Gerard Ramirez, Little Whispers

Generals

First Reading
WIS 2:12, 17-20

The wicked say:
Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us;
he sets himself against our doings,
reproaches us for transgressions of the law
and charges us with violations of our training.
Let us see whether his words be true;
let us find out what will happen to him.
For if the just one be the son of God, God will defend him
and deliver him from the hand of his foes.
With revilement and torture let us put the just one to the test
that we may have proof of his gentleness
and try his patience.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death;
for according to his own words, God will take care of him.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 54:3-4, 5, 6 AND 8
R. (6b) The Lord upholds my life.

O God, by your name save me,
and by your might defend my cause.
O God, hear my prayer;
hearken to the words of my mouth.
R. The Lord upholds my life.
For the haughty men have risen up against me,
the ruthless seek my life;
they set not God before their eyes.
R. The Lord upholds my life.
Behold, God is my helper;
the Lord sustains my life.
Freely will I offer you sacrifice;
I will praise your name, O LORD, for its goodness.
R. The Lord upholds my life.

Second Reading
JAS 3:16—4:3

Beloved:
Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist,
there is disorder and every foul practice.
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure,
then peaceable, gentle, compliant,
full of mercy and good fruits,
without inconstancy or insincerity.
And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace
for those who cultivate peace.

Where do the wars
and where do the conflicts among you come from?
Is it not from your passions
that make war within your members?
You covet but do not possess.
You kill and envy but you cannot obtain;
you fight and wage war.
You do not possess because you do not ask.
You ask but do not receive,
because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

Gospel
MK 9:30-37

Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee,
but he did not wish anyone to know about it.
He was teaching his disciples and telling them,
“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men
and they will kill him,
and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.”
But they did not understand the saying,
and they were afraid to question him.

They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house,
he began to ask them,
“What were you arguing about on the way?”
But they remained silent.
They had been discussing among themselves on the way
who was the greatest.
Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them,
“If anyone wishes to be first,
he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”
Taking a child, he placed it in the their midst,
and putting his arms around it, he said to them,
“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me;
and whoever receives me,
receives not me but the One who sent me.”


Generals

“If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”  (Mark 9:35)

REFLECTION
Have you ever wondered why generals stay at the back of the formation during the ancient times? Is it because they don’t want to get hurt? Is it because they think highly of themselves that they’d rather watch their soldiers die from afar? The idea of the formation is to position the general on a vantage point where they can see the entire battlefield so the general can plan and give commands and lead the army to victory.

A great general will never lead his army in the frontlines nor in the middle of the formation where he has no vision of the entire field. He will not he able to lead in that position. Like how a shepherd will never walk in front of his flock. A shepherd will stay behind his flock to make sure no sheep will go astray.

Friends, let us always remember, a good leader will never put himself first nor will talk highly about himself. Instead, he will only stand in front to inspire but will always stay behind to lead. In preparation for our country’s Presidential election next year, let us always put this in mind and let us pray for guidance that we may choose the leaders who will put our country first before themselves. God bless us all.

Prayer
Lord God, thank You for sending Your son, Jesus, to save and guide us back to You. Thank You for giving us the best example of a great leader. Father, we pray for guidance as we prepare ourselves for the upcoming National election next year. May we discern and vote for the best leaders that will guide our country back to its former glory. Amen.

Author

Gerard Ramirez – ramirez.gk@gmail.com

Gerard Ramirez, Little Whispers

Saving Grace

First Reading
HOS 11:1, 3-4, 8C-9

Thus says the LORD:
When Israel was a child I loved him,
out of Egypt I called my son.
Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
who took them in my arms;
I drew them with human cords,
with bands of love;
I fostered them like one
who raises an infant to his cheeks;
Yet, though I stooped to feed my child,
they did not know that I was their healer.

My heart is overwhelmed,
my pity is stirred.
I will not give vent to my blazing anger,
I will not destroy Ephraim again;
For I am God and not a man,
the Holy One present among you;
I will not let the flames consume you.

Responsorial Psalm
IS 12:2-3, 4, 5-6
R. (3) You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.

God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
With joy you will draw water
at the fountain of salvation.
R. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name.
R. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement;
let this be known throughout all the earth.
Shout with exultation, O city of Zion,
for great in your midst
is the Holy One of Israel!
R. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.

