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

Friday, February 9, 2018

Reflection for February 23; Friday of the First Week of Lent; Matthew 5:20-26

Gospel: Matthew 5:20-26
Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.

“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, Raqa, will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”
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A young man who was working as a houseboy was always being insulted by the family that he worked for. Name all the insulting words around and chances are that it could have been already hurled against him. Eventually the young man reached the limit of his patience so instead of doing something criminal to the family. He just walked away from them emotionally hurting and wounded.  

In the gospel Jesus reminds us to be careful with the words that we say for it can create a permanent wound in the emotions of our fellowmen. If the words that we will say are insulting it’s better not to say it anymore. It’s better to simply shut our mouths, be quite and let the anger be cured by love.

Let us remember that insulting words deeply hurts the receiver and it carves a permanent emotional wound in his being. But why do we say words that are not fit to be said? Why are we very quick to insult and belittle? This is primarily brought about by our arrogance, bloated egos and the feeling of superiority.

What is the cure for this unhealthy behavior? The cure is Jesus, if we will follow Jesus and if we will allow Him to change us. He will cleanse us of our arrogance, egotism and feeling of superiority.   Thus, we will now become forgiving, humble and gentle.

Dear Lord I pray that you’ll cleanse me of my arrogance, feeling of superiority and anger. I know that I’ve hurt others with this sinful behaviors as such I ask for your forgiveness. Purify me O Lord, teach me humility, teach me kindness and teach me unconditional love and forgiveness.  This I humbly ask of you my Lord. Amen. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for Thursday, February 22; the Chair of Saint Peter, Apostle; Matthew 16:13-19

Gospel: Matthew 16:13-19
When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi 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."
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Do you pray to the Lord for the gift of faith?

Faith in God is a gift that Jesus freely gives us without any form of ransom. However, like we water and nurture a plant because we want it to grow and bear much fruit. It’s the same also with our faith we must also do something to care for it so that it may grow and bear much fruit. 

Otherwise if we would not take care of it will not grow and with the passing of time it will eventually fly away from us.  When Jesus said to the apostles: “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" Amongst them it was only Simon Peter who answered correctly when he said: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

  How did he discover the true identity of Jesus? God gave him that gift to discern the true identity of Jesus. Thus, Peter used that gift to the hilt by nurturing it in doing so he discovered the true nature of Jesus.   

We may not know it but by virtue of our Baptism God has given us gifts too and one of those is the gift of faith. This gift of faith is within us, let us pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit so that we would be able to share it. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for February 21, Wednesday of the First Week of Lent; Luke 11:29-32

Gospel: Luke 11:29-32
While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. At the judgment the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation and she will condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something greater than Solomon here. At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.”
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Why do we meet or are acquainted with good and Godly people? It’s for a good reason they don’t just come into our lives it’s always for a good reason.

For example, if you become friends with a good and Godly person. God led you to this person for you to become good and godly also. You did not become friends with him/her for you to be bad. Jesus sent this person to you so that you’ll be converted this is always the reason.

Some of us may listen to this Godly friend thus we become good and godly as well. But unfortunately this is not always the scenario because there are many who don’t care to listen. No matter how many times God calls them to renewal they will really not listen.

Jonah, in our gospel was sent by God to the people of Nineveh to call for their repentance.  And they listened to him that’s why God spared them from punishment. After Jonah there were many more prophets who were sent by God they called also for conversion.

Until Jesus came, many listened to Jesus call for repentance and conversion. But sad to say many more did not listen also. There was hardness in their hearts, they ignored Jesus they instead continued to embrace sin.

Jesus call of repentance did not stop with Him, the call for repentance flows like an endless stream up to this very moment. And we now are the ones who are in-charge to call for repentance and conversion.  

What have you done so far to echo this call of repentance by Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for February 20, Tuesday of the First Week of Lent; Matthew 6:7-15

Gospel: Matthew 6:7-15
Jesus said to his disciples: “In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“This is how you are to pray: ‘Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’ “If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”
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What is the prayer that reaches God? It’s prayer that comes from the heart and a prayer made in the silence of your heart. It could be a long or short prayer that comes straight from your heart.

Jesus gives us the perfect prayer called the Our Father. This is called the perfect prayer because it comes from Him and Jesus gave it to us. Jesus Himself taught us to pray it.  Do we pray this with our hearts or we simply pray it with our minds wandering elsewhere?

Recall when you’re at Holy Mass, how do you pray the Our Father or the Lord’s Prayer? Do you Pray it with closed eyes or with open eyes? The best way to pray this perfect prayer is with closed eyes.  Because when you close your eyes you shut yourself from any form of distraction.    

Deep in your heart you seek to connect with God and you hunger and thirst for this God. Most especially when you pass through moments of loneliness and disillusionment.  Why? Because God alone gives meaning to your life.  

