CJ Goronio, Little Whispers

Puhon

First Reading
Acts 1:1-11
In the first book, Theophilus,
I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught
until the day he was taken up,
after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit
to the apostles whom he had chosen.
He presented himself alive to them
by many proofs after he had suffered,
appearing to them during forty days
and speaking about the kingdom of God.
While meeting with them,
he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem,
but to wait for “the promise of the Father
about which you have heard me speak;
for John baptized with water,
but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

When they had gathered together they asked him,
“Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons
that the Father has established by his own authority.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you,
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,
throughout Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth.”
When he had said this, as they were looking on,
he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.
While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going,
suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them.
They said, “Men of Galilee,
why are you standing there looking at the sky?
This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven
will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9
R. (6) God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
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 mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
God mounts his throne amid shouts of joy;
the LORD, amid trumpet blasts.
Sing praise to God, sing praise;
sing praise to our king, sing praise.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
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 mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Second Reading
Ephesians 1:17-23
Brothers and sisters:
May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,
give you a Spirit of wisdom and revelation
resulting in knowledge of him.
May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened,
that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call,
what are the riches of glory
in his inheritance among the holy ones,
and what is the surpassing greatness of his power
for us who believe,
in accord with the exercise of his great might,
which he worked in Christ,
raising him from the dead
and seating him at his right hand in the heavens,
far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion,
and every name that is named
not only in this age but also in the one to come.
And he put all things beneath his feet
and gave him as head over all things to the church,
which is his body,
the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.

Gospel
Matthew 28:16-20
The eleven disciples went to Galilee,
to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.
When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.
Then Jesus approached and said to them,
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”


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“May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call…” (Ephesians 1:18)

REFLECTION
Have you heard of the Marshmallow Experiment? In a room, a teacher invited a young boy to sit in front of a bowl of marshmallows. He can eat it all but he has to wait first for the teacher to come back. For about 10 minutes of being alone, he was able to resist, but he got excited (or hungry) that he started eating! Funny as how it was done, the purpose of it was to test patience starting at a young age. Even with older people best believe, not a lot of them can wait that long!

All of us may have waited or are still waiting for something. It could be an acceptance letter from a desired school. Maybe a couple out there is waiting when they will be blessed with their first kid. A family for sure is still saving up for their dream house. Even frontliners right now continue to work 24/7 in the hopes of getting this crisis over soon.

Waiting could be frustrating. It gives us anxiety and makes us doubt. At some point we will get tired of it all and just give up.

But the first reading tells us that “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority” – Acts 1:7. Believe that God’s delay always has a purpose. You may not understand it now but it will all make sense because of “puhon” which means “in God’s perfect timing”.

At a young age, Jesus already knew that He is the Son of God, but He waited before revealing His identity and purpose – and that is to save us all through the Cross. He was scared but His faith was unshaken by the end of it all. And today, as we celebrate Jesus’ Ascencion to heaven, He watches as we celebrate His love and sacrifice with a community that we call “home”. All of this happened just because He waited and trusted God’s plans for Him.

It is also beautifully said in the second reading “May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call” – Eph 1:18. So just hold on. God’s perfect timing is almost here.

Reflection Song

Stay and Wait by Hillsong UNITED

Author

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CJ Goronio, Little Whispers

Witnesses

First Reading
Acts 3:11-26
As the crippled man who had been cured clung to Peter and John,
all the people hurried in amazement toward them
in the portico called “Solomon’s Portico.”
When Peter saw this, he addressed the people,
“You children of Israel, why are you amazed at this,
and why do you look so intently at us
as if we had made him walk by our own power or piety?
The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,
the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus
whom you handed over and denied in Pilate’s presence,
when he had decided to release him.
You denied the Holy and Righteous One
and asked that a murderer be released to you.
The author of life you put to death,
but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.
And by faith in his name,
this man, whom you see and know, his name has made strong,
and the faith that comes through it
has given him this perfect health,
in the presence of all of you.
Now I know, brothers and sisters,
that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did;
but God has thus brought to fulfillment
what he had announced beforehand
through the mouth of all the prophets,
that his Christ would suffer.
Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away,
and that the Lord may grant you times of refreshment
and send you the Christ already appointed for you, Jesus,
whom heaven must receive until the times of universal restoration
of which God spoke through the mouth
of his holy prophets from of old.
For Moses said:

A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you
from among your own kin;
to him you shall listen in all that he may say to you.
Everyone who does not listen to that prophet
will be cut off from the people.

