Little Whispers, Tim Montales

Injustice

First Reading
Acts 28:16-20, 30-31

When he entered Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself,
with the soldier who was guarding him.

Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews.
When they had gathered he said to them, “My brothers,
although I had done nothing against our people
or our ancestral customs,
I was handed over to the Romans as a prisoner from Jerusalem.
After trying my case the Romans wanted to release me,
because they found nothing against me deserving the death penalty.
But when the Jews objected, I was obliged to appeal to Caesar,
even though I had no accusation to make against my own nation.
This is the reason, then, I have requested to see you
and to speak with you, for it is on account of the hope of Israel
that I wear these chains.”

He remained for two full years in his lodgings.
He received all who came to him, and with complete assurance
and without hindrance he proclaimed the Kingdom of God
and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 11:4, 5 AND 7
R. (see 7b) The just will gaze on your face, O Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

The LORD is in his holy temple;
the LORD’s throne is in heaven.
His eyes behold,
his searching glance is on mankind.
R. The just will gaze on your face, O Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

The LORD searches the just and the wicked;
the lover of violence he hates.
For the LORD is just, he loves just deeds;
the upright shall see his face.
R. The just will gaze on your face, O Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Gospel
John 21:20-25
Peter turned and saw the disciple following whom Jesus loved,
the one who had also reclined upon his chest during the supper
and had said, “Master, who is the one who will betray you?”
When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?”
Jesus said to him, “What if I want him to remain until I come?
What concern is it of yours?
You follow me.”
So the word spread among the brothers that that disciple would not die.
But Jesus had not told him that he would not die,
just “What if I want him to remain until I come?
What concern is it of yours?”

It is this disciple who testifies to these things
and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true.
There are also many other things that Jesus did,
but if these were to be described individually,
I do not think the whole world would contain the books
that would be written.


 

Ridiculed

“My brothers, although I had done nothing against our people or our ancestral customs, I was handed over to the Romans as a prisoner from Jerusalem.”  (Acts 28: 17)

REFLECTION

Have you experienced being discriminated, ridiculed, politicized, or scorned because you are doing something good for your family, friends, and community?

I have.

Human instinct would usually drive me to quit doing my good deeds, or worst, plan something nasty against my detractors as payback. Yet, thanks to my experience with the community and a whole lot of buddies elsewhere who testify about good karma, I learn how to transform all the pent-up emotions into positive energies that keep me doing the good deeds that I do.

The result of this skill – Blessings, blessings, and more blessings.

Let Paul’s actions in today’s First Reading and Mother Teresa’s words be our inspirations to perform good deeds amid the injustice that we receive:

“People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.” – Timothy Wilt P. Montales, YLSS 24 (tm81288@yahoo.com)

Prayer

Lord, injustice is such a powerful force that transforms men into wicked beings full of hatred and revenge. And we admit that sometimes, we allow this force to affect and control our lives. May the power of the Holy Spirit inspire us to do good amid the injustices that are present in our daily lives. Amen.

Reflection Question

In dealing with injustice, do you answer with evil or good?

Little Whispers, Tim Montales

Food and Supplements for the Soul

First Reading
Acts 8:26-40

The angel of the Lord spoke to Philip,
“Get up and head south on the road
that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert route.”
So he got up and set out.
Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch,
a court official of the Candace,
that is, the queen of the Ethiopians,
in charge of her entire treasury,
who had come to Jerusalem to worship, and was returning home.
Seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah.
The Spirit said to Philip,
“Go and join up with that chariot.”
Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said,
“Do you understand what you are reading?”
He replied,
“How can I, unless someone instructs me?”
So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him.
This was the Scripture passage he was reading:

Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,
and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who will tell of his posterity?
For his life is taken from the earth.

Then the eunuch said to Philip in reply,
“I beg you, about whom is the prophet saying this?
About himself, or about someone else?”
Then Philip opened his mouth and, beginning with this Scripture passage,
he proclaimed Jesus to him.
As they traveled along the road
they came to some water,
and the eunuch said, “Look, there is water.
What is to prevent my being baptized?”
Then he ordered the chariot to stop,
and Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water,
and he baptized him.
When they came out of the water,
the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away,
and the eunuch saw him no more,
but continued on his way rejoicing.
Philip came to Azotus, and went about proclaiming the good news
to all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 66:8-9, 16-17, 20
R. (1) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Bless our God, you peoples,
loudly sound his praise;
He has given life to our souls,
and has not let our feet slip.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare
what he has done for me.
When I appealed to him in words,
praise was on the tip of my tongue.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Blessed be God who refused me not
my prayer or his kindness!
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Gospel
John 6:44-51

Jesus said to the crowds:
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him,
and I will raise him on the last day.
It is written in the prophets:

They shall all be taught by God.

Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.
Not that anyone has seen the Father
except the one who is from God;
he has seen the Father.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes has eternal life.
I am the bread of life.
Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;
this is the bread that comes down from heaven
so that one may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give
is my Flesh for the life of the world.”


 

Communion

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my Flesh for the life of the world.” (John 6:51)

Ever wonder why we should not fall in line for the Holy Communion after arriving during the Homily?

That is because we missed listening to the Liturgy of the Word, particularly the Gospel.

In fact, it is a no-no for us to leave the Church after listening to the first half of the mass just because we arrived at the second half during the previous mass schedule. As much as possible, we should arrive minutes or even hours before the start of the Holy Mass so that we can prepare ourselves to receive Jesus.

In other words, it is not like your movie house where you can piece together the whole movie by arriving late and staying up until the scene where you arrived.

Because the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist co-exist with each other in order to compose the Holy Mass. The Word is our supplement, while the Eucharist is our food. Both elements are vital in nourishing our souls that have been battered, bruised, shackled, and tired for the week.

Another reason that can also prohibit us from taking the Holy Communion is mortal sin, because taking communion while in this state is sacrilege. Hence, now we have a reason why we should arrive early before the Holy Mass, and that is to make room for confession before receiving Jesus Christ.

Having this food for thought in mind is enough motivation for me to aim to arrive either minutes or hours before the Holy Mass so that I can prepare myself to receive Jesus through Word and Eucharist. Should you find yourself struggling to make it on time for the Holy Mass and to receive the Holy Communion, keep this reflection in mind and for sure, it will help you develop a sense of punctuality and passion to seek the completeness of your spiritual nourishment.

For the Holy Mass is a two-in-one package of food and supplements for our souls. – Timothy Wilt P. Montales (tm81288@yahoo.com)

Prayer

Lord, thank You for the gift of the Holy Mass for it is a two-in-one package for our souls’ nourishment. May we value the sanctity of this prayer by aiming to arrive minutes or hours before the Holy Mass, and make a quality confession so that we can prepare ourselves thoroughly to receive You. Amen.

Reflection Question

How much do you value the sanctity of the Holy Mass, particularly the Holy Communion?

Photo source: pinterest.com

Little Whispers, Tim Montales

Discipleship = Discipline

First Reading
Is 66:18-21

Thus says the LORD:
I know their works and their thoughts,
and I come to gather nations of every language;
they shall come and see my glory.
I will set a sign among them;
from them I will send fugitives to the nations:
to Tarshish, Put and Lud, Mosoch, Tubal and Javan,
to the distant coastlands
that have never heard of my fame, or seen my glory;
and they shall proclaim my glory among the nations.
They shall bring all your brothers and sisters from all the nations
as an offering to the LORD,
on horses and in chariots, in carts, upon mules and dromedaries,
to Jerusalem, my holy mountain, says the LORD,
just as the Israelites bring their offering
to the house of the LORD in clean vessels.
Some of these I will take as priests and Levites, says the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 117:1, 2
R. (Mk 16:15) Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Praise the LORD all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
or:
R. Alleluia.

For steadfast is his kindness toward us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Second Reading
Heb 12:5-7, 11-13

Brothers and sisters,
You have forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as children:
“My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord
or lose heart when reproved by him;
for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines;
he scourges every son he acknowledges.”
Endure your trials as “discipline”;
God treats you as sons.
For what “son” is there whom his father does not discipline?
At the time,
all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain,
yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness
to those who are trained by it.

So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees.
Make straight paths for your feet,
that what is lame may not be disjointed but healed.

