God our foundation

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul
Thursday, Week-XII, Year-I, 28 June 2019
Genesis 16:1-12, 15-16 >< }}}*> <*{{{ >< Matthew 7:21-29
The massive Wailing Wall of Jerusalem reminds us of God as foundation of our lives: firm and unshakeable, always present with us. Photo by author, 04 May 2019.

It was raining so hard last night as I prayed to you, O God, about today’s gospel:

Jesus said to his disciples: “Everyone who listens to these words of mind and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.”

Matthew 7:24-25

So often, O Lord, we dilly dally with our decisions, we can’t stand on our choices.

Like Sarai, the wife of Abram: in our first reading, she asked Abram to have a son with her servant Hagar so he could have an heir of his own.

You allowed it to bear fruit, Lord – so, that means, you went with their decision though you still have your own plans for Abram to become the father of nations.

And this is what I like with you, Lord our God: even if we make wrong decisions or forget all about it, you are always there ready to keep us whole and together. You did not forsake Hagar and her son Ishmael. In fact, you blessed them both!

O Lord, help us to always have you as our foundation in life so that even if we get lost, we could still find our way back to you.

Help us to have you as our foundation in life, Lord, so that even if our lives are like a piece of cloth shredded of its threads, there is always one, last, single thread where we could spin another cloth anew to be whole again.

Give us the grace, Jesus, to call you “Lord, Lord” with conviction so that no matter what happens with us, we remain grounded on you our foundation. Amen.

From Google.

Trusting God

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul
Wednesday, Week XII, Year I, 26 June 2019
Genesis 13:2, 5-18 >< )))*> >< )))*> Matthew 7:15-20
Petra in Jordan, 30 April 2019. Photo by author.

Almighty God, did you really appear to Abraham when you promised him to be the father of a great nation and made that covenant with him in the desert? What did he see in the desert that he put his faith in you so much, Lord?

The word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision…

Abram put his faith in the Lord, who credited it to him as an act of righteousness.

Genesis 15:1, 6

To have faith in you, O God, like Abraham is to see more what our eyes can perceive. To have faith in you, O God, like Abraham is to see and experience the fruits of believing in you. To have faith in you, O God, like Abraham is to see nothing at all except you.

When I think of your Holy Land, O Lord, there is really nothing much to see around but its vast wilderness. Most likely during the time of Abraham, it must have been more barren than today. It was in that nothingness that he saw your greatness, O God, that he put his faith in you.

How ironic that it is only when there is nothing left with us that we can truly see your great gifts for us, Lord: our being special, our being loved and cherished by you, our being simply ourselves that we are alive that truly make us have more faith in you than all the things you can shower upon us.

It is in our nothingness, in our simplicity that we become fully aware of your abundance blessings that we start to have faith in you.

Open our eyes of faith to always look for your fruits of love and kindness, mercy and forgiveness, life and fulfillment in us. Amen.

Choosing God

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul
Tuesday, Wk. XII, Yr.I, 25 June 2019
Genesis 13:2, 5-18 >< )))*> Matthew 7:6, 12-14
The picturesque Siq leading to Petra in Jordan. Photo by author 30 April 2019.

Every day, Lord God, you give us the wonderful gift of making choices, of deciding for ourselves to choose what is best for us. Unfortunately, we always forget the very essence of making every choice which is to always choose what is good, what is the best.

Very often, we make the wrong choices in life because we fail to consider in choosing you first, the highest good, the summum bonum.

Like Lot in the first reading, we are easily misled by beautiful sights, of abundance, of having everything as bases in choosing what is best for us.

We always forget that saying “not all that glitters is gold” as Lot would eventually found out later how sinful were the people living in those areas he had chosen where the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah thrived.

Teach us to be like Abraham, to always trust in your wisdom, in your plans, and in your providence.

Teach us to choose you first of all above all.

And choosing you, Lord, means choosing the path of sacrifice and of giving of self.

