Quotations:

I am with you always until the end of this world - Jesus (Matthew 28:20).

Preach the Word in season and out of season reproving, rebuking or advising always with patience and providing instructions (2 Timothy 4:2).

Do not fear, Mary, for God has looked kindly on you. (Luke 1:30)

Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly. - G. K. Chesterton

Forgive my many grammatical and punctuation mistakes :). - mjdasma

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Reflection for March 26, Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent; John 8:51-59

Gospel: John 8:51-59
Jesus said to the Jews: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.” So the Jews said to him, “Now we are sure that you are possessed. Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death. Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? Or the prophets, who died? Who do you make yourself out to be?” Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing; but it is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ You do not know him, but I know him. And if I should say that I do not know him, I would be like you a liar. But I do know him and I keep his word. Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad.  So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham? Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM. So they picked up stones to throw at him. but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.
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Reflection:
How would you feel if a religious leader would tell you this, if you follow me you will never die. You will not believe this leader of course for the simple reason that this is not true. Jesus in the gospel tells us that anyone of us who will keep His word will never see death.  

What is this death that the Lord is speaking about?  Obviously this doesn’t pertain to physical death for we all will die. The death that Jesus is alluding to is the death in the spirit. We are taught by our faith that when we die our mortal remains will decay. And we are also taught that if we have a close and personal relationship with Jesus our spirit will continue to live for it does not die along with our mortal death. 
 
No one of us has been to the afterlife but this one is true: We will not be afraid to pass through physical death if we are close to Jesus and if we have a personal relationship with Him. Because we know that everlasting life would only come after our mortal death, mortal death is our launching pad to eternal life. But we have to believe first in Jesus and we have to have a personal relationship with Him for us not to experience spiritual death.  

The Jews in our gospel were critics of Jesus and as such they do not believe in Jesus much less have a personal relationship with Him. This is the reason why they (Jews) were not able to understand Jesus when He said: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death (John 8:51).” 

Do we strive to have a personal relationship with Jesus? - Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Reflection for March 25, Wednesday, Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord; Luke 1:26-38

Gospel: Luke 1:26-38
The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you. But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever and of his Kingdom there will be no end. But Mary said to the angel “How can this be since I have no relations with a man? And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.  And behold, Elizabeth, your relative has also conceived a son in her old age and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren for nothing will be impossible for God. Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word. Then the angel departed from her.
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Reflection:
What are you going to do if you receive a shocking news? Perhaps the first that will come to your mind is to pray and ask for guidance and strength from the Lord. You will ask the Lord for calm and strength.

When Mary received the annunciation from angel Gabriel that she will be pregnant with the baby Jesus. She might have been in shock for a moment, then right after she perhaps prayed to the good Lord for guidance and strength. After which she was ok and with faith she accepted the will of the Lord for her.

The annunciation of the birth of the Lord Jesus conveys to us that nothing is impossible for God. That God can do miracles as He did to Mary and Elizabeth. It conveys us that our God is a God of possibilities and miracles. Our God can make things happen for us for as long as we have faith and for as long as we have unwavering belief in Him.

If we somehow feel weariness with our journey with the Lord for the reason that nothing significant is happening to us. Let us not lose heart, let us rather continue to journey with Him and let us trustingly hold-on to Him. For He will not forsake those who continue to trust Him. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Reflection for March 24, Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent; John 8:21-30

Gospel: John  8:21-30
Jesus said to the Pharisees: “I am going away and you will look for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going you cannot come. So the Jews said, “He is not going to kill himself, is he, because he said, ‘Where I am going you cannot come’? He said to them, “You belong to what is below, I belong to what is above. You belong to this world but I do not belong to this world. That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins. So they said to him, “Who are you? Jesus said to them, “What I told you from the beginning. I have much to say about you in condemnation. But the one who sent me is true, and what I heard from him I tell the world. They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father. So Jesus said to them,  When you lift up the Son of Man then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own but I say only what the Father taught me. The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him. Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.
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Reflection:
What is the barrier that prevents us to be with Jesus? It’s our sinfulness and unfaithfulness to Him. Whenever we sin we put barrier that divides us from Jesus the more we sin the more barriers that we create that separates us from Jesus.  

