Little Whispers, Val Cruz

The Power of Patience

First Reading
2 Peter 3:12-15A, 17-18
Beloved:
Wait for and hasten the coming of the day of God,
because of which the heavens will be dissolved in flames
and the elements melted by fire.
But according to his promise
we await new heavens and a new earth
in which righteousness dwells.

Therefore, beloved, since you await these things,
be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace.
And consider the patience of our Lord as salvation.

Therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned,
be on your guard not to be led into the error of the unprincipled
and to fall from your own stability.
But grow in grace
and in the knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.
To him be glory now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 90:2, 3-4, 10, 14 AND 16
R.    (1)  In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Before the mountains were begotten
and the earth and the world were brought forth,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
R.    In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
You turn man back to dust,
saying, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in your sight
are as yesterday, now that it is past,
or as a watch of the night.
R.    In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Seventy is the sum of our years,
or eighty, if we are strong,
And most of them are fruitless toil,
for they pass quickly and we drift away.
R.    In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
Let your work be seen by your servants
and your glory by their children.
R.    In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.

Gospel
Mark 12:13-17
Some Pharisees and Herodians were sent
to Jesus to ensnare him in his speech.
They came and said to him,
“Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man
and that you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion.
You do not regard a person’s status
but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.
Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?
Should we pay or should we not pay?”
Knowing their hypocrisy he said to them,
“Why are you testing me?
Bring me a denarius to look at.”
They brought one to him and he said to them,
“Whose image and inscription is this?”
They replied to him, “Caesar’s.”
So Jesus said to them,
“Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar
and to God what belongs to God.”
They were utterly amazed at him.


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“Therefore, beloved, since you await these things, be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace. And consider the patience of our Lord as salvation.” (2 Peter 3:14-15)

REFLECTION
What is your favorite holiday? I bet all of us would answer Christmas! It is the time of the year where houses are fully decorated and you can hear Christmas songs playing at the malls starting November. This season is always full of warmth, joy, and love which makes me look forward to it every year.

As a kid, I would always count down on how many days are left. My parents would ask me and my siblings what we want as gifts and they would buy it ahead of time. No matter how exciting it is to open these, it has been a tradition for us to wait until the 25th. Because of this, I learned that there is joy in waiting. It made me understand the value of patience and how to savor moments.

Just like in the readings, Jesus is inviting us to be patient. During this time, it may seem difficult to do but He is reminding us that waiting is a form of trusting. He is also reassuring us today that He is in control and is a God of promises. It may seem forever to wait but His plans are never delayed. Keep in mind that for Jesus, anything worth having is worth waiting for.

Reflection Song

In God We Trust by Hillsong Worship

Author

wc-val

Click on the bubble to find out more about Val!

Photo by: Thought Catalog (@thoughtcatalog at unsplash.com)

Little Whispers, Martina De Guzman

Second Chances

First Reading
Acts 28:16-20, 30-31
When he entered Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself,
with the soldier who was guarding him.

Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews.
When they had gathered he said to them, “My brothers,
although I had done nothing against our people
or our ancestral customs,
I was handed over to the Romans as a prisoner from Jerusalem.
After trying my case the Romans wanted to release me,
because they found nothing against me deserving the death penalty.
But when the Jews objected, I was obliged to appeal to Caesar,
even though I had no accusation to make against my own nation.
This is the reason, then, I have requested to see you
and to speak with you, for it is on account of the hope of Israel
that I wear these chains.”

He remained for two full years in his lodgings.
He received all who came to him, and with complete assurance
and without hindrance he proclaimed the Kingdom of God
and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 11:4, 5 AND 7
R.    (see 7b)  The just will gaze on your face, O Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
The LORD is in his holy temple;
the LORD’s throne is in heaven.
His eyes behold,
his searching glance is on mankind.
R.    The just will gaze on your face, O Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
The LORD searches the just and the wicked;
the lover of violence he hates.
For the LORD is just, he loves just deeds;
the upright shall see his face.
R.    The just will gaze on your face, O Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Gospel
John 21:20-25
Peter turned and saw the disciple following whom Jesus loved,
the one who had also reclined upon his chest during the supper
and had said, “Master, who is the one who will betray you?”
When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?”
Jesus said to him, “What if I want him to remain until I come?
What concern is it of yours?
You follow me.”
So the word spread among the brothers that that disciple would not die.
But Jesus had not told him that he would not die,
just “What if I want him to remain until I come?
What concern is it of yours?”

