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).

Preach the gospel at all times use words if necessary. - St. Francis of Asisi

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

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

Friday, May 30, 2008

Do Catholics worship the image of Mary and other Saints?

There are instances wherein we are being criticized by other Christian denominations for worshipping the saints especially Mama Mary. We do not worship these Holy Icons of our faith. Worship and adoration are terms that refer to the act of acknowledging God as the supreme being; we worship and adore God alone. We pray to the saints to help us pray to Jesus for our intentions. There’s a saying that says: “There’s strength in numbers.” We also believe our prayer is more powerful when many are praying with us and for us.

Don't we notice that sometimes we also ask our friends and relatives to pray for us so that our prayer will be granted by God?

This is basically the same when we pray to the Saints/Mama Mary to help us pray to Jesus. Saints are the heroes of our faith if we will look at their lives we will see Jesus on them. They lived their lives emulating the virtues of Jesus.

Why do we ask the saints our relatives and friends to pray for us? The answer rest on the importance of common prayer with others. Jesus said: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name I am there present in their midst.” (Matthew 18:20) Sometimes we even ask our relatives who’s already in the next life to pray for us because we believed that they are already in heaven.

In his letter (to the Colossians 4:2-3) Saint Paul said: “Persevere in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving; at the same time, pray for us, too, that God may open a door to us.”

We can pray directly to God, it’s actually upon us if we want to ask the help of the Saints to pray for us, if we want to ask our relatives and friends to pray for us. The freedom of choice is ours to take.

Does the Bible Prohibit Religious Images?


My Gospel Reflections for Sunday: June 1, Matthew 7:21-27

Matthew 7:21-27
Jesus said to his disciples: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day,‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’ “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came,and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”

My Reflections:
There’s a saying that states: “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” This is the same with, “The proof of our faith is in the things that we do.” It’s not on the things that we say. Because James 2:17 says: “Faith without actions is dead.” Jesus said: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.

Do we put meaning into our faith by accompanying it with good works?

Our action speaks volumes than our words. No matter how many times we go to our churches to worship God for as long as it is superficial it has no meaning it’s all without use.

A working faith therefore is something that bears witness with Jesus long after we are through with our church worship this can only be possible if we have a deep and personal relationship with Jesus.

Jesus further states: “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.”

Our deep faith in God will see us through in times of our life’s adversities and difficulties. No matter how strong the calamities of life we will remain with God and we will not lose our hope for our faith in anchored on a solid rock that is Jesus.

Is your house of faith solidly anchored on the rock that is Jesus or is it still shakily planted in the sand?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My Gospel Reflections for Thursday: May 29, Mark 10:46-52

Mark 10:46-52
As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.” He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.

My Reflections:
As Jesus was passing by with his disciples a blind man named Bartimaeus sat at the roadside begging. Bartimaeus heard from the people that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by him. Immediately he cried out loud and said: “Jesus son of David, have pity on me!”

Bartemaeus knew something that the other disciples doesn’t about Jesus. Because he called Jesus son of David. Based in Old Testament prophesies son of David is another name for Messiah and Bartimaeus knew that Jesus was the Messiah.

Even if he was being rebuked and being told to keep quite he shouted more persistently and loudly: “Son of David! Son of David have pity on me” Jesus heard him and he knew that Bartimaeus was special for he knew who he really was. Jesus told his disciples: “Call him.” Throwing cautions to the wind Bartimaeus instantaneously went to him. Jesus asked him: “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.

Bartimaeus was blind, but his faith in Jesus was incredibly bigger than his blindness for sure he knew Jesus beforehand. Somebody might have told him who Jesus was and without question he immediately believed.

The gospel for today used the blind man Bartimaeus to show us all what deep faith in Jesus can do for us.

How’s your faith in Jesus?

