Bettina Morales, Little Whispers

Rotten Tomatoes

First Reading
Exodus 32:7-14
The LORD said to Moses,
“Go down at once to your people
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt,
for they have become depraved.
They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed out to them,
making for themselves a molten calf and worshiping it,
sacrificing to it and crying out,
‘This is your God, O Israel,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt!’
The LORD said to Moses,
“I see how stiff-necked this people is.
Let me alone, then,
that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them.
Then I will make of you a great nation.”

But Moses implored the LORD, his God, saying,
“Why, O LORD, should your wrath blaze up against your own people,
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt
with such great power and with so strong a hand?
Why should the Egyptians say,
‘With evil intent he brought them out,
that he might kill them in the mountains
and exterminate them from the face of the earth’?
Let your blazing wrath die down;
relent in punishing your people.
Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel,
and how you swore to them by your own self, saying,
‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky;
and all this land that I promised,
I will give your descendants as their perpetual heritage.’“
So the LORD relented in the punishment
he had threatened to inflict on his people.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 106:19-20, 21-22, 23
(4a)  Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Our fathers made a calf in Horeb
and adored a molten image;
They exchanged their glory
for the image of a grass-eating bullock.
R.    Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They forgot the God who had saved them,
who had done great deeds in Egypt,
Wondrous deeds in the land of Ham,
terrible things at the Red Sea.
R.    Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Then he spoke of exterminating them,
but Moses, his chosen one,
Withstood him in the breach
to turn back his destructive wrath.
R.    Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

Gospel
John 5:31-47
Jesus said to the Jews:
“If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true.
But there is another who testifies on my behalf,
and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true.
You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth.
I do not accept human testimony,
but I say this so that you may be saved.
He was a burning and shining lamp,
and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light.
But I have testimony greater than John’s.
The works that the Father gave me to accomplish,
these works that I perform testify on my behalf
that the Father has sent me.
Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf.
But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form,
and you do not have his word remaining in you,
because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent.
You search the Scriptures,
because you think you have eternal life through them;
even they testify on my behalf.
But you do not want to come to me to have life.

“I do not accept human praise;
moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you.
I came in the name of my Father,
but you do not accept me;
yet if another comes in his own name,
you will accept him.
How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another
and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?
Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father:
the one who will accuse you is Moses,
in whom you have placed your hope.
For if you had believed Moses,
you would have believed me,
because he wrote about me.
But if you do not believe his writings,
how will you believe my words?”


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“How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?” (John 5:44)

REFLECTION
What makes you want to watch a movie? Is it the eye-catching poster? The synopsis? For me, I always find time to read or ask for reviews from people who have already watched movies I am interested in. Sometimes movie posters looks good yet the plot is lacking, or the synopsis excites viewers yet it was made with poor production. A movie takes about two hours of your life, so, what better way than to spend it on good quality movies that has been validated sufficiently?

As humans, we acknowledge that there are days when we doubt and are filled with questions on movies we want to watch, things we do, the principles we follow, and even the beliefs we believe in. The gospel shows us the story of how the Jews failed to believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God in spite of testimonies made by John, God through the scriptures, and Jesus himself through his works. Like us, the Jews searched for concrete evidence or testimonies from the majority in order to fully accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah. In today’s gospel, Jesus makes it known to us that we are vulnerable to seeking validation from others that it leaves us pre-occupied, thus, overpowering our need to receive praises from Christ.

Oftentimes, God has already provided us with what we need, but we fail to see and acknowledge what he has given. We tend to focus on what we want to see rather than what is already laid on the table for us. So today, we are reminded that to fully commit ourselves to a life in Christ, we must recognize that what we only need is His testimony and His praise.

Reflection Song

Jesus I Need You by Hillsong Worship

Author

wc-bettina

Click on the bubble to find out more about Bettina!