It is this disciple who testifies to these things
and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true.
There are also many other things that Jesus did,
but if these were to be described individually,
I do not think the whole world would contain the books
that would be written.


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REFLECTION
Today’s gospel made me remember one of the biggest lessons I have learned in my life so far, which is that everyone deserves a chance. I’m not sure, but while I was reading the gospel over and over again that is what popped up first in my mind—that even there is someone who may betray Him, He still chose to give him a chance.

I remember all the times I gave chances to people, not just second chances, but third and sometimes even more. It is hard for most to give chances to people especially when they get hurt so badly, but for me? I choose to give them the chance they deserve because we are all human beings and we all make mistakes. I do my best to always see the best in people even if it may seem hard. I will always do my best to do so just like how He does.

Jesus chose to give the disciple a chance. He decided to keep leading all His disciples to the right path with someone who may betray Him. He decided to tell the others that he will not die. He told them “What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours?” This only shows that “he may be a speedbump for me, but it doesn’t mean the same for you.” It shows that there is hope for everyone, just like Paul.

Reflection Song

With Everything by Hillsong UNITED

Author

wc-martie

Click on the bubble to find out more about Martie!

Photo by: Iva Rajovic (@eklektikum at unsplash.com)

Giosh de la Fuente, Little Whispers

Finders Keepers

First Reading
Acts 22:30; 23:6-11
Wishing to determine the truth
about why Paul was being accused by the Jews,
the commander freed him
and ordered the chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin to convene.
Then he brought Paul down and made him stand before them.

Paul was aware that some were Sadducees and some Pharisees,
so he called out before the Sanhedrin,
“My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of Pharisees;
I am on trial for hope in the resurrection of the dead.”
When he said this,
a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees,
and the group became divided.
For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection
or angels or spirits,
while the Pharisees acknowledge all three.
A great uproar occurred,
and some scribes belonging to the Pharisee party
stood up and sharply argued,
“We find nothing wrong with this man.
Suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?”
The dispute was so serious that the commander,
afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them,
ordered his troops to go down and rescue Paul from their midst
and take him into the compound.
The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage.
For just as you have borne witness to my cause in Jerusalem,
so you must also bear witness in Rome.”

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 16:1-2A AND 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11
R.    (1)  Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;
I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.”
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.
R.    Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
I bless the LORD who counsels me;
even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
R.    Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence;
Because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world,
nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.
R.    Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.
R.    Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Gospel
John 17:20-26
Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying:
“I pray not only for these,
but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
so that they may all be one,
as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
that they also may be in us,
that the world may believe that you sent me.
And I have given them the glory you gave me,
so that they may be one, as we are one,
I in them and you in me,
that they may be brought to perfection as one,
that the world may know that you sent me,
and that you loved them even as you loved me.
Father, they are your gift to me.
I wish that where I am they also may be with me,
that they may see my glory that you gave me,
because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Righteous Father, the world also does not know you,
but I know you, and they know that you sent me.
I made known to them your name and I will make it known,
that the love with which you loved me
may be in them and I in them.”


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“I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.” (John 17:26)

REFLECTION
I didn’t exactly have the best childhood. There was a lot of fighting between my sister and I. The arguments would be very one-sided, and she would get away with hurting me more often than not.

This ran for most of my life. The cycle created the darkest version of myself, an Anti-Giosue if you will. Anti-Giosue would talk to me and tell me how sorry of a person I was. He would tell me how worthless I was and how I wasn’t good enough for anything. And I believed him. For years, my actions aligned with what he was saying. I hurt people without realizing it. I lost myself. God in His all knowingness saw this happening to me, and He acted swiftly.

He first led me to BLD Youth. He taught me how He loved and gave me a path to get to know His love through the Youth Life in the Spirit Seminar, a seminar in which teens like me get to feel and be blessed by the Holy Spirit. I learned how He used all this hurt in my heart to mold me into becoming a stronger person and a firm believer in His plan. He then taught me my purpose through the Youth Encounter, a retreat for teens which introduces the intricacies of Christian life and God. He showed me that I was very skilled at showing my love to others, even if it wasn’t shown back.

