Little Whispers, Val Cruz

The Power of Patience

First Reading
2 Peter 3:12-15A, 17-18
Beloved:
Wait for and hasten the coming of the day of God,
because of which the heavens will be dissolved in flames
and the elements melted by fire.
But according to his promise
we await new heavens and a new earth
in which righteousness dwells.

Therefore, beloved, since you await these things,
be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace.
And consider the patience of our Lord as salvation.

Therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned,
be on your guard not to be led into the error of the unprincipled
and to fall from your own stability.
But grow in grace
and in the knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.
To him be glory now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 90:2, 3-4, 10, 14 AND 16
R.    (1)  In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Before the mountains were begotten
and the earth and the world were brought forth,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
R.    In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
You turn man back to dust,
saying, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in your sight
are as yesterday, now that it is past,
or as a watch of the night.
R.    In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Seventy is the sum of our years,
or eighty, if we are strong,
And most of them are fruitless toil,
for they pass quickly and we drift away.
R.    In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
Let your work be seen by your servants
and your glory by their children.
R.    In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.

Gospel
Mark 12:13-17
Some Pharisees and Herodians were sent
to Jesus to ensnare him in his speech.
They came and said to him,
“Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man
and that you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion.
You do not regard a person’s status
but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.
Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?
Should we pay or should we not pay?”
Knowing their hypocrisy he said to them,
“Why are you testing me?
Bring me a denarius to look at.”
They brought one to him and he said to them,
“Whose image and inscription is this?”
They replied to him, “Caesar’s.”
So Jesus said to them,
“Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar
and to God what belongs to God.”
They were utterly amazed at him.


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“Therefore, beloved, since you await these things, be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace. And consider the patience of our Lord as salvation.” (2 Peter 3:14-15)

REFLECTION
What is your favorite holiday? I bet all of us would answer Christmas! It is the time of the year where houses are fully decorated and you can hear Christmas songs playing at the malls starting November. This season is always full of warmth, joy, and love which makes me look forward to it every year.

As a kid, I would always count down on how many days are left. My parents would ask me and my siblings what we want as gifts and they would buy it ahead of time. No matter how exciting it is to open these, it has been a tradition for us to wait until the 25th. Because of this, I learned that there is joy in waiting. It made me understand the value of patience and how to savor moments.

Just like in the readings, Jesus is inviting us to be patient. During this time, it may seem difficult to do but He is reminding us that waiting is a form of trusting. He is also reassuring us today that He is in control and is a God of promises. It may seem forever to wait but His plans are never delayed. Keep in mind that for Jesus, anything worth having is worth waiting for.

Reflection Song

In God We Trust by Hillsong Worship

Author

wc-val

Click on the bubble to find out more about Val!

Photo by: Thought Catalog (@thoughtcatalog at unsplash.com)

Little Whispers, Val Cruz

Plot Twist

First Reading
1 Samuel 16:1B, 6-7, 10-13A
The LORD said to Samuel:
“Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way.
I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem,
for I have chosen my king from among his sons.”

As Jesse and his sons came to the sacrifice,
Samuel looked at Eliab and thought,
“Surely the LORD’s anointed is here before him.”
But the LORD said to Samuel:
“Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature,
because I have rejected him.
Not as man sees does God see,
because man sees the appearance
but the LORD looks into the heart.”
In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel,
but Samuel said to Jesse,
“The LORD has not chosen any one of these.”
Then Samuel asked Jesse,
“Are these all the sons you have?”
Jesse replied,
“There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said to Jesse,
“Send for him;
we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here.”
Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them.
He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold
and making a splendid appearance.
The LORD said,
“There—anoint him, for this is the one!”
Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand,
anointed David in the presence of his brothers;
and from that day on, the spirit of the LORD rushed upon David.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 23:1-3A, 3B-4, 5, 6
R. (1)  The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Second Reading
Ephesians 5:8-14
Brothers and sisters:
You were once darkness,
but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light,
for light produces every kind of goodness
and righteousness and truth.
Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness;
rather expose them, for it is shameful even to mention
the things done by them in secret;
but everything exposed by the light becomes visible,
for everything that becomes visible is light.
Therefore, it says:

“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.”

