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

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

My Reflection for Thursday May 1, St. Joseph the Worker Matthew 13:54-58

Gospel: Matthew 13:54-58
He went to his hometown and taught the people in their synagogue. They were amazed and said, “Where did he get this wisdom and these special powers? 55 Isn’t he the carpenter’s son? Isn’t Mary his mother and aren’t James, Joseph, Simon and Judas his brothers? 56 Aren’t all his sisters living here? How did he get all this?”        57 And so they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, “The only place where prophets are not welcome is their hometown and in their own family.” 58 And he did not perform many miracles there because of their lack of faith.
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Reflection:
What is superiority complex? It’s our arrogance and it’s our very high regard with ourselves. We want to be superior with everyone else. What fuels this superiority mindset? Perhaps it’s our status in life for example if we are powerful, educated and rich. As such there’s that tendency for us to have this feeling that we are above everyone else.   

When Jesus went back to His hometown He was belittled by His by town mates. They couldn’t believe that He was speaking and teaching in their synagogue for He was just a carpenter’s son for them.

They had this feeling of superiority over Jesus but why did they had this feeling of superiority? Perhaps, it was brought about by their status in life, perhaps inside their minds they were telling Jesus, who are you to lecture us in the synagogue when you’re just an ordinary carpenter’s son!

This is the dilemma when we have this mindset of superiority over others. We already close our minds to what they could achieve and do. We close our minds because we cannot accept that someone whom we used to know as an ordinary person now becomes someone who is now more known and respected than us.   

This is a behavioral problem that we must at all times avoid for everyone of us are created by God as equals. Nobody is above anyone else, our money, our education and status in life doesn’t give us the license to step-on anyone’s honor and reputation.  

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

My Reflection for Tuesday April 29 Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church John 3:7-15

Gospel: John 3:7-15
Jesus said to Nicodemus: “‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus answered and said to him, ‘How can this happen?” Jesus answered and said to him, “You are the teacher of Israel and you do not understand this? Amen, amen, I say to you, we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony. If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
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Reflection:
What does our firm faith in Jesus gives us? It gives us the courage to face the many challenges of our lives. It gives us the confidence that after our pilgrimage in this world is over we would now be having our eternal life with Jesus in heaven.

Faith is a gift that Jesus freely gives to each and everyone of us. However, even if it’s a gift we must also ask for it. For example if children want something from their parents they would ask for it from them. And once the parents realize that what their children are asking is reasonable then they would give it to them with love.

The same is true with faith; it’s a gift that we must ask Jesus to give us we ask for it in humble prayer. And if we do this Jesus would never refuse us He will freely give us this gift of faith. This same faith will now give us the confidence to always look-up and pray to Jesus on the cross.

In our gospel Jesus said to Nicodemus: ‘You must be born from above. Perhaps Jesus is asking Nicodemus to have more faith in Him and not to have faith on himself and on this world. Perhaps, this is also what Jesus is asking from us today. We must also be born from above and never be born from this world. We must have our faith in Him and not have our faith in this world.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

My Reflection for April 24 Thursday of the Easter Octave Luke 24:35-48

Gospel: Luke 24:35-48
The disciples of Jesus recounted what had taken place along the way, and how they had come to recognize him in the breaking of bread. While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of baked fish;he took it and ate it in front of them.

He said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said to them, “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”
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Reflection:
What if the disciples were not recounting their experience with the risen Jesus in the breaking of the bread? Perhaps Jesus wouldn’t have appeared in their midst. Perhaps Jesus would have just said, I will not show myself to them anymore, anyway they’ve easily forgotten me and they’re not talking about me anymore.

But Cleopas and his companion hearts were still aflame with desire in sharing their experience with Jesus in the breaking of the bread. Perhaps this was one of the reason why Jesus appeared in their midst and this gave Him enough reason to gave them His greeting of peace.

How often do we talk about Jesus with our friends and family members? Perhaps not very often, perhaps we just hear and talk about Jesus when we are at church for Holy Mass. But when we are at home or living our lives in the secular world with our friends we never talk about Jesus.

Why is it that we rarely talk about Jesus when we are out of church? Are we ashamed of Jesus? Are we afraid that we would be disliked by our friends and they would perceive us as someone who is disturbed?

Many of us rarely talk about Jesus outside of the walls of our church. Perhaps this is also the reason why we very rarely feel His abiding presence in our lives.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

My Reflection for April 20, Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection John 20:1-9

Gospel: John 20:1-9
1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Mag'dalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him." 3 Peter then came out with the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb. 4 They both ran, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first; 5 and stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying, 7 and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not know the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.
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Reflection:
How does the gospel reading today about the resurrection of Christ speaks to you? Does it simply tell the story about Jesus’ triumph over death and then it’s ok already and we move-on with our daily chores once again? Or it speaks to us with a deeper sense of renewal that Jesus resurrection must also be our own resurrection and triumph over our sinfulness.

