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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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Community Word for October 2017

COMMUNITY WORD FOR October 2017

(WORD, THEMES AND PROMISES)

READINGS

October 1    Ez 18:25-28/Ps 25:4-9/Phil 2:1-11/Mt 21:28-32

October 8      Is 5:1-7/Ps 80:9,12,13-16,19,20/Phil 4:6-9/Mt 21:33-43                                  

October 15    Is 25:6-10/Ps 23:1-6/Phil 4:12-14, 19, 20/Mt 22:1-14

October 22    Is 45:1, 4-6/Ps 96:1-5, 7-10/1Thes 1:1-5/Mt 22:15-21

October 29    Ex 22:20-26/Ps 18:2-4, 47, 51/1Thes 1:5-10/Mt 22:34-40      

 

COMMUNITY WORD

Obedience to God’s will keeps us growing in holiness. 

ORDER

“Keep on doing what you have learned and received and seen in me.” (Phil 4:9a)

 

PROPHECIES:

·         Trust in me for I have the best plans for you.

 

DIRECTIONS:

·         Share your God-given gifts with your family and community

 

THEMES AND PROMISES

Week#1 (26thSunday in Ordinary Time)                      

Theme:    We grow in holiness when we focus our minds on what God wants us to do.

Promise: “If he turns from the wickedness he has committed, and does what is right and     just, he shall preserve his life.” (Ez 18:27)

Week#2 (27th Sunday in Ordinary Time)                                                         

Theme:  We grow in holiness when we use our God-given gifts and talents to prosper God’s kingdom.

Promise: “The peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds.” (Phil 4:7)

Week#3 (28th Sunday in Ordinary Time)                                             

Theme:   We grow in holiness when we heed God’s invitation to commune with Him.

Promise: “God will fully supply whatever you need, in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”(Phil 4:19)

Week#4 (29thSunday in Ordinary Time)          

Theme:  We grow in holiness when we give to God what is due His Holy Name.

Promise: “… I have called you by your name … It is I who arm you.” (Is 45:4b, 5b)

Week#5 (30th Sunday in Ordinary Time)         

Theme:    We grow in holiness when we manifest love of God and neighbor through our actions.

Promise: “If he cries out to me, I will hear him; for I am compassionate.” (Ex 22:26b) 

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Reflection for the month of January 2017

 

As we start the New Year 2017, the BLD Community Word for January – God’s presence brings unspeakable joy to His people, reminds us the reason why we just commemorated and celebrated Christmas, the day Jesus, our Emmanuel (God with us) was born.  The joy of Christmas does not end here. We continue to experience the gladness and rejoicing of the birth of Christ every day of our lives. But, like Mary, we must continue to surrender our will to God whose desire for us is that we may have an abundant life of love, hope, peace and joy. We will experience such joy in our hearts as we start this year and begin reflecting upon God’s messages in the Sunday readings for the month of January.

The first Sunday of January celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and our theme for this week is:  We experience God’s presence when we keep Him in our hearts. Without any doubt, Mary’s ‘yes’ to the salvific plan of God for mankind was realized. Because of her humble obedience to God’s will, Mary was blessed to become the Mother of God – Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. To us who obey and follow God’s will, we too will receive His promise of blessing this month: “The Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!  The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!…I will bless them.” (Nb6:24 – 27b)

On the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, our theme is: We experience God’s presence when we diligently seek Him. Jesus was born poor. Although He is God and King, he became man in the form of a delicate and deprived little baby, born outside of a home.  This year, let us change our attitude towards the marginalized people of society. Let us open our hearts of compassion towards them and give them back the respect and human dignity that they deserve as children of God. The Magi of the East came to look for Jesus. In their diligent searching, they found him in a manger in a stable. But still they gave Him gifts befitting a lord and king. Our promise this week is taken from Psalm 72:11 – 12: “All kings shall pay him homage, all nations shall serve him. For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out, and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.”

