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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Friday, February 22, 2013

My Reflections for February 25, Monday of the Second Week of Lent: Luke 6:36-38

Gospel:
Jesus said to his disciples: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”
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My Reflections:
One of the famous lines of the prayer of saint Francis states: It is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. Perhaps one of his inspirations when he wrote this prayer is our gospel for today.

It is indeed true that it is through giving and through our generosity that we will receive more than what we’ve given.   It is in forgiving that we will be forgiven. Who does the giving back of the gifts that we’ve given? Who forgives us when we unconditionally forgive those who’ve hurt us? He is none other than Jesus himself, many of us are not aware of this anymore because we’ve already distanced ourselves from Jesus.

Let us once again try to bring back our intimacy with Jesus. Let us humbly ask the Holy Spirit to lead us once again to Him. Jesus has been offering to us Himself for so long but we are always very busy with our many earthly undertakings. ...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

My Reflections for February 24, Second Sunday of Lent: Luke 9:28b-36

Gospel:
Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray. While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem. Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But he did not know what he was saying. While he was still speaking, a cloud came and cast a shadow over them, and they became frightened when they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.” After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. They fell silent and did not at that time tell anyone what they had seen.
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My Reflections:
Why did Jesus brought along to the mountain of transfiguration Peter, John and James when He could easily go there by Himself? It was for them to see what awaits them after their life in this fleeting world is over. It was also to inspire them to continue to be faithful to their mission and not to give-up no matter how heavy the cross that they will be carrying. 

This is possibly the reason why John, Peter and James remained faithful to Jesus until the very end of their lives. They did not betray Jesus for anything of this world. They were all focused with the prize that awaits them in heaven. Perhaps when they were tempted to give-up they asked Jesus to strengthen them. And when they were in the throes of hardship and persecution they asked Jesus for help also.

As faithful followers of Christ we must expect persecutions, temptations and hardships. But let us not allow these crosses to dissuade us from our aspiration to become true followers of Jesus. Let us continue to be faithful to Him, continue to stand for Him and continue to spread His teachings by practicing and sharing it.

Jesus did not promise us a rose garden or a life of ease and comfort. Instead He tells us that we must always be ready to take-up our own cross for His mission’s sake. For the reason that it’s only thru this cross that we will be enlightened about the true meaning of life.

The cross of Christ is the cross of enlightened life, the cross of Christ is the cross that will bring us to our salvation with the transfigured Christ. … 

Friday, February 15, 2013

My Reflections for February 17, First Sunday of Lent: Luke 4:1-13

Gospel:
Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, one does not live on bread alone.” Then he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant.

The devil said to him, “I shall give to you all this power and glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I may give it to whomever I wish. All this will be yours, if you worship me.” Jesus said to him in reply, “It is written: You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.” Then he led him to Jerusalem, made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written: He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you, and: With their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.”Jesus said to him in reply, “It also says, You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.” When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time.
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My Reflections:
A corrupt government official was always being admonished by her father to stop her corrupt activities. She would always reason out that it’s very hard for her to resist the temptation of money. She said, everything is okay there’s nothing to worry about. Indeed, nobody caught her corruption until she died. When she was about to enter the gates of heaven, saint Peter denied her entry because according to him she was corrupt when she was still alive.

A man gave in to the temptation of an immoral affair, he was always being advised by his sister to cut-off the immoral relationship. But it continued, he reasoned out that nobody would ever catch them. Indeed, nobody caught them but when they died they were both denied entry into the gates of heaven.  

Today is the first Sunday of Lent and we read that Jesus was tempted by the devil three times. The first one is to transform the stone to become bread, second is to worship the devil in exchange for power and glory and the third is to jump from the parapet. Filled with the Holy Spirit Jesus rejected these three temptations after which He walked away from the devil.

Why do we succumb to temptations? Why can’t we refuse or simply walk away from the devil? The answer is very simple! We have a superficial faith in God; we treat God like an object that we would only use at our convenience. We seek God when we need Him but when we have no need of Him we discard Him in exchange for the many evils or temptations of this world. This kind of behavior is brought about by our weak faith in Jesus.

It will pay us great dividends if we would take our relationship with Jesus seriously. The first dividend is we can easily reject temptations no matter how attractive. The second is we will have a serene family life that will extend up to our descendants. The third is we will have a hassle free entry into the gates of heaven and there are many more dividends that are in store for us.

In this season of Lent let us take very seriously our journey with Jesus. Let us further build and strengthen our relationship with HIM. …

Monday, February 11, 2013

My Reflections for February 14, Thursday after Ash Wednesday Luke 9:22-25

Gospel:
Jesus said to his disciples: “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.”

Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?”
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My Reflections:
There is always a price to pay if we decide to faithfully follow Jesus. For example Jesus himself tells us in the gospel that we must deny ourselves of something and we must decide also to carry our own cross. These are the preconditions, there’s no free ride in following Jesus. We have to sacrifice our: Vices, comforts, egos and many more undesirable behaviors.

