AR Manalo, Little Whispers

A Letter To My 15 Year Old Self

First Reading
GN 49:2, 8-10

Jacob called his sons and said to them:
“Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob,
listen to Israel, your father.

“You, Judah, shall your brothers praise
–your hand on the neck of your enemies;
the sons of your father shall bow down to you.
Judah, like a lion’s whelp,
you have grown up on prey, my son.
He crouches like a lion recumbent,
the king of beasts–who would dare rouse him?
The scepter shall never depart from Judah,
or the mace from between his legs,
While tribute is brought to him,
and he receives the people’s homage.”

Responsorial Psalm
PS 72:1-2, 3-4AB, 7-8, 17
R. (see 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.
The mountains shall yield peace for the people,
and the hills justice.
He shall defend the afflicted among the people,
save the children of the poor.
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.
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.

Gospel
MT 1:1-17

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ,
the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham became the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers.
Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah,
whose mother was Tamar.
Perez became the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram the father of Amminadab.
Amminadab became the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz,
whose mother was Rahab.
Boaz became the father of Obed,
whose mother was Ruth.
Obed became the father of Jesse,
Jesse the father of David the king.

David became the father of Solomon,
whose mother had been the wife of Uriah.
Solomon became the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asaph.
Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Joram,
Joram the father of Uzziah.
Uzziah became the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah.
Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amos,
Amos the father of Josiah.
Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers
at the time of the Babylonian exile.

After the Babylonian exile,
Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
Zerubbabel the father of Abiud.
Abiud became the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
Azor the father of Zadok.
Zadok became the father of Achim,
Achim the father of Eliud,
Eliud the father of Eleazar.
Eleazar became the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

Thus the total number of generations
from Abraham to David
is fourteen generations;
from David to the Babylonian exile, fourteen generations;
from the Babylonian exile to the Christ,
fourteen generations.


dearMe

“Justice shall flourish in his time and fullness of peace forever”. (Psalm 72:7)

REFLECTION
A Letter to my 15-Year-Old Self

Hey Man!

Around this time, you are probably:

  1. worrying about what clothes you’re going wear for the party you’ll attend;
  2. saving up for that dream Chuck Taylor you have been eyeing on for years;
  3. wondering if she will attend the youth Christmas party;
  4. still doodling on the first ever comic book you made; or
  5. dreaming of the Nokia 5110 which is on the topmost of your Christmas wish list.

Anyway, just a heads up:

  1. It’s still the same black polo you will be wearing for the Christmas party.
  2. Yes, you will have your Chuck Taylor and you’re going wear it until you graduate from college.
  3. No she won’t be there. Prepare yourself for more heartaches along the way.
  4. Keep on doodling. No matter what they say, keep on doodling.
  5. You won’t have the Nokia 5110, but mom will make a way for you to have your own cellphone.

AR, I won’t tell you much what will happen in the next 15 years, but let me tell you this.

You may see that the choices you made, your financial status and your appearance make you weak, unlovable, and insecure. Cheer up, AR, I want to assure you that you are a beautiful mess.

Every flaw in your body, every weakness you have, every bit of angst or regret that you have because of some stupid decision you did, every heartache that you felt, every unsuccessful relationship that has happened with you, embrace it. It makes you HUMAN. Every FAILURE, it makes you relatable and it makes you beautiful in the eyes of Jesus.

Our God is a god of justice. Our God knows how much you are struggling right now. Seeing in your 15-year-old eyes, I know it is indeed hard to be faithful. AR, do not be discouraged.  He will be there until you reach the finish line and he will still cheer you on right until next levels and phases of your life. He will turn your rock bottom moments, as you say, into a mountain of blessings. I am sure.

Poverty is not a curse, it’s a challenge for you to be a steward of your finances.

The bad choices that you made and will make will wake you up and drive you to be better next time.

The heartbreaks that you felt will prepare you for your future wife and the two of you will grow and learn together. Here’s a hint: She might be sitting next to you right now in your prayer meeting.

And AR, I have a favor, keep on doodling, keep on imagining and keep on drawing. Because this for you is believing in yourself. We need that. Sometime in 2015, the 2015, the seeds of your imagination will be on an exhibit.

Yes, it’s true. So keep on serving and giving back to society. It will make you closer to Jesus. Everything you’re praying for will happen “sa tamang panahon”. (Trust me you’ll get that pun once you reach 2015)

Fist-bumping you all throughout,

15+15-Year-Old AR

Reflection Song

God of Justice By Tim Hughes

Author

AR Manalo

AR Manalo, Little Whispers

A Belt of Straw

First Reading
2 Cor 9:6-11

Brothers and sisters, consider this:
whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly,
and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion,
for God loves a cheerful giver.
Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you,
so that in all things, always having all you need,
you may have an abundance for every good work.
As it is written:

He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.