In the Philippines, we celebrate the Child Jesus in a very special way – Feast of the Sto. Niño. And so, our theme for this week (for Philippine Districts) is: We experience God’s presence when we manifest childlike faith. The image of the Sto. Niño in the Philippines is a representation of our faith when Christianity was brought to our shores. And when we celebrate this feast, we should be reminded of the humility of Jesus in becoming man like us. Just as Jesus trusted his parents as a child, we must be witnesses to Christ by trusting God with child-like faith. As followers of Christ, as Catholic Christians, we must do what God wants us to do and be willing to share the message of salvation to everyone.  Jesus says: “…become like children, (and) you will enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 18:3)

The theme for the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (for International Districts) is: We experience God’s presence when we acknowledge Jesus as His son.  Our faith starts with the belief that Jesus is the Son of God. It is our faith that leads us to recognize who Christ is and become His followers. As Christians, we have received the Holy Spirit who empowered us to be true disciples of Christ. This was the experience of John the Baptist who was sent by God to pave the way for the coming of Jesus, the Lamb of God.  Like John, we are also called to be God’s servants and for this He promised: “I will make you a light to the nationsthat my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” (Is 49:6b)

The theme for the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time is: We experience God’s presence when we respond joyfully to the call of Jesus. As community people, we are here because we are responding to the call of Christ to continue His work of evangelization. To be successful in our mission to preach the gospel of love, mercy and compassion to others, we need to work together as one united and fully committed servants of the Lord. God continues to equip those who He calls with the right attitude and provides them with sufficient means to do so, for as He promised: “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men,” (Mt. 4:19).

The theme for the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time is: We experience God’s presence when we hunger and thirst for His righteousness. “The Beatitudes remind us of the true nature of the Gospel. The Gospel cannot be appropriated by the powerful, but it can be adopted by the weak and powerless. The Lord can easily work in a humble and contrite heart. The arrogant and self-sufficient leave very little room for God’s grace to operate. Will we accept His grace? Let us pray that we choose wisely, with the will of God in mind.” (Companion 2017). The Lord’s promise this week is: “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven,” (Mt. 5:12)

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Mission Newsletter CIW Christmas Gift Giving

 

Christmas has always been regarded as a big event among the inmates, not only because it means receiving “maraming biyaya” from all organizations of which they are members, but also because they expectantly hope, that Christ would touch the heart of the decision maker, who,  in the spirit of Christmas, would sign the release papers.

This anticipation continues to burn in their hearts, and sustains their positive attitude that no amount of doubt or sadness can take away.They strongly believe that the child born on the first Christmas day, Emmanuel, is “God with us”, to feel what they feel, to experience what they experience.  To be tempted and tested as they are tempted and tested, in order that He might sympathize with them  on the one hand, and  aid them on the other hand.

For them, Christ is the power that can fill their hearts with hope when in doubt, lasting joy in moments of sadness and peace in time of fear. This is the common message dramatized in all the four group presentations, taken from Scripture.  The theme: God’s sovereignty over every situation no matter how difficult, was well-interpreted, a clear indication that they are knowledgeable about the Bible.  Talents in acting, script-writing,  as well as stage props and costume preparation, cannot be overemphasized as they can be at par with those of professional productions.

While portrayals may have been done with an eye for the grand prize,  the overlying impression was the profound and thought-provoking message that each conveyed,  that could well be points for Advent reflection in place of a recollection.

The grand prize winner presented the story of Job, replete with realistic costumes and props, that taught the triumph of good over evil.Job’s remarkable example of bowing before God in worship inspite of his trials, is what we see in how every inmate participates in the opening praise and worship before any activity.  They sing, raise their hands, and dance with an attitude of gratitude in their hearts, notwithstanding what each of them may be going through.

