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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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My Reflections for November 4, Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time Mark Mk 12:28b-34

Gospel:
One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, "Which is the first of all the commandments?" Jesus replied, "The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these." The scribe said to him, "Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, 'He is One and there is no other than he.' And 'to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself' is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And no one dared to ask him any more questions.
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My Reflections:
What is the key to a successful marriage? It's none other than the love for God of both spouses. What if there is an absence of the love for God in their relationship? It is a guarantee that they will have a failure of their marriage.

The love of God is in the heart of every successful marriage, it is the very foundation that keeps the marriage unbroken between a man and a woman. However, there will be times wherein the marriage will be tested but at the end of the day the relationship will still survive the test no matter how severe for the reason that  the love for God is an ever present light in the hearts of both spouses.

When Saint Joseph discovered that the Blessed Mother was pregnant by virtue of the Holy Spirit, Joseph was already planning to discretely divorce the Blessed Mother but the Lord intervened through an angel. In his dream the angel told Joseph, “Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife for she has conceived by virtue of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18-20). Joseph’s love for God prevailed because he obeyed the will of God for him He did not follow his selfish will for himself.  

This is what will happen also when there is love for God in the hearts of married couples. They will listen to the voice of God to respect the sacredness of their marriage no matter what trials they may encounter. When couples truly love God there is no room for infidelity, jealousy and indifference.

They only make room for more love because the love of God that they have in their hearts is now translated to an everlasting love for their spouse which will forever stand the test of space and time.  . . .

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cardinal-designate Luis Tagle, 55, of Manila, Philippines. A future Pope?

Excerpt: 
The second youngest of six cardinals announced Oct. 24 is widely lauded for his theological gifts and his humility. Cardinal-designate Luis Tagle, 55, of Manila, Philippines, “really takes care of people … he’s so simple and generous and there’s no class structure when he deals with people; everyone is equal in his eyes,” said Nemie Anciado, a longtime custodian at the cathedral in Imus, Philippines, where the cardinal-designate was bishop from 2001 to 2011.

Please click on this link for the whole article:

Cardinal-designate Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle’s feelings regarding his appointment and his views on the topics in the current (October 2012) Synod.

Please click this link:


http://media01.radiovaticana.va/audiomp3/00340269.MP3

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

No to Reproductive Health (RH) Bill: By Dr. Bernardo M. Villegas

Excerpts: 
A recent report from Bloomberg (one of the leading business news agencies) was just headlined “Philippines Leads in Demographic Dividend of Supply of Young Workers.” The very bullish article about the Philippines—just echoing many others that have come out since the beginning of the current year—pointed out that the so-called demographic dividend from a rising supply of young workers is one reason Japan’s second-largest shipbuilder expanded in the Philippines, where workers are on average half the age of its Japanese employees.  Passing the RH Bill would literally be killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. Already China and Thailand—still with relatively large populations—are suffering from labor shortages because of the rapid aging  of their populations over the last decade or so. According to Nobel prize winner George Akerlof, who combines the study of economics and psychology, contraceptives tend to degrade marriage and lead to more extramarital sex, more fatherless children, more single mothers and more psychologically troubled adolescents. Harvard Director of AIDS Prevention, Edward C. Green, once wrote that according to the best evidence available, condoms give a false sense of security and prompt people to be more reckless in assuming sexual risks, thus worsening the spread of the sexually transmitted diseases. Thailand, which has the highest incidence of AIDS-HIV in East Asia, could be cited as a testimony to this.

Please click this link to read the full article:

Monday, October 15, 2012

My Reflections for Sunday October 21, Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time Mark 10:35-45

Gospel:
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 cup 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 cup 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."
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My Reflections:
A young man who was to be conferred the Sacrament of Confirmation saw the arrival of their bishop. He was overwhelmed  by the respect that was being given to the bishop. Many were bowing to him; they were holding his right hand so that they could put it on their forehead for them to be blessed.  Many were also kissing the bishop’s ring to express their reverence and respect for him. The young man was so impressed by what he saw that he said to his parents, I want to become a priest also, so that I will also be admired and respected.

James and John were also after respect and admiration that is why they asked Jesus if they could sit beside Him in His kingdom. They wanted those who will see them to be  in awe by the influence that they have. Imagine sitting beside Jesus in His kingdom, it is a badge of honor; it is something that will make any believer proud. But Jesus rebuked them by saying, “You do not know what you are asking.”

