Little Whispers, Michael Custodio

Fear of the Valley of Death

First Reading
Acts 16:22-34

The crowd in Philippi joined in the attack on Paul and Silas,
and the magistrates had them stripped
and ordered them to be beaten with rods.
After inflicting many blows on them,
they threw them into prison
and instructed the jailer to guard them securely.
When he received these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell
and secured their feet to a stake.

About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying
and singing hymns to God as the prisoners listened,
there was suddenly such a severe earthquake
that the foundations of the jail shook;
all the doors flew open, and the chains of all were pulled loose.
When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open,
he drew his sword and was about to kill himself,
thinking that the prisoners had escaped.
But Paul shouted out in a loud voice,
“Do no harm to yourself; we are all here.”
He asked for a light and rushed in and,
trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas.
Then he brought them out and said,
“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus
and you and your household will be saved.”
So they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in his house.
He took them in at that hour of the night and bathed their wounds;
then he and all his family were baptized at once.
He brought them up into his house and provided a meal
and with his household rejoiced at having come to faith in God.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 138:1-2AB, 2CDE-3, 7C-8
R. (7c) Your right hand saves me, O Lord.

I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart,
for you have heard the words of my mouth;
in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise;
I will worship at your holy temple,
and give thanks to your name.
R. Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
Because of your kindness and your truth,
you have made great above all things
your name and your promise.
When I called, you answered me;
you built up strength within me.
R. Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
Your right hand saves me.
The LORD will complete what he has done for me;
your kindness, O LORD, endures forever;
forsake not the work of your hands.
R. Your right hand saves me, O Lord.

Gospel
Jn 16:5-11

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Now I am going to the one who sent me,
and not one of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’
But because I told you this, grief has filled your hearts.
But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go.
For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you.
But if I go, I will send him to you.
And when he comes he will convict the world
in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation:
sin, because they do not believe in me;
righteousness, because I am going to the Father
and you will no longer see me;
condemnation, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.”

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dark-room-light-through-window-hunched-man1

REFLECTION

 

“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of my enemies, and they right hand shall save me.” Psalms 138: 7


Sometimes don’t you feel suddenly afraid when you’re all alone. In any place, specially the creepy ones. Your mind tends to function against you and you get that certain feeling that you’re not actually alone? Scary? Yikes!

I do get that feeling from time to time. And last time I checked, I wasn’t crazy or conjuring up things. But in those times, I never hesitate to call on the Lord and recite “Though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil for the Lord is with me.” And instantly I feel relieved and relaxed. I grow stronger than the fear that beckons me. I am not alone.

In life, we all have our own valleys to conquer, and it is during these times we actually realize HE is there to save us. Like what I’ve shared in my previous entries, never lose your faith. Our “Valley of Death” may come in different forms, but we will always call upon the Lord to redeem us and bring us back into the light—to witness a bright sunshine and look beyond the clouds and simply be nourished by His presence. Just thinking of His Name already brings out the salvation we seek. – Michael Justine G. Custodio (mjgcustodio@yahoo.com)

PRAYER
Lord deliver me from my own fears and allow your light to graze my malnourished ski and nurture my spirit within.

REFLECTION QUESTION
Do I turn to the Lord when I start fearing my “valley of death”?


Photo source: thegospelcoalition.org

Little Whispers, Michael Custodio

Believing In One Or In All

First Reading
Acts 9:1-20

Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord,
went to the high priest and asked him
for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that,
if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way,
he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.
On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus,
a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him.
He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him,
“Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
He said, “Who are you, sir?”
The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.”
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless,
for they heard the voice but could see no one.
Saul got up from the ground,
but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing;
so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus.
For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias,
and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.”
He answered, “Here I am, Lord.”
The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight
and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul.
He is there praying,
and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias
come in and lay his hands on him,
that he may regain his sight.”
But Ananias replied,
“Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man,
what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem.
And here he has authority from the chief priests
to imprison all who call upon your name.”
But the Lord said to him,
“Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine
to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel,
and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.”
So Ananias went and entered the house;
laying his hands on him, he said,
“Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me,
Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came,
that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes
and he regained his sight.
He got up and was baptized,
and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.

He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus,
and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues,
that he is the Son of God.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 117:1BC, 2

R.Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
Praise the LORD, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
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.

