Little Whispers, Muriel Villafranca

5K

First Reading
Ex 20:1-17

In those days:
God delivered all these commandments:

“I, the LORD, am your God,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery.
You shall not have other gods besides me.
You shall not carve idols for yourselves
in the shape of anything in the sky above
or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth;
you shall not bow down before them or worship them.
For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God,
inflicting punishment for their fathers’ wickedness
on the children of those who hate me,
down to the third and fourth generation;
but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation
on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments.

“You shall not take the name of the LORD, your God, in vain.
For the LORD will not leave unpunished
him who takes his name in vain.

“Remember to keep holy the sabbath day.
Six days you may labor and do all your work,
but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD, your God.
No work may be done then either by you, or your son or daughter,
or your male or female slave, or your beast,
or by the alien who lives with you.
In six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth,
the sea and all that is in them;
but on the seventh day he rested.
That is why the LORD has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

“Honor your father and your mother,
that you may have a long life in the land
which the LORD, your God, is giving you.

“You shall not kill.

“You shall not commit adultery.

“You shall not steal.

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife,
nor his male or female slave, nor his ox or ass,
nor anything else that belongs to him.”

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 11
R. (John 6:68c) Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.

The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
They are more precious than gold,
than a heap of purest gold;
Sweeter also than syrup
or honey from the comb.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.

Gospel
Mt 13:18-23

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Hear the parable of the sower.
The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the Kingdom
without understanding it,
and the Evil One comes and steals away
what was sown in his heart.
The seed sown on rocky ground
is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy.
But he has no root and lasts only for a time.
When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
he immediately falls away.
The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word,
but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word
and it bears no fruit.
But the seed sown on rich soil
is the one who hears the word and understands it,
who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”
______________________________________________________________________________

July 26

REFLECTION

“But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”  Mt 13:23

 

Back then, I never considered jogging or running as a form of exercise. I ran maybe a few times for 30 or 40 minutes, and then I would not feel like doing it again.

When I was in college, our final exam in my PE class was to run 5 kilometers. I did not train for it as I figured I was in good enough shape to handle it. I started out running faster than I have ever run in my life! But I lost steam along the way, and went slower and slower. I took walking breaks, but once I got my heart rate down, I kept jogging again. When I reached the finish line, water bottles and softdrinks were handed to us. I was just dying to quench my thirst! And was reminded of the Sprite ad, “Obey your thirst.”

In the readings, Jesus touches on obedience—planting on good soil and following the Ten Commandments. Just like the Sprite ad, He is telling us to obey our thirst… obey our thirst to love God and follow His commandments. We know for sure that being obedient to His will and commandments are not easy tasks. Thus, the challenge for us is how to hold on to such commitment as unswerving as Jesus did. Through steadfast faith and prayer, we can do it. So let us thirst for God’s Word, and increase our faith in Him. That way, we can be true runners for Christ—run around the world spreading His good news to each and all. – Muriel Bautista (murielbautista@yahoo.com)

 

Prayer:

Father God, grant me the grace to till the good soil in my heart, that You may harvest good fruit on me. Amen.

 

Reflection Question:

Are the words of God growing in good soil in your heart?

 

Photo source: alaskadispatch.com

Little Whispers, Muriel Villafranca

Happiness of the Real Kind

First Reading
Sir 17: 20 – 24

To the penitent God provides a way back,
he encourages those who are losing hope
and has chosen for them the lot of truth.
Return to him and give up sin,
pray to the LORD and make your offenses few.
Turn again to the Most High and away from your sin,
hate intensely what he loathes,
and know the justice and judgments of God,
Stand firm in the way set before you,
in prayer to the Most High God.Who in the nether world can glorify the Most High
in place of the living who offer their praise?
Dwell no longer in the error of the ungodly,
but offer your praise before death.
No more can the dead give praise
than those who have never lived;
You who are alive and well
shall praise and glorify God in his mercies.
How great the mercy of the LORD,
his forgiveness of those who return to him!

