Ana Luciano

Work in Progress

First Reading
Jeremiah 38: 4-6, 8-10

In those days, the princes said to the king:
“Jeremiah ought to be put to death;
he is demoralizing the soldiers who are left in this city,
and all the people, by speaking such things to them;
he is not interested in the welfare of our people,
but in their ruin.”
King Zedekiah answered: “He is in your power”;
for the king could do nothing with them.
And so they took Jeremiah
and threw him into the cistern of Prince Malchiah,
which was in the quarters of the guard,
letting him down with ropes.
There was no water in the cistern, only mud,
and Jeremiah sank into the mud.Ebed-melech, a court official,
went there from the palace and said to him:
“My lord king,
these men have been at fault
in all they have done to the prophet Jeremiah,
casting him into the cistern.
He will die of famine on the spot,
for there is no more food in the city.”
Then the king ordered Ebed-melech the Cushite
to take three men along with him,
and draw the prophet Jeremiah out of the cistern before
he should die.
____

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 40:2,3,4,18

R. (14b)  Lord, come to my aid!
I have waited, waited for the LORD,
and he stooped toward me.
R. Lord, come to my aid!
The LORD heard my cry.
He drew me out of the pit of destruction,
out of the mud of the swamp;
he set my feet upon a crag;
he made firm my steps.
R. Lord, come to my aid!
And he put a new song into my mouth,
a hymn to our God.
Many shall look on in awe
and trust in the LORD.
R. Lord, come to my aid!
Though I am afflicted and poor,
yet the LORD thinks of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
O my God, hold not back!
R. Lord, come to my aid!
___

Second Reading
Hebrew 12:1-4

Brothers and sisters:
Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us
and persevere in running the race that lies before us
while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus,
the leader and perfecter of faith.
For the sake of the joy that lay before him
he endured the cross, despising its shame,
and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.
Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners,
in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart.
In your struggle against sin
you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.

____

Gospel
Luke 12:49-53

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have come to set the earth on fire,
and how I wish it were already blazing!
There is a baptism with which I must be baptized,
and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!
Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?
No, I tell you, but rather division.
From now on a household of five will be divided,
three against two and two against three;
a father will be divided against his son
and a son against his father,
a mother against her daughter
and a daughter against her mother,
a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”


————

“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” (Luke 12:49)

REFLECTION
It has always been a big dream of mine to paint, draw and design for a living. During my last months in school, I was blessed to be able to earn through art until I graduated. Right after school, I was so positive about the consistent pool of clients that I decided to be a full-time freelance artist.

I felt like I was living the dream! I was my own boss. I handled my own time. I was doing what I love. But it wasn’t at all easy. I remember painting on our small flimsy dining table hoping to have my own workspace. I accepted too many projects that I missed deadlines. I realized I needed enough capital to be able to produce products. At the same time, I had to rely on my mom for financial support and was not able to contribute at home.

As these challenges built up, I had to give up my dream and chose to pursue work experience in different companies. There, I realized that there’s so much more to learn, so much more to discover.

It’s been a year since I started doing freelance again. As I look back, I couldn’t imagine being able to support myself and live alone. God surprised me with a bigger space where I could work. Most of all, this opportunity has given me a chance to encourage others to serve through their God-given talents. It’s still not easy but I learned to let Him take control.

Sometimes, God works on us through difficult moments to humble us and help us be grateful. We may have big dreams but He has bigger plans and even better timing.

Prayer
Jesus, I thank You for working in my life. I pray that you continue to humble me and teach me good things. I offer you my dreams and difficult moments.

Author

 

Click on the bubble to find out more about Ana!

Ana Luciano, Little Whispers

Lolo Pete

First Reading
JON 4:1-11

Jonah was greatly displeased
and became angry that God did not carry out the evil
he threatened against Nineveh.
He prayed, “I beseech you, LORD,
is not this what I said while I was still in my own country?
This is why I fled at first to Tarshish.
I knew that you are a gracious and merciful God,
slow to anger, rich in clemency, loathe to punish.
And now, LORD, please take my life from me;
for it is better for me to die than to live.”
But the LORD asked, “Have you reason to be angry?”