But we have nothing to worry about these sacrifices  If we decide to follow Jesus. These are all earthly things that may evaporate anytime, that may fly away from our hands anytime. What Jesus gives in exchange for our earthly detachment is something that is out of this world.

Don’t be afraid of the things that you will sacrifice in favor of your faithful discipleship for Jesus. Because your earthly sacrifice is not in anyway comparable with the spiritual bliss that you will have once you decide to faithfully follow Jesus.   

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

My Reflections for Saturday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time February 9, Mark 6:30-34

Gospel:
The Apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place. People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them.

When Jesus disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.
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My Reflections:
What will happen to us if we are all work? We become creatures of this world solely devoted to the activities of this world. Jesus recognized this situation that’s why He invited the apostles to go to a quite place and rest for a while. Perhaps Jesus did this so that the apostles would be able to reflect on their mission and their relationship with Him. Perhaps Jesus wanted them to have a deepening of their connection and faith in Him.

We very much need this also, everyday we need to find a quite place for prayerful reflection about our relationship with God. We need this for us to be aware that life is not all about the temporal things of this world: Such as power, money, place of prominence and the like.

There’s more to life than what this world offers us. And we could only discover it if we would allocate daily solemn time with God. Let us therefore reserve reflective time for God before we reserve time for this world. 

Do you find time for God everyday even for only a minute?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

My Reflections for Tuesday February 5, Mark 5:21-43 (Memorial of Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr)

Gospel:
When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea. One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward. Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying, “My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.” He went off with him and a large crowd followed him.

There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse. She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?” But his disciples said to him, “You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, Who touched me?” And he looked around to see who had done it. The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”

While he was still speaking, people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?”  Disregarding the message that was reported, Jesus said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official, he caught sight of a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. So he went in and said to them, “Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.” And they ridiculed him. Then he put them all out. He took along the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and entered the room where the child was. He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around. At that they were utterly astounded. He gave strict orders that no one should know this and said that she should be given something to eat.
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My Reflections:
Faith is what makes us believe that we will have what we want from Jesus. This is also what Jesus requires us to have whenever we have prayers and petitions for Him.

In our gospel it is very obvious that Jairus has faith, same as with the sick woman who was cured by merely touching the cloak of Jesus. However faith in itself is not enough we have to couple our faith with our actions. Jairus did not lay idle he personally went to Jesus and in front of Him Jairus beg for the life of his daughter.

The woman did the same, even if she was sick she mightily tried to go near Jesus just to touch his cloak. Perhaps the woman summoned every ounce of strength that she had so that she could squeeze herself near Jesus who at that time was surrounded by His many followers. Whatever it may be we all have our prayers before Jesus. Let us pray hard with faith and let us also work hard to achieve it.

Faith with action is a very potent combination for us to have what we want from Jesus. 

My Reflections for Monday February 4, Mark 5:1-20 (4th week OT, St. Andrew Corsini)

Gospel:
Jesus and his disciples came to the other side of the sea, to the territory of the Gerasenes. When he got out of the boat, at once a man from the tombs who had an unclean spirit met him. The man had been dwelling among the tombs, and no one could restrain him any longer, even with a chain. In fact, he had frequently been bound with shackles and chains, but the chains had been pulled apart by him and the shackles smashed, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the hillsides he was always crying out and bruising himself with stones. Catching sight of Jesus from a distance, he ran up and prostrated himself before him, crying out in a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me!” (He had been saying to him, “Unclean spirit, come out of the man!”) He asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “Legion is my name. There are many of us.” And he pleaded earnestly with him not to drive them away from that territory.

Now a large herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside. And they pleaded with him, “Send us into the swine. Let us enter them.” And he let them, and the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine. The herd of about two thousand rushed down a steep bank into the sea, where they were drowned. The swineherds ran away and reported the incident in the town and throughout the countryside. And people came out to see what had happened. As they approached Jesus, they caught sight of the man who had been possessed by Legion, sitting there clothed and in his right mind. And they were seized with fear. Those who witnessed the incident explained to them what had happened to the possessed man and to the swine. Then they began to beg him to leave their district. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed pleaded to remain with him. But Jesus would not permit him but told him instead, “Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.” Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed.
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My Reflections:
There is only one way to ward off evil possession and it is none other than our close relationship with Jesus. But is there still an evil possession as what happened in the gospel? There’s still but we seldom see this kind of evil possession now.

The modern evil possession that is very prevalent right now is internet  pornography. If we allow this to possess us we will hunger for this and we will look for it every now and then until it possess and eventually destroys us. This is the modern beast right now, who can defeat this beast disguised in pornographic videos that pops-up in our computers? It’s still Jesus!

Sincerely ask Him to help you defeat the beast of pornography and other lustful thoughts that has been enticing you for so long. …