Kitkat Fernandez, Little Whispers

Reason for the Season

First Reading
Isaiah 11:1-10
On that day, a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.
The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him:
a spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
a spirit of counsel and of strength,
a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD,
and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.
Not by appearance shall he judge,
nor by hearsay shall he decide,
but he shall judge the poor with justice,
and decide aright for the land’s afflicted.
He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.
Justice shall be the band around his waist,
and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.
Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
the calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.
The cow and the bear shall be neighbors,
together their young shall rest;
the lion shall eat hay like the ox.
The baby shall play by the cobra’s den,
and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.
There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD,
as water covers the sea.
On that day, the root of Jesse,
set up as a signal for the nations,
the Gentiles shall seek out,
for his dwelling shall be glorious.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17
R. (cf. 7)  Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
he shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
May his name be blessed forever;
as long as the sun his name shall remain.
In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed;
all the nations shall proclaim his happiness.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.

Second Reading
Romans 15:4-9
Brothers and sisters:
Whatever was written previously was written for our instruction,
that by endurance and by the encouragement of the Scriptures
we might have hope.
May the God of endurance and encouragement
grant you to think in harmony with one another,
in keeping with Christ Jesus,
that with one accord you may with one voice
glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you,
for the glory of God.
For I say that Christ became a minister of the circumcised
to show God’s truthfulness,
to confirm the promises to the patriarchs,
but so that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.
As it is written:
Therefore, I will praise you among the Gentiles
and sing praises to your name.

Gospel
Matthew 3:1-12
John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea
and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said:
A voice of one crying out in the desert,
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.

John wore clothing made of camel’s hair
and had a leather belt around his waist.
His food was locusts and wild honey.
At that time Jerusalem, all Judea,
and the whole region around the Jordan
were going out to him
and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River
as they acknowledged their sins.

When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees
coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers!
Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.
And do not presume to say to yourselves,
‘We have Abraham as our father.’
For I tell you,
God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees.
Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit
will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
I am baptizing you with water, for repentance,
but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I.
I am not worthy to carry his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand.
He will clear his threshing floor
and gather his wheat into his barn,
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”


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“Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” (Matthew 3:3)

REFLECTION
When I was younger, I looked forward to December because it meant receiving gifts, escaping school, and munching on delicious food. It was that time of the year when roads, houses, and malls were full of lights and decors. There were also the mandatory parties that we had to attend to.

Don’t get me wrong, I knew all along that it was because of the birth of Jesus. However, it was only when I turned older that I realized the true essence of the Christmas season. More than the festivities, it is the time to prepare for the Lord’s coming. It is the time for us to repent and have a clean slate. 

In the Gospel, there were Pharisees who wanted to be baptized but John reminds them that asking for forgiveness means producing good fruit as evidence of one’s repentance. Just like the Pharisees, we continue to sin despite asking for forgiveness. The Gospel is teaching us to not only ask for forgiveness but to make sure that we do not repeat our sins and instead do random acts of kindness.

During this advent season, may we await with great expectation the coming of the Lord and prepare ourselves when He comes. – Kitkat Fernandez

Reflection Song

Now That You’re Near by Hillsong Worship

Photo by: Walter Chavez (@walterch at unsplash.com)

Kitkat Fernandez, Little Whispers

Constant

First Reading
1 THES 5:1-6, 9-11
Concerning times and seasons, brothers and sisters,
you have no need for anything to be written to you.
For you yourselves know very well
that the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night.
When people are saying, “Peace and security,”
then sudden disaster comes upon them,
like labor pains upon a pregnant woman,
and they will not escape.

But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness,
for that day to overtake you like a thief.
For all of you are children of the light
and children of the day.
We are not of the night or of darkness.
Therefore, let us not sleep as the rest do,
but let us stay alert and sober.
For God did not destine us for wrath,
but to gain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep
we may live together with him.
Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up,
as indeed you do.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 27:1, 4, 13-14
R. (13) I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.

Gospel
LK 4:31-37
Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee.
He taught them on the sabbath,
and they were astonished at his teaching
because he spoke with authority.
In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon,
and he cried out in a loud voice,
“What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are–the Holy One of God!”
Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet! Come out of him!”
Then the demon threw the man down in front of them
and came out of him without doing him any harm.
They were all amazed and said to one another,
“What is there about his word?
For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits,
and they come out.”
And news of him spread everywhere in the surrounding region.