Gospel
Lk 13:22-30

Jesus passed through towns and villages,
teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.
Someone asked him,
“Lord, will only a few people be saved?”
He answered them,
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter
but will not be strong enough.
After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door,
then will you stand outside knocking and saying,
‘Lord, open the door for us.’
He will say to you in reply,
‘I do not know where you are from.
And you will say,
‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’
Then he will say to you,
‘I do not know where you are from.
Depart from me, all you evildoers!’
And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth
when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
and all the prophets in the kingdom of God
and you yourselves cast out.
And people will come from the east and the west
and from the north and the south
and will recline at table in the kingdom of God.
For behold, some are last who will be first,
and some are first who will be last.”
____________________________________________________________________________________________

scold

REFLECTION

“My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges.” – Hebrews 12: 5-6

Growing up in a family with disciplinarian parents, I do get reprimanded and punished for some of the mistakes and mischievousness that I’ve done. At first, I hated those episodes (at least the manner of conducting the discipline), but as time passed by, I get to appreciate those events for they were able to shape me into a disciplined man.

In the community, my kuyas and ates tend to discipline me in a nice yet frank manner in order to straighten up my act, and become a striving role model of being God’s disciple to my younger colleagues.

In life, however, it is the trials of everyday living that has become God’s way of pruning our spiritual maturity and health in order to become His effective disciples.

Brothers and sisters, whenever we get reprimanded for our errors, let us take it not as a punishment. But rather, let us look at it as one of God’s many ways of expressing His love for us.

It may be harsh at first, but let us remember that discipline is a part of discipleship. And through discipline, we become effective yet improving Disciples of Christ. -Tim Montales (tm81288@yahoo.com)

Prayer

Lord, at first we may not understand Your ways of expressing Your love for us, particularly the art of discipline. Yet, we thank You for Your discipline for it continues to help us become your effective, improving, and disciplined disciples. May we persevere and endure all aspects of discipline so that in turn, we become good examples to our friends, family, and community. Amen.

Reflection Question

Am I a disciplined person?

Photo Source: barry-williams.com

Little Whispers, Tim Montales

The Trials of Endurance

First Reading

GN 46:1-7, 28-30

Israel set out with all that was his.

When he arrived at Beer-sheba,
he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.
There God, speaking to Israel in a vision by night, called,
“Jacob! Jacob!”
He answered, “Here I am.”
Then he said: “I am God, the God of your father.
Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt,
for there I will make you a great nation.
Not only will I go down to Egypt with you;
I will also bring you back here, after Joseph has closed your eyes.”

So Jacob departed from Beer-sheba,
and the sons of Israel
put their father and their wives and children
on the wagons that Pharaoh had sent for his transport.
They took with them their livestock
and the possessions they had acquired in the land of Canaan.
Thus Jacob and all his descendants migrated to Egypt.
His sons and his grandsons, his daughters and his granddaughtersB
all his descendants—he took with him to Egypt.

Israel had sent Judah ahead to Joseph,
so that he might meet him in Goshen.
On his arrival in the region of Goshen,
Joseph hitched the horses to his chariot
and rode to meet his father Israel in Goshen.
As soon as Joseph saw him, he flung himself on his neck
and wept a long time in his arms.
And Israel said to Joseph, “At last I can die,
now that I have seen for myself that Joseph is still alive.”

Responsorial Psalm

PS 37:3-4, 18-19, 27-28, 39-40

R. (39a) The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.

Trust in the LORD and do good,
that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security.
Take delight in the LORD,
and he will grant you your heart’s requests.

R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.

The LORD watches over the lives of the wholehearted;
their inheritance lasts forever.
They are not put to shame in an evil time;
in days of famine they have plenty.

R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Turn from evil and do good,
that you may abide forever;
For the LORD loves what is right,
and forsakes not his faithful ones.

R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.

The salvation of the just is from the LORD;
he is their refuge in time of distress.
And the LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.

R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.

Gospel

MT 10:16-23

Jesus said to his Apostles:

“Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves;

so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.

But beware of men,

for they will hand you over to courts

and scourge you in their synagogues,

and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake

as a witness before them and the pagans.

When they hand you over,

do not worry about how you are to speak

or what you are to say.

You will be given at that moment what you are to say.

For it will not be you who speak

but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

Brother will hand over brother to death,

and the father his child;

children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.

You will be hated by all because of my name,

but whoever endures to the end will be saved.

When they persecute you in one town, flee to another.

Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel

before the Son of Man comes.”