See, God taught me that loving people won’t always go both ways. God has given, is giving, and will give us everything He has. We sometimes take this for granted. I know I did. I shunned His help because of Anti-Giosue. But He still loved me enough to take me back with open arms. Through the ups and downs, God showed me glimpses of who I truly am. I am caring. I am empathetic. I am a fun-loving guy. More importantly, I am a child of God. Although Anti-Giosue shows up sometimes and taunts me, I know in my heart I have received the love I needed. I just have to look at where He is.

Reflection Song

Touch of Heaven by Hillsong Worship

Author

wc-giosue

Click on the bubble to find out more about Giosh!

Photo by: Samuel Martins (@samuelmartins7 at unsplash.com)

Justin Chong, Little Whispers

Loud and Proud

First Reading
Acts 16:1-10
Paul reached also Derbe and Lystra
where there was a disciple named Timothy,
the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer,
but his father was a Greek.
The brothers in Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of him,
and Paul wanted him to come along with him.
On account of the Jews of that region, Paul had him circumcised,
for they all knew that his father was a Greek.
As they traveled from city to city,
they handed on to the people for observance the decisions
reached by the Apostles and presbyters in Jerusalem.
Day after day the churches grew stronger in faith
and increased in number.

They traveled through the Phrygian and Galatian territory
because they had been prevented by the Holy Spirit
from preaching the message in the province of Asia.
When they came to Mysia, they tried to go on into Bithynia,
but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them,
so they crossed through Mysia and came down to Troas.
During the night Paul had a vision.
A Macedonian stood before him and implored him with these words,
“Come over to Macedonia and help us.”
When he had seen the vision,
we sought passage to Macedonia at once,
concluding that God had called us to proclaim the Good News to them.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 100:1B-2, 3, 5
R.    (2a)  Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R.    
Alleluia.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
R.    Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R.    
Alleluia.
Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.
R.    Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R.    
Alleluia.
The LORD is good:
his kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R.    Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Gospel
John 15:18-21
Jesus said to his disciples:
“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.
If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own;
but because you do not belong to the world,
and I have chosen you out of the world,
the world hates you.
Remember the word I spoke to you,
‘No slave is greater than his master.’
If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.
If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
And they will do all these things to you on account of my name,
because they do not know the one who sent me.”


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“As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” (John 15:19)

REFLECTION
Did you ever feel like the world hates you? That maybe, you are unlikeable by everything?

The first time I felt something like this was when I was in high school. Back then, I was very loud in a way that I was confident of the way I spoke and acted. I had a group of friends that I hung out with every day. We would eat together, play after class together and go out on gimmicks on weekends.

One day I realized, things were different. They started distancing themselves from me. They would make excuses when I asked them if they wanted to hang out. They would suddenly turn silent as I approach. Every time I would tease them, they would get angry instead of laugh about it. One day, I caught them talking behind my back. I heard “ang yabang yabang talaga ni Justin, akala mo kung sino.” (“Justin is so full of himself, he thinks he’s very important.”). That is when I felt that the world hated me. There is probably something wrong with me and with the way I acted which came out wrong to them.

I started to be overly conscious of the way I spoke and acted. I started overthinking and replaying conversations in my head if I did or said something wrong. Over time, I got used to overthinking and being conscious. I became humble. I started thinking before speaking and became more sensitive. My friends eventually forgot about the whole thing and accepted me again.

Sometimes, the Lord allows us to feel like the world hates us not because he hates us too but because He is preparing us for things beyond this world. In the story, the Lord taught me to be humble and more considerate of others through that experience of exclusion. The world sometimes hates us because we do not belong here, maybe it is the Lord way to reminding us to aim higher than this world and that is to be with Him and like Him.

Prayer
Father, I sometimes feel like my family, friends and society is rejecting me. I feel that I do not belong to this world because of my failures, problems, and anxieties. Remind me Jesus, that Your plans for me is greater than this world and that You will be with me as I overcome. Amen.

Author

wc-justin

Click on the bubble to find out more about Justin!

Photo by: Taylor Wilcox (@taypaigey at unsplash.com)

Little Whispers, Martina De Guzman

Are You Busy?

First Reading
Acts 13:44-52
On the following sabbath
almost the whole city
gathered to hear the word of the Lord.
When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy
and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said.
Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said,
“It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first,
but since you reject it
and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life,
we now turn to the Gentiles.
For so the Lord has commanded us,
I have made you a light to the Gentiles,
that you may be an instrument of salvation
to the ends of the earth.”