Jesus said to his disciples: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.”

Matthew 7:13-14

Bless, O Lord, those who have to make important decisions today, those discerning your will. Enlighten their minds and their hearts to choose you only and to stand firm on that choice. Amen.

The narrow door leading to the Nativity Church in Bethlehem that reminds us of the need to be small, to be humble to truly meet Jesus Christ. Photo by author, 04 May 2019.

Where are you leading me, Lord?

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul
Solemnity of the Birth of John the Baptist, 24 June 2019
Isaiah 49:1-6 >< }}}*> Acts 13:22-26 >< }}}*> Luke 1:57-66, 80
St. John the Baptist Church in Ein Karem, birthplace of St. John the Baptist. Photo by author, 05 May 2019.

Praise and glory to you, O God our almighty Father! Thank you very much for the gift of life, for the gift of being born into this world to see and experience your majesty. Indeed, it is always good to be alive, no matter what our condition or status in life may be.

Unfortunately, Lord, there are so many times in life that we fail to see life’s beauty because we have taken control over ourselves and everything, leaving no room for you to work in us, with us and through us. So many times, Lord, we wonder what we would be like what the neighbors and relatives of John the Baptist said when he was born.

All who heard this these things took them to heart, saying, “What, then, will this child be?” For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.

Luke 1:66

Perhaps, it will be best for us today to be silent as we celebrate John the Baptist’s birthday to let your hand be upon us too, O God, so we may ponder and pray where you are leading us.

It is the start of work and studies for another week. Some of us are getting tired of the routine, some of us could no longer find meaning and direction in life. And some of us are on the brink of giving up on our many plans and even with our very lives!

Let your hand be upon us, Lord, and lead us to your direction. Guide us with your Holy Spirit. Teach us to lay aside our plans and personal agenda to allow you to take us where you would want us to be. Give us the courage to take that plunge into the unknown, trusting you alone wherever you may be leading us.

So many times Lord, we are like John the Baptist’s father Zechariah who believe so much with ourselves that we forget to trust you.

And many times, too, we are like the relatives and neighbors of Elizabeth who always interfere with your plans, insisting on following traditions and patterns, preventing you from surprising us.

Keep us silent today, Lord, to hear you more, to follow you more wherever you are leading us. Amen.

Pilgrims outside the Church of St. John the Baptist in Ein Karem waiting for their turn to enter his birthplace. What a beautiful sight of people still patiently waiting for God to lead them closer to him.

“When The Morning Comes” by the Kalapana (1975)

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Music, 23 June 2019
Sunrise at Lake Tiberias, the Holy Land, 02 May 2019. Photo by the author.

Our Sunday music on this Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ is an original composition by Daryl Hall of the dynamic duo “Hall and Oates” included in their “Abandoned Luncheonette” album released in 1973. Two years later, the upcoming rock group who called themselves “Kalapana” based in Hawaii did a cover of the Hall composition that became a hit that many thought it to be their original.

What I like with Kalapana is how they can make sad songs sound good like “When the Morning Comes” or their more popular hit “The Hurt”.

There is too much darkness in their songs, of disappointments but, the way they sang them you forget all their sad messages.

Went down town to see my little lady
She stood me up and I stood there waiting
It’ll be alright,
When the morning comes

Well now I’m up in the air with the rain in my hair
Got nowhere to go I can go anywhere
It’ll be alright
When the morning comes

I’m just passin’ and I’m not askin’ that you be anyone but you
When you come home, try to come home alone
It’s so much better with two

Well now I’m out in the cold and I’m growin’ old
Standing here waiting on you
It’ll be alright 
When the morning comes

Ooh ooh ooh ooh
When the morning comes
Ooh ooh ooh ooh
When the morning comes

There will always be darkness in our lives.

And that is why Jesus came, not really to remove darkness but, to accompany us so we can make it through the night until the morning comes.

But most of all, on this Solemnity of His Body and Blood, Jesus invites us to be his presence in the world plunged in darkness by always trying to see him in the face of everyone we meet.

