Justin Chong, Little Whispers

Emptiness

First Reading
EZR 9:5-9

At the time of the evening sacrifice, I, Ezra, rose in my wretchedness,
and with cloak and mantle torn I fell on my knees,
stretching out my hands to the LORD, my God.

I said: “My God, I am too ashamed and confounded to raise my face to you,
O my God, for our wicked deeds are heaped up above our heads
and our guilt reaches up to heaven.
From the time of our fathers even to this day
great has been our guilt,
and for our wicked deeds we have been delivered up,
we and our kings and our priests,
to the will of the kings of foreign lands,
to the sword, to captivity, to pillage, and to disgrace,
as is the case today.

“And now, but a short time ago, mercy came to us from the LORD, our God,
who left us a remnant and gave us a stake in his holy place;
thus our God has brightened our eyes
and given us relief in our servitude.
For slaves we are, but in our servitude our God has not abandoned us;
rather, he has turned the good will
of the kings of Persia toward us.
Thus he has given us new life
to raise again the house of our God and restore its ruins,
and has granted us a fence in Judah and Jerusalem.”

Responsorial Psalm
TOBIT 13:2, 3-4A, 4BEFGHN, 7-8
R. (1b) Blessed be God, who lives for ever.

He scourges and then has mercy;
he casts down to the depths of the nether world,
and he brings up from the great abyss.
No one can escape his hand.
R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever.
Praise him, you children of Israel, before the Gentiles,
for though he has scattered you among them,
he has shown you his greatness even there.
R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever.
So now consider what he has done for you,
and praise him with full voice.
Bless the Lord of righteousness,
and exalt the King of ages.
R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever.
In the land of my exile I praise him
and show his power and majesty to a sinful nation.
R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever.
Bless the Lord, all you his chosen ones,
and may all of you praise his majesty.
Celebrate days of gladness, and give him praise.
R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever.

Gospel
LK 9:1-6

Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority
over all demons and to cure diseases,
and he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God
and to heal the sick.
He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey,
neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money,
and let no one take a second tunic.
Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there.
And as for those who do not welcome you,
when you leave that town,
shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.”
Then they set out and went from village to village
proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere.

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“He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic.” (Luke 9:5)
​​​
REFLECTION

​Back when I was 13, I joined the Bukas Loob sa Diyos Youth Ministry. I really didn’t appreciate prayer meetings then. But as time passed, I matured and I started to take prayer seriously. Since then on I started admiring my older brothers and sisters in the community. Mostly because of how they lead worship. Every time I worshipped, the feeling of refreshment made me new again and I couldn’t get enough of it.

​A few years later came the time for me to be called to lead worship. Much to my surprise once again, it is not an easy task. Before you can call yourself ready, there is so much preparation, the twist is that most of it is spiritual and not your actual content. I didn’t understand that time why I had to fast a week before and even go to confession, but I did it anyway.

​When it was finally time for me to lead, I brought out my prayers which was a big pile of paper. As I started leading, I didn’t notice that I was getting less and less dependent on my written prayers and started speaking on the spot. It was really a very fulfilling experience and later on I realized why. After leading for the first time I understood why so much spiritual preparations were required.

​Like what Jesus meant in the gospel when he said “take nothing for the Journey”, the spiritual preparations was important to empty myself in the journey to leading worship. To empty yourself means to rid yourself from sins, burdens and worries that might distract you. Don’t forget that being empty is not a bad thing because it is in emptying yourself that you allow the Lord’s blessings and guidance to work through you.

Prayer
Lord, I just want to take this time to thank you for all the little things, my problems, my worries and my mistakes. With that, I entrust all of these little things to you and let them go. Empty me and guide me as I fill myself today with you grace.

Author

chong-justin-wc

Click on the card to find out more about Justin!

Photo source: blog.freepeople.com


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