Is it as big as Bartimaeus?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My Gospel Reflections for Wednesday: May 28, Mark 10:32-45

Mark 10:32-45
The disciples were on the way, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus went ahead of them. They were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. Taking the Twelve aside again, he began to tell them what was going to happen to him. “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and hand him over to the Gentiles who will mock him, spit upon him, scourge him, and put him to death, but after three days he will rise.” Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” He replied, “What do you wish me to do for you?” They answered him, “Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.” Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the chalice that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” They said to him, “We can.” Jesus said to them, “The chalice that I drink, you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared.” When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John. Jesus summoned them and said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

My Reflections:
Jesus began to tell his disciples what was going to happen to him: his passion and death and eventual resurrection. Then, James and John requested Jesus that in his glory they maybe allowed to sit beside him.

Why in his glory only they want to sit beside Jesus? Why didn’t they told Jesus that they will be with him also through his passion and death? Often times we are like James and John we only recognize the presence of Jesus in our lives during our glorious moments and our life’s triumphs. When we are beset with problems we feel that Jesus has forsaken us. Let us always remember that Jesus wants to be with us always, he wants us to embrace him fully regardless of our life situations.

James and John also desired greatness because they wanted to sit beside Jesus in his glorious moments. But he rebuked them when he said: “Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.”

In the church there are those who always want to been seen with their Priest/Pastors because it evokes greatness, power and prestige. But for Jesus the true measure of greatness is when you are always ready to serve regardless if you're seen, regardless if you're recognized or not. ...

Monday, May 26, 2008

My gospel Reflections for Tuesday: May 27, Mark 10:28-31

Mark 10:28-31
Peter began to say to Jesus, “We have given up everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come. But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

My Reflections:
Jesus is telling us: If you will give-up your worldly life for my sake I will provide for you. You will lack nothing because you will have me. To have me is to have everything in life.

Do you agree?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

My Gospel Reflections for Monday: May 26 Mark 10:17-27

Mk 10:17-27
As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother.” He replied and said to him, “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” At that statement, his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the Kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply, “Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.” They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For men it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.”

My Reflection:
A businessman was on his deathbed, being his last moment in this world, his wife and all of his children were there. Seeing them all he suddenly had a worried face and said: why are you all here? Who’s tending the business? In the throes of death, yet his mind was still fixated on his material wealth.

What must we do to inherit eternal life? Jesus tells us to follow the commandments and sell what you have and give the proceeds to the poor and follow me. This is how Saint Francis of Asisi lived his life. He was the son of a rich merchant but he disowned all of his inheritance instead he choose to help the poor. He lived a life of simplicity and poverty relying more on God’s providence than on this world.

There are people who are overly concerned with material wealth as if they can bring it to there grave. Some are even willing to sell their soul just to be rich. We should not invest on these things for all these are temporary, it could be taken from us anytime.

We should rather be content with what we have. We should help those who are in need and steadfastly follow Christ. Nothing is wrong with being rich for as long as we know how to share it. Let us always remember that we are just stewards of the things that we have. …

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My Gospel Reflections for Saturday: May 24, Mark 10:13-16

Mark 10:13-16
People were bringing children to Jesus that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them.When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” Then he embraced the children and blessed them, placing his hands on them.

My Reflections:
If a child knocks on our door, I bet that we will open our door and talk to the child whoever he is. If an adult whom we do not know will knock on our door, I also bet that we will not open our door and we will have reservations if we will talk to him.

We trust Children more than adults, don’t we?

Jesus doesn’t only trust children; he also love them dearly because a child’s trust in God is so pure, a child’s humility is untainted with deceit and a child’s honesty is without question.

We need to be childlike in our trust in God, in our humility and in our honesty. So that when our retirement from this world will come we will be able to enter the kingdom of God.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My Gospel Reflections for Friday: May 23, Mark 10:1-12

Mark 10:1-12
Jesus came into the district of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds gathered around him and, as was his custom, he again taught them. The Pharisees approached him and asked, “Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?” They were testing him. He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?” They replied, “Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorceand dismiss her.” But Jesus told them, “Because of the hardness of your heartshe wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,and the two shall become one flesh .So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

My Reflections:When a couple is wed in the catholic church the Priest pose this question to them: "Do you take__as your lawful wife/husband, to have & to hold, to this day onward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and cherish until death do you part?"

