Kyla Bulabos, Little Whispers

Aspiring Artist

First Reading
Isaiah 11:1-10
On that day,
A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.
The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him:
a Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
A Spirit of counsel and of strength,
a Spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD,
and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.
Not by appearance shall he judge,
nor by hearsay shall he decide,
But he shall judge the poor with justice,
and decide aright for the land’s afflicted.
He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.
Justice shall be the band around his waist,
and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.

Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
The calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.
The cow and the bear shall be neighbors,
together their young shall rest;
the lion shall eat hay like the ox.
The baby shall play by the cobra’s den,
and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.
There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD,
as water covers the sea.

On that day,
The root of Jesse,
set up as a signal for the nations,
The Gentiles shall seek out,
for his dwelling shall be glorious.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17
R.(see 7) Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
He shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
May his name be blessed forever;
as long as the sun his name shall remain.
In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed;
all the nations shall proclaim his happiness.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.

Gospel
Luke 10:21-24
Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said,
“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows who the Son is except the Father,
and who the Father is except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

Turning to the disciples in private he said,
“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.
For I say to you,
many prophets and kings desired to see what you see,
but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”


1

“… ‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.'” (Luke 10:23-24)

REFLECTION
I’ve always wanted to learn how to draw and be creative, but I guess fate doesn’t want me to. During my 15 years of studying, from nursery to present, art classes never excited me because I know to myself that I don’t know how to excel in this area of learning.  I was so desperate to pass this subject that I had to seek help from my father during my younger years and my younger brother who was gifted with this talent. Imagine, a high school student asking help from her grade school sibling!

As a young kid, I would always ask my parents to buy me the 64 crayon set from Crayola, a complete set of watercolor, glitter pens, a drawing book, stencils, and all the artsy stuff that I would want to have but will just leave it slightly used because I would just get frustrated of my artworks. There was a time when I cried because my friends laughed at my artwork jokingly. Of course, I got hurt even though it was a joke because I know I did my best and gave effort in doing that. But then and again, it does not look like an artwork of a senior high school student.

I would always say “Sana magaling nalang ako magdrawing” (“How I wish I am a good artist”) or “Lord, pahingi naman talent sa drawing” (“Lord, please give me a talent in drawing”) but later on realized that God has given me a different talent wherein I excel and which I can use to bless other people. Like me, others would most likely ask and pray to have a talent like mine. But my dear friends, let us keep in mind that we need to learn how to appreciate what God has given us in whatever form it is.

Like in today’s gospel, Jesus said Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it. We as humans cannot have everything we hope and desire of, but Jesus wants us to remain humble and just be thankful and grateful of what He has given us.

Prayer
Dear Jesus, I thank You for all the blessings that You have given me. Lord, teach me how to appreciate everything that I may know how to use them and in order to be Jesus to other people, Amen.

Author

wc-kyla

Click on the bubble to find out more about Kyla!

Kyla Bulabos, Little Whispers

Glossophobia

First Reading
2 Maccabees 7:1, 20-31
It happened that seven brothers with their mother were arrested
and tortured with whips and scourges by the king,
to force them to eat pork in violation of God’s law.

Most admirable and worthy of everlasting remembrance was the mother,
who saw her seven sons perish in a single day,
yet bore it courageously because of her hope in the Lord.
Filled with a noble spirit that stirred her womanly heart with manly courage,
she exhorted each of them
in the language of their ancestors with these words:
“I do not know how you came into existence in my womb;
it was not I who gave you the breath of life,
nor was it I who set in order
the elements of which each of you is composed.
Therefore, since it is the Creator of the universe
who shapes each man’s beginning,
as he brings about the origin of everything,
he, in his mercy,
will give you back both breath and life,
because you now disregard yourselves for the sake of his law.”

Antiochus, suspecting insult in her words,
thought he was being ridiculed.
As the youngest brother was still alive, the king appealed to him,
not with mere words, but with promises on oath,
to make him rich and happy if he would abandon his ancestral customs:
he would make him his Friend
and entrust him with high office.
When the youth paid no attention to him at all,
the king appealed to the mother,
urging her to advise her boy to save his life.
After he had urged her for a long time,
she went through the motions of persuading her son.
In derision of the cruel tyrant,
she leaned over close to her son and said in their native language:
“Son, have pity on me, who carried you in my womb for nine months,
nursed you for three years, brought you up,
educated and supported you to your present age.
I beg you, child, to look at the heavens and the earth
and see all that is in them;
then you will know that God did not make them out of existing things;
and in the same way the human race came into existence.
Do not be afraid of this executioner,
but be worthy of your brothers and accept death,
so that in the time of mercy I may receive you again with them.”