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 32: 1 – 2, 5 – 7

R. (11a) Let the just exult and rejoice in the Lord.
Blessed is he whose fault is taken away,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed the man to whom the LORD imputes not guilt,
in whose spirit there is no guile.
R. Let the just exult and rejoice in the Lord.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
my guilt I covered not.
I said, “I confess my faults to the LORD,”
and you took away the guilt of my sin.
R. Let the just exult and rejoice in the Lord.
For this shall every faithful man pray to you
in time of stress.
Though deep waters overflow,
they shall not reach him.
R. Let the just exult and rejoice in the Lord.
You are my shelter; from distress you will preserve me;
with glad cries of freedom you will ring me round.
R. Let the just exult and rejoice in the Lord.

 

Gospel
Mk 10: 17 – 27

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
knelt down before him, and asked him,
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;
honor your father and your mother.”

He replied and said to him,
“Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
“You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
At that statement, his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
“How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the Kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
“Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
“Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For men it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God.”

____________________________________________________________________________________________

???????????????????????????????????????

REFLECTION

“Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Mk 10:21

During my elementary and high school years, we were in a deep financial crisis due to sicknesses in my family. To support our schooling, we applied for scholarships and financial assistance. I was even a working student back in college. My relationship with God during that time was good for I know that even though we encounter trials, He always takes care and provides for us.

However, when I started working and earned sufficiently, I began to forget some of my obligations to God. At one point, I became very selfish and materialistic. It was only during times of trouble would I turn to Him for guidance and help. Though I was financially secured, I felt downhearted and miserable. I realized that money cannot buy happiness.

God wants us to live a comfortable life. In the gospel, Jesus did not say that the rich man would not be saved, but that it will be hard due to his material concerns. What God disagrees of is excessive and ill-gotten wealth, which is why he asks us to be less reliant on material wealth, and instead to learn to use our wealth to help the needy. Jesus challenges us to give up anything that will weigh us down in quest to follow Him more closely. Genuine happiness can only be achieved by placing God at the center of our lives. Only then can we surpass all trials that we encounter, and experience the eternal life He offers. – Muriel Bautista (murielbautista@yahoo.com)

 

PRAYER
Holy Spirit, you were sent to strengthen me to stand for my faith. Help me to have a better understanding of the God’s word so that I will be more equipped when challenged by the world. Amen.

REFLECTION QUESTION
How easily does wealth and worldly pleasures affect the way that I live and my faith in God?

Photo source: dreamstime.com

Little Whispers, Muriel Villafranca

Fireflies

First Reading
Acts 12:24—13:5A

The word of God continued to spread and grow.

After Barnabas and Saul completed their relief mission,
they returned to Jerusalem,
taking with them John, who is called Mark.

Now there were in the Church at Antioch prophets and teachers:
Barnabas, Symeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene,
Manaen who was a close friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said,
“Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul
for the work to which I have called them.”
Then, completing their fasting and prayer,
they laid hands on them and sent them off.

So they, sent forth by the Holy Spirit,
went down to Seleucia
and from there sailed to Cyprus.
When they arrived in Salamis,
they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 67:2-3, 5, 6 AND 8
R. (4) O God, let all the nations praise you!

May God have pity on us and bless us;
may he let his face shine upon us.
So may your way be known upon earth;
among all nations, your salvation.
R. O God, let all the nations praise you!
May the nations be glad and exult
because you rule the peoples in equity;
the nations on the earth you guide.
R. O God, let all the nations praise you!
May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you!
May God bless us,
and may all the ends of the earth fear him!
R. O God, let all the nations praise you!

Gospel
Jn 12:44-50

Jesus cried out and said,
“Whoever believes in me believes not only in me
but also in the one who sent me,
and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me.
I came into the world as light,
so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.
And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them,
I do not condemn him,
for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world.
Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words
has something to judge him: the word that I spoke,
it will condemn him on the last day,
because I did not speak on my own,
but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak.
And I know that his commandment is eternal life.
So what I say, I say as the Father told me.”

___________________________________________________________________________________________

fireflies_glass_jar

REFLECTION

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” Jn 12:46

I had never seen anything like it. They were huge in number and spectacular to watch. It reminded me of a laser light show— watching fireflies dance. When we were still kids, my siblings, cousins and I used to chase these lightning bugs in our grandparents’ place in Bulacan. We would go out in the garden in the evening to witness such a mesmerizing sight. We would even catch a few fireflies, put them inside a jar, and would gather around to share stories. Just a few were enough to light our small circle, and make us all smile.

