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WSC Reflection – December 24

Word Sharing Circle (WSC) Reflection Guide
December 24, 2017 – 4th Sunday of Advent (Cycle B, Year II)

Community Word: We celebrate God’s presence in us at all times.
Theme: God’s presence keeps us ready and willing to respond to His call.
Promise: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you…nothing will be impossible for God.”
(Lk 1:35a,37)
Reflection:
In today’s gospel, we commemorate the Annunciation and the start of the life of the God made-man. In the middle of this great event was young Mary of Nazareth who had the unique privilege of being mother to the very Son of God. The pains and pleasures of her motherhood are understood by all mothers everywhere. She saw Jesus arrive as her baby son and watched Him die as her Savior. The lessons from Mary’s life of obedience can be summed up as follows:

1. God’s best servants are often the ordinary people available to Him.
Joseph and Mary, chosen to be the mother and foster father of the Messiah, were ordinary people from a small town called Nazareth. Mary was a young woman of humble origins, typical of the people of her day, and seemingly too insignificant for such an important task as becoming the mother of God. But God chose Mary for one of the most important acts of obedience He has ever demanded of anyone. Often, we may feel that our situation in life makes us unlikely candidates for God’s service, but we must not limit God’s choice because He can use us if we trust in Him.

2. God’s plan involved extraordinary events in the lives of ordinary people.
Until Gabriel’s visit, Mary’s life was going about well as she could hope. She had recently become engaged to a local carpenter, Joseph, and was anticipating married life. But Mary’s life was about to change forever. God’s blessing does not automatically bring instant success, fame or favor. His blessing on Mary, the honor of being the mother of the Messiah, would lead to much pain; her peers would ridicule her; her fiancé would come close to leaving her; her Son would be rejected and murdered. But through her Son would come hope for the world. This is why Mary is praised by countless generations as “blessed among women.” Her submission led to mankind’s salvation. When our blessings lead to sorrow, think of Mary and wait patiently for God to finish working out His plan for us.

3. Our character is revealed by our response to the unexpected.
Mary is greatly troubled by the angel’s words and wonders what the greeting implied. “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” Why am I favored? But the angel gives an answer with further explanation. “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High…” Mary was very much aware that in Israel at that time, everyone was awaiting the coming of the Messiah and she had no doubts about the truth of the angel’s proclamation. However, her next question was very relevant. “How can this be since I do not know man?” (Luke 1:34). After all, faith must also be reasonable, and not blind. So we ask questions to enlighten our minds. And the angel continues to explain that “the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.”

The birth of Jesus to a virgin is a miracle that many unbelievers find difficult to accept. However, Luke holds this virgin birth to be true. Firstly, Luke was a medical doctor and he knew how babies are made. It would have been as hard for him to believe in a virgin birth, as it is with many contemporary scoffers. And yet he reported it as fact. Secondly, Luke was a painstaking researcher who based his Gospel on eyewitness account. Traditions hold that he talked with Mary about the events in the first two Chapters of his book. This is her story, not a fictional invention. And, thirdly, Christians and Jews, who worship God as Creator of the universe have no doubt that He can create a child in a virgin’s womb, if He so chooses.

Mary’s answer was a wholehearted “Yes” to the call and her humble response was: “I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your Word,” (Luke 1:38). With her consent she makes the mystery of the Incarnation possible, affected by the Holy Spirit. God can become man if we say “yes” to his call. We could imagine that even if she had known all she would suffer as Jesus’ mother, Mary would have given the same response.

Prayer
Almighty Father, let Your will be done in my life. Even if I am not sure of the path that I will thread, give me the grace to be humbly obedient to Your commands, knowing that when I keep my faith strong and my hope enduring, in the end I will reap the reward of fullness and abundance because nothing is impossible with You, Lord. Amen.

Reflection Guides
1. Like Mary, how will you respond when God asks you to fulfill a mission that may seem to disrupt your comfortable life?
2. Recall a situation in your life when you simply trusted in God’s will and you were blessed by it.

