Carlo Fernandez, Little Whispers

A Cup of Coffee

First Reading
2 Kgs 5:1-15AB

Naaman, the army commander of the king of Aram,
was highly esteemed and respected by his master,
for through him the LORD had brought victory to Aram.
But valiant as he was, the man was a leper.
Now the Arameans had captured in a raid on the land of Israel
a little girl, who became the servant of Naaman’s wife.
“If only my master would present himself to the prophet in Samaria,”
she said to her mistress, “he would cure him of his leprosy.”
Naaman went and told his lord
just what the slave girl from the land of Israel had said.
“Go,” said the king of Aram.
“I will send along a letter to the king of Israel.”
So Naaman set out, taking along ten silver talents,
six thousand gold pieces, and ten festal garments.
To the king of Israel he brought the letter, which read:
“With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you,
that you may cure him of his leprosy.”

When he read the letter,
the king of Israel tore his garments and exclaimed:
“Am I a god with power over life and death,
that this man should send someone to me to be cured of leprosy?
Take note! You can see he is only looking for a quarrel with me!”
When Elisha, the man of God,
heard that the king of Israel had torn his garments,
he sent word to the king:
“Why have you torn your garments?
Let him come to me and find out
that there is a prophet in Israel.”

Naaman came with his horses and chariots
and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house.
The prophet sent him the message:
“Go and wash seven times in the Jordan,
and your flesh will heal, and you will be clean.”
But Naaman went away angry, saying,
“I thought that he would surely come out and stand there
to invoke the LORD his God,
and would move his hand over the spot,
and thus cure the leprosy.
Are not the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar,
better than all the waters of Israel?
Could I not wash in them and be cleansed?”
With this, he turned about in anger and left.

But his servants came up and reasoned with him.
“My father,” they said,
“if the prophet had told you to do something extraordinary,
would you not have done it?
All the more now, since he said to you,
‘Wash and be clean,’ should you do as he said.”
So Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times
at the word of the man of God.
His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

He returned with his whole retinue to the man of God.
On his arrival he stood before him and said,
“Now I know that there is no God in all the earth,
except in Israel.”

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 42:2, 3; 43:3, 4

R. (see 42:3) Athirst is my soul for the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
As the hind longs for the running waters,
so my soul longs for you, O God.
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
Athirst is my soul for God, the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
Send forth your light and your fidelity;
they shall lead me on
And bring me to your holy mountain,
to your dwelling-place.
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
Then will I go in to the altar of God,
the God of my gladness and joy;
Then will I give you thanks upon the harp,
O God, my God!
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?

Gospel
Lk 4:24-30

Jesus said to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth:
“Amen, I say to you,
no prophet is accepted in his own native place.
Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel
in the days of Elijah
when the sky was closed for three and a half years
and a severe famine spread over the entire land.
It was to none of these that Elijah was sent,
but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon.
Again, there were many lepers in Israel
during the time of Elisha the prophet;
yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”
When the people in the synagogue heard this,
they were all filled with fury.
They rose up, drove him out of the town,
and led him to the brow of the hill
on which their town had been built,
to hurl him down headlong.
But he passed through the midst of them and went away.

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royalty-free-line-clipart-illustration-226258

REFLECTION

“Let him come to me and find out..” -2 Kings 5:8

“Hi, Sir. May I take your order?” (with all enthusiasm)

The cashier asked me that question 30 minutes after I entered Starbucks.

6 years ago, (I think), was the first time that Starbucks launched their Christmas drinks. The store was jam packed! People, including me, were very much curious on how those drinks tasted.

Hold on, I don’t want to tell you about the drink. I want to tell you how impatient I got while I was lining up.

I was coming from a hard morning’s work. The place was too noisy because of the outrageous crowd. The line was too long. I was standing up for ages! (Hey, this was 6 years ago. My patience improved.) I felt so much discomfort just to taste the flavors of the season.

Nonetheless, I stayed.

“Hi Sir, May I take your order?”

“One Toffeenut Frappuccino – Grande”, I said.

She got my order, asked for my name, labeled the cup, and placed the cup at a number of cups in line too.

Then, I waited. After that, I waited. And yes, I waited. Oh, Did I say, I waited?