Jonah then left the city for a place to the east of it,
where he built himself a hut and waited under it in the shade,
to see what would happen to the city.
And when the LORD God provided a gourd plant
that grew up over Jonah’s head,
giving shade that relieved him of any discomfort,
Jonah was very happy over the plant.
But the next morning at dawn
God sent a worm that attacked the plant,
so that it withered.
And when the sun arose, God sent a burning east wind;
and the sun beat upon Jonah’s head till he became faint.
Then Jonah asked for death, saying,
“I would be better off dead than alive.”

But God said to Jonah,
“Have you reason to be angry over the plant?”
“I have reason to be angry,” Jonah answered, “angry enough to die.”
Then the LORD said,
“You are concerned over the plant which cost you no labor
and which you did not raise;
it came up in one night and in one night it perished.
And should I not be concerned over Nineveh, the great city,
in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons
who cannot distinguish their right hand from their left,
not to mention the many cattle?”

Responsorial Psalm
PS 86:3-4, 5-6, 9-10
R. (15) Lord, you are merciful and gracious.

Have mercy on me, O Lord,
for to you I call all the day.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
R. Lord, you are merciful and gracious.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in kindness to all who call upon you.
Hearken, O LORD, to my prayer
and attend to the sound of my pleading.
R. Lord, you are merciful and gracious.
All the nations you have made shall come
and worship you, O Lord,
and glorify your name.
For you are great, and you do wondrous deeds;
you alone are God.
R. Lord, you are merciful and gracious.

Gospel
LK 11:1-4

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished,
one of his disciples said to him,
“Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.”
He said to them, “When you pray, say:

Father, hallowed be your name,
your Kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread
and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test.”


lolopete

“Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1)

REFLECTION

Whenever I would go home from school, I had this routine. I would go to my Lolo’s room and just chat with him every day. The thing is, Lolo is a stroke patient. He had a difficult time speaking clearly, but would often respond through his smiling eyes and lips.

That was one of my favorite parts of the day because I could be myself in those moments. From stories about school to even those about my crushes, he responds by untiringly smiling at me. During bad days, he holds my hand tight. No words could ever compare to the comfort Lolo could give me in his silence. In those simple moments, Lolo Pete’s love for me was almost tangible.

Prayer is just like telling God your stories. You can be yourself, and you can tell him anything. I know for a fact that whenever I pray, my Lolo also sits with God in heaven to continue listening to my stories. Even if they don’t always speak to me in words, I know their love is real.

Prayer 

Lord, I open my heart to you today. Thank you for your comfort, for your acceptance. Thank you for showing me your beautiful love. Amen.

Author

luciano-ana-wc

Click on the card to know more about Ana!

Ana Luciano, Little Whispers

Beauty in the Broken

First Reading
1 TM 4:12-16

Beloved:
Let no one have contempt for your youth,
but set an example for those who believe,
in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity.
Until I arrive, attend to the reading, exhortation, and teaching.
Do not neglect the gift you have,
which was conferred on you through the prophetic word
with the imposition of hands by the presbyterate.
Be diligent in these matters, be absorbed in them,
so that your progress may be evident to everyone.
Attend to yourself and to your teaching;
persevere in both tasks,
for by doing so you will save
both yourself and those who listen to you.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 111:7-8, 9, 10

R. (2) How great are the works of the Lord!
The works of his hands are faithful and just;
sure are all his precepts,
Reliable forever and ever,
wrought in truth and equity.
R. How great are the works of the Lord!
He has sent deliverance to his people;
he has ratified his covenant forever;
holy and awesome is his name.
R. How great are the works of the Lord!
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
prudent are all who live by it.
His praise endures forever.
R. How great are the works of the Lord!
Alleluia MT 11:28

