Little Whispers, Maan Fernandez

Empty-Handed

First Reading
Amos 8:4-7
Hear this, you who trample upon the needy
and destroy the poor of the land!
“When will the new moon be over,” you ask,
“that we may sell our grain,
and the sabbath, that we may display the wheat?
We will diminish the ephah,
add to the shekel,
and fix our scales for cheating!
We will buy the lowly for silver,
and the poor for a pair of sandals;
even the refuse of the wheat we will sell!”
The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob:
Never will I forget a thing they have done!

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 113:1-2, 4-6, 7-8
R. (cf. 1a, 7b) Praise the Lord who lifts up the poor.
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. Praise the Lord who lifts up the poor.
or:
R. Alleluia.
High above all nations is the LORD;
above the heavens is his glory.
Who is like the LORD, our God, who is enthroned on high
and looks upon the heavens and the earth below?
R. Praise the Lord who lifts up the poor.
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. Praise the Lord who lifts up the poor.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Second Reading
1 Timothy 2:1-8
Beloved:
First of all, I ask that supplications, prayers,
petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone,
for kings and for all in authority,
that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life
in all devotion and dignity.
This is good and pleasing to God our savior,
who wills everyone to be saved
and to come to knowledge of the truth.
For there is one God.
There is also one mediator between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus,
who gave himself as ransom for all.
This was the testimony at the proper time.
For this I was appointed preacher and apostle
— I am speaking the truth, I am not lying —,
teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

It is my wish, then, that in every place the men should pray,
lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument.

Gospel
Luke 16:1-13
Jesus said to his disciples,
“A rich man had a steward
who was reported to him for squandering his property.
He summoned him and said,
‘What is this I hear about you?
Prepare a full account of your stewardship,
because you can no longer be my steward.’
The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do,
now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me?
I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg.
I know what I shall do so that,
when I am removed from the stewardship,
they may welcome me into their homes.’
He called in his master’s debtors one by one.
To the first he said,
‘How much do you owe my master?’
He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’
He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note.
Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’
Then to another the steward said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’
He replied, ‘One hundred kors of wheat.’
The steward said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note;
write one for eighty.’
And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.
“For the children of this world
are more prudent in dealing with their own generation
than are the children of light.
I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth,
so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
The person who is trustworthy in very small matters
is also trustworthy in great ones;
and the person who is dishonest in very small matters
is also dishonest in great ones.
If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth,
who will trust you with true wealth?
If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another,
who will give you what is yours?
No servant 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 both God and mammon.”


peter-conlan-LEgwEaBVGMo-unsplash.jpg
“I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” (Lk 16:9)

REFLECTION
During a recent out-of-town beach trip with friends and family, we decided to check out the town’s famous waterfalls to kill some time. Little did we know, it was going to be quite a hike before we get to the falls—none of us were wearing anything close to a hiking-friendly outfit. Obviously unprepared for the spur of the moment hike, we decided to just go for it since we were already there anyway—despite all of us just wearing our rubber slippers and swimming attires. And just as we were preparing ourselves for the last-minute adventure, lo and behold—rain. We had no choice but to leave all our belongings (aka our phones and cameras) inside the van, since we didn’t have any bags or umbrellas to protect them during the hike. I, being my sentimental self who liked to document events, was pretty bummed that none of us could bring a phone to take photos.

And so, when all of that was said and done, we were finally off. Bringing just ourselves—no phones, no umbrellas, no bags, no wallets, nothing. At first, it felt weird walking so empty-handed—literally—while we were in the middle of nowhere. But surprisingly, it felt nice and liberating, too. All we could hear were ourselves (and of course, the other hikers) talking, laughing, and the relaxing stream of fresh water.

All of a sudden, we were forced to just live in the moment—with no Spotify to play some tunes, no Instagram to take stories with, and no other distractions to tinker with. We were stripped off of what we normally wouldn’t be able to leave our homes without, but it allowed us to shift our focus on the more important things in front of us—which were my siblings and our friends; and the very essence of why we were even there, the adventure and experience that we were all yearning for when we first planned the trip. Before we knew it, we were greeted by the view of the waterfalls—in which we happily jumped in for a swim!

Today, Jesus is inviting us to take a step back, disconnect, and re-evaluate our focus—are we too caught up in earthly things, that we are forgetting about the one true treasure that outweighs all treasures of this world? Jesus is reminding us to set our hearts on Him, on His perfect and unwavering love—because our life’s true and greatest wealth is in His Cross.

Reflection Song

Crowns by Hillsong Worship

Author

wc-maan

Click on the bubble to find out more about Maan!

