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!