The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday in the Second Week of Easter, 27 April 2022
Acts 5:17-26 ><]]]]'> + <'[[[[>< John 3:16-21
Praise and glory to you,
Lord Jesus Christ for making
this Easter Season so special:
our first major celebration since
the pandemic began in 2020 with
our church gatherings always the
target of lockdowns and restrictions;
but this Easter, we have risen with you,
dear Jesus, when we were finally allowed
to gather and celebrate the Eucharist
without much restrictions.
Make us realize this fundamental truth
of your Resurrection, Lord Jesus: that Easter
is more of coming out than getting in.
The high priest rose up and all his companions, that is, the party of Sadducees, and, filled with jealousy, laid hands upon the Apostles and put them in public jail. But during the night, the angel of the Lord opened the doors of the prison, and led them out, and said, “Go and take your place in the temple area, and tell the people everything about this life.”
So many times, you have come
to set us free, Jesus, from our prison
cells of self-doubts, cynicisms,
hopelessness, pains and hurts,
guilt and sins but we refuse to
believe you are risen, that you
have conquered evil and sin, darkness
and death; open our minds and our
hearts, Lord Jesus, to believe and accept
the love you have freely given us.
Let us go out to you, sweet Jesus,
to bask in the warmth of your light
and truth that we are loved. Amen.
Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-16 ng Nobyembre 2021
Hindi ko maiwasang umindak
sa awiting "kumukuti-kutitap,
makakakita ng mga parol
nakasabit sa mga binatana,
binebenta sa kalsada
kahit malayo pa ang Pasko.
Ang mga parol ay tulad ng pastol
umaakay sa atin sa gitna ng dilim
hatid ay liwanag at galak
upang matunton at marating
Sanggol na sumilang sa sabsaban
habang mundo ay balot sa kasamaan
upang tayo ay tubusin sa ating mga kasalanan.
Makukulay, puno ng sigla
alalaong-baga, buhay na buhay
itong mga parol at iba pang mga palamuti
hatid ay hindi lamang ngiti sa labi
kungdi tuwa at kagalakan sa puso at kalooban
isang taon na naman matatagpusan
kahit COVID-19 kayang lampasan!
Katulad ng mga bituin at tala
mga parol at palamuti ng Kapaskuhan
matutunghayan lamang sa gitna
ng malaking kadiliman kagaya sa ating buhay
kung kailan mayroong kapighatian
at lahat ay nalalabuan, doon naman
nagiging maliwanag at makulay ang lahat!
Isang kabalintunaang tunay
ganda at busilak ng mga parol
sa atin nagpapastol tungo sa
liwanag ng kinabukasan;
sana manatiling nagningning
liwanag ni Kristo sa puso at
Aking dasal at hiling
ngayong Paskong darating
sana matapos na itong COVID-19;
matularan sana natin mga parol
magpastol sa kawan, huwag silang maligaw
sa kadiliman ng mga mapanlinlang
tanging Diyos ang maging sandigan.
The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Tuesday, Week XXX, Year I in Ordinary Time, 26 October 2021
Romans 8:18-25 ><)))*> + ><)))*> + ><)))*> Luke 13:18-21
Today we share in St. Paul's
outburst of joy in you, O God
our loving Father when he claimed
"the sufferings of this present time
are as nothing compared with
the glory to be revealed for us"
(Rom. 8:18). Like Pope Emeritus
Benedict XVI, we are absorbed
in the reflection of St. Paul about hope:
For in hope we were saved. Now hope that see for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance.
So true, indeed, loving Father:
we hope because while we do not see,
we still believe and we have faith
in you through Jesus Christ
your Son and our Lord;
teach us to grow deeper in our
hope in you not just as a feeling
or a desire nor a wait-and-see
attitude but more as a conviction
in Christ that when worst comes to worst,
we hold on to you because only
you will remain even in the end,
loving us, believing in us,
Let us persevere in Christ with
our commitments no matter how hard
and even painful specially in this time
of pandemic and in moments of severe
trials and tribulations when people fail us;
like the mustard seed that grows into
a leafy plant providing branches for birds
and yeast that leavens a dough,
let us be surprised with your grace
of hope, Lord, by enabling us to see
light even in darkness,
life even in sickness and death
because to truly hope is to
trust and believe in you alone,
O God, who is our very life.