Grande Toffeenute Frappuccino for Carlo. Drinks at the bar for Carlo.”, the Barista shouted.

My eyes sparkled, like heaven opened the gates and a ray of light was shining over my drink. I went to the bar, tore the straw bag, poked my drink with the straw and sipped. Heaven.

I wouldn’t be able to tell my order if I left the line. I wouldn’t have tasted the heavenly drink if I gave in to my impatience. I wouldn’t have experienced the goodness of the drink if I didn’t go to the bar.

Friends, do you want to taste heaven, feel heaven or experience heaven? Come to Jesus. He has a Tall Latte of surprises for you, a Grande Macchiato of Miracles and a Venti Frappe of Blessings for you every single day.

Approach Jesus and be blessed. – Carlof Fernandez (carlo.fernandez@yahoo.com)

PRAYER
Teach me, oh Lord, that in any circumstance, whether good or bad, high or low, sad or happy, that I may come to You. AMEN.

REFLECTION QUESTION
In your problems, do you go to Jesus? In your happy moments, do you go to Jesus? In your defeats, do you go to Jesus? In your triumphs, do you go to Jesus?

Photo source: illustrationsof.com

Carlo Fernandez, Little Whispers

Rehearsal

First Reading
Heb 10:32-39
Remember the days past when, after you had been enlightened,
you endured a great contest of suffering.
At times you were publicly exposed to abuse and affliction;
at other times you associated yourselves with those so treated.
You even joined in the sufferings of those in prison
and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property,
knowing that you had a better and lasting possession.
Therefore, do not throw away your confidence;
it will have great recompense.
You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised.

For, after just a brief moment,
he who is to come shall come;
he shall not delay.
But my just one shall live by faith,
and if he draws back I take no pleasure in him.

We are not among those who draw back and perish,
but among those who have faith and will possess life.

Responsorial Psalm
R. (39a) The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Trust in the LORD and do good,
that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security.
Take delight in the LORD,
and he will grant you your heart’s requests.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Commit to the LORD your way;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will make justice dawn for you like the light;
bright as the noonday shall be your vindication.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
By the LORD are the steps of a man made firm,
and he approves his way.
Though he fall, he does not lie prostrate,
for the hand of the LORD sustains him.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
The salvation of the just is from the LORD;
he is their refuge in time of distress.
And the LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Gospel
Mk 4:26-34
Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the Kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”He said,
“To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.

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party_animals_by_visio_art-d4r7hxh

REFLECTION

“This is how it is with the Kingdom of God…” –Mark 4:26

“In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

“AMEN.” Said the people.

The worship leader starts to pray – praising God – loving God – adoring God – worshipping God.

Then I did a stick count “1, 2, 3, 4”

Music started playing. The warm sound of the strings and keys came in. It was followed by a sweet percussive sound from the acoustic guitar.

At this point, the worship leader continued praying – praising God – loving God – adoring God – worshipping God.

I made a steady beat, building up so that the purring sound of the bass could enter. For sure, this will be followed by a rhythmic twang of the rhythm guitar and the colorful riff of the lead guitar.

As the musicians continued to build the music, the worship leader still continued to pray. He even invited people to do the same thing – praise God – love God – adore God – worship God.

Singers started to sing (of course) songs of adoration. They made great melodies and fantastic harmonies. They sounded more like angels. People sang along too.

The room was filled with heavenly music. It continued on for hours. People never wanted stop – praising God – loving God, adoring God, worshipping God.

Suddenly, they shouted praises, made a roar of worship, clapped their hands and the band making a beautiful outro. Then the lights opened.

“In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

“AMEN.” Again, said the people.

It was just a rehearsal – a rehearsal of what you and I will do when you and I reach heaven – the Kingdom of God. – Carlo Fernandez (carlo.fernandez@yahoo.com)

PRAYER
Dear God, even in the most simple and basic ways, bless me with the opportunity to rehearse the praising, the loving, the adoring, and the worshipping. AMEN.

REFLECTION
Have you allotted time for rehearsal with God yesterday? How about today? Even tomorrow?