This Week’s Daily Mass Reading Guide:
December 24, 2017 (Sun) – 2Sm 7:1-5,8-12,14,16/ Ps 89:2-3,4-5,27,29/ Rom 16:25-27/
Lk 1:26-38
December 25, 2017(Mon) – Is 62:11-12/Ps 97:1, 6, 11, 12/Ti 3:4-7/Lk 2:15-20
December 26, 2017 (Tues) – Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59/Ps 31:3, 4, 6, 8, 17, 21/Mt 10:17-22
December 27, 2017(Wed) – 1Jn 1:1-4/Ps 97:1, 2, 5, 6, 11, 12/Jn 20:1, 2-8
December 28, 2017 (Thur) – 1Jn 1:5-2:2/Ps 124:2,-8/Mt 2:13-18
December 29, 2017 (Fri) – 1Jn 2:3-11/Ps 96:1-3, 5, 6/Lk 2:22-35
December 30, 2017(Sat) – Sir 3:2-6, 12-14/Ps 128:1-5/Col 3:12-21/Lk 2:22-40

“Ignorance of the Bible is ignorance of Christ. Read your Bible daily!”

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WSC Reflection – December 17, 2017

Word Sharing Circle (WSC) Reflection Guide
December 17, 2017 – 3rd Sunday of Advent (Cycle B, Year II)

Community Word: We celebrate God’s presence in us at all times.
Theme: God’s presence keeps us bold enough to lead others to Christ.
Promise: “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will also accomplish it.”(1Thes 5:24)

Reflection:
“I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, make straight the way of the Lord” (Jn 1:23) was John the Baptist’s humble reply to the Levites when they found him preaching and baptizing in the River Jordan. John’s words indicate that what he is doing is in preparation for the coming of ‘someone greater’ than himself. And his message also exhorts us to prepare for the coming of ‘someone very special’, a message which leads us to the word for this month: “We celebrate God’s presence in us at all times.”

Only in Christ can man find salvation. In Him it is possible to find the inner peace, hope and strength necessary to face life’s day-to-day demands, including the most burdensome and challenging. John tells us that the purity, wonder and perfection of heaven, everything that the Son of God knew before He became man, is now available to those who believe. Because Jesus came to us full of grace and truth, heaven is within our grasp. Simply by reaching out to Jesus in faith and trust, we can touch heaven. Jesus is the life and light of the human race. In Him is the light that sanctifies and transforms us into the image of God. In Him, as His disciples, we can become the love and compassion, the shining light of Christ for a world groping in darkness and hungry for love, expressed in our theme: God’s presence keeps us bold enough to lead others to Christ.

The 3rd Sunday of Advent is known as “Gaudete Sunday” or “Joyful Sunday.” This day we catch a glimpse of the joy with the coming of Emmanuel – God with us, Messiah, Son of God. While we tend to define ‘joy’ in worldly terms according to our personal gratification, the real joy is in sharing ourselves as instruments of God, as God’s willing gift to others. This is how the joy of Jesus flowed from Him to the sick, the lonely, the oppressed and the poor. We experience joy when we discover the extraordinary in ordinary things, circumstances and persons. It comes from the knowledge that God is present in our lives in simple humdrum ways, and even in trying times. It flows from hearts that know how to care and share, from people who appreciate and love and, more importantly, from opening our lives to Jesus who journeys with us. It flows from God to us… and from us, to others.

Are we ready to follow the mission of John the Baptist – doing everything to prepare people to accept Jesus? We are reminded to be watchful and ready. What have we done to prepare for His coming? After spending so much preparing for Christmas celebrations, sometimes we forget to prepare for one very important thing. We fail to feed and give joy to our soul, we neglect to be the fitting sanctuaries for the coming Christ Child, the real source of joy this season.

We are invited to die to self so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in and through us by way of our humility, acts of love and service. To die for the faith is a gift to some, but to live the faith is a call for all. Everything we say or do impacts on others. We can be the bearer of Good News, but we can also bring despair to those we disappoint. The choice is ours. Let us ask ourselves how exactly we are bringing the grace of the Lord’s coming into the lives of those who cross our path.

Each of us is called to prepare the coming of God into the hearts of loved ones and others to whom we have been sent. We are called to let God’s saving word be heard especially among the lost, the least, and the last. And as we do, we might receive His promise which says: “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will also accomplish it.” (1Thes 5:24).

Prayer
Our Emmanuel, there is so much chaos and confusion around us but we thank You for sending John the Baptist as a witness to Your Light. May we also bear witness to Your Light as we bring your word to others. Please be present in us with Your love and compassion that we may be always ready to share Your love, grace and blessings to others. Amen.

Reflection Guides
1. As a renewed Christian, how can you testify to others that our Lord Jesus has indeed come to your life as your Lord and Savior?