As most people say, darkness ends and morning comes the moment we come to recognize the face of another person as our brother or sister.

Happy listening to everyone and enjoy your Sunday!

From “no body” to “some body”

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe for the Soul
Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, 23 June 2019
Genesis 14:18-20 >< )))*> 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 >< )))*> Luke 9:11-17
Darkness descending upon the Sinai mountain range at St. Catherine, Egypt, 07 May 2019. Photo by author.

We all fear darkness.

It is difficult to do things in darkness because our sight is always impaired. We cannot see things clearly, giving rise to many imaginations of evil lurking behind darkness.

Even in the bible, darkness means the presence of evil. And this is why the bible teems with many stories of God coming to his people in darkness. Most especially in the gospels where Jesus comes to comfort and console his disciples and the people in darkness.

But there is more sinister in darkness, a kind of darkness that envelops people and not just the world around us. It is a darkness that refuses to see the other person as a brother and a sister. This we see in our gospel on this Sunday Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

As the day was drawing to a close, the Twelve approached him and said, “Dismiss the crowd so that they can go to the surrounding villages and farms and find lodging and provisions; for we are in a deserted place here.” He said to them, “Give them some food yourselves.” They replied, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have, unless we ourselves go and buy food for all these people.”

Luke 9:12-13

It is a very classic situation we always find ourselves in when more than the darkness around us is the darkness within when we refuse to see the face of everyone as another person who needs to be cared for, who must be fed and kept warm. Most of all, assured as a brother and a sister, being our kin or one of us.

This is the tragedy that happened recently at the Recto Bank where 22 local fishermen were abandoned at sea when a Chinese fishing vessel rammed their boat while safely anchored in the dead of the night.

After several hours at sea, Vietnamese fishermen rescued the 22 Filipinos, gave them water, and fed them with rice and noodles. Despite their language barrier that was another kind of darkness, the Filipino and Vietnamese fishermen understood each other in hand gestures, repeating only three words they knew so well: “Philippines. Vietnam. Friends.”

But the scariest darkness that the 22 local fishermen went through did not happen at sea but at home under glaring lights of camera when government officials downplayed their harrowing experience, dismissing it as an ordinary maritime accident involving “ordinary folks” (i.e., fishermen) and worst of all, after barraging them with so many questions and insinuations sweetened with offers of cash and materials, they eventually succumbed to darkness that they retracted their earlier statements of the incident.

Photo from Yahoo News.

The Recto Bank incident showed us the blinding darkness we are into as a nation. It shows how as the only Christian nation in this part of the world we have been living in too much darkness within us, how we have long forgotten to see the other person as a brother or a sister, that we have stopped caring for one another despite our too many devotions and religiosity.

Like the Twelve, we always wanted to secure our own comfort when darkness comes that we keep on dismissing others away, unmindful of whatever would happen to them along the way. This we do in all sectors of society when we do not care for those next to us if there would still be enough funds or resources or infrastructures after us. This is most evident in our garbage disposal and lack of care for the environment when we think only of our own selves, regardless of the next generation.

And, so, here we are groping in darkness even in the Church when both the clergy and the laity have been blinded by edifice complex, erecting monuments for their own glory forgetting those in the margin. How can some of us in the Church hide in darkness with all kinds of abuses, sexual and financial exploitation of those entrusted to us?

Today in this Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, we are invited to dispel the darkness within us by seeing again that everything we have is from God.

In the first reading we heard the mysterious person Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of the Lord. He had blessed Abraham with bread and wine after he had won over four pagan kings. Unlike most victors in any war, Abraham refused to take all the possessions of the pagan kings he had defeated because it was very clear to him his victory was due to God’s intercession. He claimed nothing to himself and that is he gave a tenth of everything to Melchizedek who then blessed him. It is exactly what we do in every Sunday Mass when we celebrate each week with gratitude to all of God’s blessings we have received. Like Abraham, we share not only our selves but also our treasures to God through our Mass offerings.

