Carl Lora, Little Whispers

MISSING! Contact If Found

First Reading
Romans 14:7-12
Brothers and sisters:
None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself.
For if we live, we live for the Lord,
and if we die, we die for the Lord;
so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
For this is why Christ died and came to life,
that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
Why then do you judge your brother or sister?
Or you, why do you look down on your brother or sister?
For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God;
for it is written:

As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bend before me,
and every tongue shall give praise to God.

So then each of us shall give an account of himself to God.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 27:1BCDE, 4, 13-14
R. ( 13) I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
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. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
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. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.

Gospel
Luke 15:1-10

The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So Jesus addressed this parable to them.
“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them
would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert
and go after the lost one until he finds it?
And when he does find it,
he sets it on his shoulders with great joy
and, upon his arrival home,
he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’
I tell you, in just the same way
there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous people
who have no need of repentance.

“Or what woman having ten coins and losing one
would not light a lamp and sweep the house,
searching carefully until she finds it?
And when she does find it,
she calls together her friends and neighbors
and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’
In just the same way, I tell you,
there will be rejoicing among the angels of God
over one sinner who repents.”


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“…‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.” (Luke 15: 6-7)

REFLECTION
When someone goes missing, it’s our immediate response to exhaust all efforts to reach the missing person. We always do it in the quickest and most feasible way in order to get in touch with that person as soon as possible.

I could recall the scene in the movie ‘Home Alone 2’ wherein Kevin McCallister’s parents, upon realizing that Kevin wasn’t with them when they landed in Miami, did everything to track down Kevin’s current location. They immediately contacted everyone who could help them out in finding Kevin. They disregarded their supposed to be vacation in Miami just to know where Kevin is and just to ensure his safety.

On another note, I believe that this is very similar to what Jesus does whenever we lose sight of Him.

The Gospel today testifies to the Lord’s unconditional mercy and love for us. It only goes to show that when we, out of our weakness as humans, choose the opposite direction, the Lord would do everything just to win us back. He would exhaust all efforts to redirect us into His path. He would work mysteriously, so that we may be able to gain sight of Him. This is how much the Lord loves us. In fact, He is willing to leave the ninety-nine just to find the missing one.

What the Lord reminds us today is that regardless of our sinfulness and unworthiness, He will always remain faithful to us. He will still choose to open His arms very wide, until we go back into His embrace. However, the decision will lie on us. Inasmuch as the Lord will always choose us, let us also choose to straighten our ways, that we may be able to find our way back home. Because that home is nowhere else but in God’s loving presence.

Reflection Song

Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace) by Hillsong Worship

Author

wc-carllora-2

Click on the bubble to find out more about Carl!

Photo by: Anita Austvika (@anitaaustvika at unsplash.com)

Carl Lora, Little Whispers

A Second Chance

First Reading
Jonah 1:1–2:1-2, 11

This is the word of the LORD that came to Jonah, son of Amittai:

“Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and preach against it;
their wickedness has come up before me.”
But Jonah made ready to flee to Tarshish away from the LORD.
He went down to Joppa, found a ship going to Tarshish,
paid the fare, and went aboard to journey with them to Tarshish,
away from the LORD.

The LORD, however, hurled a violent wind upon the sea,
and in the furious tempest that arose
the ship was on the point of breaking up.
Then the mariners became frightened and each one cried to his god.
To lighten the ship for themselves, they threw its cargo into the sea.
Meanwhile, Jonah had gone down into the hold of the ship,
and lay there fast asleep.
The captain came to him and said, “What are you doing asleep?
Rise up, call upon your God!
Perhaps God will be mindful of us so that we may not perish.”

Then they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots
to find out on whose account we have met with this misfortune.”
So they cast lots, and thus singled out Jonah.
“Tell us,” they said, “what is your business?
Where do you come from?
What is your country, and to what people do you belong?”
Jonah answered them, “I am a Hebrew,
I worship the LORD, the God of heaven,
who made the sea and the dry land.”

Now the men were seized with great fear and said to him,
“How could you do such a thing!–
They knew that he was fleeing from the LORD,
because he had told them.–
They asked, “What shall we do with you,
that the sea may quiet down for us?”
For the sea was growing more and more turbulent.
Jonah said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,
that it may quiet down for you;
since I know it is because of me
that this violent storm has come upon you.”

Still the men rowed hard to regain the land, but they could not,
for the sea grew ever more turbulent.
Then they cried to the LORD: “We beseech you, O LORD,
let us not perish for taking this man’s life;
do not charge us with shedding innocent blood,
for you, LORD, have done as you saw fit.”
Then they took Jonah and threw him into the sea,
and the sea’s raging abated.
Struck with great fear of the LORD,
the men offered sacrifice and made vows to him.