______________________________________________________________________

July 12

REFLECTION

“You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.” Mt 10: 22

When I first entered the Youth Ministry through YLSS 24, I was thinking that my life will have a smooth journey afterwards. However, as the days went by, I was in for a reality check that my life with the Lord will be a tougher road than before. Trials and temptations have pushed me further to my very limits, and it even squeezed me to the point of quitting the Youth Ministry because of the fatigue that has settled in my body.

But every time I plan to do such a thing, I always find myself attending the prayer meetings, and serving in various missions of the community. At first, I was thinking that my body has been automated to do this. But now, I realize that it was God who was doing it all along. Perhaps this is his way of saving me from such a pitfall as he recognizes my will to endure everything that will come my way for His Greater Glory. And true enough, He saves and rewards me for my endurance such as passing my thesis with a good grade, and landing a dream job.

Brothers and sisters, the world may become a nastier place to live once you have made a pact with the Lord to become His servant. And true enough, life will always be difficult. But if we are willing to persevere and endure all the trials that come our way for His Glory, the Lord will be merciful enough to save us from harm, and be generous enough to shower us with the blessings that are rightfully ours.

Bruce Lee once said, “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”

As His servants, let us always exercise the will to pray for the strength to endure every test that will lead to His Victory. – Tim Montales (tm81288@yahoo.com)

PRAYER

Lord, we praise and thank You for sending us Jesus Christ as the example of a servant who is willing to endure everything for Your Greater Glory. Inspired by his sacrifice on the cross, may we always exercise the will to pray for the strength to surpass the trials of endurance in order to show the world of Your Greater Glory. Amen!

Reflection Question

How do you face your trials?

Photo Source: empireonline.com

Little Whispers, Tim Montales

Motivation For Confession

First Reading
Ex 34: 11 – 16

Thus says the Lord GOD:
I myself will look after and tend my sheep.
As a shepherd tends his flock
when he finds himself among his scattered sheep,
so will I tend my sheep.
I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered
when it was cloudy and dark.
I will lead them out from among the peoples
and gather them from the foreign lands;
I will bring them back to their own country
and pasture them upon the mountains of Israel
in the land’s ravines and all its inhabited places.
In good pastures will I pasture them,
and on the mountain heights of Israel
shall be their grazing ground.
There they shall lie down on good grazing ground,
and in rich pastures shall they be pastured
on the mountains of Israel.
I myself will pasture my sheep;
I myself will give them rest, says the Lord GOD.
The lost I will seek out,
the strayed I will bring back,
the injured I will bind up,
the sick I will heal,
but the sleek and the strong I will destroy,
shepherding them rightly.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 23: 1 – 6

R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
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. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
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. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
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. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want

Second Reading
Rom 5: 5 – 11

Brothers and sisters:
The love of God has been poured out into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
For Christ, while we were still helpless,
died at the appointed time for the ungodly.
Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person,
though perhaps for a good person
one might even find courage to die.
But God proves his love for us
in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.
How much more then, since we are now justified by his blood,
will we be saved through him from the wrath.
Indeed, if, while we were enemies,
we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son,
how much more, once reconciled,
will we be saved by his life.
Not only that,
but we also boast of God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Gospel
Lk 15: 3 – 7

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

_________________________________________________________________________________________

sodahead

REFLECTION

“I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.” – Luke 15: 7

Okay. Let us take a look at some of the hindrances to take the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

  1.  Afraid of what the priest will say about our sins
  2.  The penance
  3.  It’s the same old sins again and again.
  4.  Unworthy

If you’re guilty of these elements, don’t worry because, like you, I’m also guilty of these hindrances. Yes, I’m afraid who what the priest will say and the penance that he will bestow. I’ve been confessing the same old sins again and again, and that I think that I’m unworthy of His Love and Mercy. But His Word today will become our motivation to confession as often as we can, for it will bring a smile to our Lord because a lamb of His has returned to his warm and loving embrace.

Friends, it really takes a lot of guts and faith to get inside the confessional box and confess your sins, yet, in the end, we and the Lord will be wearing our smiles because we have reconciled with Him and now, are together again.

So whenever you feel that you’re having a hard time to take this Sacrament, always remember that someone up there is waiting for you to take that step and hug you after taking the Sacrament. – Tim Montales (tm81288@yahoo.com)

PRAYER
Lord, thank You for the Sacrament of Confession because it enables us to reconcile with You. We are sorry for the times that we’ve misused this Sacrament to our convenience, yet, we are thankful for this Sacrament as this has become our bridge in making amends with You. May we be never afraid to take the first step towards reconcillation. Amen!

