Prayer of Presentation of Self to the Lord

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The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe-Prayer
Wednesday, 21 November 2018, Memorial of the Presentation of the BVM
Revelation 4:1-11///Luke 19:11-28

            Lord Jesus Christ, the skies are hazy today.  There’s a typhoon down south of our country.  The readings for today are so beautiful and yet we also celebrate the memorial of the presentation of your Mother to the temple.  So many things are in my heart, in my mind.

            Thank you Lord for accepting me into your family of disciples (Mt. 12:46-50).  Thank you Jesus in calling me like John the Beloved to see of the things to come, to see the four winged creatures symbolizing the evangelists (Rev. 4:1ff).

             It is always good to serve before you, to help others in need, to touch others with your love and kindness, mercy and forgiveness.  These past two days, I have prayed for more love, life and conviction from you to follow you more closely.

             As we celebrate today the memorial of the presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I pray for the grace to wholly offer myself anew to you.  I am a sinner.  Like the people gathered before you during your time, I sometimes refuse to believe in you, to accept you.  Like that servant in your parable today, I have kept the gospel in myself, I have not used it wisely and have not prospered so well to bear fruits in me and in others.

              Cleanse me, Jesus, my Lord and my God.  You are the Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.  Like your Mary your mother and our mother too, cleanse me and give me the grace of docility, of humility, and fidelity to be like her, the “daughter of Zion” prophesized by Zechariah so that you may dwell in me and your kingdom come in me.  AMEN. Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Parokya ng San Juan Apostol at Ebanghelista, Gov. F. Halili Ave., Bagbaguin, Sta. Maria, Bulacan 3022.

*Photo from Google.

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Ano Nga Ba ang Inaabangan sa Pasko?

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-20 ng Nobyembre 2018
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Minsa’y nagmisa ako sa aming mababang paaralan
At sa aking panimula aking nausisa mga bata
Kung ilang araw na nga lang ba ang Pasko?
Nag-uunahan, nakangiti na tila baga bumabati
At kasali sa laban o bawi, buong galak nilang sinabi
“41 days before Christmas!”
Ako’y nagulat, kanila pala’ng inaabangan
Araw ng Pasko kaya’t bilang nila kung ilang araw na lang
Habang ako nama’y nagulantang sa gayong katotohanan.
Bakit nga ba tayo sabik sa araw ng Pasko?
Ano nga ba ating inaabangan
Palagi tayong mayroong countdown?
Kung ang Pasko ay isang petsa nga lang,
Bakit hindi na lang tayo magbilangan
Bagong Taon pa lamang?
Madalas sa ating karanasan
Tayo ma’y natitigilan kinagabihan ng Pasko
Lalo na’t nagkaubusan ng pagkai’t mga pamaskong pinaghandaan.
Ito nga lang ba ang dahilan at kahulugan ng Kapaskuhan?
Lahat ng kaabalahanan at kapaguran sa paghihintay
Di malaman kung napasaan?
Kung ating pagninilayan diwa ng Pasko
Araw-araw itong maipagdiriwang kung sa puso natin sumisilang
Itong si Hesus at hindi sa sabsaban.
Higit sa petsa ng Kanyang kapanganakan
Ang Pasko ay isang kaganapan nang makialam
Sa ating kaguluhan ang Diyos na walang hanggan;
Kanyang pinunan, ating kakulangan
Binigyang saysay buhay nating walang kabuluhan
Upang tayong sinilang sa kasalanan, magkaroon ng kabanalan.
Mamuhay tayo’ng lagi sa Kanyang kapanatilihan
Upang ngayon pa lamang ay maranasan hatid Niyang kagalakan
Kesa ito’y abangan at malibang sa pagbibilang ng petsa at buwan.
BelenJohnHay2
Larawan ay kuha ng may-akda, Belen ng Manor House sa Camp John Hay, Baguio, Nobyembre 2017.

