Gerard Lubaton, Little Whispers

Like You

First Reading
Acts 17:15, 22—18:1

After Paul’s escorts had taken him to Athens,
they came away with instructions for Silas and Timothy
to join him as soon as possible.

Then Paul stood up at the Areopagus and said:
“You Athenians, I see that in every respect
you are very religious.
For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines,
I even discovered an altar inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God.’
What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you.
The God who made the world and all that is in it,
the Lord of heaven and earth,
does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands,
nor is he served by human hands because he needs anything.
Rather it is he who gives to everyone life and breath and everything.
He made from one the whole human race
to dwell on the entire surface of the earth,
and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions,
so that people might seek God,
even perhaps grope for him and find him,
though indeed he is not far from any one of us.
For ‘In him we live and move and have our being,’
as even some of your poets have said,
‘For we too are his offspring.’
Since therefore we are the offspring of God,
we ought not to think that the divinity is like an image
fashioned from gold, silver, or stone by human art and imagination.
God has overlooked the times of ignorance,
but now he demands that all people everywhere repent
because he has established a day on which he will ‘judge the world
with justice’ through a man he has appointed,
and he has provided confirmation for all
by raising him from the dead.”

When they heard about resurrection of the dead,
some began to scoff, but others said,
“We should like to hear you on this some other time.”
And so Paul left them.
But some did join him, and became believers.
Among them were Dionysius,
a member of the Court of the Areopagus,
a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

After this he left Athens and went to Corinth.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 148:1-2, 11-12, 13, 14

R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights.
Praise him, all you his angels;
praise him, all you his hosts.
R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Let the kings of the earth and all peoples,
the princes and all the judges of the earth,
Young men too, and maidens,
old men and boys.
R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
His majesty is above earth and heaven.
R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
or:
R. Alleluia.

He has lifted up the horn of his people;
Be this his praise from all his faithful ones,
from the children of Israel, the people close to him.
Alleluia.
R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Gospel
Jn 16:12-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.
But when he comes, the Spirit of truth,
he will guide you to all truth.
He will not speak on his own,
but he will speak what he hears,
and will declare to you the things that are coming.
He will glorify me,
because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.
Everything that the Father has is mine;
for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine
and declare it to you.”

____________________________________________________________________________________________

US Army soldiers pray during Christmas church service at military camp in Baghdad

REFLECTION 

“For we too are His offspring…”

Ever since grade school, i always have heard the phrase “We are Created in His image and likeness”.

All of my religion class teachers have told us that we are the children of God.

But then I would ask to myself, “What? Why? How?” I would finish every year and level in school never fully understanding what this phrase means.

Later on, every experience I have with the Lord, whether it is in the communtiy, in the Holy Eucharist or in my daily life, I slowly realized what being a child of God is.

I realized that being a child of God is being like Jesus.
He loved His Father and He loved His neighbor.
He is just the perfect example.

In emulating Jesus, we show and learn how to be loving, caring, patient, understanding, meek, humble, compassionate, a good servant, a good leader, a good neighbor.

Friends, I encourage each one of us not in our own little ways but in the biggest possible deed to be like Jesus. Before the Lord left His disciples, He told them, to “Love one another as I have loved you.”

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us not forget that we are the children of God. And we are His “Soldiers of Love”. Yes Lord! – Gerard Lubaton (ge.lubaton@gmail.com)

PRAYER
“How i want to be, Lord, just like you, all the good things that I want to do. Listen to my heart, Lord! yes it’s true. When you give your peace, and you share your joy, and You show Your love, o Lord, how I want to be like You.” — “Just like You”, from the album Kids Praise! 3

REFLECTION QUESTION
Will you allow other people to see Jesus in you today?

