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

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Reflection for Sunday, August 27; Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time; Matthew 16:13-20

Gospel: Matthew 16:13-20
Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.
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Reflection:
If Jesus will ask us the same question: “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” of course all of us will say that He is Jesus the second person in the Trinity and He is Jesus the son of Joseph and Mary. These answers are what our mind will feed us.

But looking deeper into our hearts, “who is Jesus to us?” if we have a personal relationship with Jesus our answer would be: He is Jesus my savior and friend who is always there for me.

To personally know Jesus, we need to read the bible specially the first four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John because it is in these four gospels that we will have an in depth knowledge of who really is Jesus. We also need to attend Holy Mass consistently because at Holy Mass Jesus is present.

The word of God is read in the liturgy of the Word and in the liturgy of the Eucharist Jesus is made present by the priest through Consecration. Upon consecration by the Priest, the ordinary bread and wine is transubstantiated to become the body and blood of Jesus.

If only we would read the bible with all our hearts and minds, if only we would be attentive and observant during Holy Mass. Carefully listening to the words of God being read by the lectors and to the gospel reading being proclaimed by the Priest. Being observant of his every movements and gestures at Mass, if we would be like that eventually the grace of the Holy Spirit would be upon us and it will be the beginning of a much profound relationship with Jesus our savior.

Among the disciples present, it was only Simon Peter who said: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father (Matthew 16:16-17).

It was pure grace from God that Simon Peter knew of the true identity of Jesus. Among the many disciples why was Peter chosen? Maybe because Peter was always close to Jesus, he had that hunger to be always in His company.

When Jesus went to the mountain to be transfigured Peter was there (Matthew 17). When Jesus was walked on water peter was also there walking on water towards Jesus (Matthew 14:29). There were many more instances that tells us of the closeness of Peter with Jesus, of course Peter had his own weaknesses too but he was humble enough to admit it.

Jesus rewarded Peter by founding the Church through him: And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).” This is still the same Catholic Church where we belong right now. From Peter who is our first Pope until our present Pope: Pope Francis who is the 266th successor of Peter.

After our lifetime Jesus may ask us: “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” How would we answer Jesus during that time? -  Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Reflection for Saturday August 26, Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time, Matthew 23:1-12

Gospel: Matthew 23:1-12
Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them. All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’ As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’ You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called ‘Master’; you have but one master, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
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Reflection:
Should we aspire for greatness in our service for Jesus and our fellowmen? No, because the moment we aspire for greatness we are not anymore serving Jesus and our fellowmen. We are rather feeding our own egos and personal agendas.

Many of us including those who do volunteer work for the church as well as politicians fail in this aspect of true and humble servanthood. For the reason that instead of giving true service we accompany it with our own selfish motives.

Why are we offering our free time to the church? Is it purely to serve, or we have hidden motives? Same with politicians during campaign they would always offer themselves as servants, but after they’ve won we could hardly see them anymore.

Jesus is teaching us that if we truly want to serve we must be ready to forget ourselves or forget who we are. We walk our talk without complaining whatsoever. We silently do what we have to do not minding if we would be rewarded for what we do for this is what servanthood is all about.

Let us not worry if we are not cited for whatever noble undertaking that we do. God is not sleeping He sees everything and knows everything. - Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for Friday August 25, Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time, Matthew 22:34-40

Gospel: Matthew 22:34-40
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a scholar of the law, tested him by asking, "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" He said to him, "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."
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Reflection:
A middle aged rich woman was always present in the church for worship. It was her way of showing people how she lived the commandment of loving God with all our Heart, Soul and Mind. Near the house where she lived is a community of poor people.

While the pious lady was passing by the leader of the poor community saw her and he remembered her as the lady who was always at church. So he said to himself: We will ask help from this prayerful woman for I know that she will not fail us.

He approached her and asked for her help in whatever way possible. But the supposedly pious and prayerful lady said no and she even had the temerity to scold the poor man. Obviously the woman was not true to her self- proclamation that she loves God. And obviously her love for God was a charade for how can she loved God when she ignores the poor who ask for her help.

In our gospel for this Sunday Jesus gives us the two greatest commandments: Our love for God and our love for our neighbor. We cannot separate our love for God with our love for our neighbors. These two greatest commandments are inseparable one cannot exist without the other one.

If we profess to love God with our worship; God wants this love for Him to cascade to our poor neighbor. This is always the action that God wants us to do: To love Him and our neighbor.

If we say that we love God yet we don’t love our neighbors because they incessantly disturb us. If we say that we love God yet we hate those who hurt us. Then our love for God is empty and baseless. –Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for Thursday August 24, Feast of Saint Bartholomew, Apostle: John 1:45-51

Gospel: John 1:45-51
Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth. But Nathanael said to him “Can anything good come from Nazareth? Philip said to him, “Come and see. Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Here is a true child of Israel. There is no duplicity in him. Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me? Jesus answered and said to him “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree. Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel. Jesus answered and said to him “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this. And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.
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Reflection:
Nathanael said to Jesus, “How do you know me?” Why did Nathanael ask this question? This is for the reason that he did not know Jesus that well. Otherwise if he knows Jesus he would have not asked, “How do you know me?”

