Jon Hernandez, Little Whispers

Square One

First Reading
Isaiah 66:18-21

Thus says the LORD:
I know their works and their thoughts,
and I come to gather nations of every language;
they shall come and see my glory.
I will set a sign among them;
from them I will send fugitives to the nations:
to Tarshish, Put and Lud, Mosoch, Tubal and Javan,
to the distant coastlands
that have never heard of my fame, or seen my glory;
and they shall proclaim my glory among the nations.
They shall bring all your brothers and sisters from all the nations
as an offering to the LORD,
on horses and in chariots, in carts, upon mules and dromedaries,
to Jerusalem, my holy mountain, says the LORD,
just as the Israelites bring their offering
to the house of the LORD in clean vessels.
Some of these I will take as priests and Levites, says the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 117:1, 2
R.(Mk 16:15) Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Praise the LORD all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
or:
R. Alleluia.

For steadfast is his kindness toward us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Second Reading
Hebrews 12:5-7, 11-13

Brothers and sisters,
You have forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as children:
“My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord
or lose heart when reproved by him;
for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines;
he scourges every son he acknowledges.”
Endure your trials as “discipline”;
God treats you as sons.
For what “son” is there whom his father does not discipline?
At the time,
all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain,
yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness
to those who are trained by it.

So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees.
Make straight paths for your feet,
that what is lame may not be disjointed but healed.

Gospel
Luke 13:22-30

Jesus passed through towns and villages,
teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.
Someone asked him,
“Lord, will only a few people be saved?”
He answered them,
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter
but will not be strong enough.
After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door,
then will you stand outside knocking and saying,
‘Lord, open the door for us.’
He will say to you in reply,
‘I do not know where you are from.
And you will say,
‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’
Then he will say to you,
‘I do not know where you are from.
Depart from me, all you evildoers!’
And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth
when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
and all the prophets in the kingdom of God
and you yourselves cast out.
And people will come from the east and the west
and from the north and the south
and will recline at table in the kingdom of God.
For behold, some are last who will be first,
and some are first who will be last.”


photo-1521547418549-6a31aad7c177

“Endure your trials as “discipline”; God treats you as sons. For what “son” is there whom his father does not discipline?” (Hebrews 12:7)

REFLECTION
In October 2010, I became part of the Praise Ministry of BLD Youth Manila. One of our mentors was Kuya Carlof. Honestly, I was scared of him, but I learned a lot from him. He challenged me to keep on learning and improving. It wasn’t always verbal, but my respect for (and also fear of) him made me want to step up to his challenge more.

For months, our mentors taught and disciplined us about the key to service – excellence. A year later, we grew into the role as the main instrumentalists. I was so proud of how we all improved.

That was the problem, though. I became too proud. I became complacent.

In Summer 2013, when we were preparing for the Youth Life in the Spirit Seminar, we invited Kuya Carlof to help us with rehearsals. It had been months since I last saw him, so I was excited for him to see me play.

I received a mouthful of feedback from him on that day, even more than when I was in training. He made me realize that I stopped challenging myself. He pointed out to me that I was stuck doing the same things over and over again. He challenged me again to learn and improve; I was back in square one.

Today, I continue to love serving God. But every time I feel like my pride is catching up to me again, or every time I make a mistake, I look back at the passion and commitment Kuya Carlof showed through that humbling experience, and I would challenge myself again to do and become better; it reminds me to keep learning.

Just as mentors don’t like to see their mentees fail, God, Our Father, does not like to see us in pain. Still, they let us go through it anyway because the rewards waiting for us on the other side is worth it. It doesn’t matter how many times we go back to square one. God loves us so much that He will be the first back at square one with us, inviting us to get up and keep fighting.

Prayer
Father, thank You for Your love. Thank You for Your grace and thank You for Your mercy. Open my eyes to see You in every trial. Humble my heart to trust in Your ways. Amen.

Author

wc-jon

Click on the bubble to find out more about Jon!

Photo by: Elizeu Dias (@elishavision at unsplash.com)

Jon Hernandez, Little Whispers

College

First Reading
NM 11:25-29

The LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to Moses.
Taking some of the spirit that was on Moses,
the LORD bestowed it on the seventy elders;
and as the spirit came to rest on them, they prophesied.