In the Gospel, Jesus emphasizes that he is the light of the world. He tells us that he epitomizes truth and holiness, and is the living expression of God here on earth. Like fireflies, just a few is enough to light a dark area. In the same way, giving a little or a portion of our blessings is a lot when we allow God to take over. He has gifted us with so much, so we should use our gifts and blessings to glorify Him. We are invited not simply to listen to Him, but also to express our faith in word and action.

To choose to be in the light, to live in the light of Jesus is to say “yes” to the consequences and responsibilities that come with it. To be a light is to be loving, forgiving, and to speak the truth even when one encounters criticisms. This challenge is not easy, but we must remain faithful to his promise for the Lord cannot be outdone in His kindness and generosity. Muriel Bautista (murielbautista@yahoo.com)

PRAYER
O God, empower us by your Spirit that we may always be bearers of your light. Amen.

REFLECTION QUESTION
How can I grow to be more like Jesus?

Photo source: biochembro,wordpress.com

Little Whispers, Muriel Villafranca

Piano Lessons

First Reading
Ex 17:3-7

In those days, in their thirst for water,
the people grumbled against Moses,
saying, “Why did you ever make us leave Egypt?
Was it just to have us die here of thirst
with our children and our livestock?”
So Moses cried out to the LORD,
“What shall I do with this people?
a little more and they will stone me!”
The LORD answered Moses,
“Go over there in front of the people,
along with some of the elders of Israel,
holding in your hand, as you go,
the staff with which you struck the river.
I will be standing there in front of you on the rock in Horeb.
Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it
for the people to drink.”
This Moses did, in the presence of the elders of Israel.
The place was called Massah and Meribah,
because the Israelites quarreled there
and tested the LORD, saying,
“Is the LORD in our midst or not?”

or

Ex 3: 1-8, 13-15

Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro,
the priest of Midian.
Leading the flock across the desert, he came to Horeb,
the mountain of God.
There an angel of the LORD appeared to Moses in fire
flaming out of a bush.
As he looked on, he was surprised to see that the bush,
though on fire, was not consumed.
So Moses decided,
“I must go over to look at this remarkable sight,
and see why the bush is not burned.”

When the LORD saw him coming over to look at it more closely,
God called out to him from the bush, AMoses! Moses!”
He answered, “Here I am.”
God said, “Come no nearer!
Remove the sandals from your feet,
for the place where you stand is holy ground.
I am the God of your fathers, “ he continued,
“the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.”
Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
But the LORD said,
“I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt
and have heard their cry of complaint against their slave drivers,
so I know well what they are suffering.
Therefore I have come down to rescue them
from the hands of the Egyptians
and lead them out of that land into a good and spacious land,
a land flowing with milk and honey.”

Moses said to God, “But when I go to the Israelites
and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’
if they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what am I to tell them?”
God replied, “I am who am.”
Then he added, “This is what you shall tell the Israelites:
I AM sent me to you.”

God spoke further to Moses, “Thus shall you say to the Israelites:
The LORD, the God of your fathers,
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob,
has sent me to you.

“This is my name forever;
thus am I to be remembered through all generations.”

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9

R. (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works.”
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

or

Ps 103: 1-7, 8, 11

R. (8a) The Lord is kind and merciful.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
He pardons all your iniquities,
heals all your ills,
He redeems your life from destruction,
crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
The LORD secures justice
and the rights of all the oppressed.
He has made known his ways to Moses,
and his deeds to the children of Israel.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

Second Reading
Rom 5:1-2, 5-8

Brothers and sisters:
Since we have been justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have gained access by faith
to this grace in which we stand,
and we boast in hope of the glory of God.

And hope does not disappoint,
because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit who 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.

or

1 Cor 10: 1-6, 10-12

I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters,
that our ancestors were all under the cloud
and all passed through the sea,
and all of them were baptized into Moses
in the cloud and in the sea.
All ate the same spiritual food,
and all drank the same spiritual drink,
for they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them,
and the rock was the Christ.
Yet God was not pleased with most of them,
for they were struck down in the desert.

