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

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Little Grain of Gold by: Rabindranath Tagore


I had gone begging from door to door in the village path, when a golden chariot appeared in the distance and I wondered who was this King of all kings!

My hopes rose high and  I thought my evil days were at an end, and I stood waiting for alms to be given unasked and for wealth scattered on all sides in the dust.

The chariot stopped where I stood. His glance fell on me and he came down with a smile. I felt that the luck of my life had come at last. Then all of a sudden he extended his right hand and said to me: What can you give me?’

Ah, what a kingly jest was it to open his palm to a beggar like me. I was confused and stood undecided, and then from my wallet I slowly took out the least little grain of corn and gave it to the King of all Kings.

But how great my surprise when at the day's end I emptied my bag on the floor to find a least little grain of gold among the poor heap. I bitterly wept and wished that I had the heart to give to him my all.

The Prayer of Saint Francis...

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

“O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.”

From the Imitations of Christ...

Do not worry about who is and is not on your side: simply make sure that God is with you in all you do.

Have a clear conscience, and God will defend you. For if God chooses to help you, no malice can do you harm.

If you know how to suffer in silence, without doubt you will receive the help of the Lord. He knows when and how he will free you, so resign yourself into his care. It is for God to give help and give freedom from trouble.

For the sake of humility it is often good for others to know our weaknesses and tax us with them.

When a man holds himself humbly because of his weakness, it is easy for him to please others and calm those who are angry with him.

God protects and frees the humble, loves and consoles them. He leans down to the humble, he bestows great grace on them, he lifts them from their lowliness into glory.

God calls the humble gently to him, and to them he reveals his secrets.

If a humble man is humiliated, he is happy enough and at peace, because his support is God and not the world.

Do not count yourself as having made progress until you feel yourself inferior to everyone.

A peaceable man is of more use than a learned man.

If you are a slave to your feelings, you will see good actions as bad, and you will easily believe the worst; a good and peaceful man will see good in everything.

Whoever is truly at peace is not plagued by suspicion. Whoever is discontented and disturbed will be blown about by gusts of suspicion: he cannot rest and will not let others rest either.

He often says what he should not say, and fails to do what it would be best to do.

He knows what other people ought to do, but not what he should be doing himself.

Worry about your own behavior first; you can worry about other people later.

You are good at making excuses for your own behavior and showing it in the best light, but you do not want to accept the excuses of others. It would be fairer for you to accuse yourself and excuse your brother.

If you want other people to put up with you, put up with them first.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Fern and the Bamboo...

One day, a small business owner decided he’d had enough. Enough of the unremitting workload, enough of the lack of response, enough of the crushing loneliness.

He went into the woods to have one last talk to God. “God,” he said. “Can you give me one good reason why I shouldn’t quit?”

The answer took him by surprise. “Look around you,” it said. “Do you see the fern and the bamboo?”

“Yes,” the man replied.

“When I planted the fern and the bamboo, I took very good care of them. I gave them both equal amounts of food and water. I gave them sunlight in spring and protected them from the storms in autumn. The fern quickly grew from the earth. Its brilliant fronds soon covered the forest floor. Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo. In the second year, the fern grew even more splendidly than before but nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo. In year three there was still nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit. In year four, again, there was nothing from the bamboo seed. Still I would not quit.”

“Then in the fifth year a tiny sprout emerged from the earth. Compared to the fern it was seemingly small and insignificant. But day by day the sprout grew. First a shoot, then a seedling, and finally a cane. Within six months, the bamboo cane had risen to a height of 100 feet. It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive. I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not handle.”

“Did you know, my child, that all this time you have been struggling, you have been growing? Growing the roots that you need to produce your fruit. I would not quit on the bamboo. I will not quit on you.”

“Don’t compare yourself to others. All of my creations have different purposes, different journeys, and different timescales. The bamboo had a different purpose from the fern. Yet they both make the forest beautiful. Your time will come. You will rise high.”

“How high should I rise?” the man asked.

“How high will the bamboo rise?” asked God in return.

“As high as it can?” the man questioned.

“Yes,” God replied. “Give me glory by rising as high as you can.”

The small business owner left the forest. And never went back.

If nothing seems like it is happening in your life, despite all the work you’re putting in, remember that you’re probably growing roots not fruit. Stick with it. One day not far from now, there’ll be a fantastic harvest.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My Gospel Reflections for December 13: third Sunday of Advent Luke 3:10-18

My Reflections:
If we will try to ask kids as to what is Christmas for them perhaps majority of them will answer Christmas is about the gifts that they shall be receiving. Christmas is about Santa Clause and the gifts that he will be giving them. Even if they are wrong I think that is understandable being kids their focus is on the material side of life. However we must also slowly point out to them the real essence of Christmas. And that is the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.

In our gospel for this third Sunday of advent John gives us another angle about Christmas that we must seriously look into. When John was asked by the crowd; “What should we do”? John told them share your cloaks and your food. Then he told the taxmen stop collecting more than what is prescribed; stop being extortionists and be satisfied with your wages.

Through his actions and words John is telling us that Christmas is not all about the material things of this world. For John Christmas is about giving and sharing, especially to those who are poor which cannot repay our generosity. For John Christmas is about repentance and changing our ways for the better. That’s why he said to the taxmen and the soldiers: “Stop your extortions and be satisfied with your wages.”

