Gerard Ramirez, Little Whispers

The Search

First Reading
Acts 2:36-41

On the day of Pentecost, Peter said to the Jewish people,
“Let the whole house of Israel know for certain
that God has made him both Lord and Christ,
this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart,
and they asked Peter and the other Apostles,
“What are we to do, my brothers?”
Peter said to them,
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you,
in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins;
and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For the promise is made to you and to your children
and to all those far off,
whomever the Lord our God will call.”
He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them,
“Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
Those who accepted his message were baptized,
and about three thousand persons were added that day.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 33:4-5, 18-19, 20 AND 22

R. (5b) The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
Upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us
who have put our hope in you.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

Gospel
Jn 20:11-18

Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb weeping.
And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb
and saw two angels in white sitting there,
one at the head and one at the feet
where the Body of Jesus had been.
And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “They have taken my Lord,
and I don’t know where they laid him.”
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there,
but did not know it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?
Whom are you looking for?”
She thought it was the gardener and said to him,
“Sir, if you carried him away,
tell me where you laid him,
and I will take him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,”
which means Teacher.
Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me,
for I have not yet ascended to the Father.
But go to my brothers and tell them,
‘I am going to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.’”
Mary went and announced to the disciples,
“I have seen the Lord,”
and then reported what he had told her.

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GE RAMIREZ dreamstime.com

REFLECTION

“Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Jn 20:15

 

When I was a kid, I got lost frequently. I got lost in the supermarket, in the park, in the chapel during mass. And every time I get lost, I cried like there was no tomorrow. It suddenly felt like the place I was at got bigger and worse, there was not a single familiar face in the crowd. But sure enough, after a few brief moments, a familiar voice would call out my name. Without hesitation, I would get up and stop crying, wipe the tears off my eyes, and start looking for my mom. She would be there standing in the crowd, smiling while I’m making my way back into her arms.

Sometimes, we get lost or lose something or someone important to us. This makes us feel depressed, confused, and alone. Always remember that whenever this happens, there will always be that familiar voice that will call us out and calm us down. And all we have to do is wipe away our tears and start searching for the source of that voice and be assured that everything will be alright.- Gerard Kristoffer Ramirez (ramirez.gk@gmail.com)

PRAYER
Father, You found me when I was lost. Never let me go. Amen.

REFLECTION QUESTION
Who are you looking for?

Photo source: dreamstime.com

Gerard Ramirez, Little Whispers

My Reward

First Reading
Gn 17:3-9

When Abram prostrated himself, God spoke to him:
“My covenant with you is this:
you are to become the father of a host of nations.
No longer shall you be called Abram;
your name shall be Abraham,
for I am making you the father of a host of nations.
I will render you exceedingly fertile;
I will make nations of you;
kings shall stem from you.
I will maintain my covenant with you
and your descendants after you
throughout the ages as an everlasting pact,
to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.
I will give to you
and to your descendants after you
the land in which you are now staying,
the whole land of Canaan, as a permanent possession;
and I will be their God.”

God also said to Abraham:
“On your part, you and your descendants after you
must keep my covenant throughout the ages.”

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 105:4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (8a) The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
Look to the LORD in his strength;
seek to serve him constantly.
Recall the wondrous deeds that he has wrought,
his portents, and the judgments he has uttered.
R. 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.

Gospel
Jn 8:51-59

Jesus said to the Jews:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever keeps my word will never see death.”
So the Jews said to him,
“Now we are sure that you are possessed.
Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say,
‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’
Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died?
Or the prophets, who died?
Who do you make yourself out to be?”
Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing;
but it is my Father who glorifies me,
of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’
You do not know him, but I know him.
And if I should say that I do not know him,
I would be like you a liar.
But I do know him and I keep his word.
Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day;
he saw it and was glad.”
So the Jews said to him,
“You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
before Abraham came to be, I AM.”
So they picked up stones to throw at him;
but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.

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ShakeHands

REFLECTION

“When Abram prostrated himself, God spoke to him: ‘My covenant with you is this: you are to become the father of a host of nations.’” Gen 17:3-4

 

When I decided to regularly attend the weekly prayer meeting, I had one dilemma. I was never great with dealing with people that are years younger than me. I wanted to bond with them since I would be serving the Lord with them, but I had no idea what to do or what to say. Until one day, I decided to just go with the flow.

I have this friend who became such a blessing to me that I decided to be a blessing to others as well. One day, my friend came in with someone and I thought to myself that this is my chance to be a blessing. But since that person was younger than me, I started second-guessing myself. So, I prayed “Lord, ikaw na bahala. Kaya ko to basta let me know what to do.” Then, after a few minutes, I said hi and started talking to that person.

Until this day, I can say that that was one of the best decisions that I have ever taken. Why? First, instead of being a blessing, I received one as that person became one of my closest friends. That person is also one of the greatest people I know. Also, I was able to overcome my problem of talking to younger people. I started opening up to them and guess what? Most of my closest friends now are more or less 10 years younger than I am. Talk about widening my territories.

Friends, some times we are afraid to do things that we are not comfortable doing even though they can help us grow. Let’s be like Abraham. Even though we have doubts, let’s learn how to let go of them and trust that God will always be there and sure enough, He will reward our faith abundantly. – Gerard Kristoffer Ramirez (ramirez.gk@gmail.com)

PRAYER
Father, my life is Yours. Let Your will be done. Amen.

REFLECTION QUESTION
What keeps you from taking that leap of faith?