A number among the leaders of our WSC’s whose good deeds have reduced their sentence,  that should already make them eligible for freedom, have been patiently waiting to be discharged for years.  Others have fully served theirs and hopefully would be released before Christmas.  Some sickly members have crossed-over to the next life without any clear indication if they could still gain their freedom. Many of them, especially those coming from the province, have not been visited by their loved ones for years due to lack of travel funds to come to Metro Manila. Watching the presentations could have fostered their trust in the God of mercy and kept  the fire of hope burning in their hearts.

For some, though, persistence in prayer have borne fruit, as in the case of a member, supposedly sentenced for murder with her two daughters and a son, all serving their sentence, for three years now.  They were recently acquitted and all of them will be released soon and may  spend Christmas together, hopefully as one family.

There would not have been a Christmas gift-giving without the generosity of our donors

who have been faithfully supporting this project through the years.  They have untiringly pitched-in their share with so much love for our CIW sisters who can never repay them except through prayers.  With purity of intention, their prayers are like sweet-smelling incense welling up at the altar of  God the Most High and are surely very powerful.  Special mention to the Singles Ministry volunteers, Dada Sunga and Phine Garcia,  who took a leave from work to assist in the distribution of the lunch packs and the gift  packs of grocery items and toiletries, and the indefatigable emcees for the program: Audie San Juan and Tricord, DodieTejero.

The presence of Mission DCS, Aman and Winda Piano, with their donation of cash gifts for the group leaders and their assistants,together with the untiring efforts of ISM Coordinators, Rudy and Ves San Pedro and the other tricords, Dingding de los Reyes and Trell Narciso, who supervised the activity, were well-appreciated. The beaming smile of the beneficiaries have been heartwarming, giving credence to some lines from one of the presentation scripts, “Bawat hakbang ay liwanag.  Ang landas na ating tatahakin ay patungo sa Diyos”

Yes, there is light at the end of the tunnel for each of them for as long as there are people who care enough to share even from the little of what they have, for them  to feel God’s love. . .  in the ears that listen, in the gift of just being there . . .in the generosity of the donors . . . It is in the context of giving that the giver is blessed as well, with light as he journeys  with the Lord on the way to our Eternal Home.

TO GOD BE THE GLORY!

Download message in pdf: MISSION NEWSLETTER – CIW CHRISTMAS GIFT GIVING DEC.2016

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Letter of Thanks – Mission Head

January 4, 2017

Dear Benefactors, Donors & Fellow BLD Members,

 

In his Christmas message, Cardinal Tagle said, “Let us welcome Jesus in the hungry, thirsty, homeless, sick, naked and prisoners so that one day we may enjoy the hospitality of God.”

We are glad that our Community as a tradition has been deeply and actively involved in caring for the poor and the underprivileged.  To be more specific, we would like to cite concrete example of who they are:

  • Youngsters who left home because of extreme poverty/cruel treatment from parents and found themselves engaged in the “world’s oldest profession”  to survive
  • Kids who have the opportunity to  eat from Mcdo or Jollibee  only once a year  when we give them Christmas Party
  • Families pinning their  hope on God’s mercy and miracle for  their seriously sick family members/patients to survive  as they have no money to pay for  hospital bills and medicine
  • Old parents who  were  left at the gate (no formal arrangement) of Tahanan ni Maria by family members
  • Parents who are forced to  give their children to others as they can not feed them

While we serve them on a continuing basis for their  physical and spiritual needs, Christmas is a special season where we try to bring  lasting joy and unique experience to them – not only by way of  gifts and merriment but  most especially with  the presence of Christ through  our genuine show of affection and kindness. It is very humbling to note that through such  act of mercy and love the presence of Christ (the Emmanuel) becomes very real  to them.

We at Mission Apostolate cannot do it on our own. We find comfort that in all our activities, Christ has always sent to us generous benefactors, donors and volunteers like you.  In this regard, we are  reminded by what the Lord said to his disciples when He sent them on mission: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff-no bread, no bag, no money in your belts.” He sends good hearted people like you for all the provisions and the needs of the mission.