In fact John is indirectly telling us not to focus on the material things; he tells us to focus on something that is much deeper and that is the birth of Jesus our messiah.

This consumer driven world is slowly taking from us the true essence of Christmas we must not allow it to succeed. We must focus our attention on Jesus and His selfless actions. This is the true spirit of Christmas that John wants us all to live and imbibe. …

My Gospel Reflections for December 12; Saturday: Matthew 17:9a 10-13

My Reflections:Why are there problems in our individual lives? Why are there problems in our family? Why are there problem in the world like wars, terrorism? Why are there problems in our church ministries?

The answers to these questions are actually very simple. There are problems for the simple reason that we refuse to listen to the message of Jesus. During John’s time the people then also refused to listen to John; same as during the time of Elijah.

If only we would care to learn and listen to Jesus, to John and to Elijah. …

Saturday, December 5, 2009

My Gospel Reflections for December 6 Second Sunday of Advent: Luke 3:1-6

My Reflections:
In this Sunday’s gospel reading Saint Luke introduces us to two sets of situation. On the first one Luke named the Emperors and powerful men during that time. He named the following: Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate Herod, Philip, Lysanias, Annas and Caiaphas. All these men have one thing in common: They were all powerful and some of them have played a role in the passion and eventual crucifixion of Jesus.

Let us take for example Pontius Pilate. Pilate lead the trial of Jesus he gave the order for his passion and eventual crucifixion. Pilate found no fault with Jesus but ordered his execution to appease the crowd calling for Jesus’ death. Pilate knew in his heart that Jesus was sinless but he chose to appease the mob who was calling for the death of Jesus.

In the second situation we see John proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Luke also cited the prophet Isaiah’s prophecy: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The winding roads shall be made straight’ John and the prophet Isaiah calls for repentance and this rings loudly to our ears. We must heed their call to repentance. We are taught by our catechism that the best form of repentance is when we humbly submit ourselves to the healing Sacrament of Confession/Reconciliation.

There are two seasons in the church where we are called to humbly submit ourselves to the Sacrament of Confession. The first one is during the Season of Lent and the second one is the season of Advent. We are called to the Sacrament of Confession on both seasons because Jesus died and will be subsequently resurrected. And we are all called to be worthy of His resurrection by way of humbly submitting ourselves to the Sacrament of Confession.

In the season of Advent we are called to Confession for us all to be worthy of Jesus Birth. That is why we are intensely called by the church to repent and submit ourselves to Confession. And this is what John and Isaiah is calling us: Go to Confession repent and be healed from your Sins!

If only we will heed their call, if only we will have the guts to humbly submit our selves to this healing Sacrament.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

My Gospel Reflections Nov. 29 First Sunday of Advent; Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

My Reflections:There was a story of a man who was in the throes of death sensing that the end of his earthly journey is about to end. He asked his relatives to call a priest so that he will be given the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. Afterwards the priest arrived and he asked him if he want to avail of the Sacrament of Confession. He said yes. Then, he was given the Sacrament of Holy Communion and after that the priest anointed him with Holy oil.

The man in the throes of death was able to properly prepare himself for his own end times experience in this world. This actually is the proper send-off for anyone to prepare himself to new phase in his life. That is everlasting life where he will finally meet God.

Jesus talks about the end times in the first part of the gospel of course we only have two choices on how we will meet this seemingly catastrophic end. First is to be afraid; who would not be afraid when the earth is crumbling before us? The second one is not to be afraid because there’s a higher being that tells us that we must take courage for the reason that there’s a new doorway going to eternity with God that awaits us.

In this season of Advent we prepare ourselves for the coming of our Savior and this is what Jesus is telling us in the second part of our gospel. Do we plan to submit ourselves to the Healing Sacrament of Confession so that we shall be worthy of His forthcoming birth. Do we plan to make amends with those whom we have not spoken to for sometime? Do we want to heal those who are hungry and suffering by doing Corporal and Spiritual works of Mercy?

The best preparation for the coming of our Lord is always on the spiritual side, the things that money can’t buy. Things that will leave a healing imprint in our spirits and in the spirits of others. ...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Gospel Reflections for November 22 Sunday; The Solemnity of Christ the King: John 18:33-37


My Reflections:
Who doesn’t want to be King based on the perception of the world? I think each and everyone of us if given the opportunity would want to be King.

Who would want to be King based on the example of Jesus? I think none of us would want to go through what Jesus went through. Here lies the paradox of the kingship of Jesus. Jesus’ kingship is based on His powerlessness; it is based on His acceptance of the unwarranted pains and sufferings for our salvation. His kingship is based on self-less love rather than power.

None of us can measure-up to His kingship so the best thing for us to do is to honor Jesus by our selfless actions, by our humility, by our love for others.