From being sinful we now try our very best to live a holy and meaningful life. For this is our own way of saying that Jesus has also resurrected within us by way of living our lives according to what the resurrected Christ wants us to live it.

If from here-on our mindset is to live our lives according to what the resurrected Jesus wants us to live it. By means of leaving behind our own sinfulness, our arrogance and high sense of ourselves and so forth.

Then the resurrection of Jesus is truly meaningful for everyone of us for the reason that we allowed it to make a big difference in our lives. We allowed it to usher within us the defeat of anything that is evil and sinful.

Let us not therefore make the resurrection of Jesus a simple ritual that we simply remember today. Let us allow it to transform us. Let us allow it to carve a permanent dwelling in our hearts from here-on.  

Thursday, April 17, 2014

My Reflection for April 18, Good Friday (Fasting and Abstinence) John 18:1-19:42

Reflection:
Are you afraid to carry the cross of Jesus? You’re not alone, I too is afraid to carry the cross of Christ and perhaps all of us are afraid to carry it. Who would want to carry heavy burdens such as incurable sickness? Who would want to have difficult problems in life? Who would want to be persecuted, be unfairly judged, spit on and so forth? No one of us wants these many crosses in our life.

But if we are not willing to carry our cross, how will know that there’s salvation in that cross? How would we know that Jesus Himself will help us carry our own cross? 

As much as we are afraid to carry our cross, Jesus is inviting us to wholeheartedly embrace our cross and learn to carry it with acceptance  For there’s salvation in that cross and Jesus Himself is in that cross.

Now, if Jesus is in that cross and if there’s salvation in that same cross. Then, why be afraid to wholeheartedly embrace and carry our own cross?  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My Reflection for April 17, Holy Thursday Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper John 13:1-15

Gospel: John 13:1-15
1 Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 And during supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper, laid aside his garments, and girded himself with a towel. 5 Then he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded.

6 He came to Simon Peter; and Peter said to him, "Lord, do you wash my feet?" 7 Jesus answered him, "What I am doing you do not know now, but afterward you will understand." 8 Peter said to him, "You shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part in me." 9 Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!" 10 Jesus said to him, "He who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but he is clean all over; and you are clean, but not every one of you." 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, "You are not all clean."

12 When he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, and resumed his place, he said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.
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Reflection:
Have you already experienced washing the feet of another person? Not yet perhaps, the simple thought of washing someone’s feet makes us cringe in aversion. This is for the reason that this kind of action is reserved for servants, and no one of us wants to become servants of anyone.

We want to be served; we don’t want to serve we want to be masters and not servants. We want ourselves to be treated with respect and not to be disrespected. We want ourselves to be esteemed, to be appreciated and not be depreciated.

When Jesus washed His disciples’ feet it was for the purpose of giving them a lesson. That if they truly want to become His followers they must learn to live and breathe humility in everyday of their lives. They must at all times learn to serve and not be served.

Those who served in the church or identified to be close to the church are always faced with this challenge of humility. For example if there’s a problem in your community that nobody wants to do because it somewhat demotes ones social status. Are you willing to offer yourself to do that task that nobody wants to do? Are you willing to stoop and swallow your pride so that relationship can be restored once again?  

The true mark of a true follower of Jesus is not measured by someone’s eloquence, riches, power and ability to memorize and quote lengthy verses in the bible. The true mark of a true follower rest in someone’s willingness to embrace without any question the humility of Jesus.

Are you capable of embracing the humility of Jesus?

Monday, April 14, 2014

My Reflection for April 14, Monday of Holy Week; John 12:1-11

Gospel: John 12:1-12
1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Laz'arus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 There they made him a supper; Martha served, and Laz'arus was one of those at table with him. 3 Mary took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled  with the fragrance of the ointment. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was to betray him), said, 5 "Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?" 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box he used to take what was put into it. 7 Jesus said, "Let her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial. 8 The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me." 9 When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was  there, they came, not only on account of Jesus but also to see Laz'arus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests planned to put Laz'arus also to death, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus. 12 The next day a great crowd who had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem.
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Reflection:
Do you allow hatred, greed and envy to sometimes rule over you? What normally is the product when you allow these evils to take control of you?

The Pharisees allowed these evil intentions to rule over them that’s why they plotted to kill Jesus. They saw in Jesus someone who could overthrow them from their seat of power, so they must kill Him whatever it takes. This they did successfully but what was the bargain for their successful plot against Jesus? They allowed the devil to take control of them that’s why they were able to do what was unthinkable.

Hatred, greed and envy are methods of the devil to slowly trap someone to do the unthinkable. Take for example some corrupt politicians who would do everything to perpetuate themselves in power. Take for example some spouses who allowed hatred, greed and envy to rule over their love for their spouse.