The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Thursday, Week X in Ordinary Time, 10 June 2021
2 Corinthians 3:15-4:1, 3-6 ><)))*> + <*(((>< Matthew 5:20-26
Lord Jesus Christ, please remove the veils that cover our minds that prevent us from truly seeing and meeting you. Let us remove the many veils we have unconsciously put on ourselves like our stubbornness and conservatism, legalism and formalism that have made our prayers and worship empty of you.
Brothers and sisters:
To this day, whenever Moses is read,
a veil lies over their hearts of the children of Israel,
but whenever a person turns to the Lord
the veil is removed.
Teach us to submit ourselves more to the promptings and light of the Holy Spirit so that we may reflect you more, dear Jesus, than ourselves.
So many times we have forgotten that we are just bearers of your light, “slaves for your sake” (2Cor.4:5), dear Jesus task to bring people closer to the glory and brightness of God.
Do not let us fall into the same mistakes of the people of your time when praise and worship of God was focused more on the externals than what is inside our hearts expressed in our genuine concern for one another like people we may have hurt or neglected.
Jesus said to his disciples:
"I tell you, unless your righteousness
surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven."
Teach us to go beyond the letters of the Laws.
Enable us to see the deeper and wider meaning of the commandment not to kill by respecting in words and deeds the value of every person, of not maligning any one with nasty talks and through the social media.
Enable us to see the direct link of our celebration of the Eucharist with our behavior and dealing with one another, seeking peace and reconciliation to be truly one in you and with the Father in heaven.
O sweet Jesus, we pray most dearly for those people who have boxed us and refused to give us the chance to show our goodness and goodwill; for those whose frame of mind is so fixed that they would not make the necessary adjustments in this time of crisis to accommodate so many people in great sufferings and trials in their lives.
Let your brightness shine on us, Lord Jesus, in these times of darkness and storms. Amen.
40 Shades of Lent by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Fourth Sunday in Lent-B (Laetare Sunday), 14 March 2021
2 Chronicles 36:14-16, 19-23 ><}}}*> Ephesians 2:4-10 ><}}}*> John 3:14-21
Today we burst in joyful shades of pink in our liturgy as we rejoice in this Fourth Sunday in Lent known as “Laetare Sunday” when our entrance antiphon calls us to “Rejoice, Jerusalem! Be glad for her, you who love her; rejoice with her…”
This early as we go halfway through in our journey to Easter, we are called to rejoice as we continue to experience God’s immense love for us in Jesus Christ seen in our readings and most especially, if we have truly taken into heart the spirit of Lent through prayer, fasting and abstinence, and alms-giving.
Jesus said to Nicodemus: “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”
Path to God opened for us in Christ crucified, our light.
As we have mentioned last week, the fourth gospel is also called “the book of signs” because John refers to the miracles and words of Jesus as “signs” that point to him as the Messiah or Christ, the Anointed One of God.
This Sunday we hear John introducing to us another sign and symbol he uses in his gospel for Jesus: his being LIGHT himself.
This we must first see in the context of his crucifixion which John refers to so many times in his gospel as Jesus being lifted up or raised up on the cross.
It is very meaningful for John because the Crucifixion is Christ’s greatest sign and revelation of his glory when he opened a path for us back to God in his Cross. It is in opening this path to God in his Cross that Jesus had also shone so brightly as our light along the way.
After cleansing the temple last week, John tells us how at the start of the following third chapter of his gospel that “There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews” who “came to Jesus at night” (Jn.3:1,2) to discuss things he must have heard and seen about Jesus.
Remember chronemics, the non-verbal communication expressed by time and space? Again we find this employed by John in our gospel scene this Sunday in Nicodemus meeting Jesus at night.
According to biblical scholars, Nicodemus came to see Jesus at night in order to hide in darkness for he was afraid of being publicly associated with Jesus considering his being member of the Sanhedrin, the highest governing body in Israel at that time.