Gospel
Jn 6:52-59
The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
“How can this man give us his Flesh to eat?”
Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood,
you do not have life within you.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood
has eternal life,
and I will raise him on the last day.
For my Flesh is true food,
and my Blood is true drink.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood
remains in me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven.
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
whoever eats this bread will live forever.”
These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

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mark-hoppus-olympic-white-bass

REFLECTION

“Ananias answered, “Lord, many people have told me about this man and about all the terrible things he has done to your people in Jerusalem.” Acts 9:13
Just over a week ago, I was attending practice for Singles’ night. We had to learn a new song, and it had quite a challenging intro—which I had to play and lead right from the start! The tempo and chords were rather difficult to play and I had a such a hard time doing it. It reached a point wherein our band head offered an alternative chord pattern for me to play to make it simple.
I disagreed. My heart was telling me I can do the same how it was played in the album. I had to step up, not just to prove that I could do it, but to get out of my comfort zone of how I gauge myself as a bassist. I didn’t let others dictate on what skill level I am. I recalled that I am God’s instrumentalist and I know by heart that I can level up myself for Him.
Last Monday, I had an opportunity to practice the same song but I still couldn’t play the chords right. I asked our drummer to pray over me and remove any anxieties and negative feelings I had during that moment. And when worship started, miraculously my hands moved fluidly and I was able to play the chords exactly how they sounded in the original song. It put a smile on my face because I knew I wasn’t alone in playing my bass guitar.
Don’t believe right away what others may try to negatively instill in you. They may unknowingly influence you in the wrong way, but all you need to do is to believe in yourself and keep your path straight and directed to God–as what is written in the verse Acts 9:15;17 “The Lord said to him, “Go, because I have chosen him to serve me… So Ananias went, entered the house where Saul was, and placed his hands on him.” – Michael Justine G. Custodio (mjgcustodio@yahoo.com)

PRAYER
My Lord, teach me to believe more in myself and to always listen to You for I know You have the best path laid infront of me.

REFLECTION QUESTION
Have I always believed in myself?

 

Photo source: http://www.tomdelongeguitar.com

Little Whispers, Michael Custodio

Check or Checked?

First Reading
Is 49:8-15

Thus says the LORD:
In a time of favor I answer you,
on the day of salvation I help you;
and I have kept you and given you as a covenant to the people,
To restore the land
and allot the desolate heritages,
Saying to the prisoners: Come out!
To those in darkness: Show yourselves!
Along the ways they shall find pasture,
on every bare height shall their pastures be.
They shall not hunger or thirst,
nor shall the scorching wind or the sun strike them;
For he who pities them leads them
and guides them beside springs of water.
I will cut a road through all my mountains,
and make my highways level.
See, some shall come from afar,
others from the north and the west,
and some from the land of Syene.
Sing out, O heavens, and rejoice, O earth,
break forth into song, you mountains.
For the LORD comforts his people
and shows mercy to his afflicted.

But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me;
my Lord has forgotten me.”
Can a mother forget her infant,
be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget,
I will never forget you.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 145:8-9, 13CD-14, 17-18

R. (8a) The Lord is gracious and merciful.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.
The LORD is faithful in all his words
and holy in all his works.
The LORD lifts up all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.
The LORD is just in all his ways
and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.

Gospel
Jn 5:17-30

Jesus answered the Jews:
“My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.”
For this reason they tried all the more to kill him,
because he not only broke the sabbath
but he also called God his own father, making himself equal to God.

Jesus answered and said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son cannot do anything on his own,
but only what he sees the Father doing;
for what he does, the Son will do also.
For the Father loves the Son
and shows him everything that he himself does,
and he will show him greater works than these,
so that you may be amazed.
For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life,
so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes.
Nor does the Father judge anyone,
but he has given all judgment to the Son,
so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father.
Whoever does not honor the Son
does not honor the Father who sent him.
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word
and believes in the one who sent me
has eternal life and will not come to condemnation,
but has passed from death to life.
Amen, amen, I say to you, the hour is coming and is now here
when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God,
and those who hear will live.
For just as the Father has life in himself,
so also he gave to the Son the possession of life in himself.
And he gave him power to exercise judgment,
because he is the Son of Man.
Do not be amazed at this,
because the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs
will hear his voice and will come out,
those who have done good deeds
to the resurrection of life,
but those who have done wicked deeds
to the resurrection of condemnation.