But the LORD sent a large fish, that swallowed Jonah;
and Jonah remained in the belly of the fish
three days and three nights.
From the belly of the fish Jonah prayed
to the LORD, his God.
Then the LORD commanded the fish to spew Jonah upon the shore.

Responsorial Psalm
Jonah 2:3, 4, 5, 8
R. You will rescue my life from the pit, O Lord.

Out of my distress I called to the LORD,
and he answered me;
From the midst of the nether world I cried for help,
and you heard my voice.
R. You will rescue my life from the pit, O Lord.
For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the sea,
and the flood enveloped me;
All your breakers and your billows
passed over me.
R. You will rescue my life from the pit, O Lord.
Then I said, “I am banished from your sight!
yet would I again look upon your holy temple.”
R. You will rescue my life from the pit, O Lord.
When my soul fainted within me,
I remembered the LORD;
My prayer reached you
in your holy temple.
R. You will rescue my life from the pit, O Lord.

Gospel
Luke 10:25-37

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus and said,
“Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law?
How do you read it?”
He said in reply,
“You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your being,
with all your strength,
and with all your mind,
and your neighbor as yourself.”
He replied to him, “You have answered correctly;
do this and you will live.”

But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus,
“And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied,
“A man fell victim to robbers
as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.
They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.
A priest happened to be going down that road,
but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
Likewise a Levite came to the place,
and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him
was moved with compassion at the sight.
He approached the victim,
poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them.
Then he lifted him up on his own animal,
took him to an inn, and cared for him.
The next day he took out two silver coins
and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction,
‘Take care of him.
If you spend more than what I have given you,
I shall repay you on my way back.’
Which of these three, in your opinion,
was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”
He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.”
Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”


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He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:37)

REFLECTION
I once asked myself, “Why do people give others a second chance, when they’ve already been hurt and wronged?” 

To be honest, I’ve been pondering over this question for some time already. It’s quite ironic to be given a second chance, when it allows you to repeat the same mistake all over again. I personally see second chances as a disadvantage for people who have been wronged. It’s a huge loss for them to give out another chance, because what if it happens again? What if they get hurt again?

However, reading through today’s Gospel gave me another viewpoint on giving out second chances. Jesus, who is considerably the perfect One, shows us the true reason why we should give second chances. When we give out second chances, the act is deeply rooted in mercy. And when we allow mercy to take over, we also pour out great amount of love, amidst all odds we may see. This how the Lord wants us to treat our neighbors – with great amount of mercy and with great amount of love. Jesus not only exemplified this through the parable of the Good Samaritan, but also when He died for our sins on that cross. 

The Lord says, “Go and do likewise.” This is a call for us to treat others with mercy and with love, setting aside all our indifferences. We should not list down what others may have done wrong unto us. Instead, we give them chances that are rooted in overflowing mercy and love, just as Christ does for us despite our unworthiness. 

Prayer
Lord Jesus, I know there are times when I become hesitant in giving chances to others. I acknowledge the fact that I have become too cold to even bother. But Lord, I pray for a heart like yours – a heart with great amount of mercy and love. I pray that mercy and love always takes over, that I may be more of You and less of myself each day. Amen. 

Author

wc-carllora-2

Click on the bubble to find out more about Carl!

Photo by: Felix Koutchinski (@koutchinski at unsplash.com)

Carl Lora, Little Whispers

Seeing the Goodness

 

First Reading
Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13
Brothers and sisters:
I, a prisoner for the Lord,
urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit
through the bond of peace:
one Body and one Spirit,
as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.

But grace was given to each of us
according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

And he gave some as Apostles, others as prophets,
others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers,
to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry,
for building up the Body of Christ,
until we all attain to the unity of faith
and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,
to the extent of the full stature of Christ.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 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
Matthew 9:9-13
As Jesus passed by,
he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed him.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners came
and sat with Jesus and his disciples.
The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples,
“Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
He heard this and said,
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words,
I desire mercy, not sacrifice.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”


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“… Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” (Matthew 9:12-13)

REFLECTION
My favorite mantra in life goes by these words, 
“Always choose to see the goodness in everything and in everyone.”  

I’ve learned this line back in high school when I joined a club called “Peer Facilitators Circle” which served as the student arm of my school’s guidance office. We reached out to the students by understanding their past, believing in their future, and accepting them just the way they are. 

Back then, it was quite difficult for me to see the goodness in others. I found it redundant to be called a “Peer Facilitator” when I easily gave into my preconceived notions on other people. It was much more difficult for me to focus even on the small amounts of goodness in someone who did something wrong to me. However, I challenged myself to see the beauty in others, regardless of their past, their mistakes, and their shortcomings. Even up to this day, I continue to challenge myself to live by my own mantra.

