Diego Reyes, Little Whispers

Puso

First Reading
Romans 4:13, 16-18

Brothers and sisters:
It was not through the law
that the promise was made to Abraham and his descendants
that he would inherit the world,
but through the righteousness that comes from faith.
For this reason, it depends on faith,
so that it may be a gift,
and the promise may be guaranteed to all his descendants,
not to those who only adhere to the law
but to those who follow the faith of Abraham,
who is the father of all of us, as it is written,
I have made you father of many nations.
He is our father in the sight of God,
in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead
and calls into being what does not exist.
He believed, hoping against hope,
that he would become the father of many nations,
according to what was said, Thus shall your descendants be.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 105:6-7, 8-9, 42-43
R.(8a) The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.

You descendants of Abraham, his servants,
sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He, the LORD, is our God;
throughout the earth his judgments prevail.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
He remembers forever his covenant
which he made binding for a thousand generations –
Which he entered into with Abraham
and by his oath to Isaac.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
For he remembered his holy word
to his servant Abraham.
And he led forth his people with joy;
with shouts of joy, his chosen ones.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.

Gospel
Luke 12:8-12

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I tell you,
everyone who acknowledges me before others
the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God.
But whoever denies me before others
will be denied before the angels of God.

“Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven,
but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit
will not be forgiven.
When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities,
do not worry about how or what your defense will be
or about what you are to say.
For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.”


frederick-tubiermont-FRpXSvg1ZPA-unsplash.jpg

“He believed, hoping against hope, that he would become the father of many nations,…” (Romans 4:18)

REFLECTION
During my grade school years, I played table tennis for my Alma Mater. I loved playing table tennis because it was a fast-paced game—perfect for someone as energetic as me! It was not all fun and games though as the sport was complicated and required not just energy and speed, but accuracy and timing.

Whenever I would attend practice sessions with the other varsity players, I felt as though I was inexperienced. Everyone else seemed to have an edge that I did not possess. While other players excelled at hitting the ball with powerful forehand strikes or at spinning the ball with clever backhand strikes, I was just hitting the ball in hopes of scoring a point. I felt unworthy to be part of the varsity team and I soon thought of quitting.

However, one day during practice, my coach said something that stuck to me. He told me, “Wala ‘yan sa talent, nasa puso ‘yan.” (It’s not about talent, it’s about the heart.) 

I realized that I was focusing too much on what other people’s skill that I forgot the reason why I was there—that is to enjoy a sport that I loved with all my heart!

Have you ever felt the same way in life? It is as if everyone else is blessed, and you’re stuck with a boring life.

Jesus believes in what you can do, in what you are capable of, because after all, He made you who you are—and who you are is beautiful! We must accept our failures and insecurities, but we must not allow them to control our lives. It’s not about what you can or can’t do, it is all about the puso (heart), your determination to live life despite all the problems!

Prayer
Father God, grant me the strength to live life exactly how You want me to live it. Amen.

Author

wc-diego

Click on the bubble to find out more about Diego!

Photo by: Frederick Tubiermont (@callmefred at unsplash.com)

 

Diego Reyes, Little Whispers

Tulog Mantika

First Reading
Zechariah 8:20-23
Thus says the LORD of hosts:
There shall yet come peoples,
the inhabitants of many cities;
and the inhabitants of one city shall approach those of another,
and say, “Come! let us go to implore the favor of the LORD”;
and, “I too will go to seek the LORD.”
Many peoples and strong nations shall come
to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem
and to implore the favor of the LORD.
Thus says the LORD of hosts:
In those days ten men of every nationality,
speaking different tongues, shall take hold,
yes, take hold of every Jew by the edge of his garment and say,

“Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 87:1B-3, 4-5, 6-7
R. (Zec 8:23) God is with us.
His foundation upon the holy mountains
the LORD loves:
The gates of Zion,
more than any dwelling of Jacob.
Glorious things are said of you,
O city of God!
R. God is with us.
I tell of Egypt and Babylon
among those that know the LORD;
Of Philistia, Tyre, Ethiopia:
“This man was born there.”
And of Zion they shall say:
“One and all were born in her;
And he who has established her
is the Most High LORD.”
R. God is with us.
They shall note, when the peoples are enrolled:
“This man was born there.”
And all shall sing, in their festive dance:
“My home is within you.”
R. God is with us.

