the Apostles to describe the Jews who attended the pentecost at Jerusalem (2:5); “the devout men who buried” our first martyr Stephen (8:2), and called Ananias a “devout observer of the law” when you told him to pray over and heal Saul who got blinded on the way to Damascus (22:12).
Teach us to be devout like Simeon, give us a “good heart, ready to believe, and then to act openly and with courage” (Timothy Clayton, Exploring Advent with Luke; page 125).
More than being faithful to you, a devout person O Lord is one who does not only wait patiently for your coming but most of all, looks forward to its fulfillment by making it happen. Exactly what Simeon and Anna did on that day when Mary and Joseph presented Jesus at the temple.
So many times in our lives, Jesus comes, enlightening our minds and our hearts but we are so busy with so many other things that do not truly fulfill us, that in the end, would be more of an excess baggage on our way to you and others. And eventually, making death difficult and devastating instead of becoming a blessing like with Simeon and Anna.
Let us spend more time meeting Jesus in prayers to be more attuned with his coming so that we may be ready to follow his promptings and leads.
May we also learn to respect and care for others in order to meet Jesus like Simeon who recognized his parents for their roles in bringing the child into this world; likewise, the attitudes of Mary and Joseph in giving Simeon and Anna the child Jesus. What a beautiful scene of loving and caring for one another, especially of respect for the elderly! So many times we forget that truth, that we meet Jesus coming in others.
Lastly, fill us with joy no matter how difficult life may be has for us; we can never meet your Son Jesus if all we have are bitterness and resentments. Like Simeon and Anna, they were overflowing with joy, so excited to meet Christ and upon encountering him that day, they embraced him in their arms, expressing their readiness to die and rest in peace.
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, an d glory for your people Israel.”
Dearest Father in heaven, make us devout like Simeon and Anna with hearts overflowing with joy, striving to realize its fullness only in Jesus Christ, in this life and hereafter. Amen.
The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul, 28 January 2021
Thursday, Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church
Hebrews 10:19-25 >><)))*> +++ <*(((><< Mark 4:21-25
Our loving God and Father in heaven, thank you very much in sending us your Son Jesus Christ as our Eternal Priest who has enabled us all to approach you “with a sincere heart and in absolute trust, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water” (Heb. 10:22).
In becoming our Eternal Priest with his great sacrifice on the Cross made present day in, day out in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, you have filled us with more of your love, O Father to become also your gift, your light, your blessing to others through Jesus Christ.
Like your “Angelic Doctor”, St. Thomas Aquinas whose feast we celebrate today.
Here is a great saint of your Church who truly listened to Jesus Christ, heeding his admonition,
“Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible; nothing is secret except to come to light. Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.”
Teach us to be truly humble before you, Father by becoming who we really are, a lamp of your Son Jesus Christ like St. Thomas Aquinas.
Let us be a lamp who would not hide but let Christ’s light of love and kindness, mercy and compassion shine on those suffering in pain especially the poor and needy.
Let us be a lamp who would not hide but let Christ’s light of wisdom and knowledge, moral certitude and courage shine on those in darkness and cowardice.
Let us be a lamp like St. Thomas Aquinas making you present O God, the real Truth – Veritas – of this life in Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul
Thursday, Seventh Day in the Christmas Octave, 31 December 2020
1 John 2:18-21 >><)))*> + <*(((><< John 1:1-18
O God our Father, on this last day of 2020, we thank you so much for all the blessings you have given us these past 365 days. Yes, we shall always remember this year as the most difficult and most life-changing we ever had but we are grateful to you.
No matter how much people would ridicule and play jokes on 2020, despite its being so heavy for many of us who have lost loved ones, lost jobs and livelihood, and forced us to change plans and directions in life, we still thank you Lord for letting us make it through.
The problem, Lord, is not the year 2020 which means “perfect vision”; the problem is us who have lost all our vision for moral and upright living, decency, and good governance. We have lost vision, of the ability to see beyond the surface of things we have gone through this year.
