Praying for respect and paying respect

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
First Friday in the Fifth Week of Easter, 07 May 2021
Acts 15:22-31   <'(((><  +  ><)))'>   John 15:12-17
Photo by Dr. Mylene A. Santos, MD, April 2020 at Infanta, Quezon.

Today, O Lord, you give us some lessons about respect. And so, I pray first for the grace of respecting others and secondly that I learn to pay respect to the highest order of all, to you our Lord and our God!

Jesus said to his disciples:
"You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves, 
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard 
from the Father."
(John 15:14-15)

Thank you dear Jesus in taking us as your friends, as having a special relationship with you that is deeply personal, for bringing us closer to the Father too.

How I love to think in this part of your teaching the word friend: if you remove the letter “r”, what is left is the word “fiend” or enemy. For me, the letter “r” stands for “respect” that literally means in Latin to “look again” or “re specere” (from specere came spectacles, spectacular).

Whenever we look again at the other person, we remember he/she is a brother/sister; failure to look again is when we disrespect, when we refuse to recognize him/her as a brother or a sister or a loved one. And that is when sins occur: infidelity, betrayal of trust and everything.

Teach me to respect always at all times like you, to always look again, and again and again at the other person as a friend, a beloved with honor and dignity, who must be held with respect and esteem because everyone is an image and likeness of God.

If I cannot look at the other person as a friend or a brother or a sister, then, let me see you, dear Jesus, in him/her so I may be respectful like your Apostles in the first reading when they decided “not to place on the gentile converts any burden beyond what is necessary” (Acts 15:25). The apostles looked again and again to finally see your face, O Lord, among the gentiles being your friends and beloved too!

This is the highest respect we can pay to everyone – to see you dear Lord in their face, in their person so that like the Apostles, we may be respectful to God, especially to the working of the Holy Spirit among us.

How lovely were the apostles to recognize and paid their highest respect to you when they declared “It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us” (Acts 15:28).

It is the highest respect to see the hand of God in our every endeavor.

And this I ask and pray from you, Jesus, in the same manner that you have told us everything from the Father. Amen.

Photo by Dr. Mylene A. Santos, MD, April 2020 at Infanta, Quezon.

Praying to keep love alive

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Thursday, Week XXIV, Year II in Ordinary Time, 17 September 2020
1 Corinthians 15:1-11     ///     Luke 7:36-50
Photo by author, Church of the Our Father, outside Jerusalem, May 2019.

I have noticed lately, Lord Jesus, how your words are so relevant with how things are going in our lives as individuals and as a nation in this time of the pandemic. How sad that until now we still do not get the full meaning of this pandemic, of how our morals are being put into test, our faith and beliefs challenged to be more authentic, and be real with the love you have poured upon us.

Like the Corinthians, we are so concerned with our trivial pursuits for things that are selfish and self-centered, forgetting the heart of the gospel the Church proclaims since the time of the Apostles: your saving death and resurrection, O sweet Jesus, that has been faithfully handed on from believing generations to the next.

Maybe if we believers focused more on this saving message and its implications, there would be less divisions among us in the Church because we would be more loving to one another, especially to fellow sinners trying to rise from sinful lives.

Like in the gospel scene where the Pharisees were so concerned with the sinfulness of the woman who poured oil and perfume on your feet, Lord. So often, we forget we are all forgiven sinners, becoming arrogant, feeling better and higher than the rest.

Jesus said to him in reply, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. “Two people were in debt to a certain creditor; one owed 500 days’ wages and the other owed 50. Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both. Which of them will love him more?” Simon said in reply, “The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven.” He said to him, “You have judged rightly.”

Luke 7:40-43

Let us always remember, Lord, that faith in you, in your Passion, Death, and Resurrection is a call for us to be more loving with others. Let us be concerned in sharing this love in words and in deeds like your Jesuit St. Robert Bellarmine who labored so hard for the Church in keeping your love alive during his time. Amen.

From Wikipedia Commons.