Both of them will answer: “I do”

This Marriage bond is forever, but the reality is some couples separate. I know of two couples who were married in the church, couple # 1: husband simply left his wife and three very young children. Couple # 2: The wife left the husband even though they already have a baby.

Oftentimes couples separate for selfish reasons. They only care of what they feel; they don’t give an iota of concern to the feeling of their spouse and children.

I can only pray for all aggrieved parties that they will find healing and comfort in Jesus.

Jesus said to his disciples: a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,and the two shall become one flesh .So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” Then he said again: “Whoever divorces his wife and marries commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

The Sacrament of Marriage is one of the Seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church, the first miracle made by Jesus was when he made water into wine in the wedding at Cana. The Priest that presides in the wedding ceremony does it in the person of Christ.

Jesus himself said it: “What God has joined together, no human being must separate.”

My Gospel Reflections for Thursday: May 22, Mark 9:41-50

Mark 9:41-50
Jesus said to his disciples: “Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward. “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched. “Everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if salt becomes insipid, with what will you restore its flavor? Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another.”

My Reflections:
There are those who find joy in giving to the church and its workers without string attached on it. If we’ll ask them why they are so generous towards the church and its workers they will humbly say that they just want to share what they have. What they don’t notice is that whatever they gave they receive it back in various forms. Their blessing flows like a stream that never runs out of water.

Why not try it and see for yourself the great blessings that will come your way.

Saint Francis has said: “It is in giving that we receive.”

Jesus said to his disciples: “Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

Monday, May 19, 2008

My Gospel Reflections for Wednesday: May 21, Mark 9:38-40

Mark 9:38-40
John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.” Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us.”

My Reflections:
There are Catholics who leave the church to join other Christian churches. If we will ask them why they left They would normally say that they felt Jesus’ presence in their lives when the Pastor of the Christian church shared passages about Jesus in the bible.

Should we get angry with the Pastor for taking away some of our brethren who grew bored in our church? Of course not! We should rather be more innovative in our preaching about the word of God so that the faithful will feel Jesus’ presence in their lives.

John said to Jesus: “someone is driving out demons in your name and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.” Jesus replied: “Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us.”

We should always promote ecumenism with anyone who preaches the word of God in word and in deed. Notwithstanding his/her religious affiliations.

My Gospel Reflections for Monday: May 19, Mark 9:14-29

Mk 9:14-29
As Jesus came down from the mountain with Peter, James, John and approached the other disciples,they saw a large crowd around them and scribes arguing with them. Immediately on seeing him,the whole crowd was utterly amazed. They ran up to him and greeted him. He asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” Someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I have brought to you my son possessed by a mute spirit Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they were unable to do so.” He said to them in reply, “O faithless generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you? Bring him to me.” They brought the boy to him. And when he saw him, the spirit immediately threw the boy into convulsions. As he fell to the ground, he began to roll around and foam at the mouth. Then he questioned his father, “How long has this been happening to him?”He replied, “Since childhood. It has often thrown him into fire and into water to kill him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “‘If you can!’ Everything is possible to one who has faith.” Then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief!” Jesus, on seeing a crowd rapidly gathering, rebuked the unclean spirit and said to it, “Mute and deaf spirit, I command you: come out of him and never enter him again!” Shouting and throwing the boy into convulsions, it came out. He became like a corpse, which caused many to say, “He is dead!”But Jesus took him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up. When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private, “Why could we not drive the spirit out?” He said to them, “This kind can only come out through prayer.”

My Reflections:
A boy was possessed by an evil spirit, his father asked the disciples for help but they were unable to drive it out. Then here’s Jesus who just came from the mountain. The father asked for help, he told Jesus: “I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they were unable to do so.” He said to them in reply, “O faithless generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you? Jesus was quite exasperated with his disciples because they were not able to drive out the evil spirit.

Jesus was also frustrated with the Father because he told him: “If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “‘If you can!’ Everything is possible to one who has faith.” Then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief!”

Jesus was frustrated with both the disciples and the father of the boy the main reason is their lack of faith! If only both of them had faith they could have easily drove out the spirit.

