Little Whispers, Tal Jalandoni

#Woke With Love

First Reading
Numbers 21:4-9
From Mount Hor the children of Israel set out on the Red Sea road,
to bypass the land of Edom.
But with their patience worn out by the journey,
the people complained against God and Moses,
“Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert,
where there is no food or water?
We are disgusted with this wretched food!”

In punishment the LORD sent among the people saraph serpents,
which bit the people so that many of them died.
Then the people came to Moses and said,
“We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you.
Pray the LORD to take the serpents away from us.”
So Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses,
“Make a saraph and mount it on a pole,
and whoever looks at it after being bitten will live.”
Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole,
and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent
looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 102:2-3, 16-18, 19-21
R.    (2)  O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
O LORD, hear my prayer,
and let my cry come to you.
Hide not your face from me
in the day of my distress.
Incline your ear to me;
in the day when I call, answer me speedily.
R.    O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
The nations shall revere your name, O LORD,
and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the LORD has rebuilt Zion
and appeared in his glory;
When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute,
and not despised their prayer.
R.    O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
Let this be written for the generation to come,
and let his future creatures praise the LORD:
“The LORD looked down from his holy height,
from heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
to release those doomed to die.”
R.    O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.

Gospel
John 8:21-30
Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“I am going away and you will look for me,
but you will die in your sin.
Where I am going you cannot come.”
So the Jews said,
“He is not going to kill himself, is he,
because he said, ‘Where I am going you cannot come’?”
He said to them, “You belong to what is below,
I belong to what is above.
You belong to this world,
but I do not belong to this world.
That is why I told you that you will die in your sins.
For if you do not believe that I AM,
you will die in your sins.”
So they said to him, “Who are you?”
Jesus said to them, “What I told you from the beginning.
I have much to say about you in condemnation.
But the one who sent me is true,
and what I heard from him I tell the world.”
They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father.
So Jesus said to them,
“When you lift up the Son of Man,
then you will realize that I AM,
and that I do nothing on my own,
but I say only what the Father taught me.
The one who sent me is with me.
He has not left me alone,
because I always do what is pleasing to him.”
Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.


photo-1515378960530-7c0da6231fb1
“When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me.” (John 8:28)

REFLECTION
Typing at a hundred words per minute, skipping heartbeats, and meeting eyebrows, knowing no chill, I type away to rebut a friend’s Facebook post. “How could you say such things when we are in the middle of a global crisis?” I thought to myself at the news of Community Quarantine for COVID-19 in Manila. Maybe a thousand more “friends” thinking the same of each other, even if they are on opposing arguments. After a million deep breaths, I thought, “If I post this, what makes me different from this person?” Backspace. Funny thing about humility. If I demand from my friend to give caution to his words, I must first exercise it by taking a moment to see where he is coming from. If I want to correct those who act unlovingly, I must first be loving to them. 

Scrolling through, I felt upset at the amount of hate on my feed. Doesn’t this remind us of today’s first reading—patience worn out, people complaining about everything? It is necessary to call out things that concern us especially if they are wrong. But if we do it without love, we are depriving those we correct of the very things we require from them. Are we so obsessed with being right or appearing woke that we forget that we discuss these issues to help others? This spirit of fury, as Pope Francis called, is destroying us – a (worse) pandemic in itself! It’s not enough to be #woke. Above all, we need to love. 

Today, we are called to stop and look to God first as the Israelites in the desert looked to the saraph and lived. Like Jesus, who did not do anything on His own, who only said what the Father told Him, let us rely on God and let Him lead us in all that we do. For many of us, our best (and only) weapons are to stay home, pray, donate and post online (or not). In all these, we are called to lift up the Son of Man. We lift Him up when we lift each other up.

Reflection Questions
Have I taken the time to stop and listen to God? What does God want me to do during this quarantine? How does He want me to respond?

Prayer
“Let us ask the Lord for the grace to fight against the evil spirit, to dialogue when we need to dialogue, but, in the face of the spirit of fury, to have the courage to remain silent, and allow others to speak.” – Pope Francis

Author

wc-ali

Click on the bubble to find out more about Ali!

Photo by Christin Hume (@christinhumephoto at unsplash.com)

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