Second Reading
EPH 3:8-12, 14-19

Brothers and sisters:
To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given,
to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ,
and to bring to light for all what is the plan of the mystery
hidden from ages past in God who created all things,
so that the manifold wisdom of God
might now be made known through the church
to the principalities and authorities in the heavens.
This was according to the eternal purpose
that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,
in whom we have boldness of speech
and confidence of access through faith in him.

For this reason I kneel before the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory
to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self,
and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;
that you, rooted and grounded in love,
may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones
what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge,
so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Gospel
JN 19:31-37

Since it was preparation day,
in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath,
for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one,
the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken
and they be taken down.
So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first
and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus.
But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead,
they did not break his legs,
but one soldier thrust his lance into his side,
and immediately blood and water flowed out.
An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true;
he knows that he is speaking the truth,
so that you also may come to believe.
For this happened so that the Scripture passage might be fulfilled:
Not a bone of it will be broken.
And again another passage says:
They will look upon him whom they have pierced.


grace

“God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid. My strength and my courage is the LORD, and he has been my savior. With joy you will draw water at the fountain of salvation.” (Is 12:2-3)

REFLECTION

I am always afraid. I am the type of person that is afraid of changes and uncertainties. I have no direction in life because I don’t plan on moving at all.

I was comfortable with what I had and with who I was. Until one day, God took my greatest comfort zone. He took Mama away from me. I was so angry, confused, and afraid. I didn’t know what to do. What happened next still gives me goose bumps every time I think of it.

I attended the weekly prayer meetings  just because I wanted to spend time with my friends. I kept praying, “What now, Lord? Ayoko na. Give me a reason to live or take me with You, too.” I was in front of the congregation as a praise minister, but all along, I was praying this repeatedly. Usually, during quiet time, when everyone listens to God’s message, I always take my seat. But something was off that day. I didn’t feel like sitting down. Instead, I kept repeating the prayer in my head. Then all of a sudden, I felt the urge to open my eyes. For the last time, I prayed, “What now, Lord? Ayoko na. Give me a reason to live or take me with You, too.” As I opened my eyes, the prayer leader started to pray again and in front of me, I saw the congregation, all standing up with their hands held high as if telling me to count them as my reason to live.

From that day on, I vowed that I will do everything for them; for the youth ministry that became my saving grace.

Friends, we have our struggles and our weaknesses. We may have things that we need to face everyday that make our lives miserable, but always remember, God will never leave you alone. Let Him be your strength and your peace and He will give you all the reasons you need to live. And before I end this, let me live you with my daily motto; Pray. Have faith. Keep moving forward. God bless you. – Gerard Ramirez (ramirez.gk@gmail.com)

Prayer

Jesus, You are my savior, my strength and my courage. I am confident and unafraid in You. Thank You  Amen.

Reflection Question

What can Jesus not do for you today?

Gerard Ramirez, Little Whispers

Cheat

First Reading
Acts 4:32-37

The community of believers was of one heart and mind,
and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own,
but they had everything in common.
With great power the Apostles bore witness
to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,
and great favor was accorded them all.
There was no needy person among them,
for those who owned property or houses would sell them,
bring the proceeds of the sale,
and put them at the feet of the Apostles,
and they were distributed to each according to need.

Thus Joseph, also named by the Apostles Barnabas
(which is translated “son of encouragement”),
a Levite, a Cypriot by birth,
sold a piece of property that he owned,
then brought the money and put it at the feet of the Apostles.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 93:1, 1-2, 5

R. (1a) The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
or:
R. Alleluia.

The LORD is king, in splendor robed;
robed is the LORD and girt about with strength.
R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
or:
R. Alleluia.

And he has made the world firm,
not to be moved.
Your throne stands firm from of old;
from everlasting you are, O LORD.
R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed:
holiness befits your house,
O LORD, for length of days.
R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Gospel
John 3:7-15

Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“‘You must be born from above.’
The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes,
but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes;
so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Nicodemus answered and said to him,
‘How can this happen?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“You are the teacher of Israel and you do not understand this?
Amen, amen, I say to you,
we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen,
but you people do not accept our testimony.
If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe,
how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?
No one has gone up to heaven
except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man.
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”


 

cheat

“Amen, amen, I say to you, we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony. If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so much the Son of Man be lifted up so the everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life.” (John 3:11-­15)

REFLECTION

Have you ever heard of the phrase, “do whatever is necessary”? How about “I did what I did because I want you to have a better life”? This world teaches us that we have to do whatever it takes so we can have a “better life” even if it meant doing things that are bad. Lie. Cheat. Steal. Whatever it takes. And sometimes, we believe this message. We cheat to get better grades. We lie to make our lives sound cooler. We steal money or power just to feel better.