Close your eyes now and seek to connect with Jesus by silently praying the Our Father. - Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Reflection for February 19, Monday of the First Week of Lent; Matthew 25:31-46

Reflection for February 19, Monday of the First Week of Lent; Matthew 25:31-46
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Gospel: Matthew 25:31-46
Jesus said to his disciples: "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.' Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?' And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.' Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.' Then they will answer and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?' He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.' And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
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What do you feel when you sincerely help the needy, poor and in need? You will feel indescribable joy in your heart. Who give you this feeling of indescribable joyfulness? It’s Jesus none other than Jesus for the simple reason that what you do to them you do to Him as well. 

We have in our gospel two groups of people: The group on the right side and the one on the left side.  The group of people on the right side are those who helped the poor, in prison, needy and the like. Those on the left side are those who were insensitive to their needs.  Of course the Good Lord favored those at His right side, so the Lord gave them eternal life. And those who were on His left side, the Lord gave eternal punishment. 

This gospel invites us to reflect on how we relate with the poor and less fortunate. Let us be sensitive and look around. You may have relatives or neighbors who are not as affluent as you are. Many of us are carried away with the riches that we have that we tend to forget the less fortunate and the poor.

This lent is a wake up call for all of us. We must be concerned with their welfare, a concern that is real and not just for show. For there are times that we want our good deeds to be publicized, we want others to know about it. And we even want it posted on facebook and other social media sites so that others may admire us for what we do.

However, this display of fake charity does not count with the Lord. – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Reflection for Sunday, February 18, First Sunday of Lent; Mark 1:12-15

Gospel: Mark 1:12-15
The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.

After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.
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Have you been into feeling of emptiness and brokenness in your Life? Wherein you question the purpose of your life and eventually you question God as to why you have to go through this period of emptiness and brokenness?

Some of us will come out of this period of emptiness and brokeness with fully charged faith. And some of us would come out of this moments of emptiness with lowly spirits. Thus, we begin to develop coldness towards God and we eventually distance ourselves from God.

This is our own desert experience in which God purposely leads us to test the true mettle of our faith and discipleship. During this period of brokenness Satan is there also to temp us and the angels are there also to assure us that amidst these moments of emptiness and brokeness God is always there for us to assure us of His abiding presence.

We must not lose sight of the fact that God uses this desert experience to strengthen us and not to weaken us. We must not lose sight of the fact that God wants us all to come out of these desert experience always triumphant over the devil.

Jesus had His own desert experience in the gospel, He was led there by the Spirit. While there He was tempted by the devil but He did not allow the devil to gain foothold in His life. For the simple reason that He was faithful to His Mission. He instead used His desert experience to strengthen Him after which this became His launching point to start His three years’ public ministry.

At this very moment in your life you maybe are going through your own desert experience. Don’t lose heart; continue to trust God and continue to hold on to God no matter what happens. He is always by your side to strengthen and save you from all the trials that you’re presently going through. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for February 17, Saturday after Ash Wednesday; Luke 5:27-32

Gospel: Luke 5:27-32 
Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me. And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him. Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were at table with them. The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners? Jesus said to them in reply, “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”
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There is a story of a sinner who wanted to change his ways. So he gathered enough courage and presented himself to his parents to ask for forgiveness. But the parents did not forgive him they instead condemned him as good for nothing and useless.

In the days that followed they received a call that their son ended his life. If only they were not judgmental they could have saved a life and became an instrument of conversion. But they choose not to forgive.

How do you treat sinners? Are you quick to condemn them for who they are? Or you are patient with them and even build bridges with them so that they would also feel the love and forgiveness of Jesus?

When we judge sinners we also immediately cut-off the chance for us to be an instrument of their healing and conversion. We are also pushing them deeper into the mud of sin. But why are we judgmental when we are sinners as well? Why are we judgmental when we are not perfect, when we too are subject to judgment?

When Jesus saw the tax collector named Levi who was labelled as a sinner by those who knew him. Jesus never condemned the tax collector He instead asked Levi to follow Him and this sinner left everything to follow Jesus. We see the redemptive result when we don’t judge and condemn.

In the heart of every sinner rest a sacred place that is reserved for someone who will not judge them. A sacred place exclusively for those who would be willing to forgive them and help them get up and start a new life with Jesus. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Monday, February 5, 2018

Reflection for February 16, Friday after Ash Wednesday; Matthew 9:14-15

Gospel: Matthew 9:14-15
The disciples of John approached Jesus and said, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast much, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”
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The disciples of John interpreted the literal meaning of fasting when they asked Jesus this question: “Why are your disciples not fasting?  Then Jesus replied in a meaningful way when He said: “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? Of course His disciples were not literally fasting or denying themselves food because He was with them.

We have here the question about literal fasting or fasting that is seen which the disciples of John and the Pharisees were doing. Jesus disciples were obviously not doing this kind of fasting they were in fact joyous because Jesus was with them.

