The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul
Friday, Fifth Week in Ordinary Time, Year I, 12 February 2021
Genesis 3:1-8 <*(((><< + >><)))*> Mark 7:31-37
Listening to your words as the day unfolds, dearest Lord, I have realized that not all “opening” is good after all. Sometimes we want to open so many things in ourselves that only lead to opening to sin and evil, instead of opening to truth and peace and justice found only in you.
Teach us, O God our loving Father, to open only to you and completely trust you in your opening to us because it is when we start opening other possibilities like gaining more knowledge, more life, more of ourselves that we actually start closing out from you like in the story of the fall of man.
The woman saw that the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked. When they heard the sound of the Lord God moving about in the garden at the breezy time of the day, the man and his wife hid themselves from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
Genesis 3:6-7, 8
So many times in life, dear God, we cannot accept other’s openness because we are so closed to ourselves. There are times that instead of going out into the open, we hide from you as if we can conceal what is exposed and open.
Open our eyes to see you in ourselves, to see ourselves in you and in others too.
How funny that in the gospel today, your Son our Lord Jesus Christ, healed a deaf man by opening his ears. And in doing so, he first “took him off by himself away from the crowd” (Mk.7:33), then healed him by looking up to heaven, groaning with the word “Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”).
Ultimately, Lord, it is always easy to open our eyes and see or, open our ears and hear without really opening ourselves, opening our hearts that connect all senses into our whole being.
What matters most which we all pray today is to open us, O God, to you completely so that we may see and listen with our hearts inclined to you. Amen.
The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II Third Sunday of Advent-B (Gaudete Sunday), 13 December 2020 Isaiah 62:1-2, 10-11 >><)))*> 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 >><)))*> John 1:6-8, 19-28
Advent is a parable of our lives. Three months ago we reflected every Sunday the many parables of Jesus and we have learned that a parable is a simple story that contains deep meanings. Just like Advent: a season that comes in our church calendar every year that we take for granted not realizing the deeper meanings it teaches in the four weeks before Christmas or the Second Coming.
On this third Sunday of Advent also known as “Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday”, joy is the motif of all our readings for indeed, we are moving too closely to Christmas – and parousia. The lovely shades of pink remind us that we have to be alert to experience the advent of Jesus. Once again, its precursor John the Baptist guides us this Sunday in grasping the parable of Advent during his time and in our own time.
We are all a John the Baptist -
a reminder of Christ present among us.
All four evangelists mention John the Baptist in their gospel version before telling the ministry of Jesus Christ; but there is something so different with the approach of the author of the fourth gospel in introducing the Lord’s precursor.
In the fourth gospel, he is simply called “John”, omitting his title “the Baptist” for he is the only John in this gospel. The author of the fourth gospel never named himself preferring to be known as the “disciple whom Jesus loved” or simply “beloved disciple”. We learned his name is John through the other three gospel accounts, that he is the brother of another apostle James, both being the sons of Zebedee.
Why the author of the fourth gospel never identified himself with his name John is another topic; what matters to us is that there is only one man named John in his gospel and that is no other than John the Baptist whom he presented in the most unique manner like an official pronouncement, full of solemnity by declaring that this “man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him” (Jn.1:6-7).
Here we find John the Baptist clearly being placed by the author of the fourth gospel in relation to the Christ that is essentially the meaning of our being a baptized Christian — we are another John to remind people of Jesus present among us. It is one of life’s parables we always miss, something that can elicit joy in everyone.
And the more we find ourselves like John the Baptist in his mission, the more we experience Jesus closest to us too!
Life is a perpetual Advent
of Jesus who needs a
John the Baptist in us.
After formally introducing to us John as man sent from God to testify for the Christ, our gospel today skipped the rest of the Prologue and jumped into the mission of John to introduce the ministry of Jesus Christ. See how in a few verses we find transitions from John to Jesus then to us.
John said: “I am the voice of the one crying out in the desert, make straight the way of the Lord, as Isaiah the prophet said. I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”
John 1:23, 26-27
John is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy. But, at the same time, he is the continuation of the Old into the New as he stood present pointing to Jesus Christ who had come and would come again!