“Moreover, all the prophets who spoke,
from Samuel and those afterwards, also announced these days.
You are the children of the prophets
and of the covenant that God made with your ancestors
when he said to Abraham,
In your offspring all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
For you first, God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you
by turning each of you from your evil ways.”

Responsorial Psalm
8:2AB AND 5, 6-7, 8-9

Response: O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
O LORD, our Lord,
how glorious is your name over all the earth!
What is man that you should be mindful of him,
or the son of man that you should care for him?
Response: O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
You have made him little less than the angels,
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him rule over the works of your hands,
putting all things under his feet.
Response: O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
All sheep and oxen,
yes, and the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fishes of the sea,
and whatever swims the paths of the seas.
Response: O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!

Gospel
Luke 24:35-48
The disciples of Jesus recounted what had taken place along the way,
and how they had come to recognize him in the breaking of bread.
While they were still speaking about this,
he stood in their midst and said to them,
“Peace be with you.”
But they were startled and terrified
and thought that they were seeing a ghost.
Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled?
And why do questions arise in your hearts?
Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.
Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones
as you can see I have.”
And as he said this,
he showed them his hands and his feet.
While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed,
he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
They gave him a piece of baked fish;
he took it and ate it in front of them.

He said to them,
“These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you,
that everything written about me in the law of Moses
and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.”
Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
And he said to them,
“Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer
and rise from the dead on the third day
and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins,
would be preached in his name
to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things.”


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Since the start of the Enhanced Community Quarantine, my work was temporarily put on hold. This has opened an opportunity for me to bring back some old hobbies that I used to do like painting, reading and writing. With that, I got all my things prepped up – sketchbook, paints, unread books and writing materials. But as soon as I started, I immediately lost all of my energy to continue. I thought maybe I just need to rest it out and not force myself to do all of these activities in a rush.

Days and weeks flew by, and I haven’t done anything from what I originally planned to do. I was (and still am) utterly unproductive. It is very unusual for me to be at this state, and that’s when I was hit with the realization that these indeed are not normal times. It is challenging to be in a good and healthy state of mind, more so to have energy to do things that you used to enjoy.

As I went through the gospel today, I was reminded of Jesus’ suffering – how He was spat on, thrown rocks at and ultimately suffered on the cross. He experienced the worst kind of distress compared to where we all are now. But in the end, God rewarded Jesus greatly with a seat beside Him in heaven. And what’s so humbling about this too is that He also went back to His apostles to show that He is indeed alive again!

When He said “You are witnesses of these things”, He was not just stating a fact. It was an assurance, a message of hope, that after so many hardships, there is salvation. So, wherever you are right now as you read this, hold on to your faith. Keep praying, help in the best way you can and survive together with whoever you are with right now. This will all be over soon, and Jesus will make sure that we will be witnesses of that good news.

Reflection Song

Resurrecting by Elevation Worship

Author

wc-christy

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Photo from Freepik

CJ Goronio, Little Whispers

Stand Up and Go

First Reading
Wisdom 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
Psalm 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
Luke 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.”


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“Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.” (Luke 17:19)

REFLECTION
Do you ever have those days where you wake up with no energy to deal with anything, and have the greatest desire to just stay in bed? Some people call it their laziness acting up; for me, those are the kind of days (or moments) that I call purposeful.

Lately, I have been feeling bad at the work that I do. I am currently consumed with so much insecurity that I cannot even find the energy to function the most basic thought processes of my job. I was always making a mistake and I have this thought in my head that everyone is judging me for it. I was not concentrating anymore to the learning path I am taking, rather I was more focused on thinking that I was a failure and they did not need someone like me.

So, I ended up having that day where I just want to lay in bed and do nothing because I feel so bad about myself. I found myself thinking about the many things I have done in work, and not only did I make mistakes – I also had my small wins. Little achievements that help move a project further, things that I did to help my workmate get through her heavy load, small talks in the pantry that helped me create new friends inside our division. These were blessings that I never paid so much attention to, but it actually outdo the list of mistakes in my head. I also remembered the things I gave up to have this job, to be on this kind of learning pathway, one that I said I want to grow at.

I forgot that there was a purpose to why I asked for this and why it was given to me.

My dear friends, every day, Jesus is asking us to ‘Stand up and go’. But this message is nothing if we don’t understand the purpose of why He is asking this. It is okay to have a time out and reflect on what He has planned out for us – for us to find the common ground with He has planned out with us and where we are right now.

Take your time. He is willing to wait. When you are ready again, stand up and go.