2. How can you prioritize spiritual preparations over material concerns during this season of Christmas?

This Week’s Daily Mass Reading Guide:
December 17, 2017 (Sun) – Is 61:1-2, 10-11/Lk 1:46-48, 49-50, 53-54/ 1Thes 5:16-24/ Jn 1:6-8, 19-28
December 18, 2017(Mon) – Jer 23:5-8/Ps 72:1, 2, 12, 13, 18, 19/Mt 1:18-25
December 19, 2017 (Tues) – Jgs 13:2-7, 24, 25/Ps 71\; 3-6, 16, 17/Lk 1:5-25
December 20, 2017(Wed) – Is 7:10-14/Ps 24:1-6/Lk 1:26-38
December 24, 2017 (Thur) – Sg 2:8-14/Ps 33:2, 3, 11, 12 Lk 1:39-45
December 22, 2017 (Fri) – 1 Sm 1:24-28/1Sm 2:1, 4-8/Lk 1:46-56
December 23, 2017(Sat) – Mal 1:1-4,23,24/Ps 25:4,5,8-10,14/Lk 1:57-60

“Ignorance of the Bible is ignorance of Christ. Read your Bible daily!”

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2017 CHRISTMAS and NEW YEAR MESSAGE

2017 CHRISTMAS and NEW YEAR MESSAGE
Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo

In the time of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph and of the Apostles, they might not have celebrated birthdays the way we do in our families and in the Philippines.

How did they celebrate birthdays? How did Joseph and Mary celebrate the birthday of Jesus? Especially with the memory of the visit of the kings from the East bringing gifts and the visit of the shepherds bringing lambs.

In our time we have an elaborate celebration of Christmas, preceding several months before December and extending even a month after New Year’s Day… with a lot of shopping and exchange of gifts within the family and community and amongst friends.

Let us not forget that the center of all these celebrations is CHRIST, who humbled himself and lived like us and among us. Let us reflect on our answer to this question: How am I, how are we, becoming more CHRIST-LIKE in our attitude and behavior?

+ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, D.D.
Archbishop of Jaro &
BLD Community Spiritual Director
December 8, 2017

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WSC Reflection – December 10, 2017

Word Sharing Circle (WSC) Reflection Guide
December 10, 2017 – 2nd Sunday of Advent (Cycle B, Year II)

Community Word: We celebrate God’s presence in us at all times.
Theme: God’s presence keeps us yielded to the power of the Holy Spirit.
Promise: “I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way.” (Mk 1:2)

Reflection:
The call to “prepare the way of the Lord, make straight His paths” (Mk 1:3) spans centuries, and is as effective today as it was at the time of Christ. It is a fitting reminder to the faithful that to receive God’s forgiveness, we should acknowledge our sinfulness, make straight our morally crooked ways, and smooth the rough edges of our character. We need God through the power of the Holy Spirit that we may be able to repent and transform our lives.

Advent is the most opportune time to mend our ways and commit to transforming our lives. The Second Reading tells us God waits patiently for us for He is “patient, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance,” (2Pt 3:9). What He wants is for all human beings to repent and be transformed that we may gain the “promised new heavens and a new earth where righteousness dwells,” (2Pt 3:13). For our part as believers, we should hasten the coming of the day of the Lord with pure and blameless hearts that God’s presence may continue to dwell in our hearts. Weak as we are, we need the Holy Spirit to strengthen and convict us of our wayward ways. Our theme for the week guides us in this reflection: God’s presence keeps us yielded to the power of the Holy Spirit. Let us then be prepared to welcome Jesus, not only on Christmas, but whenever and whatever way He may come knocking at the door of our lives.

Desiring to know God is not enough. We must develop constant awareness of God’s real presence in our life. To do so, we need to repent and come to transformation of the heart and mind by turning away from our sinfulness and invoking God’s grace and mercy, that we may produce good fruit, as witnessed through our thoughts, words and deeds.

With repentance comes genuine conversion of heart, which assures us that God will always be present to us, through us, and in us, as we reflect Him in everything we do and say by our own witnessing. Let us be consistently upright and righteous in our attitudes and behavior, repentant of our shortcomings and weaknesses, eliminating arrogance and pride from our lives and instead, cultivating humility, like John the Baptist who acknowledged his limitations and proclaimed Christ as mightier than himself.

God is with us and among us every time celebrate the Eucharist and when we meet for community worship, for He comes to us every time we gather in His name. The Lord comes to us when we listen to the word as proclaimed in the readings, when we do our share of work in the mission areas of spreading the Good News, addressing poverty, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, and comforting the sick and the imprisoned. May Christ’s presence in our lives, be our source of strength, joy, and wisdom, as we surrender our lives to Him and give Him our full trust. And Like John the Baptist, we become the precursor to announce the second coming of Jesus as He says to us: “I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way,” (Mk 1:2).