This we find in his last reply to the query of the Pharisees: “I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”
This is the parable of Advent: it is a perpetual event, something that keeps on happening even in our time that needs a John the Baptist to remind us that Jesus had come, that he is coming and most of all, he is come!
Aside from preparing others for Jesus Christ’s coming – we need to be like John the Baptist who also prepared himself for his Lord and Master!
In telling us that “there is one among you whom you do not recognize”, John humbly prepared himself to recognize and receive Jesus when he identified the Lord while coming to him for his baptism as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”, saying “He is the one of whom I said, ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me'” (cf. Jn.1:29-30).
But most of all, we find the most beautiful lesson of John in preparing for the Lord’s coming when like him, we allow Jesus to reveal himself to us, always saying “He must increase; I must decrease” as he taught his disciples asking him about Jesus’ ministry.
“The one who has the bride is the bridegroom; the best man, who stands and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made complete. He must increase; I must decrease.”
Advent is being alert
and open to the Holy Spirit
who always comes with Jesus.
Advent is a parable of life when we hope in joy and humility for the Second Coming of the Lord who also continues to come to us in so many ways we never expect. It is a time of prayer and reflections when we try to become more open to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
In the first reading we are reminded of the exact words of the Prophet that Jesus proclaimed in their synagogue when he came home to preach that,
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the Lord and a day of vindication by our God.
After proclaiming those beautiful words of the prophet, while people were all eyes on him, Jesus declared “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing” (Lk.4:21).
That is the power of the word of God, it is always effective and performative as the very sign of his presence among us. That is why Advent is the season when we are encouraged to cultivate that habit of praying the Sacred Scriptures that cleanse our hearts to be empty and ready to receive Christ in his coming. We encounter God first in his words filled with parables that enrich our lives.
To be open for the word of God and to the Holy Spirit means being alert that Jesus is “one among you whom you do not recognize” as John had told us.
Like John, it is finding the “whole” of God’s plan for us from the Old Testament to the New Testament and into our own time in the Church. It is the joy of discovering in this myriad of events and happenings, there is a God personally coming to us, loving us in the most personal way.
Like John, we are sent from God to give testimony to Jesus who had come, will come again and always comes.
That is the parable of Advent: when we realize deep within that we are able to rejoice and be glad to be alive to meet Jesus. May we heed to the words of St. Paul in the second reading:
Brothers and sisters: Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophetic utterances. Test everything; retain what is good. Refrain from every kind of evil.
The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Monday, Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, 30 November 2020
Romans 10:9-18 >><)))*> + >><)))*> + >><)))*> Matthew 4:18-22
Praise and glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ, on this second day of Advent you have given us the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle known as the “protoclete” or protokletos, the first to be called to follow you because he was also the first to entertain be “disturbed” by you.
Grant us this grace of being disturbed, of being moved within in a positive manner to seek out the truth like St. Andrew.
The moment he first saw you when John the Baptist identified you as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,” he was there, moved in his heart and so disturbed that he asked you, “Rabbi, where are you staying?” And when you invited him and his companion to “come and see,” he believed you are the Messiah (Jn.1:35-41)!
I wonder what did he see in you, in your home, Lord Jesus that convinced him right away you are the Christ? What disturbed him?
Then in the wilderness as you tested Philip and asked him where you could buy food to feed more than 5000 people, Andrew again felt his heart so disturbed with the situation they were into that he was moved to bring to you a boy with five loaves of bread and two pieces of fish but at the same time, sincerely admitted to you how disturbed he was when he asked you, “what good are these for so many?”
You never answered his question, dear Jesus, but Andrew remained with you and the crow until the great miracle happened when everyone was fed and satisfied with so many leftovers (Jn.6:1-15)!
St. Andrew must have been more disturbed than ever with what he had seen and experienced that he came to follow you more closely like his brother Peter!
For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.
St. Andrew always believed in his heart, always allowed his heart to be disturbed with your words, with your presence, with your feelings.
