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Reflection for January 2018

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)

Reflection:
Christ is the Light of the world when He declared that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. As we start the New Year, our community word tells us: Jesus Christ is the Light who leads us to the Truth. God gave us His Son, our Emmanuel and Savior, to manifest His immense love for us. During the month of January, salvation starts unfolding as Jesus reveals Himself to us, declaring God’s kingdom to all men of goodwill in Isaiah: “Rise up….the glory of the Lord shines upon you,” (Is 60:1).

The theme for the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord is – We are led to the truth when we look to Jesus as our Redeemer. The magi of the east may have found a frail baby in a manger. But, led by the star of Bethlehem, they knew that this lovely infant is the promised Messiah whose light would shine over the darkness of the earth. Jesus continues to reveal Himself to us to this day and His light is our light of faith that brings us closer to God. The glory of God is in us and we are blessed beyond what we deserved in this promise: “… you shall be radiant at what you see… the wealth of nations shall be brought to you,” (Is 60:5).

We are led to the truth when we make Christ known to others. This is our theme for the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time. As Christian disciples, we are called to share the Good News as our way of spreading the Gospel of redemption. In the letter of Paul to the Corinthians, we are reminded of God’s promise: “Whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one Spirit with him,” (1Cor 6:17). Thru constant prayer and deepening faith, we can grow in our relationship with the Lord and become one with Him. His thoughts become our thoughts and His ways become our ways. Our being becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit and we carry the fullness of Jesus Christ that will enable us to bring forth His truth and grace to others.

The theme for the Feast of Sto. Niño, a special feast celebrated in the Philippines, is – We are led to the truth when we accept the kingdom of God with a pure heart. We repeatedly hear of this beautiful passage from the gospel of Mark: “Let the children come to me…for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these,” (Mk 10:14b). Sto. Nino feast day reminds us that Jesus came into the world as a helpless child. The message of the Gospel exhorts us to be childlike in our relationship with God – trusting, totally dependent and with purity of heart. We may likely forget and do otherwise, but God knows that it is a challenge for us to follow His ways. Yet, if we are obedient to His will “God may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of Him,” (Eph 1:17).

For the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (International Readings), the theme is – We are led to the truth when we respond to God’s call to be followers of Christ. God’s horizon is incomparably wider and far-reaching than ours. Just as Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James and John to follow Him, He is also telling us to widen our horizon and embrace God’s vision for our lives. We need to continuously repent and die to our limited vision and lifestyles – “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel,” (Mk 1:15). We are reminded to be totally dependent in the Lord for everything. Obedience to Him brings us in the righteous path because “…the Lord shows sinners the way… and teaches the humble his way,” (Ps 26:8b-9).

Finally, our theme for the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time is: We are led to the truth when we speak God’s word with authority. For Christians, Jesus is the ultimate authority, not only by the authority of His teachings and works, but more so by the authority of His life, death and resurrection as God’s Son who redeemed the world. Many witnessed how He healed the man in Capernaum by the authority given Him when commanded the devil, “Be silent, and come out of him!” (Mk 1:25). There is no power greater than the power of God’s spoken word. When we believe that His word is our highest authority, we claim God’s promise to us – “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).

Prayer
Father God, thank You for manifesting Your presence in Your Son, Jesus Christ, the Light who shines upon the darkness of our world. We have experienced His Light in our lives and we have been empowered and inspired to go out and share His Light to others. Continue to sustain us so that the Light of Jesus may remain forever in our hearts and in the hearts of many, guiding us through our dark moments and finally leading us to Your glory in eternity. This we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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BLD Silent Retreat 2018

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Bulletin – January 10, 2018

 

EVANGELIZATION

 

Jan. 17 CW SDSA Corporate Worship
Jan. 24 CW SDSA CW/Healing Night
Jan. 31 CW SDSA Corporate Worship
Feb. 7 EC SDSA 1st Wednesday Mass
Feb. 14 EC SDSA Ash Wednesday
Feb. 21 CW SDSA Corporate Worship
Feb. 28 CW SDSA CW/Healing Night

 

Basic Formation Seminars for NEW EMHC & LECOM Part I

EMHC BASIC SEMINAR

January 20, 2018 (Saturday), 8:00AM – 5:00PM

LECTORS & COMMENTATORS BASIC SEMINAR

January 27, 2018 (Saturday), 8:00AM – 5:00PM

VENUE: Arzobispado de Manila Chapel, Intramuros, Manila

 

