Good Fridays on Sundays

Quiet Storm by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, 11 October 2020
Photo by Ms. Anne Ramos, Good Friday “motororized procession” of Santo
Entierro in our Parish during COVID-19, 10 April 2020.
Lately I have noticed
since month of August
when we have a spike of the virus
I have felt heavy and serious
as Sundays have become 
more like a Good Friday
with the streets and church seats
both empty;  nobody seems to be happy
or Sundays have become more lazy?
How I miss the people I always see
wondering if they are safe and healthy
or maybe so wary just like me.
Sometimes I still feel
how everything is surreal
will I make it to next year
enjoying life without fear?
I have been wondering
if the Lord is still hanging
or have they crucified him again?
Life in the midst of COVID-19
has become more challenging
listening to silence so deafening
when God does not seem to be caring;
but, deep within
there is that calming
during Good Friday
that Easter Sunday
 is surely coming:
keep on believing, keep on praying
if Sundays look like a Good Friday
this may only mean one thing, that
Jesus is with us suffering COVID-19!

“You Gotta Be” by Des’ree (1994)

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Music by Fr. Nick F. Lalog II, 12 July 2020
Van Gogh’s “The Sower” from Wikimedia Commons.

It is a very lovely Sunday with Jesus Christ continuing to shower us with his good seeds to make us fruitful despite the many setbacks we may have had lately due to the COVID-19 pandemic and sad turn of events.

His parable of the sower proclaimed today in all churches throughout the world reminds us that inasmuch as we have to be a good kind of soil, we need to examine the kind of seeds we have become.

Seeds are so small that we often take for granted, like our very lives and most especially God.

But, Jesus reminds us too of how every seed is the presence of what is to come in the future, of something so big and huge that we can never imagine (https://lordmychef.com/2020/07/11/jesus-is-both-the-sower-and-the-seed-and-so-must-we/).

In a sense, Jesus is telling us today what Des’ree sang in 1994, “You Gotta Be”…..

Listen as your day unfolds
Challenge what the future holds
Try and keep your head up to the sky
Lovers, they may cause you tears
Go ahead release your fears
Stand up and be counted
Don’t be ashamed to cry
You gotta be
You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold
You gotta be wiser, you gotta be hard
You gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger
You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm
You gotta stay together
All I know, all I know, love will save the day

You Gotta Be was first released as a single in 1994 and instantly became a hit worldwide staying on top of almost every chart in the US, Europe and Australia. Music is warmly smooth, at the same time infectious with a sort of hypnotic effect from its sophisticated upbeat set in the cool and soothing voice of Des’ree who also wrote its lyrics.

I have used the song in my classes in our school for girls a decade ago and in many recollections and retreats to young people as it presents to us this great mystery of life packed in a seed that must fall and die to give way to new life and eventually bear fruit.

You gotta hear and feel it to appreciate this wonderful music that sounds like Jesus Christ’s parable of the sower.

I have uploaded the video with lyrics so you can follow and sing. And dance if you wish. Have a blessed day!

Video uploaded by
MyFavMusic123

“Someone Like You” by Van Morrison (1987)

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Music by Fr. Nick F. Lalog II, 05 July 2020

At that time Jesus exclaimed: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

If there is anything we all wish this first Sunday of July 2020, it must be rest from all the worries and burdens in this time of the corona. We all want something that would be lighter in this second half of the heaviest year we have ever had in decades or even a generation.

Being light does not mean being worry-free, no problems nor sufferings. Dr. M. Scott Peck insists in his book Road Less Travelled that “life is difficult” – the sooner we realize and accept this, the better for us (see our homily, https://lordmychef.com/2020/07/04/we-are-disciples-of-a-meek-and-humble-lord/).

Being light is having a companion to share with our burdens and woes in life because having these all by ourselves is so difficult and impossible. Most of the time, our problems need not be solved at all but simply be accepted and shared with someone who loves us, cares for us, and believes in us.

Jesus Christ is that only companion par excellence we can have for he is meek and humble of heart.

Van Morrison’s lovely ballad Someone Like You released in 1987 captures this essential desire among us all to seek and forge many relationships.