These things happened as examples for us,
so that we might not desire evil things, as they did.
Do not grumble as some of them did,
and suffered death by the destroyer.
These things happened to them as an example,
and they have been written down as a warning to us,
upon whom the end of the ages has come.
Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure
should take care not to fall.

Gospel
Jn 4:5-15, 19B-26, 39A, 40-42

Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar,
near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob’s well was there.
Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well.
It was about noon.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water.
Jesus said to her,
“Give me a drink.”
His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.
The Samaritan woman said to him,
“How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?”
—For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.—
Jesus answered and said to her,
“If you knew the gift of God
and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink, ‘
you would have asked him
and he would have given you living water.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep;
where then can you get this living water?
Are you greater than our father Jacob,
who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself
with his children and his flocks?”
Jesus answered and said to her,
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again;
but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst;
the water I shall give will become in him
a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty
or have to keep coming here to draw water.

“I can see that you are a prophet.
Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain;
but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”
Jesus said to her,
“Believe me, woman, the hour is coming
when you will worship the Father
neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You people worship what you do not understand;
we worship what we understand,
because salvation is from the Jews.
But the hour is coming, and is now here,
when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth;
and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him.
God is Spirit, and those who worship him
must worship in Spirit and truth.”
The woman said to him,
“I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ;
when he comes, he will tell us everything.”
Jesus said to her,
“I am he, the one who is speaking with you.”

Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him.
When the Samaritans came to him,
they invited him to stay with them;
and he stayed there two days.
Many more began to believe in him because of his word,
and they said to the woman,
“We no longer believe because of your word;
for we have heard for ourselves,
and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”

or

Lk 13: 1-9

Some people told Jesus about the Galileans
whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way
they were greater sinners than all other Galileans?
By no means!
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did!
Or those eighteen people who were killed
when the tower at Siloam fell on them—
do you think they were more guilty
than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem?
By no means!
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did!”

And he told them this parable:
“There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard,
and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none,
he said to the gardener,
‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree
but have found none.
So cut it down.
Why should it exhaust the soil?’
He said to him in reply,
‘Sir, leave it for this year also,
and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it;
it may bear fruit in the future.
If not you can cut it down.’”

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

kids_hiding_at_market

REFLECTION

“Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Jn 4:14

When we were kids, my parents hired a piano teacher for me, my siblings and my cousins. Our teacher would visit our home to teach five very naughty kids. We always made all kinds of excuses just to skip our lessons. One time, we connived not to attend the lessons, and instead play games and play with our toys. So we told our helper to tell our teacher that we were all sick and bed-ridden. We were chuckling at the second floor staircase while watching our teacher’s reaction. Then all of a sudden, my cousin’s box of Lego fell and rolled down the stairway to our teacher’s feet… we were caught lying.

In the Gospel, Jesus was conversing with a Samaritan woman who had many excuses when she encountered Jesus. When Jesus asked her to fetch her husband, she lied and said that she has no husband. However, Jesus told her that he knows the truth and her story— that she got five husbands already.

We are like the Samaritan woman. We have dark areas in our life, which we try to hide. But God knows about them already. He has written our story even before we were born. He is compassionate, loving and merciful. Just like in the Gospel, Jesus did not condemn the woman. Instead, he invited, challenged and affirmed her to ease her doubts.

Jesus is offering us “life-giving water” to quench our spiritual thirst. Though sometimes we try to satisfy our thirst with vices and material possessions, we must always be reminded that it is only God who can quench our thirst completely. – Muriel Bautista (murielbautista@yahoo.com)

PRAYER
Lord, cleanse my heart and help me turn away from sin. Fill the emptiness in me with your living water, so that I may experience eternal life. Amen.

REFLECTION QUESTION
Have I repented of all my sins that prevent me from being Spirit-filled?

