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)

Andrea Chong, Little Whispers

D.E.A.R.

First Reading
Jonah 3:1-10
The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time:
“Set out for the great city of Nineveh,
and announce to it the message that I will tell you.”
So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh,
according to the LORD’s bidding.
Now Nineveh was an enormously large city;
it took three days to go through it.
Jonah began his journey through the city,
and had gone but a single day’s walk announcing,
“Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed,”
when the people of Nineveh believed God;
they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small,
put on sackcloth.

When the news reached the king of Nineveh,
he rose from his throne, laid aside his robe,
covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes.
Then he had this proclaimed throughout Nineveh,
by decree of the king and his nobles:
“Neither man nor beast, neither cattle nor sheep,
shall taste anything;
they shall not eat, nor shall they drink water.
Man and beast shall be covered with sackcloth
and call loudly to God;
every man shall turn from his evil way
and from the violence he has in hand.
Who knows, God may relent and forgive,
and withhold his blazing wrath,
so that we shall not perish.”
When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way,
he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them;
he did not carry it out.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 130:1B-2, 3-4AB, 7-8
R.(3) If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
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. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
If you, O LORD, mark iniquities,
LORD, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness,
that you may be revered.
R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
Let Israel wait for the LORD,
For with the LORD is kindness
and with him is plenteous redemption;
And he will redeem Israel
from all their iniquities.
R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?

Gospel
Luke 10:38-42
Jesus entered a village
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
“Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
Tell her to help me.”
The Lord said to her in reply,
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing.
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”


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The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)

REFLECTION
Looking back, during my grade school years, I remember one task our class had to do occasionally when our reading teacher instructed. We had called it, “D.E.A.R.” or Drop Everything And Read. It was a time during class for complete silence; to stop whatever we previously had been doing and focus on reading a book of choice we each brought to school. The activity always had to end with each student submitting a simple reflection paper of whatever piece they read.

It was a simple activity, yet I recall this specific activity as I read today’s Gospel, considering the fast-paced life we all are living today. We go through day-by-day, in an endless routine we have crafted to support the life we want for ourselves. Have we ever stopped to reflect on the life we have lived or our life in the present moment?

We have to remember how completely necessary it is to “snap out of it” once in a while; to remember which things are truly worth living for as well as which things we should be living for. Yes, it can all be so overwhelming to think about although this is why we turn to the Bible. God’s Word is His reassurance to us written on paper. It is His reminder to us that we should “drop everything” and focus only on His words, and by His grace, we will be able to walk through any storm that comes our way.

Prayer
Though it may feel like an endless ride through the same moments in life, may we remember that this is not all there is; we must hold on to our faith that You, Lord, have much, much more planned for us. Amidst life and all its challenges, Your plan is a brilliant and amazing gift we have to patiently unravel. Please supply us with the constant strength for whatever storm we may face, and the peace that in the end, it will all make sense, Father. Amen.

Author

wc-andrea.jpg

Click on the bubble to find out more about Andrea!

Photo by: Robyn Budlender (@robzy_m at unsplash.com)

Andrea Chong, Little Whispers

Let It Go

First Reading
JER 23:5-8

Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David;
As king he shall reign and govern wisely,
he shall do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah shall be saved,
Israel shall dwell in security.
This is the name they give him:
“The LORD our justice.”

Therefore, the days will come, says the LORD,
when they shall no longer say, “As the LORD lives,
who brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt”;
but rather, “As the LORD lives,
who brought the descendants of the house of Israel
up from the land of the north”–
and from all the lands to which I banished them;
they shall again live on their own land.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 72:1-2, 12-13, 18-19
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.
For 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.
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous deeds.
And blessed forever be his glorious name;
may the whole earth be filled with his glory.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.

Gospel
MT 1:18-25

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill
what the Lord had said through the prophet:

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,

which means “God is with us.”
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.
He had no relations with her until she bore a son,
and he named him Jesus.


 

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“Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.” (Matthew 1:20)

REFLECTION
Most of us fear things that we are not familiar with. In other words, we fear the unknown. Why must we step out of our comfort zone and jump into things that we are not even sure about? We are left asking ourselves questions like “Am I even going to make it out alive?”, “Is this all going to be worth it?” or just a simple “What for?” And sadly, those set of words are usually enough already to make someone forget even doing what they considered doing in the first place. Just two words and one wrong decision could be enough to miss out on a chance that could change their life.