Now two men, one named Eldad and the other Medad,
were not in the gathering but had been left in the camp.
They too had been on the list, but had not gone out to the tent;
yet the spirit came to rest on them also,
and they prophesied in the camp.
So, when a young man quickly told Moses,
“Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp, ”
Joshua, son of Nun, who from his youth had been Moses’aide, said,
“Moses, my lord, stop them.”
But Moses answered him,
“Are you jealous for my sake?
Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets!
Would that the LORD might bestow his spirit on them all!”

Responsorial Psalm
PS 19:8, 10, 12-13, 14
R. (9a) The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.

The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
the decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
the ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
Though your servant is careful of them,
very diligent in keeping them,
Yet who can detect failings?
Cleanse me from my unknown faults!
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
From wanton sin especially, restrain your servant;
let it not rule over me.
Then shall I be blameless and innocent
of serious sin.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.

Second Reading
JAS 5:1-6

Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries.
Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten,
your gold and silver have corroded,
and that corrosion will be a testimony against you;
it will devour your flesh like a fire.
You have stored up treasure for the last days.
Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers
who harvested your fields are crying aloud;
and the cries of the harvesters
have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.
You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure;
you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter.
You have condemned;
you have murdered the righteous one;
he offers you no resistance.

Gospel
MK 9:38-43, 45, 47-48

At that time, John said to Jesus,
“Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name,
and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.”
Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him.
There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name
who can at the same time speak ill of me.
For whoever is not against us is for us.
Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink
because you belong to Christ,
amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,
it would be better for him if a great millstone
were put around his neck
and he were thrown into the sea.
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.
It is better for you to enter into life maimed
than with two hands to go into Gehenna,
into the unquenchable fire.
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off.
It is better for you to enter into life crippled
than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.
Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye
than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna,
where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'”


college

“If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off…” (Mark 9:43)

REFLECTION
Let me start this by letting those who aren’t in college yet know that this isn’t only for college students and graduates. This will hopefully prepare you for what’s to come.

College is such a fun time in life. It’s that time where you decide who you’re going to be, and meet the people you’re going to be with, FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. You start plotting out your career and life path. You meet the people that will be with you during this time that you’re putting your life together; people that will not just be your friends but will also be your colleagues.

This is particularly why I loved my college experience more than high school. Yes, people say that HS is the best years of your life because it’s the most fun and you start to enter the adventurous phase of being teenagers together with your friends. But it’s in College where you’re exploring and discovering life rather than just playing around, and you decide what you want to do, what you want to say, what you want to believe in. This is when you start making who you are.

This is the time when you start taking care of yourself rather than just trusting in your parents and teachers to serve you everything you need. You start shedding away from your fragile and dependent kid skin, and start growing into your new strong and independent adult skin.

In today’s Gospel, we are reminded to remove from our lives whatever causes us to sin. Cut or pluck off your hands, feet, or eyes, if they cause you to sin. It is better to live a pure life without these than to live with them but used in ungodly ways.

Friends, we are reminded to check up on ourselves. It may be time to let go of those unnecessary habits, those childish desires, those mediocre dreams, those selfish intents, and start building yourself to be the best you can be; to be what God intended you to be. It is time to create healthy habits, have a childlike desire for impossible dreams, and become selfless.

Maybe you’re in “High School” right now, stuck and struggling. Today, God is telling you to go to “College,” and become new and improved. Remove the unnecessary, and become extraordinary.

Prayer
Jesus, today, I humble myself, I open my heart, and I accept change in my life. Give me the courage and grant me the strength to let go of the things that are holding me back from reaching my full potential. Make me the person you meant me to be. Amen.

Author

Jon Hernandez

Jon Hernandez, Little Whispers

Round Two

First Reading
2 Cor 4:7-15

Brothers and sisters:
We hold this treasure in earthen vessels,
that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.
We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained;
perplexed, but not driven to despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned;
struck down, but not destroyed;
always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.
For we who live are constantly being given up to death
for the sake of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

So death is at work in us, but life in you.
Since, then, we have the same spirit of faith,
according to what is written, I believed, therefore I spoke,
we too believe and therefore speak,
knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus
will raise us also with Jesus
and place us with you in his presence.
Everything indeed is for you,
so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people
may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 126:1BC-2AB, 2CD-3, 4-5, 6
R. (5) Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.