Prayer to be filled with Life Anew

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The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe-Prayer
Tuesday, 20 November 2018, Week XXXIII, Year II
Revelation 3:1-6, 14-22///Luke 19:1-10

            Lord Jesus Christ, today I feel like your beloved disciple John, receiving your revelations not about the end of time but about my real self.

            Like the people of Sardis, so often I have that “reputation of being alive but actually dead (Rev.3:1).”  Yes, there are times I merely accomplish things for you but deeply lacking with life and vitality, zest and enthusiasm.  On the surface, like what St. Paul had noted in one of his letters, I act like busy body but really doing nothing.  If yesterday I lacked love in the things I do, most likely I also lack life.  When there is love, there is always life.

            Like the people of Sardis, I would always hide on the sides refusing to walk on the main street because I do not have the drive to be with you on the way.  Like Zachaeus, I climb trees to hide from others though too eager to see you, to look at you, to listen to you.

            Give me the grace to be filled with life anew, with warmth and energy, to make a stand for the gospel, to stand for what is true and just.  Forgive me in my lifelessness that made me lukewarm in the process like the people of Laodicea who were neither hot nor cold (Rev. 3:16).  Do not spit me out of your mouth, Lord.  Like Zachaeus, give me the grace to turn away from sins and evil, to make a stand for justice and truth.

            Let your salvation come today Lord in many families divided!  Like what you did in entering upon the home of Zachaeus, smash the walls dividing many family members from one another like indifference and coldness.  Fill them with more love and life, kindness and warmth, goodwill and concern for one another.  I pray for all family members who have stopped talking with each other, those with festering bitterness and suspicions deep inside, those who continue to hurt each other in words or in deeds, in silence and indifference.  Rekindle the warmth of their kinship, of their being one flesh, one blood, one root, one family.  AMEN. Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Parokya ng San Juan Apostol at Ebanghelista, Gov. F. Halili Ave., Bagbaguin, Sta. Maria, Bulacan 3022.

Photo by the author, Manor House, Camp John Hay, Baguio City, November 2017.

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Prayer to See Love Anew

LMC
Breakfast Recipe-Prayer, Monday
19 November 2018, Week XXXIII, Year II
Revelation 1: 1-4; 2:1-5///Luke 18:35-43

            Praise and thanksgiving to you O God, loving and merciful Father!

            Thank for making me realize on this beautiful Monday that doing so many good things are not enough if there is no love.  So many times I am blinded by the ministry, by the work to be done, by the people to be helped out, even by you, my God, that I do so many things for you without any love at all.

            I’m sorry, Lord.  There are times that ministry and service, even the very life of holiness become a task or a work to be done and completed, empty of any love at all.  There are many times I see myself becoming like the Ephesians in St. John’s vision filled with energy and vigor in the mission but empty of love.

           Heal my blindness, O Lord!  Let me regain not only my sight to see things clearly but to see you most especially in your essence, in love.  Let me see love in everything I do, love in the people I meet and serve.  Let me see, O Lord that love you have filled me with so much that I have forgotten and even refused to share sometimes.  AMEN. Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Parokya ng San Juan Apostol at Ebanghelista, Gov. F. Halili Ave., Bagbaguin, Sta. Maria, Bulacan 3022.

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“Seasons of Love” from the musical “Rent” (1996)

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Photo by Vincenzo Malagoli on Pexels.com
LordMyChefSundayMusic//Week XXXIII-B//18 November 2018
And Life Goes On…with Love

         What matters most in this life is not really what we have achieved but what we have become:  have we been more loving, more understanding, more forgiving?  Today’s gospel reminds us of the end of time.  It is something we must not be afraid of but actually anticipate with joy because eventually, we all die.  But we do not simply die by ourselves.  We die in Jesus Christ.  And to die in Christ is to live in love.  The moment we come to terms with life, then, we come to terms with death because that is when we start living in love.  Love is the only measure of life as expressed in this beautiful music from the rock opera “Rent” of 1996.  Enjoy your Sunday with a lot of love with everyone!  A lovely Sunday and week ahead of everyone!