Gospel
Luke 9:51-56
When the days for Jesus to be taken up were fulfilled,
he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem,
and he sent messengers ahead of him.
On the way they entered a Samaritan village
to prepare for his reception there,
but they would not welcome him
because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.
When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,
“Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven
to consume them?”
Jesus turned and rebuked them,
and they journeyed to another village.


the-creative-exchange-YyZFSb_U6N4-unsplash.jpg

“Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.” (Luke 9:55-56)

REFLECTION
I love sleeping.

If I’m not playing video games or reading a book, you can catch me snoozing in my bed. And while I’m a very energetic person, I turn lethargic and sleepy when I enter my room. Once I lie down in bed, it will only take a couple of seconds for me to fall asleep–I think that is my superpower! I sleep so deeply that my parents would always comment, “Tulog mantika ka.” (You sleep like oil¹.)

I think that sleeping allows me to rest after a tiring day. While most people would stay hung up and unable to sleep on their problems, I’d rather go to sleep. Sleeping on my problems sometimes works, and when it doesn’t work, at least I have a rested mind that can deal with my problems.

In the Gospel today, Jesus encountered a problem all of us has encountered before: rejection. Jesus could have dwelt on His rejection, but instead He chose a different path… He moved on. He detached Himself from the problem and went on to a different village where things could be different!

My friends, learn to move on to better things! We get so hung up on things we don’t deserve that we end up thinking that we do not deserve better things. Jesus is reminding us today that there could be a new and better day for us to wake up to, all we have to do is to move on!

There are better things than what you are facing and Jesus is already there waiting for you!

Prayer
Jesus, I feel stuck in my life. Show me a path towards hope and peace, so that I may be able to live my life to the fullest. Be with me, Lord, when times are tough. I completely trust in Your plans. Amen.

Author

wc-diego

Click on the bubble to find out more about Diego!

Photo by: The Creative Exchange (@creativeexchange at unsplash.com)

¹A Filipino idiom. Refers to cooking oil that has been left to cool off therefore reheating it will be difficult.

Diego Reyes, Little Whispers

Burnout

First Reading
1 Thessalonians 5:1-6, 9-11

Concerning times and seasons, brothers and sisters,
you have no need for anything to be written to you.
For you yourselves know very well
that the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night.
When people are saying, “Peace and security,”
then sudden disaster comes upon them,
like labor pains upon a pregnant woman,
and they will not escape.

But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness,
for that day to overtake you like a thief.
For all of you are children of the light
and children of the day.
We are not of the night or of darkness.
Therefore, let us not sleep as the rest do,
but let us stay alert and sober.
For God did not destine us for wrath,
but to gain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep
we may live together with him.
Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up,
as indeed you do.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14
R. (13) I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.

The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.

Gospel
Luke 4:31-37

Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee.
He taught them on the sabbath,
and they were astonished at his teaching
because he spoke with authority.
In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon,
and he cried out in a loud voice,
“What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are–the Holy One of God!”
Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet! Come out of him!”
Then the demon threw the man down in front of them
and came out of him without doing him any harm.
They were all amazed and said to one another,
“What is there about his word?
For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits,
and they come out.”
And news of him spread everywhere in the surrounding region.


photo-1471560090527-d1af5e4e6eb6

“… who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live together with him.” (1 Thessalonians 5:10)

REFLECTION

Resting after a busy day is very rare for someone like me!

I am a very active person. My friends know this—I am known as the most energetic person in any room! An unenergetic Diego is unheard of, because I am usually the one talking loudly or playing around in a room. It is a fact that even if it is the end of the day and everyone is very tired, I would still bounce around as if the day was just beginning. A sore throat and aching feet never stop me from being talkative and friendly.