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Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

 REFLECTION

I was the type of person who had a lot of close friends but never considered any particular person my best friend. It may not seem like it but I secretly built an invisible wall because as far as I knew, people who open up to others are most likely to get hurt in the end and I was scared to be one of those.

Bea and I met back in 2011 during our Youth Life in the Spirit Seminar. We arrived early in the venue since our siblings were both part of the working team and there was nothing to do but to simply talk to each other. We got along pretty well and soon enough, we became the closest of friends.

I was surprised to see myself opening up to someone as much as I did to Bea. I don’t think she knows but her constant encouragement pushed me to do more and become better. I used to have doubts about singing in front of people but knowing how Bea would always support me, I ended up becoming part of our community’s praise vocals with her.

Just like with Jesus, you only need to open yourself up to experience His love. Allow yourself to be loved and in return, share this same love to others who find it difficult to accept love. Once you are able to let Him in, great things start to happen even if you don’t realize it. 🙂

Prayer

Author

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Click on the image to find out more about Kitkat!

Kitkat Fernandez, Little Whispers

Surprise Expert

First Reading
NM 13:1-2, 25–14:1, 26A-29A, 34-35

The LORD said to Moses [in the desert of Paran,]
“Send men to reconnoiter the land of Canaan,
which I am giving the children of Israel.
You shall send one man from each ancestral tribe,
all of them princes.”

After reconnoitering the land for forty days they returned,
met Moses and Aaron and the whole congregation of the children of Israel
in the desert of Paran at Kadesh,
made a report to them all,
and showed the fruit of the country
to the whole congregation.
They told Moses: “We went into the land to which you sent us.
It does indeed flow with milk and honey, and here is its fruit.
However, the people who are living in the land are fierce,
and the towns are fortified and very strong.
Besides, we saw descendants of the Anakim there.
Amalekites live in the region of the Negeb;
Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites dwell in the highlands,
and Canaanites along the seacoast and the banks of the Jordan.”

Caleb, however, to quiet the people toward Moses, said,
“We ought to go up and seize the land, for we can certainly do so.”
But the men who had gone up with him said,
“We cannot attack these people; they are too strong for us.”
So they spread discouraging reports among the children of Israel
about the land they had scouted, saying,
“The land that we explored is a country that consumes its inhabitants.
And all the people we saw there are huge, veritable giants
(the Anakim were a race of giants);
we felt like mere grasshoppers, and so we must have seemed to them.”

At this, the whole community broke out with loud cries,
and even in the night the people wailed.

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron:
“How long will this wicked assembly grumble against me?
I have heard the grumblings of the children of Israel against me.
Tell them: By my life, says the LORD,
I will do to you just what I have heard you say.
Here in the desert shall your dead bodies fall.
Forty days you spent in scouting the land;
forty years shall you suffer for your crimes:
one year for each day.
Thus you will realize what it means to oppose me.
I, the LORD, have sworn to do this
to all this wicked assembly that conspired against me:
here in the desert they shall die to the last man.”

Responsorial Psalm
PS 106:6-7AB, 13-14, 21-22, 23
R. (4a) Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

We have sinned, we and our fathers;
we have committed crimes; we have done wrong.
Our fathers in Egypt
considered not your wonders.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
But soon they forgot his works;
they waited not for his counsel.
They gave way to craving in the desert
and tempted God in the wilderness.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They forgot the God who had saved them,
who had done great deeds in Egypt,
Wondrous deeds in the land of Ham,
terrible things at the Red Sea.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Then he spoke of exterminating them,
but Moses, his chosen one,
Withstood him in the breach
to turn back his destructive wrath.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

Gospel
MT 15: 21-28

At that time Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out,
“Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David!
My daughter is tormented by a demon.”
But he did not say a word in answer to her.
His disciples came and asked him,
“Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.”
He said in reply,
“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
But the woman came and did him homage, saying, “Lord, help me.”
He said in reply,
“It is not right to take the food of the children
and throw it to the dogs.”
She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps
that fall from the table of their masters.”
Then Jesus said to her in reply,
“O woman, great is your faith!
Let it be done for you as you wish.”
And her daughter was healed from that hour.


surprise

“O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” (Matthew 15:28)

REFLECTION
Back in grade school, there was an interesting raffle with cash prizes. The announcement of winners happened during our Moving-Up Day, which was the last day of the school year.

I bought some raffle tickets – mostly to support the school, but I was still hoping to win even just third place. Who was I kidding though? There were hundreds of people who were hoping the same thing, what makes me any different?