The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food
will supply and multiply your seed
and increase the harvest of your righteousness.

You are being enriched in every way for all generosity,
which through us produces thanksgiving to God.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 112:1BC-2, 3-4, 9
R. (1b) Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Wealth and riches shall be in his house;
his generosity shall endure forever.
Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Lavishly he gives to the poor;
his generosity shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Gospel
Mt 6:1-6, 16-18

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

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

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

________________________________________________________________________________________

pancabudi

REFLECTION

“God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work.”

After receiving my pay-back for my first job, I already have an idea how I would spend it. I still remember that a part of it will be spent for my registration on the singles encounter weekend. A couple of days before that, my mom was telling me stories about my brother who was still studying. But what struck me the most was that she wore pants held on by a plastic straw around her waist.

I asked her why she was wearing that plastic straw. She smiled because she knew that she looked funny, but she told me “Anak, tsaka nalang ako bibili ng belt, mas marami pang mas importanteng kelangan gastusin kaysa sa belt, tuition na naman ng kapatid mo, sayang naman kung ibibili ko lang ng belt yun.” That moment, I just knew what I have to do.

I whispered a prayer to God “Lord, kaw na bahala ha, I will be jobless for days maybe months. But I know Lord hindi mo ko papabayaan”. So I took out my wallet, gave more than the average price of a belt and told her “Ma, bili ka na ng belt mo, yun natira dyan ikaw na bahala kung saan mo ilalagay”.

My Mom smiled and was in tears.  Being able to give back to the person who had countless sacrifices for her 3 children really felt good. Looking at it now, it reminded me that God doesn’t fail His people, that His grace is sufficient. That when you share His blessing it goes back a hundred fold. That day probably was one of the last times our family felt short-handed financially and after that blessings started pouring in. And I praise Him for His generosity. Amen. – AR Manalo (arzero@yahoo.com)

PRAYER

Lord, Today I pray for blessings, may it be financial, health or time so that I could bless other people as well with what I have. Amen.

REFLECTION QUESTION

Are there any opportunities today that you can bless other people with what you have?

Photo source: pancabudi.com

AR Manalo, Little Whispers

He Answers

First Reading
1 Cor 15:1-8

I am reminding you, brothers and sisters,
of the Gospel I preached to you,
which you indeed received and in which you also stand.
Through it you are also being saved,
if you hold fast to the word I preached to you,
unless you believed in vain.
For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received:
that Christ died for our sins
in accordance with the Scriptures;
that he was buried;
that he was raised on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures;
that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.
After that, he appeared to more
than five hundred brothers and sisters at once,
most of whom are still living,
though some have fallen asleep.
After that he appeared to James,
then to all the Apostles.
Last of all, as to one born abnormally,
he appeared to me.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 19:2-3, 4-5
R. (5) Their message goes out through all the earth.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day pours out the word to day;
and night to night imparts knowledge.
R. Their message goes out through all the earth.Not a word nor a discourse
whose voice is not heard;
Through all the earth their voice resounds,
and to the ends of the world, their message.
R. Their message goes out through all the earth.

Gospel
Jn 14:6-14

Jesus said to Thomas, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you know me, then you will also know my Father.
From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him,
“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.
The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,
or else, believe because of the works themselves.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father.
And whatever you ask in my name, I will do,
so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”

__________________________________________________________________________________________

question-mark

REFLECTION

“If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.” John 14:14

I was an insecure boy growing up.

All I ever wanted were approvals from my peers and to be part of a group that doesn’t get ridiculed and bullied. College wasn’t as bad as those days when I was in high school. I did find a couple of good friends but most of the “good times” I spent with them involved vices. I belonged but I wasn’t happy.

There has got to be something more for me than this. There has got to be something real, something that is beyond drinking and other earthly things. At this point, the youth ministry came into my life. It wasn’t a smooth entry for me for I find the community very “superficial” that they can’t seem to relate with what I’m going through. All I know is that I wanted to belong. And so I served. Little by little, I showed who I really am to the community. I discovered that they weren’t perfect either as I’ve perceived them to be. These people in the youth ministry mirrored the same weaknesses as I have. They understood.

