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?”


ben-white-iWv-bGqUfao-unsplash.jpg

“‘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)

Jem Chong, Little Whispers

Take Courage

First Reading
Haggai 2:1-9

In the second year of King Darius,
on the twenty-first day of the seventh month,
the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai:
Tell this to the governor of Judah,
Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel,
and to the high priest Joshua, son of Jehozadak,
and to the remnant of the people:

Who is left among you
that saw this house in its former glory?
And how do you see it now?
Does it not seem like nothing in your eyes?
But now take courage, Zerubbabel, says the LORD,
and take courage, Joshua, high priest, son of Jehozadak,
And take courage, all you people of the land,
says the LORD, and work!
For I am with you, says the LORD of hosts.
This is the pact that I made with you
when you came out of Egypt,
And my spirit continues in your midst;
do not fear!
For thus says the LORD of hosts:
One moment yet, a little while,
and I will shake the heavens and the earth,
the sea and the dry land.
I will shake all the nations,
and the treasures of all the nations will come in,
And I will fill this house with glory,
says the LORD of hosts.
Mine is the silver and mine the gold,
says the LORD of hosts.
Greater will be the future glory of this house
than the former, says the LORD of hosts;
And in this place I will give you peace,
says the LORD of hosts!

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 43:1, 2, 3, 4
R.(5) Hope in God; I will praise him, my savior and my God.

Do me justice, O God, and fight my fight
against a faithless people;
from the deceitful and impious man rescue me.
R. Hope in God; I will praise him, my savior and my God.
For you, O God, are my strength.
Why do you keep me so far away?
Why must I go about in mourning,
with the enemy oppressing me?
R. Hope in God; I will praise him, my savior and my God.
Send forth your light and your fidelity;
they shall lead me on
And bring me to your holy mountain,
to your dwelling place.
R. Hope in God; I will praise him, my savior and my God.
Then will I go in to the altar of God,
the God of my gladness and joy;
Then will I give you thanks upon the harp,
O God, my God!
R. Hope in God; I will praise him, my savior and my God.

Gospel
Luke 9:18-22

Once when Jesus was praying in solitude,
and the disciples were with him,
he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”
They said in reply, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah;
still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.'”
Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said in reply, “The Christ of God.”
He rebuked them and directed them not to tell this to anyone.

He said, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.”


nicole-geri-gMJ3tFOLvnA-unsplash.jpg

“..take courage, all you people of the land, says the LORD, and work! For I am with you, says the Lord of hosts. This is the pact that I made with you when you came out of Egypt, and my spirit continues in your midst; do not fear!”

REFLECTION
Studying abroad has always been a dream of mine. One that I never thought would be true until my parents actually agreed to it. Even then, it still felt like a dream; and I realized then how unprepared I was. For the first time I was going to live in a completely unknown country. Feelings of fear and excitement danced around in my chest. Many years, I was safe under the loving presence of my family and friends. Now it felt like I was starting all over again 

One of my biggest fears was that I would lose my close connection with God while I was away. I would be far from my community; without any access to prayer meetings. I wondered why He would send me off, when these things could happen.

The first few nights were full of fear, I was worried that I would get lost or I would get myself into trouble. I remember taking a walk by myself at night, something that seemed dangerous. Only when I was completely alone treading unknown streets did I feel His presence. He still found a way to bring me back to Him. 

Despite all fear, God urges us to believe in the opportunities that He has provided for us, to believe in the foundation that we built together with Him. His promise to us is unfailing, so I would like to cling onto His presence in order to be renewed, to be strengthened. 

As I write this far from home, I am grateful for all the opportunities that He has given me. With this, I actually found great friends who also have their own community in devotion to Him. Sunday mass, which I have taken for granted in the past, now gives me feelings of peace and of home. Place does not matter, as long as I continue to take even a few minutes of every day to remember that there is a God out there looking out for me. Through that, everything does not seem so scary anymore. 

