Justin Chong, Little Whispers

Loud and Proud

First Reading
Acts 16:1-10
Paul reached also Derbe and Lystra
where there was a disciple named Timothy,
the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer,
but his father was a Greek.
The brothers in Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of him,
and Paul wanted him to come along with him.
On account of the Jews of that region, Paul had him circumcised,
for they all knew that his father was a Greek.
As they traveled from city to city,
they handed on to the people for observance the decisions
reached by the Apostles and presbyters in Jerusalem.
Day after day the churches grew stronger in faith
and increased in number.

They traveled through the Phrygian and Galatian territory
because they had been prevented by the Holy Spirit
from preaching the message in the province of Asia.
When they came to Mysia, they tried to go on into Bithynia,
but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them,
so they crossed through Mysia and came down to Troas.
During the night Paul had a vision.
A Macedonian stood before him and implored him with these words,
“Come over to Macedonia and help us.”
When he had seen the vision,
we sought passage to Macedonia at once,
concluding that God had called us to proclaim the Good News to them.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 100:1B-2, 3, 5
R.    (2a)  Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R.    
Alleluia.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
R.    Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R.    
Alleluia.
Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.
R.    Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R.    
Alleluia.
The LORD is good:
his kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R.    Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Gospel
John 15:18-21
Jesus said to his disciples:
“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.
If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own;
but because you do not belong to the world,
and I have chosen you out of the world,
the world hates you.
Remember the word I spoke to you,
‘No slave is greater than his master.’
If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.
If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
And they will do all these things to you on account of my name,
because they do not know the one who sent me.”


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“As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” (John 15:19)

REFLECTION
Did you ever feel like the world hates you? That maybe, you are unlikeable by everything?

The first time I felt something like this was when I was in high school. Back then, I was very loud in a way that I was confident of the way I spoke and acted. I had a group of friends that I hung out with every day. We would eat together, play after class together and go out on gimmicks on weekends.

One day I realized, things were different. They started distancing themselves from me. They would make excuses when I asked them if they wanted to hang out. They would suddenly turn silent as I approach. Every time I would tease them, they would get angry instead of laugh about it. One day, I caught them talking behind my back. I heard “ang yabang yabang talaga ni Justin, akala mo kung sino.” (“Justin is so full of himself, he thinks he’s very important.”). That is when I felt that the world hated me. There is probably something wrong with me and with the way I acted which came out wrong to them.

I started to be overly conscious of the way I spoke and acted. I started overthinking and replaying conversations in my head if I did or said something wrong. Over time, I got used to overthinking and being conscious. I became humble. I started thinking before speaking and became more sensitive. My friends eventually forgot about the whole thing and accepted me again.

Sometimes, the Lord allows us to feel like the world hates us not because he hates us too but because He is preparing us for things beyond this world. In the story, the Lord taught me to be humble and more considerate of others through that experience of exclusion. The world sometimes hates us because we do not belong here, maybe it is the Lord way to reminding us to aim higher than this world and that is to be with Him and like Him.

Prayer
Father, I sometimes feel like my family, friends and society is rejecting me. I feel that I do not belong to this world because of my failures, problems, and anxieties. Remind me Jesus, that Your plans for me is greater than this world and that You will be with me as I overcome. Amen.

Author

wc-justin

Click on the bubble to find out more about Justin!

Photo by: Taylor Wilcox (@taypaigey at unsplash.com)

Justin Chong, Little Whispers

He Is Welcome

First Reading
Isaiah 50:4-7
The Lord GOD has given me
a well-trained tongue,
that I might know how to speak to the weary
a word that will rouse them.
Morning after morning
he opens my ear that I may hear;
and I have not rebelled,
have not turned back.
I gave my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who plucked my beard;
my face I did not shield
from buffets and spitting.