Photo by Krists Luhaers (@kristsll at unsplash.com)

Bettina Morales, Little Whispers

Indifferent

First Reading
Romans 13:8-10
Brothers and sisters:
Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another;
for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
The commandments, You shall not commit adultery;
you shall not kill;
you shall not steal;
you shall not covet,

and whatever other commandment there may be,
are summed up in this saying, namely,
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Love does no evil to the neighbor;
hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 112:1B-2, 4-5, 9
R.( 5a) Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.
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 is gracious and lends to those in need.
or:
R. Alleluia.
He dawns through the darkness, a light for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.
Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice.
R. Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.
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 is gracious and lends to those in need.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Gospel
Luke 14:25-33
Great crowds were traveling with Jesus,
and he turned and addressed them,
“If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother,
wife and children, brothers and sisters,
and even his own life,
he cannot be my disciple.
Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me
cannot be my disciple.
Which of you wishing to construct a tower
does not first sit down and calculate the cost
to see if there is enough for its completion?
Otherwise, after laying the foundation
and finding himself unable to finish the work
the onlookers should laugh at him and say,
‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’
Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down
and decide whether with ten thousand troops
he can successfully oppose another king
advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops?
But if not, while he is still far away,
he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms.
In the same way,
everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions
cannot be my disciple.”


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“…whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this saying, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13: 9-10)

REFLECTION
I remember attending mass in our parish church on a Sunday evening a few years back. A tall ragged man went around the whole church asking for people’s hands to greet them respectfully and share his own sign of peace.

As one would see, the man belonged in the disadvantaged sector, being homeless and struggling mentally, wandering alone without a family and without a home.

Parishioners call him Bente since he always asks for twenty peso bills, and doesn’t accept greater amounts. In my many years of attending mass every Sunday in the same church, I’ve seen how the community grew fond of him, most especially the staff of the parish. From as little as smiling at him whenever he enters the church, giving their hands in greeting, to caring for him and helping him through gifts of food and clothes.

In today’s gospel, we are reminded of God’s greatest commandment: to love with no extent and to love in spite of differences. I believe that the reason why Bente always finds himself coming back to the church on Sundays is because inside and through the people, he finds a home and a family.

Truly, God calls us, the members of his church, to love without bounds because through that love, we make it known to the world God’s compassion by the kindness He instilled in all of humanity.

Reflection Song

Safe by Victory Worship

Author

wc-bettina

Click on the bubble to find out more about Bettina!

Photo by: Jordan Rowland (@yakimadesign at unsplash.com)

Bettina Morales, Little Whispers

Reset?

First Reading
Nehemiah 2:1-8

In the month Nisan of the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes,
when the wine was in my charge,
I took some and offered it to the king.
As I had never before been sad in his presence,
the king asked me, “Why do you look sad?
If you are not sick, you must be sad at heart.”
Though I was seized with great fear, I answered the king:
“May the king live forever!
How could I not look sad
when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins,
and its gates have been eaten out by fire?”
The king asked me, “What is it, then, that you wish?”
I prayed to the God of heaven and then answered the king:
“If it please the king,
and if your servant is deserving of your favor,
send me to Judah, to the city of my ancestors’ graves,
to rebuild it.”
Then the king, and the queen seated beside him,
asked me how long my journey would take
and when I would return.
I set a date that was acceptable to him,
and the king agreed that I might go.

I asked the king further: “If it please the king,
let letters be given to me for the governors
of West-of-Euphrates,
that they may afford me safe-conduct until I arrive in Judah;
also a letter for Asaph, the keeper of the royal park,
that he may give me wood for timbering the gates
of the temple-citadel and for the city wall
and the house that I shall occupy.”
The king granted my requests,
for the favoring hand of my God was upon me.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 137:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6
R. (6ab) Let my tongue be silenced if I ever forget you!