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel
LK 7:36-50

A certain Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him,
and he entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table.
Now there was a sinful woman in the city
who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee.
Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment,
she stood behind him at his feet weeping
and began to bathe his feet with her tears.
Then she wiped them with her hair,
kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment.
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself,
“If this man were a prophet,
he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him,
that she is a sinner.”
Jesus said to him in reply,
“Simon, I have something to say to you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
“Two people were in debt to a certain creditor;
one owed five hundred days’ wages and the other owed fifty.
Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both.
Which of them will love him more?”
Simon said in reply,
“The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven.”
He said to him, “You have judged rightly.”
Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon,
“Do you see this woman?
When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet,
but she has bathed them with her tears
and wiped them with her hair.
You did not give me a kiss,
but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered.
You did not anoint my head with oil,
but she anointed my feet with ointment.
So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven;
hence, she has shown great love.
But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”
He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
The others at table said to themselves,
“Who is this who even forgives sins?”
But he said to the woman,
“Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

_____________________________________________________________________________

bikeklf

Ana’s creative portrait by Robby Fernandez

“Let no one have contempt for your youth,
but set an example for those who believe.” ( 1 Timothy  4:12)

REFLECTION

When I think of a leader, I think of someone who can confidently speak well in front – no stuttering, no mistakes. I think of someone who can make others easily obey, an extrovert with many friends.

Three years ago, I was called to be one of the five leaders of our youth ministry. In faith, I said yes.

I was the youngest. I was shy. I was still quite new. I may not fit my ideals of what a leader is, but through the years, the Lord allowed me to realize that it’s not always about being “the best”. My imperfections allowed me to connect with others. Since I was young, people were less intimidated by me. My experiences helped me to relate to others. I also found other ways of service through my art.

At this very moment, I want you to think of all your weaknesses. Don’t give them the power to put you down. Instead, God tells you to embrace your weakness and turn it into strength. After all, He created you exactly the way you are and beautiful in your own way.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, I thank You for creating me beautiful, perfect in your eyes. Today, I pray that I learn to embrace my weakness, to love myself even more – the way you have. Amen.

Author

luciano-ana-wc

Click on the image to find out more about Ana!

Ana Luciano, Little Whispers

Apart Not Alone

First Reading
NM 12:1-13

Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses on the pretext
of the marriage he had contracted with a Cushite woman.
They complained, “Is it through Moses alone that the LORD speaks?
Does he not speak through us also?”
And the LORD heard this.
Now, Moses himself was by far the meekest man on the face of the earth.
So at once the LORD said to Moses and Aaron and Miriam,
“Come out, you three, to the meeting tent.”
And the three of them went.
Then the LORD came down in the column of cloud,
and standing at the entrance of the tent,
called Aaron and Miriam.
When both came forward, he said,
“Now listen to the words of the LORD:

Should there be a prophet among you,
in visions will I reveal myself to him,
in dreams will I speak to him;
not so with my servant Moses!
Throughout my house he bears my trust:
face to face I speak to him;
plainly and not in riddles.
The presence of the LORD he beholds.

Why, then, did you not fear to speak against my servant Moses?”

So angry was the LORD against them that when he departed,
and the cloud withdrew from the tent,
there was Miriam, a snow-white leper!
When Aaron turned and saw her a leper, he said to Moses,
“Ah, my lord! Please do not charge us with the sin
that we have foolishly committed!
Let her not thus be like the stillborn babe
that comes forth from its mother’s womb
with its flesh half consumed.”
Then Moses cried to the LORD, “Please, not this! Pray, heal her!”

Responsorial Psalm
PS 51:3-4, 5-6AB, 6CD-7, 12-13
R. (see 3a) Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
For I acknowledge my offense;
and my sin is before me always:
“Against you only have I sinned;
and done what is evil in your sight.”
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
That you may be justified in your sentence,
vindicated when you condemn.
Indeed, in guilt was I born,
and in sin my mother conceived me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not off from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Gospel
MT 14:22-36

Jesus made the disciples get into a boat
and precede him to the other side of the sea,
while he dismissed the crowds.
After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.
When it was evening he was there alone.
Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore,
was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them, walking on the sea.
When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified.
“It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear.
At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter said to him in reply,
“Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come.”
Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.
But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened;
and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him,
and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
After they got into the boat, the wind died down.
Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying,
“Truly, you are the Son of God.”

After making the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret.
When the men of that place recognized him,
they sent word to all the surrounding country.
People brought to him all those who were sick
and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak,
and as many as touched it were healed.