“Every Kinda People” (1978) by Robert Palmer

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Music by Fr. Nick F. Lalog II, 13 September 2020
Entering through the narrow door of the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, the Holy Land, May 2019.

Above is a photo I have taken of some pilgrims entering through the small door of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem last year. I have always loved the story why this entrance door is so small as it leads to a huge and very important church where the site of Jesus Christ’s birth is located.

According to tradition, pilgrims used to bring even their animals inside the church whenever they would come to worship at the site of the Lord’s birth. The priests and monks were so kind that they could not tell them to leave their horses outside to keep the church clean; and so, they built another entrance into the church with a door so small that even pilgrims have to bow in order to get inside.

Eventually, the small door taught everyone especially pilgrims the important lesson that to experience the coming of the Son of God to the world, one must learn to be humble, to bow or get low to get inside the Church of Nativity.

I know Christmas is still four months away but that is one reality we always forget, the we are all brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. That is the meaning of Christ’s call in today’s gospel to “forgive from one’s heart” son we can forgive without limits because we are all brothers and sisters in God the Father who loves and forgives us all (

It is for this reason that we have chosen for our Sunday music “Every Kinda People” by the late English singer-songwriter Robert Palmer. It was his first top 40 hit released in 1978 that was rereleased in 1992 climbing the charts again for its beautiful music and superb lyrics that convey love and respect for every person.

Though the word forgiveness is nowhere to be found in the lyrics, it is implied because after all, the best expression of any love as shown to us by Jesus Christ is also the ability to forgive others and forego any revenge.

There’s no profit in deceit
Honest men know that
Revenge do not taste sweet
Whether yellow, black or white
Each and every man’s the same inside

What really hurts us most that we find it difficult to forgive those who have sinned against us is not only the injustice done to us but our being disrespected as a person who is a family like a spouse or a wife, a brother or a sister, a son or a daughter, a father or a mother, a kin or a friend, a confidant.

Our offenders thought only of themselves and forgot all about us, our love and kindness to them. Our oneness with them.

That is the unkindest cut of all, my brothers and sisters.

Have a blessed Sunday and a week ahead, keep loving and forgiving even if others do not. At least we remind them of that basic reality of every kinda people…

Music video by Robert Palmer performing Every Kinda People. (C) 1978 Universal Island Records Ltd. A Universal Music Company.

Scoundrels are we?

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Monday, Week XI, Year II in Ordinary Time, 15 June 2020
1 Kings 21:1-16 ><)))*> ><)))*> <*(((>< <*(((>< Matthew 5:38-42
Photo by Mr. Raffy Tima of GMA-7 News, stranded people staying at the underpass near the NAIA after waiting for so long to catch their flights back to their provinces since March.

So many times in life, O God our Father, we hear so many stories of injustice, of how our neighbors are treated so badly that we feel so disgusted at how it could happen at all.

Like all these stories of people stranded in Metro Manila, of the lowly income earners who have to walk for hours just to get to work because there are not enough public transport system allowed to operate.

Of those made to suffer the strict quarantine rules when police officials and politicians were allowed to get off the hook or, the arrest and incarceration of a poor, elderly jeepney driver who had joined a protest rally while the former First Lady who was convicted of corruption charges two years ago was spared of any jail term because of her age.

So much inequalities happening shamelessly, with much impunity by those in power, O Lord!

Exactly like the evil Queen Jezebel who instructed her people to find two scoundrels to testify against Naboth so she could take his vineyard so desired by her husband King Ahab.

Two scoundrels came in and confronted him with the accusation, “Naboth has cursed God and king.” And they led him out of the city and stoned him to death. When Jezebel learned that Naboth had been stoned to death, she said to Ahab, “Go on, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite which he refused to sell you, because Naboth is nbot alive, but dead.” On hearing that Naboth was dead, Ahab started off on his way down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.