She had scarcely finished speaking when the youth said:
“What are you waiting for?
I will not obey the king’s command.
I obey the command of the law given to our fathers through Moses.
But you, who have contrived every kind of affliction for the Hebrews,
will not escape the hands of God.”

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 17:1BCD, 5-6, 8B AND 15
R.(15b) Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.
Hear, O LORD, a just suit;
attend to my outcry;
hearken to my prayer from lips without deceit.
R. Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.
My steps have been steadfast in your paths,
my feet have not faltered.
I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me; hear my word.
R. Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings.
But I in justice shall behold your face;
on waking, I shall be content in your presence.
R. Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.

Gospel
Luke 19:11-28
While people were listening to Jesus speak,
he proceeded to tell a parable because he was near Jerusalem
and they thought that the Kingdom of God
would appear there immediately.
So he said,
“A nobleman went off to a distant country
to obtain the kingship for himself and then to return.
He called ten of his servants and gave them ten gold coins
and told them, ‘Engage in trade with these until I return.’
His fellow citizens, however, despised him
and sent a delegation after him to announce,
‘We do not want this man to be our king.’
But when he returned after obtaining the kingship,
he had the servants called, to whom he had given the money,
to learn what they had gained by trading.
The first came forward and said,
‘Sir, your gold coin has earned ten additional ones.’
He replied, ‘Well done, good servant!
You have been faithful in this very small matter;
take charge of ten cities.’
Then the second came and reported,
‘Your gold coin, sir, has earned five more.’
And to this servant too he said,
‘You, take charge of five cities.’
Then the other servant came and said,
‘Sir, here is your gold coin;
I kept it stored away in a handkerchief,
for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding man;
you take up what you did not lay down
and you harvest what you did not plant.’
He said to him,
‘With your own words I shall condemn you,
you wicked servant.
You knew I was a demanding man,
taking up what I did not lay down
and harvesting what I did not plant;
why did you not put my money in a bank?
Then on my return I would have collected it with interest.’
And to those standing by he said,
‘Take the gold coin from him
and give it to the servant who has ten.’
But they said to him,
‘Sir, he has ten gold coins.’
He replied, ‘I tell you,
to everyone who has, more will be given,
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king,
bring them here and slay them before me.'”

After he had said this,
he proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem.


Glossophobia

“He replied, ‘I tell you, to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.’” (Luke 19:26)

REFLECTION
Being the shy person that I am, I never thought that I would be able to lead worship, sing, and speak in front of many people. Glossophobia is defined as the fear of public speaking. I always hated speaking in front because it makes me weak, tremble, and anxious at all times. Whenever I am in front, I just feel like my mind stops and I cannot think of anything right. As a kid, my parents would always get mad at me every time I tell them that I don’t want to sing alone and speak in front of people because I’m too shy to do it.

As I grew older, circumstances came wherein I had no choice but to do the things that I don’t usually do. I had school performance tasks which included extemporaneous speeches, memorized speeches, graded recitation, and many more and I really can’t understand why I am too scared to do things like these.

When I was tapped to be the worship leader in BLD Youth for the first time, my first question in mind was “Kaya ko ba? Baka matulala lang ako sa harap.” (“Can I do it? I might just space out in front.”) but God whispered to me and said that I’ll never know unless I try. To cut it short, I said yes and lead worship for the first time. Right after that, more opportunities came. I became part of the student council, I was asked to lead worship in our school, and more. One day, a schoolmate approached me and told me that I am actually a good speaker and she wants to hear more of me soon. Right at that moment, I realized that I can actually bless other people with my greatest fear.

I did not know that the thing that I’ve always been insecure of will serve as a blessing to other people. My greatest fear turned out to be my greatest weapon—my strength. Similarly in today’s readings, God only asks us to utilize and spread what we have in order to bless ourselves and other people more.

Prayer
Dear Lord, teach me how to be more like You. Continue to guide me as I use Your gifts in order to be a blessing to other people. This we ask in Your most holy name, Amen.

Author

wc-kyla

Click on the bubble to find out more about Kyla!