Are we not like the father and the disciples once in a while? We petition God to grant us our prayers then we easily get impatient when he doesn’t reply immediately.

Let us continue to bear in mind this words of Jesus: “ Everything is possible to one who has faith.”

Saturday, May 17, 2008

My Reflections for Trinity Sunday: May 18, John 3:16-18

John 3:16-18
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

My Reflections:
Today we celebrate the feast of the blessed Trinity the three persons in one God. God the Father (the creator) God the Son (Jesus our Savior) and God the Holy Spirit (our Sanctifier). They are three distinct personalities and yet they are one. This is the mystery of our Roman Catholic Faith; they are three yet one.

Initially, it’s quite hard to understand why the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one. But if we will be faithful to the teaching of our faith we will discover that we will not anymore be curious why they are three yet one. God himself thru Jesus and the Holy Spirit will give us the wisdom to unravel this mystery and we will simply believe.

The secret therefore in unraveling the mystery of the Blessed Trinity is to believe and have faith with humility. There are those who believe but at the same time they also try to discover this mystery thinking that they can understand it through their intellect. When we trust on our own knowledge we also start to disengage ourselves from the infinite wisdom of the Blessed Trinity.

When we walk with God and seek to discover more about him we should walk with our faith and not with our sight.

The gospel for this Sunday dwells on God’s love for us. He gave his only begotten son for our salvation.

What have we given back in return?

Someone asked the 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. (Matthew 25:37-40)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

My Gospel Reflections for May 16, Friday Mark 8:34-9:1

Mk 8:34–9:1
Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the Gospel will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? What could one give in exchange for his life? Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

He also said to them, “Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the Kingdom of God has come in power.”

My Reflections:

There’s a story of a middle aged man who was newly retired from politics. When he was still active he amassed a lot of dubious wealth. Having a feeling of financial security already, he said to himself now I can enjoy all of my money. However, in spite of his wealth he didn’t have peace of mind he was always being hounded by the questionable deals that he made while he was still in power. Then he had a heart attact and he died immediately without enjoying his stolen wealth.

When he was about to enter the pearly gates, Saint Peter refused him entry and told him that he’s not welcome because of the things that he did when he was still alive.

What will it profit us if we gain the riches of this world if we will not be able to gain entry in heaven? What will it profit us if we will continue to steal dubious money if we will not have peace of mind?

Unfortunately this is the mentality of a lot of us; we are so shortsighted that we focus on the here and now. We continuously neglect to do good, we purposely shut God out of our system.

All of us are just temporary travelers passing through this world. In time we will leave and enter the doorway to the next life.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My Gospel Reflections for May 15, Thursday Mark 8:27-33

Mark 8:27-33
Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” They said in reply, “John the Baptist, others Elijah,still others one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said to him in reply, “You are the Messiah.” Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him. He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days. He spoke this openly. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

My Reflections:
I wonder why Jesus asked them if they knew him, maybe Jesus wanted to test if they really knew him as their Messiah, and having that affirmation from his disciples’ maybe he was expecting them to stay at his side until the very end.

If Jesus will ask us: “Who do you say that I am”? Will our answer be like Peter when he said: “You are the Messiah.” Messiah means savior, is Jesus your savior?

Is he real to you?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My Gospel Reflections for May 13, Tuesday Mark 8:14-21

My Reflections:
Here in the Philippines almost 85% of the country’s population are catholics. Being many some Christian denominations would usually entice some catholics who are not deeply rooted in their faith to change religion and join theirs. The usual point of arguments that they normally use is that we catholics have images and we allegedly worship these images which are all falsehood.

In the gospel Jesus admonished his disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod. He used the leaven as a metaphor that they should not be convinced by the inducement of the Pharisees and Herod to leave him and join them instead.

The secular world has many inducements such as: money, greed, popularity, lust, ego, self-centeredness etc… We should be careful of these things, we should not let ourselves be deceived by these worldly inducement.

Let us be steadfast with our fellowship with Jesus through our words and actions.

Monday, May 12, 2008

My Gospel Reflections for May 12, Monday Mark 8:11-13

Mk 8:11-13
The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with Jesus, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign?Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” Then he left them, got into the boat again, and went off to the other shore.

