The Light of Christ Conquers Darkness of Sin

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The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe-Prayer
Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist//21 September 2018
Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13///Matthew 9:9-13

            Heavenly Father, we thank you for this feast of Matthew the Apostle who wrote for us one of the gospels that gave us a wonderful picture of the humanity of your Son Jesus Christ. In His humanity, Christ showed us in turn your gift of divinity for sinners like us in calling Matthew.

            As Jesus passed by, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.  He said to him, “Follow me.”  And he got up and followed him. (Mt.9:9)

            How wonderful it is that most of the Apostles you have called Lord are of low standing in the society like fishermen and now, a tax collector considered a sinner who is corrupt and a traitor as well.  We are all a Matthew, a sinner with a dark past, a dark background, even hiding in the darkness of sins and evil.

            How wonderful O Lord that you have come to call us from the dark, lighting up our path, most especially our faces to bring out that image and likeness of the Father when we were first created.  Like that beautiful painting of Caravaggio in the call of Matthew, come in our darkness not with flashing but with soft light that brightens us with hope and meaning in life.
           Continue to enlighten us, O Lord, with your warm light to enable us to “live in a manner worthy of the call we have received from you.” (Eph.4:1)  Most of all, help us like Matthew to rise always from our sinfulness and weaknesses, to leave the dark so we could follow you more closely and freely.  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:  the famous painting by Caravaggio and the favorite of Pope Francis on the call of Matthew hanging at the Contarelli Chapel of San Luigi Francesci in Rome. Caravaggio is famous for his play of light and shadows.
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Loving Much

RaffyBatanes1
The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe-Prayer
Thursday//20September2018//Week XXIV//Year II
1 Corinthians 15:1-11///Luke 7:36-50

            Dearest Lord Jesus Christ,

            On this feast of South Korea’s first priest-saint Andrew Kim Taegon and companions, I praise and thank you for your immense love expressed in forgiving my many sins.
             In your mercy, my sinful moments have become my deepest religious experiences too.  Whenever I find myself in grave sin, full of shame that I could not even call your name, you are always there – lovingly, patiently waiting for me.  Silently and very kindly, welcoming me to come near you even if I have not told you “I am sorry”  or “please forgive me.”
             You know me so well, and that’s the most amazing thing – that you still love me!
Like that woman in Simon’s house you have allowed to come to you, to cry at your feet and wipe them dry with her hair, kissing them and anointing them with ointment  (Lk. 7: 37-38), you just sat there, full of gentleness and mercy.  Though you knew who she was and, most especially of how the people there judged and condemned her, you remained silent.  But when you finally spoke out loud, your words were unbelievable: “Your sins are forgiven.” (Lk.7:48)
             So wonderful, O Lord, of you  reminding me always to strive harder to love and serve you among others because when I recall my many sins and feel shameful, that is also when I must feel grateful to you like Paul and that sinful woman.
             Teach me, Lord Jesus, to love much because much was forgiven of me, first by forgiving those who have hurt me so I could give them all the chances you have given me.AMEN. Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Parokya ng San Juan Apostol at Ebanghelista, Gov. F. Halili Ave., Bagbaguin, Sta. Maria, Bulacan 3022.
Photo courtesy of Mr. Raffy Tima of GMANews, Batanes After Typhoon Ompong, 18 September 2018.  Used with his permission.

The Way of Love, The Way of God

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The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe-Prayer
Wednesday//19 September 2018//Week XXIV//Year II
1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13///Luke 7:31-35
            
            God our Father,
            so often in your mystery we get lost and end up within our own, selfish selves.
            We always have our own ideas and perceptions of who you really are.
            We have become the truth and the only way of knowing you, of being with you.
            Exactly what Jesus complained against the Pharisees and scribes:

            “To what shall I compare the people of this generation?  What are they like?  They are like children who sit in the marketplace and call to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance.  We sang a dirge, but you did not weep.’  For John the Baptist came neither eating food nor drinking wine, and you said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’  The Son of Man came eating and drinking and you said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’”(Lk.7:31-34)

           And there are so many instances of how we insist on who you really are,            refusing to take you as you are, as you reveal yourself to us in many different ways.
          We have become the yardstick not only of what is good but even of you, our Lord.
          Give us the grace to know and realize like St. Paul that no matter how great are we in speaking and doing things, if we do not love, we are nothing.
           LOVE is the only way to know you and to be with you.
           LOVE makes us known that we belong to you.
           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, St. Paul Retreat and Spirituality Center, La Trinidad, Benguet, 18 July 2017.

