Little Whispers, Ryan Matignas

We Can’t but He Can.

First Reading
2 Kings 5:14-17
Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times
at the word of Elisha, the man of God.
His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child,
and he was clean of his leprosy.

Naaman returned with his whole retinue to the man of God.
On his arrival he stood before Elisha and said,
“Now I know that there is no God in all the earth,
except in Israel.
Please accept a gift from your servant.”

Elisha replied, “As the LORD lives whom I serve, I will not take it;”
and despite Naaman’s urging, he still refused.
Naaman said: “If you will not accept,
please let me, your servant, have two mule-loads of earth,
for I will no longer offer holocaust or sacrifice
to any other god except to the LORD.”

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 98:1, 2-3, 3-4
R. (cf. 2b) The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
his right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands:
break into song; sing praise.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.

Second Reading
2 Timothy 2:8-13
Beloved:
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David:
such is my gospel, for which I am suffering,
even to the point of chains, like a criminal.
But the word of God is not chained.
Therefore, I bear with everything for the sake of those who are chosen,
so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus,
together with eternal glory.
This saying is trustworthy:
If we have died with him
we shall also live with him;
if we persevere
we shall also reign with him.
But if we deny him
he will deny us.
If we are unfaithful
he remains faithful,
for he cannot deny himself.
Alleluia1 THES 5:18
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
In all circumstances, give thanks,
for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel
Luke 17:11-19
As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem,
he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.
As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him.
They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying,
“Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”
And when he saw them, he said,
“Go show yourselves to the priests.”
As they were going they were cleansed.
And one of them, realizing he had been healed,
returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.
He was a Samaritan.
Jesus said in reply,
“Ten were cleansed, were they not?
Where are the other nine?
Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”
Then he said to him, “Stand up and go;
your faith has saved you.”


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“… But the word of God is not chained.” (2 Timothy 2:9)

REFLECTION
It was the second night of my dad’s funeral. It was late in the evening and we were the only ones in the small chapel. I sat in the front row looking at the coffin from a distance—all those flowers and all those lights. I’ve been crying a short while when my mom approached me. I remember asking her, “
Mommy, pano na tayo? Kakayanin ba natin ito?” I saw my mom’s face turn grey. She was crying too. “Kakayanin natin.” she replied.Naaawa naman ako sayo eh. Tatlo pa kami paaaralin mo? Pano yun?” I felt desperate. I felt chained. My dad left us nothing. We were poor and we struggled to pay for utilities.

She was rock-solid and will not be moved. “Ryan. Huwag mong probemahin ang hindi mo problema. Problema ko magpa-aral sayo. Ang problema mo ay mag aral ng mabuti. Basta magdasal ka araw-araw. Hindi natin kaya pero kaya ng Diyos.” We can’t, but He can.I’ve never seen anyone work as hard as my mom. She had so many jobs, ALL AT THE SAME TIME. She was a school nurse, an assistant teacher, she cooked for friends on special occasions, she was a real estate agent, heck, she even tried driving a school bus – A SCHOOL BUS DRIVER. All to make ends meet.

We’ve gone so far from that period of our lives where everything was just difficult. We now enjoy a little comfort. Every time I get the chance to speak to my mom about difficulties of life and how she’s just managed to win all the time her answer is always the same—“Nagdadasal lang ako. I kneel down in front of God and I pray all my heart’s desires. I know I can’t but He can.”

Prayer
Lord, I am desperate, I am chained to all things that drag me down. I cannot do it alone and I need you in my life. Hear my prayer Lord.

Author

Click on the bubble to find out more about Ryan!

Photo by: Samuel Martins (@samuelmartins7 at unsplash.com)

Little Whispers, Ryan Matignas

Child In Us

First Reading
GN 2:18-24

The LORD God said: “It is not good for the man to be alone.
I will make a suitable partner for him.”
So the LORD God formed out of the ground
various wild animals and various birds of the air,
and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them;
whatever the man called each of them would be its name.
The man gave names to all the cattle,
all the birds of the air, and all wild animals;
but none proved to be the suitable partner for the man.