Saint Paul in his letter to the Philippians best typified the Kingship of Jesus when he said: “Though being divine in nature He did not claim in fact equality with God, but emptied Himself, taking on the nature of a servant made in human likeness and in His appearance found as a man. He humbled himself by being obedient to death, death on the cross. That is why God exalted Him and gave Him the name which outshines all names.” Philippians 2:6-10

On a personal note, today is the Solemnity of Christ the King; have we already honored Jesus? I did, last night before the Mass ended I was one of the six Lay Ministers who carried the gold colored cloth over the Blessed Sacrament while it was being brought by our Parish Priest to the side chapel to be exposed and adored. Then, around 12 midnight I went to the chapel for our scheduled one hour adoration. At approximately 4:30 in the morning we had our procession in the municipality with the exposed Blessed Sacrament. This is my little way of honoring Jesus our Christ and our King.

Have you already honored Jesus today?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My Gospel Reflections for November 15; thirty-third Sunday in ordinary time: Mark 12:24-32

My Reflections:
During the end of the millennium (1999) some people predicted that the end times would come. Some even stored food already but nothing happened. We were all successfully ushered to the next millennium. So when is the end times going to happen? Nobody knows but God.

However, each and everyone of us faces our own inevitable end times and that is our deaths. When someone is sick with cancer doctors would even predict the days or months that we are going to last until the inevitable end.

Do we need to be afraid of our own death? It depends; for someone who has not developed a personal relationship with Jesus death is like a plague that needs to be avoided. But for those who have developed an intimate union with Jesus death is nothing but a gateway to something that is beautiful and heavenly.

Jesus in the gospel predicted a frightening depiction of the end times (the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.) perhaps some of the people who was within hearing distance of Jesus were afraid; maybe a few of the disciples were afraid too.

Fear not, continue moving on with your life—if we have this intimate relationship with Jesus we will not be afraid of the end times or of our own deaths. There are even some who would willingly embrace natural death with open arms because they know that death is the start of our everlasting journey with God. When death comes we will be able to see God and we will experience rapturous joy for the reason that we are already with our creator who loved us more than anyone else.

On the other hand, the horrible end times being described by Jesus is also a reality that will certainly happen. This is reserved for those people who know God but refuse to follow His teachings. After their deaths, they will be forever in the dustbin of hell.

In the first reading it says: “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some shall live forever, others shall be on everlasting horror and disgrace (Daniel 12:2). …

Friday, October 16, 2009

My Gospel Reflections for October 18; twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time October 18 Sunday: Mark 10:35-45

My Reflections:
It is very obvious that James and John had on their minds the concept of the glorious/ triumphant Jesus. That’s why they both wanted to sit beside Him in His glory. However there is another side of Jesus that we often miss to see and follow. That side is the suffering Jesus; we must not let ourselves be blurred by the triumphant Jesus let us also walk through Jesus’ sufferings.

Jesus asked both James and John: “Can you drink the cup that I drink?” they said yes but I doubt if they would have still said yes if they saw the sufferings that Jesus had to walk through. To follow Jesus is not easy; we have to swallow our pride, we have to take orders from people whom we think doesn’t deserve to tell us what to do. We have to shed our ego and be full of humility. This is the kind of cup that Jesus have in His possession.

Can we share and drink in that cup of sufferings also?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

My Gospel Reflections for October 11; twenty-eighth Sunday in ordinary time: Mark 10:17-30

My Reflections:
What can our possessions/riches do to us? Will it buy us food? Yes of course. Will it buy us health? Yes it will. It can also buy us material possessions. However, when we buy food and eat it after a few hours we will be hungry again. After paying our bills in the hospital that made us well we will get sick again, it will be a cycle until we die. The material possession that we have? it will eventually leave us or we will leave it.

In the gospel for this Sunday there is a rich man who was so near yet far on having eternal life and be a certified follower of Jesus. Near because he followed all the commandments; however he was also far for the simple reason that he cannot let go of his riches. When Jesus told him to sell his material possessions and give the proceeds to the poor. His face fell and went away very sad for he had many possession. In the process he badly missed having the eternal wealth that cannot be taken away from him. Wealth that he can even take with him after his death; that eternal wealth is Jesus. The rich man badly missed being a close follower in favor of his wealth.

Wealth per see is not bad it can even be our passport to heaven but we also need to know how to share our wealth. We need to share our wealth not from our excess; we need to share our wealth until it hurt our own pockets. When we are like that-wealth becomes our passport to be a true follower of Jesus.

There are many of us who cannot let-go of our possessions even if we don’t need it anymore. Because of sentimental reasons many of us will even want our possession to rot than share it with those who badly need it. Because of our greed we amass unprecedented dirty wealth by stealing from the government or from other private organizations. These type of possessions are all temporary and passing.

How many of us are willing to give until it hurts our pockets? How many of us are willing to give-up our possessions for the sake of following Jesus?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

My Gospel Reflections for October 4; twenty-seventh Sunday in ordinary time: Mark 10:2-16

My Reflections:
There’s a story of a married couple they started out very well and it seems that their marriage is made to last until their deaths. After a year of being together God gifted them with a baby; it made their bond stronger.

After four years the seemingly strong marriage started to show little cracks. They were already often arguing on petty things. The arguments lead to verbal abuse then to physical confrontation it eventually led to their separation. On the sidelines was their innocent child silently crying and confused on what is going-on.

Here’s another story of a couple who’ve been together for twenty five years they already have grown-up children. After all those years of being together the wife suddenly realized that she had enough of her husband’s irresponsible behavior thus she fell out of love and decided to file for nullity of their Marriage.

Divorce or separation is always the easy way out. These tragic stories about married life is for real it may happen to our friends and it may happen to us too.

