Little Whispers, Sancho Cuasay

What Are Your Life Vests?

First Reading
Zec 12:10-11; 13:1

Thus says the LORD:
I will pour out on the house of David
and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem
a spirit of grace and petition;
and they shall look on him whom they have pierced,
and they shall mourn for him as one mourns for an only son,
and they shall grieve over him as one grieves over a firstborn.

On that day the mourning in Jerusalem shall be as great
as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the plain of Megiddo.

On that day there shall be open to the house of David
and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
a fountain to purify from sin and uncleanness.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
R. (2b) My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.

O God, you are my God whom I seek;
for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts
like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary
to see your power and your glory,
For your kindness is a greater good than life;
my lips shall glorify you.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
Thus will I bless you while I live;
lifting up my hands, I will call upon your name.
As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied,
and with exultant lips my mouth shall praise you.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
You are my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.
My soul clings fast to you;
your right hand upholds me.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.

Second Reading
Gal 3:26-29

Brothers and sisters:
Through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus.
For all of you who were baptized into Christ
have clothed yourselves with Christ.
There is neither Jew nor Greek,
there is neither slave nor free person,
there is not male and female;
for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
And if you belong to Christ,
then you are Abraham’s descendant,
heirs according to the promise.

Gospel
Lk 9:18-24

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.”
Then he said to all,
“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”

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REFLECTION

“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” Jn 16:23

My family and our friends went snorkeling in Palawan one summer. We were given 15 minutes to look around so I immediately wore my goggles, put the snorkel tube in my mouth and floated face down the water. I swam around slowly to see different sea creatures and plants. Oh they were so beautiful!  I was awed by all the colors and wonderful signs of life which I’ve never usually seen before.

After some time, I realized it has been quite a while but I haven’t heard their signal yet. So I raised my head and looked for them, and found out that they have been shouting and waiving at me. I’ve drifted so far that I was already about 50 meters away from the boat. So I calmly swam back but after a few strokes I realized I wasn’t getting any nearer. I began to panic. The waves were strong and it easily takes me with it because of the life vest I am wearing. But I don’t want to take it off since I don’t want to drown. It’s what will keep me afloat. I know the life vest will save me. But it won’t get me near our boat. So I decided to take it off and swim. It was a lot easier so after a while, I was back up.

I wasn’t willing to let go of the life vest since I know it is what will keep me afloat. But at the same time, it is the reason why I can’t swim back. It has become a burden. It is hard to let go at that moment but I know doing so would be better and will save my life. Sancho Cuasay III (sjcuasay@yahoo.com)

PRAYER

Lord, help me identify the things I need to learn to let go in my life right now that I may continue my journey of following You. Amen.

REFLECTION QUESTION

I might have been awed and distracted by the beauty and things on this Earth that I have drifted away from God’s boat. Am I willing to let go of my life vest which I think is the one I want and need in my life?

 

Photo source: 123rf.com

Little Whispers, Sancho Cuasay

Your Wish Is My Command

First Reading
Acts 18:23-28

After staying in Antioch some time,
Paul left and traveled in orderly sequence
through the Galatian country and Phrygia,
bringing strength to all the disciples.

A Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria,
an eloquent speaker, arrived in Ephesus.
He was an authority on the Scriptures.
He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord and,
with ardent spirit, spoke and taught accurately about Jesus,
although he knew only the baptism of John.
He began to speak boldly in the synagogue;
but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him,
they took him aside
and explained to him the Way of God more accurately.
And when he wanted to cross to Achaia,
the brothers encouraged him
and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him.
After his arrival he gave great assistance
to those who had come to believe through grace.
He vigorously refuted the Jews in public,
establishing from the Scriptures that the Christ is Jesus.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 47:2-3, 8-9, 10
R. (8a) God is king of all the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

All you peoples, clap your hands;
shout to God with cries of gladness.
For the LORD, the Most High, the awesome,
is the great king over all the earth.
R. God is king of all the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

For king of all the earth is God;
sing hymns of praise.
God reigns over the nations,
God sits upon his holy throne.
R. God is king of all the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

The princes of the peoples are gathered together
with the people of the God of Abraham.
For God’s are the guardians of the earth;
he is supreme.
R. God is king of all the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Gospel
Jn 16:23B-28

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.
Until now you have not asked anything in my name;
ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.