Photo source: http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org

Gerard Lubaton, Little Whispers

No Doubt

First Reading
Acts 13:26-33

When Paul came to Antioch in Pisidia, he said in the synagogue:
“My brothers, children of the family of Abraham,
and those others among you who are God-fearing,
to us this word of salvation has been sent.
The inhabitants of Jerusalem and their leaders failed to recognize him,
and by condemning him they fulfilled the oracles of the prophets
that are read sabbath after sabbath.
For even though they found no grounds for a death sentence,
they asked Pilate to have him put to death,
and when they had accomplished all that was written about him,
they took him down from the tree and placed him in a tomb.
But God raised him from the dead,
and for many days he appeared to those
who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem.
These are now his witnesses before the people.
We ourselves are proclaiming this good news to you
that what God promised our fathers
he has brought to fulfillment for us, their children, by raising up Jesus,
as it is written in the second psalm,
You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.”

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 2:6-7, 8-9, 10-11AB
R. (7bc) You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.

“I myself have set up my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”
I will proclaim the decree of the LORD:
The LORD said to me, “You are my Son;
this day I have begotten you.”
R. You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.
“Ask of me and I will give you
the nations for an inheritance
and the ends of the earth for your possession.
You shall rule them with an iron rod;
you shall shatter them like an earthen dish.”
R. You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.
And now, O kings, give heed;
take warning, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice before him;
with trembling rejoice.
R. You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.

Gospel
Jn 14:1-6

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.
If there were not,
would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back again and take you to myself,
so that where I am you also may be.
Where I am going you know the way.”
Thomas said to him,
“Master, we do not know where you are going;
how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.”

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Depression-symptoms-in-men1

REFLECTION

“Do not let your hearts be troubled, you have faith in God, have faith also in me.”

I found myself empty. Hollow. Lacking. Searching. Incomplete. Unhappy.

For several months, i was serving the Lord through the Youth and the Feast non-stop. Always saying yes to every calling to serve. Until i found myself burnt out and backsliding again which has become a cycle to me ever since I started serving.

I remember having this very long and complicated conversation with a very close friend. She almost gave up on me convincing to continue to attending prayer meetings because i lost faith in my service. She told me that the only way is to go back to Jesus. But no, I was searching for answers beyond the Christian life.

But then, i knew Jesus wouldn’t give up on me. He called me to serve in the FAITH stream of the Kerygma Conference 2011. Going through the rehearsals, I was very struggling in preparing myself spiritually and emotionally.

But The Lord gave me an experience that was beyond my comprehension. In the part when the Blessed Sacrament was exposed during the stream while i was playing, true to His promise, the Lord spoke to me and I was assured that only through Him that I will find my answers in life.

That He is the Truth that I will stand upon.
That He is the life that breathes in me.

That very beautiful moment felt very pure and i was in tears.

The Lord doesn’t abandon the troubled and depressed says in the Bible. You may be in your breaking point or feeling your life is in pieces, He just wants us to have our complete faith in Him. Just call to His Name and He’ll surely be there. – Gerard Lubato (ge.lubaton@gmail.com)

PRAYER
“I lift my hands to believe again, You are my refuge, You are my strength.
As I pour out my heart, these things I remember, You are faithful God, Forever.” — I lift my hands by Chris Tomlin

REFLECTION
When was the last time you felt lost in your faith?

Photo source: http://www.rxadvices.com

Gerard Lubaton, Little Whispers

Mean

First Reading
Dn 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62

In Babylon there lived a man named Joakim,
who married a very beautiful and God-fearing woman, Susanna,
the daughter of Hilkiah;
her pious parents had trained their daughter
according to the law of Moses.
Joakim was very rich;
he had a garden near his house,
and the Jews had recourse to him often
because he was the most respected of them all.

That year, two elders of the people were appointed judges,
of whom the Lord said, “Wickedness has come out of Babylon:
from the elders who were to govern the people as judges.”
These men, to whom all brought their cases,
frequented the house of Joakim.
When the people left at noon,
Susanna used to enter her husband’s garden for a walk.
When the old men saw her enter every day for her walk,
they began to lust for her.
They suppressed their consciences;
they would not allow their eyes to look to heaven,
and did not keep in mind just judgments.