In the gospel Jesus is confronted with a probing question by the Pharisees: "Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?" Jesus replied: "What did Moses command you?" They replied, "Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her." (Deuteronomy 24:1). Jesus told them, "Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment.

This answer of Jesus still rings true today; because of the hardness of our hearts we choose to be selfish and decide to file for divorce. Not minding the irreparable damage that it will cause our children; we still choose to separate. This is a very selfish reason that is rooted in our lack of faith in God!

Why do married couples separate? The simple reason is this: God is not anymore in the center of their lives. If God is at the center of their lives they will certainly not choose the easy way out that is separation/divorce.

If Jesus is in the center of their lives they will choose to swallow their prides and talk things over. Perhaps even seek the help of a competent third party to help them rekindle the fire of love in their relationship.

God’s plan for married couple is marriage for eternity. In the Sacrament of Marriage Jesus commands us through the officiating Priest to be faithful to our marriage vows: “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.”

One secret to a lasting family life is to pray as a family, to worship God in our church as a family. What a sight to behold a family that prays together, a family that worships God during the celebration of the Holy Mass. If a family is like that it will never go wrong because at the center of that family is the omnipotent God whose desire for married couples is to be married for life.

How’s your married/family life?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My Gospel Reflections for September 27; twenty-sixth Sunday in ordinary time: Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48

My Reflections:We Christians have one common umbrella that shelters us all: it is our belief in one God who created us. We may have different Christian ideologies; we may use different versions of the bible. However we are still brought together by our common belief in a supreme God.

If we believe in one true God then why can’t we come together and be one? The answer to this perhaps is; yes we believe in one God. But those who leads other Christian ministries/ideologies believes that their doctrines are far more superior than that of the others.

These differences in doctrines sometimes creates a wedge that leads to animosity and worst of all they even try to destroy other Christian religion so that they can grow and multiply. Is this what Jesus wants us to do; to destroy the reputation of other Christian religions so that we can grow and multiply? Certainly not!

In today’s gospel 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.

Here in the Philippines (I am sure in other parts of the world too) there are Christian religion that does this. Instead of concentrating on the spiritual wellbeing of their flock they instead desperately try to tell their believers that they are the superior religion because they have this and that doctrines.

Is this what Jesus wants them to do? Certainly not!

Let us always be tolerant to our brethrens who are members of other Christian churches let us pray for them also. Let us not create walls to shun them; lets us rather build bridges with them. Let us encourage cooperation and understanding.

We may have our differences in doctrines but I am certain that we believe in one God who created us all. …

Saturday, September 12, 2009

My Gospel Reflections for September 13; Twenty-fourth Sunday in ordinary time: Mark 8:27-35

My Reflections:
The word Christ means Messiah or Savior; Jesus wanted to validate if the disciples knew Him very well that's why He asked them: "Who do people say that I am?" However not everyone knew his true identity except for Peter who said: “You are the Christ.” Why is it that among the disciples it was only Peter who knew the real identity of Jesus? The scriptures would tell us that Peter played a significant role in the life of Jesus. He was first among the disciples; he was also in the midst of many significant events in Jesus public ministry. To name one; it was thru Peter that Jesus founded the church that we are in today.

If Jesus will ask us now the same question can we confidently say that you’re my Christ? Knowing Jesus deeply or having that intimate wisdom about Jesus is something that we can all attain. That is if we are willing to invest our time with Him. This is almost the same with our friends; before we can call them our best friend forever (bff) there’s a need to have that higher intimacy with them. Then, we can say that we know our best friend deeply.

In the process with our deep friendship with Jesus some may hate or criticize us but let us not be bothered let us continue to move-on get intimate with Jesus. There shall be hurdles I am sure of it but let us not allow it to discourage us. It is only part of our purification; as we humbly go near Jesus. Let us always remember that Jesus will never refuse someone who humbly desires His intimacy.

As we grow in faith with Jesus we also must strive to put flesh in that intimacy by our actions. As Saint James tells us in the second reading: “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith but does not have works can that faith save him?” (James 2:14)

When Jesus told the disciples of the sufferings and persecutions that He will pass thru Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. Jesus reprimanded Peter and said: “Get behind me, Satan; you are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” Peter’s attitude at that instance is frequently our behavior too; we think that since we are already following Jesus we will not be suffering anymore.

Let us always remember that Jesus loved us so much that He suffered for us. So let us not be averse of sufferings as we follow Jesus. It is when we suffer for Jesus that we intensely feel His abiding presence in our lives. …

Monday, September 7, 2009

My Gospel Reflections for Tuesday September 8: Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23 (Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary)


My Reflections:
Today Tuesday Sept. 8 is the Feast of the Nativity/Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Nativity of the Blessed Mother is celebrated as a liturgical feast in the Roman Catholic calendar nine months after the solemnity of her Immaculate Conception, celebrated on 8 December.

Today is also the birthday of my Mother (Natividad Jabonete Dasmarinas); she was born on September 8 1942. Her name Natividad is the Spanish translation of Nativity. I reflected on how she got that name and I came to this conclusion that my grandparents had that special devotion also to the Blessed Mother. Otherwise they would have not named my mother Natividad.

