Little Whispers, Robby Fernandez

Away From Keyboard

First Reading
Acts 5:27-33
When the court officers had brought the Apostles in
and made them stand before the Sanhedrin,
the high priest questioned them,
“We gave you strict orders did we not,
to stop teaching in that name.
Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching
and want to bring this man’s blood upon us.”
But Peter and the Apostles said in reply,
“We must obey God rather than men.
The God of our ancestors raised Jesus,
though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree.
God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior
to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins.
We are witnesses of these things,
as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”

When they heard this,
they became infuriated and wanted to put them to death.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 34:2 AND 9, 17-18, 19-20
R.    (7a) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R.    The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
R.    The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
Many are the troubles of the just man,
but out of them all the LORD delivers him.
R.    The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Gospel
John 3:31-36
The one who comes from above is above all.
The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things.
But the one who comes from heaven is above all.
He testifies to what he has seen and heard,
but no one accepts his testimony.
Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy.
For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God.
He does not ration his gift of the Spirit.
The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,
but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life,
but the wrath of God remains upon him.


photo-1585250003680-b12dbff01e65

“For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God. He does not ration his gift of the Spirit.” (John 3: 34)

REFLECTION
In the many times that I’ve started, stopped, created, and abandoned my many blogs, my Facebook feed, or my tweets, I always reach the point where I get tired of publishing my thoughts for followers to see. Recently though, my fingers were able to cooperate in such a way that my thoughts would see whatever eyes find their way on my Twitter feed. Twice!

There is a love-hate relationship that I personally have with social media, and I think we all find ourselves on that rollercoaster every now and then. We constantly have our names tied to words that you can never take back, which is why we take social media breaks, create Finstas (I know!), and just choose to stay further away from the web. 

It’s not always easy to stand behind the messages we post, because all forms of judgment can follow us online. Some people can take that kind of experience though, so we retweet, like, or share their words instead. In fact, there was One who did not hold anything back and He literally died for His message. 

We might be humans who hesitate, get embarrassed, and hide in the face of a world that does not always agree with us, and that’s okay! There is already One who gave it all, so that we can fully believe in the truth of His message. It’s Jesus’ complete conviction that allows us to embrace our own humanity, and move forward despite of our weaknesses.

Prayer
Dearest Lord, in these trying times, help me to live your message, in full humility, when I cannot find the words to speak my own. I offer myself as a light, no matter how simple the ways I can help may be. Amen.

Author

wc-robby

Click on the bubble to find out more about Robby!

Photo by: Claudio Schwarz (@purzlbaum at unsplash.com)

Little Whispers, Robby Fernandez

Beach Ready

First Reading
Wisdom 18:6-9
The night of the passover was known beforehand to our fathers,
that, with sure knowledge of the oaths in which they put their faith,
they might have courage.
Your people awaited the salvation of the just
and the destruction of their foes.
For when you punished our adversaries,
in this you glorified us whom you had summoned.
For in secret the holy children of the good were offering sacrifice
and putting into effect with one accord the divine institution.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 33:1, 12, 18-19, 20-22
R. (12b) Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Exult, you just, in the LORD;
praise from the upright is fitting.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us
who have put our hope in you.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.

Second Reading
Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-12
Brothers and sisters:
Faith is the realization of what is hoped for
and evidence of things not seen.
Because of it the ancients were well attested.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place
that he was to receive as an inheritance;
he went out, not knowing where he was to go.
By faith he sojourned in the promised land as in a foreign country,
dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs of the same promise;
for he was looking forward to the city with foundations,
whose architect and maker is God.
By faith he received power to generate,
even though he was past the normal age
—and Sarah herself was sterile—
for he thought that the one who had made the promise was
trustworthy.
So it was that there came forth from one man,
himself as good as dead,
descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky
and as countless as the sands on the seashore.

Gospel
Luke 12:35-40
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Gird your loins and light your lamps
and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding,
ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.
Blessed are those servants
whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.
Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself,
have the servants recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.
And should he come in the second or third watch
and find them prepared in this way,
blessed are those servants.
Be sure of this:
if the master of the house had known the hour
when the thief was coming,
he would not have let his house be broken into.
You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect,
the Son of Man will come.”


“Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.” (Luke 12:36-38)

REFLECTION

I’m not the biggest fan of going to the beach. Sand and saltwater for days sounds like a bad idea to me, but my friends decided that that was our plan for the weekend.

The night before our trip, we were informed that it was going to rain hard. Since everyone had already set the weekend aside, there was no turning back. We pushed through, hoping that the weather would be kind. But to no one’s surprise, the storm insisted on turning this vacation into a nightmare!

Our tents were flooded with water and all of our bags were soaked by the continuous rains! We had no choice but to stay in our tents, and I realized that I had forgotten to bring a pillow and tissue for my worsening colds.

Stuck in our tents, we enjoyed each other’s stories. My friends were all better prepared than I was. We all went through the same things – soaked, cold, and stuck in that storm. But they didn’t hesitate to help me out, in spite of their problems. I realized then that I went into that trip with a heart that had little love for the beach. I prepared for it, while hoping to get there and back home as quickly as I could.

As problems like storms and thieves arrive, we are told to be vigilant and ready. No matter how hard you prepare, however, it still isn’t guaranteed that everything will be perfectly fine! But when the Lord calls on you to be there for those who will need him, it is that preparation that allows you to be a beacon of light and love to others. The heart that is fully open to Him and ready to give is the surprise that others might need on their dark and stormy days.

Prayer

Author

Click on the bubble to find out more about Robby!

Little Whispers, Robby Fernandez

Faith Beyond Fact

First Reading
DN 7:9-10, 13-14

As I watched:

Thrones were set up
and the Ancient One took his throne.
His clothing was bright as snow,
and the hair on his head as white as wool;
His throne was flames of fire,
with wheels of burning fire.
A surging stream of fire
flowed out from where he sat;
Thousands upon thousands were ministering to him,
and myriads upon myriads attended him.

The court was convened, and the books were opened.
As the visions during the night continued, I saw

One like a son of man coming,
on the clouds of heaven;
When he reached the Ancient One
and was presented before him,
He received dominion, glory, and kingship;
nations and peoples of every language serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
that shall not be taken away,
his kingship shall not be destroyed.
Or RV 12:7-12AB

War broke out in heaven;
Michael and his angels battled against the dragon.
The dragon and its angels fought back,
but they did not prevail
and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.
The huge dragon, the ancient serpent,
who is called the Devil and Satan,
who deceived the whole world,
was thrown down to earth,
and its angels were thrown down with it.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have salvation and power come,
and the Kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Anointed.
For the accuser of our brothers is cast out,
who accuses them before our God day and night.
They conquered him by the Blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
love for life did not deter them from death.
Therefore, rejoice, you heavens,
and you who dwell in them.”

Responsorial Psalm
PS 138:1-2AB, 2CDE-3, 4-5

R. (1) In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart,
for you have heard the words of my mouth;
in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise;
I will worship at your holy temple
and give thanks to your name.
R. In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.
Because of your kindness and your truth;
for you have made great above all things
your name and your promise.
When I called, you answered me;
you built up strength within me.
R. In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.
All the kings of the earth shall give thanks to you, O LORD
when they hear the words of your mouth;
And they shall sing of the ways of the LORD
“Great is the glory of the LORD.”
R. In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.

Gospel
JN 1:47-51

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.”

_____________________________________________________________________________

teachers-day-2015-india-5120679074594816.2-hp2x

“Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree?” (John 1:50)

REFLECTION

I have a very close friend named Google. Every time a question or a thought pops up in my head, I immediately find a way to talk to him about it. My search history contains everything from the distance of the Moon from the Earth, to General Antonio Luna’s achievements. I love to focus on facts, no matter how pointless they may be.

This, however, was not always a good thing. This habit becomes problematic when my life runs into difficult moments. After experiencing difficulties in my Engineering course, I was forced to shift out and study something else. Why did this happen to me? At first, I based the answer on facts – it happened because I wasn’t good enough. I felt so rejected and unworthy of anything, because all my life, I was made to feel proud about being the smart kid. Right then, I became nothing. I had to tell my parents that my journey in Engineering was over.