I've been searching a long time
Someone exactly like you
I've been traveling all around the world
Waiting for you to come through

Someone like you makes it all worth while
Someone like you keeps me satisfied
Someone exactly like you

Though the song has become a staple in many weddings and in many romantic movies covered by various artists, Someone Like You sounds more like a spiritual song longing for God through our loved ones for he is always faithful and loving to us despite our many weaknesses and sins.

I've been doin' some soul searching
To find out where you're at
I've been up and down the highway
In all kinds of foreign lands

Someone like you makes it all worth while
Someone like you keeps me satisfied
Someone…

May Van Morrison’s song bring you closer to God through your loved ones as we continue to hurdle the many obstacles and trials ahead in this time of COVID-19.

Have a blessed Sunday and brand new week ahead!

Video uploaded at YouTube by Megan Smith.

“Possession Obsession” by Hall and Oates (1984)

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Music by Fr. Nick F. Lalog II, 28 June 2020
Photo by Alex Powell on Pexels.com

One reason I have this blog on trying to link secular music with the Sunday gospel is the firm belief that God continues to speak to us through modern means of communications like music and films. Sometimes I feel that if Jesus were with us today, he might be instructing us priests to “feed my geeks” than “feed my sheep”.…..

For this Sunday we have the dynamic duo of Daryl Hall and John Oates — my most favorite group standing side by side with the late Walker Becker and Donald Fagen of Steely Dan.

Released in 1984 from their “Big Bam Boom” album, Possession Obsession is one of a kind in their long list of superb music with John Oates taking the front seat in this song unlike in their previous hits where it would always be Daryl taking the lead.

I have listened maybe a hundred times to Possession Obsession but it was only yesterday after preparing my Sunday homily that I have tried to internalize its lyrics, including the music video directed by Bob Giraldi who did Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”.

The song perfectly echoes the Sunday teaching today of Jesus Christ who said that

“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Matthew 10:39

Possession Obsession echoes Christ’s teaching this Sunday on life’s paradox wherein the more we give, the more we actually receive, that life is not about possession and having but about love, of giving and of sharing with others.

You know there's something you need
Right here and now
To fill the space inside of yourself
Money love or power
When you want to have the number one first run anyone
You're crazy 'til you own them

You ought to know better than that
The more that you buy the less you get back
It's a case of possession obsession
Gimme Gimme

The compulsion to count the percentage of time
Spent between two lovers
Can turn an hour into a crime
And all the good times suffer
Though you know it's only jealousy
You can't help but be
Haunted by your passion

Don't you know it's a matter of fact
The more that you take the less you give back
Just a taste of possession obsession
Brings a case of possession obsession
Gimme Gimme

Watch closely too this music video set inside a cab with John Oates as driver, taking different passengers in all the different forms of “love” understood these days, far from the truth witnessed to us by Jesus Christ.

In fact, it is one of the first music video to present two men holding hands as lovers at the back of John’s cab with one of the men looking like the late David Bowie (?).

At the last sequence of the music video is a beautiful presentation of giving and loving when Hall and Oates were in their usual attires in a cafe, competing in “possessing” the sugar dispenser. Hall prevailed and right before putting sugar into his coffee, he changed his mind and slid the sugar dispenser to Oates at the other end of the bar table.

Nice song, nice music, nice video.

For reflections on this Sunday’s gospel, check my homily https://lordmychef.com/2020/06/27/let-christ-possess-us/

Have a beautiful and blessed Sunday.

From YouTube.com

“Same In Any Language” OST Elizabethtown (2005)

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Music by Fr. Nick F. Lalog II, 14 June 2020
Photo by author, sculpture of Jesus Christ as a homeless man sleeping on a bench at the entrance to the ancient town of Capernaum in Galilee where he grew up. May 2019.

Nice to be back, my dear readers and followers!

We have been unable to post our Sunday music since March due to demands of the ministry during this quarantine period of COVID-19 pandemic. Hoping you are all doing well, getting by each day with music.

Our featured music this Sunday should have been last week when we celebrated the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity as it talks about “l-o-v-e”, the love of God expressed in their community of Persons as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

But, any talk about love always presupposes “presence” because any one who truly loves is always present to the one he/she loves.