One day, while they were waiting for the right moment,
she entered the garden as usual, with two maids only.
She decided to bathe, for the weather was warm.
Nobody else was there except the two elders,
who had hidden themselves and were watching her.
“Bring me oil and soap,” she said to the maids,
“and shut the garden doors while I bathe.”

As soon as the maids had left,
the two old men got up and hurried to her.
“Look,” they said, “the garden doors are shut, and no one can see us;
give in to our desire, and lie with us.
If you refuse, we will testify against you
that you dismissed your maids because a young man was here with you.”

“I am completely trapped,” Susanna groaned.
“If I yield, it will be my death;
if I refuse, I cannot escape your power.
Yet it is better for me to fall into your power without guilt
than to sin before the Lord.”
Then Susanna shrieked, and the old men also shouted at her,
as one of them ran to open the garden doors.
When the people in the house heard the cries from the garden,
they rushed in by the side gate to see what had happened to her.
At the accusations by the old men,
the servants felt very much ashamed,
for never had any such thing been said about Susanna.

When the people came to her husband Joakim the next day,
the two wicked elders also came,
fully determined to put Susanna to death.
Before all the people they ordered:
“Send for Susanna, the daughter of Hilkiah,
the wife of Joakim.”
When she was sent for,
she came with her parents, children and all her relatives.
All her relatives and the onlookers were weeping.

In the midst of the people the two elders rose up
and laid their hands on her head.
Through tears she looked up to heaven,
for she trusted in the Lord wholeheartedly.
The elders made this accusation:
“As we were walking in the garden alone,
this woman entered with two girls
and shut the doors of the garden, dismissing the girls.
A young man, who was hidden there, came and lay with her.
When we, in a corner of the garden, saw this crime,
we ran toward them.
We saw them lying together,
but the man we could not hold, because he was stronger than we;
he opened the doors and ran off.
Then we seized her and asked who the young man was,
but she refused to tell us.
We testify to this.”
The assembly believed them,
since they were elders and judges of the people,
and they condemned her to death.

But Susanna cried aloud:
“O eternal God, you know what is hidden
and are aware of all things before they come to be:
you know that they have testified falsely against me.
Here I am about to die,
though I have done none of the things
with which these wicked men have charged me.”

The Lord heard her prayer.
As she was being led to execution,
God stirred up the holy spirit of a young boy named Daniel,
and he cried aloud:
“I will have no part in the death of this woman.”
All the people turned and asked him, “What is this you are saying?”
He stood in their midst and continued,
“Are you such fools, O children of Israel!
To condemn a woman of Israel without examination
and without clear evidence?
Return to court, for they have testified falsely against her.”

Then all the people returned in haste.
To Daniel the elders said,
“Come, sit with us and inform us,
since God has given you the prestige of old age.”
But he replied,
“Separate these two far from each other that I may examine them.”

After they were separated one from the other,
he called one of them and said:
“How you have grown evil with age!
Now have your past sins come to term:
passing unjust sentences, condemning the innocent,
and freeing the guilty, although the Lord says,
‘The innocent and the just you shall not put to death.’
Now, then, if you were a witness,
tell me under what tree you saw them together.”
“Under a mastic tree,” he answered.
Daniel replied, “Your fine lie has cost you your head,
for the angel of God shall receive the sentence from him
and split you in two.”
Putting him to one side, he ordered the other one to be brought.
Daniel said to him,
“Offspring of Canaan, not of Judah, beauty has seduced you,
lust has subverted your conscience.
This is how you acted with the daughters of Israel,
and in their fear they yielded to you;
but a daughter of Judah did not tolerate your wickedness.
Now, then, tell me under what tree you surprised them together.”
“Under an oak,” he said.
Daniel replied, “Your fine lie has cost you also your head,
for the angel of God waits with a sword to cut you in two
so as to make an end of you both.”