Gospel
John 9:1-41
As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth.
His disciples asked him,
“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents,
that he was born blind?”
Jesus answered,
“Neither he nor his parents sinned;
it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.
We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day.
Night is coming when no one can work.
While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
When he had said this, he spat on the ground
and made clay with the saliva,
and smeared the clay on his eyes,
and said to him,
“Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” —which means Sent—.
So he went and washed, and came back able to see.

His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said,
“Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?”
Some said, “It is, “
but others said, “No, he just looks like him.”
He said, “I am.”
So they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?”
He replied,
“The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes
and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’
So I went there and washed and was able to see.”
And they said to him, “Where is he?”

He said, “I don’t know.”

They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees.
Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath.
So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see.
He said to them,
“He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see.”
So some of the Pharisees said,
“This man is not from God,
because he does not keep the sabbath.”
But others said,
“How can a sinful man do such signs?”
And there was a division among them.
So they said to the blind man again,
“What do you have to say about him,
since he opened your eyes?”
He said, “He is a prophet.”

Now the Jews did not believe
that he had been blind and gained his sight
until they summoned the parents of the one who had gained his sight.
They asked them,
“Is this your son, who you say was born blind?
How does he now see?”
His parents answered and said,
“We know that this is our son and that he was born blind.
We do not know how he sees now,
nor do we know who opened his eyes.
Ask him, he is of age;
he can speak for himself.”
His parents said this because they were afraid
of the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed
that if anyone acknowledged him as the Christ,
he would be expelled from the synagogue.
For this reason his parents said,
“He is of age; question him.”

So a second time they called the man who had been blind
and said to him, “Give God the praise!
We know that this man is a sinner.”
He replied,
“If he is a sinner, I do not know.
One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see.”
So they said to him,
“What did he do to you?
How did he open your eyes?”
He answered them,
“I told you already and you did not listen.
Why do you want to hear it again?

Do you want to become his disciples, too?”
They ridiculed him and said,
“You are that man’s disciple;
we are disciples of Moses!
We know that God spoke to Moses,
but we do not know where this one is from.”
The man answered and said to them,
“This is what is so amazing,
that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes.
We know that God does not listen to sinners,
but if one is devout and does his will, he listens to him.
It is unheard of that anyone ever opened the eyes of a person born blind.
If this man were not from God,
he would not be able to do anything.”
They answered and said to him,
“You were born totally in sin,
and are you trying to teach us?”
Then they threw him out.

When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out,
he found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
He answered and said,
“Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?”
Jesus said to him,
“You have seen him,
the one speaking with you is he.”
He said,
“I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him.
Then Jesus said,
“I came into this world for judgment,
so that those who do not see might see,
and those who do see might become blind.”

Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this
and said to him, “Surely we are not also blind, are we?”
Jesus said to them,
“If you were blind, you would have no sin;
but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains.


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“We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if one is devout and does his will, he listens to him.” (John 9: 31)

REFLECTION
Welcoming this year was special for me and my family. It was the first time that all of us were excited to share our plans for 2020. We even took time to have a video call for us to be complete. Seeing all of them happy and inspired, made me feel blessed and thankful. I was excited for what God has instore for us this year. I thought this year will be full of love, happiness, and more growth. And as we ended that day, my mom invited all of us to pray. She prayed that may our plans be aligned to His and that He may guide us as all throughout.

As months passed by, I realized that things started to go not as planned. But amidst this, I still prayed and hoped for a miracle. When news about the spread of Covid-19 started to arise, I realized that His plans are different from what we have thought. As a family, we had to divert our priority which is our safety and health. During this time, I questioned God’s presence. Are you really there? Because I have been praying all this time but it seems that I can’t feel you.