Photo source: ~visio-art.deviantart.com

Carlo Fernandez, Little Whispers

Upside Down

First Reading
1 Jn 5:14-21

Beloved:
We have this confidence in him
that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
And if we know that he hears us in regard to whatever we ask,
we know that what we have asked him for is ours.
If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly,
he should pray to God and he will give him life.
This is only for those whose sin is not deadly.
There is such a thing as deadly sin,
about which I do not say that you should pray.
All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not deadly.
We know that anyone begotten by God does not sin;
but the one begotten by God he protects,
and the Evil One cannot touch him.
We know that we belong to God,
and the whole world is under the power of the Evil One.
We also know that the Son of God has come
and has given us discernment to know the one who is true.
And we are in the one who is true,
in his Son Jesus Christ.
He is the true God and eternal life.
Children, be on your guard against idols.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 149:1-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b

R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Sing to the LORD a new song
of praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel be glad in their maker,
let the children of Zion rejoice in their king.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Let them praise his name in the festive dance,
let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
For the LORD loves his people,
and he adorns the lowly with victory.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Let the faithful exult in glory;
let them sing for joy upon their couches;
Let the high praises of God be in their throats.
This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Gospel
Jn 3:22-30

Jesus and his disciples went into the region of Judea,
where he spent some time with them baptizing.
John was also baptizing in Aenon near Salim,
because there was an abundance of water there,
and people came to be baptized,
for John had not yet been imprisoned.
Now a dispute arose between the disciples of John and a Jew
about ceremonial washings.
So they came to John and said to him,
“Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan,
to whom you testified,
here he is baptizing and everyone is coming to him.”
John answered and said,
“No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven.
You yourselves can testify that I said that I am not the Christ,
but that I was sent before him.
The one who has the bride is the bridegroom;
the best man, who stands and listens for him,
rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice.
So this joy of mine has been made complete.
He must increase; I must decrease.”

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CARLO FERNANDEZ freewebs.com

REFLECTION

“He must increase; I must decrease” – Jn 2:30

“Nelson, can you check the spy files, error files, and trace files of our client? Aim for information logged at 2:00 AM – 2:45 AM. Look for incident reports in CRM. Look for Defects reported.”

I was hoping that Nelson could give me repeating errors and good information from the files so that I would have an idea on how to solve this urgent, high priority, gut-busting client issue. I squeezed him like a lemon and never stopped talking. The pressure was too high for me.

Then a Skype instant message came in. From Nelson.

“We’re looking at the wrong side of the system.” That was Nelson’s message.

I was too pressured, too high strung, and too stressed to even give him the time to talk. I even forgot that he has experience on the issue. My conscience hid under the blanket.

When I gave him the floor to discuss the problem and share his experience and knowledge, when I listened and we began to work as a team, we were able to approach the problem well. Good recommendations and solutions were given to our client.

Sometimes, we encounter problems, trials or losses and we tend to react impulsively, not thinking that there is an expert up there willing to listen to us, to converse with us and to pull us through.

Yes, He has the best solutions and recommendations we could ever think of. Our God’s got our backs.

Friends, in the raging and crawling moments of our lives, let’s all remember to decrease, so that our God can increase. – Carlo Fernandez (carlo.fernandez@yahoo.com)

 

PRAYER
Father in Heaven, I pray that all the doubt, hopelessness and chaos in my mind and heart decrease and be replaced with increased faith, increased hope, and increased love. In Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

REFLECTION
How do you react to difficult situations? What can you do so you could decrease?

Photo source: freewebs.com

Carlo Fernandez, Little Whispers

Sentence Served

FIRST READING
Dn 6:12-28

Some men rushed into the upper chamber of Daniel’s home
and found him praying and pleading before his God.
Then they went to remind the king about the prohibition:
“Did you not decree, O king,
that no one is to address a petition to god or man
for thirty days, except to you, O king;
otherwise he shall be cast into a den of lions?”
The king answered them, “The decree is absolute,
irrevocable under the Mede and Persian law.”
To this they replied, “Daniel, the Jewish exile,
has paid no attention to you, O king,
or to the decree you issued;
three times a day he offers his prayer.”
The king was deeply grieved at this news
and he made up his mind to save Daniel;
he worked till sunset to rescue him.
But these men insisted.
They said, “Keep in mind, O king,
that under the Mede and Persian law
every royal prohibition or decree is irrevocable.”
So the king ordered Daniel to be brought and cast into the lions’ den.
To Daniel he said,
“May your God, whom you serve so constantly, save you.”
To forestall any tampering,
the king sealed with his own ring and the rings of the lords
the stone that had been brought to block the opening of the den.