But guess what? I won the grand prize! It was enough to buy myself my first laptop. It wasn’t just my victory but the victory of my family as well. We decided to buy a gaming console for all of us to enjoy and had dinner in our favorite restaurant.

No matter how silly or impossible our prayers can sometimes be, Jesus reminds us to have faith. He always has all these surprises waiting in store for us! We may not really know when the next one will come, but keep on going. The best blessings are the most unexpected ones!

Prayer
Dear Lord, open my eyes that I may appreciate Your surprises in my life. Help me understand that your ways will always be better than mine. Amen.

Author

 

fernandez-kitkat-wc

Click on the image to find out more about Kitkat!

Kitkat Fernandez, Little Whispers

Guaranteed

First Reading
GN 46:1-7, 28-30 PS 37:3-4, 18-19, 27-28, 39-40
Israel set out with all that was his.
When he arrived at Beer-sheba,
he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.
There God, speaking to Israel in a vision by night, called,
“Jacob! Jacob!”
He answered, “Here I am.”
Then he said: “I am God, the God of your father.
Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt,
for there I will make you a great nation.
Not only will I go down to Egypt with you;
I will also bring you back here, after Joseph has closed your eyes.”

So Jacob departed from Beer-sheba,
and the sons of Israel
put their father and their wives and children
on the wagons that Pharaoh had sent for his transport.
They took with them their livestock
and the possessions they had acquired in the land of Canaan.
Thus Jacob and all his descendants migrated to Egypt.
His sons and his grandsons, his daughters and his granddaughters—
all his descendants—he took with him to Egypt.

Israel had sent Judah ahead to Joseph,
so that he might meet him in Goshen.
On his arrival in the region of Goshen,
Joseph hitched the horses to his chariot
and rode to meet his father Israel in Goshen.
As soon as Joseph saw him, he flung himself on his neck
and wept a long time in his arms.
And Israel said to Joseph, “At last I can die,
now that I have seen for myself that Joseph is still alive.”

Responsorial Psalm
PS 37:3-4, 18-19, 27-28, 39-40
R. (39a) The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Trust in the LORD and do good,
that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security.
Take delight in the LORD,
and he will grant you your heart’s requests.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
The LORD watches over the lives of the wholehearted;
their inheritance lasts forever.
They are not put to shame in an evil time;
in days of famine they have plenty.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Turn from evil and do good,
that you may abide forever;
For the LORD loves what is right,
and forsakes not his faithful ones.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
The salvation of the just is from the LORD;
he is their refuge in time of distress.
And the LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.

Gospel
MT 10:16-23
Jesus said to his Apostles:
“Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves;
so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.
But beware of men,
for they will hand you over to courts
and scourge you in their synagogues,
and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake
as a witness before them and the pagans.
When they hand you over,
do not worry about how you are to speak
or what you are to say.
You will be given at that moment what you are to say.
For it will not be you who speak
but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Brother will hand over brother to death,
and the father his child;
children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but whoever endures to the end will be saved.
When they persecute you in one town, flee to another.
Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel
before the Son of Man comes.”


 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)

REFLECTION

Our family was asked to share our story in the Family Encounter weekend, which is one of the annually held activities by the Bukas Loob sa Diyos Community that focuses on building deeper relationships with God in our families. Everything was going fine before the weekend; the necessary preparations were done by the people part of the working team. My family and I were ready to sit in front of several families and share.

When the weekend finally came, there was a time when we were about to show a video about “The Velveteen Rabbit” but a power outage suddenly occurred. I could remember the struggle we went through because the electricity failed us and we needed to continue with the schedule of activities. Knowing how important this story was to the weekend, we decided that we shouldn’t allow these obstacles to stop us. Right there, right then, without any preparations, we told the story of the Velveteen Rabbit using nothing but our own voices and bodies. Everyone laughed and cheered us on. It became one of our most memorable experiences as a family in the community and we felt God working through us.

Serving God will not be an easy journey. Sometimes, even when we prepare ourselves, unexpected things can happen and disturb us. The promise of God is not that everything will happen perfectly in our eyes but instead, that He will be with us even through the difficult moments. It is the readiness to serve and face hardship for Him and His Kingdom that matters most. – Kitkat Fernandez (catherine.kitkat@gmail.com)

Prayer

Lord, give me the strength and courage to face all adversities that come my way in serving You and Your Kingdom. Amen.

Reflection Question

Do you always seek God in times of trouble?