Photo by: Peter Conlan (@peterconlan at unsplash.com)

Little Whispers, Maan Fernandez

The Summit

First Reading
RV 21:9B-14

The angel spoke to me, saying,
“Come here.
I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”
He took me in spirit to a great, high mountain
and showed me the holy city Jerusalem
coming down out of heaven from God.
It gleamed with the splendor of God.
Its radiance was like that of a precious stone,
like jasper, clear as crystal.
It had a massive, high wall,
with twelve gates where twelve angels were stationed
and on which names were inscribed,
the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.
There were three gates facing east,
three north, three south, and three west.
The wall of the city had twelve courses of stones as its foundation,
on which were inscribed the twelve names
of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 145:10-11, 12-13, 17-18
R. (12) Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.

Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Making known to men your might
and the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Your Kingdom is a Kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
The LORD is just in all his ways
and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.

Gospel
JN 1:45-51

Philip found Nathanael and told him,
“We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law,
and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.”
But Nathanael said to him,
“Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him,
“Here is a true child of Israel.
There is no duplicity in him.”
Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.”
Nathanael answered him,
“Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Do you believe
because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree?
You will see greater things than this.”
And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will see heaven opened and the angels of God
ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”


summit

“Come and see.” (John 1: 46)

REFLECTION
A few months back – in the midst of the crazy whirlwind that is school – my friends randomly decided to plan a hiking trip. Needing a breather and a quick escape, I immediately said yes without really understanding what I was getting myself into.

With absolutely no preparations or whatsoever, (and by that I mean almost a year of no exercise at all! To top it off, I had to wear my mom’s BADMINTON shoes since I couldn’t find my only pair of functional hiking shoes the night before our trip!!!), we hopped on that bus en route to Mt. Talamitam, Batangas.

Can I just say… Those were the scariest hours of my life! Around 10 minutes into the hike, I already found myself hanging on to just about anything – including digging my finger tips into the soil – just so I wouldn’t slide back and roll down the steep hills.

It was a climb all the way and it felt like it was never going to end. But all that craziness was instantly rewarded once I stepped foot on the summit with that beautiful 360 degree view.

All it took was for me to say YES to go on that crazy adventure, just like how Jesus is calling out to you to say yes to Him. It wouldn’t be the easiest mountain to climb, but He promises you that He will be there to walk with you, crawl with you, and climb that crazy mountain with you until you finally reach your own beautiful summit. ☺

Reflection Song

Never Once by Matt Redman

Authorfernandez-maan-wcClick on the image to find out more about Maan!

Little Whispers, Maan Fernandez

Endless

First Reading
EX 14:21—15:1
Moses stretched out his hand over the sea,
and the LORD swept the sea
with a strong east wind throughout the night
and so turned it into dry land.
When the water was thus divided,
the children of Israel marched into the midst of the sea on dry land,
with the water like a wall to their right and to their left.

The Egyptians followed in pursuit;
all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and charioteers went after them
right into the midst of the sea.
In the night watch just before dawn
the LORD cast through the column of the fiery cloud
upon the Egyptian force a glance that threw it into a panic;
and he so clogged their chariot wheels
that they could hardly drive.
With that the Egyptians sounded the retreat before Israel,
because the LORD was fighting for them against the Egyptians.

Then the LORD told Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea,
that the water may flow back upon the Egyptians,
upon their chariots and their charioteers.”
So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea,
and at dawn the sea flowed back to its normal depth.
The Egyptians were fleeing head on toward the sea,
when the LORD hurled them into its midst.
As the water flowed back,
it covered the chariots and the charioteers of Pharaoh’s whole army
that had followed the children of Israel into the sea.
Not a single one of them escaped.
But the children of Israel had marched on dry land
through the midst of the sea,
with the water like a wall to their right and to their left.
Thus the LORD saved Israel on that day
from the power of the Egyptians.
When Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the seashore
and beheld the great power that the LORD
had shown against the Egyptians,
they feared the LORD and believed in him and in his servant Moses.

Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the LORD:

I will sing to the LORD, for he is gloriously triumphant;
horse and chariot he has cast into the sea.

Responsorial Psalm
EXODUS 15:8-9, 10 AND 12, 17
R. (1b) Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
At the breath of your anger the waters piled up,
the flowing waters stood like a mound,
the flood waters congealed in the midst of the sea.
The enemy boasted, “I will pursue and overtake them;
I will divide the spoils and have my fill of them;
I will draw my sword; my hand shall despoil them!”
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
When your wind blew, the sea covered them;
like lead they sank in the mighty waters.
When you stretched out your right hand, the earth swallowed them!
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
And you brought them in and planted them on the mountain of your inheritance—
the place where you made your seat, O LORD,
the sanctuary, O LORD, which your hands established.
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.

Gospel
MT 12:46-50
While Jesus was speaking to the crowds,
his mother and his brothers appeared outside,
wishing to speak with him.
Someone told him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside,
asking to speak with you.”
But he said in reply to the one who told him,
“Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?”
And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said,
“Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father
is my brother, and sister, and mother.”