1 Kings 21:13-16

Such stories are so revulsive, O God, not only of their nature but more because partly to be blamed is us — when we have refused to do anything good in fighting evil. Indeed, the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

Yes, O God, we are ashamed because we have unconsciously sided with the scoundrels when we chose to “see nothing, hear nothing, and say nothing” of their lies, their harsh words and vulgarities, and their systematic killing sprees to solve the problems of the society.

We have misread the words of your Son Jesus Christ by becoming passive in the face of evil.

Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles.”

Matthew 5:38-39, 41

Give us the wisdom and courage to turn our other cheek, to go the extra mile in asserting to evil doers that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ who must treat one another with respect and equal dignity as a person created in your image and likeness, God our Father.

Inspire us, O God, especially our leaders in the Church who have gone so timid and silent except for a very few on how we can be more prophetic in this time of crisis under an unfriendly government. Amen.

A view from Tagaytay by the author, October 2019.

A prayer to be not afraid like St. Joseph

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

Photo from, “Let Mom Rest” figurine

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.

Photo by author, Chapel of St. Joseph, Nazareth, Israel, May 2017.

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!

Photo by author, site of St. Joseph’s shop in Nazareth beneath a chapel in his honor, May 2017.

Prayer to value persons

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul

Wednesday, Week XXVII, Year I, 09 October 2019

Jonah 4:1-11 ><)))*> ><)))*> ><)))*> Luke 11:1-4

Photo by Mr. Jim Marpa at Otap, Carigara, Leyte. September 2019.

O dear God…

How could some people be like Jonah in our first reading today — prayerful and a man of God and yet be so mean not to see the value of every person?

Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry that God did not carry out the evil he threatened against Nineveh. The the Lord said to Jonah, “You are concerned over the plant which cost you no labor and which you did not raise; it came up in one night and in one night it perished. And should I not be concerned over Nineveh, the great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot distinguish their right hand from their left, not to mention the many cattle?”

Jonah 4:1, 10-11

Forgive us, Lord, when things like money and gadgets, whims and desires blind our eyes not to see and recognize every person who must be loved and cherished.

Forgive us when there are times we forget all about respect, even civility especially when all we see are the sins and mistakes, weaknesses and shortcomings of people that make us speak ill them, judging them harshly with our words that we forget we never lose dignity and honor because we are all created in your image and likeness, Lord.

Please teach us, Jesus, like your disciples in the gospel today the right attitude of praying which is recognizing the value of every person so we can truly pray and say

“Father, hallowed be your name, your Kingdom come.”

Luke 11:2

It is only when we value persons more than anything else can we truly mean our prayers to you, O Lord and God. Amen.

