Eka Apostol, Little Whispers

Competence in Christ

First Reading
2 Cor 3:4-11

Brothers and sisters:
Such confidence we have through Christ toward God.
Not that of ourselves we are qualified to take credit
for anything as coming from us;
rather, our qualification comes from God,
who has indeed qualified us as ministers of a new covenant,
not of letter but of spirit;
for the letter brings death, but the Spirit gives life.

Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, was so glorious
that the children of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses
because of its glory that was going to fade,
how much more will the ministry of the Spirit be glorious?
For if the ministry of condemnation was glorious,
the ministry of righteousness will abound much more in glory.
Indeed, what was endowed with glory
has come to have no glory in this respect
because of the glory that surpasses it.
For if what was going to fade was glorious,
how much more will what endures be glorious.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 99:5, 6, 7, 8, 9

R. (see 9c) Holy is the Lord our God.
Extol the LORD, our God,
and worship at his footstool;
holy is he!
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
and Samuel, among those who called upon his name;
they called upon the LORD, and he answered them.
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
From the pillar of cloud he spoke to them;
they heard his decrees and the law he gave them.
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
O LORD, our God, you answered them;
a forgiving God you were to them,
though requiting their misdeeds.
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
Extol the LORD, our God,
and worship at his holy mountain;
for holy is the LORD, our God.
R. Holy is the Lord our God.

Gospel
Mt 5:17-19

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”

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crystalplacebuffet

REFLECTION

“Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, our competence is from God; who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant” 2 Corinthians 3: 5-6

We were in Negros for 12 days to teach the UN Basic Rights of a Child to the less developed areas of the province. There were a lot of questions during the forum and fortunately, we were able to answer all these challenging inquiries.

We were no experts or professionals but we understood what we were discussing and that was where we got our confidence.

What we did is for a good cause and it’s for the betterment of the entire neighborhood. Because of that, God gave us the confidence to speak about it and the competence for them to believe in us. Those days were tiring but definitely fulfilling. God will give you a mission in this lifetime. And while doing that, he will give you the capability to complete it. – Eka Apostol (Erika_apostol@yahoo.com)

 

PRAYER

Dear Lord, help us to fulfill the mission You have entrusted to us. We know that You will provide all the tools we need in order to complete it. May we be able to utilize them.  Amen.

REFLECTION QUESTION

What do you think is the mission that God gave you?

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Eka Apostol, Little Whispers

Run Of Your Life

First Reading
Acts 15:1-6

Some who had come down from Judea were instructing the brothers,
“Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic practice,
you cannot be saved.”
Because there arose no little dissension and debate
by Paul and Barnabas with them,
it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others
should go up to Jerusalem to the Apostles and presbyters
about this question.
They were sent on their journey by the Church,
and passed through Phoenicia and Samaria
telling of the conversion of the Gentiles,
and brought great joy to all the brethren.
When they arrived in Jerusalem,
they were welcomed by the Church,
as well as by the Apostles and the presbyters,
and they reported what God had done with them.
But some from the party of the Pharisees who had become believers
stood up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them
and direct them to observe the Mosaic law.”

The Apostles and the presbyters met together to see about this matter.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 122:1-2, 3-4AB, 4CD-5

R. (see 1) Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

I rejoiced because they said to me,
“We will go up to the house of the LORD.”
And now we have set foot
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

According to the decree for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
In it are set up judgment seats,
seats for the house of David.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Gospel
Jn 15:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
because without me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
will be thrown out like a branch and wither;
people will gather them and throw them into a fire
and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified,
that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”

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Aircraft-at-the-Airport-Fly-to-Barcelona

REFLECTION

“I was glad when they said to me let us go to the house of the Lord. Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem” Psalm 122: 1-2

 

It’s an out of town trip we do every year. We know the usual practice. Everything is going well until we are running late for our flight. It was like a scene taken out of The Amazing Race, we were begging at the check in counter to let us board the plane to no avail. Leaving us dumbfounded in the airport, what happened didn’t sink in quickly. We wanted to sleep in the airport benches, but unfortunately the airport closes.

The next day, we were there early, even before the airport opened, making sure that we won’t miss our plane this time. We didn’t mind the time we had to kill outside, even if we were standing for so long waiting for the doors to be opened. When it did, we ran like the plane is about to leave in 5 minutes.

If we waited for so long because of the anxiety we were feeling, what more if we are to enter the kingdom of God? I’m sure even if it’ll take days, we wouldn’t mind lining up just to get a sight of God. The amount of happiness we felt at that time, wouldn’t measure to the euphoria waiting for us in God’s house. – Erika Apostol (Erika_apostol@yahoo.com)

 

PRAYER
Dear Lord, I’m excited to see what you have in store for me in your house. Help me to be patient and to not mind the hours I have to wait for your plans. Amen.

REFLECTION QUESTION
When was last time you got so excited and didn’t mind waiting?

Photo source: http://www.flytobarcelona.org

Eka Apostol, Little Whispers

Chill Out

First Reading
Heb 13:15-17, 20-21

Brothers and sisters:
Through Jesus, let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise,
that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name.
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have;
God is pleased by sacrifices of that kind.

Obey your leaders and defer to them,
for they keep watch over you and will have to give an account,
that they may fulfill their task with joy and not with sorrow,
for that would be of no advantage to you.

May the God of peace, who brought up from the dead
the great shepherd of the sheep
by the Blood of the eternal covenant,
furnish you with all that is good, that you may do his will.
May he carry out in you what is pleasing to him through Jesus Christ,
to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6

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

Gospel
Mk 6:30-34

The Apostles gathered together with Jesus
and reported all they had done and taught.
He said to them,
“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
People were coming and going in great numbers,
and they had no opportunity even to eat.
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.
People saw them leaving and many came to know about it.
They hastened there on foot from all the towns
and arrived at the place before them.

When Jesus disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.

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just-relax-208977

REFLECTION 

“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6: 31

“Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” It felt good. I was standing on the beach shore, listening to the sound of the waves and shouting at the top of my lungs to release all the stress I was carrying with me from the city. It was a quiet, private place. No one was there except for a few people who take care of it. My friends asked me what I was doing and I told them to try it. It would make them feel better too. Soon, all of us were shouting and the mountains echoed our shouts.

God invited his apostles to go to a solitary place to get some rest. The hustle and bustle of the city, so busy and fast paced that sometimes we barely have time to have fun, relax and reflect. Everybody needs a break or else we might go mad. Resigning yourself to a place where there are no people will clear your mind and help you reflect.

You may be exhausted and tired with a cluttered mind. God invites you to take a break, to leave everything and go to a quiet place. So drop what you’re doing and come with Him. He’ll give you a spa and a massage. – Eka Apostol (Erika_apostol@yahoo.com)

 

PRAYER
Dear Lord, I am tired and I want to rest. Help me untangle the thoughts in my mind so I can have a clearer view of things. Amen.

REFLECTION QUESTION
When was last time you went to a quiet place to reflect?

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Eka Apostol, Little Whispers

The Road Less Travelled

First Reading
Acts 22:3-16

Paul addressed the people in these words:
“I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia,
but brought up in this city.
At the feet of Gamaliel I was educated strictly in our ancestral law
and was zealous for God, just as all of you are today.
I persecuted this Way to death,
binding both men and women and delivering them to prison.
Even the high priest and the whole council of elders
can testify on my behalf.
For from them I even received letters to the brothers
and set out for Damascus to bring back to Jerusalem
in chains for punishment those there as well.

“On that journey as I drew near to Damascus,
about noon a great light from the sky suddenly shone around me.
I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me,
‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’
I replied, ‘Who are you, sir?’
And he said to me,
‘I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.’
My companions saw the light
but did not hear the voice of the one who spoke to me.
I asked, ‘What shall I do, sir?’
The Lord answered me, ‘Get up and go into Damascus,
and there you will be told about everything
appointed for you to do.’
Since I could see nothing because of the brightness of that light,
I was led by hand by my companions and entered Damascus.

“A certain Ananias, a devout observer of the law,
and highly spoken of by all the Jews who lived there,
came to me and stood there and said,
‘Saul, my brother, regain your sight.’
And at that very moment I regained my sight and saw him.
Then he said,
‘The God of our ancestors designated you to know his will,
to see the Righteous One, and to hear the sound of his voice;
for you will be his witness before all
to what you have seen and heard.
Now, why delay?
Get up and have yourself baptized and your sins washed away,
calling upon his name.’”

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 117:1BC, 2

R. (Mark 16:15) Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
or:
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Praise the LORD, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!
R. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
or:
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
For steadfast is his kindness toward us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
R. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
or:
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel
Mk 16:15-18

Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them:
“Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;
whoever does not believe will be condemned.
These signs will accompany those who believe:
in my name they will drive out demons,
they will speak new languages.
They will pick up serpents with their hands,
and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

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EKA APOSTOL elizamac.deviantart.com

REFLECTION

“Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 22: 17

 

On our way home from a trip, we suddenly found ourselves in the middle of an unfamiliar road. No houses, no buildings, just vast land. We were lost, and for someone who’s good at directions and rarely gets lost, I became really nervous. We were driving blind and we didn’t know where we were going. We just wanted to find people who can show us the right way, and we found them. They gave us directions back to the road that we were familiar with.

Those people were our Ananias, sent by God for us to regain our sight so we can go back to the right way. We tried to remember where we made a mistake, just like Saul who went blind for a couple of days before Ananias arrived. He soon got his vision back and realized the things he had done wrong and made up for it by preaching in the synagogues.

You may be lost right now, wandering in an empty land and not knowing where to go but soon, you’ll encounter your own Ananias, sent by God to give you sight so you will see the right path. Hang in there. – Eka Apostol  (Erika_apostol@yahoo.com)

 

PRAYER
Dear Lord, help me not to lose sight of you. May I have unwavering faith that you are guiding me. Amen.

REFLECTION QUESTION
Are you lost or have you regained your sight?

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