How sad when many of us have seen only the year, the days and the months without realizing the deeper meaning of the events that resulted from our poor and wrong decisions, inactions and indifference to the calumnies and lies dished out daily by those in power.
Open our minds and our hearts that the presence of so many antichrists in our midst who lie and speak without thinking so well what they say signal the final hour of Christ’s coming and judgment as well as the final hour for us to do something concrete to end the reign of evil.
Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour.
1 John 2:18
Let us claim, dear Jesus, on this last day of 2020 and into the coming new year the two great gifts you have given us in your coming — light and life (Jn.1:4).
Your light has always been there present among us. Give us the courage to bring out your light, sweet Jesus so there may be more truth, goodness, justice, love, beauty, compassion, kindness, freedom, and peace in this world that have ironically reached great new heights in science and technology but has remained inside the caves of evil and malice.
May we rediscover anew the value of every life, that one life being lost is too many, whether due to the pandemic or the war on drugs.
On this last day of the year, may we do something so good, so kind, so true as if today were also our last day on earth. Amen.
The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul
by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Tuesday, Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas, 29 December 2020
1 John 2:3-11 >><)))*> + <*(((><< Luke 2:22-35
As we leave 2020 and approach the new year, we pray dear Jesus to let us walk and live in your light of love. Your beloved disciple is right in saying that it is not enough that we know you in our minds, in our intellect; that we must keep most of all your commandments.
Whoever says he is in the light, yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother remains in the light, and there is nothing in him to cause a fall. Whoever hates his brother is in darkness; he walks in darkness and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
1 John 2:9-11
How sad, O Lord, that these days everybody is claiming to be speaking of the truth, of having the light, of knowing you and yet all they do is spread lies and animosities among people, instead of bringing together they draw us apart from each other.
And worst, is how many of those in authorities disregard the laws of the land, selecting only to follow whatever suits their personal needs and agenda.
We pray, O Lord, to please end this darkness looming above us. Enlighten the perpetrators and supporters of all these lies and inanities being spread by those in powers.
Purify us with your light and law of love, of loving like you even if we have to suffer and die for what is true, just, and good.
Give us the courage to abide always in you, sweet Jesus, to remain faithful to what is true and just. Amen.
The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Music by Fr. Nick F. Lalog II, 29 November 2020
I have been thinking of a song that speaks of darkness and light that best describes the Season of Advent. As I surfed YoutTube song with words like “night” and “darkness”, I stumbled upon this old classic and everyone’s favorite (those in our generation) with its unmistakable opening:
Hello, darkness my old friend...
Advent is from the Latin adventus that means coming or arrival. It is the start of the new year in our Church calendar made up of four Sundays meant to prepare us spiritually for Christmas.
This year, it is hoped that we take the Advent Season seriously by praying more, reflecting our lives and examining our conscience so we can have a meaningful Christmas this 2020 that will surely be bleak and dark due the pandemic.
And that is why I immediately felt Paul Simon’s The Sound of Silence as the perfect music this first Sunday of Advent when darkness is all around us with the pandemic and other calamities while also deep within each of us is another darkness like an illness or somebody with a serious ailment in the family, a lost job, or even death of a beloved.
In the bible, darkness is the realm of evil like when Jesus was betrayed by Judas on that Thursday evening at Gethsemane; however, with the coming of Jesus, darkness has become also the best time to believe in light! See how Jesus was born on the darkest night of the year, Christmas eve, to bring light to the world; likewise, it was during the darkness of the first day of the week when Jesus also rose from the dead on Easter.
It is in silence where we learn to be patient and vigilant, two virtues becoming so rare in our world that has come to live 24/7 in artificial lights many think to be the real thing.
Patience and vigilance are both fruits of prayer and expressions of our faith when we bear all pains and sufferings wide awake because we believe God is leading us to something good, something better and brighter.
In this song written by Paul Simon and first recorded with Art Garfunkel in 1965, we find silence that represents prayer and reflections helping us find the realities of life amid the many darkness surrounding us or even encroaching within us.