Bea Borromeo, Little Whispers

Self-care

First Reading
2 Maccabees 6:18-31

Eleazar, one of the foremost scribes,
a man of advanced age and noble appearance,
was being forced to open his mouth to eat pork.
But preferring a glorious death to a life of defilement,
he spat out the meat,
and went forward of his own accord to the instrument of torture,
as people ought to do who have the courage to reject the food
which it is unlawful to taste even for love of life.
Those in charge of that unlawful ritual meal took the man aside privately,
because of their long acquaintance with him,
and urged him to bring meat of his own providing,
such as he could legitimately eat,
and to pretend to be eating some of the meat of the sacrifice
prescribed by the king;
in this way he would escape the death penalty,
and be treated kindly because of their old friendship with him.
But Eleazar made up his mind in a noble manner,
worthy of his years, the dignity of his advanced age,
the merited distinction of his gray hair,
and of the admirable life he had lived from childhood;
and so he declared that above all
he would be loyal to the holy laws given by God.

He told them to send him at once
to the abode of the dead, explaining:
“At our age it would be unbecoming to make such a pretense;
many young people would think the ninety-year-old Eleazar
had gone over to an alien religion.
Should I thus pretend for the sake of a brief moment of life,
they would be led astray by me,
while I would bring shame and dishonor on my old age.
Even if, for the time being, I avoid the punishment of men,
I shall never, whether alive or dead,
escape the hands of the Almighty.
Therefore, by manfully giving up my life now,
I will prove myself worthy of my old age,
and I will leave to the young a noble example
of how to die willingly and generously
for the revered and holy laws.”

Eleazar spoke thus,
and went immediately to the instrument of torture.
Those who shortly before had been kindly disposed,
now became hostile toward him because what he had said
seemed to them utter madness.
When he was about to die under the blows,
he groaned and said:
“The Lord in his holy knowledge knows full well that,
although I could have escaped death,
I am not only enduring terrible pain in my body from this scourging,
but also suffering it with joy in my soul
because of my devotion to him.”
This is how he died,
leaving in his death a model of courage
and an unforgettable example of virtue
not only for the young but for the whole nation.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 3:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R. (6b) The Lord upholds me.
O LORD, how many are my adversaries!
Many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
“There is no salvation for him in God.”
R. The Lord upholds me.
But you, O LORD, are my shield;
my glory, you lift up my head!
When I call out to the LORD,
he answers me from his holy mountain.
R. The Lord upholds me.
When I lie down in sleep,
I wake again, for the LORD sustains me.
I fear not the myriads of people
arrayed against me on every side.
R. The Lord upholds me.

Gospel
Luke 19:1-10

At that time Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town.
Now a man there named Zacchaeus,
who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man,
was seeking to see who Jesus was;
but he could not see him because of the crowd,
for he was short in stature.
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus,
who was about to pass that way.
When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said,
“Zacchaeus, come down quickly,
for today I must stay at your house.”
And he came down quickly and received him with joy.
When they saw this, they began to grumble, saying,
“He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.”
But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord,
“Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor,
and if I have extorted anything from anyone
I shall repay it four times over.”
And Jesus said to him,
“Today salvation has come to this house
because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.
For the Son of Man has come to seek
and to save what was lost.”


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“And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.’” (Luke 19:9-10)

REFLECTION
Just last week, I attended a training entitled “Presentation Skills Workshop”. As participants, we were required to think of a topic and present it to the whole class. The first thing that came to my mind was to share something personal so that I can discuss it well. 

Self-care — that’s what I presented. I shared my journey on how I learned to love myself just the way I am. From my physical, emotional and spiritual self. 

Almost everyone knew how low my self-esteem was before despite being a happy person and not just because of my physical appearance but how I see myself as a whole and my capabilities. But with the help of the people around me, I learned not to marginalize myself from others. Experiencing all the struggles, judgements and feeling of rejection from others gave me an opportunity to love myself more. 

Just like Zacchaeus, once in this lifetime, we were or we will be socially marginalized. But at the end of the day, it is how we will humble ourselves and believe that we are created in God’s own image and likeness. In that way, Jesus will choose to look into our hearts over and over again. He will choose to look beyond our sins and see us perfectly the way He planned us to be.

Reflection Song

So Will I (100 Billion X) by Hillsong Worship

Author

wc-beab

Click on the bubble to find out more about Bea!