“I have told you this in figures of speech.
The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures
but I will tell you clearly about the Father.
On that day you will ask in my name,
and I do not tell you that I will ask the Father for you.
For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me
and have come to believe that I came from God.
I came from the Father and have come into the world.
Now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”

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REFLECTION

“Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.” Jn 16:23

 

December 1993, it was Christmas time, I was 7 years young. One of the biggest reasons why kids are so excited about Christmas is their wish for Santa. Days before Christmas, they spend time thinking of their best wish and then write it on a paper and secretly place it in the Christmas sock hanging on their family Christmas tree. Mine for that year was a toy robot that was as big as our dog and so cool that it could speak, move and make awesome sound effects. When I woke up on Christmas Day, first thing I did was to check the sock. But nothing was inside. Because my robot was right under it! It was so big it won’t fit in the sock! Santa gave me what I asked from him!

April 1994, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor in my cerebellum, as big as a golf ball. If not successfully operated on, the doctor said I had 3 months left to live. If operated on but a single nerve is touched, I might live but be paralyzed for life. My family, especially my parents, did not know what to do. They were so dejected and hopeless. They sought all the medical and spiritual help they could find. I was prayed over by a healing priest right before I fly to the States for my operation. My operation lasted 7 hours. The doctor said I no longer have to undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy. After 1 week, I was out of the hospital. After 2 months, I was back in the Philippines. After another month, I was back in school. A couple of months after my operation, I was normal as I am now – all because my parents, together with all our family and friends, asked from our Father in Jesus’ Name. And He gave it to us. Sancho Cuasay III (sjcuasay@yahoo.com)

 

PRAYER

Lord, through any trial or storm, help me to believe all will be well as long as I trust completely in You. This I pray, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

REFLECTION QUESTION

Is my faith strong enough to believe that I can ask anything from God in Jesus’ Name and He will give it to me if it is according to His will?

 

 

 

 

 

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Little Whispers, Sancho Cuasay

The Joy of Giving

First Reading
Gn 37:3-4, 12-13A, 17B-28A

Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons,
for he was the child of his old age;
and he had made him a long tunic.
When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his sons,
they hated him so much that they would not even greet him.

One day, when his brothers had gone
to pasture their father’s flocks at Shechem,
Israel said to Joseph,
“Your brothers, you know, are tending our flocks at Shechem.
Get ready; I will send you to them.”

So Joseph went after his brothers and caught up with them in Dothan.
They noticed him from a distance,
and before he came up to them, they plotted to kill him.
They said to one another: “Here comes that master dreamer!
Come on, let us kill him and throw him into one of the cisterns here;
we could say that a wild beast devoured him.
We shall then see what comes of his dreams.”

When Reuben heard this,
he tried to save him from their hands, saying,
“We must not take his life.
Instead of shedding blood,” he continued,
“just throw him into that cistern there in the desert;
but do not kill him outright.”
His purpose was to rescue him from their hands
and return him to his father.
So when Joseph came up to them,
they stripped him of the long tunic he had on;
then they took him and threw him into the cistern,
which was empty and dry.

They then sat down to their meal.
Looking up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead,
their camels laden with gum, balm and resin
to be taken down to Egypt.
Judah said to his brothers:
“What is to be gained by killing our brother and concealing his blood?
Rather, let us sell him to these Ishmaelites,
instead of doing away with him ourselves.
After all, he is our brother, our own flesh.”
His brothers agreed.
They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 105:16-17, 18-19, 20-21

R. (5a) Remember the marvels the Lord has done.
When the LORD called down a famine on the land
and ruined the crop that sustained them,
He sent a man before them,
Joseph, sold as a slave.
R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done.
They had weighed him down with fetters,
and he was bound with chains,
Till his prediction came to pass
and the word of the LORD proved him true.
R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done.
The king sent and released him,
the ruler of the peoples set him free.
He made him lord of his house
and ruler of all his possessions.
R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done.

Gospel
Mt 21:33-43, 45-46

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people:
“Hear another parable.
There was a landowner who planted a vineyard,
put a hedge around it,
dug a wine press in it, and built a tower.
Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey.
When vintage time drew near,
he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce.
But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat,
another they killed, and a third they stoned.
Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones,
but they treated them in the same way.
Finally, he sent his son to them,
thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another,
‘This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’
They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?”
They answered him,
“He will put those wretched men to a wretched death
and lease his vineyard to other tenants
who will give him the produce at the proper times.”
Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures:

The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes?

Therefore, I say to you,
the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you
and given to a people that will produce its fruit.”
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables,
they knew that he was speaking about them.
And although they were attempting to arrest him,
they feared the crowds, for they regarded him as a prophet.