The Lord says, “If you ask anything in my name, I will do it”. I asked the Lord for real friends but He gave me more than friends. He gave me brothers and sisters. I asked the Lord for a group which I could feel that I belong but He gave me more than that. He gave me a community where He made me stand out through serving and growing in the youth ministry with my own uniqueness.

I am blessed for I have a God who doesn’t settle for anything less for His people. The Lord is not done with me yet. If I ask for anything, He will do it. If I ask for anything, He will fulfil it – far greater than I could ever imagine.  – AR Manalo (ar_zero@yahoo.com)

PRAYER
Lord today I pray for more confidence that all my intentions will be provided by You in Your perfect time. Ame

REFLECTION
When was the last time I felt my prayers have been answered? Are there any opportunities for me today to remind others that they are blessed as I am?

Photo source: blog.awd.org

AR Manalo, Little Whispers

A Childhood Dream

First Reading
Acts 5:27-32, 40B-41

When the captain and 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.”

The Sanhedrin ordered the apostles
to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them.
So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin,
rejoicing that they had been found worthy
to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11-12, 13

R. (2a) I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
or:
R. Alleluia.

I will extol you, O LORD, for you drew me clear
and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O LORD, you brought me up from the netherworld;
you preserved me from among those going down into the pit.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Sing praise to the LORD, you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger lasts but a moment;
a lifetime, his good will.
At nightfall, weeping enters in,
but with the dawn, rejoicing.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me;
O LORD, be my helper.
You changed my mourning into dancing;
O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Second Reading
Rev 5:11-14

I, John, looked and heard the voices of many angels
who surrounded the throne
and the living creatures and the elders.
They were countless in number, and they cried out in a loud voice:
“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain
to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength,
honor and glory and blessing.”
Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth
and under the earth and in the sea,
everything in the universe, cry out:
“To the one who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor, glory and might,
forever and ever.”
The four living creatures answered, “Amen,”
and the elders fell down and worshiped.

Gospel
Jn 21:1-19

At that time, Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias.
He revealed himself in this way.
Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus,
Nathanael from Cana in Galilee,
Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples.
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”
They said to him, “We also will come with you.”
So they went out and got into the boat,
but that night they caught nothing.
When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore;
but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?”
They answered him, “No.”
So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat
and you will find something.”
So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in
because of the number of fish.
So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.”
When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord,
he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad,
and jumped into the sea.
The other disciples came in the boat,
for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards,
dragging the net with the fish.
When they climbed out on shore,
they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.”
So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore
full of one hundred fifty-three large fish.
Even though there were so many, the net was not torn.
Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.”
And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?”
because they realized it was the Lord.
Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them,
and in like manner the fish.
This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples
after being raised from the dead.

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
He then said to Simon Peter a second time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
Jesus said to him the third time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was distressed that Jesus had said to him a third time,
“Do you love me?” and he said to him,
“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger,
you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted;
but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you
and lead you where you do not want to go.”
He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.
And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”

Or
Jn 21:1-14

At that time, Jesus revealed himself to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias.
He revealed himself in this way.
Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus,
Nathanael from Cana in Galilee,
Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples.
Simon Peter said to them, “ am going fishing.”
They said to him, “e also will come with you.”
So they went out and got into the boat,
but that night they caught nothing.
When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore;
but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?”
They answered him, “No.”
So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat
and you will find something.”
So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in
because of the number of fish.
So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.”
When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord,
he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad,
and jumped into the sea.
The other disciples came in the boat,
for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards,
dragging the net with the fish.
When they climbed out on shore,
they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.”
So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore
full of one hundred fifty-three large fish.
Even though there were so many, the net was not torn.
Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.”
And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?”
because they realized it was the Lord.
Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them,
and in like manner the fish.
This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples
after being raised from the dead.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

AR MANALO shutterstock.com

REFLECTION

And when he said this, He said to him, “Follow me”.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

“I want to draw mama”

Fast forward to the present, I ended up in a career that is far from pencils and sketchbooks.

My desire to be an artist, though, never faded. It was always a childhood dream. I told myself that it’s not too late, since I could now finance my resources. Yet the big problem for me was time because my work isn’t just on an eight-hour “time-in, time out” basis. It even entails giving up some weekends due to corporate activities.  I can’t quit my job, not now, for I cannot just leave all my responsibilities behind and just chase a dream.  All I can do is pray and rely on God knowing that he won’t fail me.

“Follow in faith” even when at times knowledge seems exhausted, just like when Peter was asked to cast the net on the other side by a stranger (whom they haven’t realized yet was Jesus).  Their desire for a good harvest paid off, that and other “miracles” happen when they followed Jesus.  I had dozens of reasons why I can’t or why it’s hard for me right now but God gave me one big reason to push through: HIM. Because of this, I was able somehow to balance my passion with my work.