So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man,
and while he was asleep,
he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.
The LORD God then built up into a woman the rib
that he had taken from the man.
When he brought her to the man, the man said:
“This one, at last, is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
this one shall be called ‘woman, ‘
for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.”
That is why a man leaves his father and mother
and clings to his wife,
and the two of them become one flesh.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 128:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6

R. (cf. 5) May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.
Blessed are you who fear the LORD,
who walk in his ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
blessed shall you be, and favored.
R. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the recesses of your home;
your children like olive plants
around your table.
R. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.
Behold, thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.
The LORD bless you from Zion:
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
R. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.
May you see your children’s children.
Peace be upon Israel!
R. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.

Second Reading
HEB 2:9-11

Brothers and sisters:
He “for a little while” was made “lower than the angels, ”
that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

For it was fitting that he,
for whom and through whom all things exist,
in bringing many children to glory,
should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering.
He who consecrates and those who are being consecrated
all have one origin.
Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them “brothers.”
Alleluia 1 JN 4:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If we love one another, God remains in us
and his love is brought to perfection in us.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel
MK 10:2-16

The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked,
“Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?”
They were testing him.
He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?”
They replied,
“Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce
and dismiss her.”
But Jesus told them,
“Because of the hardness of your hearts
he wrote you this commandment.
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.
So they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together,
no human being must separate.”
In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.
He said to them,
“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another
commits adultery against her;
and if she divorces her husband and marries another,
she commits adultery.”

And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them,
but the disciples rebuked them.
When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them,
“Let the children come to me;
do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to
such as these.
Amen, I say to you,
whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child
will not enter it.”
Then he embraced them and blessed them,
placing his hands on them.

_____________________________________________________________________________

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“Let the children come to me.” (Matthew 19:14)

REFLECTION

I spend 2/3 of my day going about my responsibilities – I spend a considerable time at the workplace, an average of 10-12 hours a day excluding traffic.  When I get home, it’s a quick shower and I’m off to bed where I spend a bit of time unloading my mind of the tasks at hand.  Even though it gets really tiring, I soldier on because I do all of these for my beautiful wife and my awesome 5 month-old daughter.

There are days though, when I get frustrated.  I get frustrated because of failure – failure to accomplish, failure to represent, failure to deliver. I spend a considerable amount of time feeling bad for things that I worked hard for.  I reflect and share my thoughts to God, I cry at times because of feelings of discouragement.

Today’s reading is God’s answer to our cries for help. He invites the child in us to come to Him, to stay warm in His loving embrace. He invites the child in us to cry our hearts out to Him, because it is the only genuine way to unload our hearts of the burden we carry.

Today, Jesus calls the child in you to hug Him, and leave your worries with Him.
Let the child come to Him.

Prayer
Lord, Hug me. Without You, I am lost. Jesus embrace me.  Without You I am nothing.

Author

matignas-ryan-wc

Little Whispers, Ryan Matignas

Sunny Days

First Reading
EX 16:2-4, 12-15

The whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron.
The Israelites said to them,
“Would that we had died at the LORD’s hand in the land of Egypt,
as we sat by our fleshpots and ate our fill of bread!
But you had to lead us into this desert
to make the whole community die of famine!”

Then the LORD said to Moses,
“I will now rain down bread from heaven for you.
Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion;
thus will I test them,
to see whether they follow my instructions or not.

“I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites.
Tell them: In the evening twilight you shall eat flesh,
and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread,
so that you may know that I, the LORD, am your God.”

In the evening quail came up and covered the camp.
In the morning a dew lay all about the camp,
and when the dew evaporated, there on the surface of the desert
were fine flakes like hoarfrost on the ground.
On seeing it, the Israelites asked one another, “What is this?”
for they did not know what it was.
But Moses told them,
“This is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat.”

Responsorial Psalm
PS 78:3-4, 23-24, 25, 54
R. (24b) The Lord gave them bread from heaven.