Reflection Song

The Stand by Hillsong UNITED

Author

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CJ Goronio, Little Whispers

34 Hours

First Reading
Romans 2:1-11

You, O man, are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgment.
For by the standard by which you judge another you condemn yourself,
since you, the judge, do the very same things.
We know that the judgment of God on those who do such things is true.
Do you suppose, then, you who judge those who engage in such things
and yet do them yourself,
that you will escape the judgment of God?
Or do you hold his priceless kindness, forbearance, and patience
in low esteem, unaware that the kindness of God
would lead you to repentance?
By your stubbornness and impenitent heart,
you are storing up wrath for yourself
for the day of wrath and revelation
of the just judgment of God,
who will repay everyone according to his works,
eternal life to those who seek glory, honor, and immortality
through perseverance in good works,
but wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth
and obey wickedness.
Yes, affliction and distress will come upon everyone
who does evil, Jew first and then Greek.
But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone
who does good, Jew first and then Greek.
There is no partiality with God.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 62:2-3, 6-7, 9
R.(13b) Lord, you give back to everyone according to his works.

Only in God is my soul at rest;
from him comes my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold; I shall not be disturbed at all.
R. Lord, you give back to everyone according to his works.
Only in God be at rest, my soul,
for from him comes my hope.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold; I shall not be disturbed.
R. Lord, you give back to everyone according to his works.
Trust in him at all times, O my people!
Pour out your hearts before him;
God is our refuge!
R. Lord, you give back to everyone according to his works.

Gospel
Luke 11:42-46

The Lord said:
“Woe to you Pharisees!
You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb,
but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God.
These you should have done, without overlooking the others.
Woe to you Pharisees!
You love the seat of honor in synagogues
and greetings in marketplaces.
Woe to you!
You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk.”

Then one of the scholars of the law said to him in reply,
“Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too.”
And he said, “Woe also to you scholars of the law!
You impose on people burdens hard to carry,
but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.”


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“He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be disturbed.” (Psalm 62:6-7)

REFLECTION
One of the things that I battle with myself is image. I am very uncomfortable when people point out my physical imperfections and things that I do or say that may not be acceptable for then.

During my senior year in college, one that involved thesis and groupmates that are of different personalities from mine, that personal battle resurfaced. While busy finishing our research, I would often hear my groupmates talk behind my back — “Suot na naman niya yung top niya last week”, “Nag aya siya sa house nila. Eh ‘di ba maliit dun!”, “Sa’n ba tayo kakain na pwede budget niya?” and many more. 

Admittedly, this has poisoned my thinking. Not only did I felt bad about what they said, I also got disturbed by how they see me as a person. I was offended, mad, and confused as to why these things matter to them. It made me also think if how many others have or are still being objectified by these people. 

But despite that, I faced them head on and kept on a professional attitude. I fought through the days where I just want to walk out and put them in their place. And in those moments of weakness, I prayed harder than usual. I asked for understanding and healing. I prayed for kindness to take over. I repeatedly asked acceptance of myself — that I am a better person than what they describe me to be.

Eventually, I finished our thesis without any ugly confrontations that could have affected our work. I only focused on finishing my studies, graduating, and doing it all in all for my family, especially my parents. And through the help of Jesus, I was able to walk past that season in my life victoriously. 

My dear readers, Jesus’ message for us today asks us to continue the work of His hands, despite difficult circumstances where you might be judged or condemned by it. Remember that He does not forget to reward those who stand by that struggle. Be kind, understanding, loving and faithful to your neighbors; but do not forget to love yourself too. Love what you do, embrace the person that you are embodying as you do His missions. Walk past judgments, gossip and hearsay. Jesus loved you first, and it is due time that you do the same to yourself.

Reflection Song

Glimmer in the Dust by Hillsong UNITED

Author

wc-cj

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CJ Goronio, Little Whispers

Year On Year

First Reading
Baruch 4:5-12, 27-29

Fear not, my people!
Remember, Israel,
You were sold to the nations
not for your destruction;
It was because you angered God
that you were handed over to your foes.
For you provoked your Maker
with sacrifices to demons, to no-gods;
You forsook the Eternal God who nourished you,
and you grieved Jerusalem who fostered you.
She indeed saw coming upon you
the anger of God; and she said:

“Hear, you neighbors of Zion!
God has brought great mourning upon me,
For I have seen the captivity
that the Eternal God has brought
upon my sons and daughters.
With joy I fostered them;
but with mourning and lament I let them go.
Let no one gloat over me, a widow,
bereft of many:
For the sins of my children I am left desolate,
because they turned from the law of God.

