Emmans Nana, Little Whispers

Ultimate Gift

First Reading

Mal 3:13-20B

You have defied me in word, says the LORD,
yet you ask, “What have we spoken against you?”
You have said, “It is vain to serve God,
and what do we profit by keeping his command,
And going about in penitential dress
in awe of the LORD of hosts?
Rather must we call the proud blessed;
for indeed evildoers prosper,
and even tempt God with impunity.”
Then they who fear the LORD spoke with one another,
and the LORD listened attentively;
And a record book was written before him
of those who fear the LORD and trust in his name.
And they shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts,
my own special possession, on the day I take action.
And I will have compassion on them,
as a man has compassion on his son who serves him.
Then you will again see the distinction
between the just and the wicked;
Between the one who serves God,
and the one who does not serve him.
For lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven,
when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble,
And the day that is coming will set them on fire,
leaving them neither root nor branch,
says the LORD of hosts.
But for you who fear my name, there will arise
the sun of justice with its healing rays.

Responsorial Psalm

Ps 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6

R. (Ps 40:5a) Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Gospel

Lk 11:5-13

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Suppose one of you has a friend
to whom he goes at midnight and says,
‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey
and I have nothing to offer him,’
and he says in reply from within,
‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked
and my children and I are already in bed.
I cannot get up to give you anything.’
I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves
because of their friendship,
he will get up to give him whatever he needs
because of his persistence.

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
What father among you would hand his son a snake
when he asks for a fish?
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit
to those who ask him?”

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Oct 10

REFLECTION                                                   

“how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit
to those who ask him?” Luke 11:13

During my Youth Life in the Spirit Seminar back in May of 1996, my shepherd would always provide an analogy that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are like ultimate gifts that you just need to ask from God – open, accept, and use.

I was only 13 years old then, so I tried to appreciate and compare God’s ultimate gift as if it was a material, monetary, enjoyable activity, happy moment or even a girlfriend, a love life.

Shepherding sessions, sharing after sharing, baptism of the Holy Spirit — I learned that God’s ultimate gift is beyond the things of this world, emotions, and human wisdom — far better than what I was expecting.

God knows better on what the ultimate gift is. God is so good to us that He will never fail to provide other gifts and intentions that we ask of Him. Even though we are persistent in our own prayer intentions, God is also “lovingly persistent” in giving and filling us with His Ultimate Gift, the Holy Spirit.

Since then, all my prayers, intentions, decisions, actions, perspective and dreams are guided by the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Even in my intentions, I pray for the Holy Spirit to guide me on what I need to pray for and why.

God is so good to answer our prayers as He knows all the best for us. Then what stops Him from giving us his Ultimate Gift which is His Holy Spirit? None. All we have to do is just open our hearts, seek, and accept His Holy Spirit in our hearts. God’s Ultimate Gift! – Emmans Nana (emmans.nana@gmail.com)

Prayer:

We surrender our hearts and lives to Your Ultimate Gift Lord God. Move us, fill us, and change us from within. Amen.

Reflection Question:

How do you live God’s Spirit in each and every day of your lives?

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Emmans Nana, Little Whispers

Humility…is the best policy!

First Reading
Sir 3:17-18, 20, 28-29

My child, conduct your affairs with humility,
and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts.
Humble yourself the more, the greater you are,
and you will find favor with God.
What is too sublime for you, seek not,
into things beyond your strength search not.
The mind of a sage appreciates proverbs,
and an attentive ear is the joy of the wise.
Water quenches a flaming fire,
and alms atone for sins.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 68:4-5, 6-7, 10-11
R. (cf. 11b) God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor.

The just rejoice and exult before God;
they are glad and rejoice.
Sing to God, chant praise to his name;
whose name is the LORD.
R. God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor.
The father of orphans and the defender of widows
is God in his holy dwelling.
God gives a home to the forsaken;
he leads forth prisoners to prosperity.
R. God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor.
A bountiful rain you showered down, O God, upon your inheritance;
you restored the land when it languished;
your flock settled in it;
in your goodness, O God, you provided it for the needy.
R. God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor.

Second Reading
Heb 12:18-19, 22-24A

Brothers and sisters:
You have not approached that which could be touched
and a blazing fire and gloomy darkness
and storm and a trumpet blast
and a voice speaking words such that those who heard
begged that no message be further addressed to them.
No, you have approached Mount Zion
and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,
and countless angels in festal gathering,
and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven,
and God the judge of all,
and the spirits of the just made perfect,
and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant,
and the sprinkled blood that speaks more eloquently than that of Abel.

Gospel
Lk 14:1, 7-14

On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees,
and the people there were observing him carefully.

He told a parable to those who had been invited,
noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table.
“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet,
do not recline at table in the place of honor.
A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him,
and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say,
‘Give your place to this man,’
and then you would proceed with embarrassment
to take the lowest place.
Rather, when you are invited,
go and take the lowest place
so that when the host comes to you he may say,
‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’
Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table.
For every one who exalts himself will be humbled,
but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Then he said to the host who invited him,
“When you hold a lunch or a dinner,
do not invite your friends or your brothers
or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors,
in case they may invite you back and you have repayment.
Rather, when you hold a banquet,
invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind;
blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.
For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
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help

REFLECTION

“For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted” Lk 14:11

I was assigned to coach and accompany a friend in leading an afternoon praise and worship.

He was so excited that 2 days after being assigned he went to my house, with a song list,  song sequence, flow of prayer with theme. I tried saying “Relax bro, can I make a suggestion? coach mo ako.”

As the Saturday nears, the preparation is already becoming a struggle. I was battling with the idea that he is younger and new in the ministry, and I am older and a veteran worship leader. To him my insights do not matter.

I asked for guidance from the elders on handling my good friend. They pointed out “Be humble and walk the talk”. I was convicted to “deny myself, be humble, and just help — for the Lord”. I became compassionate and just give straight forward suggestions to him.

Here comes Saturday and 10 minutes before the worship proper, there was a black out. No electricity, no instruments, no microphones.

I saw and felt his shock and devastation. I was led by God to be compassionate and exhorted him to deny himself, be humble, and focus on God. As we talked and prayed together I felt God humbling and coaching me as well.

We lead the worship together that afternoon as I played the acoustic guitar, acapella-acoustic worship.

As we humble ourselves, we exalted God. Surely God smiled that blessed day and Rocked on with Christ! – Emmans Nana (emmans@gmail.com)

Prayer

Lord God, teach me to be humble that I may exalt you more and more. Amen.

Reflection Question

How do you practice humility when it comes to your family, love ones, friends, community, and people around you?

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