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles
In laughter, in strife

In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in the life

How about love?(3x)
Measure in love
Seasons of love
Seasons of love

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Journeys to plan

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure the life
Of a woman or a man?

In truths that she learned
Or in times that he cried
In bridges he burned
Or the way that she died

It’s time now to sing out
Tho’ the story never ends
Let’s celebrate
Remember a year in the life of friends

Remember the love (3x)
Measure in love
Measure, measure your life in love

Seasons of love
Seasons of love

And Life Goes On…with Love

howietaal
The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe, Week XXXIII-B, 18 November  2018
Daniel 12:1-3///Hebrews 10:11-14, 18///Mark 13:24-32

            A clockmaker was about to finish a grandfather’s clock when the pendulum spoke and begged him not to be given that task of swinging back and forth to measure time.  “I am afraid I might not be able to do my job well when I have to swing every second or 60 times a minute, about 3600 an hour or 86400 a day,” the pendulum explained to the clockmaker who assured him everything would be fine.  The pendulum believed his maker.  Life goes on with the pendulum, tick-tock, tick-tock, sounding the chime every hour long even after his clockmaker had died.  In a sense, our lives are like the pendulum continually swinging, sometimes late, sometimes advanced.  When 2018 started, we felt so unsure of how this year would be but here we are, about to end the year as we look forward for the coming 2019.

           After celebrating All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, we are now in the penultimate week of our liturgical calendar set to close on Sunday with the Solemnity of Christ the King.  Today we are invited to focus on the “end time” called the eschaton or days of fulfillment of all that God has promised.  In fact, every celebration of the Mass is oriented towards this end, especially when we proclaim the mystery of faith, “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.”  In the Apostle’s Creed we profess every Sunday our belief in Jesus Christ “who shall come again to judge the living and the dead” as well as in the “communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of body and life everlasting.”

             Jesus said to his disciples:  “In those days after that tribulation the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.” (Mk.13:24-25)

             Jesus was still in the Temple and the people were marveling at its beauty when he spoke of these words, predicting its fall that would happen in the year 70 AD when Rome sacked Jerusalem.  But most of all, Jesus was speaking here in the classical language of apocalypse (from the Greek apocalypsis or revelation).  It is the same literary genre used in our first reading from the Book of Daniel.  Apocalyptic writings are not meant to be taken literally or even be imagined and pictured in its cosmic upheavals alluded to.  Jesus is not scaring us of the coming tribulations but is trying to evoke in us the image of a new creation dawning where the sun will be darkened, the moon will lose its light as the stars fall before His splendor as the returning Son of Man (see Rev. 21:23).  Recall how in Genesis God first created light by separating it from darkness when earth was all chaos and formless; then, He created the sun, moon, and stars to light the earth by fixing days and nights and years.  “In those days” life was simple and a bliss until sin came and everything was shattered.  In His infinite goodness, God preserved His creation and promised salvation to renew everything in the coming Savior.  “In those days” though there were disturbances and breaks from all the beauty of creation, life went on.  There was no need to destroy everything to start anew.  God perfects His creation amidst the many imperfections we are into.  Just like in our own experiences with the many tribulations we are going through like sickness, losses and deaths.  These words of the Lord and of the prophet Daniel are actually encouraging us to look at the fulfillment of the good news, the Gospel of Jesus Christ Himself personally coming to us, personally involved with us and in us.

