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.


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“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)

Bea Borromeo, Little Whispers

Shhhh…

First Reading
Ezekiel 37:12-14
Thus says the Lord GOD:
O my people, I will open your graves
and have you rise from them,
and bring you back to the land of Israel.
Then you shall know that I am the LORD,
when I open your graves and have you rise from them,
O my people!
I will put my spirit in you that you may live,
and I will settle you upon your land;
thus you shall know that I am the LORD.
I have promised, and I will do it, says the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8
R. (7) With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
LORD, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to my voice in supplication.
R. With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.
If you, O LORD, mark iniquities,
LORD, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness,
that you may be revered.
R. With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.
I trust in the LORD;
my soul trusts in his word.
More than sentinels wait for the dawn,
let Israel wait for the LORD.
R. With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.
For with the LORD is kindness
and with him is plenteous redemption;
And he will redeem Israel
from all their iniquities.
R. With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

Second Reading
Romans 8:8-11
Brothers and sisters:
Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
But you are not in the flesh;
on the contrary, you are in the spirit,
if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.
Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
But if Christ is in you,
although the body is dead because of sin,
the spirit is alive because of righteousness.
If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you,
the one who raised Christ from the dead
will give life to your mortal bodies also,
through his Spirit dwelling in you.

Gospel
John 11:1-45
Now a man was ill, Lazarus from Bethany,
the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
Mary was the one who had anointed the Lord with perfumed oil
and dried his feet with her hair;
it was her brother Lazarus who was ill.

So the sisters sent word to him saying,
“Master, the one you love is ill.”
When Jesus heard this he said,
“This illness is not to end in death,
but is for the glory of God,
that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
So when he heard that he was ill,
he remained for two days in the place where he was.
Then after this he said to his disciples,
“Let us go back to Judea.”
The disciples said to him,
“Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you,
and you want to go back there?”
Jesus answered,
“Are there not twelve hours in a day?
If one walks during the day, he does not stumble,
because he sees the light of this world.
But if one walks at night, he stumbles,
because the light is not in him.”
He said this, and then told them,
“Our friend Lazarus is asleep,
but I am going to awaken him.”
So the disciples said to him,
“Master, if he is asleep, he will be saved.”
But Jesus was talking about his death,
while they thought that he meant ordinary sleep.
So then Jesus said to them clearly,
“Lazarus has died.
And I am glad for you that I was not there,
that you may believe.
Let us go to him.”
So Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples,
“Let us also go to die with him.”

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus
had already been in the tomb for four days.
Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, only about two miles away.
And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary
to comfort them about their brother.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
she went to meet him;
but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you.”
Jesus said to her,

“Your brother will rise.”
Martha said to him,
“I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her,
“I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
She said to him, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world.”

When she had said this,
she went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying,
“The teacher is here and is asking for you.”
As soon as she heard this,
she rose quickly and went to him.
For Jesus had not yet come into the village,
but was still where Martha had met him.
So when the Jews who were with her in the house comforting her
saw Mary get up quickly and go out,
they followed her,
presuming that she was going to the tomb to weep there.
When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him,
she fell at his feet and said to him,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping,
he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said,
“Where have you laid him?”
They said to him, “Sir, come and see.”
And Jesus wept.
So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.”
But some of them said,
“Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man
have done something so that this man would not have died?”

So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb.
It was a cave, and a stone lay across it.
Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”
Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him,
“Lord, by now there will be a stench;
he has been dead for four days.”
Jesus said to her,
“Did I not tell you that if you believe
you will see the glory of God?”
So they took away the stone.
And Jesus raised his eyes and said,

“Father, I thank you for hearing me.
I know that you always hear me;
but because of the crowd here I have said this,
that they may believe that you sent me.”
And when he had said this,
He cried out in a loud voice,
“Lazarus, come out!”
The dead man came out,
tied hand and foot with burial bands,
and his face was wrapped in a cloth.
So Jesus said to them,
“Untie him and let him go.”

Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary
and seen what he had done began to believe in him.


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“I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25)

REFLECTION
Have you tried to stop yourself from thinking and just paused for a while, to listen to what God is trying to tell you?

Ever since, I’ve had a hard time silencing myself in between prayers. I always have the thought, “Pano malalaman ni Lord gusto kong sabihin kung hindi ako mag sasalita?” (How will the Lord know what I want to say, if I’m not even talking?) There I realized, I have been questioning His capability of understanding me in silence.