The youth ministry also gave me the chance to be part of their creative team and meet other talented artists’ that inspires me to be better in my craft. All I wanted was to make posters, but He gave more opportunities, from tarps to shirts to logos to book designs. Never mind the pay, I have my job to suffice me that. But what made me define that I am an artist for Christ was when I saw a huge “Never Alone” tarp hanging on the Love-is concert. This got me to tears and prayed silently “Lord ako yan! akong ako yan! And I’m offering it all for you”.

“What do I want to be when I grow old?”

I want to be a great “self-taught Christian artist” in the world that will inspire and blessed people when they see my artworks. There’s a bit of self-gratification in me when I say this, but more importantly I wanted to spark change, to change the world one artwork at a time. – AR Manalo (ar_zero@yahoo.com)

PRAYER 
Lord I am yours, every obstacle I may encounter this week, I will get through because I have you.

REFLECTION QUESTION
Is there an event in your life that you felt he has failed you but instead turned-out to be a blessing? Today, proclaim that Jesus is with you and blessings will be chasing you.

Photo source: shutterstock.com

AR Manalo, Little Whispers

U R A HERO

First Reading
Is 42:1-7

Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one with whom I am pleased,
Upon whom I have put my Spirit;
he shall bring forth justice to the nations,
Not crying out, not shouting,
not making his voice heard in the street.
A bruised reed he shall not break,
and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,
Until he establishes justice on the earth;
the coastlands will wait for his teaching.

Thus says God, the LORD,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spreads out the earth with its crops,
Who gives breath to its people
and spirit to those who walk on it:
I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice,
I have grasped you by the hand;
I formed you, and set you
as a covenant of the people,
a light for the nations,
To open the eyes of the blind,
to bring out prisoners from confinement,
and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 27:1, 2, 3, 13-14

R. (1a) The Lord is my light and my salvation.
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. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
When evildoers come at me
to devour my flesh,
My foes and my enemies
themselves stumble and fall.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart will not fear;
Though war be waged upon me,
even then will I trust.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
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. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

Gospel
Jn 12:1-11

Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany,
where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served,
while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him.
Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil
made from genuine aromatic nard
and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair;
the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples,
and the one who would betray him, said,
“Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages
and given to the poor?”
He said this not because he cared about the poor
but because he was a thief and held the money bag
and used to steal the contributions.
So Jesus said, “Leave her alone.
Let her keep this for the day of my burial.
You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”

The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came,
not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus,
whom he had raised from the dead.
And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too,
because many of the Jews were turning away
and believing in Jesus because of him.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

spotlight_header1-e1347314299745

REFLECTION

 “I the Lord have called you for the victory of justice, I have grasped you by the hand; I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in the darkness.”

I just had the best surprise birthday party of my whole life. Those who attended were my friends whom I’ve known since I was still a young awkward, thin-looking, sci-fi geek and to the friends of the now dashing, (still thin) young man that I am today.

That day made me feel like I was a soldier, celebrating a “hero’s welcome”. I thought to myself, I must have done something right in my teen days to deserve such great friends. The days I spent during my youth must have made me the man that I am today as I have received such love and appreciation from those people around me that, surprisingly, even my workmates were there to make me feel respected and loved.

I am convinced that we cannot escape who we really are. When I was in the youth ministry, I learned that I was chosen by my God to be a light for others. Seeing “Jesus” every week in the ministry, developed a habit in me to try and see Jesus in everyone especially outside of the community and even going beyond the simple act of uttering the words “Kamusta ka na?” when talking to someone.  That birthday surprise made me realize that with those small acts of kindness, God has indeed formed me into this one bright light for others.

Today, I am reminded, as a proud “alumni” of the youth ministry, that the seeds that have been planted during my youth grew and developed into the man that I am today.

Those traits of being like “Jesus” will always be with us. You are a Hero on your own right – because God made you to be. That light we received during our baptism and the days during our service will remain constant. Changes in your world are inevitable but that hero in you will be there no matter what; that wherever or whoever you are right now, you will always be a keeper of His light.  – AR Manalo (ar_zero@yahoo.com)

PRAYER
Lord I pray that today, my light will shine brighter than yesterday.

REFLECTION QUESTION
Think of your activities today. Are there any opportunities that I can be a Jesus to others in my own simple way?

Photo source: http://payablesplace.ardentpartners.com