Then the king returned to his palace for the night;
he refused to eat and he dismissed the entertainers.
Since sleep was impossible for him,
the king rose very early the next morning
and hastened to the lions’ den.
As he drew near, he cried out to Daniel sorrowfully,
“O Daniel, servant of the living God,
has the God whom you serve so constantly
been able to save you from the lions?”
Daniel answered the king: “O king, live forever!
My God has sent his angel and closed the lions’ mouths
so that they have not hurt me.
For I have been found innocent before him;
neither to you have I done any harm, O king!”
This gave the king great joy.
At his order Daniel was removed from the den,
unhurt because he trusted in his God.
The king then ordered the men who had accused Daniel,
along with their children and their wives,
to be cast into the lions’ den.
Before they reached the bottom of the den,
the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.

Then King Darius wrote to the nations and peoples of every language,
wherever they dwell on the earth: “All peace to you!
I decree that throughout my royal domain
the God of Daniel is to be reverenced and feared:

“For he is the living God, enduring forever;
his Kingdom shall not be destroyed,
and his dominion shall be without end.
He is a deliverer and savior,
working signs and wonders in heaven and on earth,
and he delivered Daniel from the lions’ power.”

Responsorial Psalm
Dn 3:68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74
R. (59b) Give glory and eternal praise to him.

“Dew and rain, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Frost and chill, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Ice and snow, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Nights and days, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Light and darkness, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Lightnings and clouds, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.
“Let the earth bless the Lord,
praise and exalt him above all forever.”
R. Give glory and eternal praise to him.

Gospel
Lk 21:20-28

Jesus said to his disciples:
“When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies,
know that its desolation is at hand.
Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains.
Let those within the city escape from it,
and let those in the countryside not enter the city,
for these days are the time of punishment
when all the Scriptures are fulfilled.
Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days,
for a terrible calamity will come upon the earth
and a wrathful judgment upon this people.
They will fall by the edge of the sword
and be taken as captives to all the Gentiles;
and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles
until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.”
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REFLECTION
“May your God, whom you serve so constantly, save you.” -Dn 6:17

Such a crazy story Daniel has – imagine, he was sent to the lion’s den because he was praying to God? Crazy right!?

I’m sure you’ve been asking this yourself – Why do bad things, happen to good people!? Today, I have this urge to share my life through some points from the talk “Why do bad things happen to good people?!” I attended in another prayer gathering.

In the past months, I’ve been in a whirlwind of events and emotions. Because of a mistake I made, some people made me think that I was a criminal, a serial killer, a top notch murderer. Of course, I asked forgiveness from these people, felt sorry for what I did and moved on. But the issue grew bigger. It spread like fire. Even people, who weren’t involved, knew about it already. Nothing good happened. The murderer, killer and criminal in me grew too. That was the bad thing.

Poof! God just made His entrance at the perfect time. He taught me something through this talk.

Without the pain that I felt, there wouldn’t be a discontent. There wouldn’t be a disturbance. God disturbed me. He allowed the pain to happen because He wants me to be closer to Him. With that, I started praying harder. I amplified God in the little things that I did every single day. He wanted me to be close to Him.

As time went by, I started focusing on the positive things. I was stuffing myself with God’s word and magnified it through excellence in my service. And guess what? People started affirming me. Most especially my friends who knew what happened. They wanted me to be around them. With that, God is just saying, he allowed it to happen because He also wanted the people around me to be close to Him.

The pain that I felt then made me feel worthless. It caused a deep wound in my heart. Again, He allowed it to happen, because He wanted me to prepare for a miracle – the bigger the wound, the bigger the miracle.

At this point in time, everything seems to be okay. If not, it’s getting there. He still continues to prune. I just recently served at the biggest Catholic Learning event last week. Through that, He constantly reminded me that I am a witness. In spite of the painful past and the sins I have done, I am still a minister. I still have the power to be a Jesus to someone. He allowed things to happen to me, because He wanted me to be like Him.