The Gospel today made me aware of how often I doubt Him when misfortunes find me. Whenever something bad happens to me, I always ask Him, “Why?” Little did I know, that in those times, I started to slowly doubt Him and deny my faith because things did not go my way. It is easy for us to trust God when things are going well, but when challenges enter, we start questioning Him.

During this time of crisis, God continues to remind us that adversity allows the Holy Spirit to work in different ways. We may have a lot of questions and complaints in mind, but just like what Pope Francis has said in this time of difficulty, “It is not the time of Your judgment, but of our judgment: a time to choose what matters and what passes away, a time to separate what is necessary from what is not. It is a time to get our lives back on track with regard to You, Lord, and to others.”

Friends, God has allowed us to pause and reflect. Even in silence, He knows what is in our hearts and prayers. Even when we don’t see and feel it, He is working. All we need to do is pray and believe that despite what is happening around, He will not let our hearts be troubled and He will calm the storm for us.

Reflection Song

Way Maker by Leeland

Author

wc-beab

Click on the bubble to find out more about Bea!

Photo from Google

Little Whispers, Ryan Rivera

On The Frontline

First Reading
Jeremiah 11:18-20
I knew their plot because the LORD informed me;
at that time you, O LORD, showed me their doings.

Yet I, like a trusting lamb led to slaughter,
had not realized that they were hatching plots against me:
“Let us destroy the tree in its vigor;
let us cut him off from the land of the living,
so that his name will be spoken no more.”

But, you, O LORD of hosts, O just Judge,
searcher of mind and heart,
Let me witness the vengeance you take on them,
for to you I have entrusted my cause!

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 7:2-3, 9BC-10, 11-12
R. (2a) O Lord, my God, in you I take refuge.

O LORD, my God, in you I take refuge;
save me from all my pursuers and rescue me,
Lest I become like the lion’s prey,
to be torn to pieces, with no one to rescue me.
R. O Lord, my God, in you I take refuge.
Do me justice, O LORD, because I am just,
and because of the innocence that is mine.
Let the malice of the wicked come to an end,
but sustain the just,
O searcher of heart and soul, O just God.
R. O Lord, my God, in you I take refuge.
A shield before me is God,
who saves the upright of heart;
A just judge is God,
a God who punishes day by day.
R. O Lord, my God, in you I take refuge.

Gospel
John 7:40-53
Some in the crowd who heard these words of Jesus said,
“This is truly the Prophet.”
Others said, “This is the Christ.”
But others said, “The Christ will not come from Galilee, will he?
Does not Scripture say that the Christ will be of David’s family
and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?”
So a division occurred in the crowd because of him.
Some of them even wanted to arrest him,
but no one laid hands on him.

So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees,
who asked them, “Why did you not bring him?”
The guards answered, “Never before has anyone spoken like this man.”
So the Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived?
Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him?
But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed.”
Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them,
“Does our law condemn a man before it first hears him
and finds out what he is doing?”
They answered and said to him,
“You are not from Galilee also, are you?
Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”

Then each went to his own house.


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Does our law condemn a person before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?(John 7:51)

REFLECTION
When people ask children what they want to become when they grow up, most of them answer engineers, lawyers, businessmen, or doctors, which are actually high-paying occupations that people look up to. On the other hand, when children answer cashiers, janitors, or drivers, they are told to dream bigger and aim for a higher job. I always wondered, why do we condition our children to view different jobs unequally in terms of salary, position, and educational attainment? I’ve asked myself, “How is one job “
better” than the other?” It is sad but this is the society that we live in today where we look at occupations differently and this is our reality.

Just like in the Gospel, we are doubtful and full of prejudice towards the janitors, helpers, cashiers, vendors, delivery men, and gasoline station attendants, the same way the crowd treated Jesus with uncertainty and prejudice. Yet, these occupations that we consider as low-paying or we do not look up to as much as doctors and engineers, are the same people who wake up everyday to serve their countrymen. They face each day with bravery, courage, and faith amidst the health risks and scarcity of transportation just to provide for their families and be of service to other people. The same way doctors and medical personnel save the lives of people with illnesses, these people also save and protect each of us in their own ways.

