Eca Flores, Little Whispers

Instrument of God

First Reading
Zechariah 8:1–8

This word of the LORD of hosts came:

Thus says the LORD of hosts:

I am intensely jealous for Zion,
stirred to jealous wrath for her.
Thus says the LORD:
I will return to Zion,
and I will dwell within Jerusalem;
Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city,
and the mountain of the LORD of hosts,
the holy mountain.

Thus says the LORD of hosts: Old men and old women,
each with staff in hand because of old age,
shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem.
The city shall be filled with boys and girls playing in its streets.
Thus says the LORD of hosts:
Even if this should seem impossible
in the eyes of the remnant of this people,
shall it in those days be impossible in my eyes also,
says the LORD of hosts?
Thus says the LORD of hosts:
Lo, I will rescue my people from the land of the rising sun,
and from the land of the setting sun.
I will bring them back to dwell within Jerusalem.
They shall be my people, and I will be their God,
with faithfulness and justice.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 102:16–18, 19–21, 2 and 22–23
R. The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.

The nations shall revere your name, O LORD,
and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the LORD has rebuilt Zion
and appeared in his glory;
When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute,
and not despised their prayer.
R. The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.
Let this be written for the generation to come,
and let his future creatures praise the LORD:
“The LORD looked down from his holy height,
from heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
to release those doomed to die.”
R. The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.
The children of your servants shall abide,
and their posterity shall continue in your presence.
That the name of the LORD may be declared in Zion;
and his praise, in Jerusalem,
When the peoples gather together,
and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.
R./ The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.

Gospel Reading
Luke 9:46-50

An argument arose among the disciples
about which of them was the greatest.
Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child
and placed it by his side and said to them,
“Whoever receives this child in my name receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
For the one who is least among all of you
is the one who is the greatest.”

Then John said in reply,
“Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name
and we tried to prevent him
because he does not follow in our company.”
Jesus said to him,
“Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”


kate-kalvach-YUyueCkd7Tk-unsplash.jpg
“Lo, I will rescue my people from the land of the rising sun, and from the land of the setting sun. I will bring them back to dwell within Jerusalem. They shall be my people, and I will be their God, with faithfulness and justice.” (Zechariah 8:8)

REFLECTION
Last February 2019, I was invited to be one of the Shepherds for Youth Life in the Spirit Seminar #38. As a Shepherd, I had to guide the people who would be attending the seminar. It meant that I had to be spiritually mature enough to lead the people closer to Him.

When I first received the message about it, I avoided opening the text message because I was afraid of committing to something I felt I was not ready yet. Not because I can’t commit my time in serving the Lord but because I am doubting myself if I am good enough to be considered as Shepherd. I had all the time in the world to be a Shepherd, but I doubted my ability to be a good enough Shepherd. There was a lot of fear in my heart; I felt unworthy and useless.

However, I was not turning my back on Him. I prayed to Him and asked for His guidance. It took me three weeks to discern, and I finally did commit myself as His Shepherd. I realized after accepting the role that He didn’t choose me because of my skills, but He chose me because He wanted me to be an instrument of His love.

Today, we are reminded that when we serve others, we are serving God’s purpose in their lives–doing so reduces our focus on ourselves and builds the Kingdom of God. When we are called to serve Him, it is only right to commit ourselves in giving back to God, to what He has already given and done for us. Always be reminded that He is within us when He uses us as His instrument of love.
Prayer
Lord Jesus, continue to free us from doing anything for the approval of people, or out of fear of people, or to gain power over people. Forgive us when we work for appreciation, recognition or congratulation. We could never earn, merit or deserve what you alone can give us. We’ll receive an inheritance only because of your work, not ours.

Author

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Photo by: Kate Kalvach (@katekalvach at unsplash.com)

Eca Flores, Little Whispers

Aabot Pa Kaya?

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
DANIEL 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.”


workhard

“…But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” (Luke 21:28)

REFLECTION
Last year, I was chosen to be one of the coordinators of Youth Encounter 25 and I was assigned to the Study committee. I was excited & nervous at the same time because I know I’ll mess things up but then I still have to try.

Everything went fine from our YE Grand Reunion, to our meetings, to our Christmas Party & so on. But when we were already half way through being coordinators of our own committees, my schedule changed because of my new work. I rarely attended Prayer Meetings & I didn’t have time to respond to our group chats. In order not to be a burden to our Shepherd & co-coordinators I decided to talk to them & finally resign from my position but they didn’t give up on me. They still included me in the group chats & they still updated me for the upcoming YE Weekend.

The YE Weekend proper came, Saturday night was when everything came crashing down. As we were, already close to finishing the YE Class Directory, our 1st printer ran out of ink and the others stopped working. We haven’t printed any photos and labels yet. I just said to myself, “Sabi na nga ba papalpak ka na naman.” (I knew it, everything will fail.)

While everyone was thinking of ways to print the materials, my only response to them was “baka mamaya…(insert all the negative answer)”. (Maybe it would just not work.)

On Sunday morning, we went to the mall to have everything printed. By 11:30AM, we have already returned, but we were running out of time. Everything should be done by 12:30nn, and at that moment, I saw everyone’s face turn dark. The situation was hopeless. But we didn’t give up, a little bit of teamwork and affirming words pushed us to our limits. It was truly a miracle that we were able to finish everything before 12:30nn.

Friends, it is truly hard to stay positive in a very difficult situation but through determination and coupled with prayers, nothing is impossible. We shall not be afraid for He is always with us. He will never put us in a situation that we cannot go through.

Reflection Song

Nothing Is Impossible by Planetshakers

Author

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