Kalaswaan at katatawanan

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog, ika-27 ng Mayo 2019
Larawan mula sa Google.
Ipagpaumanhin kahit ako'y hindi naman mahinhin
Bakit tila baga tayo ay nahuhumaling sa mga usapin
At paksang karimarimarim kung saa'y
Kalaswaan nagiging isang katatawanan?
Hindi lamang minsan kungdi kadalasan
Ito na nga yata katauhan ng mama sa Malakanyang
Na kung hindi kasinungalingan o kalokohan
Kasalahulaan at kalaswaan laging binibitiwan.
Kailanman ay hindi katatawanan
Gawing biro lamang o paksa sa usapan
Na wala namang katuturan
Panghahalay sa kababaihan.
Larawan mula sa Google.
Simula't sapul palagi na lamang
Kababaihan tampulan ng mga panlalait at sisihan
Na tila baga walang kasalanan
Mga kalalakihan sakdal sa kalinisan at kahusayan.
Madalas hindi nalalaman ng kalalakihan
Hinugot ang babae sa kanyang tadyang
Hindi lamang upang siya ay ingatan at pangalagaan
Kungdi dahil kapantay sa dangal at katauhan.
Sa lahat ng paglapastangan sa kababaihan
Panghahalay ang kasukdulan
Dahil niyuyurakan sinapupunan
Na siyang pinanggalingan ng sangkatauhan.
Larawan mula sa Google.
Napakinggan mo na ba
Daing na hindi maisigaw o maibulalas
Ng isang hinalay, lalo na yaong nag-alay ng buhay
Upang mamasukan sa ibang bansa?
Nakita mo na ba mga mata na hindi makatingin
Ulo ay nakatungo dahil sa bangungot na hindi magising
Luha hindi mapahirin sa bigat at sakit ng damdamin
Ng isang babaeng hinalay o puri'y nadungisan?
Aynakupo...! Nag-aalimpuyong galit kasabay
Ang pait at sakit sa tiyan at dibdib
Na halos ika'y mabuwal at maduwal
Sa gayong sinapit na dama pa rin ang sakit.
Ang pinakamalupit kapag babae ay hinalay
Ay iyong mapagtanto na isa itong impakto
Nagkukubli sa inapi na maaring babaeng iyong itinatangi:
Sariling ina o asawa, kapatid o anak.
Kapag kalaswaan ay nagiging isang katatawanan
Dangal ng katauhan di lamang ng kababaihan
Ang hindi na pinahahalagahan hanggang maubos ang halakhakan
Dahil mga tao'y magsasakmalan na parang mga hayop na lamang.
Estatwa ni Maria nang dalawin niya si Elizabeth sa kaburulan ng Judea; mula sa kanilang sinapupunan sumilang ating kaligtasang hatid ni Hesus na inihanda ni Juan Bautista. Dalawang kababaihan kumakatawan sa kadakilaan at karangalan ng mga babae sa ating buhay: ina, asawa, kapatid, anak, at kaibigan. Larawan ng may-akda, Abril 2017.

Love and Respect in Marriage

The Lord Is My Chef Recipe for Wedding of Bryan and Catherine, 24 May 2019
St. Francis of Assisi Chapel, Fernwood Gardens, Quezon City
Ephesians 5:2a,25-32 >< }}}*> <*{{{ >< John 15:11-17
The Tamsui Lover’s Bridge, New Taipei, Taiwan. Photo by author, 29 January 2019.

Congratulations, Bryan and Catherine!

Our gospel is very clear today with Jesus telling you, “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you” (Jn.15:16). In his infinite wisdom, God had planned this day to happen today, not last year or last month nor tomorrow or next month.

Today the Lord had chosen you Bryan and Catherine to tie the knot as husband and wife in this lovely chapel so you would be his witnesses of his immense love for us. You went through a lot of challenges in your love that is a certified “LDR” – you got me thinking for sometime what those letters mean.

As classmates in elementary until you were separated in high school when Catherine and her family moved to Marilao, you remained friends. When you pursued your dreams in college, the great distance between UP Los Banos and UST in Espana did not keep you away from each other as friends until you realized you love each other that you became sweethearts.

After graduation, Catherine had to move again with her family and this time, thousands of miles away from you Bryan when there were no free messaging apps yet like Messenger and Viber. Bryan had to make those expensive overseas calls while Catherine had to be patient with the unreliable, cheap call cards bought in Asian and Filipino stores in New Jersey.

Thanks very much to Mark Zuckerberg and you had more time seeing each other in social media that your love deepened through time and distance. But, Facebook did not resolve your main issue at that time.

It was Jesus who moved you both to realize that “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn.15:13).

Both of you Bryan and Cath sacrificed so much to be finally together, today and forever. Married life is not a competition in love, in seeing who loves most. Husband and wife simply love, love, and love. St. Paul said it so well in our first reading, “live in love as Christ loved us” (Eph.5:2a).

To live in love like Christ is to respect one another.

In our gospel, Jesus said “You are my friends if you do what I command you” (Jn.15:11) which is to love like him, giving up one’s self to your friend.

Bryan and Cath, you are now the bestest of friends. In the word “friend” you find a letter “r” that if you remove it, you get the new word “fiend” or enemy, the exact opposite of friend. That letter “r” in “friend” stands for respect which means in Latin “to see or look again”.

Without respect, any love will not grow. Without respect, love withers and dies. Respect deepens our love because in seeing again, in looking back to our loved ones, we remember our vows to always love.