The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this
and glorified the word of the Lord.
All who were destined for eternal life came to believe,
and the word of the Lord continued to spread
through the whole region.
The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers
and the leading men of the city,
stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas,
and expelled them from their territory.
So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them
and went to Iconium.
The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4
R.    (3cd)  All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
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.    All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
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.    All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
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.    All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Gospel
John 14:7-14
Jesus said to his disciples:
“If you know me, then you will also know my Father.
From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to Jesus,
“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.
The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,
or else, believe because of the works themselves.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father.
And whatever you ask in my name, I will do,
so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”


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“If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:14)

REFLECTION
“Hey, are you busy..? I need someone to talk to.” “Uy pwede mo ba kong tulungan?” (“Hi, can you help me?”) “Tina, ano pwede kong gawin?” (“Tina, what can I do?”)

Call me, message me, and I’ll be there. I’ve always been that one call away friend. If you need help with something, as long as I can do it, I will. 

I grew up as one of those kids who had a tough experience with life. My mental illness, the anxiety of asking help from others, and the fear of rejection grew on me. That is why I’ve always put other people first before myself, because I don’t want them to feel the pain that I personally went through; I believe helping others is one of the best ways to spread the love to others (which is a good thing to spread to everyone–your friends, family, and community especially during this pandemic). 

Asking for help may be hard for some, I have learned through out the years that there is nothing wrong with asking for help. Whether it’s for advice, a project, or anything else, asking for help doesn’t mean you’re weak or useless. It just means that you are strong enough to ask for a helping hand.

With reading the gospel for today, the given guiding verse really did struck me. I remembered the times I pray to Him for my dreams and desires, some came true (which took a while to) while some didn’t, but that’s okay because I saw the reasons behind them not coming true. I was also reminded by a verse from Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find.” All you have to do is ask for help, pray and He will be there for you hearing your cries. 

Reflection Song

Desert Song by Hillsong Worship

Author

wc-martie

Click on the bubble to find out more about Martie!

Photo by: Akshay Paatil (@akshaypaatil at unsplash.com)

Little Whispers, TJ Dizon

Homesick

First Reading
Acts 13:13-25
From Paphos, Paul and his companions
set sail and arrived at Perga in Pamphylia.
But John left them and returned to Jerusalem.
They continued on from Perga and reached Antioch in Pisidia.
On the sabbath they entered into the synagogue and took their seats.
After the reading of the law and the prophets,
the synagogue officials sent word to them,
“My brothers, if one of you has a word of exhortation
for the people, please speak.”

So Paul got up, motioned with his hand, and said,
“Fellow children of Israel and you others who are God-fearing, listen.
The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors
and exalted the people during their sojourn in the land of Egypt.
With uplifted arm he led them out,
and for about forty years he put up with them in the desert.
When he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan,
he gave them their land as an inheritance
at the end of about four hundred and fifty years.
After these things he provided judges up to Samuel the prophet.
Then they asked for a king.
God gave them Saul, son of Kish,
a man from the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years.
Then he removed him and raised up David as their king;
of him he testified,
I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart;
he will carry out my every wish.

From this man’s descendants God, according to his promise,
has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus.
John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance
to all the people of Israel;
and as John was completing his course, he would say,
‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he.
Behold, one is coming after me;
I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.’“

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 89:2-3, 21-22, 25 AND 27
R.    (2)  For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
The favors of the LORD I will sing forever;
through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said, “My kindness is established forever”;
in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.
R.    For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
“I have found David, my servant;
with my holy oil I have anointed him,
That my hand may be always with him,
and that my arm may make him strong.”
R.    For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
“My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him,
and through my name shall his horn be exalted.
He shall say of me, ‘You are my father,
my God, the Rock, my savior.’”
R.    For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Gospel
John 13:16-20
When Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet, he said to them:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master
nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him.
If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.
I am not speaking of all of you.
I know those whom I have chosen.
But so that the Scripture might be fulfilled,
The one who ate my food has raised his heel against me.
From now on I am telling you before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe that I AM.
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send
receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”


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“Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him.” (John 13:16)

REFLECTION
Three years ago, my dad went to Canada for good and joined my sisters. At first, I thought it would be fun, as I never lived by myself. Eventually, I learned how difficult it is to be on your own. I had to pay my bills, wash the dishes, and buy food for myself. However, the thing that I struggle with the most is missing my family. I remember not celebrating Christmas or New Year with them for the first time. That’s when I realized how important family is to me and how fast time flies.