That is why we find Same in Any Language from the motion picture “Elizabethtown” (2005) still appropriate this Sunday of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ which is an invitation to us all to be present with everyone like God who is always present among us especially in our life’s dark moments.

Written and directed by Cameron Crowe, “Elizabethtown” is a romance-comedy starring Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst. Though it did not measure up to Crowe’s “Almost Famous” released in year 2000, “Elizabethtown” is still a good film despite the negative reviews by most critics.

It is a story about love found in the most strange yet ordinary situation when Orlando was at his lowest point in life after losing his job as a shoe designer that turned out to be a big market flop. As he contemplated suicide, his father died and had to fly to Elizabethtown for the cremation.

It was on that flight he met and befriended the stewardess Kristen whose presence – and love – helped him overcome his darkness in life.

And that is what the song tells us, that love is the same in any language.

Anywhere there is somebody willing to listen or lend a hand, be present to anyone in need, that is love.

Sometime ago I met a Navajo
In a parking lot in Tokyo
He said everything wordlessly
Wonderlust in my eyes, he did see
Oh yea
Oh oh yea
Those postcards I sent to Birmingham
All the way from those windows of Amsterdam
I copped a gram from Dappersan
Just to fall at her man in another jam
Oh yea
Oh oh yea
Its the same in any language
A brother is a brother if there's one thing I know
Its the same in any language
Wherever you go
Oooo yea

It is the same in every language when Jesus said, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven” (John 6:51) because he gives himself as food and drink to nourish us in this life full of pains and sufferings. Jesus came and gave himself to us because of love, to give life to us. And that is what he is also asking of us, especially in this time of corona virus pandemic to share his love with others.

It’s the same in any language, even when put into music….

Aral ng COVID-19, I: Pagmamahal at pagpapahalaga sa kapwa

Lawiswis Ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-19 ng Abril 2020

Maraming aral sa atin
itong COVID-19
ngunit ito muna ibig kong sabihin
dahil kung mayroong mga ningning
sa gitna nitong dilim 
na bumabalot sa atin
ay ang tila pagkagising sa kahalagahan
ng pag-ibig at pagtingin 
sa bawat kapwa natin.
Bago pa man dumating
itong social distancing
matagal na tayong malamig
at manhid sa nasa paligid natin;
nagsasarili, kapwa di pansinin
nahuhumaling sa texting, 
gaming, at social media networking.
Kaya ngayon nakita natin
bagsik at bangis ng COVID-19
hindi malaman gagawin
lahat ibig dalawin
maski makipag-lamayan gagawin
mapadama lang kalinga natin.
Nakakatawang isipin
na mga microorganism
nakapagpagising sa katauhan natin
mahalin at pahalagahan kapwa natin
buhay di natin matitiyak
kung ito'y magniningning 
o magdidilim, papanaw sa lilim.
Panatilihin sa puso at kalooban natin
isang buhay hindi kayang himayin
biliangin man o tuuusin
dahil maski isang buhay lang
ito ay mahalaga at napakarami pa rin.

*lahat ng larawan ay kuha ni g. raffy tima ng gma-7 news maliban yaong una sa ibaba, kaliwa na kuha ni bb. lane blackwater nagpost sa kanyang facebook ng kabutihang loob ng mga nagpapanic buying sa isang supermarket nang mapansin ng isang babae ang kakaunting pinamili ni manong na mukhang hirap sa buhay; lahat ng namimili ay nag-ambag sa kanya ng iba’t ibang de lata at pangangailangan kaugnay ng banta ng covid-19.

“You’re In My Heart” by Rod Stewart (1977)

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Music, 16 February 2020

From Google.

I have always been a big fan of Rod Stewart since my elementary days when his 1977 hit “You’re In My Heart” was released. Since then I have followed his career, saving on my baon to buy some of his records and cassette tapes that some of my relatives doubted if I would ever become a priest with my kind of music!

But, when I entered the high school seminary in 1979 and heard our rector and spiritual director playing Rod Stewart’s music, that’s when I realized I could still become a priest with my kind of music.