From Google.

Three things I wish to share with you Bryan and Catherine about respect so you may live in love as the bestest of friends.

First, always look at your very selves, see yourself as the beloved of God.

God makes no mistakes. You are God’s perfect creation as he intended when he created you, Bryan and Catherine. Be proud of who you are even you have lost your hair or have had wrinkles, or gained weight to have so much “love handles” around your waist.

Bryan… Catherine… you are not only one in a million… you are a once in a lifetime.

Catherine, stay true to who you are as a woman. St. Paul never meant in our first reading that the wife must lose her identity in a relationship. Everything and everyone changes for sure, but a healthy marriage will always grow with you and never against you.

When you are apart and not together due to work, always look at each other. Always try to see the other looking at you. That is respect because in that way, you remain faithful to each other and avoid sin.

Second, always look back to your dreams, to your plans and vision in life.

The ideal man finds himself first before he finds his ideal woman, and vice versa. What do I mean? Many people have sights but not all have visions. A visionary is someone who dreams with eyes wide opened. Vision makes us see where we are going and what it will take to get us there. Like the “Mission-Vision” thing you have Bryan in Maynilad.

The moment a man/woman starts to have a vision of himself/herself with a partner in achieving that dream in the future, then he/she has become the ideal husband/wife. When you have a purpose in life and included in that is someone special, even if you have not met him/her yet, then you are the man, you are the woman.

When trials come in your lives Bryan and Catherine, look again into your vision and dreams in life. Start to work for it again with each other, together as one. If you have to start all over again, do so. Together. Pursue your dream and make it come true!

Third, every day, Bryan and Catherine, look again to God. Always see God in your life. Remember the Holy Family how every year they would go to Jerusalem to worship God. When the child Jesus was lost and they could not find him, they went back to Jerusalem and found him in the Temple. Mary and Joseph looked to God to find Jesus and they found him!

When you always look to God Bryan and Catherine, you will also find yourselves and your dreams. In that, you live in love, respecting each other always as gifts from God.

May today be the least happiest day of you life as husband and wife, Bryan and Catherine! Amen.

From Google.

Friend, or fiend?

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul
Friday, Easter Week V, 24 May 2019
Acts 15:22-31 ><}}}*> John 15:12-17
From Google.

What a lovely Friday you calling us friends, Lord Jesus! What an honor for you to regard as your friends even though so many times we disappoint you, even betray you with our sins.

You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.

John 15:14-15

How funny, Lord, that just one letter in the word “friend” can spell the big difference to turn it into its exact opposite, the letter “r”: from friend to fiend or enemy.

So many times, Lord, it is the lack of respect that leads us to sin against you and one another, that we become fiend than friend. Friends always respect, which is from the Latin roots re and specere or to “look again”.

Teach us, like your apostles in the first reading to learn to respect one another, especially those different from us that we may always see them as brothers and sisters despite our differences like backgrounds, culture, and color.

Teach us, O Lord, to see more of you in others to be the very basis of our friendships rather than looking more into our many differences that we always make as excuses in being apart. Amen.

An optical shop in Madaba, Jordan. Photo by author, 02 May 2019.
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Respect In Digital Age

Quiet Storm by LordMyChef, 24 October 2018:

             The word “respect” is from the Latin terms “re” and “specere” that literally mean “to look again” from which came the words “spectacular” and“spectacles”.  Hence, to respect a person, a place, and a thing means to look at them twice or thrice and see their dignity.  On the other hand, disrespecting a person, a place, and a thing means refusing to recognize their worth because we only see ourselves and their differences.  For us to be respectful, we need to look again and again at persons, things, and places so we could see and give them the respect they deserve, even when we are apart or when nobody is looking at us.