Jesus is telling us today to treat one another with love, compassion, understanding, generosity, humility, patience, and respect regardless of one’s background and occupation. With a grateful and trusting heart, let us all be Jesus to one another as we face each day with faith and hold onto His promise of salvation. As we are all one in Christ Jesus, may this season remind us to work together with peace, kindness, and equality.

To all the frontliners, thank you for your service.

Prayer
Father God, may You remind us to trust in Your power, grace, and love as You are greater and far more powerful than what we are currently facing. We lift up to you each and every individual who has committed their lives to serve and protect the people. Grant each of them the strength and courage as they fulfill their duties everyday. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Author

wc-ryan

Click on the bubble to find out more about Ryan!

Photo by Philstar News (https://www.facebook.com/philstarnews/photos/a.271016240712/10163866256535713/?type=3&theater&_rdc=1&_rdr)

Bettina Morales, Little Whispers

Rotten Tomatoes

First Reading
Exodus 32:7-14
The LORD said to Moses,
“Go down at once to your people
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt,
for they have become depraved.
They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed out to them,
making for themselves a molten calf and worshiping it,
sacrificing to it and crying out,
‘This is your God, O Israel,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt!’
The LORD said to Moses,
“I see how stiff-necked this people is.
Let me alone, then,
that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them.
Then I will make of you a great nation.”

But Moses implored the LORD, his God, saying,
“Why, O LORD, should your wrath blaze up against your own people,
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt
with such great power and with so strong a hand?
Why should the Egyptians say,
‘With evil intent he brought them out,
that he might kill them in the mountains
and exterminate them from the face of the earth’?
Let your blazing wrath die down;
relent in punishing your people.
Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel,
and how you swore to them by your own self, saying,
‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky;
and all this land that I promised,
I will give your descendants as their perpetual heritage.’“
So the LORD relented in the punishment
he had threatened to inflict on his people.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 106:19-20, 21-22, 23
(4a)  Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Our fathers made a calf in Horeb
and adored a molten image;
They exchanged their glory
for the image of a grass-eating bullock.
R.    Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They forgot the God who had saved them,
who had done great deeds in Egypt,
Wondrous deeds in the land of Ham,
terrible things at the Red Sea.
R.    Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Then he spoke of exterminating them,
but Moses, his chosen one,
Withstood him in the breach
to turn back his destructive wrath.
R.    Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

Gospel
John 5:31-47
Jesus said to the Jews:
“If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true.
But there is another who testifies on my behalf,
and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true.
You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth.
I do not accept human testimony,
but I say this so that you may be saved.
He was a burning and shining lamp,
and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light.
But I have testimony greater than John’s.
The works that the Father gave me to accomplish,
these works that I perform testify on my behalf
that the Father has sent me.
Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf.
But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form,
and you do not have his word remaining in you,
because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent.
You search the Scriptures,
because you think you have eternal life through them;
even they testify on my behalf.
But you do not want to come to me to have life.

“I do not accept human praise;
moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you.
I came in the name of my Father,
but you do not accept me;
yet if another comes in his own name,
you will accept him.
How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another
and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?
Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father:
the one who will accuse you is Moses,
in whom you have placed your hope.
For if you had believed Moses,
you would have believed me,
because he wrote about me.
But if you do not believe his writings,
how will you believe my words?”


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“How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?” (John 5:44)

REFLECTION
What makes you want to watch a movie? Is it the eye-catching poster? The synopsis? For me, I always find time to read or ask for reviews from people who have already watched movies I am interested in. Sometimes movie posters looks good yet the plot is lacking, or the synopsis excites viewers yet it was made with poor production. A movie takes about two hours of your life, so, what better way than to spend it on good quality movies that has been validated sufficiently?

As humans, we acknowledge that there are days when we doubt and are filled with questions on movies we want to watch, things we do, the principles we follow, and even the beliefs we believe in. The gospel shows us the story of how the Jews failed to believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God in spite of testimonies made by John, God through the scriptures, and Jesus himself through his works. Like us, the Jews searched for concrete evidence or testimonies from the majority in order to fully accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah. In today’s gospel, Jesus makes it known to us that we are vulnerable to seeking validation from others that it leaves us pre-occupied, thus, overpowering our need to receive praises from Christ.

Oftentimes, God has already provided us with what we need, but we fail to see and acknowledge what he has given. We tend to focus on what we want to see rather than what is already laid on the table for us. So today, we are reminded that to fully commit ourselves to a life in Christ, we must recognize that what we only need is His testimony and His praise.