However, this does have its drawbacks. Sometimes, the fatigue indeed catches up and all at once, I feel the exhaustion that has welled up inside of me. When this happens, I experience a burnout and I shut off from the world. 

For most of my life, resting was a foreign concept to me because I believed that life must be lived on the go. Things changed when I started to meet a therapist, because let’s be real, burning myself out is not healthy for my mental health. She made me realize that resting was not a bad thing, and that it being tired is not a sign of weakness. It just means that you’re a human, like everybody else, with a limit and a breaking point. 

Friends, this is exactly what Jesus wants you to understand today! We have lived our lives thinking that to earn God’s favor, we must work for it. Life is often full of tasks to do and sins to avoid, and it’s easy to just get lost in meaningless routine.

But when you feel burnt out from life, remember that even God felt the need to rest after creating the world in six days! Even if life demands so much from you, remind yourself that God is always in control, so take a break! And while working with Jesus is a beautiful and amazing feeling, never forget that resting in Jesus is a thing too!

Reflection Song

Author

wc-diego

Click on the bubble to find out more about Diego!

Photo by: Drew Coffman (@drewcoffman at unsplash.com)

Diego Reyes, Little Whispers

Conference Feels

First Reading
Revelation 21:9B-14

The angel spoke to me, saying,
“Come here.
I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”
He took me in spirit to a great, high mountain
and showed me the holy city Jerusalem
coming down out of heaven from God.
It gleamed with the splendor of God.
Its radiance was like that of a precious stone,
like jasper, clear as crystal.
It had a massive, high wall,
with twelve gates where twelve angels were stationed
and on which names were inscribed,
the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.
There were three gates facing east,
three north, three south, and three west.
The wall of the city had twelve courses of stones as its foundation,
on which were inscribed the twelve names
of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 145:10-11, 12-13, 17-18
R.(12) Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.

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.
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.
The LORD is just in all his ways
and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.

Gospel
John 1:45-51

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 heaven opened and the angels of God
ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”


travel.jpg

 “… Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’” (John 1:46)

REFLECTION
I have always dreamt of going to another country all by myself. As a young kid, I craved for the independence of being in a foreign place alone!

For my successfully graduating high school, my parents surprised me by buying me tickets to Hillsong Conference in Sydney. At first, I thought they were coming with me to Sydney, but they told me that I’ll be travelling alone. I was taken aback because I thought my parents would never allow me to travel alone, but here I am, with tickets to a conference overseas! Naturally, I was very excited, but I also felt nervous. What if I got lost? What if I don’t make any friends? What if I’m too different to be in another country by myself? My brain was now overwhelmed by a cascade of nervousness that I couldn’t think straight.

When I got to the conference, everything was brand new. The culture was different, and I didn’t have anyone to rely on but myself. Seeing as how I had no choice but to make friends, I forced myself to raise my head high and make the most out of my trip!

In life, there are things that scare us! Sometimes, we allow the fear to rule our lives and scare us into living in boxes. Jesus encourages us today that there is a bright, new life out there waiting to be explored!

In the gospel, Jesus offers new life to his would-be disciples. Naturally, the men he called were nervous and afraid, but Jesus convinced them that being afraid all the time is not how they should live their lives! It is important for us to live life by going out and exploring the world He has prepared for us! Friends, remember that Jesus is always one step in front of you. Wherever you are heading, be comforted in the fact that He has already paved the way for you. All you have to do now is to see and experience the wonders He has prepared for you!

Prayer
Jesus, I pray that You show the way to me! Life is full of things that scare me, but I know that You have my back. Always remind me that You are with me. Amen!

Author

wc-diego.jpg

Click on the bubble to find out more about Diego!

