The Old and the New     by:   Sr. Leizle Pangngay, SSS

January 17, Monday, 2nd Week in Ordinary Time [No one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins." Mark 2:18-22 (B)] This passage is like… You don't try to install Windows 10 to an old computer unit, otherwise it will crash the system. New ideas, new challenges, and new development is sometimes difficult to accept and assimilate because we are so used to the old ways, we are familiar with them. But the gospel today reminds me personally to accept and be not afraid to try new ways, the new things, and the new ideas because they can offer a lot! Lord Jesus, may I be a new wine-skin, a heart ready to hear your message.

Feast of Sto. Nino     by:   Sr. Leizle Pangngay, SSS

January 16, Sunday - [Feast of Sto Nino. "Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" But they did not understand what he said to them. Luke 2:41-52] Lord, help me to trust you in the dark times, even when I don’t understand. Amen.

Follow Me     by:   Sr. Leizle Pangngay, SSS

January 15, Saturday, 1st Week in Ordinary Time [As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, sitting at the customs post. Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed Jesus. Mark 2:13-17] Jesus called Matthew to be one of his apostles regardless of his background. Jesus’ call to people is transformative. Matthew, a former tax collector (a sinner) turned to one of the great apostles. God sees the person, not his sins. He sees one’s potential, not his weakness and limitations. I am also one of the few whom Jesus called to follow Him closely. I am no different from Matthew the Levi, a sinner. But God in his goodness called me to follow him. And as I follow him, He also changes my life. Lord Jesus, thank You for the gift of vocation, for calling me to follow. Thank You for the joy of being Your disciple. Grant me O Lord the grace to always seek Your will and be able to respond to You with total abandonment and trust. This I pray, amen!

Envious Heart     by:   Sr. Leizle Pangngay, SSS

January 14, Friday, 1st Week in Ordinary Time [When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven." Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, "Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" Mark 2:1-12] This was the scene when Jesus healed the paralytic man brought by his friends through the rooftop. The scribes were taken aback when Jesus said, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’ The scribes see this as blasphemy. So the Jewish authorities begin to compile a case against Jesus that will eventually lead to his being condemned to death. What an envious heart of the scribes! Instead of feeling happy and grateful for the good things that happened before their eyes, they accused Jesus. Lord, consciously or unconsciously, I may also have this envious heart to others’ giftedness and goodness. Make me aware of these feelings and may I humble acknowledge it so that I may always seek your forgiveness and healing. Amen.

'If you wish, you can make me clean...'     by:   Sr. Leizle Pangngay, SSS

January 13, Thursday, 1st Week in Ordinary Time [A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched the leper, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” Mark 1:40–45] In one way or another, I am also suffering from ‘leprosy’ that I want the Lord to heal me, to forgive my folly and sinfulness. Having a leprosy in Jesus’ time has to be isolated, outcasted from the society but Jesus went out his way to be close to them, to be with them, to touch them, to heal them. At the present time where I live in a small community, I can not help but to distance myself from the sisters’ whom I dislike. As much as possible, I avoid their presence. But the Gospel today is challenging me to be like Christ, to act like Christ. To go beyond my personal feelings and to reach out my sisters’ in need. And so I pray to Jesus, the God of closeness, to grant me the grace to reach out to the people whom I have difficulties…

Taking time to be in solitude     by:   Sr. Leizle Pangngay, SSS

January 12, Wednesday, 1st Week in Ordinary Time [In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. Mark 1: 29-39] In this Gospel reading, Jesus portrays a very busy day- he heals, he preaches and he casts demons away but no matter how busy Jesus was, he gave time for prayer, to be in union with the Father. This is a wake up call for me, that no matter how much work I have for a day, I am being challenged to set a time to be with God alone, to quiet myself, to reflect, to ponder, to pray. I can attest to the truth that without prayer, I won’t last spiritually, psychologically and even physically. Prayer is the source of nourishment and strength, it is the font of grace!

The Threat of the Evil     by:   Sr. Leizle Pangngay, SSS

January 11, Tuesday, 1st Week in Ordinary Time [In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!” Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!” Mk 1:21–28] I imagine this scene as the ‘face-off’ between the evil one and Jesus Christ. Jesus knocks-out the devil! Translating this in my time and context of today, I should not be afraid of the evil one lurking around me and within me because God is more powerful than any evil. Thus, I am encouraged and invited to cling more to Jesus, to keep holding on to Him because only Him can drive the evil spirits away; the spirit of division, frustrations, annoyance, anger, doubts, anxieties and other negative entities that makes the heart weary. Lord Jesus, grant me the grace of courage and wisdom when facing the activity of the evil one in this world. Give me the wisdom to discern his workings and give me courage to confront and rebuke him with Your grace, love and authority. Amen.

The Call     by:   Sr. Leizle Pangngay, SSS

January 10, Monday, 1st Week in Ordinary Time [Follow me, and I will make you a fisher of men…’ Mark 1:14-20] Responding to God’s call is never easy because it changes life. It goes against the norms of the world. Thus, it takes a lot of courage, faith and trust in God. In the context of religious life, to follow Christ is fulfilling but entails a lot of challenges and sacrifices. As a young religious, I also experience difficulties and challenges but what keeps me going in this way of life is my personal conviction that it is God who called me and surely He will always be walking with me in the ups and downs of my daily life. I beg you Lord to increase my faith and love so that I may be able to follow You courageously in the day-to-day of my life. Amen.

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord     by:   Sr. Leizle Pangngay, SSS

January 9, Sunday, Feast of the Baptism of the Lord ["You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased." Mark 1:7-11 (B)] God loves me and He is well pleased with me! I thank my parents for allowing me and my siblings to be baptized in the Roman Catholic Church. I give thanks to God for the gift of faith. By virtue of my baptism, I became a child of God and belonged to God’s big family. I also share in the mission of Christ, His passion, death and resurrection… Lord, I pray that I may always be aware of your great love for me so that I can also love and exude goodness towards other people. Amen.

'He must increase, but I must decrease'     by:   Sr. Leizle Pangngay, SSS

January 8, Saturday, after Epiphany to the Baptism of the Lord – ['I am not the Messiah, but I have been sent ahead of him.' He who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. For this reason my joy has been fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease." John 3:22-30] John the Baptist clearly knew his identity and his role and I wonder how he did it… I can only conclude that he must be really a man of God, with a deep, deep prayer life that made him always inclined to the will of God and committed to prepare the way of the Lord. As the Lord increases, he must decrease. I also ask myself… In my life, is Jesus increasing, becoming more and more visible in my witnessing? Lord, I pray that I may also give myself fully to You for the service of many. Amen.

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