Prayer
Lord Jesus, at this time of the year, we are often carried away by the superficial observances of the season, overlooking the spiritual message that Your birth is meant to convey. Help us make Advent a time for repentance, transformation, reconciliation and receiving the sacraments, a fitting time to make a way for Your coming into our lives. Grant us the grace to give to You the gift You long for, the gift of our commitment to draw You closer to us, and to follow and serve You with gladness and consistency. Amen.

Reflection Guides
1. What obstacles keep you from living a transformed life?

2. What must you do to prepare the way of the Lord?

This Week’s Daily Mass Reading Guide:
December 10, 2017 (Sun) – Is 40:1-5, 9-11/Ps 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14/ 2Pt 3:8-14/ Mk 1:1-8
December 11, 2017(Mon) – Is 35:1-10/Ps 85:9-14/Lk 5:17-26
December 12, 2017 (Tues) – Zec 2:14-17/Jdt 13:18-19/Lk 1:26-38
December 13, 2017(Wed) – Is 40:25-31/Ps 103:1-4, 8, 10/Mt 11:28-30
December 14, 2017 (Thur) – Is 41:13-20/Ps 145:9, 10, 11, 12, 13/Mt 11:11-15
December 15, 2017 (Fri) – Is 48:17-19/Ps 1:1, 2, 3, 4, 6/Mt 11:16-19
December 16, 2017(Sat) – Sir 48:1-4, 9-11/Ps 80:2, 3, 15, 16, 18, 19/Mt 17:9, 10-13

“Ignorance of the Bible is ignorance of Christ. Read your Bible daily!”

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WSC Reflection – December 3, 2017

Word Sharing Circle (WSC) Reflection Guide
December 3, 2017 – 1st Sunday of Advent (Cycle B, Year II)

Community Word: We celebrate God’s presence in us at all times.
Theme: God’s presence keeps us watchful and fully committed to Christ.
Promise: “He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Cor 1:8)

Reflection:
We start our new Liturgical Year on December 3, 2017 – 1st Sunday of Advent. Advent ushers in the coming of the Christmas season and we express our joyful anticipation through the external signs of Christmas – colorful lights and decorations, parties and gatherings, gift-giving, travel and other activities that lift up the spirit. But spiritual preparation is far different when Advent is here. It is a time to reflect that we are a helpless people and we need God back in our lives. In the Psalms, we intone: ‘Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.’ God never dictates His will on us to do anything. He gives us the gift of freedom, but He never forces us to love. Advent makes us realize that we have abused our freedom and now we need to go back to God, reconnect our spirit with His, and hope to be saved. This we can do by preparing our hearts for the coming of Jesus. As our theme for the week states: God’s presence keeps us watchful and fully committed to Christ.

The gospel of Mark for the 1st Sunday of Advent is relatively short, but it contains a very intense and uncompromising message from our Lord, Jesus Christ: “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come,” (Mk 13:33). By our human nature, we have the tendency to buy time and postpone doing things to the last minute. Jesus is aware of this tendency as He tells us, through the parable of the gatekeeper, to keep watch always because there is no certain time when the lord of the house will return. Jesus emphasizes the need to be obedient and watchful and uses the word “watch” three times to let us know that He, our Master and King, might return unexpectedly and He might just find us unprepared to face Him for judgement.

Advent reminds us to be vigilant in waiting for Jesus who has already come and is ever present in every situation of our lives. But we need to be attentive in living our life to follow where His Spirit leads us, understand what He wants us to do, and make the conscious decision at all times to be Christ-like in character, that we may remain fit for His purpose and plan for us. And when our time on earth is over, we may be found worthy of the promise of eternal life with God the Father in heaven.

As Christians, we face the danger of being indifferent to our faith. Material well-being, distraction and shallowness can easily dull the human spirit. Our souls are restless, so we must always question the ways of the world and react to them with the mind of Christ. We are warned against the danger of false tranquility, the kind that makes us indifferent, lacking in inspiration, lost in our self-centeredness and oblivious to the happening around us. This behavior will merit the judgement of Christ.

But the hope of Advent is to be “watchful” and “alert.” We are to be vigilant and prepared by allowing the Fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) to reside in us – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. For through these, God will keep us firm and blameless for the time of His coming. That is His promise in 1Corinthian 1:8 “He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The message of Jesus’ second coming, which echoes during the season of Advent, reminds us that we must live as if Jesus were to appear the next minute. This is the time that we make Jesus the most important person in our life. This is the choice we cannot afford to postpone.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus help us to be always ready and watchful, not only during Advent but every moment of our lives, always anticipating and waiting to see You face to face. Teach us to live a simple but spiritually enriched life. Set us free from the complexities of this world, so that as we journey in our faith, we will not reach the end unprepared, but we will be worthy to receive Your eternal reward. Amen.