Photo by: Allef Vinicius (@seteales at unsplash.com)

Bea Borromeo, Little Whispers

Perfectly Imperfect

First Reading
Romans 8:26-30
Brothers and sisters:
The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness;
for we do not know how to pray as we ought,
but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.
And the one who searches hearts
knows what is the intention of the Spirit,
because he intercedes for the holy ones
according to God’s will.

We know that all things work for good for those who love God,
who are called according to his purpose.
For those he foreknew he also predestined
to be conformed to the image of his Son,
so that he might be the firstborn
among many brothers.
And those he predestined he also called;
and those he called he also justified;
and those he justified he also glorified.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 13:4-5, 6
R.(6a) My hope, O Lord, is in your mercy.
Look, answer me, O LORD, my God!
Give light to my eyes that I may not sleep in death
lest my enemy say, “I have overcome him”;
lest my foes rejoice at my downfall.
R. My hope, O Lord, is in your mercy.
Though I trusted in your mercy,
Let my heart rejoice in your salvation;
let me sing of the LORD, “He has been good to me.”
R. My hope, O Lord, is in your mercy.

Gospel
Luke 13:22-30
Jesus passed through towns and villages,
teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.
Someone asked him,
“Lord, will only a few people be saved?”
He answered them,
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter
but will not be strong enough.
After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door,
then will you stand outside knocking and saying,
‘Lord, open the door for us.’
He will say to you in reply,
‘I do not know where you are from.’
And you will say,
‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’
Then he will say to you,
‘I do not know where you are from.
Depart from me, all you evildoers!’
And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth
when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God
and you yourselves cast out.
And people will come from the east and the west
and from the north and the south
and will recline at table in the Kingdom of God.
For behold, some are last who will be first,
and some are first who will be last.”


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“Someone asked him, ‘Lord, will only a few people be saved?'” (Luke 13:23)

REFLECTION
It’s been 8 years since I joined the Youth Ministry. During those years, I’ve experienced mixed feelings and emotions that leads me to different thoughts of how a ministry really works.

Being with people who have different qualities and personalities has not been easy — and I guess, it will never be. But one thing I realized is as time goes by with Youth Ministry, no matter how hard it is to get along with everyone, it’s always been a joy for me getting to know them in different circumstances.

Just this last weekend, we had our Youth Encounter #30. It was also my first time being the head facilitator since this is under the evangelization apostolate.

During the weekend, God made me realize so much things. One of these was that no ministry is perfect. Everyone has their own shortcomings and frailty. We all have our own imperfections but what makes a ministry perfect is the love, patience and understanding that people have for each other.

God made me realize that being saved doesn’t mean that we have to be perfect. Being a leader doesn’t mean I have to do everything—it’s about trusting everyone in the ministry and letting them shine on their own. Those 40 newly graduated candidates are the best representation and inspiration of God to us, His servants.

My friends, Jesus knows that at times we will hurt other people, make poor choices, or we even may turn away from Him. But at the end of the day, Jesus continues to love us unconditionally. He never stops inviting us to come back home. But most of all, He will always save us from our sins.

Reflection Song

 

Whole Heart (Hold Me Now) by Hillsong UNITED

Author

wc-beab

Click on the bubble to find out more about Bea!

Andrea Chong, Little Whispers

A Selfless Self-lover

First Reading
Romans 5:12, 15B, 17-19, 20B-21
Brothers and sisters:
Through one man sin entered the world,
and through sin, death,
and thus death came to all men, inasmuch as all sinned.

If by that one person’s transgression the many died,
how much more did the grace of God
and the gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ
overflow for the many.
For if, by the transgression of the one,
death came to reign through that one,
how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace
and the gift of justification
come to reign in life through the one Jesus Christ.
In conclusion, just as through one transgression
condemnation came upon all,
so, through one righteous act
acquittal and life came to all.
For just as through the disobedience of one man
the many were made sinners,
so, through the obedience of the one
the many will be made righteous.
Where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more,
so that, as sin reigned in death,
grace also might reign through justification
for eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 40:7-8A, 8B-9, 10, 17
R.(8a and 9a) Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Burnt offerings or sin offerings you sought not;
then said I, “Behold I come.”
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!”
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
May all who seek you
exult and be glad in you,
And may those who love your salvation
say ever, “The LORD be glorified.”
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

Gospel
Luke 12:35-38
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Gird your loins and light your lamps
and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding,
ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.
Blessed are those servants
whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.
Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself,
have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.
And should he come in the second or third watch
and find them prepared in this way,
blessed are those servants.”