             And here lies our “quiet storm”:  respect is becoming rare with the coming of the ubiquitous camera phone.  We no longer look at everyone and everything as persons and humans because all of our seeing and looking are now “mediated” by technology.  We look at people not as subjects but objects caught on our camera screens, to be kept in memory cards than in our hearts to be cherished.  We do not look at people anymore but simply “shoot” them to collect them into our “albums” or “folders” than engage them in conversations, exchanges that excite our souls and being.  We no longer see each other eye to eye, person to person, but cellphone to cellphone or iPad to iPad.

            Many people have become so accustomed these days to be consumed with their phones and other gadgets in the middle of meals, meetings, and conversations totally unmindful – and disrespectful – of the other persons they are with.  We have become more fixed with machines that eventually we manipulate people as if they have buttons and touchscreens.  See the folly of most weddings these days, of how phones and cameras shatter the solemnity and intimacy of the occasion, stealing the attention from the bride!  Is it lack of common sense or respect, or both, that many guests seem to forget they were invited to personally witness and share in the joy of the new couple and not to take their pictures?

             This loss of respect due to abuse of technology extends to our relationships with God, sadly fostered by many priests enslaved by gadgets.  Remember how during the Mass presided by Pope Francis at the Manila Cathedral in 2015 when priests were seen on TV taking selfies and groufies from the start to the end of the solemn celebration!  And it happens so often when clerics gather among themselves, unmindful (some ignorant) of the Pope’s repeated warning against priests taking pictures during the Mass.  How can the people be expected to respect God especially during the Mass or respect sacred spaces like the church when the priests are preoccupied with mundane things like taking pictures or checking cellphones during liturgical celebrations?  And so, respect is further lost right within the sphere of the sacred and holy, in the church when during celebration of the Sacraments, people are more concerned adjusting their gadgets than praying.  Every celebration of the sacrament is a moment and experience of grace, of encountering God and His holiness among His people.

            But the most disturbing area where there is massive erosion of respect due to abuse of digital technology is with how we regard the dying and the dead.

            Recently I went to anoint a dying parishioner.  His room was dimly lit and I could hardly read the prayers for the dying until a flood of white light in my direction came.  Suddenly, it went off and when I looked back to request for the light again, it turned out to be coming from the camera phone of the dying patient’s only daughter who was “recording” my anointing of his dying father. It was a surreal experience that got me thinking after the rites if it was just a case of “generation gap” or a lack of respect and concern for persons?  That experience held me for some time, especially when I recalled how I skipped breakfast to run to the side of the dying man, praying hard for his peaceful death with his neighbors while… his only daughter was busy filming his dying moments???  Every week I visit the sick in my parish, in the hospitals and in their homes where there is only one same scene:  a deafening silence broken by intermittent cries or sobs of family members gathered around a dying loved one.  Not until that sick call last Monday morning that was filmed and uploaded when the patient died later that evening.

            And this situation gets worse during funerals where it seems to have become “normal” to have groufies – with all smiles – beside the dead.  Are we not supposed to be mourning when we go to sympathize with the bereaved family?  Where have all the respect, decency, and decorum or taste and common sense gone during funerals and wakes?  TV news is more respectful in keeping its unwritten code to never show the deceased as a sign of respect.  The only time this was skipped was during the wake of Ninoy Aquino in 1983 after his mother Dona Aurora allowed him shown on newspapers and television.  And that was an extraordinary situation that eventually earned Ninoy tremendous respect.

               There is a need to put technology in its proper use, especially in the Church and in our spiritual endeavors to keep our sense of respect, both for the living and the dead.  The Book of Ecclesiastes reminds us that “there is a time for everything, a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.”(Eccl.3:1,4)  Technology is a gift from God and Vatican II rightly noted in its document on social communications that “The Church recognizes that these media, if properly utilized, can be of great service to mankind, since they greatly contribute to men’s entertainment and instruction as well as to the spread and support of the Kingdom of God. The Church recognizes, too, that men can employ these media contrary to the plan of the Creator and to their own loss.” (Inter Mirifica #2)  Let us limit technology in our interpersonal relationships so we can start looking into each other anew as persons to experience our humanity and rediscover our dignity and, along with it, the nobility of respect.  (Photos from Google.)