I believe that today’s Gospel gives us a perfect example of how Jesus chose to focus on the goodness of people, despite having sinned. He chose not to dwell on their mistakes, and in fact, He even stayed and dined with them. This only proves that His love for us is unconditional. He sees us through amidst our unworthiness. 

Jesus chose to understand our past, believe in our future, and accept us the way we are. Perhaps this is also a call for us to continue to see the goodness in other people, even if it’s a challenge for us to do so.

Reflection Song

O Come to the Altar by Elevation Worship

Author

wc-carllora-2

Click on the bubble to find out more about Carl!

Photo by: Helena Lopes (@wildlittlethingsphotos at unsplash.com)

Carl Lora, Little Whispers

The (Im)possible

First Reading
Judges 6:11-24A

The angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth in Ophrah
that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite.
While his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press
to save it from the Midianites,
the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said,
“The LORD is with you, O champion!”
Gideon said to him, “My Lord, if the LORD is with us,
why has all this happened to us?
Where are his wondrous deeds of which our fathers
told us when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’
For now the LORD has abandoned us
and has delivered us into the power of Midian.”
The LORD turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have
and save Israel from the power of Midian.
It is I who send you.”
But Gideon answered him, “Please, my lord, how can I save Israel?
My family is the lowliest in Manasseh,
and I am the most insignificant in my father’s house.”
“I shall be with you,” the LORD said to him,
“and you will cut down Midian to the last man.”
Gideon answered him, “If I find favor with you,
give me a sign that you are speaking with me.
Do not depart from here, I pray you, until I come back to you
and bring out my offering and set it before you.”
He answered, “I will await your return.”

So Gideon went off and prepared a kid and a measure of flour
in the form of unleavened cakes.
Putting the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot,
he brought them out to him under the terebinth
and presented them.
The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and unleavened cakes
and lay them on this rock; then pour out the broth.”
When he had done so,
the angel of the LORD stretched out the tip of the staff he held,
and touched the meat and unleavened cakes.
Thereupon a fire came up from the rock
that consumed the meat and unleavened cakes,
and the angel of the LORD disappeared from sight.
Gideon, now aware that it had been the angel of the LORD,
said, “Alas, Lord GOD,
that I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!”
The LORD answered him,
“Be calm, do not fear. You shall not die.”
So Gideon built there an altar to the LORD
and called it Yahweh-shalom.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 85:9, 11-12, 13-14
R. (see 9b) The Lord speaks of peace to his people.

I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD–for he proclaims peace
To his people, and to his faithful ones,
and to those who put in him their hope.
R. The Lord speaks of peace to his people.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. The Lord speaks of peace to his people.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and salvation, along the way of his steps.
R. The Lord speaks of peace to his people.

Gospel
Matthew 19:23-30

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich
to enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Again I say to you,
it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said,
“Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,

“For men this is impossible,
but for God all things are possible.”
Then Peter said to him in reply,
“We have given up everything and followed you.
What will there be for us?”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you
that you who have followed me, in the new age,
when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory,
will yourselves sit on twelve thrones,
judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters
or father or mother or children or lands
for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more,
and will inherit eternal life.
But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”


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“For men this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

REFLECTION
We can’t deny the fact that we tend to become anxious of things we are unfamiliar of. This is one of our first few responses when we encounter something that is new to us.

This year, I have entered a new phase in my life. Going into my dream program in my dream university seems very promising at first. But behind the excitement is the anxiety that I’ve been feeling. I have been hearing different stories from some upperclassmen in my program about how difficult the workload and subjects are. Such things get into me which contribute to my fear of not doing well and my fear of disappointing those who believe in me.

But then as I was thinking of my game plan for college, I was able to realize that I don’t have to face these things all by myself. I have a solid support support system in my family and friends. And most of all, I have the Lord who is always there to guide and help me throughout this journey, despite the challenges that lie ahead.

When we are new to something, it all seems very intimidating and impossible to conquer challenges. But we must always set our minds to the fact that we have a God who is greater than all of the things that we fear, who is always by our side when we face different challenges in life, and who is capable of removing the “im” in impossible to make it possible.

This is what God promises us today and in the days to come.

Prayer
Lord, I lay down all of my fears, anxieties, and uncertainties at the foot of Your cross. Fill my mind and my heart with your Spirit that I may always trust in You amidst all the things that seem impossible to conquer. Amen.

Author

wc-carllora-2

Click on the bubble to find out more about Carl!

Photo by: Joseph Chan (@yulokchan at unsplash.com)