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, February 26, 2015

Reflection for February 28, Saturday of the First Week of Lent; Matthew 5:43-48

Gospel: Matthew 5:43-48
Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers and sisters only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
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Reflection:
What is genuine love? It’s a love that doesn’t discriminate a love that embraces everybody including those who are not lovable to our eyes. The beauty of loving even those who do not love us is we show them what true love is all about. True love that emanates from Jesus Himself.

When we love even those who are not lovable we don’t only give them our unconditional love. We also teach them to give love, never mind if they will not love us in return. What is important is we teach them the language of unconditional love so that they will learn from it and hopefully be converted by  it.

But is unconditional love still relevant today? For many of us today love is a two way street: You love me and I give you love in return if you will not love me I will not give you my love. But if this is our mentality the language of true love will not anymore have life. There would be no more true love and true sacrifice for the person that we love.

True love or genuine love therefore is to love without any condition/s and to love without expecting love in return. Hard to do, right? But if we truly love Jesus we would be able to freely give love, love which is not bound by the laws if reciprocity.    

How do you give love? – Marino  J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for February 27, 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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Reflection:
What is the antidote to sin or what could defeat sin or hatred? Its humility, forgiveness and love. For example if you sin against your spouse the cure for this sin is to humble yourself before your spouse. You do this by  saying, I’m sorry for hurting you or  I’m sorry for betraying your trust.

If your spouse loves you dearly you can expect forgiveness, the mitigating factor here is  your humility to admit your offense or sin. But not everyone of us are willing to say, I’m sorry for to admit ones mistake or to say I’m sorry is one  of the hardest words to say. But if there’s humility in us we will not think twice to apologize for this will once again heal the relationship.

But the paradox is, we are quick to sin yet we are not quick to apologize  or some are not even willing to apologize. And this lack of humility on our part creates bigger trouble/s in our married relationship or any other kind of relationship for that matter. 

In our gospel Jesus is teaching us about humility and to have the courage to admit our own mistakes or shortcomings (Matthew 5:23-25). Why? Because if we are willing to humble ourselves and if we have the courage to admit our own sinfulness. We therefore save ourselves from further trouble/s but if we continue to be dominating and arrogant then trouble/s would always be with us.

Would we be willing to humbly apologize to somebody whom we have offended? To reach-out or to apologize is hard to do but it’s also a redemptive experience for it will set us free from the bondage of guilt and sin.  – Marino  J. Dasmarinas

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Reflection for February 26, Thursday of the First Week of Lent; Matthew 7:7-12

Gospel: Matthew 7:7-12
Jesus said to his disciples: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asked for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asked for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.

“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.”
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Reflection:
What do you do when your child sincerely ask something from you? You try your very best to give what he/she is asking from you. Why? Because you love your child and you don’t want to disappoint him/her. What if your parents will sincerely ask something from you? For the same reason you will also try your very best to give what your parents are asking from you.

The love of Jesus is far greater than the love of a parent to his/her child or a child’s love for his/her parents. What does this mean? If we will do everything to grant the request of our loved ones, Jesus will surely grant also whatever we sincerely ask from Him.

Our sincerity counts when we ask something from Jesus. For example when Jesus said to His disciples: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7). It goes without saying that Jesus expects utmost sincerity from them.

This is also what Jesus expects from us when we ask Him for something. The pureness of our desire is a major factor for Jesus to grant us what we want from Him. If Jesus sees that there’s no purity and sincerity in our prayers or if our prayers are centered  to serve our selfish ends. Then we can be assured that nothing will come out from it for we do it for our own selfish objectives.

In hindsight, this is also an invitation for us to reflect on our prayers for Jesus. He may not have yet granted some of our prayers, perhaps we need to re-assess our objectives. Perhaps we need to be more sincere and selfless in our prayers.

Are you always sincere when you pray to Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Reflection for February 25, 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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Reflection:
A sinful man had a conversion, when he was asked what moved him to be good and Godly. He replied this, I’m dying and I don’t want to be in hell when I depart this world. Hell is real as well as heaven and those who continue to sin and will continue to ignore God’s call to conversion will certainly end-up in hell someday.

Some of us may ask, is heaven and hell for real today? Yes it’s both real and it’s already here in our midst.  If we always do good our life would be like heaven on earth, yes there would be problems from time to time. But we will always overcome these problems because Jesus is always at our side to help. On the other hand if we continue to do bad we can expect our life to be in a hellish situation today. This is the practical reality of heaven and hell.