Reflection Guides:
1. Are you spiritually alert this Advent? How are you vigilant as you wait on Jesus?

2. In what ways can you uplift the lives of the poor during Advent and Christmas?

This Week’s Daily Mass Reading Guide:
December 3, 2017 (Sun) – Is 63:16-17,19; 64:2-7/ Ps 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19/ 1Cor 1:3-9/ Mk 13:33-37
December 4, 2017(Mon) – Is 2:1-5/Ps 122:1-9/Mt 8:5-11
December 5, 2017 (Tues) – Is 11:1-10/Ps 72:1, 2, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17/Lk 10:21-24
December 6, 2017(Wed) – Is 25:6-10/Ps 23:1-6/Mt 15:29-37
December 7, 2017 (Thur) – Is 26|:1-6/Ps 118:1, 8, 9, 19-21, 25-27/Mt 7:21, 24-27
December 8, 2017 (Fri) – Gn 3:9-15, 20/Ps 98:1-4/Eph 1:3-6, 11, 12/Lk 1:26-38
December 9, 2017(Sat) – Is 30:19-21, 23-26/Ps 147:1-6/Mt 9:35-10:1, 5, 6-8

“Ignorance of the Bible is ignorance of Christ. Read your Bible daily!”

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Community Word for January 2018

COMMUNITY WORD FOR JANUARY 2018
(WORD, THEMES AND PROMISES)

READINGS
January 7 – Is 60:1-6/Ps 72:1, 2, 7, 8, 10-13/Eph 3:2, 3, 5, 6/Mt 2:1-12 
January 14 – 1Sm 3:3-10/Ps 40:2, 4, 7, 8-10, /1Cor 6:3-15, 17-20/Jn 1:35-42
January 21 (Phil) – Is 9:1-6/Ps 98:1-6/Eph 1:3-6, 15-18/Mk 10:13-16
January 21 (Int’l) – Jon 3:1-5, 10/Ps 25:4-9/1Cor 7:29-31/Mk1:14-20
January 28 – Dt 18:15-20/Ps 95:1, 2, 6-9/1Cor 7:32-35/Mk 1:21-28

COMMUNITY WORD
Jesus Christ is the Light who leads us to the Truth.

ORDER
“Rise up… the glory of the Lord shines upon you.” (Is 60:1)

PROPHECY:
• My light guides you as you journey on earth.

DIRECTION:
• Read God’s word daily that you may see the truth in all things. 
• Visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and offer yourself as a gift, ready to do His will.

THEMES AND PROMISES
Week#1 (Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord)
Theme: We are led to the truth when we look to Jesus as our Redeemer.
Promise: “… you shall be radiant at what you see… the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.” (Is 60:5)

Week#2 (2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Theme: We are led to the truth when we make Christ known to others. 
Promise: “Whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one Spirit with him.” (1Cor 6:17)

Week#3 (Feast of Sto. Niño)
Theme: We are led to the truth when we accept the kingdom of God with a pure heart.
Promise: “God may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of Him.” (Eph 1:17)

Week#3 (3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Int’l) 
Theme: We are led to the truth when we respond to God’s call to be followers of Christ. 
Promise: “…the Lord shows sinners the way… and teaches the humble his way.” (Ps 26:8b-9)

Week#4 (4th Sunday in Ordinary Time) 
Theme: We are led to the truth when we speak God’s word with authority.
Promise: “I will raise up for them a prophet… and will put my words into his mouth; he shall tell them all that I command him.” (Dt 18:18)

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WSC Reflection – November 26, 2017

Word Sharing Circle (WSC) Reflection Guide
November 26, 2017 – Solemnity of Christ the King (Cycle A, Year I)

Community Word: God exalts His faithful servants.
Theme: God exalts those who care for and minister to the poor and the needy.
Promise: “The lost I will seek out, the strayed I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal.” (Ez 34:16a)

Reflection:
The Solemnity of Christ the King closes our liturgical year, and by next week, we will already start the season of Advent. The gospel describes the time when the entire humanity will be gathered before Jesus as King and Judge, and everyone will be segregated into two groups – the faithful servants will be separated from the unfaithful ones. As far as we are concerned, pretentious believers will be segregated from true Christians who have the Holy Spirit in them. The latter will share in their “master’s joy.”