             “And then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in the clouds’ with great power and glory, and then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.” (Mk.13:26-27)

             A cousin in Canada emailed me one early Sunday morning last month of his being diagnosed with advanced stage of liver cancer.  A former soldier who had spent ten years in Mindanao as a Scout Ranger, he simply told me to pray for him in his life’s final battle.  More than the sadness is the pain still in my heart with his condition that it took me the whole day to write him back to assure him of my prayers. His siblings along with some cousins and relatives flew to visit him in Toronto, all praying for some miracle.  I chose to be silent in their prayers for a miracle because that very day he told me of his cancer, I have offered him to God.  Like Jesus Christ, it is not being a “kj” or killjoy to focus more on the coming eschaton and apocalyptic realities of present tribulations we are going through.  Death surely comes.  We are all going through many tribulations at the moment as individuals, as families, as communities and as a nation.  And things could even get worst before things get any better, here or hereafter.  That’s the reality of life we must face with joy and anticipation.  The prophet Daniel mentions in his vision seeing God sending us Archangel Michael to help us in our battle with evil in this life.  God recognizes the severity and gravity of our tribulations that He had sent us St. Michael so that life would go on while we await that eschaton that must be our gaze despite not knowing when it would be.  What the Lord is telling us is to learn from the fig tree, to always see each passing day as a changing of season, a time of rebirth, of living in His presence which the author of the letter to the Hebrews implies as always standing and faithful in our duties as disciples of Christ now“seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven”.
 

           Life goes on with all the tribulations in and around us because God never leaves us alone.  There would always be destructions and endings in life to give way to more recreations and new beginnings.  The key is to be like the pendulum, remaining faithful in our task of lovingly serving God among those around us.  In 1996, the rock musical “Rent” opened in Broadway.  Its theme song is called “Seasons of Love” which says life is measured not in minutes or time but in love.  Very true!  The most important and memorable events of our lives are those moments we have loved or we have been loved.  To live is to love and that is why if you want to be eternal, love for only love shall remain.  And it is love that will see us through in this life that is passing.  You are loved!  AMEN.Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Parokya ni San Juan Apostol at Ebanghelista, Gov. F. Halili Ave., Bagbaguin, Sta. Maria, Bulacan 3022.

*Photo by Mr. Howie Severino of GMA-7 News, Taal Lake, 13 November 2018.  Used with permission.  Photo below from Google.

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Prayer to Live in Love

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The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe-Prayer
Friday, 16 November 2018, Week XXXII, Year II
2 John 4-9//Luke 17:26-37
            Today O God I join the psalmist in singing praise to you, praying to live in love:

          “Blessed are they whose way is blameless, who walks in the law of the Lord.”(Ps.119:1)  You only have one law, O God, which is to love you and to love others.

          “Blessed are they who observe his decrees, seek him with all their heart.” (Ps. 119: 2)   To follow your love is to live in love, to desire only love in my heart.

         “With all my heart I seek you; let me not stray from your commands.” (Ps.119:10)        To have love in my heart is to be blessed by you, O God.  Fill me with more love.

         “Within my heart I treasure your promise that I may not sin against you.” (Ps.119:11)   To sin is a refusal to love as you have commanded us.  Fill me with more love.

         “Be good to your servant, that I may live and keep your words.” (Ps.119:17)                     Let me not be deceived, O God, to remain faithful in Christ’s teaching of love.

         “Open my eyes, that I may consider the wonders of your law.” (Ps.119:18)                        To be loved is to be touched by you, O God.

          Open my eyes, O God, to see the many instances you have loved me, you have touched me through the kindness and goodness of others.  Open my eyes to see how much you love me in the wonderful turn of events no matter how difficult or painful these may be.  Open my eyes to see those around me needing your love, who could not see you or feel you because we who have been filled with your love as too selfish to share your love with them.

            It is only when I begin to live in love that I come to terms with the end that comes in every here and now.  It is only when I live in love when I am truly alive, when I am truly present in you and with others, seeing your daily coming like in the time of Noah.  AMEN. Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Parokya ng San Juan Apostol at Ebanghelista, Gov. F. Halili Ave., Bagbaguin, Sta. Maria, Bulacan 3022.

*Photo by author, SCTEx-Subic, October 2018.