Jesus knows everything about us: Our deepest even darkest secrets, our thoughts and plans. Jesus knows everything and we certainly can’t hide anything from Him. If Jesus knows everything including our darkest secrets, would this mean that He will not love us anymore? Of course not!

The more hidden sins we have the more that Jesus will love us and the more that He would seek us. Why? This is for the reason that Jesus walked on this world to save us: We who are all sinners. We therefore have to repent from all of the sins that we have committed. So that we make it easy for Jesus to find us.

How are you going to repent? You have to humbly submit yourself to the Sacrament of Reconciliation/Confession. In this healing Sacrament you will surrender yourself to our merciful Lord by telling Him your sins. You will allow our merciful Lord to heal you of your many sins. – Marino J. Dasmarinas   

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Reflection for Wednesday August 23, Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time: Matthew 20:1-16

Gospel: Matthew 20:1-16
Jesus told his disciples this parable: “The Kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. Going out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.’ So they went off. And he went out again around noon, and around three o’clock, and did likewise.

Going out about five o’clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’ When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.’  When those who had started about five o’clock came, each received the usual daily wage.

So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’ He said to one of them in reply, ‘My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?’ Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
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My Reflection:
Do you sometimes think that God is not treating you fairly? For example, you are faithful to Him and even serve Him. Yet you don’t get what you’ve been wanting to receive from Him.

The actions of God are unfathomable there are times that HIS decisions are hard for us to comprehend. But that’s how God is; HE does not think the way we think. HE doesn’t decide the way we decide. God is infinite and we are simply finite.

There are even some who would think that God is an absentee God. Because how come many corrupt people are getting richer by the day? And those who are poor are getting poorer by the day?

We will not be able to comprehend the actions of God no matter how hard we try to comprehend it, we will not! But come to think of it, who are we to question God? We are mere mortals with a very limited shelf life in this world.

Instead of questioning the mysterious actions of God in our lives, why not simply work hard,  be a good and faithful follower and trust HIM our lives? – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for Tuesday August 22, The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Luke 1:26-38

Gospel: Luke 1:26-38
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. He went in and said to her, 'Rejoice, you who enjoy God's favor! The Lord is with you.' She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, 'Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God's favor. Look! You are to conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.'

Mary said to the angel, 'But how can this come about, since I have no knowledge of man?' The angel answered, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. And I tell you this too: your cousin Elizabeth also, in her old age, has conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.'

Mary said, 'You see before you the Lord's servant, let it happen to me as you have said.' And the angel left her.
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Reflection:
Do you always submit to the wisdom of the Good Lord?

Sometimes there are situation/s in life that will disturb our peace, for example a sudden diagnoses of sickness. This kind of life event will surely bother us. But in the midst of this life disturbances let us not forget that the good Lord is always there for us. To comfort us, to give us hope and to assure us that He will always be there for us.

When the angel Gabriel appeared and greeted the Blessed Mother she was naturally concerned about it, who would not be? Perhaps the Blessed Mother told herself, Why did this angel appeared to me? What would this angel bring me; a trial that is hard for me to bear?

But the angel told the Blessed Mother that she would bear a son and His name is Jesus. The angel further said that she has nothing to worry because the Lord will take care of her. Thus, the Blessed Mother humbly accepted her fate and entrusted herself to the wisdom of God.

Whatever we are going through right now or we might go through in the future. Be it sickness or severe trial that may test our fidelity to Jesus, let us hold on to our deep faith in Jesus. For as long as we have faith there would be hope and deliverance from all of life’s challenges.

As the Blessed Mother entrusted her fate to the good Lord we too must learn to submit to God’s will for ourselves. Let us never worry for Jesus is always there for us and never will He abandon us. -  Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for Monday August 21, Memorial of Saint Pius X, Pope: Matthew 19:16-22

Gospel: Matthew 19:16-22
A young man approached Jesus and said, “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?” He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He asked him, “Which ones?” And Jesus replied, “You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; honor your father and your mother; and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
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Reflection:
Would you give up all your material riches for the sake of the Lord?

The young man did all of the commandments except for one, to sell all his materials treasures and give the proceeds to the poor. This was the stumbling block to his desire to truly follow Jesus. Not being able to do what Jesus wanted him, he walked away sad for he was rich.

A sad ending to a promising   story of discipleship all because of material possessions. The man failed to discern what is temporary and what is eternal. He didn’t discern that his riches were temporary and following Jesus was everlasting. If only he knew it he would have abandoned everything for the sake of following Jesus.

We are being challenged by the gospel to be more discerning than this rich young man. We are being challenged by Jesus to look deeply into our lives for the reason that we may be slaves already of this material world.

In hindsight, why is it that many of us are very much willing to become slaves of this world when all that is in this world is passing? For example, power, riches and other worldly comforts there will come a time that we will leave it behind.

There will come a time that everything that we have will not matter anymore except our relationship with Jesus. – Marino J. Dasmarinas