What we have heard and know,
and what our fathers have declared to us,
We will declare to the generation to come
the glorious deeds of the LORD and his strength
and the wonders that he wrought.
R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
He commanded the skies above
and opened the doors of heaven;
he rained manna upon them for food
and gave them heavenly bread.
R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
Man ate the bread of angels,
food he sent them in abundance.
And he brought them to his holy land,
to the mountains his right hand had won.
R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.

Second Reading
EPH 4:17, 20-24

Brothers and sisters:
I declare and testify in the Lord
that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do,
in the futility of their minds;
that is not how you learned Christ,
assuming that you have heard of him and were taught in him,
as truth is in Jesus,
that you should put away the old self of your former way of life,
corrupted through deceitful desires,
and be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
and put on the new self,
created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.

Gospel
JN 6:24-35

When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there,
they themselves got into boats
and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
And when they found him across the sea they said to him,
“Rabbi, when did you get here?”
Jesus answered them and said,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
you are looking for me not because you saw signs
but because you ate the loaves and were filled.
Do not work for food that perishes
but for the food that endures for eternal life,
which the Son of Man will give you.
For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.”
So they said to him,
“What can we do to accomplish the works of God?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”
So they said to him,
“What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you?
What can you do?
Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written:
He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”
So Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven;
my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven
and gives life to the world.”

So they said to him,
“Sir, give us this bread always.”
Jesus said to them,
“I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”


 

rainy
…”I will now rain down bread from heaven for you…” (Exodus 16:4)

REFLECTION

I’ve never liked rain.

When I was a small boy, I loved playing outside. I’d be in my rubber boots, tidy white-ies, two belts crossed over my chest wielding a plastic silver sword, pretending I was He-Man master of the universe fighting off Skeletor (an 80’s kid would know). And then it would rain, and I’d be asked to stop playing and come inside.  That sucked.

I hated rain.

My mom loved bringing me places. If she had errands, my mom would have me tag along and it would be awesome as it meant I saw different things. And then it would rain, and our trips would get cancelled. That wasn’t nice.

I didn’t like rain at all.

Our family went through a rough financial patch when I was younger. Our house wasn’t maintained well, to the point that our roof leaked buckets of water. I would often see my dad, staring blankly, wallowing in depression. The smoke from his cigarette would form a strange scent coupled with the smell of wet metal and wood. It was heart breaking.

I hated rain.

At one time, my mom had a big fight with my dad. She wanted to be away, so she left the house with us. While waiting for a jeepney, it rained very hard. We didn’t have an umbrella then, needless to say we were drenched. I hated every part of being wet and cold.

When my dad passed, my mom was left to fend for us. She didn’t earn much as a school nurse and had to have different rackets.

At one time, my mom was out on one of those errands, trying to make money selling all kinds of stuff. It rained really, really hard and I got worried. I knew my mom won’t take a cab to save money, which told me she would’ve been soaking wet by now. My fears were confirmed when she got home, soaking wet. Her eyes were glassy. I knew she was crying recently.

It broke my heart to see my mom like that. I locked myself in my room and prayed to the heavens for the rain to stop. I prayed to God for our “rain” to stop.

I remember my prayer: “Lord, please, ayaw ko na po mahirapan mommy ko. Wag na sana siya mabasa ng ulan ulit.” (Lord, please, I do not want to see mommy having a hard time. I don’t want her getting drenched in the cold rain again.)

Two weeks later, we got a call from a nearby shopping mall informing us we won the grand prize in the raffle it recently held. The grand prize: a brand new car. (The car was then sold off, proceeds were used to improve our house, and purchase a second hand sedan.)

God listens when you pray. Right now, if you’re getting rained on, pray. God listens to us. God answers prayers. You don’t have to suffer “hating rain” because God will make it stop, and you will have your sunny days.