Being One In Jesus Christ

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The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe-Prayer
Tuesday//18 September 2018//Week XXIV//Year II
1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 27-31///Luke 7:11-17

            Dear God in heaven, we always call you “our Father” but we never really live as brothers and sisters.  Everywhere there is always separation and worst are the competitions among us.  We could not see our being one family, as one body with many parts because we are so focused in our illusions of greatness and importance in the world.  Everyone claims to be better than the other, forgetting that we need each other.

            Rekindle in us again the “one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body in Christ” (1Cor. 12:13) as one people, the sheep of your flock (Ps.100:3).

            Come and visit us again in your Son Jesus Christ.  Restore us to life like that young man in Nain you raised from the dead to be reunited with one another.  Let no color or status or belief separate us from one another so that we may be one in Jesus Christ your Son.  Most of all, take away our illusions of greatness to make us see the reality that we are not complete in ourselves without you and others.  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.)

Jesus Christ Among Us

hapagngpagasa
The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe-Prayer
Monday//17 September 2018//Week XXIV//Year II
1 Corinthians 11:17-26, 33///Luke 7:1-10

            “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; but say the word and let my servant be healed.” (Lk.7:6, 7)

            So often we pray – or, actually recite this to you, O Lord, without realizing its beautiful meaning just before the Holy Communion.  Like the Corinthians being reprimanded today by St. Paul in our first reading, we have become so individualistic that in forgetting those around us we have also disregarded your presence in our midst especially in the Holy Eucharist.

             How sad when we eat, we simply fill our body with food and drinks, forgetting our souls to be nourished by the stories shared by those we dine with.  In this world of fast-food, we have lost the beautiful meaning of every meal, of being together and sharing not only food but ourselves with the persons seated with us.  Sometimes, we do not mind eating alone for as long as we have our most honored guests at the table, our smartphone or tablet.  Worst, we do not even pray to you at all, Lord, unmindful of your goodness while we are busy taking pictures of our food, almost worshipping it as a god!

             As we start our new week of work and studies, let us heed St. Paul’s call that when we come together to eat, we wait for one another like that centurion in the gospel who loved his slave so much, inviting Jesus to heal him even from afar.  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, “Hapag ng Pag-Asa” painting by the late Joey Velasco.

“Good Times” by Bobbi Humphprey (1978)

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LordMyChefSundayMusic//Week XXIII-B//16September2018
Realizing Who Jesus Is

            We rejoice this Sunday that Super Typhoon Ompong is finally out of our country, hoping and praying that it would have not caused so much casualties and damages in areas it directly hit yesterday.  As we start the brand new week overcoming so many storms in life, here is American jazz artist Bobbi Humphrey’s “Good Times” from her 1978 album Freestyle to soothe your soul, supporting our Sunday reflection on realizing who Jesus is. It is only through His Cross can we truly realize and know who Jesus Christ is because it was there where He not only revealed Himself to us but also made us experience God’s immense love for us.  By suffering and dying on the Cross, Jesus did not remove but joined us in our pains and difficulties in life so that we may be one with Him in His glorious Resurrection.  In our relationships with others, it is only during hard times that we truly get to know who our friends are, who really love us because they are the ones willing to suffer with us and even suffer for us so we could have “good times” as Bobbi tells us in her lovely, jazzy song.  .

You and I have traveled life’s uncharted courses

We’ve been tossed around at many times on dark and stormy seas

But now the clouds are parting and the sun is shining through

It feels so good to know… you’re here with me,

 

To share the Good Times, that we waited for so long

I know the Good Times, will prove we weren’t wrong

To hold on to the dreams of how we knew it could be

We worked so hard at easin’ all the pain and misery

Until the Good Times had come ‘round for you and me

And now they’re here, now they’re here

 

I remember all the hard times when there wasn’t much to eat

And the longest coldest winter, when we didn’t have much heat

But we had all we needed with love enough to spare

Cause more than money we had what I knew would get us here

 

Bridge:   We fought and won each battle that we had to fight

Made it through the darkness when we couldn’t see the light

And deep inside I guess we always knew that we were right

To try and catch that star….’cause baby here we are. (Let’s share Good Times…. )