Easter is “re + membering”

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Thursday within the Octave of Easter, 21 April 2022
Acts 3:11-26   ><)))*> + <*(((><   Luke 24:35-48
Photo by author, Easter 2018.
Praise and glory to you,
Lord Jesus Christ, for the
most wonderful gift of memory:
more powerful than any memory
card or computer chip, you have
made our memories so powerful
not only in keeping the past alive
within us but most of all, enabling
us to make these memories present
again in every here and now - the gift
of "re + membering".
Thank you dear Jesus for this most
wonderful gift of all that even if 
our memories fail due to age and
sickness, we always re + member
those dearest people to us from
the past:  we make them a member
of today, that is, re-member!

The disciples of Jesus recounted what had taken place along the way, and how they had come to recognize him in the breaking of the bread. While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

Luke 24:35-36
Before Easter happened,
during supper on the night you
were betrayed, you commanded 
your disciples to always remember,
to "do this in memory of me":
at Emmaus, the two disciples did
remember and recognized you,
Lord Jesus and from then on, we have
always re-memebered your commandment
and you yourself who becomes present
most especially in the Holy Eucharist and
when we live its essence of love.
Refresh always our memories,
Jesus, so we may keep re-membering you,
making you a member anew in every
present moment in our witnessing to
your very person and your most loving act
of self-giving.  Amen.

Lest we forget or miss others…

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
First Friday, Week XXXI, Year I in Ordinary Time, 05 November 2021
Romans 15:14-21   ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'>   Luke 16:1-8
Photo by author at Silang, Cavite, 2020.
On this First Friday of November,
I thank you dear God our Father
for the enriching and comforting words
of St. Paul these recent weeks as we
come to the penultimate installment of his
beautiful Letter to the Romans:

I myself am convinced about you, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to admonish one another. But I have written to you rather boldly in some respects to remind you, because of the grace given me by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in performing the priestly service of the Gospel of God, so that the offering up of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:14-16
You have reminded us these past weeks
through St. Paul not only of the need to
have sound doctrine on what we believe
but most of all to have much love in our
faith and hope in you.
As he begins to close his letter to the
Romans, may we imitate his great love
and concern for the Gentiles and those 
others to whom the Gospel has not been
proclaimed yet; many times in our lives,
we only remember those with us, those like
us, forgetting and missing out those not
with us, those living in the margins, those in
the fringes of the society and Church.
Give us, dear Father, such attention 
of St. Paul in seeking those not yet in our fold,
those neglected and taken for granted; how sad
that we only remember others when we are already
in dire need and extreme situations like that wise
steward in the gospel today:  at the height of his
power and influence, he never thought of the
creditors of his master, milking them dry of their
resources; but when he was in danger of being
terminated, he suddenly remembered them.
Most of all, he dealt with them with charity and
leniency to win their favors and sympathies.
Before any calamity or storm befall us,
when unfavorable circumstances happen 
to us or anyone, remind us, loving Father, 
to think of others,
to search for the lost 
and little ones
lest we miss them totally 
as if they do not exist.
Amen.

Remembering, forgiving

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday, Week XXV, Year I in Ordinary Time, 22 September 2021
Ezra 9:5-9     ><)))*> + ><)))'> + ><)))*>     Luke 9:1-6
Photo by author, 2010.
In this month of September,
help us remember O God our Father
our collective history as a nation
like Ezra your servant:

I said, “My God, I am too ashamed and confounded to raise my face to you, O my God, for our wicked deeds are heaped up above our heads and our guilt reaches up to heaven. From the time of our fathers even to this day great has been our guilt, and for our wicked deeds we have been delivered up, we and our kings and our priests, to the will of the kings of foreign lands, to the sword, to captivity, to pillage, and to disgrace, as is the case today.”

Ezra 9:6-7
Help us remember our sins not to blame
and deepen the wounds of the past
but to learn from the lessons of the 
mistakes and abuses that have happened;
help us remember our sins 
to understand its roots so we may not 
repeat them again; most of all, 
help us remember our sins 
so we may realize your immense
love and mercy for us 
in never forsaking us.

“For slaves we are, but in our servitude our God has not abandoned us; rather, he has turned the goodwill of kings of Persia toward us. Thus, he has given us new life to raise again the house of our God and restore its ruins, and has granted us a fence in Judah and Jerusalem.”