Reflection Song

Jesus I Need You by Hillsong Worship

Author

wc-bettina

Click on the bubble to find out more about Bettina!

Photo by Krists Luhaers (@kristsll at unsplash.com)

Kyla Bulabos, Little Whispers

Drink your water, kids!

First Reading
Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12
The angel brought me, Ezekiel,
back to the entrance of the temple of the LORD,
and I saw water flowing out
from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east,
for the façade of the temple was toward the east;
the water flowed down from the right side of the temple,
south of the altar.
He led me outside by the north gate,
and around to the outer gate facing the east,
where I saw water trickling from the right side.
Then when he had walked off to the east
with a measuring cord in his hand,
he measured off a thousand cubits
and had me wade through the water,
which was ankle-deep.
He measured off another thousand
and once more had me wade through the water,
which was now knee-deep.
Again he measured off a thousand and had me wade;
the water was up to my waist.
Once more he measured off a thousand,
but there was now a river through which I could not wade;
for the water had risen so high it had become a river
that could not be crossed except by swimming.
He asked me, “Have you seen this, son of man?”
Then he brought me to the bank of the river, where he had me sit.
Along the bank of the river I saw very many trees on both sides.
He said to me,
“This water flows into the eastern district down upon the Arabah,
and empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh.
Wherever the river flows,
every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live,
and there shall be abundant fish,
for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh.
Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow;
their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail.
Every month they shall bear fresh fruit,
for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary.
Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine.”

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9
R.    (8)  The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever-present help in distress.
Therefore we fear not, though the earth be shaken
and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea.
R.    The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God,
the holy dwelling of the Most High.
God is in its midst; it shall not be disturbed;
God will help it at the break of dawn.
R.    The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
Come! behold the deeds of the LORD,
the astounding things he has wrought on earth.
R.    The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.

Gospel
John 5:1-16
There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate
a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes.
In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled.
One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years.
When Jesus saw him lying there
and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him,
“Do you want to be well?”
The sick man answered him,
“Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool
when the water is stirred up;
while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.”
Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.”
Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.

Now that day was a sabbath.
So the Jews said to the man who was cured,
“It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.”
He answered them, “The man who made me well told me,
‘Take up your mat and walk.’“
They asked him,
“Who is the man who told you, ‘Take it up and walk’?”
The man who was healed did not know who it was,
for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there.
After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him,
“Look, you are well; do not sin any more,
so that nothing worse may happen to you.”
The man went and told the Jews
that Jesus was the one who had made him well.
Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus
because he did this on a sabbath.


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“Wherever the river flows, every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live, and there shall be abundant fish, for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh.” (Ezekiel 47:9)

REFLECTION
As a kid, I never really liked the taste of water. For me, it is just a tasteless and colorless drink that I will never choose over iced tea or any other flavored drink. I would also take advantage of the water flowing from the faucet by not turning it off whenever I brush my teeth or wash my hands. I never really understood its importance to my health and to my life.

Water is an essential that we need in our everyday lives in order to survive. In fact, the amount of water in the human body ranges from 45-75% depending on the individual’s size and age. We would always hear the elders telling us “Don’t forget to drink water!” and our school teachers would teach us to drink 8 glasses of water in a day. Science tells us that drinking enough water would give benefits to our health. Water hydrates us and keeps us from being dry. It purifies our body and helps us release toxic substances inside us.

In the Bible, water played a big role in the stories about salvation. It was also used as a symbol in the sacraments. The readings today made use of water to symbolize God’s purifying power. It is telling us that God is the water that we need in order to survive. God is the water that would hydrate and keep us from being spiritually dry for He will never fail to fill us with is love and mercy.

Let us always keep in mind that being hydrated with water and with God’s love will save us from so many things. It will give us the strength to survive our everyday life. So, this is a reminder to always drink your water, kids!

Reflection Song

Into the Deep by Citipointe

Author

wc-kyla

Click on the bubble to find out more about Kyla!

Photo from Google

Little Whispers, Val Cruz

Plot Twist

First Reading
1 Samuel 16:1B, 6-7, 10-13A
The LORD said to Samuel:
“Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way.
I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem,
for I have chosen my king from among his sons.”