REFLECTION QUESTION
Do you believe that your sins are forgiven after confession?

Photo source: http://www.sodahead.com

Little Whispers, Tim Montales

The Real and Divine Definition of a Friend

First Reading
Acts 1: 15 – 17, 20 – 26

Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers and sisters
(there was a group of about one hundred and twenty persons
in the one place).
He said, “My brothers and sisters,
the Scripture had to be fulfilled
which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand
through the mouth of David, concerning Judas,
who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus.
Judas was numbered among us
and was allotted a share in this ministry.
For it is written in the Book of Psalms:

Let his encampment become desolate,
and may no one dwell in it.

and:
May another take his office.

Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men
who accompanied us the whole time
the Lord Jesus came and went among us,
beginning from the baptism of John
until the day on which he was taken up from us,
become with us a witness to his resurrection.”
So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas,
who was also known as Justus, and Matthias.
Then they prayed,
“You, Lord, who know the hearts of all,
show which one of these two you have chosen
to take the place in this apostolic ministry
from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.”
Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias,
and he was counted with the Eleven Apostles.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 113: 1 – 8

R. (8) The Lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people.
Praise, you servants of the LORD,
praise the name of the LORD.
Blessed be the name of the LORD
both now and forever.
R. The Lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people.
From the rising to the setting of the sun
is the name of the LORD to be praised.
High above all nations is the LORD;
above the heavens is his glory.
R. The Lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people.
Who is like the LORD, our God, who is enthroned on high
and looks upon the heavens and the earth below?
R. The Lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people.
He raises up the lowly from the dust;
from the dunghill he lifts up the poor
To seat them with princes,
with the princes of his own people.
R. The Lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people.

Gospel
John 15: 9 – 17

Jesus said to his disciples:
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.

“I have told you this so that my joy might be in you
and your joy might be complete.
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another.”

___________________________________________________________________________________________

lucyannmoll

REFLECTION

“You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.” – John 15:14-15

“Friends is a word we use every day
But most of the time we use it in the wrong way
Now you can look the word up again and again
But the dictionary doesn’t know the meaning of friends
Now if you ask me you know I couldn’t be much of help
Because a friend’s somebody you judge for yourself
Some are okay and they treat you real cool
And some mistake kindness for being a fool
We like to be with some because they’re funny
Others come around when they need some money
Some you grew up with around the way
And you still grow close to this very day
Homeboys through the summer, winter, spring and fall
And then there are some we wish we never knew at all
The list goes on again and again
But then these are the people that we call…

Friends, how many of us have been?
Friends, ones we can depend on
Friends, how many of us have them?
Friends, before we go any further

What we’ve just read are the first verse and chorus of Francis Magalona’s “Friends.”

True enough, we habitually use this word in a wrong way, and inject some of our own standards in order to call someone a friend.

We call someone a friend if he or she satisfies our requirements such as being cool, influential, rich, talented, and more. But if that person becomes the complete opposite of what we expect, we dump him or her in our list of friends. Or worse, we call someone a friend, only if we ask for their help whenever we place ourselves in dire straits.

However, we are also victims of the wrong definition of friends as we tend to please others in order to consider us as their friends. And in the end, whenever they are done with us, they will just reject us out of the blue.

But 2,000 years ago, one man became the true and divine definition of a friend through His examples of unconditional love. He even gave us His one and only standard so that He will call us His friends, and that is to follow the will of God the Father. And his defining moment as a true friend manifested through his death on the Cross.

His name – Jesus Christ

There will be times that we will be rejected by our so-called “friends” because we choose to live up to His standards and not to theirs. Yet, we should not fret because God is our real friend who can manifest in various shapes, sizes, and people. He is with us in both our best and worst chapters of our lives for He desires to shape us as His friend.

And from that point, we can become God’s friend and manifest His Love by reaching out to those people who are in need of real and genuine friends from the inside out.

Let’s start becoming His friend by following His will, and become a living witness of His Love for His children. – Tim Montales (tim81288@yahoo.com)

PRAYER
Lord, thank You for Your Son, Jesus Christ, for He has established the real and divine definition of what a friend should be. May we continue to follow You even if the world rejects us, and forever cling to Your promise that we are Your Friends. May we never cease to do good, and become a manifestation of You to those who are lost and in need of real friends. Amen.