Moreover, his coming at night to Jesus is also symbolic, suggesting that despite his expertise in the Mosaic Law, Nicodemus felt within him a sense of still living in darkness and ignorance. If you read this whole scene, you find many instances of darkness and ignorance in Nicodemus that at one point, there is a tinge of sarcasm from the Lord telling him, “You are a teacher of Israel and you do not understand this?” (Jn.3:10)
Eventually on Good Friday, Nicodemus would come out into the open to join another secret disciple of Jesus named Joseph of Arimathea when they asked Pilate for his body to be buried in a new tomb not far from the site of the crucifixion (Jn.19:38-42).
The fourth gospel teems with many teachings as well as scenes depicting Jesus as the light dispelling the many darkness that envelops the world beginning at its Prologue.
Only John has this scene of Jesus discussing with Nicodemus his coming from heaven to dispel the darkness in our lives.
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the verdict, that light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.”
Jesus enlightening us, uplifting us
This love of God for us through the coming of Jesus Christ is not only the joy of Lent but the very joy of our lives the Lord had expressed in two ways: in being our light in the many darkness of life as well as in uplifting us all from the quagmire of sins and evil.
But this joy in the Lord needs to be worked for; it does not come in handy as something given out freely in the sense that it calls us to do a Nicodemus too, of making efforts to come out from darkness, to follow the light of Jesus Christ that leads to the Cross.
And this is where it becomes more joyous, how Jesus enlightens us and lifts us up with him to the Father.
Let me explain it this way: when we talk of sin, we always find its logical connection with punishment. We see it everywhere and have always experienced it because rightly so, every sin is punished. Certainly, no one escapes punishment of sins in this life or life after. It is the law of karma that in every action, there is a corresponding reaction (excluded are other concepts like reincarnation we do not accept).
The problem arises in the question who punishes us for our sins?
Unfortunately, in any religion the finger always points at God which is very untrue and unfair!
God does not punish and would never do so because “God is love (1 Jn.4:16)”!
Those passages we find in the Old Testament of God “getting angry, punishing people” are literary devices used to convey to us deeper truths about God as a person relating with us like human. But notice too that the Sacred Scriptures itself declare in so many instances how God is “so gentle and slow to anger, full of mercy always foregoing his wrath” on the sinful.
Jesus clarified this in many instances, in words and in deeds, when he showed mercy and forgiveness to sinners like prostitutes and tax collectors who were then considered the most wretched and hopeless ones in the society. In the healing of the man born blind, Jesus clarified that sickness and disease are not a punishment from God (Jn.9:1-12).
Rest be assured in his words today to Nicodemus, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”
St. Paul attests to this truth found in his beautiful reflection in the second reading:
Brothers and sisters: God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ — by grace you have been saved — raised us up with him, and sealed us wit him in the heavens in Christ Jesus…
Such is the great love of God for us. When something bad happens to us due to our sins or somebody else’s sins, it is not from God. It is our self-indictment of refusing to change our sinful ways that we suffer the consequences of our evil deeds: “And this is the verdict, that light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed.“
When we try to reflect deeper, we find that avoiding sins is the most practical thing we can always do in life but, unfortunately, something we refuse to do for so many reasons.
Why we prefer darkness than light is something we have always been struggling with when we know so well it is better to be out in the light.
If we reflect deeply, we realize that God has no need for us; he remains perfect even if we sin, if we do not obey him, if we abandon him. But God chose to love us, even begging us to remain good and holy so we can be fulfilled in this life.
Should something bad happens to us because of our sins or somebody else’s sins, the very good news is that God would always find ways to enlighten us to ensure it will turn out well for our own good, even if he has to use pagans and unbelievers or sinners to bring us back into light as experienced by his people with King Cyrus of Persia.
We all have a Nicodemus in us when we sometimes prefer darkness, of coming to Jesus at night because of fears of what others might say about us in following the path of the Lord, of being good, being just, being kind, and being holy.
Like Nicodemus, we try following and listening to Jesus from afar as we have been so used to staying and living in darkness when light sometimes hurt our eyes, making it difficult for us to really see and accept people and things because truth hurts.
This Sunday, let us examine the many darkness we still have within us. Like the author of the Book of Chronicles we heard in the first reading, let us try to see the religious significance of what is happening in our lives and nation to find where God is leading us.
Jesus had come to save us, not to judge us. Step out from your darkness within and let the light of Jesus enlighten and uplift you high like never before in rejoicing as you see the beauty of life in God its author. Amen.A blessed and joyful week to everyone!
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!