Praying for justice in time of corona

40 Shades of Lent, Monday, Week-V, 30 March 2020

Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62 ><)))*> + <*(((>< John 8:1-11

“Ecce Homo” by Murillo from fineartamerica.com.

Our loving Father, today I pray in a very special way for all people who have been maligned, especially for those whose reputation have been destroyed in public by false accusations, those put to shame in our family and community by harsh words.

Like those two women in our readings today, Susana in the Book of Daniel and the woman caught in adultery in John’s gospel, these people unjustly accused in public or “in their face” are surely suffering so much in the loneliness of their homes, of their room in this period of lockdown.

Most especially, Lord, I pray for those languishing in jail especially those for crimes they did not commit.

But Susan cried aloud: “O eternal God, you know what is hidden and are aware of all things before they come to be; you know that they have testified falsely against me. Here I am about to die, though I have done none of the things with which these wicked men have charged me.” The Lord heard her prayer.

Daniel 13:42-44

Comfort, O God, those crying for justice.

Give them patience and perseverance, trust and confidence in Jesus Christ your Son who have come “to proclaim liberty to captives” (Lk.4:18b).

Grant them a healing of memories.

Most especially, I pray O God, that Jesus may touch them today with the same gentleness and love, mercy and forgiveness without any condemnation except to go and “sin no more” (Jn.8:11). Amen.

A prayer to be simple and faithful

40 Shades of Lent, Monday, Week III, 16 March 2020

2 Kings 5:1-15 ><)))*> + <*(((>< Luke 4:24-30

Photo by author, Baguio Cathedral, January 2019.

Praise and glory to you, O God our Father for this Monday, our first working day and most of all, when all plans for community quarantine are put to severe tests. Please give us the grace to be simple and faithful to you.

In the eerie silence of this past weekend while many have finally stayed home and hopefully reconnected with you and family, we still need your tremendous grace to change our ways to become better persons and disciples of Jesus your son.

We pray most especially for our leaders in the government today to be sincere and simple but also professional, efficient and exceptional in serving the people.

Please, we pray O God, enough with our callous and grandstanding politicians who act like the king of Israel in the time of the Prophet Elisha who tore his garment and exclaimed against the friendly request of the king of Aram for Naaman’s healing, always seeking attention:

“Am I a god with power over life and death, that this man should send someone to me to be cured of leprosy? Take note! You can see he is only looking for a quarrel with me!” When Elisha, the man of God, heard that the king of Israel had torn his garments, he sent word to the king: “Why have you torn your garments? Let him come to me and find out that there is a prophet in Israel.”

2 Kings 5:7-8

Come to us, O God, send us a prophet who can stand up against these people playing gods and cast them down from their thrones. They have long been a burden to your people like those enemies of Jesus at the synagogue of Capernaum.

Likewise, keep us simple and faithful too, O God, that we learn to be obedient and cooperative in this time of serious emergencies. Like Naaman, help us to set aside our biases and other inclinations, thinking only of the good of the country.

Let our prayers and pieties bear fruit in more authentic service especially to the poor and those with less in life. Amen.

Lent is sharing and giving life

40 Shades of Lent, Monday, Week I, 02 March 2020

Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18 +++ 0 +++ Matthew 25:31-46

Photo by author, Mt. St. Paul Spirituality Center, Baguio City, 03 February 2020.

“Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.”

Responsorial Psalm

Today, Lord, I borrow your psalmist’s words for they summarize the two beautiful readings on this first Monday of Lent 2020.

Thank you for reminding us that we are your Holy Spirit’s indwelling, that we must be holy for you, O God, are holy (Lev.19:2).

Continue to fill us with your holiness so that we continue to do whatever is good to our brothers and sisters, especially the least among them for whatever we do to anyone, that we do also to you, dear Jesus (Mt.25:40, 45).

May your holy season of Lent remind us that it is our nature to share and give life because we have you Jesus in us.  That’s the implication of those like the sheep on your right side, Lord, who were surprised and could not believe asking “when were you Lord hungry we gave you something to eat, when were you Lord…?” 

When we let your Spirit of holiness animate us, that is when we are never bothered to think of anything else upon seeing the poor and suffering except to love, to practice charity. 

May our Lenten practices of fasting and abstinence, sacrifices and alms-giving empty us of our selves and be filled with you, sweet Jesus, the Word who became flesh to dwell in our hearts for you alone are Life and Spirit. 