Or
MT 15:1-2, 10-14

Some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said,
“Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders?
They do not wash their hands when they eat a meal.”
He summoned the crowd and said to them, “Hear and understand.
It is not what enters one’s mouth that defiles the man;
but what comes out of the mouth is what defiles one.”
Then his disciples approached and said to him,
“Do you know that the Pharisees took offense
when they heard what you said?”
He said in reply, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted
will be uprooted.
Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind.
If a blind man leads a blind man,
both will fall into a pit.”


reflection

 “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31)

REFLECTION

When I was little, my biggest fear was being away from Mommy.

Case #1:
Every summer, my cousins who live in the province would invite me to stay there for three to five nights. One night was all I could manage before my uncle gets forced to ride a bus with me back home.

Case #2:
My mom used to pick me up at 5 pm after school. During one instance, I waited until 6pm. She found me crying. She thought I was crying because all of my friends already went home. Truth was, I was worried that something might have happened to her.

Case #3:
In 5th grade, my best friend invited me to sleepover at their place which was literally across the street. I pretended to be sick just to get sent home.

But when I was thirteen, my mom and I migrated to New Zealand. After a few months, I had to go back to the Philippines without my mom. That was the first time I would be away from her for a very long time. I prayed to God that He would grant me the strength to be away from her and surprisingly, I didn’t get as homesick as I expected.

At this point, I can say that I have grown a lot. I graduated college and now, starting my little business. I learned to be more independent, and most of all, overcame my fear of being away from Mommy. Even if I am not as attached to her anymore, she will always be my pillar of support. And never once did I doubt that she would always be there for me.

Just like with Jesus – sometimes, we feel so far away from Him when storms come and we stay in our comfort zone. But when we step out of the boat to face the storms, there, we grow. And through the stormy waters, we may not always feel it, but Jesus always holds our hand tight.

Prayer

Lord Jesus,  today I decide to step out of the boat,  and face my current storm. As I step these stormy waters, help me grow in faith, hope and love. And I thank You for I know that You will always be there through all these. Amen.

Author

luciano-ana-wc

Click on the image to find out more about Ana!

Ana Luciano, Little Whispers

109+

First Reading
GN 19:15-29
As dawn was breaking, the angels urged Lot on, saying, “On your way!
Take with you your wife and your two daughters who are here,
or you will be swept away in the punishment of Sodom.”
When he hesitated, the men, by the LORD’s mercy,
seized his hand and the hands of his wife and his two daughters
and led them to safety outside the city.
As soon as they had been brought outside, he was told:
“Flee for your life!
Don’t look back or stop anywhere on the Plain.
Get off to the hills at once, or you will be swept away.”
“Oh, no, my lord!” Lot replied,
“You have already thought enough of your servant
to do me the great kindness of intervening to save my life.
But I cannot flee to the hills to keep the disaster from overtaking me,
and so I shall die.
Look, this town ahead is near enough to escape to.
It’s only a small place.
Let me flee there–it’s a small place, is it not?–
that my life may be saved.”
“Well, then,” he replied,
“I will also grant you the favor you now ask.
I will not overthrow the town you speak of.
Hurry, escape there!
I cannot do anything until you arrive there.”
That is why the town is called Zoar.

The sun was just rising over the earth as Lot arrived in Zoar;
at the same time the LORD rained down sulphurous fire
upon Sodom and Gomorrah
from the LORD out of heaven.
He overthrew those cities and the whole Plain,
together with the inhabitants of the cities
and the produce of the soil.
But Lot’s wife looked back, and she was turned into a pillar of salt.

Early the next morning Abraham went to the place
where he had stood in the LORD’s presence.
As he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah
and the whole region of the Plain,
he saw dense smoke over the land rising like fumes from a furnace.