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“For if, by the transgression of the one, death came to reign through that one, how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of justification come to reign in life through the one Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:17)

REFLECTION
In today’s generation, self-love has become humanity’s very own revolution. The individuals are tired of society’s toxicity and the unattainable desire to be perfect. It’s only about time to start prioritizing our well-being amongst the others, but has the art of selflessness lost its grasp on the heart of this generation? It’s certainly best to hope not. For although the two concepts are quite similar, ‘self-care’ is not equivalent to ‘selfishness’. A person who cares for himself is still able to decide whether to care only for his self or care for others as well.

It is safe to assume that a person who cares for himself also has love for his self. And like the common knowledge that an individual with a sprained ankle moves slower than one whose legs are perfectly fine, such is the case for an individual who does not love himself versus one who does; for the individual who loves himself and cares for himself is also able to serve others better.

In line with the given reflection verse, I believe that someone who bothers to try and serve others better is one who has a heart of selflessness. Our Lord, who is the embodiment of selflessness, is the One who will also be saving us all from condemnation through that selflessness.

Prayer
Father, as we learn to truly love ourselves, help us not to forget to extend that love to others as well. Just as you love us even during our most unworthy, may we also consider caring for others even when they least deserve it. Amen.

Author

wc-andrea

Click on the bubble to find out more about Andrea!

Photo by: Priscilla Du Preez (@priscilladupreez at unsplash.com)

Justin Chong, Little Whispers

Can I Hear An Amen?

First Reading
Romans 1:16-25

Brothers and sisters:
I am not ashamed of the Gospel.
It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes:
for Jew first, and then Greek.
For in it is revealed the righteousness of God from faith to faith;
as it is written, “The one who is righteous by faith will live.”

The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven
against every impiety and wickedness
of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness.
For what can be known about God is evident to them,
because God made it evident to them.
Ever since the creation of the world,
his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity
have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made.
As a result, they have no excuse;
for although they knew God
they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks.
Instead, they became vain in their reasoning,
and their senseless minds were darkened.
While claiming to be wise, they became fools
and exchanged the glory of the immortal God
for the likeness of an image of mortal man
or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes.

Therefore, God handed them over to impurity
through the lusts of their hearts
for the mutual degradation of their bodies.
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie
and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator,
who is blessed forever. Amen.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 19:2-3, 4-5
R.(2a) The heavens proclaim the glory of God.

The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day pours out the word to day,
and night to night imparts knowledge.
R. The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
Not a word nor a discourse
whose voice is not heard;
Through all the earth their voice resounds,
and to the ends of the world, their message.
R. The heavens proclaim the glory of God.

Gospel
Luke 11:37-41

After Jesus had spoken,
a Pharisee invited him to dine at his home.
He entered and reclined at table to eat.
The Pharisee was amazed to see
that he did not observe the prescribed washing before the meal.
The Lord said to him, “Oh you Pharisees!
Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish,
inside you are filled with plunder and evil.
You fools!
Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside?
But as to what is within, give alms,
and behold, everything will be clean for you.”


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“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” (Romans 1:16)

REFLECTION
I was born into a very religious family wherein my parents were part of a charismatic community, Bukas Loob sa Diyos. When I grew up, I was being groomed to join the Youth Ministry. True enough, when I turned 13, they “strongly encouraged” me to attend prayer meetings which was held every Saturday. At the age where in I was developing a close knit barkada¹, there were times that I had to flake on our Saturday gimmicks.

They would always ask why I won’t be able to make it. I would shamefully say, “May family thing kami.” (I have a family matter to attend to.) Because of that, they never knew what I was really doing on Saturdays. As I kept attending prayer meetings, I learned to appreciate it. I realized that I was growing not only in my relationship with the Lord but also personally. In the community, my leadership, confidence and speech skills were built.

Growing up with these set of skills has greatly developed my career. One day, I was presenting a major business plan to executives of the company I was working for. I was so passionate in the moment I was presenting and in driving a major point, I accidentally blurted out, “AMEN?” As the word slipped out, the executives smiled and laughed. I apologized but one of them said, “Don’t ever be ashamed of being close to God.”