And so, I finally became a priest in 1998 after leaving the seminary in 1982 – not because of rock music – that 21 years after, here still rockin’, now blogging to relate secular music with our Sunday gospel.

Pilgrims entering the Church of the Beatitudes with a painting of the Jesus giving his Sermon on the Mount. Photo by author, May 2019, the Holy Land.

This Sunday, Jesus continues his Sermon on the Mount, inviting us to look deeper into our hearts to see how much love and respect we have there for God and for others.

He cites four grave sins – murder, adultery, divorce, and lies – that all begin in our hearts.

Like what Jesus would later tell us, it is not what enters us that defile us but what comes from our hearts.

All troubles and sins outside like the wars and famines, the corruption and injustices that happen begin right inside our hearts.

And that is why we have chosen Rod Stewart’s classic “You’re In My Heart” that speaks of the great love – perhaps a crush or first love to a high school classmate.

Rod Stewart wrote this song and the lyrics are not only poetic but also playfully true that we can all identify with it, especially us men who have gone through the same feelings and experiences when we think of girls and sports at the same time while always lagging in our academics (LOL).

It is something like what our teachers used to tell us in elementary and high school: “boys will always be boys but girls turn into ladies and then into women”.

Have a heart, bask in the feeling of loving, and mature in our love in Christ!

You’re in my heart, you’re in my soul
You’ll be my breath should I grow old
You are my lover, you’re my best friend
You’re in my soul
My love for you is immeasurable
My respect for you immense
You’re ageless, timeless, lace and fineness
You’re beauty and elegance
You’re a rhapsody, a comedy
You’re a symphony and a play
You’re every love song ever written
But honey, what do you see in me?
You’re in my heart, you’re in my soul
You’ll be my breath should I grow old
You are my lover, you’re my best friend
You’re in my soul
You’re an essay in glamor
Please pardon the grammar
But you’re every schoolboy’s dream
You’re Celtic, United, but baby I’ve decided
You’re the best team I’ve ever seen

“I Saw the Light” by Todd Rundgren (1972)

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Music, 02 February 2020

Photo by Mr. Jim Marpa, Bohol, 2019.

Welcome, followers and readers to this Sunday edition of our The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Music as we feature a double-header from singer-composer Todd Rundgren: his first solid hit “I Saw the Light” and “Hello It’s Me” that are both from his 1972 album Something/Anything?

We are featuring two songs today because both are related with our celebration of the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord which falls on February second.

And besides, Todd’s music has always been my favorite while growing up in the 1970’s.

First, we choose I Saw the Light because it is very close to our liturgical feast today also known as Candlemass or Candelaria with Jesus Christ being the Light of the world. St. Luke tells us when Joseph and Mary brought the child Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem 40 days after Christmas, an old man of God named Simeon carried him in his arms and sang:

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory of your people Israel.”

Luke 2:29-32

Jesus is the Light of the world, the only one who can dispel all darkness in our lives.

In I Saw the Light, Todd tells us the story of a young man probably groping in some darkness in his relationship – actually a fling according to the song – with a girl and he does not know if that is really love.

Though we had our fling
I just never would suspect a thing
‘Til that little bell began to ring in my head
In my head
But I tried to run,
though I knew it wouldn’t help me none
‘Cause I couldn’t ever love no one, or so I said
But my feelings for you
were just something I never knew
‘Til I saw the light in your eyes
But I love you best
It’s not something that I say in jest
‘Cause you’re different, girl, from all the rest
In my eyes
And I ran out before but I won’t do it anymore
Can’t you see the light in my eyes

Meanwhile, in our second song Hello It’s Me, we find another man so in love with a woman who is also into some darkness.

Like in I Saw the Light, there is no recognition and hence, no meeting here in Hello It’s Me.

Hello, it’s me
I’ve thought about us for a long, long time
Maybe I think too much but something’s wrong
There’s something here that doesn’t last too long
Maybe I shouldn’t think of you as mine
Seeing you, or seeing anything as much as I do you
I take for granted that you’re always there
I take for granted that you just don’t care
Sometimes I can’t help seeing all the way through
It’s important to me
That you know you are free
‘Cause I never want to make you change for me

Both songs show us the important lesson taught to us by the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord: like anyone else, Jesus also comes but we on our part have to cultivate a relationship with him in order to always recognize him and eventually meet him to be one with him.