When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.
R. Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.
Then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad indeed.
R. Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those that sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.
R. Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.
Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.
R. Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.

Gospel
Mt 20:20-28

The mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons
and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something.
He said to her,
“What do you wish?”
She answered him,
“Command that these two sons of mine sit,
one at your right and the other at your left, in your Kingdom.”
Jesus said in reply,
“You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?”
They said to him, “We can.”
He replied,
“My chalice you will indeed drink,
but to sit at my right and at my left, this is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”
When the ten heard this,
they became indignant at the two brothers.
But Jesus summoned them and said,
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them,
and the great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.
Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served
but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

______________________________________________________________________________

manny

REFLECTION

“But we hold this treasure in pots of earthenware, so that the immensity of the power is God’s and not our own. We are subjected to every kind of hardship, but never distressed; we see no way out but we never despair; we are pursued but never cut off; knocked down, but still have some life in us” – 2 Corinthians 4: 7-9

Every great athlete has a coach behind their greatness – Manny Pacquiao has Freddie Roach, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant had Phil Jackson, Muhammad Ali had Joe Martin – who taught them the ropes and would help them get up when they fall. Someone who would always give them back their strength whenever they think they can’t do it anymore.

In life, there are many problems that come to us, people who would bring us down, and trials that we would have to face. Sin, temptations, pain, brokenness, burdens, hardships – all these have brought us down at least one point in our lives, to an extent that we would feel like giving up.

But, friends, I have good news for all of you… JESUS HAS ALREADY WON THE FIGHT! He has won this fight before, He knows what you’re going through, and now He is your coach in this game called “life.”

Whatever life may have thrown at you in the past cannot keep you down. There is still a round two and God will be with you every step of the way. We may have been knocked down before, but we aren’t knocked out. God is there giving us His pep talk and cheering us on, all we must do is to listen and trust in His words, because He knows that you can do it. Jon Hernandez (jon.jremy@yahoo.com)

PRAYER

Dear Jesus, I thank You for giving me strength to get back on my feet whenever I fall down. I pray that may You give me the faith to trust in You more and more, and continue to give me strength to take on another day and be a testimony that with God’s grace, nothing can take me down. Amen.

REFLECTION QUESTION

What problems are knocking me down in my life today? How is God telling me that I shouldn’t give up and that I can do this? Am I trusting Him?

Photo Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk

Jon Hernandez, Little Whispers

Army of Love

First Reading
1 Kgs 19: 16, 19 – 21 

The LORD said to Elijah:
“You shall anoint Elisha, son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah,
as prophet to succeed you.”

Elijah set out and came upon Elisha, son of Shaphat,
as he was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen;
he was following the twelfth.
Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak over him.
Elisha left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said,
“Please, let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,
and I will follow you.”
Elijah answered, “Go back!
Have I done anything to you?”
Elisha left him, and taking the yoke of oxen, slaughtered them;
he used the plowing equipment for fuel to boil their flesh,
and gave it to his people to eat.
Then Elisha left and followed Elijah as his attendant.

Responsorial Psalm 
Ps 16: 1 – 2, 5, 7 – 11

R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;
I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.”
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
I bless the LORD who counsels me;
even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence
because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld,
nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.

Second Reading
Gal 5: 1, 13 – 18

Brothers and sisters:
For freedom Christ set us free;
so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.

For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters.
But do not use this freedom
as an opportunity for the flesh;
rather, serve one another through love.
For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement,
namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
But if you go on biting and devouring one another,
beware that you are not consumed by one another.

I say, then: live by the Spirit
and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh.
For the flesh has desires against the Spirit,
and the Spirit against the flesh;
these are opposed to each other,
so that you may not do what you want.
But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Gospel
Lk 9: 51 – 62

When the days for Jesus’ being taken up were fulfilled,
he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem,
and he sent messengers ahead of him.
On the way they entered a Samaritan village
to prepare for his reception there,
but they would not welcome him
because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.
When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,
“Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven
to consume them?”
Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.

As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him,
“I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus answered him,
“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”

And to another he said, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead.
But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
And another said, “I will follow you, Lord,
but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”
To him Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”

______________________________________________________________________________________

soldier-of-god

REFLECTION

“I keep Yahweh before me always, for with him at my right hand, nothing can shake me.” – Ps. 16:8

My Mom would always tell me that I’m the joy in her old age. I have a big age gap from my older brother, and my Mom didn’t expect to have a second child anymore in her age. So, whenever she has a problem she always comes into my room and longs to be comforted by me.