After that, they asked about my service in the community and as I told them all about it, I did not feel an inch of shame, but instead I felt pride in what I have been through. I then wondered, why was I ever ashamed?

Serving the Lord made me grow into the person I am today. The blessings of Jesus continues outside my community—it has seeped into the life I have outside the Church, in my family and in my career. Always be proud as a servant, for He has blessed you beyond measure. AMEN?

Prayer
Lord, thank you for the blessing of getting to know You. Always guide us to be proud of a God like You wherever we go in life. May we always uphold Your values as a Christian in all things we do. Amen!

Author
wc-justin

Click on the bubble to find out more about Justin!

Photo by: Campaign Creators (@campaign_creators at unsplash.com)

Jem Chong, Little Whispers

Seek the Silent Guardian

First Reading
Malachi 3:13-20B

You have defied me in word, says the LORD,
yet you ask, “What have we spoken against you?”
You have said, “It is vain to serve God,
and what do we profit by keeping his command,
And going about in penitential dress
in awe of the LORD of hosts?
Rather must we call the proud blessed;
for indeed evildoers prosper,
and even tempt God with impunity.”
Then they who fear the LORD spoke with one another,
and the LORD listened attentively;
And a record book was written before him
of those who fear the LORD and trust in his name.
And they shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts,
my own special possession, on the day I take action.
And I will have compassion on them,
as a man has compassion on his son who serves him.
Then you will again see the distinction
between the just and the wicked;
Between the one who serves God,
and the one who does not serve him.
For lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven,
when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble,
And the day that is coming will set them on fire,
leaving them neither root nor branch,
says the LORD of hosts.
But for you who fear my name, there will arise
the sun of justice with its healing rays.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 1:1-2, 3, 4 AND 6
R.(Ps 40:5a) Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Gospel
Luke 11:5-13

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Suppose one of you has a friend
to whom he goes at midnight and says,
‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey
and I have nothing to offer him,’
and he says in reply from within,
‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked
and my children and I are already in bed.
I cannot get up to give you anything.’
I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves
because of their friendship,
he will get up to give him whatever he needs
because of his persistence.

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
What father among you would hand his son a snake
when he asks for a fish?
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit
to those who ask him?”


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“‘If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?'” (Luke 10:13)

REFLECTION
At one point during one of the semesters of my freshman year, I felt a lot of weight on my shoulders. I continuously dealt with assessments from school. Many times, I would procrastinate; finding a way to escape from the toxicity that is my workload. Because of this, my grades never got any higher, making me very angry with myself. I started doubting my past choices, the point of pursuing this course despite my lack of enjoyment. What made it worse was when I started comparing myself to a lot of my old batchmates, seeing how much better off they seemed. This hindered me from thinking positively about myself, no matter what happened.

Overwhelmed by all the troubling thoughts, I visited the school chapel to get some quiet time. A person once told me that prayer was a two way conversation; that eventually we need to listen to the Lord as well. So I sat and unloaded everything that I felt was burdening me, a long and heavy rant then I fell silent. I didn’t intend for anything to happen, but part of me felt like I was waiting, asking for some kind of relief. I realized then, as if someone was speaking to me, that He wants me to be happy. Low grades, social standards did not matter to Him, His first priority was as simple as my happiness.

I felt this statement so strongly because once I looked closer, I found out that I missed the small things. Those positive events during my day to make me feel better; a friend, meeting with family, a stroke of luck. With this, I asked for a positive mindset, for more happiness. Until now, I still don’t receive the best marks but that does not hinder me from finding at least three positive things from my day, and that makes me glad. 

There are so many times when I feel that I have to fulfill society’s standards in order to feel accomplished. I realized that no one knows me better than God, because amidst the day’s hustle, He is the one truly filling it with joy. With that, I do not need to worry about anything, seeking Him out everyday is already enough. 

Prayer
Heavenly Father, Help me see Your love, may I realize that You are working through me everyday. I pray that despite all the trials that I have to endure, I will continue to hope in You. May I never forget that I can always seek refuge in You, no matter where I am. Thank you, dear Lord, for always looking out for me, for filling my day with joy whenever possible. Amen.

Author

wc-jem

Click on the bubble to find out more about Jem!

Photo by: Ben White (@benwhitephotography at unsplash.com)