Igi Ebarvia, Little Whispers

While There’s TIme

First Reading
Wis 1:1-7

Love justice, you who judge the earth;
think of the Lord in goodness,
and seek him in integrity of heart;
Because he is found by those who test him not,
and he manifests himself to those who do not disbelieve him.
For perverse counsels separate a man from God,
and his power, put to the proof, rebukes the foolhardy;
Because into a soul that plots evil, wisdom enters not,
nor dwells she in a body under debt of sin.
For the holy Spirit of discipline flees deceit
and withdraws from senseless counsels;
and when injustice occurs it is rebuked.
For wisdom is a kindly spirit,
yet she acquits not the blasphemer of his guilty lips;
Because God is the witness of his inmost self
and the sure observer of his heart
and the listener to his tongue.
For the Spirit of the Lord fills the world,
is all-embracing, and knows what man says.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 139:1B-3, 4-6, 7-8, 9-10
R. (24b) Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.

O LORD, you have probed me and you know me;
you know when I sit and when I stand;
you understand my thoughts from afar.
My journeys and my rest you scrutinize,
with all my ways you are familiar.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know the whole of it.
Behind me and before, you hem me in
and rest your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
too lofty for me to attain.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
Where can I go from your spirit?
From your presence where can I flee?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I sink to the nether world, you are present there.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
if I settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
Even there your hand shall guide me,
and your right hand hold me fast.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.

Gospel
Lk 17:1-6

Jesus said to his disciples,
“Things that cause sin will inevitably occur,
but woe to the one through whom they occur.
It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck
and he be thrown into the sea
than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.
Be on your guard!
If your brother sins, rebuke him;
and if he repents, forgive him.
And if he wrongs you seven times in one day
and returns to you seven times saying, ‘I am sorry,’
you should forgive him.”

And the Apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”
The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed,
you would say to this mulberry tree,
‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”
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dance

REFLECTION

“Be on your guard!” Lk 17:3

One day, my friend introduced me to Help-Portrait Philippines – an organization composed of photographers, writers, make-up artists, artists, bloggers, professionals, and other volunteers coming together to use their skills to give back to the nation. He invited me to their mission at Anawim, home of the abandoned elderly. Having nothing to do on that weekend, I gamely joined them.

The exhausting two-hour travel time going to the site meant nothing compared to the joy I received. I laughed, sang and danced with the lolos and lolas!  I cried with them as they narrated about their estranged relationships with their families who left them to the care of Anawim.

One lola’s story made a mark in my heart. She said she used to have a lot during her early life – family, wealth, and career. When she lost everything, she relayed how her faith to the Lord deepened. Now that she’s older, she vowed to spend her remaining days to serve the Lord.

I left Anawim carrying an important lesson: be on guard. I looked at myself and realized I am at the perfect time to serve God. Unlike lola, I am still a young person full of vigor and strength. I learned to be on guard by putting my gifts into good use while I am still breathing.  My Anawim experience convicted me to be a good witness of the Gospel through my examples, bear with difficult people, and forgive those who hurt me unconditionally.

Life is short. The Lord is asking one thing to me.

It is to love more while there’s still time. –Igi Ebarvia (migsebarvia@gmail.com)

Prayer

Lord, I offer my life to you. Teach me to number my days aright.

Reflection Question

How am I managing my time, talents and treasures while I still have time?

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Igi Ebarvia, Little Whispers

Available

First Reading
Eph 2:19-22

Brothers and sisters:
You are no longer strangers and sojourners,
but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones
and members of the household of God,
built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets,
with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.
Through him the whole structure is held together
and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord;
in him you also are being built together
into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 19:2-3, 4-5
R. (5a) Their message goes out through all the earth.

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. Their message goes out through all the earth.
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. Their message goes out through all the earth.