My Reflections:
The Pharisees were a powerful Jewish religious group constantly opposed to Jesus simply because they saw Jesus as a threat to their group.

In the gospel passage the Pharisees demanded a sign to test him for they do not believed in Jesus. What if Jesus had performed a miracle right there, would they believe? They will still would not because their hearts were already bursting with hatred towards Jesus.

Sometimes we also demand signs from Jesus before we follow and believe.

Instead of asking for a sign why not simply walk with Jesus and believe.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

My Gospel Reflections for Pentecost Sunday May 11, John 20:19-23

John 20:19-23
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

My Reflections:
Being Pentecost Sunday the readings of this Sunday’s Mass are all about the Holy Spirit this may also be a perfect time to ask ourselves: Am I aware of the Holy Spirit’s presence in my life? And if I am aware of his abiding presence, does the Holy Spirit makes a difference in my life.

There is story about a man who was walking with the Lord on the beach. When things were ok he noticed two set of footprints one was his and the other was God’s footprints but when he had problems he noticed that there was only one set of footprints.

So he asked the Lord: why is it when I needed you the most you were not there for me? The Lord said to him I was there all along with you through the Holy Spirit. I never left you. When you saw a single set of footprints in the sand it was actually the Holy Spirit carrying you and seeing you though your problems.

Awareness of the Holy Sprit’s presence in our lives is something personal that God gives us. It’s actually a gift that God has given us when we were Baptized and Confirmed and since then it has been with us walking with us side by side. But sometimes we don’t feel his abiding presence; the reason behind is our sinfulness and lack of faith.

When we sin we obstruct his presence on us, if were lacking in faith we disallow him to be with us. It’s actually us who veers away from the Holy Spirit.

In the gospel passage the apostles were in the upper room the doors were locked because they were hiding from the Jews. Then suddenly out of nowhere Jesus appeared to them and said: “Peace be with you twice and after a while he said: the profound words that will be one of the cornerstones of the Sacrament of Confession “Receive the Holy Spirit Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

The apostles are represented now by our Priests and Bishops, they have the sole faculty to forgive us of our sins.

If we want to fully feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. We need to go through the Sacrament of Confession.

To you who's reading this, I pray that the gift of the Holy Spirit will be upon you...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

My Gospel Reflections for Saturday May 10, John 21:20-25

My Reflections:
Does Jesus have a favorite disciple? It seems so as the gospel states: “Peter turned and saw that the disciple Jesus loved, was following as well the one who had also reclined upon his chest during the supper and had said, “Master, who is the one who will betray you?”

In his humanity Jesus was also like us, he had a sense of feeling on who among his disciples were most humble and always there for him. That disciple was John whom Jesus loved dearly. He was also the same John who remained with Jesus until his last gasp of breath on the cross. (John 19:26-27)

Like Jesus, we also have our own beloved: friend, relative, subordinate, etc... Why are they our chosen ones? We prefer them because they’ve shown their loyalty and love for us.

John loved Jesus thru his words and deeds and he was there for Jesus until the very end.

How about us?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Children Learn What They Live (by:Dorothy Law Nolte)

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to be shy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with tolerance, they learn to be patient.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with praise, they learn to appreciate.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with acceptance and friendship, they learn to find love in the world.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My Gospel Reflections for Thursday May 8, John 17:20-26

John 17:20-26
Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying: “I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me. Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me. I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”

My Reflections:
We believe that the church is one; it was founded by Jesus thru Peter. This oneness is still very much present today under the 265th successor of Peter in the person of Pope Benedict XVI.

Jesus’ greatest prayer is for us to be one with them-The Trinity-he wants us to be united with them here and to the great beyond. When there’s unity there’s peace, there’s harmony and love.

We must respond to this prayer of Jesus...

My Gospel Reflections for May 7, Wednesday John 17:11b-19

Jn 17:11b-19
Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed, saying: “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one. When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost except the son of destruction, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you. I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely. I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the Evil One. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.”