And he never kept to himself those stirrings in his heart, always asking you or voicing out what he felt or thought no matter how crazy or even stupid they may be!
It was because of this openness with himself to you with his inquiries that you were made known as the Christ that eventually in his death, he chose to be crucified in the most different manner because he had truly owned your cross!
Give me that same grace, dear Jesus, to be honest in recognizing the inner stirrings in my heart no matter how crazy they may be, always telling these to you as part of carrying my cross. Like St. Andrew, may I have the courage to lovingly, faithfully and sincerely embrace your cross by expressing to you always whatever disturbs me that in the process you are more revealed in me and to others. Amen.
Quiet Storm by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, 22 November 2020
"As Jesus approached Jericho
a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging"
So many times I see myself in him
blinded by sins
and false securities
preferring to remain
at the safe side
at home with my comfort zone;
I get tired of begging
of being blind
deciding to leave the roadside
to finally meet Jesus,
asking him to restore my sight.
O what a scene to behold
of the beautiful journey
only if I go
to the middle of the road
to be with the Lord!
"At that time Jesus came to Jericho;
but Zacchaeus was short in stature"
So often in life
Jesus truly intends to pass
through wherever we are
only to test
if we would dare
to rise above our selves
to see and meet him there;
the key is to admit reality
that we are always short
in moral standing
but never in humility
if we can truly
then we see its beauty
when from the middle of the road
the Lord looks up to us
calling us to come down
for he had come to be with us!
This is the most lovely
thing I have heard
the Lord said:
"Those whom I love,
I reprove and chastise.
Be earnest, therefore, and repent.
Behold, I stand at the door
and knock. If anyone hears my voice
and opens the door, then I will
enter his house and dine with him,
and he be with me."
The Lord always comes,
bidden and unbidden,
but, are we open to meet him,
willing to leave
the roadside, climb a tree
if needed or turn the knob
to see and meet him?
Yes, Jesus is always passing by,
do not let yourself be left behind.
The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday, Week XXXII, Year II in Ordinary Time, 13 November 2020
2 John 4-9 >><)))*> |\ >><)))*> || >><)))*> Luke 17:26-37
My prayer to you today, O God our loving Father, is simple: thank you very much for the gift of a new day, thank you very much for the warm sunshine amid overcast skies, thank you very much most of all for the gift of life.
Once again you have made us experience your saving hand and protection the other night from the terrifying winds and rains of typhoon Ulysses; then yesterday, everybody was surprised at how fast the waters have risen following widespread floods.
So many of us are asking – not complaining – why all these things happening this year 2020?
Open our hearts, open our eyes and ears to listen and heed your voice amid these calamities happening among us.
Make us more sensitive to the needs and cries of others by living in love and charity, of witnessing the gospel of Jesus Christ your Son instead of entertaining so many “progressive” ideas and thoughts that lead nowhere.
Let us live in love, Lord.
For this is love, that we walk according to his commandments… Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh… Look to yourselves that you do not lose what we worked for but may receive a full recompense. Anyone who is so “progressive” as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God; whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son.
1 John 6,7, 8-9
May these calamities open ourselves to the reality and mystery of Christ’s coming again, of how we must strive to live in love, to see every body not just as a body like vultures but as somebody needing love and attention. Amen.
Praise and glory to you, O God our loving Father! Please, keep us open to your coming in Jesus Christ. Surprise us always with your simplicity, silence, and hiddenness.
You know how we are always attracted with people’s credentials and titles, outward appearances, and great talents in speaking and explaining things that we get carried away, leaving you behind.
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
Let us come to you and meet you in Jesus by forgetting our self, taking our cross and following him in his passion and death.
Sometimes we forget your simple invitation to come to you with our sinful selves minus our pretensions and masks because all you want is our total selves. You do not ask for our perfections but imperfections, nor for our virtues and talents but for our lacking and sins.
And through this all, Lord, you give us life and freedom, fulfillment in you in our hearing:
Jesus unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord. Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Come, Lord Jesus, you are most welcomed in me. Amen.
Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-19 ng Mayo 2020
Kay hirap maunawaan
at hindi ko mailarawan
matay ko mang isipin
ngayong panahon ng COVID-19
pinaiiral nati'y karahasan
sa halip na kahinahunan
Minsa'y aking napakinggan
kaya aking tinunghayan
balita sa telebisyon nang
si Mang Dodong ay nakulong
mahigit sampung araw sa Navotas
nang siya ay dakpin dahil
walang papeles ng quarantine.
Asawa niyang si Aling Patring
di malaman gagawin
dahil ayon sa balita,
walang gaanong napag-aralan
mabuti't tinulungan ng mayroong
Kayo na mga mayroong pinag-aralan
napakaraming kaalaman at nalalaman
tingnan itong larawan kung pagdududahan
kakayahan at katauhan ni Mang Dodong
na kailangan siyang pahirapan
sa tanging pagkukulang sa panahon ng lockdown
hindi nakakuha sa tirahan sa Kalookan
ng quarantine pass upang makahango ng isda sa Navotas.
Sino ang hindi mababagbag
at mababagabag sa mga kuwento
ng karahasan at karanasang ganito
sa panahon ng pandemya
na sa halip tayo ay magtulungan at magdamayan
nagpapahirapan at nagmamatigasan
sa mga bagay na mapapalampas naman.
Hindi ba puwedeng pagbigyan na lamang
kung hindi naman gaanong kabigatan, kalala ang kasalanan?
Nasaan ang katarungan kapag mga makapangyarihan
pinalalampas, kinakatuwiran taglay na husay at galing
samantalang nagkamali rin naman at masahol pa sa karamihan?!
Hindi sasapat kailanman ating isipan
dapat mabuksan din ating puso at kalooban
dahil ang katotohanan hindi lamang
karunungang nababatid, naikakatuwiran
kungdi isang kapatid nararanasan
nararamdaman bawat pintig ng kalooban,
hangad makatawid sa gutom, mabuhay lamang.
Maraming pagkakataon sa iba't-ibang panahon
kapag nabubuksan isipan sa maraming kaalaman
mga kasangkapan pinahahalagahan, kapwa tao nalilimutan
tulad sa mga digmaan at labanan ng kanya-kanyang karapatan
hindi baleng tapakan at yurakan katauhan ng iba
pati sanggol sa sinapupunan
huwag lamang mahadlangan sariling kagustuhan.
O Diyos naming makapangyarihan,
Iyo sanang buksan aming puso at kalooban
upang sa amin Ika'y makapanahan;
Iyong mukha na puno ng awa at kabutihan
sa amin ay mabanaagan, huwag mong hayaan
paghariin kapos naming isipan at baka kami magkaubusan.
40 Shades of Lent, Solemnity of St. Joseph, Husband of Mary, 19 March 2020
2 Samuel 7:4-5, 12-14, 16 +++ Romans 4:13, 16-18, 22 +++ Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24
Praise and thanksgiving to you, O God our loving Father in giving us your Son, Jesus Christ our Savior. In sending him to us, you have asked St. Joseph to be not afraid to be the husband of the Blessed Mother of Jesus, Mary Most Holy.
…the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.
Matthew 1:20-21, 24
We pray today on this Solemnity of St. Joseph that we may also not be afraid in fighting this pandemic COVID-19.
Let us be not afraid to stay home to be with our family again, together and longer.
Let us be not afraid to talk and converse really as husband and wife, parents and children, brothers and sisters. Help us to be more open and more silent like St. Joseph to hear our family members’ innermost thoughts and feelings again with love and understanding.
Let us be not afraid, O Lord, to seek and work for real peace in our family now disintegrating as we disregard each other, choosing fame and wealth than persons.
Let us be not afraid to reach out also to those living alone like the sick, the elderly, the separated, those abandoned by family and friends or society, those widowed.
Let us be not afraid to share food and money to the needy, time and talent, joy and hope to those living in the margins.