In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
'Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence
And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence
I have always loved these two stanzas, citing them in my teachings and sharing with students and young people to explain to them the value of silence and to befriend the many darkness we have in life. It is a paradox, a part of life’s mystery when we actually find its light and understanding in darkness which is also our starting point in clearing and dealing with all these darkness around and within us.
After the Lord’s supper on Holy Thursday, we find in the gospel how he brought his three apostles with him to Gethsemane to accompany him pray in agony while awaiting his betrayer. Jesus asked the three apostles to watch with him, to pray with him.
This Advent, Jesus is asking us to watch and pray with him so we remain focused in God, not to the neon gods we have made to overcome the many darkness of life.
If darkness is the realm of evil in the bible, silence is the realm of trust: even if life may be dark when we cannot see clearly, we go on in silence because we believe somebody sees better than us, leading us to light and better days.
Enjoy this classic again with family and friends. Have a blessed Sunday!
The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Monday, Week XXX, Year II in Ordinary Time, 26 October 2020
Ephesians 4:32-5:8 >><)))*> || >><)))*> || >><)))*> Luke 13:10-17
How beautiful are your words for us, loving Father, on this last Monday of October 2020!
Despite the rains caused by a typhoon, our first reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians is so heartwarming in reminding us of our new humanity in Jesus Christ your Son, encouraging us to live moral lives by “living in love” (Eph.5:2) as “children of light” (Eph.5:8).
Living in love is living as children of light by first being imitators of you, O God, which is to be holy as you are holy. Remove from our minds that holiness is being sinless; teach us to realize that being holy, being “whole” and perfect is a process of being filled with you, dear God.
Teach us to be open to let you fill us, God, full of life and zest, raring to explore and move forward despite the many pains and setbacks we have had.
Cleanse us of immorality and impurity in our minds and hearts and lips.
Keep us grateful to your many blessings we have received specially those we never asked from you yet you have generously given us.
Most of all, make us truthful and sincere in our love for you through our neighbors; take off our masks of hypocrisy like the leader of the synagogue where Jesus healed on a sabbath a woman crippled by a spirit for 18 years (Lk.13:14).
To live in love as your children of light Lord is also to free others from the many burdens burdens in life they carry so they may start living in you through Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Saturday, Memorial of St. Teresa of Calcutta, 05 September 2020
1 Corinthians 4:6-15 /// Luke 6:1-5
By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus.
St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta (26 August 1910-05 September 1997)
One of the great joys I have come to treasure lately, O Lord, is the grace to have lived in these interesting part of history among some of the great modern saints of our time like St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta whose Memorial we celebrate today.
I practically grew up during her time when she was called a “living saint”, a very small woman in stature clad in her usual white and blue-striped habit, always wearing a smile, radiating with your light, sweet Jesus Christ.
Yet, deep in her fragile-looking body was a rock-solid faith in you, Lord, that enabled her to accomplish so much to alleviate the sufferings of so many people!
She knew so well our time marked with material affluence amid spiritual and moral bankruptcies that she went to serve the “poorest of the poor” not only in India but in the entire world. She was a soul filled with your light, Lord, burning with love for you with the sole desire to be your love and compassion to the poor.
Thank you, dear Jesus for being present with us through saints like St. Mother Teresa.
Like her, I pray that I may remain faithful to you than be successful by becoming your light to the world plunged in darkness of sin.
Like St. Paul before her, use me, Jesus, to heal the world of its wounds and divisions by remaining faithful and true to your words that you are the “Son of Man, the lord of the sabbath.”
Like St. Mother Teresa, may I share you Jesus, only Jesus, and always Jesus. Amen.
The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Music by Fr. Nick F. Lalog II, 05 July 2020
At that time Jesus exclaimed: “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; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
If there is anything we all wish this first Sunday of July 2020, it must be rest from all the worries and burdens in this time of the corona. We all want something that would be lighter in this second half of the heaviest year we have ever had in decades or even a generation.
