Little Whispers, Ryan Rivera

What do you want to be when you grow up?

First Reading
Romans 4:20-25
Brothers and sisters:
Abraham did not doubt God’s promise in unbelief;
rather, he was empowered by faith and gave glory to God
and was fully convinced that what God had promised
he was also able to do.
That is why it was credited to him as righteousness.
But it was not for him alone that it was written
that it was credited to him;
it was also for us, to whom it will be credited,
who believe in the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead,
who was handed over for our transgressions
and was raised for our justification.

Responsorial Psalm
Luke 1:69-70, 71-72, 73-75
R.(see 68) Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
He has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty savior,
born of the house of his servant David.
R. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
Through his holy prophets he promised of old
that he would save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.
R. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life.
R. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.

Gospel
Luke 12:13-21
Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,
“Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.”
He replied to him,
“Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?”
Then he said to the crowd,
“Take care to guard against all greed,
for though one may be rich,
one’s life does not consist of possessions.”

Then he told them a parable.
“There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.
He asked himself, ‘What shall I do,
for I do not have space to store my harvest?’
And he said, ‘This is what I shall do:
I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones.
There I shall store all my grain and other goods
and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you,
you have so many good things stored up for many years,
rest, eat, drink, be merry!”‘
But God said to him,
‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you;
and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’
Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself
but is not rich in what matters to God.”


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“Then he said to the crowd, ‘Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.'” (Luke 12:15)

REFLECTION
When I was in grade school, our teacher asked us, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. While my classmates answered they wanted to be engineers, doctors, scientists, and presidents, I said, “Gusto ko maging masaya.” (I want to be happy.) They all laughed at me, telling me that my answer was wrong. So, I grew up thinking that for me to be happy, I have to be rich, famous, and successful in everything that I do. I have to be the best, the smartest, and the brightest one in the room. I became competitive and saw everyone as competitors as I grew older. I measured my worth through the awards and recognitions that I received. I thought that the more achievements I have, the better I would become.

I only set my eyes on becoming the best, on reaching the top, and on finishing first. I was so focused on winning that I became very self-centered. Everything became about me, what I have and have achieved, what I could do and what I knew. Until I realized I was not happy at all. I asked myself, “I already have everything that I want, but why do I feel empty? I thought happiness comes with the rewards and achievements I get.”

When God redirected my plans, I realized I was so focused on making myself the best instead of helping others become better. I was so focused on reaching the end instead of enjoying the journey. I realized I was not wrong when I said I wanted to be happy when I grow up. Jesus reminded me of my simple dream. He reminded me that His love, grace, and peace is greater and more fulfilling than all the awards, recognitions, and possessions that the world can offer. I was reminded of His promise that true joy can be found in knowing Him. 

Jesus is telling us today that success is not the key to happiness but rather happiness is the key to success. When we begin to fill our minds with the Word of God, the promises of God, and the presence of God, we will be filled with joy – true and everlasting joy.

Reflection Song

Joy by Planetshakers

Author

wc-ryan

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Little Whispers, Ryan Rivera

Best Friends

First Reading
Baruch 1:15-22
During the Babylonian captivity, the exiles prayed:
“Justice is with the Lord, our God;
and we today are flushed with shame,
we men of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem,
that we, with our kings and rulers
and priests and prophets, and with our ancestors,
have sinned in the Lord’s sight and disobeyed him.
We have neither heeded the voice of the Lord, our God,
nor followed the precepts which the Lord set before us.
From the time the Lord led our ancestors out of the land of Egypt
until the present day,
we have been disobedient to the Lord, our God,
and only too ready to disregard his voice.
And the evils and the curse that the Lord enjoined upon Moses, his servant,
at the time he led our ancestors forth from the land of Egypt
to give us the land flowing with milk and honey,
cling to us even today.
For we did not heed the voice of the Lord, our God,
in all the words of the prophets whom he sent us,
but each one of us went off
after the devices of his own wicked heart,
served other gods,
and did evil in the sight of the Lord, our God.”

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 79:1B-2, 3-5, 8, 9
R.(9) For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
O God, the nations have come into your inheritance;
they have defiled your holy temple,
they have laid Jerusalem in ruins.
They have given the corpses of your servants
as food to the birds of heaven,
the flesh of your faithful ones to the beasts of the earth.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
They have poured out their blood like water
round about Jerusalem,
and there is no one to bury them.
We have become the reproach of our neighbors,
the scorn and derision of those around us.
O LORD, how long? Will you be angry forever?
Will your jealousy burn like fire?
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;
may your compassion quickly come to us,
for we are brought very low.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Help us, O God our savior,
because of the glory of your name;
Deliver us and pardon our sins
for your name’s sake.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.