Photo by: JESHOOTS.com (@jeshoots at unsplash.com)

Diego Reyes, Little Whispers

An NSTP Experience

First Reading
Deuteronomy 31:1-8

When Moses had finished speaking to all Israel, he said to them,
“I am now one hundred and twenty years old
and am no longer able to move about freely;
besides, the LORD has told me that I shall not cross this Jordan.
It is the LORD, your God, who will cross before you;
he will destroy these nations before you,
that you may supplant them.
It is Joshua who will cross before you, as the LORD promised.
The LORD will deal with them just as he dealt with Sihon and Og,
the kings of the Amorites whom he destroyed,
and with their country.
When, therefore, the LORD delivers them up to you,
you must deal with them exactly as I have ordered you.
Be brave and steadfast; have no fear or dread of them,
for it is the LORD, your God, who marches with you;
he will never fail you or forsake you.”

Then Moses summoned Joshua and in the presence of all Israel
said to him, “Be brave and steadfast,
for you must bring this people into the land
which the LORD swore to their fathers he would give them;
you must put them in possession of their heritage.
It is the LORD who marches before you;
he will be with you and will never fail you or forsake you.
So do not fear or be dismayed.”

Responsorial Psalm
Deuteronomy 32:3-4AB, 7, 8, 9 and 12
R.(9a) The portion of the Lord is his people.

For I will sing the LORD’s renown.
Oh, proclaim the greatness of our God!
The Rock–how faultless are his deeds,
how right all his ways!
R. The portion of the Lord is his people.
Think back on the days of old,
reflect on the years of age upon age.
Ask your father and he will inform you,
ask your elders and they will tell you.
R. The portion of the Lord is his people.
When the Most High assigned the nations their heritage,
when he parceled out the descendants of Adam,
He set up the boundaries of the peoples
after the number of the sons of Israel.
R. The portion of the Lord is his people.
While the LORD’s own portion was Jacob,
his hereditary share was Israel.
The LORD alone was their leader,
no strange god was with him.
R. The portion of the Lord is his people.

Gospel
Matthew 18:1-5, 10, 12-14

The disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?”
He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said,
“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever becomes humble like this child
is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.
And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones,
for I say to you that their angels in heaven
always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.
What is your opinion?
If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray,
will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills
and go in search of the stray?
And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it
than over the ninety-nine that did not stray.
In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father
that one of these little ones be lost.”


“and He said, ‘Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.'” (Matthew 18:3)

REFLECTION
During my freshman year in college, I took my NSTP and our block was assigned to teach children in a poor community somewhere in Quezon City. We had to go to that community every Saturday and spend the day bonding and teaching the kids that were assigned to us.

At first, all I thought about was the lessons I had to teach the children. I was busy drafting lesson plans and making fun activities to allow them to learn from me. However, the tables soon turned and I realized that just as they were learning from me, I was also learning from them. And while I taught them how to multiply two digit numbers, they were teaching me how to live life like a child would–a smile on the face and a humble disposition in life.

Today, friends, let us all be reminded that, even in small things like children, Jesus is trying to teach us lessons and truths that we forget!

We are often wrapped in our problems that we forget that there’s more to life than our problems! Like children, let us live our lives with the intention to be happy. This doesn’t mean that we run away from our problems, rather it is allowing God, our Father, the chance to help us. Often, our arrogance and pride prevents Him from taking control, but let us all remember that even Jesus had to pray and ask for help from His Father. Who are we to not do the same? When we allow the hands of the Father to mold our lives, we allow our hearts the chance to know a peace that we’ve never experienced before!

Storms will come and go, but when you let Jesus be the captain of your life, you can rest knowing that your captain is not only in charge of your ship, but He is also in control of the storm, the seas and the skies.

Reflection Song

Praise You in this Storm by Casting Crowns

Author

Click on the bubble to find out more about Diego!

Diego Reyes, Little Whispers

Petiks Lang Daw

First Reading
ZEP 3:1-2, 9-13

Thus says the LORD:
Woe to the city, rebellious and polluted,
to the tyrannical city!
She hears no voice,
accepts no correction;
In the LORD she has not trusted,
to her God she has not drawn near.