Teach us to examine today our attitude towards everyone who may be unknown to us silently poor and suffering.  Let us reacquire that nature in us we fondly refer to as “second-nature” of being kind and charitable to everyone because he/she has you, Jesus, in him/her. 

That need not be difficult for us because in the first place, YOU, O Lord, is in us too!  Amen.

Divine sighs, human signs

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul

Monday, Week VI, Year II, 17 February 2020

James 1:1-11 ><)))*> 0 <*(((>< Mark 8:11-13

Photo by author, Laguna Lake, Los Baños, Laguna, 13 February 2020.

How often does it still happen today, Lord Jesus Christ, that like in our gospel today you would “sigh from the depth of your heart” after we, your people, would ask you for more signs from heaven?

Have mercy on us, Lord, for our lack of faith in you after all these years.

Forgive us for being “unstable in all our ways” with you, always “a man of two minds” as St. James would describe us (James 1:8) in seeking wisdom and things from you.

Forgive us for those moments we doubt your presence and power especially when we fail to win your favor, to get your blessings for our particular prayers and supplications.

The fault is really on us, Lord.

If sighing is your way of keeping your patience with our being so stubborn, teach us to reach out to you in the depths of our hearts, to remember those countless occasions you have saved us.

That instead of asking for signs from you, we may just sigh deep inside us to experience you again. Amen.

The relationships we keep

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul

Monday, St. Scholastica, Week V, Year II, 10 February 2020

1 Kings 8:1-7, 9-13 ><)))*> 0 <*(((>< Mark 6:53-56

Photo by author of a pilgrim writing prayer petitions in a Marian room of Greek Orthodox Basilica of St. George in Madaba, Jordan, May 2019.

Praise and glory to you O Lord for the gifts of church buildings where we can gather in your name especially on Sundays to praise and worship you. Thank you for the religious articles and images we have that also remind us of your being with us.

They all remind us of the relationships we keep with you our God expressed through our brothers and sisters around us.

Like the Ark of the Covenant and the Temple of Jerusalem mentioned today in the first reading, may your Holy Spirit dwell in us through these religious things to remind us of your presence in us and among us so that we may strive to live harmoniously as brothers and sisters in Christ.

May we have that kind of faith and trust in you like those crowds who followed Jesus everywhere in the gospel just to touch his cloak so they may be healed of their afflictions.

And like St. Scholastica whose feast we celebrate today, may we cultivate the relationships we keep in you and with one another through our actual presence. Amen.

Photo from twitter.com

The power of God

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul

Monday, Week 3, Year 2, 27 January 2020

2 Samuel 5:1-7, 10 ><)))*> ><)))*> ><)))*> Mark 3:22-30

Photo by author, sunrise at Camp John Hay, Baguio City, November 2018.

Praise and thanksgiving to you, O God our loving Father in heaven! How amazing we are now at the final stretch of the month of January 2020, passing through many darkness that have cast over us spells of gloom and sadness, disappointments and fears, even hopelessness.

Yet, you never failed to shine upon us the bright lights of love and mercy, power and grace in Jesus Christ our Lord that we are still awake and so alive this Monday morning, ready to face another week of work and school, challenges and trials.

In our readings today, O God, you remind us of the need to be filled with your power and grace to accomplish your will despite many obstacles.

David in the first reading was able to unite all the tribes of Israel and drove away other peoples to make Jerusalem their capital city and your dwelling place. Indeed, in whomever your power rests, nothing is impossible to achieve.

But how unfortunate and tragic when people refuse to recognize your power, O God, resting on your Christ – your Anointed One – Jesus of Nazareth!

Like the scribes of his time, there are still some of us who believe in the power of other men and women than of your power in Jesus we often doubt and refuse to believe in.

The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said Jesus, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “By the prince of demons he drives out demons.” Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables, “How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.”

Mark 3:22-24

Bless us, O God, with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to recognize your power in Jesus Christ by first claiming it in your most holy name. To claim your power, O God, is to submit ourselves to your power to forgive our sins, to cleanse us of all evil, and most of all, to do everything in your glory.

Fill us with your power and grace, O Lord, so we may accomplish your work this week. Amen.

Photo from Google.

Prayer to find meaning this 2020

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul

Monday, Week 1, Year 2 of Ordinary Time, 13 January 2019

1 Samuel 1:1-8 ><)))*> ><)))*> ><)))*> Mark 1:14-20

Photo by the author, Taal Lake, July 2019.

Almighty God and Father, we implore your love and mercy today as we start the Ordinary Time to help us find the more essential things of life this 2020.