Prayer
Dear Lord, a
s many trials come and go, You have been with me constantly. You still find a way to make me happy, to shower me with blessings. Father, fill me with courage as I continue to face the unknown. Help me remember that You have a prosperous plan for me, and that there is nothing that You and I can’t handle. Lastly, thank you for always watching out for me, even when I doubt myself and focus on my fears. I believe that only You can fill my life with hope and clarity in the midst of the unknown. Amen. 

Author

wc-jem.jpg

Click on the bubble to find out more about Jem!

Photo by: Nicole Geri (@nicolegeri at unsplash.com)

Jem Chong, Little Whispers

That Mañana Habit

First Reading
ROM 16:3-9, 16, 22-27
Brothers and sisters:
Greet Prisca and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus,
who risked their necks for my life,
to whom not only I am grateful but also all the churches of the Gentiles;
greet also the Church at their house.
Greet my beloved Epaenetus,
who was the firstfruits in Asia for Christ.
Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you.
Greet Andronicus and Junia,
my relatives and my fellow prisoners;
they are prominent among the Apostles
and they were in Christ before me.
Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord.
Greet Urbanus, our co-worker in Christ,
and my beloved Stachys.
Greet one another with a holy kiss.
All the churches of Christ greet you.

I, Tertius, the writer of this letter, greet you in the Lord.
Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole Church, greets you.
Erastus, the city treasurer,
and our brother Quartus greet you.

Now to him who can strengthen you,
according to my Gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ,
according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret for long ages
but now manifested through the prophetic writings and,
according to the command of the eternal God,
made known to all nations to bring about the obedience of faith,
to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ
be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 145:2-3, 4-5, 10-11
R. (1b) I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD and highly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Generation after generation praises your works
and proclaims your might.
They speak of the splendor of your glorious majesty
and tell of your wondrous works.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.

Gospel
LK 16:9-15
Jesus said to his disciples:
“I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth,
so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
The person who is trustworthy in very small matters
is also trustworthy in great ones;
and the person who is dishonest in very small matters
is also dishonest in great ones.
If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth,
who will trust you with true wealth?
If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another,
who will give you what is yours?
No servant can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.”

The Pharisees, who loved money,
heard all these things and sneered at him.
And he said to them,
“You justify yourselves in the sight of others,
but God knows your hearts;
for what is of human esteem is an abomination in the sight of God.”


 

“If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth?” (Luke 16:11) 

REFLECTION

Group works in school may be tough, especially when in comes to investigatory projects. In order to have a successful outcome with harmony among members, each one must be dedicated and contribute their efforts. However, in most groups, there may always be that one person who barely does any work. I am this particular person.

There are many instances wherein friendships are torn apart and hate is passed around because of group works. I do not want this to happen with my classmates so I make sure that I try to give my best in every submission. This becomes a bit hard because most of the time, I don’t really know what I’m supposed to do. I am very embarrassed because of this and I know it is very unfair for my classmates. Another bad habit of mine is that after I ‘contributed a lot’ in one area, I seem to think that I can chill first while the rest of my groupmates work. My efforts to the group are never 100% and I think I can get away sometimes just because I did my part already today.

This is not the case when you’re planning to be someone trustworthy. I’ve learned that I can’t just be unreliable today and be good tomorrow. God blesses us every second so we must return the favor everyday without breaks. Just as we must be dedicated to group works, we must also be dedicated to serving others and God. Avoiding sin and being a light to the people around us may be difficult sometimes, but it takes discipline and practice just like how athletes train everyday and maintain their skills and fitness.

In the Gospel, God wants us to be trustworthy especially in the smallest of situations. It doesn’t have to be big like a group work but even getting through the day like doing someone a small favor when you have free time or answering their questions. The smallest of actions can reflect how we act in big situations so we must start training in small things so we can be reliable to others.