For then I will change and purify
the lips of the peoples,
That they all may call upon the name of the LORD,
to serve him with one accord;
From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia
and as far as the recesses of the North,
they shall bring me offerings.

On that day
You need not be ashamed
of all your deeds,
your rebellious actions against me;
For then will I remove from your midst
the proud braggarts,
And you shall no longer exalt yourself
on my holy mountain.
But I will leave as a remnant in your midst
a people humble and lowly,
Who shall take refuge in the name of the LORD:
the remnant of Israel.
They shall do no wrong
and speak no lies;
Nor shall there be found in their mouths
a deceitful tongue;
They shall pasture and couch their flocks
with none to disturb them.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 34:2-3, 6-7, 17-18, 19 AND 23
R. (7a) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.

I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
The LORD redeems the lives of his servants;
no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.

Gospel
MT 21:28-32

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people:
“What is your opinion?
A man had two sons.
He came to the first and said,
‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’
The son said in reply, ‘I will not,’
but afterwards he changed his mind and went.
The man came to the other son and gave the same order.
He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir,’ but did not go.
Which of the two did his father’s will?”
They answered, “The first.”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you,
tax collectors and prostitutes
are entering the Kingdom of God before you.
When John came to you in the way of righteousness,
you did not believe him;
but tax collectors and prostitutes did.
Yet even when you saw that,
you did not later change your minds and believe him.”


stressed

“The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir,’ but did not go.” (Matthew 21: 30)

REFLECTION
Personally, I am a person who bites off more than I can chew.

It has been my belief that I can do anything and everything. I used to believed that juggling school work, ministry work, and family life would be easy. It turns out I was wrong.

At first, everything was going smoothly, college life was very easy at the start, ministry work was something I was comfortable doing and my family was supportive of whatever I was doing. I started to believe that things would always be the same, I used to say to myself, “Petiks lang naman life ko e.” (My life is so chill right now.)

Things got out off hand pretty fast. Soon, my professors in college were demanding more papers, giving out more quizzes and handing out more readings. I started to feel the burn of college; it was at that moment I realized that I said yes to a couple of things I shouldn’t have. It reached a point where I would sometimes stare at the ceiling of my bedroom and run away from all my responsibilities, my school, my ministry work, my extra-curricular work, everything, I was literally burning up from all the roles I had to play that I eventually thought about giving up.

It was at that moment that I thought about reaching out and asking for help, something I wouldn’t normally do. I always looked down on other people, not because I believe they were not good, but because I thought I was better than them. Somehow, the people I reached out to, people who I looked down on, proved me wrong.

This is one of the many lessons that can be learned in today’s Gospel.

Friend, right now, you are tired, locked in an endless cycle of cynical routine work and colorless paperwork. You may believe that God is empowering you right now. You are right, He IS empowering you, but He is not empowering you to work alone. He has empowered you to work with other God-empowered people in your life. Break loose from your chains, set yourself free and play nice with the other children in this huge playground we call life.

Prayer
Father God, empower me today as a strong individual taking part in a diverse world. Help me understand that I need other people in my journey towards Heaven. Amen.

Author

reyes-diego-wcClick on the image to find out more about Diego!

Diego Reyes, Little Whispers

Stuck In A Tree

First Reading
2 MC 6:18-31

Eleazar, one of the foremost scribes,
a man of advanced age and noble appearance,
was being forced to open his mouth to eat pork.
But preferring a glorious death to a life of defilement,
he spat out the meat,
and went forward of his own accord to the instrument of torture,
as people ought to do who have the courage to reject the food
which it is unlawful to taste even for love of life.
Those in charge of that unlawful ritual meal took the man aside privately,
because of their long acquaintance with him,
and urged him to bring meat of his own providing,
such as he could legitimately eat,
and to pretend to be eating some of the meat of the sacrifice
prescribed by the king;
in this way he would escape the death penalty,
and be treated kindly because of their old friendship with him.
But Eleazar made up his mind in a noble manner,
worthy of his years, the dignity of his advanced age,
the merited distinction of his gray hair,
and of the admirable life he had lived from childhood;
and so he declared that above all
he would be loyal to the holy laws given by God.