We Catholics have this very deep devotion to the Blessed Mother for the reason that she is our universal mother. The respect and devotion that we give her is the same respect and devotion that we gave our own mothers. How can we not venerate Mama Mary when she is the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ.

If we do not have that special devotion to Mama Mary it goes without saying that we may not also have that devotion and respect for our own mothers.

Mama Mary is the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ; we must always give her the respect and devotion that she richly deserved.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

My Gospel Reflections for Sunday August 2, Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: John 6:24-35

My Reflections:
After the crowd was feed by Jesus in the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves (John 6:9-13) Jesus and His disciples went to Capernaum. After a day the crowd was hungry again and what happened in the multiplication of the loaves was still vivid in their minds. So they looked for Jesus hoping that He will feed them again and they found Him in Capernaum.

They said: “Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus answered them and said: “Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you (John 6:25-27).

It was very clear that the crowd was looking for Jesus because He feed them. They did not look for Him because they wanted to follow Him and be one of His disciples. The action of the crowd invites us also to look at ourselves and reflect on our desire to be with Him. Do we go to Jesus because of His miracles? Or do we go to Jesus because we love Him and we want to be His partner in His mission of evangelization? Often times we go to Jesus because we need something from Him. The ideal desire is we go to Jesus out of our love for Him.

In the latter part of the gospel Jesus told the crowd: “My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Here, Jesus was already talking about himself to the crowd for they were still not aware of His true identity.

Sad to say that some of us are not fully aware of the Divinity of Jesus, some are not fully aware of what transpire during the liturgy of the Eucharist especially in the Consecration. Some are not fully aware that they receive Jesus during Communion that they don’t even care to observe Eucharistic fasting. Talking from experience, I noticed that during communion there are those who receive Jesus as if they are receiving ordinary bread. If only they knew that what they’ve just received is the Bread of Life.

There is a great need for us to go to Jesus: not because we desire His miracles. We go to Him because of our love for Him and out of our desire to be His partner in His mission of evangelization. Because if we will take a closer look at our fellow Catholics we will notice that there are still a large number of them who needs to be taught of the real identity of Jesus. He who is our Bread of Life who came down from heaven.

Are you willing to respond?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

My Gospel Reflections for MondayJuly 20: Matthew 19:38-42

My Reflections:
Majority of the scribes and the Pharisees were through and through against Jesus. They demand for a sign for what purpose? But Jesus knew them well; He knew the evil in their hearts.

We may not be like the scribes and the Pharisees who persecuted Jesus. But we are like them once in a while because sometimes we also demand for a sign from God. Especially when we are about to make major decisions we ask God for a sign.

For me, asking God for a sign is an indication of weak faith, come to think of it; why will we ask God for a sign if we have our full trust and faith in HIM?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

My Gospel Reflections for 14th Sunday in ordinary time July 5, Mark 6:1-6



My Reflection:
Envy and lack of faith is a powerful negative emotion that deprives us of peace of mind it also deprives us of unfathomable blessings from God. For example if we envy our neighbor because they have a higher status in life. We would normally try very hard to also match their lifestyle even at the expense of our own financial comforts.

When Jesus went back to His native place He was meet with scorn by His town mates because they envied Him. They were surprised of the miracles that He does they even questioned His miracles, they even belittled him.

They did this to Jesus because they know Him well as someone who was ordinary like them; they grew up with him they only focused on this aspect of Jesus’ life: His being human like them. They purposely closed their eyes on His God given abilities. Even if they were aware of it they refused to acknowledge the many miracles of Jesus.

What happened to them? Because of their doubt and unbelief Jesus was not able to perform mighty deeds for them. This is what happens to us also once we start to doubt on our faith on Jesus. We sometimes endeavor to do something we are full of motivation on the onset. Then due to our lack of faith on God and on ourselves we are suddenly enveloped with doubt thus, we fail.

Our faith and belief in Jesus will always be rewarded with something beautiful it may not come on the time that we want it. However, if we will be patient, if we will be willing to wait and never give up to work for it there will be an abundant reward that awaits us. …

Sunday, June 21, 2009

My Gospel Reflections for the twelfth Sunday in ordinary time June 21: Mark 4;35-41

My Reflection:
It is written in the gospel of Matthew chapter 8; that just before this episode of the calming of the storm. The disciples were witnesses to many miracles they knew then that Jesus could do anything for them. Perhaps, because of these Jesus had this impression that the disciples were all His faithful believers but it was not so.

In our gospel this Sunday, Jesus and the disciples were in a boat. Jesus was soundly asleep when a violent storm buffeted their boat and it was already taking in water. In spite of the many miracles that Jesus had made; the disciples were still in distress. It in turn exposed their fickle faith.

Don’t we think that the disciple’s lack of faith is sometimes our own lack of faith too? In spite of the many miracles that Jesus has done for us there are still instances that we doubt God’s providence on us. We question God why unwanted things happen in our lives and it exposes also our own lack of trust and faith in God.

This gospel reminds us that we must always hold-on to our faith no matter the tribulations that we are facing. Let us not be like the disciples who in that instance were exposed as followers who were wanting in their faith in God.

In following Jesus, Let us always walk by our faith and not by our sight. …

Friday, June 19, 2009

Penance assigned by priest helps reconcile penitent.

