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

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?

http://catholicdefense.blogspot.com/2011/10/does-bible-prohibit-religious-images.html

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?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

My Gospel Reflections for the Feast of Sacred Heart of Jesus Friday: May 30, Matthew 11:25-30

Matthew 11:25-30
At that time Jesus exclaimed: "I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him. "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."

My Reflections:
Today we celebrate the feast of Jesus’ Sacred Heart and Jesus through his Sacred Heart is inviting us all: “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."

In my almost nine (9) years of leading our bible service with Holy Communion in the different barangays here in our parish I’ve noticed that almost 90% of those who attend are poor and 90% of them are females. These 90% poor chooses to rest their fortune on God alone, females as they are the weaker sex, being weak they choose to find their strength on God alone.

In the gospel passage Jesus said to the Father: “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones.”

While the Scribes and Pharisees who were the wise and learned during those times have somewhat disregarded Jesus' preaching and the importance of his healings and miracles. The ordinary people have accepted them. God has given them the gift of believing in Jesus because they were humble.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that the rich and learned are not within the circle of God’s chosen ones. Regardless if you’re rich of poor you’ll find favor from God for so long as you are humble and always open to receive the teachings of the church.

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.

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.

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!"