My Reflections:
Aside from the prayer taught to us by Jesus (Matthew 6:7-13) our catechism has also thought us some more prayers, we use these for us to get connected with God.

In the gospel Jesus is teaching us a different kind of prayer not based on the structured norms. It is a selfless or an altruistic prayer he said: “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one. When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost.” If we will closely analyze this prayer of Jesus we will decipher that this is his prayer for his disciples and for us. This shows how much Jesus loved us in fact the entire gospel for today shows Jesus’ love for all of humanity.

Jesus always desires the good of us all, someday when were through with our temprary journey here in this present world. He wants us to be with him in heaven That’s why he earnestly prayed for our behalf to the Father.

However no matter how much Jesus wants us to be with him in heaven, he has also given us the freedom of choice. Through his prayers to the Father Jesus offered us a free ride to heaven.

It’s our choice if we will hop in or choose a different kind of free ride that leads to eternal damnation…

Monday, May 5, 2008

My Gospel Reflections for May 5, Monday John 16:29-33

John 16:29-33
The disciples said to Jesus, “Now you are talking plainly, and not in any figure of speech. Now we realize that you know everything and that you do not need to have anyone question you. Because of this we believe that you came from God.” Jesus answered them, “Do you believe now? Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived when each of you will be scattered to his own home and you will leave me alone. But I am not alone, because the Father is with me. I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.”

My Reflections:
The disciples did not recognized Jesus as the one who came from God because he spoke to them with parables and figure of speech that has moral implications. His teaching hits them right into their hearts. I think it is human nature that we usually refuse to believe someone who antagonizes us and corrects us. The usual culprit in our refusal to believe is pride and ego.

We need to strip ourselves of self-centeredness; we need to be humble before God so that we will be able to understand him. Humility is one of the most important virtues that we must imbibe if we want to understand Jesus’ messages be it in figure of speech or parables…

Saturday, May 3, 2008

What is the basis of the nine days Novena Prayer?

The word Novena is a Latin word that means nine (9). This is series of public or private prayers that extends over nine consecutive days, especially nine days before a certain feast. This refers to the tradition of saying the same prayers on nine consecutive days. This tradition has its basis in the Bible.

On Acts 1-2, the Apostles, believers and Mary waited and prayed for nine days for the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Novenas are made especially in honor of the saints to ask their intercession for certain benefits. They are also frequently in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary under her many names.

My Gospel Reflections for Sunday May 4, Ascension of the Lord, Matthew 28:16-20

My Reflections:
Today we celebrate the feast of Jesus’ ascension to heaven. What does this mean to us? Does this mean that Jesus has completely left us without giving us something to hold on? Did Jesus left us holding an empty bag and wandering what’s in store for us? In the forthcoming days or even in this gospel we will know that Jesus did not left us alone in fact he said: “behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."

Have you been given a responsibility: by your Parents, Boss, parish Priest or by somebody whom you highly respect? Did you faithfully follow the given responsibility without questions?

In today’s gospel Jesus commissioned his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations and baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. The apostolic succession of the church will tell us that this commissioning is still being said by Jesus to the Ordained Ministers of the church. This is also what Jesus is telling us: Spread the Good News about me and as you do this I will be with you always until the end of time.

These are powerful and profound words from Jesus addressed to all of us: Spread the good news about me. Have we already responded to His admonitions? Have we already shared the words of the gospel/bible to somebody?

It is very easy to say that I will share Jesus to someone but the question is: are we able to give flesh to the command of Jesus. It takes a lot of courage a lot of bravery to do it.

We need not fear because Jesus himself assures us: “behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."

As we abide with Jesus’ command; the Holy Mass is always there to strengthen us, the Sacraments of the church are always there to guide us.

Friday, May 2, 2008

What's more important in life... (author unknown)

A young man learns what's most important in life
from the guy next door.

It had been some time since Jack had seen the old man. College, girls, career, and life itself got in the way. In fact, Jack moved clear across the country in pursuit of his dreams.

There, in the rush of his busy life, Jack had little time to think about the past and often no time to spend with his wife and son. He was working on his future, and nothing could stop him.