The whole assembly cried aloud,
blessing God who saves those who hope in him.
They rose up against the two elders,
for by their own words Daniel had convicted them of perjury.
According to the law of Moses,
they inflicted on them
the penalty they had plotted to impose on their neighbor:
they put them to death.
Thus was innocent blood spared that day.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 23:1-3A, 3B-4, 5, 6

R. (4ab) Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.

Gospel
Jn 8:12-20

Jesus spoke to them again, saying,
“I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.”
So the Pharisees said to him,
“You testify on your own behalf,
so your testimony cannot be verified.”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“Even if I do testify on my own behalf, my testimony can be verified,
because I know where I came from and where I am going.
But you do not know where I come from or where I am going.
You judge by appearances, but I do not judge anyone.
And even if I should judge, my judgment is valid,
because I am not alone,
but it is I and the Father who sent me.
Even in your law it is written
that the testimony of two men can be verified.
I testify on my behalf and so does the Father who sent me.”
So they said to him, “Where is your father?”
Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father.
If you knew me, you would know my Father also.”
He spoke these words
while teaching in the treasury in the temple area.
But no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.

______________________________________________________________________________________

6095744358_a1582ca1bb_z

REFLECTION

“You judge by appearance but I do not judge anyone”

Back in High School, I was notorious for being tactless and a real bad mouther.

During one afternoon in our classroom, I invited my group to go to Mcdonald’s after class.
After asking almost everyone, i turned into this not-that-close-yet friend of mine and asked her to come.
She replied to me, “Eh! Wala akong pera!”

Being a tactless boy, i shouted to her, “Lagi ka namang walang pera eh! Dukha ka na eh!”

After hearing that from me, she apologized and didn’t speak to me for a long time. She really got hurt.

One of my close friends really told me after that incident that I should really lessen my tactlessness because I can really deal serious damage with my words.
Realizing that I was never in a position to put anyone down, I watched my words from then on and I stard to be careful of giving remarks.

The Lord never put anyone down with His words, instead He lifted up the weak, the poor, the broken and ashamed.
As the line from the song Welcome to the Family goes, “May words of love be on our lips in everything we say..”

Jesus encourages us to be the Light of the world, to be the beacons of the lost.
Through our words, we will build up each other in love not tear down.
We should have words of wisdom and healing, not of hate and destruction. – Gerard Lubaton (ge.lubaton@gmail.com)

PRAYER
Lord teach me to love my neighbor in spite of his or her flaws and weaknesses. Amen

REFLECTION
What words of love and building up have you said lately and to whom?

Photo source: http://farm7.staticflickr.com

Gerard Lubaton, Little Whispers

Follow, Follow, Follow

First Reading
1 Jn 3:11-21

Beloved:
This is the message you have heard from the beginning:
we should love one another,
unlike Cain who belonged to the Evil One
and slaughtered his brother.
Why did he slaughter him?
Because his own works were evil,
and those of his brother righteous.
Do not be amazed, then, brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.
We know that we have passed from death to life
because we love our brothers.
Whoever does not love remains in death.
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer,
and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him.
The way we came to know love
was that he laid down his life for us;
so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
If someone who has worldly means
sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion,
how can the love of God remain in him?
Children, let us love not in word or speech
but in deed and truth.

Now this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth
and reassure our hearts before him
in whatever our hearts condemn,
for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything.
Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us,
we have confidence in God.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 100:1-5

R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
his courts with praise;
Give thanks to him; bless his name.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
The LORD is good:
the LORD, whose kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.

Gospel
Jn 1:43-51

Jesus decided to go to Galilee, and he found Philip.
And Jesus said to him, “Follow me.”
Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the town of Andrew and Peter.
Philip found Nathanael and told him,
“We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law,
and also the prophets, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth.”
But Nathanael said to him,
“Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him,
“Here is a true child of Israel.
There is no duplicity in him.”
Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.”
Nathanael answered him,
“Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Do you believe
because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree?
You will see greater things than this.”
And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will see the sky opened and the angels of God
ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

GE LUBATON sinondo.com

REFLECTION

“And Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” – Jn 1:43

Ever since I can remember, I was already attending prayer meetings, worship/religious concerts, community activities and encounters with my family. But it was only during my Life in the Spirit Seminar when I was 13 that I truly came to know Jesus.