Thus it came to pass: when God destroyed the Cities of the Plain,
he was mindful of Abraham by sending Lot away from the upheaval
by which God overthrew the cities where Lot had been living.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 26: 2-3, 9-10, 11-12
R. (3a) O Lord, your mercy is before my eyes.
Search me, O LORD, and try me;
test my soul and my heart.
For your mercy is before my eyes,
and I walk in your truth.
R. O Lord, your mercy is before my eyes.
Gather not my soul with those of sinners,
nor with men of blood my life.
On their hands are crimes,
and their right hands are full of bribes.
R. O Lord, your mercy is before my eyes.
But I walk in integrity;
redeem me, and have mercy on me.
My foot stands on level ground;
in the assemblies I will bless the LORD.
R. O Lord, your mercy is before my eyes.

Gospel
MT 8:23-27
As Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him.
Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea,
so that the boat was being swamped by waves;
but he was asleep.
They came and woke him, saying,
“Lord, save us! We are perishing!”
He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?”
Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea,
and there was great calm.
The men were amazed and said, “What sort of man is this,
whom even the winds and the sea obey?”


penta

“He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?”  (Matthew 8:26)

REFLECTION

In our youth ministry, I was blessed to become one of the five youth leaders.

This was actually a lot harder than the five of us thought, as many challenges faced us in the past years. The venue wasn’t big enough. We encountered financial road bumps. Our attendance dwindled until one youth gathering, there were only nine people! Worst of all, since we have five different minds, different personalities and different ages, it would be extremely difficult to bring issues to one conclusion.

Fortunately, backing us up are our two adult coordinators who act like our parents in the ministry. Whenever we panic, argue and lose our way with these challenges, they, on the other hand, would keep calm and remind us to pray. Despite all the difficulties, Tito Ariel and Tita Alice would always pray — for us, for the youth ministry, for their 109+ children that they love so much. 

Today, Jesus wants you to focus on faith – just as Tito Ariel and Tita Alice did, just as Jesus Himself did. Whatever storm you are going through, relax and hold on to faith. Your captain knows what will happen. – Ana Luciano (anambluciano@gmail.com)

Prayer

Jesus, my captain, help me to be still – knowing that faith in a big God is greater than any storm. Amen.

Reflection Question

When was the last time you chose to be still during a personal storm?

Ana Luciano, Little Whispers

Batchmates

First Reading
2 COR 11:1-11

Brothers and sisters:
If only you would put up with a little foolishness from me!
Please put up with me.
For I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God,
since I betrothed you to one husband
to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning,
your thoughts may be corrupted
from a sincere and pure commitment to Christ.
For if someone comes and preaches another Jesus than the one we preached,
or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received
or a different gospel from the one you accepted,
you put up with it well enough.
For I think that I am not in any way inferior to these “superapostles.”
Even if I am untrained in speaking, I am not so in knowledge;
in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.

Did I make a mistake when I humbled myself so that you might be exalted,
because I preached the Gospel of God to you without charge?
I plundered other churches by accepting from them
in order to minister to you.
And when I was with you and in need, I did not burden anyone,
for the brothers who came from Macedonia
supplied my needs.
So I refrained and will refrain from burdening you in any way.
By the truth of Christ in me,
this boast of mine shall not be silenced
in the regions of Achaia.
And why? Because I do not love you?
God knows I do!

Responsorial Psalm
PS 111:1B-2, 3-4, 7-8
R. (7a) Your works, O Lord, are justice and truth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart
in the company and assembly of the just.
Great are the works of the LORD,
exquisite in all their delights.
R. Your works, O Lord, are justice and truth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Majesty and glory are his work,
and his justice endures forever.
He has won renown for his wondrous deeds;
gracious and merciful is the LORD.
R. Your works, O Lord, are justice and truth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

The works of his hands are faithful and just;
sure are all his precepts,
Reliable forever and ever,
wrought in truth and equity.
R. Your works, O Lord, are justice and truth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Gospel
MT 6:7-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
“In praying, do not babble like the pagans,
who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them.
Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“This is how you are to pray:

‘Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.’
“If you forgive others their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive others,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”


 

_MG_9273

“Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:8)

REFLECTION

This was it — the last three weeks of my school life.

But there I was, hanging by a thread, about to give up. I (especially my professors) knew it was absolutely, realistically impossible (no exaggeration!) for me to make it. I wanted to drop the subject.

Mommy wasn’t supportive of what I wanted. I knew she did not understand my situation. I knew she couldn’t handle the fact that if I dropped the subject, I wouldn’t graduate with honors.