However, God loves us so much that He also wants us to repent and permanently walk away from our sinfulness. This is for the reason that the good lord wants us to experience heaven while we are still here in this world. And He also wants us to end-up in heaven after our passing in this world.  This is the great love of God for us, He always call us to repentance in everyday of our life.

Someday when we die some of us will say, if only I listened to Jonah and Jesus call of repentance. I would not be in this hellish environment right now but I did not. I instead continued to enjoy the many pleasures that were brought to me by the devil.  – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Monday, February 23, 2015

Reflection for February 24, 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 men their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”
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Reflection:
What is the secret toward intimacy with God? Its prayers that comes from the depths of our beings. This is the foundation of our intimacy with God. From the fountain of our prayerful life will emanate the God given desire to know more about God. Do you always pray with your heart and mind on it? Or you only pray when you feel that you need to pray or when you have the time to pray?

The most effective method of prayer is to pray without any excess baggage in your heart. What does this mean? You pray without carrying any hatred in our heart. For example if someone has done you wrong and this person is asking for your forgiveness. What would you do? Will you forgive or not forgive? Of course you have to forgive. For how could God forgive you when you yourself is not willing to forgive? We have to live forgiveness if we want God to hear and forgive us.

We are mere passers by in this world, sooner or later the curtains of our life in this world will come to a close. How can we go to heaven if we carry the weight of unforgiveness in our hearts? And how can we go to heaven if we carry the weight of hatred in our hearts?

When Jesus was dying on the cross He said a short yet very meaningful prayer to God. While gasping for breath Jesus prayed this: Father forgive them for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34). If Jesus can forgive why can’t we forgive?        

Do you have hatred or any form of unforgiveness in your heart right now? Let go of it and if you still cannot let go humbly pray to Jesus and ask Him to heal you.  – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for February 23, Monday of the First Week of Lent Matthew 25:31-46

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 these 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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Reflection:
Do you want to have an encounter with the Lord today? If your answer is yes, the Lord is not hard to find today for He is with those who are in need, neglected, unwanted and poor. Jesus is with them, Jesus walks with them and He guides them.

But if Jesus is with them, how come that they are still in the periphery? If Jesus is with them how come that they are still poor? Isn’t Jesus a God who lifts up His followers social and economic status? It’s not all the time that Jesus will lift up his followers economic status for the reason that Jesus wants us to do it for Him.

Jesus wants us to help them so that through our kindness and generosity they would feel He is real and alive. Perhaps some of us when we see the poor and underprivileged will say; may God bless and help them. But this is not enough our comforting and kind words should carry weight through our concrete acts of kindness and generosity.       

Someday our temporary journey in this world will come to an eventual end. And surely we will be judged according to our concrete acts of compassion with the poor and those who are in need.

How do we help the poor or anyone who is encountering some difficulties today? Do we only give them our crumbs and leftovers or we give them generously?  – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Reflection for Sunday February 22, 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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Reflection:
What is the purpose of temptation/s? It’s to test a person’s endurance against Satan and his accompanying offer of attractive sin/s. Many of us fall prey to this temptation because we are spiritually weak and this is primarily caused by our not being always wired with God. This is the only reason why we fall into temptation: Our missing or weak connection with God.

What made Jesus survive His forty days temptation in the wilderness by Satan? It was His close connection with God. Jesus achieved this connection with God through His prayerful life. This is the reason why Jesus survived His own test of temptation by the devil in the desert. Jesus was tempted by the devil three times and He subsequently rejected it also three times.

Gold is purified by severe fire to eliminate its impurities we humans are also purified through temptations to make us pure and worthy before God. We are made more worthy before the eyes of God once we are able to pass through and defeat temptations.

As we go through our own forty days journey this lent we will not obviously be brought by satan to the desert like what he did with Jesus.  But certainly satan will also be at our side every once in a while he would try to temp us to sin against God and our fellowmen.

Let us not give-in to satan’s temptation no matter how attractive for when we succumb to it we sin and we distance ourselves from the love of God. The devil is very creative and devious he will do everything to make us sin. The devil will sugarcoat sin so that we would bite upon it and if we succumb our very life would now be in trouble for we would be under the devil’s control already.

Some of us would say to avoid the temptation of the devil is to already defeat it. No, for when we avoid temptation we are only prolonging our own agony and connection with the devil. Let us stare the devil and his temptation in  the eye and when we are eyeball to eyeball already let us reject him by our rock solid faith in God.

How do you defeat your own temptation/s? – Marino J. Dasmarinas