Gospel
Luke 10:13-16
Jesus said to them,
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the mighty deeds done in your midst
had been done in Tyre and Sidon,
they would long ago have repented,
sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon
at the judgment than for you.
And as for you, Capernaum, ‘Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the netherworld.’
Whoever listens to you listens to me.
Whoever rejects you rejects me.
And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”


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“Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.” (Luke 10:16)

REFLECTION
Growing up, I did not have a best friend. For me, a best friend is someone who accepts me for who I am, someone who is always there for me when no one else is, and someone who loves me unconditionally. I never went to sleepovers, nor did I have anyone who knows everything about me, and I never experienced hanging out with a best friend. Only to realize that I have not just one but two best friends.

I consider papa and mama as my best friends because they know everything about me. They believe in me when I don’t believe in myself. They never judge me, and they never fail to remind me that I am always loved and cared for. They always tell me the truth, and they are always there for me no matter the circumstances.

As I look for more reasons why my parents are my best friends, Jesus reminds me of their purpose in my life. My parents are my own Jesus as they exhibit God’s unconditional love, everlasting goodness, and true wisdom. When I listen to my parents, I also listen to God. When I respect my parents, I also respect God. When I love my parents, I also love God. Whatever I do towards my parents, my actions also extend towards God who sent them and placed them in my life.

Just like Jesus, our parents want nothing but the best for us. Jesus has entrusted them with the lifelong duty of raising us, teaching us, guiding us, disciplining us, forgiving us, and loving us the same way Jesus does. And today, we are reminded to live a life of obedience and faith towards our parents and towards Jesus.

Prayer
Thank You, Jesus, for my parents. I am grateful for their love, time, protection, help, understanding, and wisdom. Make me a blessing to my parents as I obey, love, respect, and honor them. Continue to use them as Your instruments of love, peace, and joy. May Your peace reign in their hearts and Your love always encompass them. Amen.

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Little Whispers, Ryan Rivera

Say Yes

First Reading
Judges 9:6-15

All the citizens of Shechem and all Beth-millo came together
and proceeded to make Abimelech king
by the terebinth at the memorial pillar in Shechem.

When this was reported to him,
Jotham went to the top of Mount Gerizim and, standing there,
cried out to them in a loud voice:
“Hear me, citizens of Shechem, that God may then hear you!
Once the trees went to anoint a king over themselves.
So they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us.’
But the olive tree answered them, ‘Must I give up my rich oil,
whereby men and gods are honored,
and go to wave over the trees?’
Then the trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come; you reign over us!’
But the fig tree answered them,
‘Must I give up my sweetness and my good fruit,
and go to wave over the trees?’
Then the trees said to the vine, ‘Come you, and reign over us.’
But the vine answered them,
‘Must I give up my wine that cheers gods and men,
and go to wave over the trees?’
Then all the trees said to the buckthorn, ‘Come; you reign over us!’
But the buckthorn replied to the trees,
‘If you wish to anoint me king over you in good faith,
come and take refuge in my shadow.
Otherwise, let fire come from the buckthorn
and devour the cedars of Lebanon.'”

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 21:2-3, 4-5, 6-7
R.(2a) Lord, in your strength the king is glad.

O LORD, in your strength the king is glad;
in your victory how greatly he rejoices!
You have granted him his heart’s desire;
you refused not the wish of his lips.
R. Lord, in your strength the king is glad.
For you welcomed him with goodly blessings,
you placed on his head a crown of pure gold.
He asked life of you: you gave him
length of days forever and ever.
R. Lord, in your strength the king is glad.
Great is his glory in your victory;
majesty and splendor you conferred upon him.
You made him a blessing forever,
you gladdened him with the joy of your face.
R. Lord, in your strength the king is glad.