REFLECTION QUESTION
Can you be a true friend to others like Jesus?

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

Little Whispers, Tim Montales

United Colors of Jesus Christ

First Reading
Acts 11: 1 – 18 

The Apostles and the brothers who were in Judea
heard that the Gentiles too had accepted the word of God.
So when Peter went up to Jerusalem
the circumcised believers confronted him, saying,
‘You entered the house of uncircumcised people and ate with them.”
Peter began and explained it to them step by step, saying,
“I was at prayer in the city of Joppa
when in a trance I had a vision,
something resembling a large sheet coming down,
lowered from the sky by its four corners, and it came to me.
Looking intently into it,
I observed and saw the four-legged animals of the earth,
the wild beasts, the reptiles, and the birds of the sky.
I also heard a voice say to me, ‘Get up, Peter. Slaughter and eat.’
But I said, ‘Certainly not, sir,
because nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’
But a second time a voice from heaven answered,
‘What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.’
This happened three times,
and then everything was drawn up again into the sky.
Just then three men appeared at the house where we were,
who had been sent to me from Caesarea.
The Spirit told me to accompany them without discriminating.
These six brothers also went with me,
and we entered the man’s house.
He related to us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, saying,
‘Send someone to Joppa and summon Simon, who is called Peter,
who will speak words to you
by which you and all your household will be saved.’
As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them
as it had upon us at the beginning,
and I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said,
‘John baptized with water
but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’
If then God gave them the same gift he gave to us
when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,
who was I to be able to hinder God?”
When they heard this,
they stopped objecting and glorified God, saying,
“God has then granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles too.”

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 42: 2 – 3, 43: 3 – 4

R. (see 3a) Athirst is my soul for the living God.
As the hind longs for the running waters,
so my soul longs for you, O God.
Athirst is my soul for God, the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
Send forth your light and your fidelity;
they shall lead me on
And bring me to your holy mountain,
to your dwelling-place.
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
Then will I go in to the altar of God,
the God of my gladness and joy;
Then will I give you thanks upon the harp,
O God, my God!
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.

Gospel
John 10: 1 – 10

Jesus said:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate
but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber.
But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice,
as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
When he has driven out all his own,
he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him,
because they recognize his voice.
But they will not follow a stranger;
they will run away from him,
because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.”
Although Jesus used this figure of speech,
they did not realize what he was trying to tell them.

So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
I am the gate for the sheep.
All who came before me are thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the gate.
Whoever enters through me will be saved,
and will come in and go out and find pasture.
A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy;
I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”

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REFLECTION

“What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.” – Acts 11:9

“Prejudice is Ignorance.”

These were the last words seen on Michael Jackson’s edited music video, “Black or White.” The song itself is a message about eliminating the disease of discrimination, and establishing the cure of equality.

But before MJ addressed this issue, God Himself expressed his concern about discrimination between the uncircumcised and the circumcised. Through food, Peter was reminded what whatever God created, he has no right to call it unclean.

In today’s modern world, there may be no uncircumcised and circumcised conflict going on, but discrimination still lingers between races, countries, classes, and even between religions (example, the stereotyping of the Muslim communities by associating them with terrorism and piracy).

True enough, our set of eyes have the normal ability to discriminate an individual or in a group of people. But it really takes a lot of time to exercise our eyes to look at the good side of every people. I admit that for once, I had that habit. But today, I’m struggling, little by little to overcome prejudice, and incorporate the sight of equality and positivity in my eyes.

Friends, it is a tough task to see the good in everything, but with the Lord’s grace, we will be able to do it. Just have faith and everything will go according to his vision. – Tim Montales (tm81288@yahoo.com)

PRAYER
Lord, thank You for providing us eyes to see this wonderful world that You have created. Help us to use these windows of our souls to see the good, beautiful, and wonderful things that You have stored in this Earth. May we learn to appreciate and not to discriminate, and should we see something wrong, may we address it in a way that does not offend the concerned parties. Amen!

REFLECTION QUESTION
What do you do to see Jesus in every person?

Photo source: http://www.gossipgeek.blogspot.com