Please click on this link:

http://thecatholicspirit.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1805&Itemid=39

Good confession requires contrition, intention to change.

Please click on this link:

http://thecatholicspirit.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1742&Itemid=39

Take a U-turn toward Christ and away from the devil.

Please click on this link:

http://thecatholicspirit.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1682&Itemid=39

Examine your conscience for sacrament of reconciliation.

Please click on this link:

http://thecatholicspirit.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1636&Itemid=39

Mortal sin: The what, why and how to heal.

Please click on this link:

http://thecatholicspirit.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1593&Itemid=39

A primer on going to private confession.

Please click on this link:

http://thecatholicspirit.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1545&Itemid=39

Saturday, June 6, 2009

My Gospel Reflections for The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity Sunday; June 7: Matthew 28:16-20

My Reflections:
We celebrate today the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. It teaches us that there are three divine persons in one God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit three distinct personalities yet only one. How can it be that the three becomes one? This is something that is hard to comprehend for those who don’t believe. But for those who have faith this is a mystery that they hold-on and believe without question.


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 courage and 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.

Monday, June 1, 2009

My Tribute to our Parish Pastor: Rev. Fr. Leonardo R. Bagos

In a few days our Parish Priest whom we fondly called Fr. Nards will be leaving us to go to his new place of assignment here in the Diocese of Imus. How time flies. It is as if just yesterday when he first set foot in our Parish (Saint Joseph’s Parish, Carmona Cavite) but the reality of it all is that his six years term will be over in a few days.

I would like to write here the many positive improvements that he instituted in the parish. First is the positive change that is very visible and that is the church’s edifice. When He took over the church was in the infancy stage of its construction now it’s done already. I credit him for tirelessly thinking of ways on how to raise funds for the church’s completion.

It seems impossible to me that he was able to achieve it considering that nowadays money is hard to come by due to the economic crisis. But he persisted, he never waivered in his firm faith in God that He will be able to realize his vision of a beautiful church.

The next visible positive change is the very orderly process of Communion wherein communicants would orderly fall in line per pews. He meticulously instructed the parishioners how to fall in line and how to properly receive Christ with respect and reverence.

There were a lot more positive changes that he instituted to name just a few: Clean and green church environment, inventory of the church’s properties. He put in place an excellent sound system to ensure that the Word of God is clearly heard.

But for me one of the few that would be forever etched in my mind is how he made sure that proper respect and reverence is given to the Eucharistic celebration and to the Body of Christ itself. For example during Communion whenever there’s a communicant who does not say Amen after he says: “The Body of Christ.” He would politely ask short and probing questions to the communicant once he finds out that the communicants doesn’t know how sacred the Consecrated Host that they’re about to receive. He would just place his hand over their heads and pray over them instead of giving them the Body of Christ. Every now and then he would also give short catechesis before he gives his final blessings and it often focuses on the proper respect and reverence to the Body of Christ.

Just like Jesus during His three years public ministry, Father Nards had also his own share of persecutors in the parish. If Jesus had the Pharisees and the Scribes; Father Nards had a few parishioners who wanted to embarrass and malign him. It pained him I’m sure of it, however being an Alter Christus and knowing him to have a soft and forgiving heart I am very sure that he had already forgiven them and even prayed for them too.

Now that you will soon leave the parish, I’d like to say that I will miss the friendship, the occasional exchange of ideas, the discipline and the frequent instructions for the Lay Ministers.

My prayers will forever be with you Padre. God bless you always!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Quotation from the Great Manny Pacman Pacquiao

Manny Pacman Pacquiao said this after knocking out Ricky Hatton:

“Everything comes from God,“I owe everything to God. He gives me strength. With God on your side, anything is possible. You can do things you thought you could only dream about.”

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I will be back in a few hours.

To everyone,
after two days without broadband connection I'm back again. I hope that you'll visit me again. Thanks for your patience.
God bless,
Marino

Saturday, April 4, 2009

My Gospel Reflections for Palm Sunday April 5: Mark 11:1-10 and Mark 15:1-39

My Reflections:Today we celebrate Palm Sunday—the triumphant entry of Jesus to Jerusalem. People were rejoicing and shouting hosanna to high heavens the atmosphere is very festive. But as we journey into Holy Week the festivity will slowly be replaced by solemnity for we will remember the supreme sacrifice of Jesus for our salvation.

It was the destiny of Jesus to die on the cross for that was the plan of God for Him. But along the way towards His destiny there was also a feeling of trepidation on His part. That is normal for aside from His divine nature He was human too. He somewhat feared the uncertainty, the coming passion. However, after the feeling of anxiety He courageously faced all the passion that will come His way until He dies on the cross. For deep inside in His heart He knew that He has a mission to fulfill.

The people who were shouting hosanna upon His entry to Jerusalem were the very people who loudly shouted. Crucify Him! Crucify Him! They were also the same who told Him while He was hanging on the cross : "Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself by coming down from the cross."

The chief priest and the scribes also mocked Him: "He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe." On the cross Jesus was helpless He was at the mercy of His persecutors. Then, before His last gasp of breath He cried out loudly: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

Jesus endured all these punishments for our sake. He did not go through this agonizing experience with the hope that He will be exalted. His exaltation was never in His mind what was in His mind was our salvation. It was our welfare that was in His mind our well being, our liberation from sin.