Prayer
Lord, thank you for making the rain go away.
Author
matignas-ryan-wc
Click on the image to read more reflections by Ryan!
Little Whispers, Ryan Matignas

Every Time

First Reading
GN 28:10-22A
Jacob departed from Beer-sheba and proceeded toward Haran.
When he came upon a certain shrine, as the sun had already set,
he stopped there for the night.
Taking one of the stones at the shrine, he put it under his head
and lay down to sleep at that spot.
Then he had a dream: a stairway rested on the ground,
with its top reaching to the heavens;
and God’s messengers were going up and down on it.
And there was the LORD standing beside him and saying:
“I, the LORD, am the God of your forefather Abraham
and the God of Isaac;
the land on which you are lying
I will give to you and your descendants.
These shall be as plentiful as the dust of the earth,
and through them you shall spread out east and west, north and south.
In you and your descendants
all the nations of the earth shall find blessing.
Know that I am with you;
I will protect you wherever you go,
and bring you back to this land.
I will never leave you until I have done what I promised you.”

When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he exclaimed,
“Truly, the LORD is in this spot, although I did not know it!”
In solemn wonder he cried out: “How awesome is this shrine!
This is nothing else but an abode of God,
and that is the gateway to heaven!”
Early the next morning Jacob took the stone
that he had put under his head,
set it up as a memorial stone, and poured oil on top of it.
He called the site Bethel,
whereas the former name of the town had been Luz.

Jacob then made this vow: “If God remains with me,
to protect me on this journey I am making
and to give me enough bread to eat and clothing to wear,
and I come back safe to my father’s house, the LORD shall be my God.
This stone that I have set up as a memorial stone shall be God’s abode.”

Responsorial Psalm
PS 91:1-2, 3-4, 14-15AB
R. (see 2b) In you, my God, I place my trust.
You who dwell in the shelter of the Most High,
who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
Say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
R. In you, my God, I place my trust.
For he will rescue you from the snare of the fowler,
from the destroying pestilence.
With his pinions he will cover you,
and under his wings you shall take refuge.
R. In you, my God, I place my trust.
Because he clings to me, I will deliver him;
I will set him on high because he acknowledges my name.
He shall call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in distress.
R. In you, my God, I place my trust.

Gospel
MT 9:18-26
While Jesus was speaking, an official came forward,
knelt down before him, and said,
“My daughter has just died.
But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live.”
Jesus rose and followed him, and so did his disciples.
A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him
and touched the tassel on his cloak.
She said to herself, “If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured.”
Jesus turned around and saw her, and said,
“Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you.”
And from that hour the woman was cured.

When Jesus arrived at the official’s house
and saw the flute players and the crowd who were making a commotion,
he said, “Go away! The girl is not dead but sleeping.”
And they ridiculed him.
When the crowd was put out, he came and took her by the hand,
and the little girl arose.
And news of this spread throughout all that land.


Bacici

“I will never leave you until I have done what I promised you.” (Genesis 28:15)

REFLECTION

I have a two-month old baby girl named Baci. “Baci” is Italian for “kisses”, and maybe, rightfully so, because people never seem to tire of kissing her. Baci is the first apo in both sides of the family, and as such, is everyone’s current favorite.   When family is around her, you’d catch them smelling, touching, kissing, just being really close to Baci. Baci gets all of this, every time.

My wife and Baci’s mom, Trina, is something else. At times, in the morning before leaving for work, when I lead our small family into prayer, I catch her not paying attention to me, as I see her intently staring into Baci’s eyes, amazed at our baby’s beauty. Trina could stare at Baci’s little toes for hours on end, sometimes missing important meals of the day because she never leaves Baci’s side. Trina’s heart skips beats because of Baci’s smile. Trina’s eyes well up with tears just looking at Baci sleep. Baci makes Trina’s tummy flutter as if fully of butterflies. Baci makes Trina love her like the flowers love the sun, as high as tree branches reach for the sky. Trina would do anything and everything just to make Baci happy, every time.

Trina would lose precious hours of sleep just to take care of Baci. She wakes up at the faintest sound of discomfort, and gets up to soothe our little girl. Trina spends several hours a day just taking care of Baci. If Baci can’t sleep at night because of some discomfort, or just because she had too much sleeping time during the day, Trina would fight tooth and nail just to stay up, sometime one eye open, just to give Baci a comfortable time. Trina does anything and everything, just so Baci is safe, comfortable, and loved, every time.