The gospel shows us how Jesus, the true and universal King, will judge us. While He is our caring and merciful Lord, He is also a just and righteous Judge. The basis of His judgement is how we have reacted and responded to the human needs of our brothers. We will be judged not on acquired talents and skills, nor on the prestige and fortune earned, but how we have extended help to others and lightened their burdens. Because, as Jesus explains, to help the insignificant, ordinary and nobody is to reach out to Christ. To ignore them is to ignore Christ.

In this scene of the Last Judgement, we are reminded to follow the light given to us, not just what we say but what we do. Have we cared for the least among us through corporal and spiritual works of mercy? It is our responsibility to care for one another in body, soul and spirit, and this is the truest measure of our loyalty to Christ. Finally, it is about the truth that we will be separated from God, not only for wrongdoing, but for doing nothing. “Whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me, (Mt 25:40). “What you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me,” (Mt 25:45). Jesus identifies himself with the hungry, the thirsty, the sick and the lonely. His standard of judging is the compassion and kindness we extend to Him in the many faces of the “least of my brothers.” This is so because Jesus cares so much about us as expressed is this week’s theme: God exalts those who care for and minister to the poor and the needy.

One day, we will face Jesus and hearing our response, may Jesus say to us: “Come, you are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world,” (Mt 25:34). Jesus is a king who rules by love. He makes no speeches. His gentle words give peace. He does not come to be served, but invites us to serve one another, most especially the poor. He is not clothed in royalty, but comes as a humble and dutiful shepherd.

The word of God gives us assurances and promises which are being fulfilled in the daily lives of those who hear the voice of our King. To those who do not pay attention to His voice because of selfishness and indifference, the gospel’s word of condemnation must be recognized as a warning to transform their ways and to correct wrongdoings and sins of omission. The words in the gospel and other readings are both comforting and disturbing because they are teaching us God’s standard of love. We are being taught that the proof of our true love for God is not found in religiosity, but in how we treat others around us. Are we Christ to others? An honest answer will reveal what we have done for others, the depth and genuineness of our faith and to which eternal destiny, heaven or hell, will we reach in the end.

God’s promise this week will be realized when we act upon our response to Christ’s call to minister to the poor: “The lost I will seek out, the strayed I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal,” (Ez 34:16a).

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, our precious King of glory, in Your second coming, may we be found waiting and longing for You. We, Your servants, pray that on this day, we may joyfully give account of the things we have done according to Your rule of love. Love is the measure of our faith and faith is the soul of love. Allow us to think of ourselves with humility, abounding in gentleness and compassion to all, imitating all that You do, that we may live in You until we come face to face before Your majesty and glory. Amen.

Reflection Guides:
1. What have you done to translate your love for God to love for the last, least and lost among your neighbors? Do you see Jesus in them?

2. As Christ’s under-shepherds, how can you commit to be more caring to those who need help so that they too may have joy in their lives?

This Week’s Daily Mass Reading Guide:
November 26, 2017 (Sun) – Ez 14:11, 12, 15-17/Ps 23:1-6/1Cor 15:20-26, 28/Mt 25:31-43
November 27, 2017(Mon) – Dn 1:1-6, 8-20/Dn 3:52-54/Lk 21:1-4
November 28, 2017(Tues) – Dn 2:31-45/Dn 3:57-61/Lk 21:5-11
November 29, 2017(Wed) – Dn 5:1-6, 13, 14, 16, 17, 23-28/Dn 3:62-67/Lk 21:12-19
November 30, 2017 (Thur) – Rom 10:9-18/Ps 19:8-11/Mt 4:18-22
December 1, 2017 (Fri) – Dn 7:2-14/Dn 3:75-81/Lk 21:29-33
December 2, 2017(Sat) – Dn 7:15-27/Dn 3:82-87/Lk 21:34-36

“Ignorance of the Bible is ignorance of Christ. Read your Bible daily!”

 

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BLD Manila Sportsfest 2017


WE PRAISE AND THANK THE LORD FOR A SUCCESSFUL BLD MANILA SPORTSFEST LAST
SUNDAY, 19 NOVEMBER, AT THE VILLAGE SPORTS CLUB, BF HOMES, PARANAQUE CITY.
CLOSE TO 400 MEMBERS ATTENDED THE ANNUAL EVENT, INCLUDING OVER 170 ATHLETES PLAYING IN VARIOUS TOURNAMENTS. THE MANAGEMENT APOSTOLATE AND THE SPORTFEST COMMITTEE
WISH TO THANK ALL ATTENDEES AND ATHLETES, MOST ESPECIALLY THE PATRONS AND SPONSORS WHO MADE THE SPORTFEST POSSIBLE.