Fast forward to June of last year, I was able to join them in Canada. We got to celebrate Christmas for the first time in years. I just want to cherish every moment that I can with them, especially with my dad. Today’s his birthday!

I thank God for every blessing that He gave me because I know that this could have never been possible without Him. I realized that He wanted me to believe in Him, during the times that I struggled and questioned Him. He wanted me to reflect, in stillness and silence. 

Today, we are being asked to be still and have faith. We may have our struggles, but God has figured everything for us. We may have our doubts and mistakes but God has his ways to turn them into blessings. Sometimes, we just need to be still and believe in Him. 

Prayer
Lord, thank You for the gift of family. Thank You for the times when You turned my mistakes and doubts into blessings. As I wait and be still, may I have peace in my heart, knowing that You have a plan for me. Amen.

Author

wc-tjD

Click on the bubble to find out more about TJ!

Photo by: Tyler Nix (@jtylernix at unsplash.com)

Anonymous, Little Whispers

The Son has Risen!

First Reading
Acts 10:34A, 37-43
Peter proceeded to speak and said:
“You know what has happened all over Judea,
beginning in Galilee after the baptism
that John preached,
how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth
with the Holy Spirit and power.
He went about doing good
and healing all those oppressed by the devil,
for God was with him.
We are witnesses of all that he did
both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem.
They put him to death by hanging him on a tree.
This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible,
not to all the people, but to us,
the witnesses chosen by God in advance,
who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
He commissioned us to preach to the people
and testify that he is the one appointed by God
as judge of the living and the dead.
To him all the prophets bear witness,
that everyone who believes in him
will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
R. (24) This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
Let the house of Israel say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
R. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
or:
R. Alleluia.
“The right hand of the LORD has struck with power;
the right hand of the LORD is exalted.
I shall not die, but live,
and declare the works of the LORD.”
R. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
R. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Second Reading
Colossians 3:1-4
Brothers and sisters:
If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ your life appears,
then you too will appear with him in glory.

Gospel
John 20:1-9
On the first day of the week,
Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don’t know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.
For they did not yet understand the Scripture
that he had to rise from the dead.


photo-1541346183200-e8e117d945dd

“For they did not yet understand the scripture that he had to rise from the dead.” (John 9:20)

REFLECTION
When I was young, I had this idea that Easter was all about egg hunting. However, as I grew older, I slowly realized that Easter was the fulfillment of the greatest story of love and sacrifice between God and His people.

In today’s Gospel, the disciples who went to visit Jesus at his resting place were astonished because they did not find His body where they last left it. They did not come to realize that Jesus, the Christ, had risen from the dead. Similar to the disciples, I think we also have our own questions as to why Christ had to go through suffering and death but would eventually rise from the dead.

We already know that Christ’s passion and death was necessary for the salvation of humanity. His blood that was shed on the cross was the ‘ultimatum’ to prove God’s immeasurable love for His people and that sin had no power over this. Christ’s resurrection, on the other hand, was a symbol that God’s love withstood beyond earthly life and that it is eternal. 

Seeing it from another viewpoint, all these had to happen to depict a story that is written and planned out by God, to show humanity of how powerful His love is, regardless of the circumstance. Similarly, it also serves as the prime example that suffering is inevitable in our lives. But at the end of the day, God has it all planned out. After sorrow, he will lead us to great joy, that is comparable to what the disciples have felt when they found out that Jesus had risen.

Friends, this story also serves as a powerful reminder to us who are all in great suffering and uncertainty due to this pandemic. We may find ourselves lost due to all the things that are happening in our world, but let us come to realize that God’s love will rise above all these and that He will lead us to the joy of feasting after this time of trial. Our pains, burdens, and struggles will all make sense soon. 

Happy Easter, everyone! May our hope in these times be rooted in Christ who had risen from the dead.

Reflection Song

Grace to Grace by Hillsong Worship

Author

Anonymous

Photo by: Thanti Nguyen (@thanti_nguyen at unsplash.com)