Joseph started out with this fear as well. He was given this responsibility in which he was not even sure was worth sacrificing his whole life for. It was not mentioned in the Gospel, but as a fellow human being, I am sure that he was left with the same questions I have mentioned earlier, one of them specifically being: “What for?” There are a million possible answers he probably gave himself when the question came to mind. But there is only one answer to silence all the other answers, and that is only FAITH. We need to remember to have faith in God that whatever situation we are brought to face is for the betterment of our lives. We need to have no fear of the unknown because the only thing that should be occupying our hearts is the knowledge that God is going to be by our side as we walk through the unknown. Joseph probably just lacked in this knowledge. He probably just let his fear take over his heart, in the same space where it should have been filled with faith instead. That was when God sent the angel to help him regain that faith, and so he then ended up making the right decision to change his life; To let go of his worries and doubts, and to “let God”.

Prayer
Dear Lord, help us to remember that we are not alone, that You are always by our side, through thick and thin. Help us to remember that all things will fall into place as we put our faith in You. Amen.

Author

chong-andreaClick on the image to find out more about Andrea!

Andrea Chong, Little Whispers

About Time

First Reading
DN 2:31-45

Daniel said to Nebuchadnezzar:
“In your vision, O king, you saw a statue,
very large and exceedingly bright,
terrifying in appearance as it stood before you.
The head of the statue was pure gold,
its chest and arms were silver,
its belly and thighs bronze, the legs iron,
its feet partly iron and partly tile.
While you looked at the statue,
a stone which was hewn from a mountain
without a hand being put to it,
struck its iron and tile feet, breaking them in pieces.
The iron, tile, bronze, silver, and gold all crumbled at once,
fine as the chaff on the threshing floor in summer,
and the wind blew them away without leaving a trace.
But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain
and filled the whole earth.

“This was the dream;
the interpretation we shall also give in the king’s presence.
You, O king, are the king of kings;
to you the God of heaven
has given dominion and strength, power and glory;
men, wild beasts, and birds of the air, wherever they may dwell,
he has handed over to you, making you ruler over them all;
you are the head of gold.
Another kingdom shall take your place, inferior to yours,
then a third kingdom, of bronze,
which shall rule over the whole earth.
There shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron;
it shall break in pieces and subdue all these others,
just as iron breaks in pieces and crushes everything else.
The feet and toes you saw, partly of potter’s tile and partly of iron,
mean that it shall be a divided kingdom,
but yet have some of the hardness of iron.
As you saw the iron mixed with clay tile,
and the toes partly iron and partly tile,
the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile.
The iron mixed with clay tile
means that they shall seal their alliances by intermarriage,
but they shall not stay united, any more than iron mixes with clay.
In the lifetime of those kings
the God of heaven will set up a kingdom
that shall never be destroyed or delivered up to another people;
rather, it shall break in pieces all these kingdoms
and put an end to them, and it shall stand forever.
That is the meaning of the stone you saw hewn from the mountain
without a hand being put to it,
which broke in pieces the tile, iron, bronze, silver, and gold.
The great God has revealed to the king what shall be in the future;
this is exactly what you dreamed, and its meaning is sure.”

Responsorial Psalm
DANIEL 3:57, 58, 59, 60, 61
R. (59b) Give glory and eternal praise to him.

“Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord,
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Angels of the Lord, bless the Lord,
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“You heavens, bless the Lord,
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“All you waters above the heavens, bless the Lord,
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“All you hosts of the Lord, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.

Gospel
LK 21:5-11

While some people were speaking about
how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, “All that you see here–
the days will come when there will not be left
a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

Then they asked him,
“Teacher, when will this happen?
And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?”
He answered,
“See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’
Do not follow them!
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end.”
Then he said to them,
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.”


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“Daniel said to Nebuchadnezzar:
“In your vision, O king, you saw a statue,
very large and exceedingly bright,
terrifying in appearance as it stood before you.” (Daniel 2:31)

REFLECTION
From the moment I laid my eyes on the First Reading, to be honest I was starting to feel myself worry about my life. I felt all my anxieties creep up inside me and I just started thinking and remembering all that I have done, and I ask myself if I am even ready for Jesus’ coming. The pressure is indeed real and I felt it growing stronger and stronger as I reached the Gospel reading. They all talked of the same thing: Judgement Day.