As Jesse and his sons came to the sacrifice,
Samuel looked at Eliab and thought,
“Surely the LORD’s anointed is here before him.”
But the LORD said to Samuel:
“Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature,
because I have rejected him.
Not as man sees does God see,
because man sees the appearance
but the LORD looks into the heart.”
In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel,
but Samuel said to Jesse,
“The LORD has not chosen any one of these.”
Then Samuel asked Jesse,
“Are these all the sons you have?”
Jesse replied,
“There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said to Jesse,
“Send for him;
we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here.”
Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them.
He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold
and making a splendid appearance.
The LORD said,
“There—anoint him, for this is the one!”
Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand,
anointed David in the presence of his brothers;
and from that day on, the spirit of the LORD rushed upon David.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 23:1-3A, 3B-4, 5, 6
R. (1)  The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Second Reading
Ephesians 5:8-14
Brothers and sisters:
You were once darkness,
but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light,
for light produces every kind of goodness
and righteousness and truth.
Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness;
rather expose them, for it is shameful even to mention
the things done by them in secret;
but everything exposed by the light becomes visible,
for everything that becomes visible is light.
Therefore, it says:

“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.”

Gospel
John 9:1-41
As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth.
His disciples asked him,
“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents,
that he was born blind?”
Jesus answered,
“Neither he nor his parents sinned;
it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.
We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day.
Night is coming when no one can work.
While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
When he had said this, he spat on the ground
and made clay with the saliva,
and smeared the clay on his eyes,
and said to him,
“Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” —which means Sent—.
So he went and washed, and came back able to see.

His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said,
“Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?”
Some said, “It is, “
but others said, “No, he just looks like him.”
He said, “I am.”
So they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?”
He replied,
“The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes
and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’
So I went there and washed and was able to see.”
And they said to him, “Where is he?”

He said, “I don’t know.”

They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees.
Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath.
So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see.
He said to them,
“He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see.”
So some of the Pharisees said,
“This man is not from God,
because he does not keep the sabbath.”
But others said,
“How can a sinful man do such signs?”
And there was a division among them.
So they said to the blind man again,
“What do you have to say about him,
since he opened your eyes?”
He said, “He is a prophet.”

Now the Jews did not believe
that he had been blind and gained his sight
until they summoned the parents of the one who had gained his sight.
They asked them,
“Is this your son, who you say was born blind?
How does he now see?”
His parents answered and said,
“We know that this is our son and that he was born blind.
We do not know how he sees now,
nor do we know who opened his eyes.
Ask him, he is of age;
he can speak for himself.”
His parents said this because they were afraid
of the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed
that if anyone acknowledged him as the Christ,
he would be expelled from the synagogue.
For this reason his parents said,
“He is of age; question him.”

So a second time they called the man who had been blind
and said to him, “Give God the praise!
We know that this man is a sinner.”
He replied,
“If he is a sinner, I do not know.
One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see.”
So they said to him,
“What did he do to you?
How did he open your eyes?”
He answered them,
“I told you already and you did not listen.
Why do you want to hear it again?

Do you want to become his disciples, too?”
They ridiculed him and said,
“You are that man’s disciple;
we are disciples of Moses!
We know that God spoke to Moses,
but we do not know where this one is from.”
The man answered and said to them,
“This is what is so amazing,
that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes.
We know that God does not listen to sinners,
but if one is devout and does his will, he listens to him.
It is unheard of that anyone ever opened the eyes of a person born blind.
If this man were not from God,
he would not be able to do anything.”
They answered and said to him,
“You were born totally in sin,
and are you trying to teach us?”
Then they threw him out.

When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out,
he found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
He answered and said,
“Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?”
Jesus said to him,
“You have seen him,
the one speaking with you is he.”
He said,
“I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him.
Then Jesus said,
“I came into this world for judgment,
so that those who do not see might see,
and those who do see might become blind.”

Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this
and said to him, “Surely we are not also blind, are we?”
Jesus said to them,
“If you were blind, you would have no sin;
but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains.


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“We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if one is devout and does his will, he listens to him.” (John 9: 31)

REFLECTION
Welcoming this year was special for me and my family. It was the first time that all of us were excited to share our plans for 2020. We even took time to have a video call for us to be complete. Seeing all of them happy and inspired, made me feel blessed and thankful. I was excited for what God has instore for us this year. I thought this year will be full of love, happiness, and more growth. And as we ended that day, my mom invited all of us to pray. She prayed that may our plans be aligned to His and that He may guide us as all throughout.