But we also know that this separation is not permanent because through our humble submission to the Sacrament of Reconciliation we allow Jesus to reach out to us as we reach out to Him also. This is what separates us from the many Pharisees of Jesus time.

 By their arrogance and unbelief they created a permanent barrier between them and Jesus. This is one of the reason why Jesus told them (Pharisees), where I am going you cannot come. What then is the key element for us to be able to go eventually where Jesus is? It’s our humility and belief in Jesus.

We read in the first part of the gospel that Jesus is somewhat distant and aloft. Yes, in His humanity Jesus was perhaps exasperated already with the Pharisees. Who would not be? They always contradict Him, they always find fault in Him and they were full of jealousy and unbelief.

Nevertheless Jesus loved them dearly also the same love and intensity that He gave to His followers and to us also. Jesus did not sacrifice His life on the cross for those who only believe Him. He died on the cross or all of us believers, unbelievers and sinners.

If you think that because of your sinfulness and unbelief you’re already hopeless and out of the loop of the love of Jesus. You’re not, you still have hope, you’re still dearly loved by Jesus who died for you on the cross. Pray to Him and look up to Him. – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Reflection for March 23, Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent; John 8:1-11

Gospel: John 8:1-11
Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area, and all the people started coming to him, and he sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say? They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her. Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. And in response, they went away one by one beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him. Then Jesus straightened up and said to her “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you? She replied, “No one, sir. Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.
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Reflection:
Are you sometimes quick to judge those whom you perceived to be sinners?  In the gospel the Pharisees and scribes were very quick to draw judgement from the woman caught committing adultery. They brought this woman to Jesus with the expectation that Jesus Himself would pronounce judgment upon her.

Yet Jesus never judged her for what she did, Jesus choose to highlight God’s mercy and compassion upon her. At the end of the gospel Jesus told her, “I do not condemn you, go and do not sin anymore (John 8:11). As if Jesus was telling her, go and start a new life forget the past for I have already forgiven you. This gospel episode is perhaps one of the best showcase of Jesus’ mercy and compassion.

Perhaps through this gospel Jesus is also inviting us to look at ourselves and have a self-reflection on how we relate with sinners. Do we also judge them quickly just like the Pharisees and scribes did? When we judge we also invite judgment on ourselves, when we judge we further push this person to commit more sins. And when we judge we only highlight the arrogance of the devil instead of the mercy and compassion of Jesus.

But who are we to condemn or judge when we are to be judge also. Who are we to judge when we are sinners also. Instead of judging let us always show the mercy and compassion of Jesus. In doing so we show the sinner that there’s a God who cares, a God who listens and surely a God who is always merciful and forgiving. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Friday, March 20, 2015

Reflection for Sunday March 22, Fifth Sunday of Lent; John 12:20-33

Gospel: John 12:20-33
Some Greeks who had come to worship at the Passover Feast came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus. Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.

“I am troubled now. Yet what should I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour? But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name. Then a voice came from heaven “I have glorified it and will glorify it again. The crowd there heard it and said it was thunder but others said, “An angel has spoken to him. Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come for my sake but for yours. Now is the time of judgment on this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself. He said this indicating the kind of death he would die.
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Reflection:
A cancer patient once asked the Lord, why me O Lord? I do not deserve this severe sickness! Nevertheless I will embrace this trial in my life for I know that you have a good reason why I have this affliction.  From thereon he resigned from his job and devoted his remaining time in this world on spreading the word of God. He was very successful in his new vocation for he led others to Jesus.

There are instances in our life that we have to encounter trials for us to lose our life in this world. And give this very same life a new breath of life in the vineyard of the Lord. Such is God when He wants to use us to advance His kingdom. He creates mysterious instances for us to finally find Him.