By the streams of Babylon
we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
On the aspens of that land
we hung up our harps.
R. Let my tongue be silenced if I ever forget you!
Though there our captors asked of us
the lyrics of our songs,
And our despoilers urged us to be joyous:
“Sing for us the songs of Zion!”
R. Let my tongue be silenced if I ever forget you!
How could we sing a song of the LORD
in a foreign land?
If I forget you, Jerusalem,
may my right hand be forgotten!
R. Let my tongue be silenced if I ever forget you!
May my tongue cleave to my palate
if I remember you not,
If I place not Jerusalem
ahead of my joy.
R. Let my tongue be silenced if I ever forget you!

Gospel
Matthew 18:1-5, 10

The disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?”
He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said,
“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever humbles himself like this child
is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.
And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones,
for I say to you that their angels in heaven
always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”


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“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.(Matthew 18: 3-4)

REFLECTION
I am not a fan of video games but a particular series has gotten me hooked as a child: Harvest Moon, an interactive farming simulator game. As an 8-year-old, I didn’t understand most of what was needed in the game yet I enjoyed the simple tasks of growing crops, raising livestock, and building barns. I remained content with what I was doing despite my inability to expand my farm! 

A few months ago, I found my old Nintendo DS and surprisingly, it was still working. I tried to check my progress on Harvest Moon and then I realized that 8-year-old me had not properly accomplished the tasks needed and was far from reaching her goal of becoming a ranch master. Now, 10 years later, I still wanted to play the game so I pressed reset and began a new story.

In the gospel, Jesus tells his disciples that those who are like children are those who are welcome to enter His Kingdom. We are called, once again, to be the young kids who are innocent, teachable, and simple without any desire for power or any longing to become ranch masters.

Today, friends, we are reminded that sometimes we need to reexamine the steps we have taken in life, and maybe reset our minds and spirits. The worldly treasures this earth offers may sometimes overwhelm us that we forget that the true essence of Christ’s glory is when we humble ourselves and anchor our actions on Him. And so, I ask of you, are you ready to press reset and be renewed?

Reflection Song

Author

wc-bettina

Click on the link to find out more about Bettina!

Photo by: Nikita Kostrykin (@chilinik at unsplash.com)

 

Bettina Morales, Little Whispers

Repent and See

First Reading
1 Timothy 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
Psalm 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!

Gospel
Luke 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.”


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“He said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’” (Luke 7:48)

 REFLECTION
As a child, I had always been shy. I hated speaking to people of unfamiliar faces, falling in line alone to pay for groceries, and knocking on the faculty door whenever I needed to call for a teacher. This reached even the comforts of my own home. I kept a safe distance from sharing personal feelings to my parents and I had always been reserved whenever I speak. And even during times where I commit hurtful actions, it was difficult for me to say the word sorry.

My sorry is, at instances, a slight tap on their shoulders and a hug to finish the deed. But most of the time, my sorry is left unsaid until things slowly go back to the way they were with issues unresolved. However, as I grew up, little by little I learned the essence of owning up to my mistakes, asking for forgiveness, and rekindling through acts of love.

Just like God, my parents only wait for me to acknowledge the sins I committed. They wait until I admit and repent on each action I do. No matter how much I hurt them, their love for me never lessened.

As human beings, it has been written at the palm of our hands that we commit sins continuously; by the way we talk, act, and even think. More so, the littlest hateful thought in our heads adds up to our countless sins. But in today’s gospel, we are reminded that the weight of our sin plays no bearing when it comes to God’s love; no judgment from other people will make God love you less.

Let today be a reminder that our God is a merciful and loving God, and His grace overpowers all sin in this world. Every day, he waits beside us with open arms. So, as His children we must remember that when we humble ourselves and we learn to repent on our faults, we may find ourselves back on track towards God’s embrace.

Prayer
Almighty Father, I ask for forgiveness for the times that I have done things that were not of You. Help me to always remember You in the things I do and encounter every day. Amen.

Author

wc-bettina

Click on the bubble to find out more about Bettina!

Photo by Annie Spratt (@anniespratt at unsplash.com)