Fear not, my children; call out to God!
He who brought this upon you will remember you.
As your hearts have been disposed to stray from God,
turn now ten times the more to seek him;
For he who has brought disaster upon you
will, in saving you, bring you back enduring joy.”

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 69:33-35, 36-37
R.(34) The Lord listens to the poor.

“See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.
Let the heavens and the earth praise him,
the seas and whatever moves in them!”
R. The Lord listens to the poor.
For God will save Zion
and rebuild the cities of Judah.
They shall dwell in the land and own it,
and the descendants of his servants shall inherit it,
and those who love his name shall inhabit it.
R. The Lord listens to the poor.

Gospel
Luke 10:17-24

The seventy-two disciples returned rejoicing and said to Jesus,
“Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.”
Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky.
Behold, I have given you the power
‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions
and upon the full force of the enemy
and nothing will harm you.
Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you,
but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

At that very moment he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said,
“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows who the Son is except the Father,
and who the Father is except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

Turning to the disciples in private he said,
“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.
For I say to you,
many prophets and kings desired to see what you see,
but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”


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“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.” (Luke 10:23-24)

REFLECTION
Have you noticed how different your prayers change, year on year as you get older?

I remember when I was around 10 years old, I was crying while in prayer because I feel bad towards my mom. She wouldn’t let me buy ice cream after a trip at the supermarket, so I prayed to Jesus that she’d allow me to get one on the next. As young as I was, my prayers were centered about my sake; puro tungkol sa akin (My prayers were all about me). But that was because my view in life was very limited before.

Jump to when I was 16, I was praying for a good future because I was already entering college. I prayed to get in a well-recognized school, because I believe this is how I can give tribute to the hard work of my parents for sustaining me. My prayers involved the closest people to my heart; I had no other care in the world but to just focus on my family.

Now, I am 23 and praying for a community – the BLD Youth Ministry. I am already on my 7th year of service and currently working with different ministries so we can get to the vision we want for the youth. I realized that I am finally praying for something that has Jesus in the center of it; I am now praying with a purpose.

My dear friends, today’s readings remind us that our prayers and actions are very powerful. Jesus asks us to be of childlike nature for when we finally receive the blessings that come with it, we must allow it to serve the purpose it was given for. And when we see the fruits of our labor as we work on His mission, we must receive it with humility in our hearts. Leave no room for individual honor, for humility should always be our guiding light, just like what Jesus taught us.

Reflection Song

See A Victory by Elevation Worship

Author

68264509_458642051650339_5095432230835060736_n

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CJ Goronio, Little Whispers

Delayed Gratification

First Reading
Numbers 21:4B-9
With their patience worn out by the journey,
the people complained against God and Moses,
“Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert,
where there is no food or water?
We are disgusted with this wretched food!”

In punishment the LORD sent among the people saraph serpents,
which bit the people so that many of them died.
Then the people came to Moses and said,
“We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you.
Pray the LORD to take the serpents from us.”
So Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses,
“Make a saraph and mount it on a pole,
and if any who have been bitten look at it, they will live.”
Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole,
and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent
looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 78:1BC-2, 34-35, 36-37, 38
R. Do not forget the works of the Lord!
Hearken, my people, to my teaching;
incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable,
I will utter mysteries from of old.
R. Do not forget the works of the Lord!
While he slew them they sought him
and inquired after God again,
Remembering that God was their rock
and the Most High God, their redeemer.
R. Do not forget the works of the Lord!
But they flattered him with their mouths
and lied to him with their tongues,
Though their hearts were not steadfast toward him,
nor were they faithful to his covenant.
But he, being merciful, forgave their sin
and destroyed them not;
Often he turned back his anger
and let none of his wrath be roused.
R. Do not forget the works of the Lord!

Second Reading
Philippians 2:6-11

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

Gospel
John 3:13-17

Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“No one has gone up to heaven
except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man.
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.


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“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3: 17)

REFLECTION
Last May, I finally found the courage to file my resignation in the first company that I worked for. I realized that it was time to pursue the dreams I have been delaying — working in a career in marketing, studying in graduate school and saving enough to get a place of my own. I was sure of my decision, but it was still hard to leave a job I learned to love. It did not help that I was leaving behind workmates who were like family. It was a heavy cross to bear.

I was jobless for a while after that. I slept in most days; I did not have to wake up early and I did not have anything to do. However, not every day was a happy day. After every interview I go to, I found myself going to the church, sitting there and just crying my heart out. I was confused, and started to lose hope. I even questioned myself.

“Was it even worth it to let go of everything just for my dreams? Did I deserve this? Am I not good enough?”

Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. In the Gospel, God our Father gave His only Son to save us from our sins. Jesus was scared, and doubted Himself if He was worthy of the mission given to Him, and confused as to why He had to bear a cross all for this. He did not back out, though. Instead, He carried the cross with all His strength. In His final breath, He declared that “it is done.”

Just this August, I finally got accepted to my dream position with a company that recognizes my potential. I also passed to a graduate program that will help me further in my track. And now, I am working to save up for a place of my own.

Friends, we all have a cross to bear and it is not something that we can just drop. But remember, that in those moments where we feel like that ‘cross’ is burying our feet to the ground, Jesus is beside us carrying it too. There will be days where it is heavier than usual, or maybe you feel like you are not getting to where you want to be because of it. Find it in your heart to believe that Jesus is working it out with you. Trust His timing, strength, and love.

It might take a while for your cross to get light, but hey, that is why we call it delayed gratification.

Reflection Song

Trust in You by Lauren Daigle

Author

wc-cj

Click on the bubble to find out more about Cj!

Photo by: Cj Goronio

CJ Goronio, Little Whispers

The Influencer

First Reading
Deuteronomy 10:12-22
Moses said to the people:
“And now, Israel, what does the Lord, your God, ask of you
but to fear the Lord, your God, and follow his ways exactly,
to love and serve the Lord, your God,
with all your heart and all your soul,
to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord
which I enjoin on you today for your own good?
Think! The heavens, even the highest heavens,
belong to the Lord, your God,
as well as the earth and everything on it.
Yet in his love for your fathers the LORD was so attached to them
as to choose you, their descendants,
in preference to all other peoples, as indeed he has now done.
Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and be no longer stiff-necked.
For the Lord, your God, is the God of gods,
the Lord of Lords, the great God, mighty and awesome,
who has no favorites, accepts no bribes;
who executes justice for the orphan and the widow,
and befriends the alien, feeding and clothing him.
So you too must befriend the alien,
for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.
The Lord, your God, shall you fear, and him shall you serve;
hold fast to him and swear by his name.
He is your glory, he, your God,
who has done for you those great and terrible things
which your own eyes have seen.
Your ancestors went down to Egypt seventy strong,
and now the Lord, your God,
has made you as numerous as the stars of the sky.”

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20
R. (12a) Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
Glorify the Lord, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion.
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He has granted peace in your borders;
with the best of wheat he fills you.
He sends forth his command to the earth;
swiftly runs his word!
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He has proclaimed his word to Jacob,
his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.
He has not done thus for any other nation;
his ordinances he has not made known to them. Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

Gospel
Matthew 17:22-27
As Jesus and his disciples were gathering in Galilee,
Jesus said to them,
“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men,
and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.”
And they were overwhelmed with grief.

When they came to Capernaum,
the collectors of the temple tax approached Peter and said,
“Does not your teacher pay the temple tax?”
“Yes,” he said.
When he came into the house, before he had time to speak,
Jesus asked him, “What is your opinion, Simon?
From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax?
From their subjects or from foreigners?”
When he said, “From foreigners,” Jesus said to him,
“Then the subjects are exempt.
But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook,
and take the first fish that comes up.
Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax.
Give that to them for me and for you.”


“.. now the Lord, your God, has made you as numerous as the stars of the sky.” (Deuteronomy 10:22)

Mobile

REFLECTION
I grew up in a time when the concept of social media was just starting. I had accounts from the ones you use today like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, but I was also active in those that are non-existent already like Plurk, Multiply and Friendster. You can only imagine the time I spent in these platforms–customizing backgrounds, putting music, and even changing the cursor for when you visit my profile. I put in the effort simply because I wanted to do the same things that my friends were doing. They were my “influencers” back then.

Eventually, my set of influencers changed. I now follow people who I look up to for recommendations on things, like clothes and food. There was also a person who does boxing, and actually inspired me to do the same. Being an influencer now bears a deeper meaning, because people who hold this prestige can actually change our mindset; from lifestyle decisions up to how we form opinions on things.

And this, my friends, is the message of today’s readings. It gives us an image that resembles greatly how Jesus lived His life – kind, humble, and accepting of differences. But this is given to us with a purpose. When we become Jesus-like to our neighbors, we become agents of His word and love. We give others the chance to be like Him, and believe that they can help others to do the same. Then, like stars in the sky (as promised by God our Father), the goodness we show multiply with the people we influence. Today, we are being tapped as modern-day Jesus-influencers, so let us bear this title well!

Reflection Song

Author

wc-cj

Click on the bubble to find out more about Cj!