The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24
R. (2a)  My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
All who see me scoff at me;
they mock me with parted lips, they wag their heads:
“He relied on the LORD; let him deliver him,
let him rescue him, if he loves him.”
R. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
Indeed, many dogs surround me,
a pack of evildoers closes in upon me;
They have pierced my hands and my feet;
I can count all my bones.
R. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
They divide my garments among them,
and for my vesture they cast lots.
But you, O LORD, be not far from me;
O my help, hasten to aid me.
R. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
I will proclaim your name to my brethren;
in the midst of the assembly I will praise you:
“You who fear the LORD, praise him;
all you descendants of Jacob, give glory to him;
revere him, all you descendants of Israel!”
R. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

Second Reading
Philippians 2:6-11
Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,
becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name
which is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Gospel
Matthew 21:1-11
When Jesus and the disciples drew near Jerusalem
and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives,
Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them,
“Go into the village opposite you,
and immediately you will find an ass tethered,
and a colt with her.
Untie them and bring them here to me.
And if anyone should say anything to you, reply,
‘The master has need of them.’
Then he will send them at once.”
This happened so that what had been spoken through the prophet
might be fulfilled:
Say to daughter Zion,
“Behold, your king comes to you,
meek and riding on an ass,
and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had ordered them.
They brought the ass and the colt and laid their cloaks over them,
and he sat upon them.
The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road,
while others cut branches from the trees
and strewed them on the road.
The crowds preceding him and those following
kept crying out and saying:
“Hosanna to the Son of David;
blessed is the he who comes in the name of the Lord;
hosanna in the highest.”
And when he entered Jerusalem
the whole city was shaken and asked, “Who is this?”
And the crowds replied,
“This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Matthew 27:11-54
Jesus stood before the governor, Pontius Pilate, who questioned him,
“Are you the king of the Jews?”
Jesus said, “You say so.”
And when he was accused by the chief priests and elders,
he made no answer.
Then Pilate said to him,
“Do you not hear how many things they are testifying against you?”
But he did not answer him one word,
so that the governor was greatly amazed.

Now on the occasion of the feast
the governor was accustomed to release to the crowd
one prisoner whom they wished.
And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas.
So when they had assembled, Pilate said to them,
“Which one do you want me to release to you,
Barabbas, or Jesus called Christ?”
For he knew that it was out of envy
that they had handed him over.
While he was still seated on the bench,
his wife sent him a message,
“Have nothing to do with that righteous man.
I suffered much in a dream today because of him.”
The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds
to ask for Barabbas but to destroy Jesus.
The governor said to them in reply,
“Which of the two do you want me to release to you?”
They answered, ABarabbas!”
Pilate said to them,
“Then what shall I do with Jesus called Christ?”
They all said,
“Let him be crucified!”
But he said,
“Why? What evil has he done?”
They only shouted the louder,
“Let him be crucified!”
When Pilate saw that he was not succeeding at all,
but that a riot was breaking out instead,
he took water and washed his hands in the sight of the crowd,
saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood.
Look to it yourselves.”
And the whole people said in reply,
“His blood be upon us and upon our children.”
Then he released Barabbas to them,
but after he had Jesus scourged,
he handed him over to be crucified.

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus inside the praetorium
and gathered the whole cohort around him.
They stripped off his clothes
and threw a scarlet military cloak about him.
Weaving a crown out of thorns, they placed it on his head,
and a reed in his right hand.
And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying,
“Hail, King of the Jews!”
They spat upon him and took the reed
and kept striking him on the head.
And when they had mocked him,
they stripped him of the cloak,
dressed him in his own clothes,
and led him off to crucify him.

As they were going out, they met a Cyrenian named Simon;
this man they pressed into service
to carry his cross.

And when they came to a place called Golgotha
— which means Place of the Skull —,
they gave Jesus wine to drink mixed with gall.
But when he had tasted it, he refused to drink.
After they had crucified him,
they divided his garments by casting lots;
then they sat down and kept watch over him there.
And they placed over his head the written charge against him:
This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.
Two revolutionaries were crucified with him,
one on his right and the other on his left.
Those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying,
“You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days,
save yourself, if you are the Son of God,
and come down from the cross!”
Likewise the chief priests with the scribes and elders mocked him and said,
“He saved others; he cannot save himself.
So he is the king of Israel!
Let him come down from the cross now,
and we will believe in him.
He trusted in God;
let him deliver him now if he wants him.
For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”
The revolutionaries who were crucified with him
also kept abusing him in the same way.

