Eva Villoria, Little Whispers

God’s Pushers

First Reading
2 COR 3:4-11

Brothers and sisters:
Such confidence we have through Christ toward God.
Not that of ourselves we are qualified to take credit
for anything as coming from us;
rather, our qualification comes from God,
who has indeed qualified us as ministers of a new covenant,
not of letter but of spirit;
for the letter brings death, but the Spirit gives life.

Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, was so glorious
that the children of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses
because of its glory that was going to fade,
how much more will the ministry of the Spirit be glorious?
For if the ministry of condemnation was glorious,
the ministry of righteousness will abound much more in glory.
Indeed, what was endowed with glory
has come to have no glory in this respect
because of the glory that surpasses it.
For if what was going to fade was glorious,
how much more will what endures be glorious.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 99:5, 6, 7, 8, 9
R. (see 9c) Holy is the Lord our God.

Extol the LORD, our God,
and worship at his footstool;
holy is he!
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
and Samuel, among those who called upon his name;
they called upon the LORD, and he answered them.
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
From the pillar of cloud he spoke to them;
they heard his decrees and the law he gave them.
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
O LORD, our God, you answered them;
a forgiving God you were to them,
though requiting their misdeeds.
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
Extol the LORD, our God,
and worship at his holy mountain;
for holy is the LORD, our God.
R. Holy is the Lord our God.

Gospel
MT 5:17-19

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”


thankfulness

“Not that of ourselves we are qualified to take credit for anything as coming from us; rather, our qualification comes from God” (2 Corinthians 3: 5)

REFLECTION

As a leader, I could say that there was a time in my life when I felt that I pushed people to be better. I saw their strengths and skills and used those for serving an organization. As the end of our term approached, I encouraged these student leaders to apply for an award that would recognize their hardwork. Fortunately, they were able to receive the award they deserve.

Honestly, I felt bad as their names were flashed in a screen not because I did not get an award, but because they did not even thank me. It sounds shallow, but I felt I deserved a bit of gratitude. Then I realized, maybe I missed to thank some people who pushed me to be a better person too.

There are people who push us to be better. Some exert a lot of effort to make us feel great, while some do not. Still, they deserve our gratitude. God also encourages us to push others to be better. At the same time, He encourages others to push us to be better so that at the end of it all, we may all be like Him and be with Him in paradise. Let us not forget to thank the One because everything comes from Him. -Eva Villoria (edvilloria@gmail.com)

Prayer

Lord God, I thank You for Your messengers who pushed me to be a better person.  Help me to be one of Your effective messengers so that we may be more like You.

Reflection Question

How will I push people to become better and closer to God? Who are the people I have forgotten to thank for making me a better person?

Eva Villoria, Little Whispers

The Tree

First Reading
SIR 44:1, 9-13

Now will I praise those godly men,
our ancestors, each in his own time.
But of others there is no memory,
for when they ceased, they ceased.
And they are as though they had not lived,
they and their children after them.
Yet these also were godly men
whose virtues have not been forgotten;
Their wealth remains in their families,
their heritage with their descendants;
Through God’s covenant with them their family endures,
their posterity, for their sake.

And for all time their progeny will endure,
their glory will never be blotted out.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 149:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6A AND 9B
R. (see 4a) The Lord takes delight in his people.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Sing to the LORD a new song
of praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel be glad in their maker,
let the children of Zion rejoice in their king.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Let them praise his name in the festive dance,
let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
For the LORD loves his people,
and he adorns the lowly with victory.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Let the faithful exult in glory;
let them sing for joy upon their couches;
Let the high praises of God be in their throats.
This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Gospel
MK 11:11-26

Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple area.
He looked around at everything and, since it was already late,
went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

The next day as they were leaving Bethany he was hungry.
Seeing from a distance a fig tree in leaf,
he went over to see if he could find anything on it.
When he reached it he found nothing but leaves;
it was not the time for figs.
And he said to it in reply, “May no one ever eat of your fruit again!”
And his disciples heard it.

They came to Jerusalem,
and on entering the temple area
he began to drive out those selling and buying there.
He overturned the tables of the money changers
and the seats of those who were selling doves.
He did not permit anyone to carry anything through the temple area.
Then he taught them saying, “Is it not written:

My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples?
But you have made it a den of thieves.”

The chief priests and the scribes came to hear of it
and were seeking a way to put him to death,
yet they feared him
because the whole crowd was astonished at his teaching.
When evening came, they went out of the city.

Early in the morning, as they were walking along,
they saw the fig tree withered to its roots.
Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look!
The fig tree that you cursed has withered.”
Jesus said to them in reply, “Have faith in God.
Amen, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain,
‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’
and does not doubt in his heart
but believes that what he says will happen,
it shall be done for him.
Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer,
believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours.
When you stand to pray,
forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance,
so that your heavenly Father may in turn
forgive you your transgressions.”


  

“Their wealth remains in their families, their heritage with their descendants;” (Sirach 44: 9)

REFLECTION
During the last semester of college, we had a course on sociology entitled, Marriage and Family. From our lectures, there was one quote that struck me: “The fruit gives quality to the tree.”

I just graduated college with honors. Not to brag, but my parents said that I was the first in their family to achieve such. They were very proud of me! With this achievement, I can say that I have brought quality to my family, my tree. However, there is a question that remains… have I also brought quality to God, the main tree that gave me life?

My dear friends, we are not only fruits of our respective families, but we are all fruits of God. We are His descendants. As we carry the name of our family, we also carry the image of God with us. We should be the “apple that does not fall far from the tree”. Each of us is called to be like God, and to do well for His glory. In everything that we do, God is always watching us. We may not be given credit for the good we’ve done, but our God sees and rewards us secretly. – Eva Villoria (edvilloria@gmail.com)

Prayer
Father God, I ask for Your guidance in everything I do. I pray that in all of my words and actions, others may see Your image through me. Amen.

Reflection Question
Have you brought quality to our tree lately?