I have a lot of friends today, too, most are younger than me, and they would also aproach me asking for comfort and advice whenever they need help or need a friend. I feel happy whenever they would put their trust in me and it makes me even happier whenever I get to help them and to bless them.

However, everyone has problems; I am not an exception. There may be times that I, myself, am going through trials. Then, when there comes the time that I feel like I can’t carry my own burden anymore, I would always remember the victories God gave me despite the trials in my past. I would remember how God has always been there to comfort me. I would draw my strength from God and offer my own burdens to him and I would trust in him to get me out of these trials, and I would realize that God also sends people to be the friends that would comfort me when I needed it the most.

Truly God is the great comforter, a mighty counselor, and a true friend. Through His grace, I am inspired to continue blessing and being the instrument of love to others. I continue to be the Soldier of Love for the burdened people because I am equiped by The Great General. – Jon Hernandez (jon.jremy@yahoo.com)

 

PRAYER
Father, I thank You for being there for me whenever I am down. I know that You will never, and I will put all my trust in You. Use me to be Your extension; to also comfort those who are in need of Your love. Father, equip me. Amen

REFLECTION QUESTION
What are the instances that God was there to comfort me in times that I need Him the most? Am I ready to put my trust in The Great General and be His Soldier of Love?

Photo source: mobavatar.com

Jon Hernandez, Little Whispers

Pot Holes

First Reading
Acts 18:1-8

Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.
There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus,
who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla
because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome.
He went to visit them and, because he practiced the same trade,
stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade.
Every sabbath, he entered into discussions in the synagogue,
attempting to convince both Jews and Greeks.

When Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia,
Paul began to occupy himself totally with preaching the word,
testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus.
When they opposed him and reviled him,
he shook out his garments and said to them,
“Your blood be on your heads!
I am clear of responsibility.
From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
So he left there and went to a house
belonging to a man named Titus Justus, a worshiper of God;
his house was next to a synagogue.
Crispus, the synagogue official, came to believe in the Lord
along with his entire household, and many of the Corinthians
who heard believed and were baptized.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4

R. (see 2b) The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
or:
R. Alleluia.

The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
or:
R. Alleluia.

All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Gospel
Jn 16:16-20

Jesus said to his disciples:
“A little while and you will no longer see me,
and again a little while later and you will see me.”
So some of his disciples said to one another,
“What does this mean that he is saying to us,
‘A little while and you will not see me,
and again a little while and you will see me,’
and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?”
So they said, “What is this ‘little while’ of which he speaks?
We do not know what he means.”
Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them,
“Are you discussing with one another what I said,
‘A little while and you will not see me,
and again a little while and you will see me’?
Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices;
you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.”

__________________________________________________________________________________________

heartbeat

REFLECTION

“Truly, I say to you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy.”       -Jn 16:20

A lot of people say that once you’ve met God or seen Him in your life or become closer to Him, that’s when problems are even harder. I, myself, admit that I have experienced this.

Last year, as the Youth Life of the Spirit Seminar of our community was approaching and the summer-long preparation was on-going, I faced my own set of problems. This was the time I was still under medications for my swollen coronaries which I acquired 6 years ago. This led to my depression and eventually burned me out from serving God. I was a shepherd and a music minister, but my heart was burdened and dry.

However, as the YLSS weekend was just around the corner, I realized I had another lamb to meet. He never attended any prayer meeting or shepherding session, so I had to meet with him one-on-one. As I talked to him, I could feel the heaviness of burdens in his heart through his silence. I was blessed, however, that he was still able to open himself up to me on the same day. He shared about just of the some problems that he’s going through and I was already struck by it.

Even though, my lamb didn’t push through with the YLSS, I’m glad that I was able to meet him and I believe that God used him to bless me more. I realized that everyone goes through pot holes in their lives, but this can never stop a devout heart. Even cars can get out of any pot hole with the right push.