Being light is having a companion to share with our burdens and woes in life because having these all by ourselves is so difficult and impossible. Most of the time, our problems need not be solved at all but simply be accepted and shared with someone who loves us, cares for us, and believes in us.
Jesus Christ is that only companion par excellence we can have for he is meek and humble of heart.
Van Morrison’s lovely ballad Someone Like You released in 1987 captures this essential desire among us all to seek and forge many relationships.
I've been searching a long time
Someone exactly like you
I've been traveling all around the world
Waiting for you to come through
Someone like you makes it all worth while
Someone like you keeps me satisfied
Someone exactly like you
Though the song has become a staple in many weddings and in many romantic movies covered by various artists, Someone Like You sounds more like a spiritual song longing for God through our loved ones for he is always faithful and loving to us despite our many weaknesses and sins.
I've been doin' some soul searching
To find out where you're at
I've been up and down the highway
In all kinds of foreign lands
Someone like you makes it all worth while
Someone like you keeps me satisfied
May Van Morrison’s song bring you closer to God through your loved ones as we continue to hurdle the many obstacles and trials ahead in this time of COVID-19.
The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul, Wednesday, Easter Week-IV, 06 May 2020
Acts of the Apostles 12:24-13:5 ><)))*> + ><)))*> + ><)))*> John 12:44-50
Our lamentations continue, O Lord, as our nation is plunged into deeper and disturbing darkness. How can all kinds of darkness fall upon us in this administration? First, they found death as solution to many problems. And then came all their lies and fake news.
Not to mention their diplomatic ties with a godless government that has been dishonest from the very beginning regarding this pandemic.
They themselves have chosen to be in darkness at the very start of the COVID-19 pandemic who would rather pass blame and wash hands for every confusion in implementing the quarantine.
And, now comes their most serious attack to light, in shutting down a beacon of light of news and information.
The more we cry out to you, O dear Jesus, please come to us now. Quickly. And save us!
Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me. I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.”
We pray for those in government, in this administration who’s leader had blasphemed your Most Holy Name not only once or twice for the grace of enlightenment and decency from the Holy Spirit.
We pray like your early church for the Holy Spirit to set aside just one or two good souls in this government – if there are still any – to be sent to bring enlightenment to this administration who thrives on lies and malice along with their minions and supporters.
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.
Hear our cries and our pleas, O Lord of justice.
Show us your path of holiness amid this time of darkness and evil. Amen.
The Lord Is My Chef Recipe for the Soul, Sunday Week V-A, 09 February 2020
Isaiah 58:7-10 ><)))*> 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 ><)))*> Matthew 5:13-16
For most of us, 2020 is a very tough year with all the dark clouds that have come to hover above us in January remain in this month of February.
Threats from the corona virus are growing especially in our country. And while the alert level at Taal Volcano had gone down, dangers of its major eruption remain while volcanologists observed last week a “crater glow” on Mayon Volcano, indicating a possible rising of magma in the world’s most perfect cone.
Elsewhere, more bad news are happening like the sudden deaths this week of healing priest Fr. Fernando Suarez and of our very own and beloved Fr. Danny Bermudo, just 24 hours apart due to heart attacks.
In our own circles of family and relatives, friends and colleagues are also dark clouds covering us while we go through our many trials and tests in life that seem to eclipse this early the many gains we have achieved in the whole of 2019.
Indeed, year 2020 shows us in “perfect vision” the sad realities of dark spots in life that behoove us more to heed Christ’s call to be the light of the world.
Jesus said to his disciples: “You are the light of the world. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Heavenly Father.”
Matthew 5:14, 16
Jesus is the light of the world, not us
Our gospel this Sunday follows immediately the inaugural preaching of Jesus called “the Sermon on the Mount” with the Beatitudes at its centerpiece. We have skipped that part of the gospel last Sunday due to the celebration of the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.
For us to better appreciate this Sunday’s gospel, let us keep in mind that for Matthew, the Sermon on the Mount is the great discourse of Jesus Christ that depicts his image not only as the new Moses but as the Law himself, being both our Teacher and Savior as well.