It is easier to believe and testify to this world because we allow this world to manipulate us. We allow ourselves to conform to what this world’s idea of good and bad. Sometimes we forget the words and teachings that the Lord had left for us because this world is teaching us to “live easier” and it feels right. Even though, based on His teachings, it’s wrong. Do not let this world dictate how we live our lives. Let us bring our focus back to Him who is leading us back to the arms of our Father. Never let the temporary great life that this world offers make us lose our way to a life with our Father. God bless you. ­ – Gerard Ramirez (ramirez.gk@gmail.com)

Prayer
Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for leading me back to a beautiful life with You. May You not let temptations hinder me from following You. Give us faith in Your plans and teach us Your ways. Amen.

Reflection Question
Would you rather live a temporary comfortable life, or would you rather spend eternity with the
Father?

Photo Source: http://www.scientificamerican.com

Gerard Ramirez, Little Whispers

Fasting

First Reading

WIS 7:22B–8:1

In Wisdom is a spirit
intelligent, holy, unique,
Manifold, subtle, agile,
clear, unstained, certain,
Not baneful, loving the good, keen,
unhampered, beneficent, kindly,
Firm, secure, tranquil,
all-powerful, all-seeing,
And pervading all spirits,
though they be intelligent, pure and very subtle.
For Wisdom is mobile beyond all motion,
and she penetrates and pervades all things by reason of her purity.
For she is an aura of the might of God
and a pure effusion of the glory of the Almighty;
therefore nought that is sullied enters into her.
For she is the refulgence of eternal light,
the spotless mirror of the power of God,
the image of his goodness.
And she, who is one, can do all things,
and renews everything while herself perduring;
And passing into holy souls from age to age,
she produces friends of God and prophets.
For there is nought God loves, be it not one who dwells with Wisdom.
For she is fairer than the sun
and surpasses every constellation of the stars.
Compared to light, she takes precedence;
for that, indeed, night supplants,
but wickedness prevails not over Wisdom.

Indeed, she reaches from end to end mightily
and governs all things well.

Responsorial Psalm

PS 119:89, 90, 91, 130, 135, 175

R. (89a) Your word is for ever, O Lord.
Your word, O LORD, endures forever;
it is firm as the heavens.
R. Your word is for ever, O Lord.
Through all generations your truth endures;
you have established the earth, and it stands firm.
R. Your word is for ever, O Lord.
According to your ordinances they still stand firm:
all things serve you.
R. Your word is for ever, O Lord.
The revelation of your words sheds light,
giving understanding to the simple.
R. Your word is for ever, O Lord.
Let your countenance shine upon your servant,
and teach me your statutes.
R. Your word is for ever, O Lord.
Let my soul live to praise you,
and may your ordinances help me.
R. Your word is for ever, O Lord.

Gospel

LK 17:20-25

Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come,
Jesus said in reply,
“The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed,
and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’
For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.”

Then he said to his disciples,
“The days will come when you will long to see
one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it.
There will be those who will say to you,
‘Look, there he is,’ or ‘Look, here he is.’
Do not go off, do not run in pursuit.
For just as lightning flashes
and lights up the sky from one side to the other,
so will the Son of Man be in his day.
But first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation.”

REFLECTION
carrying the cross hillsong collected

“Your word, O LORD, endures forever; it is firm as the heavens.” Ps 119:89

2000 years ago, long before we were born, the Son of man died on the cross for us to live. They say that His death was an end to a tragic story. Friends, let me share a secret. His death was not an end but a beginning to a very beautiful love story. A story that not even time can wither down.

See, before His death, Jesus inspired enough people to make sure that this story will live on even after His death. From the Apostles, to Paul, even the Romans who are the same people who crucified Him spread His words like sand in the desert. Wars are fought, and kingdoms have fallen and kingdoms were conquered. From East Asia, to Europe, His words were kept alive. People died and people’s lives were changed. The story kept moving, from one heart to another. It conquered time, space, and anything and anyone who tried to stop it. It remained strong. Things happened. Good and bad. But His words endured.

If you are reading this, my friend, then rejoice and praise Him for His love has come for you. It traveled 2000 years, millions of miles, tested by the greatest of obstacles, kept alive by people who believed in His love and now His love has found you. He invested in you when He died on the cross. He believed in you and that you will do awesome things in His name. Now, He only asks one favor from you. Do not let this love story die. You must keep His love alive. – Gerard Kristoffer Ramirez (ramirez.gk@gmail.com)

 

Prayer:

Father, thank you for the gift of Your love. Teach me how to spread Your love. Let Your love shine through me. Amen.