Gospel
Matthew 20:1-16

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a landowner
who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.
After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage,
he sent them into his vineyard.
Going out about nine o’clock,
he saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard,
and I will give you what is just.’
So they went off.
And he went out again around noon,
and around three o’clock, and did likewise.
Going out about five o’clock,
he found others standing around, and said to them,
‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’
They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’
He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’
When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman,
‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay,
beginning with the last and ending with the first.’
When those who had started about five o’clock came,
each received the usual daily wage.
So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more,
but each of them also got the usual wage.
And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying,
‘These last ones worked only one hour,
and you have made them equal to us,
who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’
He said to one of them in reply,
‘My friend, I am not cheating you.
Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?
Take what is yours and go.
What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?
Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?
Are you envious because I am generous?’
Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”


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“… and He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.'” (Matthew 20:4)

REFLECTION
As a part of the sponsoring class of Youth Encounter #27, I was tapped by our shepherds to be the piety head and my first and only response was “Why?”.

There were a lot of reasons why I felt unworthy to handle piety. I was still a new member of BLD Youth. I did not know yet how to lead in the vigil room. I did not think that I was good in praying. The list went on as I looked for more reasons why. It was during our preparations when I was so full of doubt and frustration. I felt that my service was not enough as I continued to ask “Why me, Lord?”.

It was when I started to lay down my whys before Jesus when I realized that my service is not about me. I was not called to shine my own light but to reflect His. Jesus reminded me that it was never about how capable I was of accomplishing tasks but it was about how faithful and obedient I was by saying Yes to Him without expecting anything in return. It was through my yes that I was able to do what was asked of me, including the things I never thought I could do. It was through my yes to Jesus where I found peace in praying for other people. And today, I was reminded of my growth all because of saying yes to the Lord.

Today, Jesus is telling us that all we have to do is to answer His call by saying YES to Him. Just like how the men in the parable accepted the invitation of the landowner to work in his vineyard, it is not the work that is rewarded but rather it’s the choice to accept the invitation—His invitation.

Reflection Song

Author

wc-ryan

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Little Whispers, Ryan Rivera

Worth It

First Reading
WIS 3:1-9

The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished,
yet is their hope full of immortality;
chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God tried them
and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
In the time of their visitation they shall shine,
and shall dart about as sparks through stubble;
they shall judge nations and rule over peoples,
and the LORD shall be their King forever.
Those who trust in him shall understand truth,
and the faithful shall abide with him in love:
because grace and mercy are with his holy ones,
and his care is with his elect.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 23:1-3A, 3B-4, 5, 6
R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
or:
R. Though I walk in the valley of darkness, I fear no evil, for you are with me.

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.
or:
R. Though I walk in the valley of darkness, I fear no evil, for you are with me.

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.
or:
R. Though I walk in the valley of darkness, I fear no evil, for you are with me.

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.
or:
R. Though I walk in the valley of darkness, I fear no evil, for you are with me.

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.
or:
R. Though I walk in the valley of darkness, I fear no evil, for you are with me.

Second Reading
ROM 5:5-11

Brothers and sisters:
Hope does not disappoint,
because 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.

Or
ROM 6:3-9

Brothers and sisters:
Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus
were baptized into his death?
We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death,
so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead
by the glory of the Father,
we too might live in newness of life.

For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his,
we shall also be united with him in the resurrection.
We know that our old self was crucified with him,
so that our sinful body might be done away with,
that we might no longer be in slavery to sin.
For a dead person has been absolved from sin.
If, then, we have died with Christ,
we believe that we shall also live with him.
We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more;
death no longer has power over him.

Gospel
JN 6:37-40

Jesus said to the crowds:
“Everything that the Father gives me will come to me,
and I will not reject anyone who comes to me,
because I came down from heaven not to do my own will
but the will of the one who sent me.
And this is the will of the one who sent me,
that I should not lose anything of what he gave me,
but that I should raise it on the last day.
For this is the will of my Father,
that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him
may have eternal life,
and I shall raise him on the last day.”


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“But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

REFLECTION
I grew up thinking that I am never good enough. There will always be someone who is smarter than me, more talented than me, more beautiful than me, and better than me in all that I can do. I grew up keeping it all to myself, I did not share about how I did in school, and I cannot express how I feel fearing that people will judge and misunderstand me. I learned how to cope up with failures and disappointments with myself. I kept on doing these things all alone not knowing that I was self-destructing.

It was in that process of self-destruction when Jesus saved me from myself. I was so undeserving, so unworthy, and yet, Jesus was so relentless. I pushed, He pulled. I wept, He embraced. I bled, He repaired. I destroyed, He restored. I hesitated, He stayed. I shattered, He healed. I stopped, He smiled. I was a disaster, the worst of its kind, and yet, Jesus still had the audacity to let me know that I am beautiful in my own way and I am His.

