Little Whispers, Maja Pangilinan

Favor

First Reading
GN 3:9-15, 20

After the man, Adam, had eaten of the tree,
the LORD God called to the man and asked him, “Where are you?”
He answered, “I heard you in the garden;
but I was afraid, because I was naked,
so I hid myself.”
Then he asked, “Who told you that you were naked?
You have eaten, then,
from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!”
The man replied, “The woman whom you put here with meC
she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it.”
The LORD God then asked the woman,
“Why did you do such a thing?”
The woman answered, “The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it.”

Then the LORD God said to the serpent:
“Because you have done this, you shall be banned
from all the animals
and from all the wild creatures;
on your belly shall you crawl,
and dirt shall you eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will strike at your head,
while you strike at his heel.”

The man called his wife Eve,
because she became the mother of all the living.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4
R. (1) Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.

Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.

Second Reading
EPH 1:3-6, 11-12

Brothers and sisters:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in Christ
with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,
as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world,
to be holy and without blemish before him.
In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ,
in accord with the favor of his will,
for the praise of the glory of his grace
that he granted us in the beloved.

In him we were also chosen,
destined in accord with the purpose of the One
who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will,
so that we might exist for the praise of his glory,
we who first hoped in Christ.

Gospel
LK 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.


pentachord

“‘… Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.'” (Luke 1:30)

REFLECTION
Three years ago, I was one of the lucky five BLD Youth members who were discerned to take on a leadership role for the community – I was called to be one of the Youth Pentacords. I was so afraid for it meant giving up a huge amount of my personal time and effort for three years. It meant endless meetings, late night discussions to plan for every Saturday’s regular prayer meeting, aside from the big spiritual activities. Then as I was about to be officially introduced to to the whole community, I remember recalling the exact Bible verse in today’s Gospel. I felt comfort and assurance, knowing that the task I was about to fulfill was a task given by the Lord and I was one of the chosen few to be used as an instrument to fulfill His wonderful plans. I knew the Lord was going to reward me for my service.

Lo and behold, just last Sunday, the five of us officially ended our term as the Youth Pentacord through a Planning weekend with the new set of Youth leaders for the BLD Youth. Three years done! And as we were saying our closing prayer for the day, I remembered what one of my co-pentacords, Tal said in one of our Word Sharing Circles; that when she took on the role of being a Pentacord, she also thought she was doing the Lord a favor, but she realized, it was the Lord “doing her a favor.” I completely agree. Our entire three-year term was filled with challenges, hardships and difficulties but even more with blessings, laughter, new friendships, renewed relationships, laughter and victories. I could look at all the photos that were taken during our entire term and see how each youth member that we met have grown and transformed, how each of us in the Pentacord have been pruned to blossom and become the better people we are today. And the Lord indeed did us a favor by choosing us and I couldn’t thank Him enough for this opportunity to let me become the person that I ought to be through this experience. I look forward to the awesome future and more great memories that will be made in my life. I don’t see the blessings that have been arriving as rewards but as gifts from a God who loves me unconditionally.

I am even more excited to see how He will work through the new set of Pentacords He has called for His BLD Youth and the fantastic future He has in store for them. 

Just like in today’s Gospel, when Mary said Yes to the Lord’s call, she really didn’t just do God a favor by bearing His Son, our Savior; the Lord also did her a favor as she gave her the chance to be a blessing to the world, and now we look up to her as our mother who we can also turn to in times of need. May we also remember that as the Lord calls us to be His servant, He is also allowing us to grow in Him, be the good person He has created us to be and be on our way to fulfilling that wonderful plan He has for us.

Prayer
Dear Lord, may we allow You to work through us as we become instruments to make Your wonderful plans unfold. Amen.

Author

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