This is how we are loved by Christ, too. Jesus jumps to our aid at the faintest sign of discomfort and offers his bleeding, striped arms just to soothe us. Jesus spends every moment tending to our needs. If we can’t sleep at night because of worry, Christ fights tooth and nail just to give us faith, hope, and love. Christ does anything and everything, just so we feel safe, comfortable and loved, every time. – Ryan Matignas

Prayer

Jesus, soothe me with your love, every time.

Reflection Question

When was the last time you accepted Jesus’ loving embrace?

Little Whispers, Ryan Matignas

Finals

First Reading
Acts 16:22-34

The crowd in Philippi joined in the attack on Paul and Silas,
and the magistrates had them stripped
and ordered them to be beaten with rods.
After inflicting many blows on them,
they threw them into prison
and instructed the jailer to guard them securely.
When he received these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell
and secured their feet to a stake.

About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying
and singing hymns to God as the prisoners listened,
there was suddenly such a severe earthquake
that the foundations of the jail shook;
all the doors flew open, and the chains of all were pulled loose.
When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open,
he drew his sword and was about to kill himself,
thinking that the prisoners had escaped.
But Paul shouted out in a loud voice,
“Do no harm to yourself; we are all here.”
He asked for a light and rushed in and,
trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas.
Then he brought them out and said,
“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus
and you and your household will be saved.”
So they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in his house.
He took them in at that hour of the night and bathed their wounds;
then he and all his family were baptized at once.
He brought them up into his house and provided a meal
and with his household rejoiced at having come to faith in God.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 138:1-2AB, 2CDE-3, 7C-8
R. (7c) Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart,
for you have heard the words of my mouth;
in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise;
I will worship at your holy temple,
and give thanks to your name.
R. Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Because of your kindness and your truth,
you have made great above all things
your name and your promise.
When I called, you answered me;
you built up strength within me.
R. Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Your right hand saves me.
The LORD will complete what he has done for me;
your kindness, O LORD, endures forever;
forsake not the work of your hands.
R. Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Gospel
John 16:5-11

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Now I am going to the one who sent me,
and not one of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’
But because I told you this, grief has filled your hearts.
But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go.
For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you.
But if I go, I will send him to you.
And when he comes he will convict the world
in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation:
sin, because they do not believe in me;
righteousness, because I am going to the Father
and you will no longer see me;
condemnation, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.”


“Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and your household will be saved.” (Acts 16:31)

REFLECTION

All modesty aside, I was a very smart boy in my youth. There was never a time that I worried if I would pass or fail my subjects – despite my (lack of) studying habits. I never did any of my homework, never took notes, and never had any books on me.

One thing would make me sweat during finals week though: securing a permit to take final exams.  Our school then had a policy of not granting permits to students who have not completely settled tuition fees. Because our family encountered a very, very rough financial patch at that time, payment for my tuition fees were always delayed.

I can still vividly remember how I used to carefully approach my mom at the table and quietly inform her that tuition fees are due, and if I was not able to, that I will not be able to take my final exams. My mom, would look at me and give a faint but strong smile and say: “wag ka magalala, makaka bayad tayo. (Don’t worry, we will be able to pay.”) Her tone was assuring, but her eyes, almost always close to tears would give her away. Deep down inside you know her gut was in a tight knot, and that her heart wanted to burst in despair.

But my mom would always follow up with “may plano ako, pag pray mo. (“I’ve a plan, pray it works.”)

Year on year, on day one of finals week, my mom would wake me up, and at the breakfast table, hand me my school allowance and my exam permit.

Every single year she “plans” for some miracle to happen, and every year our prayers are answered. My mom did not only teach me to pray, she taught me to believe, despite all the difficulties, despite the knots in your stomach, despite the tears in your eyes. God will never ever let you down if you believe. – Ryan Matignas 

Prayer
Father, I believe in You. Take all of me Lord, use me for Your greater glory.

Reflection Question
Do you believe, in spite and despite?