Part II

DOCTRINAL FORMATION for EMHC and LECTORS & COMMENTATORS

March 3, 2018 (Saturday), 8:00AM – 5:00PM

VENUE: Lay Formation Chapel, San Carlos Seminary, Guadalupe, EDSA, Makati

REGISTRATION FEE – Php 250.00

 

Note/Requirements:

  1. Accomplish ALC forms with your respective Ministry Head’s approval and recommendation.
  2. Attached (1) 2×2 photo.
  3. Submit forms and fee to Jimmie, Maris Carrillo, Liturgy Coordinators on or before 10 January, 2018.
  4. Participants are required to attend both Part I & II seminars.
  5. No show for paid participant for basic seminar will be deemed forfeited.
  6. ID will be given on the day of basic formation.

 

PASTORAL

 

Silent Retreat 2018 is scheduled 8am on Jan. 27 to 4pm Jan. 28 at the Sacred Heart Novitiate, Novaliches, Q.C. by Bro. Mon Callo, SDB, M.A.. For reservation and further details please call or text any of the Emmaus Group members or contact Jo Tamayo at 09189997777.

 

Singles Encounter No. 74 will be on Feb. 23-25, 2018 at the BLD Covenant House. PIS is now available with Emmans & Jonnah Nana cp#09175541839 & 09176500703 or Len Manalo cp#09989675422.

FORMATION

 

Prayer Healing and Counseling Seminar on Feb. 17-18, 2018 from 8:00am to 5:00pm, by visiting teachers from BLD Newark led by Msgr. Paul Schetelick, Spiritual Adviser. Venue: TBA

 

MANAGEMENT

 

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

HOUSE OF WORSHIP FUND
As of December 31, 2017 7,547,073.19
January 3-9, 2018 110,000.00
As of January 10, 2018 7,657,073.19
TITHES & LOVE OFFERING
Date EC/CW Secretariat TOTAL
Dec. 6 62,300.00 62,300.00
Dec. 10 34,770.00 12,000.00 46,770.00
TOTAL 97,070.00 12,000.00 109,070.00
 
Jan. 3 43,070.00   43,070.00
Please make all check donations payable to:

BLD MANILA

         

 

MISSION

 

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

 

SCHEDULE OUTREACH
Jan. 14 (Sunday)

2:00PM–5:00PM

GK Villa Paraiso
Jan. 14 (Sunday)

2:00PM–5:00PM

Target Range, Parañaque
Jan. 14 (Sunday)

1:00PM–5:00PM

Tunasan, Muntinlupa
Jan. 21 (Sunday)

1:30PM–4:30PM

GK Euro Maralit
Jan. 21 (Sunday)

2:00PM–5:00PM

Risen Christ Parish,

Smokey Mountain

Jan. 27 (Saturday)

2:00PM–5:00PM

Naujan, Mindoro – San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish (Pls. get in touch with Eran & Dorlie Carandan)
Jan. 28 (Sunday)

1:30PM–4:30PM

Bagumbayan, Lower Bicutan

 

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Counsel – January 3, 2018

 

EVANGELIZATION

 

Jan. 10 CW SDSA Corporate Worship
Jan. 17 CW SDSA Corporate Worship
Jan. 24 CW SDSA CW/Healing Night
Jan. 31 CW SDSA Corporate Worship

 

ALC, Manila Basic Formation Seminars for NEW EMHC & LECOM Schedules:

Part I

EMHC BASIC SEMINAR

DATE: 20 January 2018 (Saturday)

TIME: 8:00AM – 5:00PM

VENUE: Arzobispado de Manila Chapel, Intramuros, Manila

 

LECTORS & COMMENTATORS BASIC SEMINAR

DATE: 27 January 2018 (Saturday)

TIME: 8:00AM – 5:00PM

VENUE: Arzobispado de Manila Chapel, Intramuros, Manila

 

Part II

DOCTRINAL FORMATION

EMHC and LECTORS & COMMENTATORS

DATE: 03 March 2018 (Saturday)

TIME: 8:00AM – 5:00PM

VENUE: Lay Formation Chapel, San Carlos Seminary, Guadalupe, EDSA, Makati

REGISTRATION FEE – Php 250.00

 

Note/Requirements:

  1. Accomplish ALC forms with your respective Ministry Head’s approval and recommendation.
  2. Attached (1) 2×2 photo.
  3. Submit forms and fee to Jimmie, Maris Carrillo, Liturgy Coordinators on or before 10 January, 2018.
  4. Participants are required to attend both Part I & II seminars.
  5. No show for paid participant for basic seminar will be deemed forfeited.
  6. ID will be given on the day of basic formation.