 

Reflection Question:

Now that His love is in You, will you let it shine through you?

 

Photo source: brianandbobby.com

 

Gerard Ramirez, Little Whispers

Marching Band

First Reading
Rom 12:5-16AB

Brothers and sisters:
We, though many, are one Body in Christ
and individually parts of one another.
Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us,
let us exercise them:
if prophecy, in proportion to the faith;
if ministry, in ministering;
if one is a teacher, in teaching;
if one exhorts, in exhortation;
if one contributes, in generosity;
if one is over others, with diligence;
if one does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Let love be sincere;
hate what is evil,
hold on to what is good;
love one another with mutual affection;
anticipate one another in showing honor.
Do not grow slack in zeal,
be fervent in spirit,
serve the Lord.
Rejoice in hope,
endure in affliction,
persevere in prayer.
Contribute to the needs of the holy ones,
exercise hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you,
bless and do not curse them.
Rejoice with those who rejoice,
weep with those who weep.
Have the same regard for one another;
do not be haughty but associate with the lowly.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 131:1BCDE, 2, 3
R. In you, O Lord, I have found my peace.

O LORD, my heart is not proud,
nor are my eyes haughty;
I busy not myself with great things,
nor with things too sublime for me.
R. In you, O Lord, I have found my peace.
Nay rather, I have stilled and quieted
my soul like a weaned child.
Like a weaned child on its mother’s lap,
so is my soul within me.
R. In you, O Lord, I have found my peace.
O Israel, hope in the LORD,
both now and forever.
R. In you, O Lord, I have found my peace.

Gospel
Lk 14:15-24

One of those at table with Jesus said to him,
“Blessed is the one who will dine in the Kingdom of God.”
He replied to him,
“A man gave a great dinner to which he invited many.
When the time for the dinner came,
he dispatched his servant to say to those invited,
‘Come, everything is now ready.’
But one by one, they all began to excuse themselves.
The first said to him,
‘I have purchased a field and must go to examine it;
I ask you, consider me excused.’
And another said, ‘I have purchased five yoke of oxen
and am on my way to evaluate them;
I ask you, consider me excused.’
And another said, ‘I have just married a woman,
and therefore I cannot come.’
The servant went and reported this to his master.
Then the master of the house in a rage commanded his servant,
‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town
and bring in here the poor and the crippled,
the blind and the lame.’
The servant reported, ‘Sir, your orders have been carried out
and still there is room.’
The master then ordered the servant,
‘Go out to the highways and hedgerows
and make people come in that my home may be filled.
For, I tell you, none of those men who were invited will taste my dinner.’”
________________________________________________________

REFLECTION

band

“Brothers and sisters: We, though many, are one Body in Christ and individually parts of one another.” Rom 12:5

I grew up with music being a big part of my life. When I was in grade 6, I had a chance to be a part of our school marching band. I tried a lot of instruments, but I   found it really hard playing most of them. Then, the assistant band head introduced me to an instrument I have never seen before; the trombone.

Few days after that, I have played an entire piece and days after, they let me practice with the entire band. The feeling was so great knowing that I was part of the band, but there was something. It felt as though I was just part of the supporting cast and I wanted so badly to be on the spotlight. I was young! I wanted attention. So, I did something that I have never done before; I protested.

I started not going to practices. I got bored since we’re not being given any solos while other sections have three main parts of the piece. “Lagi nalang wind section ang may importanteng parts. Paano naman kaming brass section?” I arrogantly told my band head when he confronted me for not attending practices. I thought we’ll be having an argument but instead, he smiled and answered “A guitar player can wow an audience with power solos and a keyboardist can do the same, but they would sound better with a band not because they can’t stand alone but because the music will sound so whole. The drums and bass guitar puts rhythm to the melody. Wag mong isiping hindi kayo importante. The brass section gives richness to the sound of a marching band. All the sections have their roles. That’s why we are a band.”

Friends, all of us have roles to perform in our community. May you be a leader, a street sweeper, a teacher, or a business person. God has made perfect roles for us and equipped us perfectly to fulfill those roles. We don’t need to be in a spotlight to call ourselves great. Individually, we are created great. Together, we can create great things. Let’s do our best to fulfill our roles and move as one community in Christ. – Gerard Kristoffer Ramirez (ramirez.gk@gmail.com)

Prayer

Father, teach us to move as one. Amen.