May the eruption of Taal Volcano yesterday remind us of the need to seek always the meaning of life which is more important than anything else because everything is passing.

How wonderful it is to recall from today’s gospel how your Son Jesus Christ had called his first four apostles at the shores of the Lake of Galilee, something very similar with the setting of Taal Lake and Volcano.

At this trying time of a major calamity, may we also hear his voice, follow his call to be his disciples and find the true meaning of life in you as we pray for the safety of all people affected by Taal Volcano’s eruption. Amen.

From Inquirer.net, 12 January 2020.

Believing like Mary

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul

Monday, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, 09 December 2019

Genesis 3:9-15, 20 ><}}}*> Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12 ><}}}*> Luke 1:26-38

Every year, O Lord Jesus Christ, we celebrate on your birth month the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of your Most Blessed Mother Mary who was conceived without the stain of original sin.

Until now, many are still confused with this feast especially when our Gospel speaks about the annunciation of your birth, dear Jesus.

Nonetheless, it is the single most important part of your lives both that truly give us a valuable lesson about Mary’s blessedness – later to be expressed by Elizabeth at the visitation, “Blessed is she who believed that the words spoken to hear will be fulfilled”.

Her Immaculate Conception teaches us the importance of faith especially at this time when we face a great crisis in faith in the Church.

And so, we pray to you O Lord for the gift of faith like that of your Mother Mary, a faith that is deeply personal yet communal.

The first is subjective and the second is objective.

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

Luke 1:38
Malolos Cathedral, June 2019.

Unlike Eve in the first reading, Mary had always believed in God.

Her faith is a total entrusting of herself to God on a person-to-person relationship. It is subjective faith where emphasis is on believing itself than on what is believed.

However, Mary did not believe in a purely subjective manner as if God is a personal God detached from others and exclusively revealing only himself to her in secret.

Mary’s faith is also objective because when the angel explained everything to her, she believed the good news proclaimed to her is part of the bigger whole, of the coming new covenant, of the fulfillment of the promise of God made to Abraham and the fathers of Israel as she would later express in her Magnificat.

It is only in believing like Mary can we truly give ourselves to you, Jesus, to the Church so that what we believe may truly be fulfilled in us like Mary. Amen.

Malolos Cathedral, June 2019.

Loving shades of God

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul

Monday, Advent Week I, 02 December 2019

Isaiah 4:2-6 ><)))*> ><)))*> ><)))*> Matthew 8:5-11

Sunrise at the Lake of Galilee, the Holy Land, 2017.

O God our loving Father, who among is truly worthy to receive you under our roofs?

Who among us is truly worthy of receiving you in our sinful selves?

No one, O dear God!

Yet, you still sent us your only Son Jesus Christ to live among us, to dwell among us sinners so that unworthy as we are, we may be worthy to receive him.

Just say the word, Lord, like with the centurion’s request to you in today’s gospel.

Cleanse us, our minds, our lips, and our hearts so that we may be worthy to receive you into our lives in your daily coming. Most especially in your Second Coming, Lord Jesus.

Unworthy as we are, let us come to you with clean hearts and receive you Jesus in your sacred banquet of the Holy Eucharist, the foretaste of that banquet in the Kingdom of heaven.

For over all, the Lord’s glory will be shelter and protection; shade from the parching heat of day, refuge and cover from storm and rain.

Isaiah 4:6

Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.

Trees at the Sacred Heart Novitiate in Novaliches, Quezon City, 2017.

When little means so much

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul

Monday, Week XXXIV, Year I, 25 November 2019

Daniel 1:1-6, 8-20 ><)))*> ><)))*> ><)))*> Luke 21:1-4

Davao City, August 2018.

Lord Jesus Christ,

November is about to end and on this first day of work and school, we are saddled with so many burdens and worries we need to hurdle this week.

We worry so much, thinking a lot of bigger things that could happen: bigger problems, bigger tasks, bigger responsibilities that compel us to think so big in our own terms, forgetting we have a greater God in you than all our problems in life.

Give us the courage to think more of you, of relying in your powers through simple things like Daniel and his company who chose to just have vegetables and water than partake in the banquet of Nebuchadnezzar and defile your holy name, O Lord, with unclean food.

Let us be more generous inside, to offer you our broken and weak selves like that poor widow at the temple who put two coins in the collection box.

Remind us Lord to have more of you always, and less of ourselves, less of the world in this life for it is in little things or even nothing can we gain everything. Amen.