I learned about the four basic truths and accepted Him as my personal Lord and Saviour, as I received the Holy Spirit and its gift of tongues during Baptism. I knew that at that time that Jesus asked me to follow Him.

As my young life became colorful, I realized that He called me at a very early age because that was when I would experience some of the darkest moments my family would ever have. With the Lord by our side, our painful experiences were healed.

Friends, the cry of the Lord to follow Him comes at different times in our lives. It is with constant vigilance and connection with Him through prayer that we hear his call to enter our hearts and be the King of our lives forever. – Ge Lubaton (ge.lubaton@gmail.com)

PRAYER
Today Lord, I accept you as the King of my heart and our Home. Amen.

REFLECTION QUESTION
Have you heard God’s call to you lately?

Photo source: sinondo.com

Gerard Lubaton, Little Whispers

Kapatid at Kaibigan, Usap Tayo.

FIRST READING
2 Sm 6:12b-15, 17-19

David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom
into the City of David amid festivities.
As soon as the bearers of the ark of the LORD had advanced six steps,
he sacrificed an ox and a fatling.
Then David, girt with a linen apron,
came dancing before the LORD with abandon,
as he and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD
with shouts of joy and to the sound of the horn.
The ark of the LORD was brought in and set in its place
within the tent David had pitched for it.
Then David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.
When he finished making these offerings,
he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts.
He then distributed among all the people,
to each man and each woman in the entire multitude of Israel,
a loaf of bread, a cut of roast meat, and a raisin cake.
With this, all the people left for their homes.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 24:7, 8, 9, 10
R. (8) Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!

Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
reach up, you ancient portals,
that the king of glory may come in!
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Who is this king of glory?
The LORD, strong and mighty,
the LORD, mighty in battle.
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
reach up, you ancient portals,
that the king of glory may come in!
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Who is this king of glory?
The LORD of hosts; he is the king of glory.
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!

Gospel
Mk 3:31-35

The mother of Jesus and his brothers arrived at the house.
Standing outside, they sent word to Jesus and called him.
A crowd seated around him told him,
“Your mother and your brothers and your sisters
are outside asking for you.”
But he said to them in reply,
“Who are my mother and my brothers?”
And looking around at those seated in the circle he said,
“Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of God
is my brother and sister and mother.”
——————————————————————————————————————————————————–

REFLECTION
“For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

All of my friends know that I have a big family.
I had a father who was a very jolly and funny person and a mother who has a strong personality.

I have four brothers and two sisters who I consider my guardian angels. Since I am the youngest, I think it’s natural that I consider my family as my stronghold and comfort. I think I am lucky to have so many loving family members because I couldn’t imagine my life without them.

My family instilled in me values that I am very thankful for. They were also the ones who introduced me to Jesus Christ who can I pray to before eating meals, before going to sleep and during Mass.

Back then, I only knew Jesus as king. I used to be scared of Him whenever I commit mistakes or sins. I was afraid that He might punish me just like my parents did when we did something wrong.

When I stepped in to community, there was a paradigm shift.

I realized that Jesus can be more than a King. He could be more than a mediator. He could be more than a prophet. And He could be more than a prayer figure.

He could be…wait for it…a brother. A sister. A mother. A father. Your best friend.

“And the scripture was fulfilled which faith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.” – James 2:23, KJV

In many ways, I have called Jesus to be there as my friend. When I longed for a shoulder to lean on, He willingly gave it. He can be the most generous friend that you can find.

So I say, mga pare at mga mare, ateng at koyang, YOU are a friend of God! And You, are very special! -Ge Lubaton. YLSS#22

Prayer:
“Dear Lord, thank You for making me Your friend. I pray that we would have more memories made together. I will walk wherever You will go. Surround me with Your love and grace. This I pray, Amen.”


——————————————————————————————————————————————————–
Looking for love? Be part of BLD Youth’s Concert Project for a cause. Now is the time to go straight to the source of all the love in the world. LOVE IS: A Worship Concert, 3.3.12!
For More information, visit the Love Is Facebook page here.

Gerard Lubaton, Little Whispers

He Is Not A Book!