What have we done for Jesus in return?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

My Gospel Reflections for the fourth Sunday of Lent; March 22, John 3:14-21

My Reflections:
Why do we have images in the Catholic Church? Is there a specific passage in the bible that refers to this? There are actually many passages in the bible that God commanded his people to create images. One of these is cited in the gospel reading for today. (Jesus said to Nicodemus: “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” Jesus was referring in this Old Testament passage (Numbers 21:4-9). Then, Jesus said: “So that everyone who believes may have eternal life.”

Those who are deep in their faith know what Jesus is talking about. We know that our deep faith in Him will carry us through eternal life. We know that our life here on earth is just temporary and fleeting and this can be taken away from us anytime. But we don’t worry about it for we know what awaits us in our afterlife.

Let us shift our attention to this bible passage: “For 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.”

The love of God for us is always ours for the taking it’s perpetually there for us and it’s free it’s given by God to us without strings attached on it. God loves us so much that He gave His only Son for us. Can we fathom God’s love for us? No we cannot! Our finite minds will not be able to comprehend the hugeness of God’s love.

How come that there are those who are not aware of this eternal love of God? The answer to this question is very simple—their life is so much taken by the trappings and worries of this temporary world. This is the reason why they are not aware of this great love of God.

If we will faithfully celebrate Mass, if we will regularly find time to read the bible the grace of the Holy Spirit will be upon us. And it will slowly give us the gift of awareness of this great love of God.

Let us always be aware of God’s love for us, let us nurture it until it blossoms forever in our hearts. ...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The story of the Three Trees

"Once upon a time there were three trees on a hill in the woods. They were discussing their hopes and dreams when the first tree said, "Someday I hope to be a treasure chest. I could be filled with gold, silver and precious gems. I could be decorated with intricate carving and everyone would see the beauty."

Then the second tree said, "Someday I will be a mighty ship. I will take kings and queens across the waters and sail to the corners of the world. Everyone will feel safe in me because of the strength of my hull."

Finally the third tree said, "I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the hill and look up to my branches, and think of the heavens and God and how close to them I am reaching. I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me."

After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees. When one came to the first tree he said, "This looks like a strong tree, I think I should be able to sell the wood to a carpenter," and he began cutting it down. The tree was happy, because he knew that the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest.

At the second tree the woodsman said, "This looks like a strong tree, I should be able to sell it to the shipyard." The second tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship.

When the woodsmen came upon the third tree, the tree was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true. One of the woodsmen said, "I don't need anything special from my tree, I'll take this one," and he cut it down.

When the first tree arrived at the carpenters, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay. This was not at all what he had prayed for The second tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying kings had come to an end. The third tree was cut into large pieces and left alone in the dark.

The years went by, and the trees forgot about their dreams. Then one day, a man and woman came to the barn. She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from the first tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but this manger would have to do. The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time.

Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the second tree. One of them was tired and went to sleep. While they were out on the water, a great storm arose and the tree didn't think it was strong enough to keep the men safe. The men woke the sleeping man, and He stood and said "Peace" and the storm stopped . At this time, the tree knew that it had carried the King of Kings in its boat.

Finally, someone came and got the third tree. It was carried through the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it. When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of a hill. When Sunday came, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible, because Jesus had been crucified on it.

"The moral of this story is that when things don't seem to be going your way, always know that God has a plan for you. If you place your trust in Him, He will give you great gifts. Each of the trees got what they wanted, just not in the way they had imagined. We don't always know what God's plans are for us. We just know that His ways are not our ways, but His ways are always best."

Saturday, March 7, 2009

MY Gospel Reflections for March 8 Sunday, The Transfiguration of Jesus: Mark 9:2-10

My Reflections:
In the first reading Abraham survived the litmus test of his faith when he responded to God’s command to bring his son Isaac to the mountain and offer him as his sacrifice to God. He obeyed God without question even if it is at the expense of his son. For his obedience Abraham was blessed abundantly by God and he was rewarded by God with so many descendants.

If we are in the shoes of Abraham would we sacrifice our son/child without any question? Would we be as faithful as Abraham in his discipleship to God? These two questions invites us to self examine our faithfulness towards God.

How are you as a disciple/follower of God? Maybe some of us are fair weather disciples only.

In the gospel Jesus together with Peter, James and John went to the mountain when He was there already He was transfigured before them. Why did Jesus went to the mountain? Was He called by God to go to the mountain? There was no mention of that sort. Perhaps, there was a call from God for Jesus to go to the mountain so that God can further strengthen Him as He nears His passion. So that He will remain humble and focused to His salvific mission for us. Perhaps, all of these things happened when He was transfigured before the disciples.

How do we relate the transfiguration of Jesus to our lives?

When we attend Mass we respond to Jesus’ open invitation to join Him in His banquet. Jesus wants us all to be transfigured and be inspired by His words when it’s read during the Liturgy of the Word. Jesus also wants to transfigure us all when we receive His body during Communion. Jesus hopes that through the Celebration of the Holy Mass we will also have that mountain top experience with Him. So that He will continue to sustain us as we do battle with the many temptations of this world such as: Self-righteousness, Egoism, Greed, Lust, Arrogance, Pride, etc...