From noon onward, darkness came over the whole land
until three in the afternoon.
And about three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”
which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Some of the bystanders who heard it said,
“This one is calling for Elijah.”
Immediately one of them ran to get a sponge;
he soaked it in wine, and putting it on a reed,
gave it to him to drink.
But the rest said,
‘Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to save him.”
But Jesus cried out again in a loud voice,
and gave up his spirit.

And behold, the veil of the sanctuary
was torn in two from top to bottom.
The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened,
and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised.
And coming forth from their tombs after his resurrection,
they entered the holy city and appeared to many.
The centurion and the men with him who were keeping watch over Jesus
feared greatly when they saw the earthquake
and all that was happening, and they said,
“Truly, this was the Son of God!”


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The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road.” (Matthew 21:8)

REFLECTION
Describe in one word, the past month.

A few off the top of my head were, Covid-19, pandemic, quarantine, lockdown.

I have been staying in my house since March 13 and that is roughly 23 days ago, around the start of the enhanced community quarantine. And what have I been doing? Mostly, I’ve been gaming, watching Netflix and I’ve been working from home a bit. I also made a habit of watching the news every night. And what I’ve been seeing in the news is almost all about the pandemic and its chaos. There is this aura of despair not just outside but even for those safe at home.

A few days after the declaration of the community quarantine, my mom comes to me and asks if we could pray the rosary and a bunch (I mean a lot) of prayers as a family every day. I said okay but my first thoughts were that those are long prayers and I still got a long watch list in Netflix and playlist for my games. Yet the moment we started praying, the aura changed. I felt a rush of love, comfort and power which was so new to me at a time like this.

Again, I asked myself. Describe in one word, the past month. Just one answer, lent. Amid this pandemic, chaos in the news and outside our homes, I realized when we prayed that Jesus is coming. Today is Palm Sunday and in the readings, a large crowd would cut branches from the trees and strew them on the road to welcome Jesus. So, let today not be just another day of lockdown but the day we welcome Jesus into our hearts. We can communicate to Him through prayer and we can also receive Him in spirit by participating in the many online masses.

I also looked up the meaning of palm branches for us Christians and what came out is victory and triumph. Since we cannot raise our palms today as we usually do, let us raise our hopes as Jesus is already here, and He will save us from this pandemic. In Jesus’ name.

Reflection Song

King of Kings by Hillsong Worship

Author

wc-justin

Click on the bubble to find out more about Justin!

Photo from Christian Koch (@xt1an 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)

Justin Chong, Little Whispers

The Gift of Mourning

First Reading
1 Timothy 3:1-13

Beloved, this saying is trustworthy:
whoever aspires to the office of bishop desires a noble task.
Therefore, a bishop must be irreproachable,
married only once, temperate, self-controlled,
decent, hospitable, able to teach,
not a drunkard, not aggressive, but gentle,
not contentious, not a lover of money.
He must manage his own household well,
keeping his children under control with perfect dignity;
for if a man does not know how to manage his own household,
how can he take care of the Church of God?
He should not be a recent convert,
so that he may not become conceited
and thus incur the Devil’s punishment.
He must also have a good reputation among outsiders,
so that he may not fall into disgrace, the Devil’s trap.

Similarly, deacons must be dignified, not deceitful,
not addicted to drink, not greedy for sordid gain,
holding fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.
Moreover, they should be tested first;
then, if there is nothing against them,
let them serve as deacons.
Women, similarly, should be dignified, not slanderers,
but temperate and faithful in everything.
Deacons may be married only once
and must manage their children and their households well.
Thus those who serve well as deacons gain good standing
and much confidence in their faith in Christ Jesus.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 101:1B-2AB, 2CD-3AB, 5, 6
R.(2) I will walk with blameless heart.