Why do we aspire for respect and admiration? Do we want it because it enhances our self-worth? Do we want it to feed our egotism? Do we want it for the reason that we want others to look-up to us and perceive us as someone who is powerful? It is all of the above and more, whether we admit it or not many of us are craving for  self-centered honor to be bestowed upon us for we hunger and love it.      

But in Jesus’ viewpoint self-centered honor, egotism, and every kind of action for us to be adored and exalted amounts to nothing. Because Jesus himself shunned all of these fickle exaltation, Jesus avoided it like a plague. What was important for Jesus was to humbly follow the will of God and that is none other than humble service to His people. This eventually led Him to sacrifice His very own life on the cross.  

We ask ourselves now, why do we aspire to be well known, to be great, to be popular, to be admired and to become rich which is sometimes brought about by dirty money? The answer is no brainer: Some of us simply want to increase our temporal human value, we want to feed our hungry egos.  . . .       

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My Reflections for Sunday October 14, Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time Mark 10:17-30

Gospel:
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 human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God."Peter began to say to him, "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."
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My Reflections:
A man who had a good job and who was living a comfortable life with his mother and siblings suddenly decided to work in a foreign country. When he was asked by his mother why he need to work abroad he simply said this, “I want to earn more money so that we could buy many things and live a more comfortable life.”

So he went abroad amid the protestation of his mother. While he was abroad he lived a promiscuous life which resulted in him being sick with AIDS. This is a sad story brought about by the man’s greed for material possessions. 

In our gospel there is this man who asked Jesus this question, Good teacher, what must I do to have eternal life? Jesus enumerated what he should do and the man said, "All of these I have observed from my youth." But Jesus told 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." With that statement his face fell, and he walked away sad, for he had many possessions.

Eternal life was already within reach for the man in the gospel. Comfortable life was his to take for the man in our story. But they both let go of it because they could not forgo their greed for material possessions.    

Many of us are also enslaved by our greed for material possessions such as money and the like. We greedily want it even if we can live without it, we are very much willing to have it even if we barter our souls to the devil. We may not know it but our greed for material wealth is the main foundation of our many troubles in this world.

For example many siblings and relatives are not in speaking terms because they could not agree on how to divide their inherited wealth. Many parents are problematic with their grown-up children for the reason that they spoiled them with material wealth but they famished them with parental love and guidance.

It is never too late to let go of your greed for material possession in favor of harmony, peace of mind and love in your family. It is never too late to share your wealth with the poor to have eternal life with God.    

When the time comes that we are already in the doorway of earthly death our material possessions will not be a factor for our salvation. What will matter is the love that we gave to the poor and the love that we gave to God.  . . .

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My Reflections for Sunday October 7, Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time Mark 10:2-16

Gospel:
The Pharisees approached Jesus 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 divorce and dismiss her." But Jesus told them, "Because of the hardness of your hearts he 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."

And people were bringing children to him 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 them and blessed them, placing his hands on them.
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My Reflections:
Here are examples of marriages in crises: 1.) A man betrays his wife by having an illicit affair with his officemate. 2.) A wife stays in the same house with her husband but they have no intimacy anymore - she only stays with him for the sake of their children. 3.) A wife filed for nullity of her marriage in the church tribunal citing irreconcilable differences as one of her grounds. There are countless more marriages that are breaking apart, why is this happening? To whom could we attribute this debasing of the Sacrament of Marriage?

Perhaps this is caused by the lack of strong foundation on the couple’s faith and understanding about the Sacrament of Marriage. Perhaps this is caused by their immaturity and their lack of humility, forgiveness and perseverance to make their marriage work.  Perhaps this is influenced by their own family background for example, when they were young they saw that their own parents were not also faithful to their marriage.

The breakup of the Sacrament of Marriage is not the desire of God because from the beginning  He envisioned this Sacrament of Matrimony to be forever. This is the reason why Jesus tells us in the gospel: “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 (Mark 10:7-9)."

What then is the secret to a long and lasting marriage? We need to have childlike humility,we need to have Jesus in our lives, we need to be forgiving, we need to be persevering and we need to have a daily prayer time as a family as father Patrick Peyton famously said, “The family that prays together stays together.” 

But sad to say, humility, forbearance and forgiveness are the virtues that are lacking amongst married couples nowadays. It is so easy for them to separate now without considering the welfare of their family. Why is it hard for us to become humble, forbearing and forgiving? The answer is very simple - it is for the reason that we are not faithful followers of Jesus. We do not anymore take the teachings of Jesus seriously.

Let us therefore renew our loyalty to Jesus and let us also restore our lasting commitment to the Sacrament of Matrimony.