Photo Source: adanai.com

Gerard Ramirez, Little Whispers

Audition

First Reading
1 Thes 4:9-11

Brothers and sisters:
On the subject of fraternal charity
you have no need for anyone to write you,
for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another.
Indeed, you do this for all the brothers throughout Macedonia.
Nevertheless we urge you, brothers and sisters, to progress even more,
and to aspire to live a tranquil life,
to mind your own affairs,
and to work with your own hands,
as we instructed you.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 98:1, 7-8, 9
R. (9) The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice
.
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 comes to rule the earth with justice.
Let the sea and what fills it resound,
the world and those who dwell in it;
Let the rivers clap their hands,
the mountains shout with them for joy.
R. The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.
Before the LORD, for he comes,
for he comes to rule the earth;
He will rule the world with justice
and the peoples with equity.
R. The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.

Gospel
Mt 25:14-30

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“A man going on a journey
called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one–
to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.
Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them,
and made another five.
Likewise, the one who received two made another two.
But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground
and buried his master’s money.
After a long time
the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them.
The one who had received five talents
came forward bringing the additional five.
He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents.
See, I have made five more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said,
‘Master, you gave me two talents.
See, I have made two more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said,
‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person,
harvesting where you did not plant
and gathering where you did not scatter;
so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground.
Here it is back.’
His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!
So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant
and gather where I did not scatter?
Should you not then have put my money in the bank
so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?
Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten.
For to everyone who has,
more will be given and he will grow rich;
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’”
____________________________________________________________________________________________

sing
REFLECTION
“Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.” Mt 25: 24

Ever since I was a child, I have this innate fear of rejection. I always want to be accepted. I always want to belong. So, it’s either I do things based on what people expected of me or I don’t things at all.

I love singing. It relaxes me when I try remembering lyrics and auto-correcting myself if I am out of tune. And I am out of tune a lot. That’s why even though I love to sing, I made sure that no one sees me sing. It’s ok if they hear me sing, as long as they don’t see me.

For years, I held concerts. I held concerts when I am taking baths. And as my fear is stronger than my love for singing, I pretended that I don’t know how to sing. For me, my voice is not good for others to hear.

Years have passed, and a friend of mine reintroduced me to the Youth Ministry, There, I met friends who sang their hearts for the Lord. I envied them. They can sing in front of people and worship God at the same time. I wanted to do that for as long as I can remember. But, again, my fear is stronger than my urge to worship my God through singing. I struggled for so long before, with the help of knowing that I have friends that will be joining me, I summoned enough strength to audition for the Praise Ministry.

Friends, fear is something that can keep us from doing what we love to do. Most of the time, it hinders us from feeling and achieving and receiving the freedom and the blessings that God wants to give us.

My fear held me back for years. But when I let God take control of my life and let my fears die down, blessings upon blessings came into my life. Oh, and about the audition? I got in. -Gerard Kristoffer Ramirez (ramirez.gk@gmail.com)

Prayer
Father, You are bigger than my fears. I will believe in You, always! Amen.

Reflection Question
Will you let fear defeat God’s plans for you?

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Gerard Ramirez, Little Whispers

The Search

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

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.
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.

Gospel
Jn 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.

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REFLECTION

“If I want him to stay behind till I come, what does it matter to you? You are to follow me.” Jn 21:22

“Anong bakit? Umuwi ka dito!”

When we were younger, Papa had this certain kind of whistle that means whenever we hear it, wherever we are or whatever we’re doing, we must come home running. But every time I see him standing in front of the door, instinctively, I’ll ask “Bakit?” Then, I’ll hear that answer from Papa.

Friends, today, Jesus has a simple message; “You are to follow me.” But most of the time, we make things too complicated by asking too much questions. Why? How? When? Where? We keep thinking that things would be so hard, or that things will not fall according to His plans. And like Peter, most of the times, we have our doubts. But His words are simple. He never said how long will it take or what road to take or who should take it or when to take it. He just said, “You are to follow me.” So let’s drop all our questions and our doubts, prepare ourselves, and let us all follow Him. – Gerard Kristoffer Ramirez (ramirez.gk@gmail.com)

PRAYER
Father, give me the wisdom not to doubt you. Give me the faith that in my life, Your plans are perfect. Amen.

REFLECTION QUESTION
Are You ready to just follow Him?

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