Kitkat Fernandez, Little Whispers

Second Chance

First Reading
2 COR 12:1-10

Brothers and sisters:
I must boast; not that it is profitable,
but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord.
I know a man in Christ who, fourteen years ago
(whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows),
was caught up to the third heaven.
And I know that this man
(whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows)
was caught up into Paradise and heard ineffable things,
which no one may utter.
About this man I will boast,
but about myself I will not boast, except about my weaknesses.
Although if I should wish to boast, I would not be foolish,
for I would be telling the truth.
But I refrain, so that no one may think more of me
than what he sees in me or hears from me
because of the abundance of the revelations.
Therefore, that I might not become too elated,
a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan,
to beat me, to keep me from being too elated.
Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me,
but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,
for power is made perfect in weakness.”
I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses,
in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.
Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults,
hardships, persecutions, and constraints,
for the sake of Christ;
for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 34:8-9, 10-11, 12-13
R. (9a) Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Fear the LORD, you his holy ones,
for nought is lacking to those who fear him.
The great grow poor and hungry;
but those who seek the LORD want for no good thing.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Come, children, hear me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
Which of you desires life,
and takes delight in prosperous days?
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Gospel
MT 6:24-34

Jesus said to his disciples:
“No one can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or drink,
or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds in the sky;
they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
Why are you anxious about clothes?
Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.
They do not work or spin.
But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor
was clothed like one of them.
If God so clothes the grass of the field,
which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow,
will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’
or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’
All these things the pagans seek.
Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given you besides.
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.
Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”


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“Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10)

My dad suffered from a heart attack and had to undergo quadruple bypass surgery. It was one of the biggest trials my family had to go through. He stayed in the ICU for a whole month with my mom who never left his side, while my siblings and I made it a habit to visit him everyday.

I was only ten years old when all of this happened but I understood how critical my dad’s condition was. It was difficult seeing him endure the countless tests, examinations, wires, and needles, but he always had a smile on his face and never showed he was in pain whenever we were around. I was not ready for my dad to leave us. There was so much more he can offer in this world and to our family.

It has been eight years since my dad was given a second chance to live. I saw Jesus in my mom who would constantly remind us to pray for my dad’s speedy recovery. Looking back, it was through prayer that God worked His miracles to heal my dad. Our family turned to Jesus during this storm of our lives.

When we are in our lowest point, this is when we usually realize the need for Jesus. And when we do, God reminds us that He is just there. – Kitkat Fernandez (catherine.kitkat@gmail.com)

Prayer

Reflection Question

Have I realized that I need Jesus in my life?

Kitkat Fernandez, Little Whispers

Family Bonanza

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.

Or
Ephesians 4:1-13

Brothers and sisters,
I, a prisoner for the Lord,
urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the spirit
through the bond of peace:
one body and one Spirit,
as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.

But grace was given to each of us
according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
Therefore, it says:
He ascended on high and took prisoners captive;
he gave gifts to men.
What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended
into the lower regions of the earth?
The one who descended is also the one who ascended
far above all the heavens,
that he might fill all things.

And he gave some as apostles, others as prophets,
others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers,
to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry,
for building up the body of Christ,
until we all attain to the unity of faith
and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature to manhood,
to the extent of the full stature of Christ.

Or
Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13

Brothers and sisters,
I, a prisoner for the Lord,
urge you to live in a manner worthy of the calling
you have received,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit
through the bond of peace:
one body and one Spirit,
as you were also called to the one hope of your calling;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.

But grace was given to each of us
according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

And he gave some as apostles, others as prophets,
others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers,
to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry,
for building up the body of Christ,
until we all attain to the unity of faith
and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature to manhood,
to the extent of the full stature of Christ.

Gospel
Mark 16:15-20

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Go into the whole world
and proclaim the gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;
whoever does not believe will be condemned.
These signs will accompany those who believe:
in my name they will drive out demons,
they will speak new languages.
They will pick up serpents with their hands,
and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them,
was taken up into heaven
and took his seat at the right hand of God.
But they went forth and preached everywhere,
while the Lord worked with them
and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.


family

“Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel.” (Mark 16:15)

REFLECTION

I was raised by parents who actively served in the Bukas Loob sa Diyos Community. At first, I didn’t understand why they would come home late every Wednesday and Friday night because of community service. There were also weekends that they were out for community work. There were times when I felt their service in the community lessened their quality time with us since both of my parents had work, while the five of us went to school during the day.