Of mercy and judgment I will sing;
to you, O LORD, I will sing praise.
I will persevere in the way of integrity;
when will you come to me?
R. I will walk with blameless heart.
I will walk with blameless heart,
within my house;
I will not set before my eyes
any base thing.
R. I will walk with blameless heart.
Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret,
him will I destroy.
The man of haughty eyes and puffed up heart
I will not endure.
R. I will walk with blameless heart.
My eyes are upon the faithful of the land,
that they may dwell with me.
He who walks in the way of integrity
shall be in my service.
R. I will walk with blameless heart.

Gospel
Luke 7:11-17

Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain,
and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him.
As he drew near to the gate of the city,
a man who had died was being carried out,
the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.
A large crowd from the city was with her.
When the Lord saw her,
he was moved with pity for her and said to her,
“Do not weep.”
He stepped forward and touched the coffin;
at this the bearers halted,
and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!”
The dead man sat up and began to speak,
and Jesus gave him to his mother.
Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, exclaiming,
“A great prophet has arisen in our midst,”
and “God has visited his people.”
This report about him spread through the whole of Judea
and in all the surrounding region.


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“When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity for her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.'” (Luke 7: 13)

REFLECTION
The first time I have ever experienced death up close was way back in 2017. My lola (grandmother) has been fighting cancer for years and we all knew the battle was about to end. Seeing her so close to passing away on her hospital bed was devastating. It is never a good feeling when you know someone you love is in pain, but you can’t do anything to help even if you wanted to. Out of frustration, I asked the Lord, “Why do you allow these sufferings to happen to the people who love you?”

When my lola finally passed, we quickly began her wake. Surprisingly, the moment her wake began, the mood was different. Amid mourning for my lola, all I ever felt during the 5-day long wake was love. First, my family was complete daily, the whole time. This is one thing I know my lola wished for. Second, every day a different group of friends would visit and mourn with me. They would come to cheer me up, serve during mass and eat the food prepared. Lastly, I got to know my lola more through all the stories her friends and family would share.

I then came to realize. The Lord never takes, he only gives. He not only blessed my lola with eternal life but blessed my entire family by showing his love through everyone around us. Let us never forget that the Lord sees us, feels what we feel and will always bless us.

Prayer
Lord, we tha
nk you for the gift of life but moreover we thank you for the gift of family, community and friends in which you use as instruments to allow your love to be felt. Open my eyes and heart to see your love in everything and everyone. Amen.

Author

wc-justin

Click on the bubble to find out more about Justin!

Photo by: Rhodi Lopez (@20164rhodi at unsplash.com)

Justin Chong, Little Whispers

The Fresh Grad

First Reading
Revelation 11:19A; 12:1-6A, 10AB

God’s temple in heaven was opened,
and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple.

A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet,
and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth.
Then another sign appeared in the sky;
it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns,
and on its heads were seven diadems.
Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky
and hurled them down to the earth.
Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth,
to devour her child when she gave birth.
She gave birth to a son, a male child,
destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod.
Her child was caught up to God and his throne.
The woman herself fled into the desert
where she had a place prepared by God.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have salvation and power come,
and the Kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Anointed One.”

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 45:10, 11, 12, 16

R.(10bc) The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.
The queen takes her place at your right hand in gold of Ophir.
R. The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.
Hear, O daughter, and see; turn your ear,
forget your people and your father’s house.
R. The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.
So shall the king desire your beauty;
for he is your lord.
R. The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.
They are borne in with gladness and joy;
they enter the palace of the king.
R. The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.

Second Reading
1 Corinthians 15:20-27

Brothers and sisters:
Christ has been raised from the dead,
the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
For since death came through man,
the resurrection of the dead came also through man.
For just as in Adam all die,
so too in Christ shall all be brought to life,
but each one in proper order:
Christ the firstfruits;
then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ;
then comes the end,
when he hands over the Kingdom to his God and Father,
when he has destroyed every sovereignty
and every authority and power.
For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
The last enemy to be destroyed is death,
for “he subjected everything under his feet.”