Photo source: chris.pirillo.com

Gerard Ramirez, Little Whispers

Fasting

First Reading
Is 58:1-9A

Thus says the Lord GOD:
Cry out full-throated and unsparingly,
lift up your voice like a trumpet blast;
Tell my people their wickedness,
and the house of Jacob their sins.
They seek me day after day,
and desire to know my ways,
Like a nation that has done what is just
and not abandoned the law of their God;
They ask me to declare what is due them,
pleased to gain access to God.
“Why do we fast, and you do not see it?
afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?”

Lo, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits,
and drive all your laborers.
Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting,
striking with wicked claw.
Would that today you might fast
so as to make your voice heard on high!
Is this the manner of fasting I wish,
of keeping a day of penance:
That a man bow his head like a reed
and lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Do you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?
This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
Your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 51:3-4, 5-6AB, 18-19

R. (19b) A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
“Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight.”
R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

Gospel
Mt 9:14-15

The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,
“Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,
but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn
as long as the bridegroom is with them?
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast.”

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GERARD KRISTOFFER RAMIREZ auliarosadi.wordpress.com

REFLECTION

“Is this the manner of fasting I wish, of keeping a day of penance: That a man bow his head like a reed and lie in sackcloth and ashes?” Is 58:5

“Please fast on listening to secular music.”

Being a part of the Praise Ministry, that’s the usual request I hear every time we have an event in Bukas Loob Sa Diyos Youth Ministry. But I didn’t take it seriously at first. I just didn’t get the point.

Fasting for me was like a sacrifice that I’m forced to do. Until one day, a friend of mine explained to me what it’s really about.

“Sacrifice?” she said while I was complaining about fasting. “It’s more like preparing yourself for something.” She continued. “When Jesus fasted, He was preparing Himself to die for us. He prayed and prayed until everything was clear to Him. He eliminated all the distractions in His heart and mind. That, for me, is fasting. Eliminating the distractions until everything is clear.” The friend I’m talking about is my mom.

Friends, fasting is not about what you’ll be missing. You also don’t have to look like a homeless person or be in pain while you’re at it. Every time you fast, fast because you want to prepare yourself for Him. Eliminate all distractions and focus. Clear your hearts and minds, and leave the rest to Him. – Gerard Kristoffer Ramirez (ramirez.gk@gmail.com)

PRAYER
Father, help me eliminate the distractions in my heart and mind. Help me prepare myself for you! Amen.

REFLECTION QUESTION
Are you willing to let go and let Him in?

Photo source:

Gerard Ramirez, Little Whispers

Kuya

FIRST READING
1 Kgs 3:4-13

Solomon went to Gibeon to sacrifice there,
because that was the most renowned high place.
Upon its altar Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings.
In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night.
God said, “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.”
Solomon answered:
“You have shown great favor to your servant, my father David,
because he behaved faithfully toward you,
with justice and an upright heart;
and you have continued this great favor toward him, even today,
seating a son of his on his throne.
O LORD, my God, you have made me, your servant,
king to succeed my father David;
but I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act.
I serve you in the midst of the people whom you have chosen,
a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted.
Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart
to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong.
For who is able to govern this vast people of yours?”

The LORD was pleased that Solomon made this request.
So God said to him: “Because you have asked for this?
not for a long life for yourself,
nor for riches, nor for the life of your enemies,
but for understanding so that you may know what is right?
I do as you requested.
I give you a heart so wise and understanding
that there has never been anyone like you up to now,
and after you there will come no one to equal you.
In addition, I give you what you have not asked for,
such riches and glory that among kings there is not your like.”

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 119:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14
R. (12b) Lord, teach me your statutes.

How shall a young man be faultless in his way?
By keeping to your words.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.
With all my heart I seek you;
let me not stray from your commands.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.
Within my heart I treasure your promise,
that I may not sin against you.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.
Blessed are you, O LORD;
teach me your statutes.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.
With my lips I declare
all the ordinances of your mouth.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.
In the way of your decrees I rejoice,
as much as in all riches.
R.Lord, teach me your statutes.

Gospel
Mk 6:30-34

The Apostles gathered together with Jesus
and reported all they had done and taught.
He said to them,
“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
People were coming and going in great numbers,
and they had no opportunity even to eat.
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.
People saw them leaving and many came to know about it.
They hastened there on foot from all the towns
and arrived at the place before them.

When Jesus disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.
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REFLECTION
“Ask something of me and I will give it to you.” -1 Kgs 3:4-13

“Wag mo akong kuyahin!” was the only request I ask every time someone would address me as such. It’s not because I don’t like the term. I was just not comfortable with it. You see, I am a failure being a kuya to my own brother. I pushed him away because I am weak. I wanted him to look up to our eldest brother instead of looking up to me. I didn’t realize that doing that would change him. Years past, my brother became the black sheep of the family. I blamed myself for his transformation and it seemed like I can’t do anything about it. From then on, the term kuya doesn’t seem to fit me any longer. Aside from my cousins, I’d rather be called by my first name, nickname, last name, or any name but never the term kuya.

When I attended the Youth Encounter 17, I remembered sharing this with one of my batch mates and she replied, “You know God has forgiven you a long time ago. All you have to do is forgive yourself and pray to the Lord that He may give you a chance to show your borther and the rest of the world that you are worthy to be called kuya.” It was not the reply that I was looking for but in an attempt to humor myself, I prayed. Without fail, God answered.

Being in a community where almost all of the members are years younger than I am, I am given a lot of chances to make myself a certified kuya.Currently, I am part of a small group of young men, also from the same community, who’re 15-17 years of age. I may not be yet comfortable being called as such but I believe, with God’s help, anything is possible! Being a kuya is still possible for me. -Ge Ramirez. YLSS#19

Prayer:
Lord, I ask You, bless me and guide me all my life. Teach me how to follow the path that You prepared for me. Prepare me along the way. Amen.
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