PRAYER

Dear God,  thank you for giving us the chance to be of loving service to others. Strengthen us Lord, so that we may learn to be that someone others can trust. You gave us so much so now it is time for us to share that love every second of our lives in Your name. Amen.

AUTHOR

  

Click on the image to find out more about Jem!

Jem Chong, Little Whispers

What’s The Catch?

First Reading
DT 4:32-40

Moses said to the people:
“Ask now of the days of old, before your time,
ever since God created man upon the earth;
ask from one end of the sky to the other:
Did anything so great ever happen before?
Was it ever heard of?
Did a people ever hear the voice of God
speaking from the midst of fire, as you did, and live?
Or did any god venture to go and take a nation for himself
from the midst of another nation,
by testings, by signs and wonders, by war,
with his strong hand and outstretched arm, and by great terrors,
all of which the LORD, your God,
did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?
All this you were allowed to see
that you might know the LORD is God and there is no other.
Out of the heavens he let you hear his voice to discipline you;
on earth he let you see his great fire,
and you heard him speaking out of the fire.
For love of your fathers he chose their descendants
and personally led you out of Egypt by his great power,
driving out of your way nations greater and mightier than you,
so as to bring you in
and to make their land your heritage, as it is today.
This is why you must now know, and fix in your heart,
that the LORD is God in the heavens above and on earth below,
and that there is no other.
You must keep his statutes and commandments which I enjoin on you today,
that you and your children after you may prosper,
and that you may have long life on the land
which the LORD, your God, is giving you forever.”

Responsorial Psalm
PS 77:12-13, 14-15, 16 AND 21
R. (12a) I remember the deeds of the Lord.

I remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I remember your wonders of old.
And I meditate on your works;
your exploits I ponder.
R. I remember the deeds of the Lord.
O God, your way is holy;
what great god is there like our God?
You are the God who works wonders;
among the peoples you have made known your power.
R. I remember the deeds of the Lord.
With your strong arm you redeemed your people,
the sons of Jacob and Joseph.
You led your people like a flock
under the care of Moses and Aaron.
R. I remember the deeds of the Lord.

Gospel
MT 16:24-28

Jesus said to his disciples,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?
Or what can one give in exchange for his life?
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory,
and then he will repay each according to his conduct.
Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here
who will not taste death
until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”


10670012_910829638945310_5990824391231495361_n

“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:25)

REFLECTION

The search for lost things can be really nerve wrecking. Whether it be something that was just in your hand a few seconds ago to something you decided you didn’t need in the past but I guess you just needed it now.

But most of the time, when I’m not in such a hurry, I find old things other than the one I was initially looking for, things that I had forgotten and neglected. These are the things I used to cherish when I was younger, like my first pasalubong from my mom or some thread from my sewing phase; it feels like I’m finding lost treasure.

Whenever good fortune rolls my way, I find myself looking for a catch. What if I wanted a good score on my project, what’s the catch? — Probably a few nights without sleep. I have been living on the principle that everything you do will have a consequence or will need sacrifice.

So what am I getting at?

Eternal happiness with the Lord is waiting for us right now. What’s the catch? We must give up our lives for Him. We are like lost treasure that have sunken deep within the challenges and temptations of every day life. We are confused, stagnant, and have probably lost all hope in ourselves.

We shouldn’t get lost in these things. But how to avoid this? The first thing you need to do is to get lost. Is it confusing? The answer is that we need to grow closer to God and all the amazing things He has done for you, to get lost in His love for you — lost in the sense that you just can’t keep track anymore the moments which you felt you were saved because there’s just too many to count.

So lose yourself in the Lord, for you may find things you never expected to find. Once you have achieved this, you’ll probably think that its so much easier to fill that catch He has always been asking from you: to give up your life for Him.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, continue to guide me to the path you designed for me that I may not be lost in world things, but in Your great love. Teach me to live simply so that I may be able to give up my life to You more wholeheartedly.

Author

chong-jem-wc

Click on the image to find out more about Jem!