I thought for sure that they were going to get mad, but instead my revelation was met with love. Mommy and Daddy looked at me with eyes that made me feel like the same smart kid that they had always been proud of. They assured me that there would be another course that was a better fit for me. I couldn’t hold back the tears, because I knew that nothing mattered as much as the fact that they continued to believe in me. Mommy and Daddy looked beyond to see the person behind the test score. They saw me.

No Google search could ever explain to you how real God’s love is in our lives. That’s because faith goes beyond fact. His love is of a kind that overcomes reason – it is unconditional and never-ending. And that crazy, senseless, yet selfless love is exactly the kind we need.

Prayer

Author

fernandez-robby-wc

Photo source: google.com

Little Whispers, Robby Fernandez

Winners and Losers

First Reading
LV 25:1, 8-17

The LORD said to Moses on Mount Sinai,
“Seven weeks of years shall you count–seven times seven years–
so that the seven cycles amount to forty-nine years.
Then, on the tenth day of the seventh month, let the trumpet resound;
on this, the Day of Atonement, the trumpet blast shall re-echo
throughout your land.
This fiftieth year you shall make sacred
by proclaiming liberty in the land for all its inhabitants.
It shall be a jubilee for you,
when every one of you shall return to his own property,
every one to his own family estate.
In this fiftieth year, your year of jubilee,
you shall not sow, nor shall you reap the aftergrowth
or pick the grapes from the untrimmed vines.
Since this is the jubilee, which shall be sacred for you,
you may not eat of its produce,
except as taken directly from the field.

“In this year of jubilee, then,
every one of you shall return to his own property.
Therefore, when you sell any land to your neighbor
or buy any from him, do not deal unfairly.
On the basis of the number of years since the last jubilee
shall you purchase the land from your neighbor;
and so also, on the basis of the number of years for crops,
shall he sell it to you.
When the years are many, the price shall be so much the more;
when the years are few, the price shall be so much the less.
For it is really the number of crops that he sells you.
Do not deal unfairly, then; but stand in fear of your God.
I, the LORD, am your God.”

Responsorial Psalm
PS 67:2-3, 5, 7-8
R. (4) O God, let all the nations praise you!

May God have pity on us and bless us;
may he let his face shine upon us.
So may your way be known upon earth;
among all nations, your salvation.
R. O God, let all the nations praise you!
May the nations be glad and exult
because you rule the peoples in equity;
the nations on the earth you guide.
R. O God, let all the nations praise you!
The earth has yielded its fruits;
God, our God, has blessed us.
May God bless us,
and may all the ends of the earth fear him!
R. O God, let all the nations praise you!

Gospel
MT 14:1-12

Herod the tetrarch heard of the reputation of Jesus
and said to his servants, “This man is John the Baptist.
He has been raised from the dead;
that is why mighty powers are at work in him.”

Now Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison
on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip,
for John had said to him,
“It is not lawful for you to have her.”
Although he wanted to kill him, he feared the people,
for they regarded him as a prophet.
But at a birthday celebration for Herod,
the daughter of Herodias performed a dance before the guests
and delighted Herod so much
that he swore to give her whatever she might ask for.
Prompted by her mother, she said,
“Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”
The king was distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests who were present,
he ordered that it be given, and he had John beheaded in the prison.
His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl,
who took it to her mother.
His disciples came and took away the corpse
and buried him; and they went and told Jesus.


videogamers

“Do not deal unfairly, then; but stand in fear of your God.” (Leviticus 25: 17)

REFLECTION
When I was very young, Kuya Mico and I played games on our old Playstation. The flashing lights and fast-paced action has always held a place in our relationship as siblings. There was a big problem, however. As Kuya is older, he was almost always better than me at gaming and I hated to lose! I couldn’t stand having to see his character triumphant and mine left in the dust. I wanted to beat him, but I just couldn’t, so I turned to my younger sisters for help. By help, I mean having people to play with that I could actually defeat!