Ezra 9:9
In your strange providence,
loving God our Father,
you have used the pagan kings
of Persia to set your people free
from the Babylonian captivity;
in the same manner,
you have never left nor abandoned us
through our painful experiences
as a result of our captivity in sin and evil
to see your love and compassion,
enabling us to turn them into
opportunities for personal growth
and maturity in our spirituality
by deepening our sensitivity to
the sufferings of others caused by
evil and sin.
We pray today, O God
that we may be agents of your mercy
like King Cyrus of ancient Persia,
most especially as disciples of your Son
Jesus Christ sent out to proclaim
the coming of good news of salvation.
Amen.

When nothing is lost and when all is lost

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday in the Eighth Week of Ordinary Time, 28 May 2021
Sirach 44:1,9-13     ><)))*> ><)))*> ><)))*>     Mark 11:11-25
Photo by Dr. Mylene A. Santos, MD, 2020.
Now I will praise those godly men,
our ancestors, each in his own time.
And for all time their progeny will endure,
their glory will never be blotted out.
(Sirach 44:1,13)

So many times, O Lord, I have heard the same words by your sage Ben Sirach, of how so many people who have gone ahead of us are hardly known nor remembered at all not because they are irrelevant or have not left no impact to anyone and this world.

There have been so many people ahead of us and still more living among us that surely much more would still come in the future after we are gone.

But life and living is not about being remembered for whatever reason.

Life and living is always about being good and holy, of being fully alive, living in you, O God our Father through Jesus Christ your Son.

That is why Ben Sirach praised both the known and unknown men who have gone ahead of him, especially the unknown ones because though there is “no memory of them for they have ceased” (v.9) they continue to exist, they are still relevant and in a sense “remembered” by their progeny because of their goodness and holiness.

How wonderful it is to dwell on this ending words of Ben Sirach in his book that remind us that nothing is lost, everything is gained and kept when we live in goodness and kindness.

Help us, O God, to make good of all your gifts to us lest we become like that fig tree Jesus cursed at Bethany along with the priests and merchants he had scolded when they turned your temple in Jerusalem into a marketplace.

Early in the morning,
as they were walking along, 
they saw the fig tree withered to its roots.
Peter remembered and said to him,
"Rabbi, look!  The fig tree that you cursed
has withered."
(Mark 11:20-21)
Photo by author, 2019.

So many times in life, we keep on trying to make and achieve so many things for the wrong reason of being relevant, of being remembered without realizing that simply being good ensures us of never being lost and forgotten.

It is in our personal pursuits of fame, of immortality when – sadly – all is lost.

We pray today, Lord Jesus Christ, for those who are always worried of so many things that past and non-essential, of how they look like, of how they will be remembered.

Give us that true faith in you to always experience your presence especially in cultivating a prayer life that leads to real trust and communion in you. It is in prayer when we become fruitful for that is when we become sensitive of your loving presence, of our living realities enabling us to forgive and reconcile with those who hurt us.

It is this kind of faith that produces fruit that endures and lasts forever, even if we remain unknown as Ben Sirach extolled in his teachings and prayer. Amen.

Prayer to keep our memory

40 Shades of Lent by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday, Third Week in Lent, 10 March 2021
Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9   <*{{{><  +  ><}}}*>   Matthew 5:17-19
Photo by Dr. Mai B. Dela Peña, MD, at Tokyo, 2018.

God our loving Father in heaven, you have designed us to always remember people and events, their meanings and significance, and most especially, to always remember you and your love and kindness for us. But, alas, due to our fallenness, we have become “beings-of-forgetfulness” too.

In this season of Lent as we pray more and slow down in life, give us the grace to refresh our memories, to remember the many good people and good things they have brought us. Most especially, help us keep our memories not only of your laws but of their meanings, of the relationships they lead us to keep you through others.

Moses spoke to the people and said: “However, take care and be earnestly on your guard not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live, but teach them to your children and to your children’s children.”

Deuteronomy 4:9

How sad we are always afflicted with selective memory when we choose which and whom to remember and to forget. More sad is the fact that we forget you more, disregarding all the good gifts you have given us.

Help us make every effort to remember you, dear God, by cultivating and nurturing within us the relationship you have established with each of us with others through Jesus Christ.

Give us the grace to fulfill your laws by loving and respecting one another for that is the essence of to RE + MEMBER, which is to make somebody a member again of every present, of every here and now. Amen.