 

PASTORAL

 

Silent Retreat is scheduled Jan. 27-28 at the Sacred Heart Novitiate, Novaliches, Q.C. For reservation and further details please call or text any of the Emmaus Group members or contact Jo Tamayo at 09189997777.

 

MANAGEMENT

 

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

HOUSE OF WORSHIP FUND
As of December 31, 2017 7,547,073.19
TITHES & LOVE OFFERING
Date EC/CW Secretariat TOTAL
Dec. 6 62,300.00 62,300.00
Dec. 10 34,770.00 12,000.00 46,770.00
TOTAL 97,070.00 12,000.00 109,070.00
Please make all check donations payable to:

BLD MANILA

         

 

MISSION

 

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

 

SCHEDULE OUTREACH
Jan. 14 (Sunday)

2:00PM–5:00PM

GK Villa Paraiso
Jan. 14 (Sunday)

2:00PM–5:00PM

Target Range, Parañaque
Jan. 14 (Sunday)

1:00PM–5:00PM

Tunasan, Muntinlupa
Jan. 21 (Sunday)

1:30PM–4:30PM

GK Euro Maralit
Jan. 21 (Sunday)

2:00PM–5:00PM

Risen Christ Parish,

Smokey Mountain

Jan. 27 (Saturday)

2:00PM–5:00PM

Naujan, Mindoro – San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish (Pls. get in touch with Eran & Dorlie Carandan)
Jan. 28 (Sunday)

1:30PM–4:30PM

Bagumbayan, Lower Bicutan

 

“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 – January 7, 2017

Word Sharing Circle (WSC) Reflection Guide
January 7, 2018 – Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (Cycle B, Year II)

Community Word: Jesus Christ is the Light that leads us to the Truth.
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)
Reflection:
On the Solemnity of the Epiphany, we celebrate the manifestation of Jesus to the world and His unconditional love for all. It is a celebration of light through the bright guiding star observed by the wise men of the East. As they followed the star of Bethlehem, they were amazed to discover the Light of the world, Jesus Christ.

It was a simple encounter, yet deeply meaningful, that profoundly touched the hearts of the three magi. The magi were non-Jews and the first gentiles to whom Jesus chose to reveal Himself. As wise and learned pagans, but men of goodwill, they searched for the Messiah who they knew about in their scholarly and astrological studies. Thus, when the long awaited star appeared, their strong determination and belief led them to begin an arduous journey to look for the Divine Savior. They found Him, a newborn King in a manger, to poor parents. In spite of such poverty, the magi gave homage and gifts befitting a royalty: gold – a gift to honor a king; frankincense – perfume for a priest; and myrrh – as anointing oil, pre-figuring Christ’s death.

As Christians, we too have our own guiding star and light – our faith. Faith is the guide in our life-long journey to the Father. We imitate the magi in our faith journey and follow their example in diligently searching for Jesus, to be close to Him as we seek His guidance and blessings. The star that shines in our life can change us powerfully when we begin to see more clearly the truth about ourselves, our relationship with God, others and community.

As we begin the New Year, let us be attentive to our star of faith that leads us to the Light of Christ. Our life is all about finding Jesus who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. And as we have found Him in our life, we may also bring others to Him that they too may embrace Jesus as their Lord and Savior, as our theme for this week states: We are led to the truth when we look to Jesus as our Redeemer.

The Light of Christ continues to shine in our midst when we celebrate the Holy Eucharist. A life lived in the Eucharist brings unspeakable joy to one’s being amidst trials and tribulations. We receive Jesus in the Eucharist and we receive His light that keeps us going through the many challenges that we encounter. We radiate the light of Jesus to others and by our love and concern, lead them to embrace Him as we pass His light to them. As God gave us a mission to reveal Christ to others, we know that He will not abandon us because we will always feel His light shining in our hearts when we experience hope and joy.