But for those three weeks, every time she got home from work, she sat beside me and tried to stay up like I did until she would fall asleep on the table where I worked. Mommy looked like a college student like me — sleepless like a zombie.

If there’s anything I realized, it’s that I was wrong. My mom pushed me because she believes in me. She did not only understand what I was going through, but she chose to suffer with me because she loves me.

Last February 2015, I graduated – on time and by God’s surprise, with flying colors. A big part of all that was God and Mom’s work. As her third and last child, my graduation would be Mommy’s as well.

Today, Jesus reminds us that He believes in us the way my mom also did. The God of your dreams does not only believe in you but He chooses to suffer with you. In every problem you face, He is with you. He loves you. So whatever you’re going through, let it go. Offer it up to Jesus. He knows what’s in your heart. He knows what you deserve. And He’ll give back, a hundredfold.– Ana Luciano (anambluciano@gmail.com)

Prayer

Lord Jesus, I thank You for believing in me. Today, I choose to offer my efforts and dreams to You. There is no worry because I know You got me covered and I’m just so excited for the many things you have in store! Amen.

Reflection Question

In difficult times, do I focus on God’s promises?

Ana Luciano, Little Whispers

Spark

First Reading
Acts 2:36-41

On the day of Pentecost, Peter said to the Jewish people,
“Let the whole house of Israel know for certain
that God has made him both Lord and Christ,
this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart,
and they asked Peter and the other Apostles,
“What are we to do, my brothers?”
Peter said to them,
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you,
in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins;
and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For the promise is made to you and to your children
and to all those far off,
whomever the Lord our God will call.”
He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them,
“Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
Those who accepted his message were baptized,
and about three thousand persons were added that day.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 33:4-5, 18-19, 20 and 22
R. (5b) The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

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. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

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. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Gospel
John 20:11-18

Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb weeping.
And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb
and saw two angels in white sitting there,
one at the head and one at the feet
where the Body of Jesus had been.
And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “They have taken my Lord,
and I don’t know where they laid him.”
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there,
but did not know it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?
Whom are you looking for?”
She thought it was the gardener and said to him,
“Sir, if you carried him away,
tell me where you laid him,
and I will take him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,”
which means Teacher.
Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me,
for I have not yet ascended to the Father.
But go to my brothers and tell them,
‘I am going to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.’”
Mary went and announced to the disciples,
“I have seen the Lord,”
and then reported what he had told her.


Spark

 

“’I have seen the Lord,’  and then reported what he had told her.” (John 20: 18)


REFLECTION

I will never forget the Holy Week of last year. It was the first time I missed being with my family for our yearly traditions – having Visita Iglesia, Easter Vigil and simply just watching the usual movies like Passion of Christ and Tanging Yaman— movies that would make us reflect and teary-eyed.

That holy week was also my finals week. I had deadlines due on Maundy Thursday, Black Saturday and Easter Sunday. Kulang na lang Good Friday! Not only that, I was struggling to pass these subjects. On a week I wanted to focus on Jesus, there I was, stuck in a challenge of faith – filled with doubt, fear and anxiety. I could vividly remember from that Holy Wednesday to Easter Sunday, there was not a day I did not shed tears. This time, because of finals and not Holy Week movies.

You see, we are very much like Mary Magdalene. When we are in our deepest struggles, we fail to notice that Jesus is just right there. Sometimes, we have to witness grand blessings for us to notice when in fact, every single time, Jesus is working miracles.

That week of Easter, I got my grades. I did not only pass, but made it to the Dean’s List — a miracle! I have never felt Jesus so alive in His promises, in His unfailing love and in me. Friends, this Easter season, allow Jesus to surprise you! Let Him spark his miracles in You. He will always be with you and in you. He is risen! He is alive! Happy Easter! – Ana Luciano (anambluciano@gmail.com)

Prayer

Lord Jesus, I thank You for the cross. Thank You for working miracles in my life. Today, I pray for an open heart so that You can work through me and that I can be the spark of Your love to others. Amen.

Reflection Question

In what ways can I be the spark of God’s love to others?

Photo Source: Ana Luciano