The peace of Jesus Christ

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul, Tuesday, Easter Week-V, 12 May 2020

Acts of the Apostles 14:19-28 ><)))*> +++0+++ <*(((>< John 14:27-31

Photo by author, a bass relief of the Agony in the Garden by Jesus at the Church of All Nations beside Gethsemane near Jerusalem, May 2017.

Lord Jesus Christ, I pray for more faith and trust in you today to experience your peace within so we can truly appreciate the beauty and meaning of life.

Jesus said to his disciples: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I.”

John 14:27-28

So many sufferings, so many uncertainties in life but indeed, Lord, you have never left us.

It is so difficult to rejoice – even absurd – when “you are not with us because you are with the Father”.

I could just imagine the increased fears and anxieties your apostles must have felt when you told them to not let their hearts be troubled or afraid when you were to be betrayed and arrested, and eventually suffered and died.

I always wonder, Lord, why during this quarantine period, as I reviewed my life, there are so many painful memories coming back to me that I thought I have transcended or even outgrown, and hoped forgotten and deleted in my memory bank. Worst, the longer the time had lapsed, the more painful these memories become, like death and other losses in life.

but, no word can ever be enough to express and explain how in these painful past you have stayed in us, now coming back to remind us you will always be with us. And that is when we finally feel your peace within.

Your peace is not found outside us but within us – right in our hearts where we allow you to dwell, to reign in us amid all our trials and sufferings that we continue to forge on in this life, to keep the struggle alive.

Grant us the courage and wisdom you have given Paul and Barnabas who, despite the physical harm and emotional distresses they went through, they never wavered in their mission of proclaiming your Gospel because they have you in their hearts.

Please, Lord Jesus, reign in my heart and fill me with your humility, justice, and love. Amen.

Photo by author, garden beside St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Jerusalem, May 2017.

Remembering

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul

Saturday, Week V, Year II, 15 February 2020

1 Kings 12:26-32; 13:33-34 ><)))*> 0 <*(((>< Mark 8:1-10

Photo by author of a wood carving of the Last Supper from Paete, Laguna at a relative’s residence in Collegeville Subd., Los Baños, Laguna, 13 February 2020.

Lord Jesus Christ, you have come to always remind us to remember your great sign of presence, the Holy Eucharist when you told us “Do this in memory of me.”

That is why in our gospel today, you have again another scene where you miraculously fed more than 4000 people from just seven pieces of bread.

Such miracles of yo feeding the people, healing them of their many sickness are properly called as “signs” of your saving and loving presence.

They are meant to be remembered always of how much you love us.

Keep us to be faithful to keep on remembering your works so we may also remind others to remember your love and mercy for us all.

Help us not to be not like Jeroboam who diverted the attention of people away from you by building altar to false gods and initiating celebrations to idols that led others into sin against you.

May we bring people closer to you, not away from you with our life of witnessing especially in practicing our faith in the sacraments. Amen.

Remember, always remember.

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul

Saturday, Week XIX, Year I, 17 August 2019

Joshua 24:14-29 ><)))*> ><)))*> ><)))*> Matthew 19:13-15

Photo by Eric Smart on Pexels.com

Thank you very much, dear God, for this weekend rest.

And as we rest from work or studies, let us also pray for the gift of remembering.

Like in the first reading when Joshua asked the Israelites to always remember the many wondrous things you have done to them so they may remain faithful to you, make us remember too that there is no other God except you who personally relates with us, blessing us with everything that we need even without our asking.

You have created us to always remember but we are also “beings of forgetfulness” who always forget everything and everyone, especially you and those dearest to us. We are easily distracted with so many other things and people that we always forget those who are truly good to us.

When life becomes nice and easy for us, when we have everything we need, that is when we forget. And sadly, when we forget, when we do not remember, that is when we also break away, we go apart.

Because, to “remember” literally means to make a member or part again, “re” + “member”.

When we remember you, O God, we affirm your presence in us and among us.

When we remember our loved ones, whether away or gone forever, we make them a part again of our lives here and now, the present moment. The same thing is true with events in the past, whether good or bad.

Thank you so much O God for this gift of remembering!

Make us like the children in today’s gospel who came to you, wanting to be one with you, wanting to be your member and part too! Amen.

A blessed Saturday to everyone!