Likewise, my older siblings started getting involved in the Youth Ministry. Being the youngest, I went with the flow and still did not understand what was happening. As time passed, I became a witness of how all my siblings’ lives were changed after going through the Youth Life in the Spirit Seminar (YLSS), so I finally looked forward to experiencing the same kind of change they did. When I turned fourteen, I joined the YLSS and my life has never been the same.

God was able to use my parents to evangelize in their own ministry, our family. It is through them that I learned how to grow in love with God. I’ve seen how the Lord worked through us and used us as His instrument to proclaim the good news to other families as well.

Looking back, it wasn’t an easy journey. Growing deeper in the Lord will not guarantee a smooth sailing life, but His faithfulness has assured us that He is always with us. It’s now my turn to give back by bringing Jesus to others. -Kitkat Fernandez (catherine.kitkat@gmail.com)

Prayer

Father, help me to grow in Your love. Fill me up with Your Holy Spirit that I may be an example of Your perfect way to others. Amen.

Reflection Question

Have I allowed the Lord to use me?

Kitkat Fernandez, Little Whispers

School Surprise

First Reading
Acts 11:19-26

Those who had been scattered by the persecution
that arose because of Stephen
went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch,
preaching the word to no one but Jews.
There were some Cypriots and Cyrenians among them, however,
who came to Antioch and began to speak to the Greeks as well,
proclaiming the Lord Jesus.
The hand of the Lord was with them
and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.
The news about them reached the ears of the Church in Jerusalem,
and they sent Barnabas to go to Antioch.
When he arrived and saw the grace of God,
he rejoiced and encouraged them all
to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart,
for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith.
And a large number of people was added to the Lord.
Then he went to Tarsus to look for Saul,
and when he had found him he brought him to Antioch.
For a whole year they met with the Church
and taught a large number of people,
and it was in Antioch that the disciples
were first called Christians.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 87:1B-3, 4-5, 6-7
R. (117:1a) All you nations, praise the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

His foundation upon the holy mountains
the LORD loves:
The gates of Zion,
more than any dwelling of Jacob.
Glorious things are said of you,
O city of God!
R. All you nations, praise the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

I tell of Egypt and Babylon
among those who know the LORD;
Of Philistia, Tyre, Ethiopia:
“This man was born there.”
And of Zion they shall say:
“One and all were born in her;
And he who has established her
is the Most High LORD.”
R. All you nations, praise the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

They shall note, when the peoples are enrolled:
“This man was born there.”
And all shall sing, in their festive dance:
“My home is within you.”
R. All you nations, praise the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Gospel
John 10:22-30
The feast of the Dedication was taking place in Jerusalem.
It was winter.
And Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon.
So the Jews gathered around him and said to him,
“How long are you going to keep us in suspense?
If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
Jesus answered them, “I told you and you do not believe.
The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me.
But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep.
My sheep hear my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.
No one can take them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,
and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.
The Father and I are one.”


  

“My sheep, hear my voice.” (John 10:27)

REFLECTION
After years of having it all planned out, my heart was shattered within a span of seconds. It was an early Saturday morning when I found out I didn’t get accepted in my dream university. I was frustrated with myself and how much I failed to live up to my own and parents’ expectations. I even questioned Him for not granting my long-term dream. No amount of words gave comfort for what I was going through. The only thing that made me feel better was how supportive and understanding my family was, but I was ignoring whatever they were saying because I was in denial of everything.

It’s been more than a year since the biggest rejection of my life. I remember entering college with a heavy heart and zero expectations of what’s to come. There was no option left but to entrust everything up to Him. As of this moment, my freshman year has already ended. Who would’ve thought I would be happy where I am now? For me, this was totally unexpected. Nonetheless, my heart is full of happiness and gratitude for all the people I’ve met and experiences I’ve had for my first year.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus reminds us to always trust in God’s plan for us, for he is our Good Shepherd. Sometimes, when we insist on our own desires, we become like the lost sheep that was easily swayed by sin and Satan. The sheep who heeds the voice of Jesus, the good shepherd, should have no fear for he leads them to the best of places – everlasting peace, joy, and fellowship with God and his people. And just like that, I have never been happier in my life. Indeed, God’s ways are always better than ours, so, look forward to God’s surprises. – Kitkat Fernandez (catherine.kitkat@gmail.com)

Prayer
Dear Jesus, give me the strength to accept whatever circumstances that goes my way and to always trust in Your wonderful plans for my life.

Reflection Question
In times of doubt and trouble, do you still seek help and counsel from God, our Good Shepherd?