Have you already allowed Jesus (Through the Mass) to transfigure you?

Do you have your own mountain top experience with God?

Saturday, February 28, 2009

My Gospel Reflections for March 1, Sunday Mark 1:12-15

My Reflections:
Have you been into feeling of emptiness and brokenness in your Life? Wherein you question the purpose of your life and eventually you question God as to why you have to go through this period of emptiness? Some of us may come out of this period of emptiness with fully charged faith and some of us comes out of this moments of emptiness with lowly spirit then we begin to develop coldness towards God.

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

During this spiritual dryness we must not lose sight of the fact that God uses this period to strengthen us and not to weaken us. We must not lose sight of the fact that God wants us all to come out of these desert experiences always triumphant.

Jesus had His own desert experience; He was lead there by the Holy Spirit. While there He was tempted by the devil but He did not allowed the devil to gain foothold in His life. Because He knew His Mission in life he instead used His desert experience as His launching point to start His three years public ministry.

At this very moment in our lives we maybe are in the midst of emptiness and brokenness. Let us not lose heart; let us continue to hold on to God no matter what happens.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My Gospel Reflections for February 20, Friday Mark 8:34-9:1

My Reflections:
A short-sighted or materialistic individual would normally look down on these very meaningful words of Jesus: “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."

But for those who deeply discern; these words are like manna from heaven that will forever nourish their lives until eternity.

There are not so many who discern these words ; may we be one of them. ...

Things that you may want to know about the season of LENT

Please click on this link:

http://marysaggies.blogspot.com/2009/02/lent-2009.html

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The True Meaning of Love according to Saint Paul: 1st Corinthians 13:1-13

If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not arrogant, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not harbor ill feelings over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.

Love never fails. If there are foresights, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing. For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.

When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.

So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is Love.

Happy Saint Valentine’s Day to all!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My Gospel Reflections for February 5, Thursday Mark 6:7-13


My Reflections:
According to a written commentary in Judaism there is a need for two witnesses to attest to the reality of a completed accomplishment. That’s why Jesus sent the apostles two by two to serve as witness to each others good deeds. But more than that I think the twelve were sent two by two to be of help to each other, to strengthen each other whenever they feel like giving up in making a positive impact in the lives of their fellowmen.

Jesus emphasized to the apostles their complete trust and confidence on Him because He will provide for them. That’s why He said: “Take nothing with you except for your walking stick: “No food, no sack, no money in your belts.”

By our Baptism we also share in the mission of the twelve, we are also being commissioned by Jesus to heal those who are emotionally and spiritually wounded because of poverty largely created by the harsh economic environment that we are in right now.

There’s a lot of them nowadays maybe they’re your poor siblings, parents, neighbor or even a complete stranger just passing by you. Let’s not worry about ourselves Jesus will take care of us in return as what He did with the apostles.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

My Reflections on the first reading for January 25, Sunday Acts 22:3-16 (The Feast of Conversion of Saint Paul)

My Reflections:
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul. What has Saint Paul done to merit this great favor from God? To think that he was the number one persecutor of Christians during his time. He even took an active part in the killing of Saint Stephen, the first Deacon and the first martyr of the church.

This is a puzzler to all of us, why was he chosen by God to spread the gospel among the gentiles?

While on his way to Damascus he was blinded by a light then he heard a voice saying: “'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” then Saul asked: “Who are you sir?” and Jesus said: “I am Jesus the Nazarean whom you are persecuting.”

Upon reaching a certain point on his journey God used a man named Ananias to heal the blindness of Saul. Thereafter, he was filled with the Holy Spirit and began his mission of evangelization to the pagan nations.

The conversion of Saul was not his doing it was God who converted him to be His disciple. However Saul did his part also on his story of conversion for he was a changed man when he regained his sight.

Like Saul’s conversion, we too have heard a lot of stories of transformation from bad to good, from an atheist to an ardent believer, from a hardened sinner to a Saint. Perhaps we can relate to their stories of conversion because once upon a time we were sinners too. And we heard God’s call for us to follow Him. We were swept off our feet by God and we were never the same again for we have converted for the better.

Let us therefore be an instrument of conversion for those who have not yet heard about the good news that is Jesus.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My Gospel Reflections for Sunday, January 18: Mark 10:13-16 (Feast of the Sto. Nino)

My Reflections:
Today we celebrate the feast of Sto. Nino, this is one of the most well attended and most popular feasts of the church here in the Philippines. Many also are devotees of Sto. Nino in fact we see the image of Sto. Nino in almost all of the catholic families here, in government/private offices there are also images of Sto. Nino; majority of politicians are devotees of the Sto. Nino. Because the Sto. Nino is present everywhere it may seem that our country is morally upright. Better think again, the country is still mired in corruption; we are consistently labelled as one of the most corrupt in the entire world.

Where is the influence of the Sto. Nino then? Do we allow our devotion to the Sto. Nino change us for the better? This is our big problem, we are fond of displaying images of our faith but the irony of it is this: Our faith remains on exterior display and it ends there.

If only we and our politicians most specially will learn to imbibe and internalize the virtues of the Sto. Nino who is a little child that is always humble and honest, it doesn’t know how to cheat or lie. It doesn’t know how to compromise with corruption. Our country will move forward and attain greatness once again.