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

Monday, December 5, 2016

Reflection for Wednesday December 7, Saint Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church; Matthew 11:28-30

Matthew 11:28-30
Jesus said to the crowds: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.
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There’s a story of a man who would always drink to kingdom come whenever he had problems. When he is drunk already he would disturb the peace of his family, he would verbally abuse his wife and his children and blame them for all their miseries.  Many fathers are like this! But what can they get from this temporal escape? They only further mire themselves with more problems until their problems takes control of them.

In our gospel for today Jesus gives us a foolproof invitation, HE tells us: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light (Matthew 11:28-30).”

What are we going to do with this invitation? Of course we have to accept and open our lives to Jesus. If we would not accept and continue to keep out Jesus in our lives we would continue to be enslaved by this world. And when a person is a slave of this world he/she has no peace of mind and will be forever be burdened by the worries of this world.

Will you go to Jesus and allow Him to help you carry your life’s burdens? – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Reflection for Tuesday December 6, Second Week in Advent; Matthew 18:12-14

Matthew 18:12-14
Jesus said to his disciples: “What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.
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Can we compare the love of Jesus with how we exercise our love for our fellowmen? No, we cannot compare because majority if not all of us love with preconditions and conditions  we love with limitations and we love only those who give us love. Jesus loves us without any preconditions, limitations and He loves us even if we don’t love Him in return.

We all know that Jesus is alluding about His infinite love for us when He told this story of the lost sheep.  By way of this story He is also telling us that His love for us is always there no matter how sinful we are and no matter who we are.

As we follow Jesus we must also ask Him to deepen our faith and to erase our preconditions and conditions when we love. For example, if before we could only love those who give us love, now that we have become mature followers of Jesus. We will love even those who do not give us love and those people who do not love us anymore.

To love even those who do not love us and those who hurt us is very hard to do. But if we really are sincere in following Jesus we would be able to love them. And we would search for them until we find them and forgive them without any precondition.

Let us look for those who went astray, let us forgive and give them the unconditional love of Jesus. -  Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for Monday December 5, Second Week in Advent; Luke 5:17-26

Luke 5:17-26
One day as Jesus was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there, and the power of the Lord was with him for healing. And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed; they were trying to bring him in and set him in his presence. But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles into the middle in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “As for you, your sins are forgiven.”

Then the scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who but God alone can forgive sins?” Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply, “What are you thinking in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–he said to the one who was paralyzed, “I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”

He stood up immediately before them, picked up what he had been lying on, and went home, glorifying God. Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God, and, struck with awe, they said, “We have seen incredible things today.
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Do you always ask Jesus to increase your faith?

We all have our own set of sickness: physical and emotional sickness. Whatever sickness that we may have Jesus can cure it all, all He ask from us is to have faith.  The same faith as the four men who brought the paralyzed man to Jesus.

We always have to remember that nothing is impossible for Jesus. He can make all things possible including the impossible! What He only asks from us is to have faith, faith that endures and faith that is willing to wait.

The four men and the paralyzed man had that enduring faith. They braved the crowd and the difficulties before them so that they could go through Jesus. How many of us have that kind of faith?

We therefore must not forget to always ask the Good Lord to increase our faith for the simple reason that we are feeble and weak. In this difficult and tortuose jungle called life there are times that we tend to be overtaken by our own set of life challenges.       

Dear God we ask you to increase our faith, we are weak and susceptible to the challenges of life. We know that you are always there for us ever ready to help us conquer our challenges. Give us the same faith of the four men who brought the paralytic to you. Give us the same patience and endurance of the paralytic as well.

We ask this in the mighty and powerful name of Jesus. Amen. -  Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Friday, December 2, 2016

Reflection for Sunday December 4, Second Sunday of Advent; Matthew 3:1-12

Gospel: Matthew 3:1-12
John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said: A voice of one crying out in the desert, Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair and had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. At that time Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole region around the Jordan were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins.

When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones. Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees. Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand. He will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.
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A mother who had a wayward son would always plead him to change his ways and repent from his sinfulness. However, the son would always turn a deaf ear to her mother’s pleadings.  The mother eventually died without seeing her son’s repentance.  After a few years the son also died brought about by his living a life of sin.

This story is perhaps the story also of people who lead sinful lives. There would always be someone who would call their attention to change for the better to move forward and leave behind their sinfulness. Some would listen and change some would be so stubborn that they would not heed the call. They will instead continue to live their lives according to how they want it to be: to live it in sin until the very end.

During the time of John the Baptist he called also for repentance because the people of Judea were living in sin. John was a Prophet who lived his life in utter simplicity and humility. He wore clothing made of camel’s hair his food was locust and wild honey.

Many listened to his call because he was worthy of his advocacy, he showed the people of his time that he was walking his talk; he lived according to what he was preaching.

We can endlessly preach repentance to our fellowmen but if we do not live what we preach, if we do not walk what we talk nobody would listen to us. That’s what separate John the Baptist from us, he was a worthy herald for Jesus simply because he walked his talk. He supported his call of repentance by living it and by shunning the trappings and comforts of his world.

This second week of Advent let us have a reflective self-examination of ourselves: have we called for repentance to people who are within our circle of influence?  

Are we living the life of John the Baptist: his life of simplicity and his life of humility? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Reflection for Saturday December 3, Saint Francis Xavier, Priest; Matthew 9:35–10:1, 5A, 6-8

Matthew  9:35–10:1, 5A, 6-8
Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness. At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples,  The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.”

Then he summoned his Twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness.

Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus, “Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.
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What is your fulfilment in life?

To amass wealth and to have power is already a fulfillment for many of us. Some even make it their life’s mission but this is not our fulfilment neither this is our life’s mission. True fulfillment and true mission in life is when we make a positive difference in the lives of our fellowmen. We become this when we are able to share and introduce Jesus to our fellowmen. 

When Jesus summoned His twelve disciples He did not instruct them to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel and make money out of them. He rather told them: “Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and drive out demons.” In other words make a big difference in their lives without expecting anything in return.

Material things come and go but the help that we make in the lives of our fellowmen creates a lasting impact that they will forever remember. However, some of us will say: “Life is hard right now, how can I help when I have barely enough for me?”

We must not restrict the word help with money or anything that is material. For the reason that we can give help even without using money. For example, we can share Jesus, we can listen to emotional burdens and we can always share the gentleness and love of God. – Marino J. Dasmarinas