WE CONTINUE TO ACCEPT DONATIONS AND PLEDGES RELATED TO THE SPORTFEST. PROCEEDS ARE ALLOTTED TO FUND BLD MANILA’S LAST QUARTER PROGRAMS, ACTIVITIES AND OPERATIONS.
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL CHAMPIONS & RUNNERS UP!

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Counsel – November 22, 2017

PASTORAL

Advent Recollection with Fr. Godwin Tatlonghari on December 2, Saturday, 1PM–5PM, 3F Two E-Com Bldg., SM Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City.

MANAGEMENT

10th Fr. Pascual Adorable Golf Tournament is on March 5, 2018 at the Ayala Greenfield Golf and Lei-sure Club in Calamba City, Laguna. Let us support this fundraising project for the first quarter of 2018.

Schedule of Greeters for Corporate Worship
Assigned Greeters Date
Institution Services Ministry Nov. 29, 2017
Intercessory Ministry Dec. 6, 2017

TUNOG PASKO: BLD FAMILY DAY 2017 is on December 10, 8AM – 3PM, at the covered court of Bel-Air 3 Village, Makati City. Tunog Pasko is BLD Manila’s annual Christmas gathering for BLD families and individual members. It’s time to be one again and be grateful for God’s blessings. Everyone is invitied to join and make a joyful noise to the Lord and express the spirit of the holidays through sounds and melodies. Each Apostolate will be assigned a team color and musical instrument that they have to fabricate:

 Management – Orange + Tambourine
 Mission – Purple + Maracas
 Formation – Yellow + Drums
 Pastoral – Aqua + Bells
 Evangelization – Fuschia + Torotot

Please be extra creative in the fabrication of musical instruments using recycled materials only.

Apostolate presentations: Using the assigned in-struments, each Apostolate should prepare a 5-minute entertainment number interpreting the family day’s theme “Tunog Pasko”.

Be counted! Please inform your ministry coordinators of your attendance and participation / family’s participation. The Secretariat would need a headcount per Apostolate.
HOUSE OF WORSHIP FUND
As of November 21, 2017 7,507,726.64
TITHES & LOVE OFFERING
Date EC/CW Secretariat TOTAL
Nov. 8 59,233.25 59,233.25
TOTAL 59,233.25 59,233.25
Please make all check donations payable to:
BLD MANILA

EVANGELIZATION
Nov. 29 CW SDSA CW / Healing Night
Dec. 6 CW SDSA Corporate Worship
Dec. 10 EC Bel-Air Village, Makati City EC / Christmas Fami-ly Day

We praise and thank the Lord for the successful Mar-riage Encounter Weekend No. 291 held last Novem-ber 10–12 at the Covenant House, Dasmarinas City, with 12 couples and a priest as candidates.

MISSION

Mission Outreach: All are invited, including non BLD members, to join Manila District missions:

SCHEDULE OUTREACH
Nov. 25 (Saturday)
1:00PM–5:00PM GK Villa Paraiso
Nov. 25 (Saturday)
1:30PM–4:30PM Bagumbayan, Lower Bicutan
Nov. 26 (Sunday)
8:00AM–12:00NN Medical/Dental Mission –
Cayetano Sports Complex,
Bagumbayan
Nov. 26 (Sunday)
2:00PM–5:00PM Target Range, Paranaque
Nov. 26 (Sunday)
1:00PM–5:00PM Tunasan, Muntinlupa
Nov. 26 (Sunday)
1:30PM–4:30PM Euro Maralit
Dec. 2 (Saturday)
8:00 AM start PAM’s SOH Christmas Party
Dec. 4 (Monday)
12:30PM–3:30PM CIW
Dec. 24 (Sunday)
8:00AM–1:00PM PGH
Dec. 30 (Saturday)
1:00PM–5:00PM Tunasan Christmas Party
Dec. 30 (Saturday)
2:00PM–5:00PM Risen Christ Parish (Smokey
Mountain)

“The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed free.”(Lk 4:18)

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WSC Reflection – November 19, 2017

Word Sharing Circle (WSC) Reflection Guide
November 19, 2017 – 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Cycle A, Year I)

Community Word: God exalts His faithful servants.
Theme: God exalts those who use His gifts and blessings wisely.
Promise: “…everyone who has more will be given and he will grow rich.” (Mt. 25:29a)

Reflection:
God created each one of us with distinct gifts, talents and abilities. He wants us to discover our talents so that we may use them to glorify Him and thus, experience a full life. Our loving Lord wants us to feel whole and complete and it is through these gifts that we can find our unique calling in life.