Lastly, He reminded me that life isn’t finished yet. There’s still a race to finish. There are more people to teach, more people to bless, more things to learn, more stories to share and more moments to cherish. We are not home yet.

When Daniel was in that den, He still prayed to God who eventually saved him. Friends, with this, the God that I serve never fails. His love never fails and it never runs out on you and me. He saves you in your time of need. He gives you the oxygen that you need in your drowning point. Always remember, that He has a purpose for everything. Be reminded of how He loves us. -Carlo Fernandez. YLSS#19

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, in my desperation, thank you for constantly reminding me that You are the God who saves. Burden me, oh God, to know you more each day. May my life be an offering to You. Amen.

Carlo Fernandez, Little Whispers

Divine Suitor

FIRST READING
Wis 7:22b-8:1

In Wisdom is a spirit
intelligent, holy, unique,
Manifold, subtle, agile,
clear, unstained, certain,
Not baneful, loving the good, keen,
unhampered, beneficent, kindly,
Firm, secure, tranquil,
all-powerful, all-seeing,
And pervading all spirits,
though they be intelligent, pure and very subtle.
For Wisdom is mobile beyond all motion,
and she penetrates and pervades all things by reason of her purity.
For she is an aura of the might of God
and a pure effusion of the glory of the Almighty;
therefore nought that is sullied enters into her.
For she is the refulgence of eternal light,
the spotless mirror of the power of God,
the image of his goodness.
And she, who is one, can do all things,
and renews everything while herself perduring;
And passing into holy souls from age to age,
she produces friends of God and prophets.
For there is nought God loves, be it not one who dwells with Wisdom.
For she is fairer than the sun
and surpasses every constellation of the stars.
Compared to light, she takes precedence;
for that, indeed, night supplants,
but wickedness prevails not over Wisdom.

Indeed, she reaches from end to end mightily
and governs all things well.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 119:89, 90, 91, 130, 135, 175
R. (89a) Your word is for ever, O Lord.

Your word, O LORD, endures forever;
it is firm as the heavens.
R. Your word is for ever, O Lord.
Through all generations your truth endures;
you have established the earth, and it stands firm.
R. Your word is for ever, O Lord.
According to your ordinances they still stand firm:
all things serve you.
R. Your word is for ever, O Lord.
The revelation of your words sheds light,
giving understanding to the simple.
R. Your word is for ever, O Lord.
Let your countenance shine upon your servant,
and teach me your statutes.
R. Your word is for ever, O Lord.
Let my soul live to praise you,
and may your ordinances help me.
R. Your word is for ever, O Lord.

Gospel
Lk 17:20-25

Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come,
Jesus said in reply,
“The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed,
and no one will announce, “Look, here it is,” or, “There it is.”
For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.”

Then he said to his disciples,
“The days will come when you will long to see
one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it.
There will be those who will say to you,
“Look, there he is,” or “Look, here he is.”
Do not go off, do not run in pursuit.
For just as lightning flashes
and lights up the sky from one side to the other,
so will the Son of Man be in his day.
But first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation.”
—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

REFLECTION
“The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed,and no one will announce, “Look, here it is,” or, “There it is.” For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.”” –Lk 17:20-21

I took my Life in the Spirit when I was 15. Yup, 3 years ago. (C’mon! I’m just kidding!) Before that seminar, I was already attending prayer meetings. Here’s my story.

My journey started when my crush personally invited me to attend Friday Youth prayer meetings. When I received that phone call(YES! Landline), I tell you, I curled and stretched and jumped for joy. Why wouldn’t I say no to that sweet, cute and charming invite!? I called my barkada, and a few hours later, we went to our Parish to attend the event.

So as they say, a lot of perky people were welcoming us. Big Hi’s and Hello’s. Then a guy called us, my crush and my friends. His purpose was to orient us on what’s gonna happen during the prayer meeting. I just remembered him saying that we’ll hear music, prayers, sounds and we’ll see people raising their hands. He said that people raise their hands because it’s a sign of surrender – like a cop pointing a gun at your back.

During the worship, there was this song that struck me and brought me to tears. It goes something like this:

“All that I am, All that I have, I lay them down to You, Oh Lord…Lord I offer My life to you, everything I’ve been through, Use it for Your glory..”