I can honestly say that I am not ready at all for Judgement Day; at least not yet. I am still on the pursuit of improvement and I pray deep in my heart that I reach my ultimate goal of being the best version of me by the time Judgement Day arrives. I used to think that I had all the time in the world to just mess up and start over again, but it was wrong to think so because really, we can never tell when the Day of Judgement will arrive. It was wrong for me not to be mindful of that and to be so complacent about it. My head has been so up high lately that I formed my own illusion of a reality. Maybe it was all out of fear or pride? Either way it was not a good idea to have created this illusion. It may have sustained me for a while, but the reality of Judgement Day will always come piercing through whatever illusion I have built to escape my worries.

I think that instead of trying to avoid the reality of Judgement Day, I should just face it head on. Just the same as how it goes with every other problem, avoiding it is never a good idea because it will always just remain there unfixed and unresolved.

No one may know when Jesus will return, but it’s best to be prepared for it. To make peace within ourselves and with those around us, and to bring joy into places have long been in turmoil is always a great idea. I pray that we all strive to turn love into something common and overflowing instead of something so scarce and rare.

Prayer
Father God, I bow down to You, surrendering all my fears and worries for I know that as long as I see Your Face, I am in refuge. Amen.

Author
chong-andreaClick on the image to find out more about Andrea!

Andrea Chong, Little Whispers

The Path of the Righteous Man

First Reading
ROM 4:20-25

Brothers and sisters:
Abraham did not doubt God’s promise in unbelief;
rather, he was empowered by faith and gave glory to God
and was fully convinced that what God had promised
he was also able to do.
That is why it was credited to him as righteousness.
But it was not for him alone that it was written
that it was credited to him;
it was also for us, to whom it will be credited,
who believe in the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead,
who was handed over for our transgressions
and was raised for our justification.

Responsorial Psalm
LUKE 1:69-70, 71-72, 73-75
R. (see 68) Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.

He has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty savior,
born of the house of his servant David.
R. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
Through his holy prophets he promised of old
that he would save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.
R. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life.
R. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.

Gospel
LK 12:13-21

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,
“Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.”
He replied to him,
“Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?”
Then he said to the crowd,
“Take care to guard against all greed,
for though one may be rich,
one’s life does not consist of possessions.”

Then he told them a parable.
“There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.
He asked himself, ‘What shall I do,
for I do not have space to store my harvest?’
And he said, ‘This is what I shall do:
I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones.
There I shall store all my grain and other goods
and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you,
you have so many good things stored up for many years,
rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’
But God said to him,
‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you;
and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’
Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself
but is not rich in what matters to God.”


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“Abraham did not doubt God’s promise in unbelief; rather, he was empowered by faith and gave glory to God and was fully convinced that what God had promised he was also able to do. That is why it was credited to him as righteousness.” (Romans 4: 20-22)

REFLECTION
Recently I’ve been reading this book about a convict who turned his life around and completely changed for the better. Despite the countless opportunities for him to return to his old ways, he never once allowed himself to give in to these temptations. His name was Jean Valjean and he was a man who committed the crime of stealing. After being released, he changed his identity and turned over a new leaf. But all is not perfect as his past still continues to haunt him all throughout his life. An inspector named Javert still recognizes Jean and as a result leaves him crawling through life living in fear. Towards the end of the story, Javert is finally held captive by allies of Jean but despite everything he has done to Jean, the only form of revenge given to him was being set free. In a way, Jean Valjean has made a personal vow to God to be a righteous man no matter what the cost and despite everything he has been through.

I think this story spoke to me in many ways, but the main message is about righteousness. Each and everyone of us has a choice to make. Every second of our lives is an opportunity to make a decision. Not every decision is easy but if we remember to put God before every decision we make, we are bound to make the right decisions. Like Jean, we can always entertain our own demons and allow ourselves to let our pain get the best of us, but as God’s children we are called to go beyond ourselves.We are called to do what we believe is right even if it means giving sacrifices and going beyond our comfort zones. We should always choose to do the right thing, because it is there where we find God and He will take care of the rest.

Prayer
Lord, give me the strength to do the right thing even if everything else tells me to do the opposite. You are the only One I see, the only One who I will follow.

Author

Andrea Chong