He told them to send him at once
to the abode of the dead, explaining:
“At our age it would be unbecoming to make such a pretense;
many young people would think the ninety-year-old Eleazar
had gone over to an alien religion.
Should I thus pretend for the sake of a brief moment of life,
they would be led astray by me,
while I would bring shame and dishonor on my old age.
Even if, for the time being, I avoid the punishment of men,
I shall never, whether alive or dead,
escape the hands of the Almighty.
Therefore, by manfully giving up my life now,
I will prove myself worthy of my old age,
and I will leave to the young a noble example
of how to die willingly and generously
for the revered and holy laws.”

Eleazar spoke thus,
and went immediately to the instrument of torture.
Those who shortly before had been kindly disposed,
now became hostile toward him because what he had said
seemed to them utter madness.
When he was about to die under the blows,
he groaned and said:
“The Lord in his holy knowledge knows full well that,
although I could have escaped death,
I am not only enduring terrible pain in my body from this scourging,
but also suffering it with joy in my soul
because of my devotion to him.”
This is how he died,
leaving in his death a model of courage
and an unforgettable example of virtue
not only for the young but for the whole nation.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 3:2-3, 4-5, 6-7
R. (6b) The Lord upholds me.

O LORD, how many are my adversaries!
Many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
“There is no salvation for him in God.”
R. The Lord upholds me.
But you, O LORD, are my shield;
my glory, you lift up my head!
When I call out to the LORD,
he answers me from his holy mountain.
R. The Lord upholds me.
When I lie down in sleep,
I wake again, for the LORD sustains me.
I fear not the myriads of people
arrayed against me on every side.
R. The Lord upholds me.

Gospel
LK 19:1-10

At that time Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town.
Now a man there named Zacchaeus,
who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man,
was seeking to see who Jesus was;
but he could not see him because of the crowd,
for he was short in stature.
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus,
who was about to pass that way.
When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said,
“Zacchaeus, come down quickly,
for today I must stay at your house.”
And he came down quickly and received him with joy.
When they saw this, they began to grumble, saying,
“He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.”
But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord,
“Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor,
and if I have extorted anything from anyone
I shall repay it four times over.”
And Jesus said to him,
“Today salvation has come to this house
because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.
For the Son of Man has come to seek
and to save what was lost.”


tree

“… Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” (Luke 19:5)

REFLECTION
Most, if not all, students in public schools have practically no idea about God or their faith. It was because the public school system was designed in a way that it held no biases for a specific religion or race, but this particular public school somewhere in Makati chose to hold a special class about the Christian faith for its students and they badly needed teachers for it. Our school volunteered us, the students, to teach our co-students about God.

I gladly answered yes. It was a heartwarming experience to see a set of students, usually rowdy and noisy, sit down seriously to listen to another student they barely know talk about God and faith. Most of the concepts I taught them were things they’ve never heard of and they were excited to learn more and more about their faith. A lot of them had glittering eyes whenever they had a realization that God is amazing and God loves them very much. The irony is that they weren’t the only ones who had their own realizations about their faith. I, too, had a huge realization about my faith. I realized that no matter how I thought I was saved, I still had a long way to go before I can say I am no longer a sinner.

Brothers and sisters, the Lord is reminding us to climb down our sycamore trees today. Most of the time, we are stuck high up in our trees hoping to get a good view of Jesus. We are stuck in our trees pretending to be superior to sinners when in fact you are still very much a sinner.

Climb down your trees today! It does not matter if your feet gets dirty or if your hands are wounded, because in the end, the only time you’d get closer to heaven and God is when you hit the dirt for your faith.

Prayer
Father God, inspire me today to climb down my tree. Inspire me today to help the countless lost souls that have not encountered You. Amen.

Author

reyes-diego-wcClick on the image to find out more about Diego!