Therefore, they were not fasting, but they were actually doing and sharing with the mission of Jesus. The question now is, which is more important to fast or to share in the mission of Jesus? Of course it’s to share in the mission of Jesus.

In this gospel episode perhaps Jesus wants to open our eyes to the fact that true fasting is much more than just our willing abstention from food. True fasting is when we learn to give a part of ourselves so that others may live, have life and know Jesus through us. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Reflection for February 15, Thursday after Ash Wednesday; Luke 9:22-25

Gospel: Luke 9:22-25
Jesus said to his disciples: “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.”

Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?”
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Would you be willing to follow Jesus?

There is always a price to pay if you decide to faithfully follow Jesus. For example, Jesus himself tells you in the gospel that you must deny yourself of something and you must decide also to carry your own cross. These are the preconditions, there’s no free ride in following Jesus. You have to sacrifice your: Wealth, power, and the like for the cause of Jesus.

But you have nothing to worry about these sacrifices if you decide to follow Jesus. These are all earthly things that may evaporate anytime, that may fly away from your hands anytime. What Jesus gives in exchange for your earthly detachment is something that is out of this world.

What would it profit you if you have all the wealth and influence in this world yet you don’t have Jesus in your life? Material possession come and go same as with our very lives. We come into this world wearing nothing and with nothing and we leave this world at God’s appointed time with nothing as well. What would happen to you if you’re not connected with Jesus?

Don’t be afraid of the things that you will sacrifice in favor of your faithful discipleship for Jesus. For the reason that your earthly sacrifice is not in anyway comparable. With the guidance and protection that you will have once you decide to faithfully follow Jesus. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for February 14, Ash Wednesday (Fasting and Abstinence); Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

Gospel: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
Jesus said to his disciples: “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that you may not appear to be fasting except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”
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How does the season of lent affect you? Does this make you closer to God? There are three keys for you to have a meaningful observance of lent. The first is Almsgiving, the second is Prayer and the third is Fasting. In all of these three Jesus advocates silence and self-introspection. What Jesus advocates is a contradiction to what this world would normally dictate you to do.

In Almsgiving, Prayer and Fasting Jesus advocates doing it in the privacy of your heart. Nobody will know except you and God alone not even your closest relative or friend.  Why? Because it is in silence and secrecy that you would also receive blessings from God (Most especially spiritual blessings).  For example, how could you have peace of mind? It’s through silence. How would you feel the presence of God in your life it’s in silence also.

God is not a loud God He is a God that loves silence.  He is not like the many artificial Gods of this secular world that thrives in noise and publicity. Come to think of it, is it possible to have communion with Jesus through noise and publicity? Never. You will never have connection with Jesus through noise, publicity and other acts of self-promotion.    

As we begin our forty (40) day’s journey this lent let us try to look back on the loudness of our lives. Let us look at our facebooks and other social media flatforms and observe how we loudly promoted our lives there. And let us ask ourselves this question: Has this self-promotion and sometimes hedonistic lifestyle led me in close communion with Jesus?

Lent is the time of year that the Good Lord gives us so that we could get closer and intimate with Him. So that we could repent from all of our sins. It is His hope that through lent we could have a close encounter with Him and this we could best do in silence.

As the priest or lay minister put ash with the sign of the cross on your forehead. Close your eyes and silently pray this to the Lord: Cleanse me O Lord a sinner, lead me back to you and bring me closer to you. – Marino J. Dasmarinas   

Reflection for February 13, Tuesday of the Sixth Week; Mark 8:14-21

Gospel: Mark 8:14-21
The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. Jesus enjoined them, “Watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” They concluded among themselves that it was because they had no bread. When he became aware of this he said to them, “Why do you conclude that it is because you have no bread? Do you not yet understand or comprehend?

Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear? And do you not remember, when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?” They answered him, “Twelve.” “When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?” They answered him, “Seven.” He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”
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Why do we often times do not get the message that Jesus wants us to understand? Because we allow ourselves to be distracted by the things around. We thus lose focus on the message that Jesus wants us to imbibe.

This is the situation in our gospel; Jesus wanted the disciples to be wary of the teachings and over zealousness of the Pharisees and Herod to externally fulfill their laws. But Jesus used the word leaven and since they have no bread they understood it as something that relates to their lack of bread.

This is what happens when we have shallow faith, when we allow ourselves to be distracted with our worldly preoccupations. We are not able to get what Jesus wants us to understand. So, we get lost in this worldly jungle that is dominated by materialism, deception, arrogance, greed and the like.

Try focusing your attention on Jesus alone, try being faithful to Him and disregard worldly temptations. This will therefore result in your deeper intimacy with Him and you surely will understand the message that Jesus wants to convey to you. – Marino J. Dasmarinas