Photo source: hstrial-cinemaverdeprodu.homestead.com

Little Whispers, Muriel Villafranca

Meeting de Avance

First Reading
Neh 8:2-4A, 5-6, 8-10

Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly,
which consisted of men, women,
and those children old enough to understand.
Standing at one end of the open place that was before the Water Gate,
he read out of the book from daybreak till midday,
in the presence of the men, the women,
and those children old enough to understand;
and all the people listened attentively to the book of the law.
Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform
that had been made for the occasion.
He opened the scroll
so that all the people might see it
— for he was standing higher up than any of the people —;
and, as he opened it, all the people rose.
Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God,
and all the people, their hands raised high, answered,
“Amen, amen!”
Then they bowed down and prostrated themselves before the LORD,
their faces to the ground.
Ezra read plainly from the book of the law of God,
interpreting it so that all could understand what was read.
Then Nehemiah, that is, His Excellency, and Ezra the priest-scribe
and the Levites who were instructing the people
said to all the people:
“Today is holy to the LORD your God.
Do not be sad, and do not weep”—
for all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law.
He said further: “Go, eat rich foods and drink sweet drinks,
and allot portions to those who had nothing prepared;
for today is holy to our LORD.
Do not be saddened this day,
for rejoicing in the LORD must be your strength!”

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 15

R. (cf John 6:63c) Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart
find favor before you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

Second Reading
1 Cor 12:12-30

Brothers and sisters:
As a body is one though it has many parts,
and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body,
so also Christ.
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body,
whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons,
and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.

Now the body is not a single part, but many.
If a foot should say,
“Because I am not a hand I do not belong to the body,
“it does not for this reason belong any less to the body.
Or if an ear should say,
“Because I am not an eye I do not belong to the body, “
it does not for this reason belong any less to the body.
If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be?
If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?
But as it is, God placed the parts,
each one of them, in the body as he intended.
If they were all one part, where would the body be?
But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I do not need you, “
nor again the head to the feet, “I do not need you.”
Indeed, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker
are all the more necessary,
and those parts of the body that we consider less honorable
we surround with greater honor,
and our less presentable parts are treated with greater propriety,
whereas our more presentable parts do not need this.
But God has so constructed the body
as to give greater honor to a part that is without it,
so that there may be no division in the body,
but that the parts may have the same concern for one another.
If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it;
if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.

Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it.
Some people God has designated in the church
to be, first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers;
then, mighty deeds;
then gifts of healing, assistance, administration,
and varieties of tongues.
Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers?
Do all work mighty deeds? Do all have gifts of healing?
Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?

Gospel
Lk 1:1-4; 4:14-21

Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events
that have been fulfilled among us,
just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning
and ministers of the word have handed them down to us,
I too have decided,
after investigating everything accurately anew,
to write it down in an orderly sequence for you,
most excellent Theophilus,
so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings
you have received.

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit,
and news of him spread throughout the whole region.
He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all.

He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up,
and went according to his custom
into the synagogue on the sabbath day.
He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down,
and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.
He said to them,
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

MURIEL BAUTISTA FaithBirdwell.deviantart.com

REFLECTION

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.” Lk 4:18

Back in grade school, I often ran as a class officer. As a candidate, I would campaign with my fellow candidates during our Meeting de Avance, where we shared about ourselves as well as our platforms: what we wanted to do and what our goals were for the year.

In the gospel, Jesus is about to begin his public life. He introduces himself and reveals his platform found in the Book of Isaiah. It describes him as “one anointed by God to bring glad tidings to the poor, liberty to the captives, recovery to blind, freedom to the oppressed and a year acceptable to the Lord.”

The same Holy Spirit who filled Jesus is present in us right now. God challenges us to speak of our faith and to bring Him more to others. As renewed Christians, we share the same mission to preach the good news, not by working miracles or going house to house to evangelize, but by simply being witnesses of His love and mercy through our words and deeds. We can start this with our families and friends, and then spread it in our school, workplace and community. – Muriel Bautista (murielbautista@yahoo.com)

 

PRAYER
Lord, give me the courage to let the Holy Spirit work in me. Take away my fear and anxiety and make me ready to be an instrument of Your Spirit in today’s world. Amen.

REFLECTION QUESTION
What hinders me from letting the Holy Spirit move me in unexpected directions?

 

Photo source: FaithBirdwell.deviantart.com