I taught Maan and Kitkat to play video games with me too, but I didn’t teach them everything. It was easier for me to win by hiding information from them that would allow them to play our games better. It wasn’t cheating, it was creative problem solving! They could never defeat me because I tricked them into losing. Eventually, they quit playing with me, and I was often left playing games by myself.

The temporary excitement of winning could never replace the trust they once had in me and the time we spent having fun together. Soon, I realized that losing is not always so bad! For every loser, there must be a winner! Jesus could have cheated by not dying on the cross or using His miracles to help only Himself. He, however, showed us that His dying on the cross was a greater miracle than all others. Because by his “losing” on the cross, He has allowed each and every one of us to win.

Prayer
Lord, thank you for showing me what it means to truly love. Help me to be fair in all things, that I may help others to become winners out of love. Amen.

Authorfernandez-robby-wc
Click on the image to find out more about Robby!

Little Whispers, Robby Fernandez

Middlest Child

First Reading
EX 14:5-18

When it was reported to the king of Egypt
that the people had fled,
Pharaoh and his servants changed their minds about them.
They exclaimed, “What have we done!
Why, we have released Israel from our service!”
So Pharaoh made his chariots ready and mustered his soldiers
six hundred first-class chariots
and all the other chariots of Egypt, with warriors on them all.
So obstinate had the LORD made Pharaoh
that he pursued the children of Israel
even while they were marching away in triumph.
The Egyptians, then, pursued them;
Pharaoh’s whole army, his horses, chariots and charioteers,
caught up with them as they lay encamped by the sea,
at Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon.

Pharaoh was already near when the children of Israel looked up
and saw that the Egyptians were on the march in pursuit of them.
In great fright they cried out to the LORD.
And they complained to Moses,
“Were there no burial places in Egypt
that you had to bring us out here to die in the desert?
Why did you do this to us?
Why did you bring us out of Egypt?
Did we not tell you this in Egypt, when we said,
‘Leave us alone. Let us serve the Egyptians’?
Far better for us to be the slaves of the Egyptians
than to die in the desert.”
But Moses answered the people,
“Fear not! Stand your ground,
and you will see the victory the LORD will win for you today.
These Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again.
The LORD himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still.”

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me?
Tell the children of Israel to go forward.
And you, lift up your staff and, with hand outstretched over the sea,
split the sea in two,
that the children of Israel may pass through it on dry land.
But I will make the Egyptians so obstinate
that they will go in after them.
Then I will receive glory through Pharaoh and all his army,
his chariots and charioteers.
The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD,
when I receive glory through Pharaoh
and his chariots and charioteers.”

Responsorial Psalm
EXODUS 15:1BC-2, 3-4, 5-6
R. (1b) Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.

I will sing to the LORD, for he is gloriously triumphant;
horse and chariot he has cast into the sea.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
He is my God, I praise him;
the God of my father, I extol him.
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
The LORD is a warrior,
LORD is his name!
Pharaoh’s chariots and army he hurled into the sea;
the elite of his officers were submerged in the Red Sea.
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
The flood waters covered them,
they sank into the depths like a stone.
Your right hand, O LORD, magnificent in power,
your right hand, O LORD, has shattered the enemy.
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.

Gospel
MT 12:38-42

Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus,
“Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.”
He said to them in reply,
“An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign,
but no sign will be given it
except the sign of Jonah the prophet.
Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights,
so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth
three days and three nights.
At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah;
and there is something greater than Jonah here.
At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation
and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon;
and there is something greater than Solomon here.”



“…but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet.”  (Matthew 12: 39)

REFLECTION
I am a middle child. As the third of five siblings, you can even say that I am at the middle of the middle, or the middlest child. I grew up thinking that life was unfair. My parents saw Ate Trina and Kuya Mico as trustworthy and responsible ones, while Maan and Kitkat were the ones showered with their affection and admiration. And me? I was the weird one. I didn’t like that one bit.

Two years ago, Ate got married! She moved out of the house, and I moved up in our order at home. From 3, I became number 2. But it didn’t stop there. Kuya was offered a promotion that would have him stay away during weekdays for work-related trips. I became number 1! I didn’t have to feel like the middle child anymore, life would be great! But it STILL didn’t stop there. Maan and Kitkat entered college in a school quite far from home, so our parents had them board somewhere closer. Then, I was number one, and the only one.