After reading the gospel today, Jesus tells us that He is here; he is listening. It is in the scariest and challenging moments that He is truly working. He encourages us to be patient and to have faith just like the blind man. I realized His light will always make its way in the dark. I may not understand His ways as of the moment, but I am clinging to that promise.

Reflection Song

Faith Above Fear by Feast Worship

Author

wc-val

Click on the bubble to find out more about Val!

Little Whispers, Val Cruz

Little Miss Perfectionist

First Reading
Joshua 24:14-29

Joshua gathered together all the tribes of Israel at Shechem,
and addressed them, saying:
“Fear the LORD and serve him completely and sincerely.
Cast out the gods your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt,
and serve the LORD.
If it does not please you to serve the LORD,
decide today whom you will serve,
the gods your fathers served beyond the River
or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are dwelling.
As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

But the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the LORD
for the service of other gods.
For it was the LORD, our God,
who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt,
out of a state of slavery.
He performed those great miracles before our very eyes
and protected us along our entire journey and among all the peoples
through whom we passed.
At our approach the LORD drove out all the peoples,
including the Amorites who dwelt in the land.
Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.”

Joshua in turn said to the people,
“You may not be able to serve the LORD, for he is a holy God;
he is a jealous God who will not forgive
your transgressions or your sins.
If, after the good he has done for you,
you forsake the LORD and serve strange gods,
he will do evil to you and destroy you.”

But the people answered Joshua, “We will still serve the LORD.”
Joshua therefore said to the people,
“You are your own witnesses that you have chosen to serve the LORD.”
They replied, “We are, indeed!”
Joshua continued:
“Now, therefore, put away the strange gods that are among you
and turn your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.”
Then the people promised Joshua,
“We will serve the LORD, our God, and obey his voice.”

So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day
and made statutes and ordinances for them at Shechem,
which he recorded in the book of the law of God.
Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak
that was in the sanctuary of the LORD.
And Joshua said to all the people, “This stone shall be our witness,
for it has heard all the words which the LORD spoke to us.
It shall be a witness against you, should you wish to deny your God.”
Then Joshua dismissed the people, each to his own heritage.

After these events, Joshua, son of Nun, servant of the LORD,
died at the age of a hundred and ten.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 16:1-2A and 5, 7-8, 11
R.(see 5a) You are my inheritance, O Lord.

Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;
I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.”
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
I bless the LORD who counsels me;
even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.

Gospel
Mathew 19:13-15

Children were brought to Jesus
that he might lay his hands on them and pray.
The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said,
“Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them;
for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
After he placed his hands on them, he went away.


“Now, therefore, put away the strange gods that are among you and turn your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.” (Joshua 24:23)

REFLECTION
Back when I was in highschool, my sister used to call me a perfectionist. I’d agree to this since I tend to finish assignments and projects ahead of time. There was an instance when I did all the homework that I had missed after being absent for a week because of dengue. When I submitted the papers to the teacher, she commended me for it. She even told me that I was ahead of one of my classmates who was absent for only a few days. This was how I was; I would set aside everything just to get things done on time.

When I got to college, I was still little miss perfectionist. I planned and controlled every detail of my life. However, God turned the wheel for me and I realized that I was following the wrong god—a god who has no room for mistakes and flaws, and who is all about the end result. Through Jesus, I was able to recognize that there is more to life than results and grades; He has greater plans for me! All I had to do is to take a u-turn and to choose Him instead.

Today, He calls us to drift away from the strange gods that isolate us from knowing who we should truly serve. These false gods can be in the form of things, habits or even people. He invites us to have a change of heart, to follow Him by being obedient like children.

Prayer
Jesus we proclaim that You are our Lord and Savior, the only God who we will serve. Keep us away from things that are not of You and strengthen our faith to be able to see and feel You more. Amen.

Author

Click on the bubble to find out more about Val!

Photo by: JESHOOTS.com (@jeshoots at unsplash.com)