I said to myself, why am I feeling this?! Why am I feeling the goosebumps!? Remember. That was my first prayer meeting. But that was it – I fell for God’s desire of knowing me.

Little by little, my friends stopped attending. My crush stopped attending. I built new friendships. 10 months after, I attended the Seminar. Still, I kept on falling for our beautiful God. I wanted to know him more. He never runs out of surprises.

Who would’ve known that I’d be attending prayer meetings? Who would’ve known that I’d be making music for Him? Who would’ve known that I’d be ministering to people!? Who would’ve known that I’d be working in His kingdom? The gospel today is just saying that no one can tell that the Kingdom of God is just right around the corner.

Truly God, has an amazing way of getting us to work for His team. He knows when to court us, where to court us and how to court us. (No one can say na ‘di pa siya nililigawan ah?). It’s just perfect. Dear friend, God is speaking to you today. Open your hearts, open your minds, open your spirits and listen to God’s voice professing His desire to know you. Listen to it, and little by little, you’ll know that His Kingdom is among you already. –Carlo Fernandez. YLSS#19

Prayer:
Oh Father in Heaven, teach me to be open in mind, heart and spirit, so that I may respond to your call and know that your Kingdom is upon me. Amen.

Carlo Fernandez, Little Whispers

Uhuuuuy

FIRST READING
Rom 14:7-12

Brothers and sisters:
None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself.
For if we live, we live for the Lord,
and if we die, we die for the Lord;
so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
For this is why Christ died and came to life,
that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
Why then do you judge your brother or sister?
Or you, why do you look down on your brother or sister?
For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God;
for it is written:

As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bend before me,
and every tongue shall give praise to God.

So then each of us shall give an account of himself to God.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 27:1bcde, 4, 13-14
R. (13) I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.

The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.

Gospel
Lk 15:1-10

The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So Jesus addressed this parable to them.
“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them
would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert
and go after the lost one until he finds it?
And when he does find it,
he sets it on his shoulders with great joy
and, upon his arrival home,
he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them,
“Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.”
I tell you, in just the same way
there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous people
who have no need of repentance.

“Or what woman having ten coins and losing one
would not light a lamp and sweep the house,
searching carefully until she finds it?
And when she does find it,
she calls together her friends and neighbors
and says to them,
“Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.”
In just the same way, I tell you,
there will be rejoicing among the angels of God
over one sinner who repents.”
—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

REFLECTION
Why then do you judge your brother or sister? -Rom 14:10

“Uhuuuuy, kalbo, masamang tao!”

“Uhuuuuy, may tato adik”

“Uhuuuuy, bumbay, mabaho”

“Uhuuuuy, negro, grabe mamawis. Mabaho rin.”

“Uhuuuuy, babae driver, bagal ‘yan. ‘di niya alam ginagawa niya sa kalye.”

“Uhuuuuy, katabi mong nakatsinelas at short sa jeep, mandurukot”

“Uhuuuuy, nakamake-up, maarte”

“Uhuuuuy, lalaking naka skinny jeans, bading”

Hey hey hey! I am not to offend anyone, okay? Just notice that you and I have a lot (I mean a lot) of things to say about certain people on how they look, how they walk, how they talk, how they eat and the list goes on and on. We often conclude that we know the person just by matching them with our own stereotype list

With this “preset” list in mind (and heart), sometimes I am led to notice the “not so good” things in the person. I tend to concentrate on the negative in the things that he/she says and does. I tend to become a life referee – someone who just notices all the violations, faults and sins.

In today’s readings, God is definitely making a statement that only He can make the judgment in the end of days. What He wants us to do is not judge each our brother, or our sister, but to see the good things amidst everything.

On Jesus:
“Uhuuuuy, mambubuwis, kain tayo.”

“Uhuuuuy, kriminal, kain tayo.”

“Uhuuuuy, may ketong, gamutin natin.”

“Uhuuuuy, nawawala, hanapin natin.”

“Uhuuuuy, makasalanan, patawarin natin.”