I could not stop thinking how different it was to be separated from my siblings. We didn’t always get along, but I realized then how much I missed having them around. Sometimes, we wish for change, seek signs, and pray for miracles for our lives to get better not thinking about what we already have. In my case, I’ve already been growing up with 4 miracles named Trina, Mico, Maan and Kitkat. And I am so blessed to be right in the middle of them. – Robby Fernandez (robbyfer@gmail.com)

Prayer
Lord, help me to see the blessings that already surround me in each day. Allow me to find You not only at my best moments, but also in simple and ordinary events. Amen

Reflection Question
What are the hidden signs that point to the Lord in our daily lives?

Little Whispers, Robby Fernandez

Injection

First Reading
Exodus 1:8-14, 22

A new king, who knew nothing of Joseph, came to power in Egypt.
He said to his subjects, “Look how numerous and powerful
the people of the children of Israel are growing, more so than we ourselves!
Come, let us deal shrewdly with them to stop their increase;
otherwise, in time of war they too may join our enemies
to fight against us, and so leave our country.”

Accordingly, taskmasters were set over the children of Israel
to oppress them with forced labor.
Thus they had to build for Pharaoh
the supply cities of Pithom and Raamses.
Yet the more they were oppressed,
the more they multiplied and spread.
The Egyptians, then, dreaded the children of Israel
and reduced them to cruel slavery,
making life bitter for them with hard work in mortar and brick
and all kinds of field work—the whole cruel fate of slaves.

Pharaoh then commanded all his subjects,
“Throw into the river every boy that is born to the Hebrews,
but you may let all the girls live.”

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 124:1B-3, 4-6, 7-8

R. (8a) Our help is in the name of the Lord.
Had not the LORD been with us–
let Israel say, had not the LORD been with us–
When men rose up against us,
then would they have swallowed us alive,
When their fury was inflamed against us.
R. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
Then would the waters have overwhelmed us;
The torrent would have swept over us;
over us then would have swept
the raging waters.
Blessed be the LORD, who did not leave us
a prey to their teeth.
R. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
We were rescued like a bird
from the fowlers’ snare,
Broken was the snare,
and we were freed.
Our help is in the name of the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
R. Our help is in the name of the Lord.

Gospel
Matthew 10:34—11:1

Jesus said to his Apostles:
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth.
I have come to bring not peace but the sword.
For I have come to set
a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one’s enemies will be those of his household.

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me,
and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
and whoever does not take up his cross
and follow after me is not worthy of me.
Whoever finds his life will lose it,
and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

“Whoever receives you receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet
will receive a prophet’s reward,
and whoever receives a righteous man
because he is righteous
will receive a righteous man’s reward.
And whoever gives only a cup of cold water
to one of these little ones to drink
because he is a disciple–
amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”

When Jesus finished giving these commands to his Twelve disciples,
he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns.

________________________________________________________________________________

  

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth.
I have come to bring not peace but the sword.” (Matthew 10:34)

REFLECTION
I have this overwhelming fear of injections. I hate the very thought of the process, especially the thought of a needle piercing my skin. You can take me to ride all the roller coasters or watch the worst of the horror movies, but never to a clinic for a shot. Nope, no thank you!

Last week, I was due for my flu vaccine, which is said to be one of the most harmless shots you can have. My siblings all took their turns before me, even Kitkat and Maan who are both younger than me did because they know of my fear. At last, there was only one syringe left and one final unwilling (and very, very scared!) patient.

“Kuya Rob, wala yan! Parang kagat lang ng langgam.” (Kuya Rob, it’s no big deal! It’s just like an ant bite.)

“Eh, san ka naman ever nakakita ng pumipila magpakagat sa langgam?!” (Where have you ever seen anyone line up for ant bites?)

I literally curled up in the corner of the room just to avoid getting my shot. After all their convincing, I bravely stood up… and pushed my girlfriend, Ana, to take a surprise flu vaccine! Fast forward to this week, and you have a very sick Robby who has an immune system weaker than tissue paper in a storm. That shot could have saved me from all the sneezing and nose blowing I am suffering from now, but my fear stopped me cold.