Gospel
Lk 6:12-16

Jesus went up to the mountain to pray,
and he spent the night in prayer to God.
When day came, he called his disciples to himself,
and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles:
Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew,
James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew,
Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus,
Simon who was called a Zealot,
and Judas the son of James,
and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
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pick

REFLECTION

“And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles…” -Luke 6:13 

Group activities are a big deal during my high school days. These are the times we form our group and compete with one another in different activities such as team sports, arts, media, theater, and other contests. Being just an average guy to these types of activities, I never had the luxury of choosing the group I like. I always end up as ”filler” or someone picked last by a group who lacks a member. That’s the time I developed the attitude of giving my best to whatever assignments I received from the group. I happily say, “yes” even to the smallest role so long as I belong to a group. This has been my disposition up to the time I serve the Lord through the BLD Singles’ Ministry.

One day, shocker of all shockers happened. One of our leaders in the ministry approached and assigned me to lead as class shepherd of the incoming Singles’ Encounter no. 60. Surprised, I asked her why they opted to choose a regular (or “filler”) and average member like me. “Well, we believe in you,” she responded coolly.

I realized that Jesus has the same mindset when he formed His own team. Jesus did not mind if these apostles are branded public sinners. He did not even make a big deal out of their weaknesses. Jesus believed in their potential. Jesus worked wonders in their lives when they gave their “yes” to Him. The apostles never have to prove anything to belong to Him.

Truly, God uses not those who are able but those who are available. –Igi Ebarvia (migsebarvia@gmail.com).

Prayer

Lord, here I am. Use me for Your glory!

Reflection Question

Am I always available to God?

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Igi Ebarvia, Little Whispers

Best Gift Ever

First Reading
Col 1:9-14

Brothers and sisters:
From the day we heard about you, we do not cease praying for you
and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will
through all spiritual wisdom and understanding
to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord,
so as to be fully pleasing, in every good work bearing fruit
and growing in the knowledge of God,
strengthened with every power, in accord with his glorious might,
for all endurance and patience,
with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to share
in the inheritance of the holy ones in light.
He delivered us from the power of darkness
and transferred us to the Kingdom of his beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 98:2-3AB, 3CD-4, 5-6
R. (2) The Lord has made known his salvation.

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. The Lord has made known his salvation.
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. The Lord has made known his salvation.
Sing praise to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and melodious song.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
sing joyfully before the King, the LORD.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.

Gospel
Lk 5:1-11

While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God,
he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret.
He saw two boats there alongside the lake;
the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets.
Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon,
he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore.
Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon,
“Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”
Simon said in reply,
“Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing,
but at your command I will lower the nets.”
When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish
and their nets were tearing.
They signaled to their partners in the other boat
to come to help them.
They came and filled both boats
so that the boats were in danger of sinking.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said,
“Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”
For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him
and all those with him,
and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee,
who were partners of Simon.
Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid;
from now on you will be catching men.”
When they brought their boats to the shore,
they left everything and followed him.
____________________________________________________________________________________________

takecare

REFLECTION

“’Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.’ When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break.” Luke 5:5-6

It’s one week to go before Christmas. Unlike my colleagues who happily strutted to the malls to do shopping, I hurriedly proceeded to the hospital to spend the weekend with my mother after work. I made a commitment to be with her as she goes through operation to remove her hemorrhoids the next day.

Praise God the operation went well. The doctors reported that they have removed hemorrhoids from my mother successfully. However, they relayed that these hemorrhoids would undergo biopsy test for further medical examination.

Aside from the medical results, I was also bothered with the expensive hospital bills. My budget was a bit tight. I was then saving funds for other expenses. I then considered asking my older sister to help me shoulder the bills. At that moment, I heard the Lord telling me to “let down my nets” and trust Him completely by giving my all. With great faith to the Lord, I settled the bills straightaway and joined the family in praying for favorable results. I surrendered everything into His hands.

The following week, my family received the greatest news. Hospital reports showed that the hemorrhoids were benign tumors! My mother was completely healed. The good news did not stop there. I received a salary raise after getting high marks at our office’s performance assessment. Like the apostles in today’s Gospel, I experienced God’s awesome provisions as blessings after blessings came rushing towards me.

It was the best Christmas I ever had. Indeed, miracles do happen for those who listen and follow the Good Shepherd. –Igi Ebarvia (migsebarvia@gmail.com)

Prayer

Father, say the word and I will follow you even if I cannot see where you are leading me. I believe that You will provide for my needs.

Reflection

Let go. Let God. Give Him your all.

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