Elianah Habitan, Little Whispers

Hesitations

First Reading
Acts 1:15-17, 20-26
Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers and sisters
(there was a group of about one hundred and twenty persons
in the one place).
He said, “My brothers and sisters,
the Scripture had to be fulfilled
which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand
through the mouth of David, concerning Judas,
who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus.
Judas was numbered among us
and was allotted a share in this ministry.
For it is written in the Book of Psalms:

Let his encampment become desolate,
and may no one dwell in it.

and:
May another take his office.

Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men
who accompanied us the whole time
the Lord Jesus came and went among us,
beginning from the baptism of John
until the day on which he was taken up from us,
become with us a witness to his resurrection.”
So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas,
who was also known as Justus, and Matthias.
Then they prayed,
“You, Lord, who know the hearts of all,
show which one of these two you have chosen
to take the place in this apostolic ministry
from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.”
Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias,
and he was counted with the Eleven Apostles.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 113:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8
R.    (8)  The Lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Praise, you servants of the LORD,
praise the name of the LORD.
Blessed be the name of the LORD
both now and forever.
R.    The Lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
From the rising to the setting of the sun
is the name of the LORD to be praised.
High above all nations is the LORD;
above the heavens is his glory.
R.    The Lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Who is like the LORD, our God, who is enthroned on high
and looks upon the heavens and the earth below?
R.    The Lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
He raises up the lowly from the dust;
from the dunghill he lifts up the poor
To seat them with princes,
with the princes of his own people.
R.    The Lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Gospel
John 15:9-17
Jesus said to his disciples:
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.

“I have told you this so that my joy might be in you
and your joy might be complete.
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you:  love one another.”


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“It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.” (John 15:16)

REFLECTION
To be quite honest, there are times when I am asked to pray in front of my whole family and I would dread it. Even writing my own article for Little Whisperers is quite scary to me. However, it’s not because of something despicable. It’s mostly due to my lack of confidence. 

Seeing all these wonderfully written words below my own and hearing my dad and Kuya pray effortlessly without any practice or copy on hand sometimes messes my mind. How could I, an adequate teenager with only a few stories to tell, possibly produce something so earnest and bless others with it?

After reading the gospel for today, I had a different narrative in mind. I tried writing about it for hours but it wasn’t coming out the way I wanted it to be. Like a flash, doubt instantly creeped within me. I became aware that I was trying so hard to make it seem smart enough to mask my insecurities. 

But God had a plan for me. He knew of my doubts and wanted to wash it all away. It was just quick but a very meaningful moment. It was abrupt yet everything that I needed so I can pour out all my uncertainties. 

He wanted me to know that a simple confession of my insecurity is a chance for me to create something that can bless others. Believe me, I still had a hard time writing this, but I knew that whatever happens, everything would fall into place. After all, it was Him who gave me this opportunity to be His voice. 

So, I don’t know if anybody needs this, but if you are ever overthinking about your skills and talents, worrying about the path you chose, or questioning about your current disposition, remember that God is always ahead of us. He has already planned out everything, all we need to do is to keep on praying and trust in His Mighty Power.

Prayer
Lord, thank You for gracing me a wonderful life, giving me bountiful blessings, and letting me enjoy the fruits of Your labor. May I never forget that in times of qualms and difficulties, You are always behind me, pushing and proving that I am more than my apprehensions and limitations. May You give me strength and courage as I continuously strive to be the person You want me to be. Amen.

Author

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Elianah Habitan, Little Whispers

An Equation of Kindness

 

First Reading
Colossians 3:12-17

Brothers and sisters:
Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,
heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
bearing with one another and forgiving one another,
if one has a grievance against another;
as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.
And over all these put on love,
that is, the bond of perfection.
And let the peace of Christ control your hearts,
the peace into which you were also called in one Body.
And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,
as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another,
singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs
with gratitude in your hearts to God.
And whatever you do, in word or in deed,
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 150:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6
R.(6) Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!

Praise the LORD in his sanctuary,
praise him in the firmament of his strength.
Praise him for his mighty deeds,
praise him for his sovereign majesty.
R. Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
Praise him with the blast of the trumpet,
praise him with lyre and harp,
Praise him with timbrel and dance,
praise him with strings and pipe.
R. Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
Praise him with sounding cymbals,
praise him with clanging cymbals.
Let everything that has breath
praise the LORD! Alleluia.
R. Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!

Gospel
Luke 6:27-38

Jesus said to his disciples:
“To you who hear I say, love your enemies,
do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you,
pray for those who mistreat you.
To the person who strikes you on one cheek,
offer the other one as well,
and from the person who takes your cloak,
do not withhold even your tunic.
Give to everyone who asks of you,
and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
For if you love those who love you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners love those who love them.
And if you do good to those who do good to you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners do the same.
If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners lend to sinners,
and get back the same amount.
But rather, love your enemies and do good to them,
and lend expecting nothing back;
then your reward will be great
and you will be children of the Most High,
for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful.

“Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give and gifts will be given to you;
a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,
will be poured into your lap.
For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you.”


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“And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,…” (Colossians 3: 17)

REFLECTION
Growing up, I was told that to be a good kid in the His eyes, I must always be kind to others. I never had a problem with it at the start. Perhaps, it is due to being raised up in a community wherein everyone exercised it. As a result, I blindly followed an equation I deemed was universal:

kindness ⇌ kindness

Instead of simply incorporating benevolence in my actions, I embedded in them the hopes of having them reciprocated. I looked at kindness as if it were a series of transactions. I give them something good, they pay it back with something good as well. Though flawed, the equation made me feel like I was achieving my goal of being a good kid and a servant of the Lord.

It was a shock when I learned that not all share the same values. It happened when I began to explore outside of my community. I started going to a school where all opinions mattered and moral beliefs diverged. As a sheltered kid, I didn’t understand how some people were ignoring my attempts at being nice. Rather than receiving gratitude, I was left with none at all. It shattered
my perception. It became even more disheartening when I realized that I wasn’t able to be who Jesus wanted me to become.

And so, I got tired, stopped trying, and shied away from initiating goodwill to those who didn’t care.

Funny enough, after being in the student council, I learned that kindness wasn’t about exchanging, it was about sharing. All along it was:

kindness → endless possibilities

God has invested plenty of love within us that we are bound to share them around. He wanted us to feel loved, but more importantly, He wanted us to be like Him – willing to give love ceaselessly. Let us not be discouraged that when we offer and sacrifice ourselves to others, we would lose so much. Because, as we do something wholesome, pure and full of passion to serve Him and His children, we step closer in fulfilling His plan: a world full of love and compassion.

Reflection Song

More Like Jesus by Passion ft. Kristian Stanfill

Author

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Photo by: Antoine Dautry (@antoine1003 at unsplash.com)