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“For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Matthew 12:50)

REFLECTION

It’s been the best 3 months at home – living with my chubby cheekster niece, baby Baci, ever since she was born. Who knew that taking care of such a tiny human being would demand so much time, effort, and attention? I can never begin to imagine how it was for my mom and dad who patiently and lovingly raised 5 crazy children all these years.

Mommy would always tell us how Daddy feared carrying us as babies. So all the dirty work of changing diapers, bath time, and putting us to sleep were all on her – to which Daddy would admittedly agree to. Even now that it’s my sister’s turn to take care of her own child, I can see how my mom lovingly sacrifices hours of sleep to help my sister out.

I guess we can say that it’s easier to love people whom we know and care about. But with my mom, the love that she showers our home with is the same kind of love that she selflessly and naturally shares to everyone around her. She has the biggest and warmest heart – a heart that I know would lovingly envelope me and pick me up no matter how old I may be.

Just like how my mom loves, God’s love never runs out. No matter how difficult and exhausting it may seem to be, Jesus wants to remind you that His love is and will always be available. Maan Fernandez (maanmfernandez@gmail.com)

PS: Happy birthday, Mommy! I love you! 🙂

PRAYER

Father, thank You for all the loving people you have surrounded me with. Help me to be more like You so that I may spread this same unconditional love to others as well. Amen.

REFLECTION QUESTION

 How have you been Jesus to others?

Little Whispers, Maan Fernandez

God Tank Full

First Reading
Acts 2:14, 22-33

On the day of Pentecost, Peter stood up with the Eleven,
raised his voice, and proclaimed:
“You who are Jews, indeed all of you staying in Jerusalem.
Let this be known to you, and listen to my words.

“You who are children of Israel, hear these words.
Jesus the Nazorean was a man commended to you by God

with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs,
which God worked through him in your midst, as you yourselves know.
This man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God,
you killed, using lawless men to crucify him.
But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death,
because it was impossible for him to be held by it.
For David says of him:

I saw the Lord ever before me,
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
Therefore my heart has been glad and my tongue has exulted;
my flesh, too, will dwell in hope,
because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world,
nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.

My brothers, one can confidently say to you
about the patriarch David that he died and was buried,
and his tomb is in our midst to this day.
But since he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn an oath to him
that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne,
he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ,
that neither was he abandoned to the netherworld
nor did his flesh see corruption.
God raised this Jesus;
of this we are all witnesses.
Exalted at the right hand of God,
he poured forth the promise of the Holy Spirit
that he received from the Father, as you both see and hear.”

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 16:1-2 and 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11
R. (1) Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R. Alleluia.

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. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R. Alleluia.

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. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence;
Because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world,
nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R. Alleluia.

You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Gospel
Matthew 28:8-15

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly from the tomb,
fearful yet overjoyed,
and ran to announce the news to his disciples.
And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them.
They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage.
Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid.
Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee,
and there they will see me.”

While they were going, some of the guard went into the city
and told the chief priests all that had happened.
The chief priests assembled with the elders and took counsel;
then they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers,
telling them, “You are to say,
‘His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep.’
And if this gets to the ears of the governor,
we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.”
The soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed.
And this story has circulated among the Jews to the present day.


Tired

“I saw the Lord ever before me, with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed. Therefore my heart has been glad and my tongue has exulted; my flesh, too, will dwell in hope,” (Acts 2: 25-26)

REFLECTION

The last few weeks have been pretty overwhelming for me – mostly because of school. It has been one requirement after another. School became my priority and slowly, it took its toll on my service and most especially my prayer life. For many weeks, I was not able to attend our weekly prayer meetings. Even attending the Sunday mass with my family was affected.  I felt so drained and exhausted.

Until two Saturdays ago, I was finally able to attend our prayer meeting. I got to talk to one of our Ates in the ministry, Ate Tal, who asked me how I was doing. I told her everything especially how tired I was and she simply told me, “Let God help you”.

It struck me right then and there. For the past few weeks, I shut out everyone – most especially God. Instead of relying on His strength, I simply relied on my own – and I knew that this was the reason why I would always feel empty and exhausted.

Ate Tal reminded me to go back to His word and everyday since that Saturday, I have made it a point to read and reflect on the daily readings before I sleep. I found myself crying at night as I felt as if God was really speaking to me through His word. I truly felt His assurance and unconditional love, which I realized was the only answer to my restlessness.

If you’re feeling exhausted or empty, allow God to fill you up. Let His word and His love nourish you and give you strength. – Maan Fernandez (maanmfernandez@gmail.com)

Prayer

Father God, thank You for being our rock and our strength. Continue to speak to us through Your word and fill us with Your love.

Reflection Question

Are you allowing God to help you or are you simply relying on your own strength?

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