 But how would we know that the good Lord has a mission for us?  We simply have to become sensitive to His call and be ready to leave everything. And embrace something that is worthy and noble. We could only find this when we are ready to let go of our old life and leave everything into the hands of God.

Jesus had to let go of His earthly life and He had to leave His life into the hands of God. It was not easy for Him to do this but this is His mission. He had to turn His back from His earthly life to finally fulfill His mission of salvation.

There comes a point in our lives that we also have to make a choice in order for us to find the real essence of our life. This is not easy to do most especially when we are already used to a worldly life. But how can we find the real meaning of our life if we are afraid to die from our sinfulness?   
  
What is preventing you from leaving behind your old life in favor of a new and meaningful life with Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Reflection for March 21, Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent; John 7:40-53

Gospel: John 7:40-53
Some in the crowd who heard these words of Jesus said, “This is truly the Prophet. Others said, “This is the Christ. But others said, “The Christ will not come from Galilee, will he? Does not Scripture say that the Christ will be of David’s family and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived? So a division occurred in the crowd because of him. Some of them even wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.

So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why did you not bring him? The guards answered, “Never before has anyone spoken like this man. So the Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed. Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them “Does our law condemn a man before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing? They answered and said to him “You are not from Galilee also, are you? Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”

Then each went to his own house.
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Reflection:
What will happen to us if we try to read the words of Jesus in the bible with reverence and  reflection? It will change us and create a positive impact in our lives. There would be a life changing event that will renew us spiritually.

The guards who were supposed to arrest Jesus were suddenly changed by the very words of Jesus. Thus they were not able to carry out their mission they instead became secret followers of Jesus. This is the great mystery of the words of Jesus once we read it. It will capture and change our life for the better.

Just try reading His words in the bible with piety and notice how it will sink to you and how it will soon change and transform you. There’s great power in the words of Jesus if only we would try to read and reflect upon it.

But do we still have time to read His words in the bible? We should create time for this noble endeavor for this is our ticket to have a personal encounter with Him. This is our ticket to know Jesus more deeply and intimately.

Never mind if you will read the words of Jesus for the very first time in a very long time. For the Holy Spirit will always be there to open your mind and walk you through it. What is important is you take the initiative to listen to Jesus by reading His life transforming words. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for March 20, Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent; John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

Gospel: John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30
Jesus moved about within Galilee; he did not wish to travel in Judea, because the Jews were trying to kill him. But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near. But when his brothers had gone up to the feast, he himself also went up, not openly but as it were in secret.

Some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem said, “Is he not the one they are trying to kill? And look, he is speaking openly and they say nothing to him. Could the authorities have realized that he is the Christ? But we know where he is from. When the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from.” So Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said, “You know me and also know where I am from. Yet I did not come on my own, but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me. So they tried to arrest him, but no one laid a hand upon him, because his hour had not yet come.
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Reflection:
Does Jesus fear death? Yes, He feared death, yet Jesus did not allow His fear of death to paralyze His movement and desire to do His mission for God. He continued with His mission and became more creative in doing it until He reached His appointed time of arrest, persecution and death on the cross.

We see this in the gospel reading for today, Jesus did not want to travel to Judea for the reason that the Jews were planning to kill Him. But it was the feast of tabernacles, a sacred Jewish feast that He should observe. So Jesus went albeit secretly and there He preached with passion as if there was no threat on His life.    

Do you also have fear/s in your life? Whatever your fears are don’t let it paralyze you. You have to face it so that you could conquer or defeat it. If Jesus let His fear of death overcome Him  there would have been no triumphant death on the cross and there would have been no salvation for all of us.

When we face our fears we live our dreams and we are able to achieve great things in life. Fear is an instrument of the devil to prevent us from achieving great things for us and for God. What are your fears? Ask Jesus to help you defeat it for He will surely help you. – Marino J. Dasmarinas