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REFLECTION

“Therefore, I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.” Mt 21:43

When it comes to tithing, I give regularly during Sunday masses and donate some to charities. Seeing beggars in the street however, I don’t give them money. This is because I am not sure where it will go – whether they’ll use it to buy unnecessary things or to someone else. So I keep a bag of snacks in my car which I give to people like them.

One instance though, as I handed a beggar a snack, I saw the disgust in his face showing that he did not appreciate what I gave him (I think he was expecting money). I felt depressed and insulted by his reaction. I was sharing my blessings to him and I was doing my little share of spreading God’s kingdom to the less fortunate, but he showed he did not appreciate it. So it made me hesitant of giving him again every time I see him.

I encounter a lot though who are more than glad every time I give them something. I see the joy in their faces, and it makes me excited to give them something each time. God feels the same way with us. He is more than glad to share His kingdom with us and he expects us to live through it and share it with others. But if we take God’s kingdom for granted, much worse if we destroy it, then He will be hurt and He will take it away from us. He will give it to those who will be delighted to live in His kingdom and invite others inside as well. – Sancho Cuasay III (sjcuasay@yahoo.com)

PRAYER
Lord God, may Your kingdom bear fruit in my life and may I be Your good harvester that would help it bear more fruit here on earth. Amen.

REFLECTION QUESTION
Do I deserve to be entrusted with God’s kingdom?

Photo source: margleoschool.com

Little Whispers, Sancho Cuasay

Little By Litte

First Reading
Heb 10:1-10

Brothers and sisters:
Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come,
and not the very image of them, it can never make perfect
those who come to worship by the same sacrifices
that they offer continually each year.
Otherwise, would not the sacrifices have ceased to be offered,
since the worshipers, once cleansed, would no longer
have had any consciousness of sins?
But in those sacrifices there is only a yearly remembrance of sins,
for it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats
take away sins.
For this reason, when he came into the world, he said:

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
in burnt offerings 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,
burnt offerings 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.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 40:2 and 4AB, 7-8A, 10, 11

R. (8a and 9a) Here am I Lord; I come to do your will.
I have waited, waited for the LORD,
and he stooped toward me.
And he put a new song into my mouth,
a hymn to our God.
R. Here am I Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Burnt offerings or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, “Behold I come.”
R. Here am I Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R. Here am I Lord; I come to do your will.
Your justice I kept not hid within my heart;
your faithfulness and your salvation I have spoken of;
I have made no secret of your kindness and your truth
in the vast assembly.
R. Here am I Lord; I come to do your will.

Gospel
Mk 3:31-35

 The mother of Jesus and his brothers arrived at the house.
Standing outside, they sent word to Jesus and called him.
A crowd seated around him told him,
“Your mother and your brothers and your sisters
are outside asking for you.”
But he said to them in reply,
“Who are my mother and my brothers?”
And looking around at those seated in the circle he said,
“Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of God
is my brother and sister and mother.”

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REFLECTION

And looking around at those seated in the circles he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. [For] whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” Mk 3:34-35

 

I have been raised by my parents to be a prayerful and faithful Christian. Looking back, I am amazed how Jesus has revealed Himself to me little by little since I was a child.

When I was a toddler, I prayed “Papa God, I hope my dad will buy me a puppy tomorrow.. I wish I’ll have hotdogs in my lunchbox tomorrow..”

During my childhood days, I always heard Sunday mass with my family and regularly visited the school chapel since I thought Jesus blesses (only) those who do so.

Come my teenage years, I’ve come to know Him as my Father, the One I can run to when I have problems with school, parents, friends, and love life.

Now in my late twenties, I’ve learned how Jesus is as my bestfriend, someone I can talk to, who knows me best and is always there for me.

I’ve also come to know that He blesses and reaches for everyone – the prayerful, the lost, sinners, beggars, criminals, homeless, and even unbelievers – not just those who go to church.

Jesus considers you His brother, His sister, as long as you surrender your life to Him and do His will – no matter what you’ve done before, no matter where you are now. Sancho Cuasay III (sjcuasay@yahoo.com)

 

PRAYER

Lord, show me and let me feel the wonders of being Your brother/sister, and help me surrender my life to You and do Your will. Amen.

REFLECTION QUESTION

Do I want to be Jesus’ brother/sister? Am I willing and committed to do His will?

Photo source: flamevulture.deviantart.com