Just like the people we love.

Have a wonderful Sunday of prayer, food and drinks, and good music.

“Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson (1987)

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Music, 19 January 2019

Photo by Jenna Hamra on Pexels.com

Today we are celebrating an extension of Christmas Season with the Feast of the Sto. Niño that falls every third Sunday of January.

It is a special indult granted by Rome to the Philippines in recognition of the crucial role of the image of the Child Jesus we fondly call Sto. Niño given by Magellan to Queen Juana of Cebu almost 500 years ago when the Spaniards came to our shores to colonize and Christianize us as well.

The Sto. Niño is the second most popular Catholic devotion in our predominantly Christian nation, next to the Black Nazarene of Quiapo which we celebrated two weeks ago.

“Sleeping Sto. Niño” at our altar, 19 January 2020 photo by Jasper Dacutanan.

But a lot often, people forget the deeper meaning within the Sto. Niño that the path leading to becoming true disciples of Jesus, of following him to the Cross starts in becoming like a child, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt.18:3).

We will never be able to carry our cross and follow Jesus in selfless service and love to others unless we set aside our attitudes of being adults who know everything, insist on everything.

And that is why for this Sunday we have chosen the late Michael Jackson hit from his 1987 “Bad” album, Man in the Mirror.

It is one of the two songs in the album Michael Jackson did not write. It was written by Siedah Garrett and Glen Ballard who eventually both carved names for themselves in the music scene composing for other artists later.

According to stories, Michael and his producer Quincy Jones have asked their pool of composers to come up with a song that would serve as “an anthem” for the Bad album that would “spread some sunshine on the world”.

Michael liked the song right away and even after he had died, the song has become a classic with its timeless message that if you want to change the world, change yourself first.

And we say that looking on the man or woman on the mirror is the first step in becoming like a child as Jesus would want us all to do to enter the kingdom of heaven.

A blessed Sunday to you, dear reader and follower!

“Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfunkel

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Music, 12 January 2020

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“Bridge Over Troubled Water” is a song by American music duo Simon & Garfunkel released in January 1970, 50 years ago today as a follow up single to their other hit classic “The Boxer”.

The following year 1971, it won five awards at the 13th Annual Grammy Awards including Record of the Year and Song of the Year.

Ranked number 48 in Rolling Stones’ 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, Bridge Over Troubled Water became Simon & Garfunkel’s biggest hit single, considered as their signature song covered by more than 50 artists making it also as the most performed songs of the 20th century.

No wonder with its beautiful poetry composed by Paul Simon set in a soothing melody with a touch of gospel music that continues to touch so many lives to this day.

And that is why we have chosen it to be our Sunday Music to accompany our reflections on today’s Feast of the Baptism of Jesus Christ that closes the Christmas Season.

From Google.

When Jesus became human being born as a child in Bethlehem more than 2000 years ago, he became our Bridge both par excellence and non pareil.

In coming down to us, he became one of us truly human in everything except sin so that we can become like him who is divine and holy. In his Passion, Death, and Resurrection we have partaken through the Sacrament of Baptism, we have all become sons and daughters of the Father in heaven through him in the Holy Spirit.

Hence, every morning that we wake up, whether we are filled with joy and anticipation or saddled with pains and anxieties for the new day due to past failures, Jesus joins us in all of our dealings and tasks of each brand new day.

When you’re weary, feeling small
When tears are in your eyes, I’ll dry them all (all)
I’m on your side, oh, when times get rough
And friends just can’t be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
When you’re down and out
When you’re on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you (ooo)
I’ll take your part, oh, when darkness comes
And pain is all around
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
From Google.

No matter what you are going through today, as you strive to be good, to be loving and caring with others even if they do not reciprocate all your love and concern, when your loved ones are oblivious to your sacrifices for them, keep doing good for the Father is so well pleased with you like Jesus Christ, our Bridge over troubled water.

A blessed Sunday to you!