FIRST READING
1 Sm 16:1-13

The LORD said to Samuel:
“How long will you grieve for Saul,
whom I have rejected as king of Israel?
Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way.
I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem,
for I have chosen my king from among his sons.”
But Samuel replied:
“How can I go?
Saul will hear of it and kill me.”
To this the LORD answered:
“Take a heifer along and say,
‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’
Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I myself will tell you what to do;
you are to anoint for me the one I point out to you.”

Samuel did as the LORD had commanded him.
When he entered Bethlehem,
the elders of the city came trembling to meet him and inquired,
“Is your visit peaceful, O seer?”
He replied:
“Yes! I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.
So cleanse yourselves and join me today for the banquet.”
He also had Jesse and his sons cleanse themselves
and invited them to the sacrifice.
As they came, he looked at Eliab and thought,
“Surely the LORD’s anointed is here before him.”
But the LORD said to Samuel:
“Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature,
because I have rejected him.
Not as man sees does God see,
because he sees the appearance
but the LORD looks into the heart.”
Then Jesse called Abinadab and presented him before Samuel,
who said, “The LORD has not chosen him.”
Next Jesse presented Shammah, but Samuel said,
“The LORD has not chosen this one either.”
In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel,
but Samuel said to Jesse,
“The LORD has not chosen any one of these.”
Then Samuel asked Jesse,
“Are these all the sons you have?”
Jesse replied,
“There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said to Jesse,
“Send for him;
we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here.”
Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them.
He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold
and making a splendid appearance.
The LORD said,
“There – anoint him, for this is he!”
Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand,
anointed him in the midst of his brothers;
and from that day on, the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David.
When Samuel took his leave, he went to Ramah.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 89:20, 21-22, 27-28
R. (21a) I have found David, my servant.

Once you spoke in a vision,
and to your faithful ones you said:
“On a champion I have placed a crown;
over the people I have set a youth.”
R. I have found David, my servant.
“I have found David, my servant;
with my holy oil I have anointed him,
That my hand may be always with him,
and that my arm may make him strong.”
R. I have found David, my servant.
“He shall say of me, ‘You are my father,
my God, the Rock, my savior.’
And I will make him the first-born,
highest of the kings of the earth.”
R. I have found David, my servant.

Gospel
Mk 2:23-28

As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath,
his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain.
At this the Pharisees said to him,
“Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”
He said to them,
“Have you never read what David did
when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry?
How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest
and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat,
and shared it with his companions?”
Then he said to them,
“The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.
That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”
and both the wine and the skins are ruined.
Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”
——————————————————————————————————————————————————–

REFLECTION
“Not as man sees does God see, because he sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart.” -1 Sm 16:1-13

“Don’t judge my brother, he is not a book!” ika nga ni Ms. Melanie Marquez.

We all know she must be quoting the more popular saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” But even if Melanie’s statement is very funny, we still pretty much get what she was trying to say.

I remember when I was a kid I was very talkative. Whenever I’m with my friends, I felt that I could say anything I wanted. I developed a habit of making fun of my friends and batch mates; either for their appearance, for the way they spoke, or for their habits. You can say I was quite the “manlalait”.

My being tactless got me into trouble many times in school. But the one instance that I could remember is when one of my friends made me realize how my tactlessness really hurt her feelings. That was when it hit me. I was very insensitive to the feelings of the people around me. I wasn’t careful with what came out of my mouth.

As I grew wiser, I learned how words could build or destroy relationships. As human beings, we usually judge people from their outside appearance especially during first meetings.But not with the Lord.

He tells us that there is something more important than the outside appearance of a person. What is important to God is the heart. He looks into the core. A person’s sincerity and humility to serve is what He also seeks. Just like Jesus, who was made flesh and was humbled, to serve and preach the Good News.