“I cannot do anything on my own;
I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just,
because I do not seek my own will
but the will of the one who sent me.”

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nail-biting-disease

REFLECTION

“Because I am not trying to do what I want, but only what He who sent me wants.” Jn 5:30

Ever done something repeatedly over and over again that it reaches a point wherein it becomes part of your sub consciousness? I have—and it’s sort of a bad habit on my part. I like to bite my nails when I’m bored, anxious or in-the-zone-and-fully-focused-at-work mode. I lose awareness of what I am doing because I’m busy doing/thinking, and it’s a form of distraction.
In faith, we unknowingly create distractions that hinder us from fully absorbing God’s message. While it may not be our intent to do so, it happens and detracts us and it comes in many forms and in many situations. Some examples are: How we prefer to pray, how we want to set aside time for the Lord during Sundays. We focus on the “What We Want” part of our faith sometimes, and we start to forget about the other way around—what the Lord wants for us.

Ask yourself this, “Have I been focusing too much on what I want that I begin to forget what God might have in store for me?” “Have I started to form a bad habit when it comes to my faith?” “Am I preventing God what HE wants for me?”

It’s a good habit if we do a self-check on ourselves, if we are doing the right thing when it comes to the Lord, devoting time for Him and worshipping Him. – Michael Justine G. Custodio (mjgcustodio@yahoo.com)

PRAYER
Father, I’d like to start practicing good habits when I commune with you.

REFLECTION QUESTION
What are the good habits I have formed when it comes to my faith in God?

Photo source: nail-biting.net

Little Whispers, Michael Custodio

You Can’t Be Too Old

First Reading
Heb 9:15, 24-28

Christ is mediator of a new covenant:
since a death has taken place
for deliverance from transgressions under the first covenant,
those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance.

For Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands,
a copy of the true one, but heaven itself,
that he might now appear before God on our behalf.
Not that he might offer himself repeatedly,
as the high priest enters each year into the sanctuary
with blood that is not his own;
if that were so, he would have had to suffer repeatedly
from the foundation of the world.
But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages
to take away sin by his sacrifice.
Just as it is appointed that human beings die once,
and after this the judgment, so also Christ,
offered once to take away the sins of many,
will appear a second time, not to take away sin
but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4, 5-6

R. (1a) Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
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. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
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. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
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. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.

Gospel
Mk 3:22-30

The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said of Jesus,
“He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and
“By the prince of demons he drives out demons.”

Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables,
“How can Satan drive out Satan?
If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
And if a house is divided against itself,
that house will not be able to stand.
And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided,
he cannot stand;
that is the end of him.
But no one can enter a strong man’s house to plunder his property
unless he first ties up the strong man.
Then he can plunder his house.
Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies
that people utter will be forgiven them.
But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit
will never have forgiveness,
but is guilty of an everlasting sin.”
For they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”

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MICHEAL CUSTODIO Nullermanden.deviantart.com

REFLECTION

“He kept His promise to the people of Israel with loyalty and constant love for them.  All people everywhere have seen the victory of our God.”  Ps 98:3

Most of my life, I’ve listened to different genres of music.  Rock, Hip-hop, old school love songs, disco, ‘80s New Wave—you name it.  But never did I think I’d really learn how to BE part of the music.  I tried learning how to play the guitar back in my grade school and high school days, but my tiny and fat fingers wouldn’t allow me to flex my hands to do the right chord patterns. I picked up my friend’s Bass Guitar when I was mid-way through my college years.  All I could do was listen to a song and find the right note on the bass.  Boo-boom-boom-boom my playing sounded until I decided to join the Single’s Praise Ministry as their bassist.  I prayed for it and auditioned.

Fast forward two years and it’s now a boom-boom-pow sound! I’ve learned a lot of new chords and styles, but most importantly, I’ve used them in serving the Lord and others.  You can never be too old to learn new things in life—especially if you have good intentions, passion and discipline, and if you cap it off with constant prayers.

Don’t lose focus in everything you do. When you make a few mistakes, allow yourself to stumble and be humbled.  Turn to the Lord for wisdom and inspiration and He will give you what you need.  –Michael Justine G. Custodio (mjgcustodio@yahoo.com)

PRAYER
Dear Lord, teach me to learn new things that would enable me to serve You and other people.

REFLECTION QUESTION
How do I commit myself to learn new things?

Photo source: Nullermanden.deviantart.com