For your invaluable help, we are happy to report that this benefited about 2,000 of our less privileged brethren through our gift giving:

 

Haven for Women                                                                   70

SOH/ELP Scholars (including Parents) .                               700

Correctional Institution for Women (CIW)                           500

Philippine General Hospital (PGH)                                       600

Other Outreaches (Smokey Mountain, etc.)                           150_

2,020_

In behalf of the Ministry Heads of  Poverty Alleviation/SOH Bobby and Enda Villar, Institutional  Services Rudy and Ves San Pedro, Parish Development Andy and Jovy Punto, Homestead 1 Eddie Boy and Lilith Villarosa , Homestead 2 Ato and Belle Asilo and the entire membership of Mission Apostolate, we would like to express our profound gratitude for your lavish support and cooperation.  In the message of Cardinal Tagle which was essentially taken from Matthew 25: 34-36, Christ promised a reward, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food…May this ultimate reward in the heavenly kingdom be yours and your loved ones.

Sincerely Yours,

AMAN & WINDA PIANO

Mission Apostolate Stewards

PHOTO GALLERY OF GIFT GIVING

         

Povery Alleviation/SOH-ELP – December 3, 2016

Haven for Women – November 18, 2016

Correctional Institution for Women (CIW) – December 6, 2016

Philippine General Hospital – December 24, 2016

Tunasan Prayer Group – December 30, 2016

Download PDF: Letter of Thanks – Mission Head

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REFLECTION FOR THE 3rd SUNDAY OF ADVENT (Cycle A, Year I)

We are now on the third Sunday of Advent, also called Gaudete Sunday when we prepare to welcome our Savior with joy. The theme of all the liturgical readings calls for rejoicing.  So even if the busyness of the season brings stress and anxiety, it is an opportunity to re-focus our hearts to the real reason why we are celebrating Advent. On the other hand, if we are having a happy disposition, we should also be reminded of the source of true joy – the coming of the Messiah.

In the Gospel, John the Baptist, who was in prison, sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?” (Mt 11:3).  Instead of directly responding to the question, Jesus advised them to go back and confirm to John the signs and wonders He had been performing, in direct fulfillment of Messianic prophesies of Isaiah – “He would open the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf, the lame would leap, and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy,” (Isa 35:5).  These words that John received from the Lord was good enough for him even if he did not personally see the miracles that Jesus performed. And he was just fine to be imprisoned for his role as the precursor of the Messiah.

How many of us would like to walk and talk with Jesus, to hear his words with our own ears and to see his face with our own eyes?  How many of us wished we are one of His disciples who were privileged to be intimate with the Lord?  Although we do not physical hear or see Jesus, He continuously invites us to fellowship with Him through His words and to remember Him in the Sacraments that He instituted.  He asks us to believe in His witnesses so that we may understand the living God with the same intimate knowledge and experience that His disciples had.  St. John, the Evangelist, testifies:

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life, the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ,” (1John:1-3).

We may wonder where God is in the midst of our struggles and unending problems which we face, especially when there is merriment around us during the season of Christmas. But, ironically, it is during this time that we must remember what mighty deeds God has done for us and continue to do in our daily life. Our theme for the 3rd Sunday of Advent says:  We rejoice in the coming of Christ when we recognize the Messiah in His works and words. St. Paul reminds the Philippians: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again, rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus,” (Phil 4:4-9).

Therefore, blessed are we, “New Testament” people, for we receive the Savior’s Body and Blood and hear His voice in the gospel at the celebration of the Holy Eucharist!  We no longer have to search aimlessly, but from our hearts look only to Jesus. And as we become His present day witnesses, we must magnify the Lord in our lives, directing people to believe in the Messiah in all His works and word, so that they too will experience God and receive His awesome promise this week: “The Lord shall reign forever…through all generation.” (Ps 146:10).

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, grant me the strength to sustain my trust in Your word.  Give me courage to hope in the saving power of Your works. Free me from anything that would hold me back from pursuing Your Kingdom and Your Will for my life.  Amen.

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