My dear sisters and brothers in Christ, let us all remember to be sensitive towards others by watching the words that come out of our mouths. May it be words of love always instead of pain. –Ge Lubaton. YLSS#22

Prayer:
Lord, grant me the humility to respect all the people I encounter everyday. Fill my heart with love and joy so that I can share your grace to them. Amen
——————————————————————————————————————————————————–
Looking for love? Be part of BLD Youth’s Concert Project for a cause. Now is the time to go straight to the source of all the love in the world. LOVE IS: A Worship Concert, 3.3.12!
For More information, visit the Love Is Facebook page here.

Gerard Lubaton, Little Whispers

Just Keep Fishing, Fishing, Fishing…

FIRST READING
1 Sm 1:9-20

Hannah rose after a meal at Shiloh,
and presented herself before the LORD;
at the time, Eli the priest was sitting on a chair
near the doorpost of the LORD’s temple.
In her bitterness she prayed to the LORD, weeping copiously,
and she made a vow, promising: “O LORD of hosts,
if you look with pity on the misery of your handmaid,
if you remember me and do not forget me,
if you give your handmaid a male child,
I will give him to the LORD for as long as he lives;
neither wine nor liquor shall he drink,
and no razor shall ever touch his head.”
As she remained long at prayer before the LORD,
Eli watched her mouth, for Hannah was praying silently;
though her lips were moving, her voice could not be heard.
Eli, thinking her drunk, said to her,
“How long will you make a drunken show of yourself?
Sober up from your wine!”
“It isn’t that, my lord,” Hannah answered.
“I am an unhappy woman.
I have had neither wine nor liquor;
I was only pouring out my troubles to the LORD.
Do not think your handmaid a ne’er-do-well;
my prayer has been prompted by my deep sorrow and misery.”
Eli said, “Go in peace,
and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”
She replied, “Think kindly of your maidservant,” and left.
She went to her quarters, ate and drank with her husband,
and no longer appeared downcast.
Early the next morning they worshiped before the LORD,
and then returned to their home in Ramah.
When Elkanah had relations with his wife Hannah,
the LORD remembered her.

Responsorial Psalm
R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.

“My heart exults in the LORD,
my horn is exalted in my God.
I have swallowed up my enemies;
I rejoice in my victory.”
R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
“The bows of the mighty are broken,
while the tottering gird on strength.
The well-fed hire themselves out for bread,
while the hungry batten on spoil.
The barren wife bears seven sons,
while the mother of many languishes.”
R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
“The LORD puts to death and gives life;
he casts down to the nether world;
he raises up again.
The LORD makes poor and makes rich;
he humbles, he also exalts.”
R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
“He raises the needy from the dust;
from the dung heap he lifts up the poor,
To seat them with nobles
and make a glorious throne their heritage.”
R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.

Gospel
Mark 1: 14 – 20

After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God:
“This is the time of fulfillment.
The Kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee,
he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea;
they were fishermen.
Jesus said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Then they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along a little farther
and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They too were in a boat mending their nets.
Then he called them.
—————————————————————————————————————————————————–
20120110-211652.jpg

REFLECTION
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

I enjoyed serving in different committees during my first three years in the Youth Ministry. I remember that it was a real joy having new friends even though we had different backgrounds because we all came for the same purpose. It was also the time when my friends in high school were looking for other activities to do during summer. So my friend and I were moved to invite some of our friends to attend the annual orientation for the Life in the Spirit Seminar. I was ecstatic to see them experience what I have been experiencing every Saturday. Eventually, they took the Life in the Spirit Seminar and Youth Encounter and served through the different ministries.

I am proud to say that I made the right choice of inviting them to the Youth ministry because I saw them grow as members and even as leaders. They’ve come to understand the Lord, and they’ve received the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It’s not me who made them changed persons but it’s the Spirit of the Lord that brought them to life again. It’s our mission to become “fishers” of men, to draw more people most especially the Youth to get to know the Lord in a more personal way. And the gospel tells us, wherever or whatever state we came from, we are all asked to answer his call of mission.

To Adel, Ave, Eric, Marj, Sam: Thank you for being my closest friends. And thank you for all the laughter that we shared when we still served together in the ministry. Love you all! -Ge Lubaton. YLSS#22

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, may you help us to have the courage and enthusiasm to call more people to be your disciples. Amen.