Our theme for the week is: God exalts those who use His gifts and blessings wisely. This means that we should use our gifts not only for our own benefit, but more importantly, to bless others and to build His kingdom. Because in everything that we do, we should “work heartily as for the Lord,” (Col 3:24a). As we use our gifts to honor God and strengthen others in love, they too will be encouraged to use their gifts to benefit others, and all will be enriched.

If we believe that every good and perfect gift is from above, we will value the way we use His gifts just like the worthy wife in the 1st reading. She has a holy fear of the Lord and uses her gifts wisely. God is pleased with her and sees her as a faithful servant because she is hardworking, industrious, committed and devout. Hardworking because she does not waste time on useless matters but sees to it that everything is in order and everyone in her home is happy and satisfied. She is committed in that after taking care of her family, “She reaches out her hands to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy,” (Prv 31: 20). Finally, she is devout, religious and faithful to God’s commands. Similarly in Psalms, the quality of a caring husband who also has a holy fear of the Lord is praised, “Behold, thus is the man blessed who fears the Lord,” (Ps 128: 4).

In the 2nd reading, St. Paul reminds us that we should not be anxious in knowing the day and the hour of the coming of the Lord because “…the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night,” (1 Thes 5: 2b). Instead, we must be more concerned with living our lives that show we are ready for His return and direct our energy towards doing the Father’s will so that we will not be caught in the darkness of evil. We need not fear the darkness because on the day we were baptized we became “children of the light and children of the day,” (1 Thes 5: 5a). Hence, we cannot but stay alert and live in the light of the truth.

In the Parable of the Talents, Jesus teaches us that God will exalt us if we use our blessings and gifts (time, talent and treasures) wisely. The first two servants who were given seed money for investment came back with profit and they were appreciated by their master and received an affirmation: “Well done, my good and faithful servant….come, share your master’s joy,” (Mt 25: 21). Despite being given an investment according to his ability, the third servant did nothing to let it grow; so what little he had, this was taken away by his master.

If we neglect and not use our gifts prudently and wisely, God will look on us as lazy and untrustworthy. It does not matter how great or how little our ability and capability is. What matters to God is whether we make good use of what He gives us. To whom much is given much will be required. If God sees us being faithful in small things, we will be entrusted with higher responsibilities. Even people who are considered poor still has something to give. In like manner, people cannot be very rich as being unable to receive something. Because serving others brings fulfillment, from which wealth, power and possessions can never match. Jesus assures us, “Everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich.” (Mt 25: 29a).

We need to prepare our life and be fruitful with whatever God has given us so that we will be ready to answer this question at the final judgement: How did you use the gifts and blessings that God has given you?

Prayer:
Lord God, You are so gracious and generous. By Your goodness, You entrust us with many gifts and expect us to fruitful. Forgive us if we have failed to act responsibly, misused what You have given us and simply wasted our talents away for fear of failure. By the example of Your Son, Jesus, and guidance of the Holy Spirit, grant us the grace to give fully of ourselves to serve You and our fellowman. Amen.

Reflection Guides:
1. What are the gifts and talents God has entrusted or given you? Have you used them responsibly for yourself, as well as for others?

2. Have you invested your time, talent and treasure to bear fruit that would benefit others in your family, society and community?

This Week’s Daily Mass Reading Guide:
November 19, 2017 (Sun) – Prv 31:10-13, 19, 20, 30, 31/ Ps 128:1-5/1Thes 5:1-6/Mt 25:14-30
November 20, 2017(Mon) – 1Mc 1:10-15,41-43,54-57,62,63/Ps 119:53,61,134,150,155,158/ Lk 18:35-43
November 21, 2017(Tues) – 2Mc 6:18-31/Ps 3:2-7/Lk 19:1-10
November 22, 2017(Wed) – 2Mc 7:1, 20-31/Ps 17:1, 5, 6, 8,15/ Lk 19:11-28
November 23, 2017 (Thur) – 1Mc 2:15-29/Ps 50:1, 2, 5, 6, and 14, 15/ Lk 19:41-44
November 24, 2017 (Fri) – 1Mc 4:3-37, 52-59/ 1Chr 29:10-12/ Lk 19:45-48
November 25, 2017(Sat) – 1Mc 6:1-13/Ps 9:2-4, 6, 16, 19/ Lk 20:27-40

“Ignorance of the Bible is ignorance of Christ. Read your Bible daily!”

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