As months passed by, I realized that things started to go not as planned. But amidst this, I still prayed and hoped for a miracle. When news about the spread of Covid-19 started to arise, I realized that His plans are different from what we have thought. As a family, we had to divert our priority which is our safety and health. During this time, I questioned God’s presence. Are you really there? Because I have been praying all this time but it seems that I can’t feel you.

After reading the gospel today, Jesus tells us that He is here; he is listening. It is in the scariest and challenging moments that He is truly working. He encourages us to be patient and to have faith just like the blind man. I realized His light will always make its way in the dark. I may not understand His ways as of the moment, but I am clinging to that promise.

Reflection Song

Faith Above Fear by Feast Worship

Author

wc-val

Click on the bubble to find out more about Val!

Little Whispers, Maja Pangilinan

Less Is More

First Reading
Hosea 6:1-6
“Come, let us return to the LORD,
it is he who has rent, but he will heal us;
he has struck us, but he will bind our wounds.
He will revive us after two days;
on the third day he will raise us up,
to live in his presence.
Let us know, let us strive to know the LORD;
as certain as the dawn is his coming,
and his judgment shines forth like the light of day!
He will come to us like the rain,
like spring rain that waters the earth.”

What can I do with you, Ephraim?
What can I do with you, Judah?
Your piety is like a morning cloud,
like the dew that early passes away.
For this reason I smote them through the prophets,
I slew them by the words of my mouth;
For it is love that I desire, not sacrifice,
and knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 51:3-4, 18-19, 20-21AB
R.    (see Hosea 6:6)  It is mercy I desire, and not sacrifice.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R.    It is mercy I desire, and not sacrifice.
For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
R.    It is mercy I desire, and not sacrifice.
Be bountiful, O LORD, to Zion in your kindness
by rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem;
Then shall you be pleased with due sacrifices,
burnt offerings and holocausts.
R.    It is mercy I desire, and not sacrifice.

Gospel
Luke 18:9-14
Jesus addressed this parable
to those who were convinced of their own righteousness
and despised everyone else.
“Two people went up to the temple area to pray;
one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.
The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself,
‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity —
greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector.
I fast twice a week,
and I pay tithes on my whole income.’
But the tax collector stood off at a distance
and would not even raise his eyes to heaven
but beat his breast and prayed,
‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’
I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former;
for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”


photo-1519223400710-6da9e1b777ea

“For everyone who raises himself up will be humbled, but anyone who humbles
himself will be raised up.” (Luke 18:14)

REFLECTION
Have you tried answering Instagram templates where you have to choose between this or that, or choose amongst several items, in what looks like a BINGO card, which ones have you eaten or have you done? 

What do these templates have in common? They’re all about you, and that’s not necessarily wrong, it’s entertaining actually.

In today’s gospel we are reminded to reflect on what it means to be humble. Is it when we downplay our achievements? Is it when we don’t talk about who we are and let others talk about us, while we stay quiet, silently proud of ourselves? Is it when we deny others’ praises to avoid being described as arrogant? Maybe these are correct, but let me invite you to take our idea of being humble a step further. Being humble is not so much just thinking less of yourself, but more thinking of yourself less. When we think of ourselves less, we give ourselves the chance to think of others more. And that is when we are truly being humble. And Jesus who “humbled himself to the point of death” (Ph 2:8) is the best example of this. He thought of himself less, and thought of YOU instead, when He died on that cross for YOU.

Most of you who are reading this might probably be in the comforts of your home. During this pandemic, I invite you to think of yourself less, and think of others more. Think about the frontliners, those who do not have homes to stay in, those who do not have a source of income or food to eat, those who are away from their families in this challenging time, those who are suffering from the virus, and pray for them. Think of ways on how to help others (and I don’t mean we should go out) in your own little way, may it be in what you post on your social media, how you spend your free time with the people you’re with, what you do that other people see, feel and hear. It’s when we think of ourselves less, that we get to think of others more and allow Jesus to shine His glory and mercy through us, for everyone to see.

Prayer
Dear Jesus, I ask for the grace of humility. I ask that You remind me of how it is to be a person for others, just like how You were for me. Send me Your most Holy Spirit so that I may be inspired to think less of myself, more of others, more of You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Author
wc-maja

Click on the bubble to find out more about Maja!

Photo by: Le Buzz (@le_buzz at unsplash.com)