Sometimes, good things come in pointy and scary packages. Difficulty is not always a bad thing! Our comfort zones may be our favorite place to be, but God challenges us to go beyond. I’m still learning to embrace difficulty, but I know that in doing so, God is injecting in me a better version of myself. (Hopefully, a version without the sneezing and coughing!) Let’s face our challenges together! – Robby Fernandez (robbyfer@gmail.com)

Prayer

Lord, take the fear of challenging and scary things from my heart. Give me the strength to face difficulty, so that I may become my better self that just waits for me outside my comfort zone. Amen.

Reflection Question

What are the challenges in my life that are just waiting for me to face them?

Little Whispers, Robby Fernandez

Judger

First Reading
SIR 51:12 CD-20

I thank the LORD and I praise him;
I bless the name of the LORD.
When I was young and innocent,
I sought wisdom openly in my prayer
I prayed for her before the temple,
and I will seek her until the end,
and she flourished as a grape soon ripe.
My heart delighted in her,
My feet kept to the level path
because from earliest youth I was familiar with her.
In the short time I paid heed,
I met with great instruction.
Since in this way I have profited,
I will give my teacher grateful praise.
I became resolutely devoted to her—
the good I persistently strove for.
My soul was tormented in seeking her,
My hand opened her gate
and I came to know her secrets.
I directed my soul to her,
and in cleanness I attained to her.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 19:8, 9, 10, 11
R. (9ab) 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 precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart.
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
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.
They are more precious than gold,
than a heap of purest gold;
Sweeter also than syrup
or honey from the comb.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.

Gospel
MK 11:27-33

Jesus and his disciples returned once more to Jerusalem.
As he was walking in the temple area,
the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders
approached him and said to him,
“By what authority are you doing these things?
Or who gave you this authority to do them?”
Jesus said to them, “I shall ask you one question.
Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.
Was John’s baptism of heavenly or of human origin? Answer me.”
They discussed this among themselves and said,
“If we say, ‘Of heavenly origin,’ he will say,
‘Then why did you not believe him?’
But shall we say, ‘Of human origin’?”–
they feared the crowd,
for they all thought John really was a prophet.
So they said to Jesus in reply, “We do not know.”
Then Jesus said to them,
“Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things.”


 

CourtJudgeGavel

So they said to Jesus in reply, “We do not know.” Mark 11: 33

 

REFLECTION

I used to be a pretty anti-social person. Any kind of interaction with people I didn’t know was difficult, and always tired me out. My belief was that others would easily judge me for who I was, and that I could only trust myself. Thankfully, I had a best friend who was smart, charming and very handsome. The problem was that I could only see him inside the mirror. (Kidding!)

However, when I had thoughts I wanted to express or feelings that I wanted to share, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Even when people would ask me what was up or if I had any stories to share, I would just shrug and say that I was nothing much was going on. It felt heavy, but it was better than exposing myself. But that didn’t stop others from sharing their stories with me. My friends confided in me and would never even get my stories or earn my trust in return. It puzzled me – why would they do that? How was that fair for them?

One day, I got so tired of keeping it all in that I tried to tell a close friend all about my heavy feelings. The conversation (which was more like a soliloquy/monologue) lasted hours! I kept on going and going because of how the burden of secrecy flowed and started to escape my heart and mind. It felt good! I realized that in worrying about what my friends thought of me, I was the one judging them. I was the one who was not being fair to myself and others.

Just as Jesus in the Gospel didn’t reveal Himself to the judgmental Pharisees and scribes, he cannot reveal himself to us when we close ourselves to other people. Jesus IS in other people. The one of the easiest ways to get to know him is through the love of others. Judgment is a product of fear! Instead, choose to love and be loved. – Robby Fernandez (robbyfer@gmail.com)

 

Prayer

Lord, help me to see Your light in the love of others. I cast my judgment away so that you can reveal Yourself to me. Amen.

Reflection Question

Who are the people I continue to keep out of my life? How can I reach out to them?

Photo source: teaparty.org