Jesus shows us a picture of his person in the Beatitudes as someone we must imitate in being “poor in spirit, meek, and merciful” so we can follow his path to the Father. After all, as the Son of God, Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn. 14:6).
Hence, after enumerating the nine Beatitudes, Jesus followed up his Sermon on Mount with a call for us to be the salt and the light of the world: as salt, we merely bring out the Christ or the taste in every person and as light, it is the light of Christ that we share.
Focus remains in being like Jesus, not in replacing him who is our Savior. That is why he tells us clearly before shifting to another lesson in his Sermon that “your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Heavenly Father” (Mt.5:16).
Sharing Christ’s light with our good deeds as a community
So, how do we share the light of Jesus Christ in this age when so many others are claiming to be the light that will dispel all darkness in our lives?
As early as during the darkest period in the history of Israel in the Old Testament called the “Babylonian Captivity (or Exile)”, God had taught his people how to become light for one another during trials and sufferings.
Thus says the Lord: Share your bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless; clothe the naked when you see them, and do not turn your back on your own. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn… if you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted; then light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like midday.
Isaiah 58:7-8, 10
To share one’s bread with the hungry, to welcome the homeless, to clothe the hungry are some of the most concrete demands placed by God to his people since he had freed them from slavery in Egypt and later in Babylonia (Iraq today) when the third part of the Book of Isaiah was written.
Eventually, this prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus Christ who also preached exactly the same things shortly before fulfilling his mission in Jerusalem when he stressed the need to do good to one another because “whatsoever we do to one another, especially to the least among us, we also do unto him” (Mt.25:31-40).
We shall hear this part of Matthew’s gospel at the end of our current liturgical year on November 22, 2020 in the celebration of the Solemnity of Christ the King.
These instructions became the basis of our catechism’s “spiritual and corporal works of mercy” that Pope Francis stressed in 2016 during the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.
By saying “you are the light of the world”, Jesus is telling us that to fulfill this mission, we have to do it together as a community, as his Body, the Church!
No matter how good and holy we are, none of us is the “light of the world” on our own.
One candle or lamp, or even a light bulb today cannot produce enough light to brighten a whole town or community. But, if one Christian will be lighting just one little candle in the dark, he or she can encourage others especially those who are timid, hesitant, and indifferent until they finally set the world ablaze with Christ’s light.
Christ’s call to be the light of the world is also a call for us to be united as one community, one family, one faithful couple with all our imperfections and sinfulness. What matters is our striving to be good disciples, always charitable to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Here we find the direct relationship of mission and community: every mission given by Jesus is also a call to become a community because without it, it soon becomes a cult centered on the disciple than the Lord.
The example of St. Paul in sharing Christ’s light
St. Paul shows us the best example of being a light of Jesus is to always have it done and fulfilled in the context of a community, of the Church as the Body of Christ, avoiding chances of grabbing the light from him for personal gains.
“I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling, and my message and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of Spirit and power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.”
1 Corinthians 2:3-5
It has always happened especially for us serving in the Church that in sharing the light of Christ, we get carried by our ministry and apostolate that we forget him until we claim being the light ourselves.
Sometimes, we consciously or unconsciously create clouts and personality cults for ourselves for being the best, the brightest, even the holiest and most humble of all!
We foolishly brag the great buildings and edifices we have built or the countless malnourished kids we have fed or sent to school for free through college, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera without being bothered at all where is Jesus Christ in all our efforts and projects!
How sad when we forget that what matters most in life is not what we have done or what we have achieved but what have we become as bearers of the light of Christ like St. Paul.
My dear friend, if you are going through many darkness in life today, simply be good, think only of Jesus Christ in everybody you meet and deal with. That is actually when you shine brightest as the light of Christ because people will be surprised at how calmly and gracefully you carry your cross.
In that way, you encourage others living in darkness to let their little sparks of light come out too without realizing how in their own darkness and limitations they have made Christ’s light seen. Amen.
Have a bright and blessed Sunday with your loved ones!