Gospel
Luke 1:39-56

Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”

And Mary said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.”

Mary remained with her about three months
and then returned to her home.


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“Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”(Luke 1: 45)

REFLECTION
After graduating as a marketing student, I was ready for what the world had to offer. I was then immediately humbled as no company would accept a fresh graduate to be a brand assistant as I dreamed to be a brand manager one day. Brand assistants were usually hired with experience—that’s when my doubts started pouring in. After being so confident that brand marketing was made for me, my logical self kicked in. Maybe I was so drawn to brand marketing that I failed to calculate the risks. How many vacant positions in the field could there be in Metro Manila?

After months of job searching, I was so hopeless that I accepted an internship position even though I already graduated. The internship taught me so much about being a brand marketing manager and more importantly taught me how to handle myself in the corporate world. Of course, the internship was not a permanent thing and when I was done, I was searching for a job again. After months of unemployment, I was so close to dropping my dreams to settle for something else. But I got a call from a big company I was eyeing; they want me to be one of their brand assistants. I still remember the exact call.

I even asked them, “Why a fresh grad?”

She answered, “Because of your confidence and humility to be an intern.”

There are times that the Lord would lead us to our dreams. Most of the time, he would pave the way for these things to come true.

Sometimes though, things will not go our way to remind us to be humble. When this happens, we must remember that our dreams come from the Lord—instead of letting our doubts consume us, let us allow our faith in Him to do the talking! Like what happened to Mary in the Gospel, let’s never forget that the Lord keeps His promises!

Prayer
Jesus, I know You are in control of my dreams! I know You have a wonderful plan for me, and I am ready to do everything for that plan. Amen.

Author

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Justin Chong, Little Whispers

Dream On!

First Reading
MI 5:1-4A

Thus says the LORD:
You, Bethlehem-Ephrathah
too small to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel;
whose origin is from of old,
from ancient times.
Therefore the Lord will give them up, until the time
when she who is to give birth has borne,
and the rest of his kindred shall return
to the children of Israel.
He shall stand firm and shepherd his flock
by the strength of the LORD,
in the majestic name of the LORD, his God;
and they shall remain, for now his greatness
shall reach to the ends of the earth;
he shall be peace.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19
R. (4) Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.

O shepherd of Israel, hearken,
from your throne upon the cherubim, shine forth.
Rouse your power,
and come to save us.
R. Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
Once again, O LORD of hosts,
look down from heaven, and see;
take care of this vine,
and protect what your right hand has planted
the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
R. Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
May your help be with the man of your right hand,
with the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
Then we will no more withdraw from you;
give us new life, and we will call upon your name.
R. Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.

Second Reading
HEB 10:5-10

Brothers and sisters:
When Christ came into the world, he said:
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
in holocausts and sin offerings you took no delight.
Then I said, ‘As is written of me in the scroll,
behold, I come to do your will, O God.’“

First he says, “Sacrifices and offerings,
holocausts and sin offerings,
you neither desired nor delighted in.”
These are offered according to the law.
Then he says, “Behold, I come to do your will.”
He takes away the first to establish the second.
By this “will,” we have been consecrated
through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Gospel
LK 1:39-45

Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”


Boy dressed as an astronaut
Boy dressed as an astronaut

“Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:45)

REFLECTION
Do you remember, your dreams where you were a kid? I do, I remembered because I lived in a house with my cousin and we both drew portraits of what we would like to look like in the future and that part I still remember. I wanted to be a scientist, so I drew lots of cool lab equipment, my cousin on the other hand, wanted to be a president, so he drew himself on a suit.

People say kids are silly, their dreams aren’t feasible most of the time. How about our dreams right now, are we not limiting ourselves to what we deem “possible or “reachable”. If it’s neither of the two, we just scrap that dream.

One time, I was attending this financial seminar, the speaker asked me to give a life goal. I said that I would want to have my own firm when I reached the age of 60. That was my answer, being very dependent on probability of such success happening to me. The speaker asked, why such an old age? I replied saying how saturated the market was and that it was almost impossible to start up business to flourish at once. He then replied that when you make dreams or goals, you max it out. Because if you really want it to happen you do everything to make it happen, you don’t give a conservative number like age of 60, you should say, age 30. So even though you end up not reaching that goal in the age of 30, you would surely reach it sooner than 60.