Today let’s stop being life referees. Let’s start being life coaches – the one who plans, teaches, guides, helps, leads, encourages and motivates. Let’s start being a Jesus to the people that we meet today. –Carlo Fernandez. YLSS#19

Prayer:
Father in heaven, help me see the good things in all the people that I meet today, May I be a person who can bring peace and can also bless. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Carlo Fernandez, Little Whispers

Unkabogable

FIRST READING
Rom 8:31b-39

Brothers and sisters:
If God is for us, who can be against us?
He did not spare his own Son
but handed him over for us all,
how will he not also give us everything else along with him?
Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones?
It is God who acquits us.
Who will condemn?
It is Christ Jesus who died, rather, was raised,
who also is at the right hand of God,
who indeed intercedes for us.
What will separate us from the love of Christ?
Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine,
or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?
As it is written:

For your sake we are being slain all the day;
we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.

No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly
through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor principalities,
nor present things, nor future things,
nor powers, nor height, nor depth,
nor any other creature will be able to separate us
from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 109:21-22, 26-27, 30-31
R. (26b) Save me, O Lord, in your mercy.

Do you, O GOD, my Lord, deal kindly with me for your name’s sake;
in your generous mercy rescue me;
For I am wretched and poor,
and my heart is pierced within me.
R. Save me, O Lord, in your mercy.
Help me, O LORD, my God;
save me, in your mercy,
And let them know that this is your hand;
that you, O LORD, have done this.
R. Save me, O Lord, in your mercy.
I will speak my thanks earnestly to the LORD,
and in the midst of the throng I will praise him,
For he stood at the right hand of the poor man,
to save him from those who would condemn his soul.
R. Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.

Gospel
Lk 13:31-35

Some Pharisees came to Jesus and said,
“Go away, leave this area because Herod wants to kill you.”
He replied, “Go and tell that fox,
“Behold, I cast out demons and I perform healings today and tomorrow,
and on the third day I accomplish my purpose.
Yet I must continue on my way today, tomorrow, and the following day,
for it is impossible that a prophet should die
outside of Jerusalem.”

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem,
you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you,
how many times I yearned to gather your children together
as a hen gathers her brood under her wings,
but you were unwilling!
Behold, your house will be abandoned.
But I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say,
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

REFLECTION
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us
from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. –Rom 8:38-39

“Come on, come on! Turn a little faster. Come on, come on! The world will follow after. Come on, come on! Because everybody’s after love.”

You got that right – Accidentally in Love from the movie Shrek. Ever watched that movie? Ain’t it cute and funny?

Shrek is a green, fugly, and stinky ogre that lives in a swamp, enjoying his peaceful solitude. But because of the circumstances of the kingdom he lived in, Shrek was forced to serve a character named Lord Farquaad. Shrek’s service – rescue a princess for Lord Farquaad for him to marry.

To cut the long story short, Fiona, the oh-so-beautiful, feisty and down-to-earth princess who lived in a tower surrounded by lava and guarded by a fire-breathing dragon was saved by the oh so ugly Shrek. Of course, Shrek definitely fell in love with Fiona. Turns out, at the end of the movie, Shrek learned that Fiona was under a spell – Beautiful princess by day, Ogress by night. The thing, Shrek didn’t stop loving Fiona, in spite of her true form.

This happens in the real world too. Some couples start off fresh – Guy with a macho body, brushed up hair, cool clothes; and Girl, of course, slim, pimple free face, beautiful-long-black hair. Both give so much effort in showing how they love each other. But through time, both will see big changes – wrinkles in the face, a big fat belly, long and dirty toenails, Barbie figure to barney figure and many, many more. The Shrek and Fiona features will definitely come out. But look at most of the seasoned husbands and wives, they still stay together and love each other no matter what.

God’s love for us is the same…even greater!

You may have wrinkles in your life right now. You may be experiencing soggy circumstances. You may have balding relationships. You may be feeling that you are fugly, gross, stinky, dirty, worthless, weak and sinful. Well wake-up! God is telling you today that nothing can separate us from the love of God through Jesus Christ. For all of those who are feeling like a Fiona and Shrek, like me, let’s all hold on to the promise that we can conquer these things through His love. Again, no Fiona and Shrek feature can stop God from loving us. Feel God’s love today, tomorrow and forever. –Carlo Fernandez. YLSS#19

Prayer:
Loving Father in heaven, in spite of all the unworthiness, sinfulness and weakness, thank you for assuring me of your inseparable love. May I feel this love so that I may share this to your people. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN.