Little Whispers, Ria Macasaet

Discerning Eye

First Reading
Acts 14:19-28

In those days, some Jews from Antioch and Iconium
arrived and won over the crowds.
They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city,
supposing that he was dead.
But when the disciples gathered around him,
he got up and entered the city.
On the following day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.

After they had proclaimed the good news to that city
and made a considerable number of disciples,
they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch.
They strengthened the spirits of the disciples
and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying,
“It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships
to enter the Kingdom of God.”
They appointed presbyters for them in each Church and,
with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord
in whom they had put their faith.
Then they traveled through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia.
After proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia.
From there they sailed to Antioch,
where they had been commended to the grace of God
for the work they had now accomplished.
And when they arrived, they called the Church together
and reported what God had done with them
and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.
Then they spent no little time with the disciples.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 145:10-11, 12-13AB, 21

R. (see 12) Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Making known to men your might
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is a kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
or:
R. Alleluia.

May my mouth speak the praise of the LORD,
and may all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Gospel
Jn 14:27-31A

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me tell you,
‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’
If you loved me,
you would rejoice that I am going to the Father;
for the Father is greater than I.
And now I have told you this before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe.
I will no longer speak much with you,
for the ruler of the world is coming.
He has no power over me,
but the world must know that I love the Father
and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.”

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remusachim

REFLECTION

“Because a loveless world,” said Jesus, is a sightless world.” (Jn 14:23)

 

“If you want to be happy, don’t watch the news.”

Do you believe this statement is true? It’s heartbreaking, isn’t it? Watching reports of people dying of this and that disease, nations struggling with this and that calamity—wars, homicides, slander. We live in a loveless, sightless world! It’s understandable then why some are inclined to stay away from being informed of it all. But can there also be some benefit to keeping abreast with the latest?

Sweeping statements like “Don’t watch the news if you want to be happy,” surround us, but what we believe and internalize at the end of the day depends on our discretion. It’s true that some news networks do love sensationalized stories because they bring the money in, but we have to be careful not to make hasty generalizations about all of them.

It can be healthy for us to know what’s going on around the globe. This knowledge may drive us to extend our time, talents and treasures beyond the four corners of our comfort zones. – Ria Macasaet (ria.macasaet@gmail.com)

 

PRAYER
Jesus, more than perfect vision, I ask for a discerning heart. Help me to see gray in a world of black and white. Amen.

REFLECTION QUESTION
How can being informed of the plight of others increase your love for them? What kind of good would this love bring?

Photo source: remusachim.com

Little Whispers, Ria Macasaet

Bigger Than Your Body

First Reading
Dn 3: 14-20, 91-92, 95

King Nebuchadnezzar said:
“Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,
that you will not serve my god,
or worship the golden statue that I set up?
Be ready now to fall down and worship the statue I had made,
whenever you hear the sound of the trumpet,
flute, lyre, harp, psaltery, bagpipe,
and all the other musical instruments;
otherwise, you shall be instantly cast into the white-hot furnace;
and who is the God who can deliver you out of my hands?”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar,
“There is no need for us to defend ourselves before you
in this matter.
If our God, whom we serve,
can save us from the white-hot furnace
and from your hands, O king, may he save us!
But even if he will not, know, O king,
that we will not serve your god
or worship the golden statue that you set up.”King Nebuchadnezzar’s face became livid with utter rage
against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
He ordered the furnace to be heated seven times more than usual
and had some of the strongest men in his army
bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
and cast them into the white-hot furnace.

Nebuchadnezzar rose in haste and asked his nobles,
“Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?”
“Assuredly, O king,” they answered.
“But,” he replied, “I see four men unfettered and unhurt,
walking in the fire, and the fourth looks like a son of God.”
Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed,
“Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,
who sent his angel to deliver the servants who trusted in him;
they disobeyed the royal command and yielded their bodies
rather than serve or worship any god
except their own God.”

Responsorial Psalm
Dn 3: 51-56

R. (52b) Glory and praise for ever!
“Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever;
And blessed is your holy and glorious name,
praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages.”
R. Glory and praise for ever!
“Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.
R. Glory and praise for ever!
“Blessed are you on the throne of your kingdom,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.”
R. Glory and praise for ever!
“Blessed are you who look into the depths
from your throne upon the cherubim;
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.”
R. Glory and praise for ever!
“Blessed are you in the firmament of heaven,
praiseworthy and glorious forever.”
R. Glory and praise for ever 

Gospel
Jn 8: 31-42

Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him,
“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham
and have never been enslaved to anyone.
How can you say, ‘You will become free’?”
Jesus answered them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.
A slave does not remain in a household forever,
but a son always remains.
So if the Son frees you, then you will truly be free.
I know that you are descendants of Abraham.
But you are trying to kill me,
because my word has no room among you.
I tell you what I have seen in the Father’s presence;
then do what you have heard from the Father.”

They answered and said to him, “Our father is Abraham.”
Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children,
you would be doing the works of Abraham.
But now you are trying to kill me,
a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God;
Abraham did not do this.
You are doing the works of your father!”
So they said to him, “We were not born of fornication.
We have one Father, God.”
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me,
for I came from God and am here;
I did not come on my own, but he sent me.”

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3410191-YOU_ARE_what_you_EAT_Rethymno

REFLECTION

“Anyone who chooses a life of sin is trapped in a dead-end life and is, in fact, a slave. A slave is a transient, who can’t come and go at will. (Jn 8:34)

When I was buying curly fries, it seemed like a great idea. “I deserved this,” I thought. I’ve been eating well, studying hard, practicing yoga—nobody deserved curly fries better than me! After consuming the large serving of grease however, I instantly felt sick. You are what you eat.

What you choose to put in your body—be it thoughts, emotions, or food—makes an impact on how you function as a whole. This is why it’s important to make the right choices and control impulses, so that you do not become a slave to them.

Whatever doesn’t make you better has the potential of dragging you down to sin, but you are infinitely bigger than your body’s desires. Take charge. – Ria Macasaet (ria.macasaet@gmail.com)

 

PRAYER
Lord, may I constantly keep my impulses in check and choose the things that empower me to take control of myself. Amen.

REFLECTION QUESTION
Could there be more to sin than you originally thought?

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

Little Whispers, Ria Macasaet

To love & Be Loved

First Reading
1 Jn 4:11-18

Beloved, if God so loved us,
we also must love one another.
No one has ever seen God.
Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us,
and his love is brought to perfection in us.

This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us,
that he has given us of his Spirit.
Moreover, we have seen and testify
that the Father sent his Son as savior of the world.
Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God,
God remains in him and he in God.
We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.

God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.
In this is love brought to perfection among us,
that we have confidence on the day of judgment
because as he is, so are we in this world.
There is no fear in love,
but perfect love drives out fear
because fear has to do with punishment,
and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.
Responsorial Psalm
Ps 72:1-2,10,12-13

R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
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. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
The kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts;
the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

Gospel
Mk 6:45-52

After the five thousand had eaten and were satisfied,
Jesus made his disciples get into the boat
and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida,
while he dismissed the crowd.
And when he had taken leave of them,
he went off to the mountain to pray.
When it was evening,
the boat was far out on the sea and he was alone on shore.
Then he saw that they were tossed about while rowing,
for the wind was against them.
About the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them walking on the sea.
He meant to pass by them.
But when they saw him walking on the sea,
they thought it was a ghost and cried out.
They had all seen him and were terrified.
But at once he spoke with them,
“Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!”
He got into the boat with them and the wind died down.
They were completely astounded.
They had not understood the incident of the loaves.
On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.

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RIA MACASAET Treamus.deviantart.com

REFLECTION

“But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love! (1 Jn 4:12)

 

“I get a tug in the heart imagining how security guards stand their job—standing for hours and striving to keep awake. I am lucky, indeed.”

A friend was sharing her thoughts about how admirable security guards are, and how heartbreaking it is that they have to do tough work most of us don’t have to worry about. They are patient and appreciative of their work, even though it can be boring, tiring, and dangerous at times. The harsh fact is: someone’s got to do it.

The good news is that there are little things we can do that can help make their jobs more satisfying and less tedious. Recognition is one. Smiling their way, calling them by name, thanking them as we walk by, giving them little tokens of appreciation for no occasion—these may seem insignificant but acknowledgment goes a long way.

Inasmuch as we can see Jesus in those who do the “dirty work,” for us, day in and day out, we can also share Jesus by loving them simply and sincerely in return. – Ria Macasaet (ria.macasaet@gmail.com)

 

PRAYER
Dear God, help me to be more appreciative of those who make my life easier in big and little ways. May I not take their valuable work for granted! Amen.

REFLECTION QUESTION
To whom can you extend your love today?
Photo source: Treamus.deviantart.com

Little Whispers, Ria Macasaet

Perfecting Perceptions

FIRST READING
Jgs 11:29-39a

The Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah.
He passed through Gilead and Manasseh,
and through Mizpah-Gilead as well,
and from there he went on to the Ammonites.
Jephthah made a vow to the LORD.
“If you deliver the Ammonites into my power,” he said,
“whoever comes out of the doors of my house
to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites
shall belong to the LORD.
I shall offer him up as a burnt offering.”

Jephthah then went on to the Ammonites to fight against them,
and the LORD delivered them into his power,
so that he inflicted a severe defeat on them,
from Aroer to the approach of Minnith (twenty cities in all)
and as far as Abel-keramim.
Thus were the Ammonites brought into subjection
by the children of Israel.
When Jephthah returned to his house in Mizpah,
it was his daughter who came forth,
playing the tambourines and dancing.
She was an only child: he had neither son nor daughter besides her.
When he saw her, he rent his garments and said,
“Alas, daughter, you have struck me down
and brought calamity upon me.
For I have made a vow to the LORD and I cannot retract.”
She replied, “Father, you have made a vow to the LORD.
Do with me as you have vowed,
because the LORD has wrought vengeance for you
on your enemies the Ammonites.”
Then she said to her father, “Let me have this favor.
Spare me for two months, that I may go off down the mountains
to mourn my virginity with my companions.”
“Go,” he replied, and sent her away for two months.
So she departed with her companions
and mourned her virginity on the mountains.
At the end of the two months she returned to her father,
who did to her as he had vowed.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Ps 40:5, 7-8a, 8b-9, 10

R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Blessed the man who makes the LORD his trust;
who turns not to idolatry
or to those who stray after falsehood.
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Burnt offerings or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, “Behold I come.”
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me.
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!”
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

GOSPEL
Mt 22:1-14

Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and the elders of the people in parables
saying, “The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who gave a wedding feast for his son.
He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast,
but they refused to come.
A second time he sent other servants, saying,
‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet,
my calves and fattened cattle are killed,
and everything is ready; come to the feast.”’
Some ignored the invitation and went away,
one to his farm, another to his business.
The rest laid hold of his servants,
mistreated them, and killed them.
The king was enraged and sent his troops,
destroyed those murderers, and burned their city.
Then the king said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready,
but those who were invited were not worthy to come.
Go out, therefore, into the main roads
and invite to the feast whomever you find.’
The servants went out into the streets
and gathered all they found, bad and good alike,
and the hall was filled with guests.
But when the king came in to meet the guests
he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment.
He said to him, ‘My friend, how is it
that you came in here without a wedding garment?’
But he was reduced to silence.
Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet,
and cast him into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’
Many are invited, but few are chosen.”
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Reflection:
“If you had only recognized this day, and everything that was good for you! But now it’s too late.” –Luke 19: 42

Sabi nila, “Maraming namamatay sa maling akala.” Roughly translated in English, “Assume wrongly and die.” I agree with you. That’s not a very good translation, but it sure brings the point home.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus reminds us of the advantages of recognizing the truth early and well.

When people say that wrong assumptions, opinions and beliefs can cause death, do they mean people just drop down dead like flies drunk on mosquito coil scent whenever they make these mistakes? If that were the case, I’m not sure we’ll still be 7 billion strong.

What they wish to express though is the figurative kind of death we experience whenever we fail to recognize the truth. We all bring our predispositions to every situation. We all react in a way reflective of our own values, knowledge and experiences. But in spite of our bias, we can train ourselves to recognize what’s important from what isn’t: to recognize the real among the fake, the truth from all the masks and the gossip. –Ria Macasaet, YLSS#24

Prayer:
Grant me the grace of discernment, Lord. May I learn to recognize the good and the true as quickly as the unhealthy and false. Amen.