In the end, I push my problems aside and served God with a committed spirit and happy that lots of lambs, including my own, was very blessed and was struck by the grace of God during the weekend. I didn’t let any problems get in my way from serving God. Now, I am happy to declare that I am completely healed from my heart condition and still happily serving and worshipping God. – Jon Hernandez (jon.jremy@gmail.com)

PRAYER

Lord, may you guide us and take us out of any problems that we are going through now. I know that through you, we are victorious over anything. Amen.

REFLECTION QUESTION

Am I experiencing my own pot holes right now? Do I let these slight delays hinder me from my journey to serve God?

Photo source:

Jon Hernandez, Little Whispers

Mr. Clean

First Reading
Ex 12:1-8, 11-14

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt,
“This month shall stand at the head of your calendar;
you shall reckon it the first month of the year.
Tell the whole community of Israel:
On the tenth of this month every one of your families
must procure for itself a lamb, one apiece for each household.
If a family is too small for a whole lamb,
it shall join the nearest household in procuring one
and shall share in the lamb
in proportion to the number of persons who partake of it.
The lamb must be a year-old male and without blemish.
You may take it from either the sheep or the goats.
You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month,
and then, with the whole assembly of Israel present,
it shall be slaughtered during the evening twilight.
They shall take some of its blood
and apply it to the two doorposts and the lintel
of every house in which they partake of the lamb.
That same night they shall eat its roasted flesh
with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

“This is how you are to eat it:
with your loins girt, sandals on your feet and your staff in hand,
you shall eat like those who are in flight.
It is the Passover of the LORD.
For on this same night I will go through Egypt,
striking down every firstborn of the land, both man and beast,
and executing judgment on all the gods of Egypt—I, the LORD!
But the blood will mark the houses where you are.
Seeing the blood, I will pass over you;
thus, when I strike the land of Egypt,
no destructive blow will come upon you.

“This day shall be a memorial feast for you,
which all your generations shall celebrate
with pilgrimage to the LORD, as a perpetual institution.”

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 116:12-13, 15-16BC, 17-18

R. (cf. 1 Cor 10:16) Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.
How shall I make a return to the LORD
for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
R. Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
is the death of his faithful ones.
I am your servant, the son of your handmaid;
you have loosed my bonds.
R. Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.
To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people.
R. Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.

Second Reading
1 Cor 11:23-26

Brothers and sisters:
I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you,
that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over,
took bread, and, after he had given thanks,
broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying,
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup,
you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

Gospel
Jn 13:1-15

Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come
to pass from this world to the Father.
He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.
The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over.
So, during supper,
fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power
and that he had come from God and was returning to God,
he rose from supper and took off his outer garments.
He took a towel and tied it around his waist.
Then he poured water into a basin
and began to wash the disciples’ feet
and dry them with the towel around his waist.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him,
“Master, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“What I am doing, you do not understand now,
but you will understand later.”
Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered him,
“Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.”
Simon Peter said to him,
“Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.”
Jesus said to him,
“Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed,
for he is clean all over;
so you are clean, but not all.”
For he knew who would betray him;
for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

So when he had washed their feet
and put his garments back on and reclined at table again,
he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you?
You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am.
If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet,
you ought to wash one another’s feet.
I have given you a model to follow,
so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”
_____________________________________________________________________________________________

prodigal-son-2-arch-books0001

REFLECTION

“Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you can have no part with me.” – Jn 13: 8

As a member of a Church ministry, I love to worship God and praise Him. I thank Him for all the times He calls me to serve. It doesn’t matter where, when, or how. But there are times that, no matter how much I dedicate myself to God, I still fall back.

Now that I serve God – as a praise minister, worship leader, shepherd, and evangelist – the problems become bigger and temptations become harder to ignore.

There was a time last year when I became depressed. I have been undergoing medications for enlarged coronaries for the past 6 years prior, and I was told during June of last year that – to quote my doctor – “there’s still a long way to go.” I was devastated because I was promised during 2006 that the effects would only last a year, and now it’s 2012 and I’m still under medications. I was sick and tired of hearing rude nurses say “grabe, ang laki ng mga arteries na ito oh, ngayon lang ako nakakita ng ganito” during my 2D Echo examinations. I went into a slight depression, I asked and doubted God if I will ever get healed. I stopped praying for a while, even. I was sinful again.