Let us be not afraid to ask for forgiveness, to say again those beautiful words “I am sorry” to those we have hurt in words and in deeds; likewise, let us be not afraid to say also those comforting words “I forgive you” to those who have hurt us in words and in deeds.
Let us not be afraid to show respect anew to our elders. Forgive us, O God, in making disrespect a way of life in our time, in our society, in our government and right in our homes and family as we disregard the dignity of one another.
Let us not be afraid to pray again, to kneel before you, and humbly come to you as repentant sinners, merciful Father.
Let us be not afraid to bring Jesus your Son into this world with your love and kindness, sympathy and empathy so we may be healed of so many brokenness and pains deep within.
Let us not be afraid to be humans again and realize we are not gods, that we cannot control everyone and everything in this world.
Let us be not afraid to be open to you and to others, especially the weak and needy because the truth is, we need you O God and one another.
Please, like St. Joseph, let us not be afraid to wake up to the realities of this life to follow you always in your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.
O blessed St. Joseph, Husband of Mary, pray for us!
Isaiah 29:17-24 ><)))*> ><)))*> ><)))*> Matthew 9:27-31
Time flies so fast, O Lord, and we are almost over with the first week of Advent! How reassuring are your words today especially in the first reading of the wonderful things coming soon, in fact happening now in Jesus Christ’s coming.
Thus says the Lord God: but a very little while, and Lebanon shall be changed into an orchard, and the orchard be regarded as a forest! On that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book; and out of gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind shall see. The lowly will ever find joy in the Lord, and the poor rejoice in the Holy One of Israel…
I know, Lord, and yes, I can see clearly now that great things are coming for us who faithfully await your coming. There shall be joy and justice, healing and consolation for those who suffer and cry.
Keep our eyes opened, remove our blindness to see the more essential things in life especially you so we may always experience your presence, your coming. Amen.
It’s Pentecost Sunday, the coming of the Holy Spirit to the first disciples of Jesus Christ who were filled with fire and zeal in spreading the good news from Jerusalem to the whole world. But more than an event in the past, Pentecost is something the Church needs so badly these days to continue the work of Christ in the world that has become cold and without direction and fulfillment.
What we need in the Church that has become so rigid and lethargic in one end and pompous and glitzy at the other end is a “perennial Pentecost”, the daily coming of the Holy Spirit to enlighten us again in following and sharing Jesus with others in loving service. We need the Holy Spirit to convert us and go back to Christ in the Blessed Sacrament and the Holy Eucharist which is the sacrament of love.
The Blackbyrds’ 1975 hit “Walking in Rhythm” captures the image of somebody filled with the Holy Spirit who is so full of love and life, joy and excitement. The smooth rhythm and blues jazzy beat of the song is so moving and uplifting. It is exactly what the Holy Spirit does when its fire burns and purifies us to realize that our true greatness as human is in being small, in our ability to share to become a part of a larger whole.
“Walking in Rhythm” tells of a man so in love and passionately driven to come home to meet his sweetheart after being away for some time. He is walking in rhythm because he knew he would be complete again when he becomes one with his beloved.
That is essentially the meaning of being a Christian, of being a member of the Church: we become whole with others in Christ. Jesus is our head and we are the body. Every body is important. How sad that whenever we gather every Sunday during the Mass, we are on our own! The priest delivers a boring homily he himself does not understand because he had not prayed nor prepared at all. The congregation are on their own, some asleep, others with thoughts wandering, while the young are either texting or plugged to their playlists. We have to dispose ourselves to the coming of the Holy Spirit always. It is Pentecost or nothing if we want to walk in rhythm, to be fill with life and joy.
Like the lover in “Walking in Rhythm”, or the apostles at the Upper Room in Jerusalem during that Pentecost, we have to open ourselves to give a space within us for the Holy Spirit to work in us, to fill us with life and joy. Most of all, with love.
Walking in rhythm Movin' in sound Hummin' to the music Trying to move on I'm walking in rhythm Singin' my song Thinkin' about my baby Tryin to get home....