Exactly why we should return to being child-like when it comes to dreaming. Because it is only kids that dream without borders. It is only children who can believe that impossible things can become possible. When the Lord, shows you his plans, believe and trust in him. Rather than just scrap that dream that the Lord has instore for you.

Prayer
Lord, thank you for giving us the freedom to choose what we want, to dream what we want. Lord guide us so that our aspirations will be for your greater glory.

Author

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Justin Chong, Little Whispers

Little Blessings

First Reading
WIS 6:1-11
Hear, O kings, and understand;
learn, you magistrates of the earth’s expanse!
Hearken, you who are in power over the multitude
and lord it over throngs of peoples!
Because authority was given you by the Lord
and sovereignty by the Most High,
who shall probe your works and scrutinize your counsels.
Because, though you were ministers of his kingdom, you judged not rightly,
and did not keep the law,
nor walk according to the will of God,
Terribly and swiftly shall he come against you,
because judgment is stern for the exalted–
For the lowly may be pardoned out of mercy
but the mighty shall be mightily put to the test.
For the Lord of all shows no partiality,
nor does he fear greatness,
Because he himself made the great as well as the small,
and he provides for all alike;
but for those in power a rigorous scrutiny impends.
To you, therefore, O princes, are my words addressed
that you may learn wisdom and that you may not sin.
For those who keep the holy precepts hallowed shall be found holy,
and those learned in them will have ready a response.
Desire therefore my words;
long for them and you shall be instructed.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 82:3-4, 6-7
R. (8a) Rise up, O God, bring judgment to the earth.
Defend the lowly and the fatherless;
render justice to the afflicted and the destitute.
Rescue the lowly and the poor;
from the hand of the wicked deliver them.
R. Rise up, O God, bring judgment to the earth.
I said: “You are gods,
all of you sons of the Most High;
yet like men you shall die,
and fall like any prince.”
R. Rise up, O God, bring judgment to the earth.

Gospel
LK 17:11-19
As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem,
he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.
As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him.
They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying,
“Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”
And when he saw them, he said,
“Go show yourselves to the priests.”
As they were going they were cleansed.
And one of them, realizing he had been healed,
returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.
He was a Samaritan.
Jesus said in reply,
“Ten were cleansed, were they not?
Where are the other nine?
Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”
Then he said to him, “Stand up and go;
your faith has saved you.”


 

“Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” (Luke 17:18)

REFLECTION

By reading this verse I’ve come to realize one thing. Those who are given less have more gratitude than those who are abundantly blessed. I remember this moment when I was a kid. I was probably 6 years old then. My family and I were going to a mall to eat out and maybe watch a movie. We were on the way along Ortigas road going to Megamall. There are usually multiple stoplights on the way and when they are on stop there would lots of street children and beggars.

On that road there has always been this beggar who has been there for years, he is actually still there today. He goes around in crutches because he lost one of his legs. That day he went to our car window and like the others, he begged for spare change. My mom pulled down the window and gave the man 5 pesos. He immediately turned to the sky and prayed aloud shouting praises and thanksgiving to the Lord.

I encounter a lot of beggars along the roads since then yet never again have I encountered someone who would give thanks to the Lord before everything else like that. Sometimes, we are preoccupied with school or work and even most of the time we rant about our stressful moments. But like this Man, we are reminded that even the smallest things are blessings from the Lord. It could be a simple affirmation from a friend or even a safe and easy trip home from a long day of work. That is why we should always show gratitude to the Lord for the little things. Because if we develop that habit of being thankful for the little things, maybe your day might just be a little bit less stressful.

Prayer

Dear Lord, I just want to thank you for the little blessings that you have given me today. Continue to bless me and give me the humility to be thankful and positivity to be a blessing to others.

Writer

chong-justin-wc

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