We may be damaged, broken, and hurt, but Jesus was more brokenhearted, betrayed and scarred than anyone in this world. Yet, He did not shut Himself off from us. Instead, He calls us unto Him. Stop building walls and start placing your trust in Him. His scars are enough proof that you are loved more than you know. He will direct you through this pain, He will sit with you when you are weak, and He will carry you until you can walk again. Jesus wants to see you run in victory again. He wants to see you live in His glory. You just have to take His hand and walk with Him; it will take all of you, but you will gain all of Him. He is worth it and you are too.

Prayer
Thank You, Jesus, for loving me unconditionally every day. Please continue showering us with your unending grace and mercy. May You remind us every single day of how much You love us and how special each one of us is. Amen.

Author

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Ryan Rivera, Writers

Home

First Reading
NEH 2:1-8

In the month Nisan of the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes,
when the wine was in my charge,
I took some and offered it to the king.
As I had never before been sad in his presence,
the king asked me, “Why do you look sad?
If you are not sick, you must be sad at heart.”
Though I was seized with great fear, I answered the king:
“May the king live forever!
How could I not look sad
when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins,
and its gates have been eaten out by fire?”
The king asked me, “What is it, then, that you wish?”
I prayed to the God of heaven and then answered the king:
“If it please the king,
and if your servant is deserving of your favor,
send me to Judah, to the city of my ancestors’ graves,
to rebuild it.”
Then the king, and the queen seated beside him,
asked me how long my journey would take
and when I would return.
I set a date that was acceptable to him,
and the king agreed that I might go.

I asked the king further: “If it please the king,
let letters be given to me for the governors
of West-of-Euphrates,
that they may afford me safe-conduct until I arrive in Judah;
also a letter for Asaph, the keeper of the royal park,
that he may give me wood for timbering the gates
of the temple-citadel and for the city wall
and the house that I shall occupy.”
The king granted my requests,
for the favoring hand of my God was upon me.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 137:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6

R. (6ab) Let my tongue be silenced if I ever forget you!
By the streams of Babylon
we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
On the aspens of that land
we hung up our harps.
R. Let my tongue be silenced if I ever forget you!
Though there our captors asked of us
the lyrics of our songs,
And our despoilers urged us to be joyous:
“Sing for us the songs of Zion!”
R. Let my tongue be silenced if I ever forget you!
How could we sing a song of the LORD
in a foreign land?
If I forget you, Jerusalem,
may my right hand be forgotten!
R. Let my tongue be silenced if I ever forget you!
May my tongue cleave to my palate
if I remember you not,
If I place not Jerusalem
ahead of my joy.
R. Let my tongue be silenced if I ever forget you!
Alleluia PHIL 3:8-9

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I consider all things so much rubbish
that I may gain Christ and be found in him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel
LK 9:57-62

As Jesus and his disciples were proceeding
on their journey, someone said to him,
“I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus answered him,
“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
And to another he said, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead.
But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.”
And another said, “I will follow you, Lord,
but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”
Jesus answered him, “No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.”

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And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Luke 9:58)

REFLECTION

UP Los Banos was never an option. Passing the UPCAT was an answered prayer, but studying in a university 60 kilometers away from home was not. I knew in my heart that I was not that strong enough to live by myself and survive without my family. But deep down, I knew that there was a reason why God chose UPLB for me.

After just a year I figured out the reason why: God wanted to give me time.

Leaving my comfort zone and living alone, he gave me time to recognize my self-worth by getting to know myself better. He wanted me to know how loved and appreciated I was by my family and friends. He wanted me to reflect on His word and come back to Him by attending mass every day, after class. He wanted me to listen to Him and trust in Him. He wanted me to start and end each day with Him. He wanted me to learn and grow with Him. Jesus wanted me to follow Him.

He was my home away from home.

Jesus is telling us that while many of us may not need to give up the comfort of our own home and bed to follow Him, we, nonetheless, must be willing to part with anything that might stand in the way of doing God’s will. He wants us to know that it will be a difficult but rewarding journey in leaving everything behind to serve Him but if we put our trust and hearts in Him and follow Him wherever He goes; we need not worry. For following Jesus means being with Him, and being with Him means being home.

Prayer

Author

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