But God spoke to me through my friend who led worship the following month. He said “your weakness will become your strength.” I was so touched by this and the following day I heard a talk in The Feast where they talked about the exact same thing. It was a continuation of my friend’s exhortation. What followed was a blessed worship was I cried my heart out because it was a healing worship. I truly felt God cleansing the stains of my sins and I asked for forgiveness for my fall-back.

Friends, God doesn’t want us to be stained with sins. We may fall down but He is always there to help us back up. Open yourselves to God and ask for His forgiveness whenever you have done something against Him or doubted Him, and He will clean you of your pains. – Jon Hernandez (jon.jremy@gmail.com)

PRAYER
Dear God, may you come into our hearts. Cleanse us from the stains of our sins and cover us with Your love that may we cling unto You and never stray away again. Amen.

REFLECTION QUESTION
When was the last time you asked for God’s forgiveness?

Photo source: practicalcatholic.wordpress.com

Jon Hernandez, Little Whispers

A Learning Experience

First Reading
Jl 2:12-18

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
slow to anger, rich in kindness,
and relenting in punishment.
Perhaps he will again relent
and leave behind him a blessing,
Offerings and libations
for the LORD, your God.

Blow the trumpet in Zion!
proclaim a fast,
call an assembly;
Gather the people,
notify the congregation;
Assemble the elders,
gather the children
and the infants at the breast;
Let the bridegroom quit his room
and the bride her chamber.
Between the porch and the altar
let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep,
And say, “Spare, O LORD, your people,
and make not your heritage a reproach,
with the nations ruling over them!
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’”

Then the LORD was stirred to concern for his land
and took pity on his people.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 12-13, 14 And 17

R. (see 3a) Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
“Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight.”
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Second Reading
2 Cor 5:20—6:2

Brothers and sisters:
We are ambassadors for Christ,
as if God were appealing through us.
We implore you on behalf of Christ,
be reconciled to God.
For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin,
so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

Working together, then,
we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.
For he says:

In an acceptable time I heard you,
and on the day of salvation I helped you.

Behold, now is a very acceptable time;
behold, now is the day of salvation.

Gospel
Mt 6:1-6, 16-18

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Take care not to perform righteous deeds
in order that people may see them;
otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
When you give alms,
do not blow a trumpet before you,
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets
to win the praise of others.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you give alms,
do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
so that your almsgiving may be secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you pray,
do not be like the hypocrites,
who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners
so that others may see them.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go to your inner room,
close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you fast,
do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.
They neglect their appearance,
so that they may appear to others to be fasting.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you fast,
anoint your head and wash your face,
so that you may not appear to be fasting,
except to your Father who is hidden.
And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

JON HERNANDEZ Designn.deviantart.com

REFLECTION

“Because you are not fasting for appearances or for people, but for your Father who sees beyond appearances. And your Father, who sees what is kept secret will reward you.” – Mt. 6: 18

I love attention. I’m currently the drummer of BLD Youth’s Praise Band. Being a musician, especially a drummer, can really boost one’s ego.

Last March 3, 2012, we were able to have a successful worship concert, Love Is. I wanted to play so bad, not just because it would be a big level up, but because I wanted to become a “concert star.” Even after the concert, I would always try to imitate sophisticated drum fills that I see professionals and other drummers do to “steal the show.”

But in May 2012, I went to Iloilo to serve in their Youth Life in the Spirit Seminar. I was told that I was just going to help in singing. I wasn’t prepared to “put on a show” when they urgently asked me to lead morning worship.

This was a great experience for me, because I was very nervous. I became shy in front and thought I was going to fail. When all the attendees stood in worship and the place became spirit-filled, I realized that that I don’t have to steal the spotlight, because it’s God’s. He worked and took care of everything and I just had to be the bridge for the participants. It was a blessing for me because I learned to humble myself and to serve not for fame but for God. God blessed me soon after.

Brothers and Sisters, I pray that may we be open to God’s call and may we humble ourselves and surrender ourselves for His grace to work through us. May we not do it for fame but for our big God. Amen. – Jon Hernandez (jon.jremy@yahoo.com)

PRAYER

Jesus, we open ourselves all to You. May we listen to Your message for us
and trust in Your plans for us. Humble our hearts and use us as Your instrument that we
may make You famous, not us. All glory and praise to You! Amen!

REFLECTION QUESTION

What is the most recent event in your life that you think God used as a “learning experience” for you?

Photo source: Designn.deviantart.com