Over the phone, his mother told him, "Mr. Belser died last night. The funeral is Wednesday."

Memories flashed through his mind like an old newsreel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood days.

"Jack, did you hear me? "

"Oh, sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It's been so long since I thought of him. I'm sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago," Jack said.

"Well, he didn't forget you. Every time I saw him he'd ask how you were doing.. He'd reminisce about the many days you spent over 'his side of the fence' as he put it," Mom told him.

"I loved that old house he lived in," Jack said.

"You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make sure you had a man's influence in your life," she said

"He's the one who taught me carpentry," he said. "I wouldn't be in this business if it weren't for him. He spent a lot of time teaching me things he thought were important ... Mom, I'll be there for the funeral," Jack said.

As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to his hometown. Mr. Belser's funeral was small and uneventful. He had no children of his own, and most of his relatives had passed away.

The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to see the old house next door one more time. Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment. It was like crossing over into another dimension, a leap through space and time. The house was exactly as he remembered. Every step held memories. Every picture, every piece of furniture. Jack stopped suddenly.

"What's wrong, Jack?" his Mom asked.

"The box is gone," he said

"What box?" Mom asked.

"There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk. I must have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he'd ever tell me was 'the thing I value most,'" Jack said.

It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered it, except for the box. He figured someone from the Belser family had taken it.

"Now I'll never know what was so valuable to him," Jack said. "I better get some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom."

It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died. Returning home from work one day, Jack discovered a note in his mailbox. "Signature required on a package. No one at home. Please stop by the main post office within the next three days," the note read.

Early the next day Jack retrieved the package. The small box was old and looked like it had been mailed a hundred years ago. The handwriting was difficult to read, but the return address caught his attention. "Mr. Harold Belser" it read. Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the package. There inside was the gold box and an envelope. Jack's hands shook as he read the note inside.

"Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack Bennett. It's the thing I valued most in my life." A small key was taped to the letter. His heart racing, as tears filling his eyes, Jack carefully unlocked the box. There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch.

Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched the cover. Inside he found these words engraved:

"Jack, Thanks for your time! - Harold Belser."

"The thing he valued most was...my time"

Jack held the watch for a few minutes then called his office and cleared his appointments for the next two days. "Why?" Janet, his assistant asked. "I need some time to spend with my son," he said.

"Oh, by the way, Janet thanks for your time!"

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away,"

Think about this. You may not realize it, but it's 100% true.
1. At least 2 people in this world love you so much they would die for you.
2. At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.
3. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like you.
4. Every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.
5. You mean the world to someone.
6. If not for you, someone may not be living.
7. You are special and unique.
8. When you think you have no chance of getting what you want, you probably won't get it, but if you believe in possiblities and have faith you will get it or something better.
9. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good can still come from it.
10. When you think the world has turned its back on you, take a look: you most likely turned your back on the world.
11. Someone that you don't even know exists loves you.
12. Always remember the compliments you received. Forget about the rude remarks.
13. Always tell someone how you feel about them; you will feel much better when they know and you'll both be happy.
14. If you have a great friend, take the time to let them know that they are great.

If you want, share this to all the people you care about.
If you do so, you will certainly brighten someone's day
and might change their perspective on life... for the better.

To you who took time to read this blog.
"Thanks for your time!"

Thursday, May 1, 2008

My Gospel Reflections for Friday, May 2 John 16:20-23

John 16:20-23
Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy. When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. So you also are now in anguish.But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.On that day you will not question me about anything. Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.”

My Reflections:
When Jesus said to his disciples: “You will weep and mourn while the world rejoices; you will grieve but your grief will become joy.” Jesus was already alluding about his forthcoming passion that he has to go through and to his subsequent resurrection. He even compared it with a woman who is in labor pains but after she has given birth she will forget that painful experience altogether because of the great joy that the newly born child has given her.

Our walk with God will not always be a bed of roses, there will be trials, and sometimes we will be persecuted because of what we do for God.

In spite of these all let us continue to follow Jesus, for at the end there will be great rejoicing in store for those who are faithful to Him…