This is what St. John Paul II called as the “cosmic character” of the Eucharist.

In his 2003 encyclical “Ecclesia de Eucharistia”, St. John Paul II described this cosmic character of the Eucharist as Christ’s saving presence in the community of the faithful everywhere (cf. Ecclesia de Eucharistia 8-9). This happens when we enter into this mystery of Christ in the Holy Communion of the Mass whereby after receiving his Body and Blood, we become his very presence in the world which St. Paul explained in our second reading today.

With this in mind now, we see the larger context of the instruction of Jesus to the Twelve in the wilderness at that time of darkness to “Give them some food yourselves” (Lk.9:13). During his last supper, Jesus took bread and said “This is my Body…this is my Blood.” You who receive me as your Teacher and Lord, see my Body in every-body. No one is a no-body.

Whenever there is a darkness within every person, there is surely a failure in recognizing this Body and Blood of Jesus. Recall how it was in the darkness of the night when Judas sold Jesus for 30 pieces of silver to the priests. It was also in the darkness of the night when he betrayed Jesus.

There was also Simon during the darkness of the night who denied Jesus thrice when he failed to see him as his Lord for fear of being arrested too.

Then there were the two disciples going back to Emmaus on the evening of Easter: they were both in the darkness of despair and loss after the Crucifixion of Jesus whom they did not recognize walking with them at sunset. And when they recognized him at the breaking of bread, despite the darkness around them, they hurriedly back to Jerusalem to inform the Apostles how they have met the Risen Lord!

The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ today reminds us that despite the many darkness in the world today, even right in our very hearts, Jesus comes to dispel them so we can see more the beauty and wonder of life and every person around us.

Is there any darkness in you that needs to be dispelled by Christ’s Body and Blood? Are you ready to offer him that darkness in your heart to become his light in this dark world?

A blessed week to everyone!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Ang paboritong laro ni Hesus

Lawiswis ng Salita ni P. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Ika-21 ng Hunyo 2019
Larawan mula sa Google.

Tinanong sila ni Hesus,
“Hindi pa ba ninyo nababasa
ang talatang ito sa Kasulatan?
‘Ang batong itinakwil ng mga
tagapagtayo ng bahay
Ang siyang naging batong
Ginawa ito ng Panginoon,
At ito’y kahanga-hanga!'” †

Mateo 21:42
Madalas sa ating buhay
Tayo'y nanamlay sa maraming
Dagok at kabiguan
At ating nalilimutan itong katotohanan:
Kagandahan at kabutihan 
Ng Diyos sa ating nagmamahal
Kanya tayong sinasamahan
Kung saan hindi nating siya inaasahan.
Pangunahin niyang katangia'y
Magtago at magkubli sa mga tabi-tabi
Na sa tingin nati'y mga walang silbi
Sa pag-aakala nating Diyos ay naroon lang sa malalaki.
Kaya nang Siya ay magkatawang-tao
Hindi siya dumating na malaki
Kungdi sinilang na munting baby
Inaruga at pinalaki.
Nang si Hesus ay magsimulang magsilbi
Doon siya natagpuan sa mga tabi-tabi
Humirang mga lalaki na wala namang sinabi
At nakisama sa mabababang uri ng babai.
Larawan mula sa Rappler sa pamamagitan ng Google.
Kaya kung ang buhay ay isang laro
Natitiyak ko paborito sa lahat ni Kristo
Ang taguang pung at hindi patintero
Lalo nang hindi ang tumbang preso.
Pag masdan ninyo nang matanto:
Abalang-abala tayo sa paghahanap
Ng kung anu-anong natatago
Gayong tayo naman ang nabuburo.
Palaging taya, palaging kawawa;
At kung minsan nama'y nadaraya.
Kaya kung si Hesus ay iyong matagpuan at...
Pung! Siya na ang taya, ikaw ang malaya.