With Christ in us, our joy is new every day. God is with us and He wants everyone to be saved. Thus He will always call us from our old life of sin to a new life with Him. We journey through the various stages of our life, growing and bearing the losses that increase with time and age. There are days of celebration and sadness, of grace and sin, of realization, consolation and tribulation. But having found the Lord in our search for truth and light, we must believe that He will never abandon us and completely trust that God will always be faithful.

The glory of God is risen among us and we are blessed beyond what we deserve. Jesus, our Redeemer is here. Let us receive Him with great joy and be expectant of His promise in Isaiah: “…you shall be radiant at what you see …the wealth of nations shall be brought to you,” (Is 60:5).

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us the star of hope and faith that lead us to Your Holy Word, teaching us to know, love, and serve You more each day and continually nourishing as we go through with our daily journey.

Almighty Father, as we look back to 2017, we are amazed that You are our God who remained manifested in our lives with such joy and power that enabled us to prevail the past year despite all odds and tribulations. Thank you for the love, mercy and graciousness accorded to us far beyond what we have expected and deserved. You are indeed a marvelous living God. We look at 2018 with excitement and expectant faith, and we pray that all our hopes and plans, both personal and communitarian, be in accord to Your holy will, all for Your greater honor and glory. Amen.

Reflection Questions:
1. At what moment in my life did I discover and start to feel God’s presence as I lived my life at home, work, in school and community?

2. Share the fullness of joy and hope that you have been experiencing since you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

This Week’s Daily Mass Reading Guide:
January 7, 2018 (Sun) – Is 60:1-6/Ps 72:1, 2, 7, 8, 10-13/Eph 3:2, 3, 5, 6/Mt 2:1-12
January 8, 2018 (Mon) – 1 Sm 55:1-11/Is 12:2-6/Mk 1:7-11
January 9, 2018 (Tue) – 1 Sm 1:1-8/Ps 116:12-19/Mk 1:14-20
January 10, 2018 (Wed) – 1 Sm 3:1-10, 19, 20/Ps 40:2, 5, 7-10/ Mk 1:29-39
January 11, 2018 (Thu) – 1 Sm 4:1-11/Ps 44:10.11, 14, 15, 24, 25/ Mk 1:40-45
January 12, 2018 (Fri) – 1 Sm 8:4-7, 10-22/Ps 89:16-19/ Mk 2:1-12
January 13, 2018 (Sat) – 1 Sm 9:1-4, 17-19; 10:1/Ps 21:2-7/ Mk 2:13-17

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

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Community Word for February 2018

COMMUNITY WORD for February 2018
(WORD, THEMES AND PROMISES)

READINGS
February 4 – Jb 7:1-4, 6-7/Ps 147:1-6/1 Cor 9:16-19, 22-23/Mk 1:29-39
February 11 – Lv 13:1, 2, 44-46/Ps 32:1, 2, 5, 11/1Cor 10:31-11:1/Mk 1:40-45
February 18 – Gn 9:8-15/Ps 25:4-9/1Pt 3:18-22Mk 1:12-15
February 25 – Gn 22:1, 2, 9-13, 15-18/Ps 116:10, 15-19/Rm 8:31-34/Mk 9:2-10

COMMUNITY WORD
Our relationship with the Father gives us hope and fullness of life.

ORDER
“Listen to him.” (Mk 9:7b)

PROPHECIES:
• I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. As I have faith in My Father, have faith in Me.

DIRECTIONS:
• Pray unceasingly and read God’s word daily, reflecting as you do, to understand God’s message for you this Lenten season.

THEMES AND PROMISES
Week#1 (5th Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Theme: We receive fullness of life when we take time to pray and preach the gospel.
Promise: “Great is our Lord and mighty in power; to his wisdom there is no limit.” (Ps 147: 5)

Week#2 (6th Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Theme: We receive fullness of life when we forgive others out of love and compassion.
Promise: “Blessed is he whose fault is taken away, whose sin is covered.” (Ps 32:1)

Week#3 (1st Sunday of Lent)
Theme: We receive fullness of life when we repent and firmly believe in the gospel.
Promise: “The Lord shows the sinners the way. He guides the humble to justice, he teaches the humble his way.” (Ps 25: 8 – 9)

Week#4(2nd Sunday of Lent)
Theme: We receive fullness of life when we listen to God’s voice to transform us.
Promise: “I will bless you abundantly…because you obeyed my command.” (Gn 22:17a, 18b)

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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

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