We all know where these evil emotions brought the Pharisees. It brought them to the climax of their evil desire against Jesus. And they thought that they were finally able to rid Jesus out of their system. But they were all wrong, by His resurrection Jesus was able to defeat their evil intentions. By His resurrection Jesus was able to impress upon their minds that their hatred, greed and envy had brought them nothing except further misery.  

The same is true with us all, if we allow the Devil to sow hatred, greed and envy in our hearts.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

My Reflection for April 13, Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion Matthew 26:14-27:66

Gospel: Matthew 26:14-27:66
One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples approached Jesus and said, “Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The teacher says, “My appointed time draws near; in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples.” The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered, and prepared the Passover.

When it was evening, he reclined at table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said,“Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” Deeply distressed at this, they began to say to him one after another, “Surely it is not I, Lord?” He said in reply, “He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me is the one who will betray me. The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.” Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” He answered, “You have said so.”

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, from now on I shall not drink this fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it with you new in the kingdom of my Father.” Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Then Jesus said to them, “This night all of you will have your faith in me shaken, for it is written:I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be dispersed; but after I have been raised up, I shall go before you to Galilee.” Peter said to him in reply, “Though all may have their faith in you shaken, mine will never be.” Jesus said to him, “Amen, I say to you, this very night before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter said to him, “Even though I should have to die with you, I will not deny you.” And all the disciples spoke likewise.

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress. Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me.” He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.” When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep.
He said to Peter, “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Withdrawing a second time, he prayed again, “My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!” Then he returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open. He left them and withdrew again and prayed a third time, saying the same thing again. Then he returned to his disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand when the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners. Get up, let us go. Look, my betrayer is at hand.”

While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a large crowd, with swords and clubs, who had come from the chief priests and the elders of the people. His betrayer had arranged a sign with them, saying, “The man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him.” Immediately he went over to Jesus and said, “Hail, Rabbi!” and he kissed him. Jesus answered him, “Friend, do what you have come for.” Then stepping forward they laid hands on Jesus and arrested him. And behold, one of those who accompanied Jesus put his hand to his sword, drew it, and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its sheath, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot call upon my Father and he will not provide me at this moment with more than twelve legions of angels? But then how would the Scriptures be fulfilled which say that it must come to pass in this way?” At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to seize me? Day after day I sat teaching in the temple area,  yet you did not arrest me. But all this has come to pass that the writings of the prophets may be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled.

Those who had arrested Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. Peter was following him at a distance as far as the high priest’s courtyard, and going inside he sat down with the servants to see the outcome. The chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus in order to put him to death, but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward who stated, “This man said, ‘I can destroy the temple of God and within three days rebuild it.’” The high priest rose and addressed him, “Have you no answer? What are these men testifying against you?” But Jesus was silent. Then the high priest said to him, “I order you to tell us under oath before the living God whether you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “You have said so. But I tell you: From now on you will see ‘the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power’ and ‘coming on the clouds of heaven.’” Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has blasphemed! What further need have we of witnesses?
You have now heard the blasphemy; what is your opinion?” They said in reply, “He deserves to die!” Then they spat in his face and struck him, while some slapped him, saying, Prophesy for us, Christ: who is it that struck you?” Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. One of the maids came over to him and said, “You too were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it in front of everyone, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about!” As he went out to the gate, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This man was with Jesus the Nazorean.”

Again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man!” A little later the bystanders came over and said to Peter, “Surely you too are one of them; even your speech gives you away.” At that he began to curse and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately a cock crowed. Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had spoken: “Before the cock crows you will deny me three times.” He went out and began to weep bitterly.

When it was morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. They bound him, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate, the governor.

Then Judas, his betrayer, seeing that Jesus had been condemned, deeply regretted what he had done. He returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned in betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? Look to it yourself.” Flinging the money into the temple, he departed and went off and hanged himself. The chief priests gathered up the money, but said, “It is not lawful to deposit this in the temple treasury, for it is the price of blood.” After consultation, they used it to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. That is why that field even today is called the Field of Blood. Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of a man with a price on his head, a price set by some of the Israelites, and they paid it out for the potter’s field  just as the Lord had commanded me.

Now Jesus stood before the governor, and he questioned him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You say so.” And when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he made no answer. Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they are testifying against you?” But he did not answer him one word, so that the governor was greatly amazed.

Now on the occasion of the feast the governor was accustomed to release to the crowd one prisoner whom they wished. And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. So when they had assembled, Pilate said to them, “Which one do you want me to release to you, Barabbas, or Jesus called Christ?” For he knew that it was out of envy that they had handed him over. While he was still seated on the bench, his wife sent him a message, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man. I suffered much in a dream today because of him.” The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas but to destroy Jesus. The governor said to them in reply, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” They answered, “Barabbas!” Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” But he said, “Why? What evil has he done?” They only shouted the louder, “Let him be crucified!” When Pilate saw that he was not succeeding at all, but that a riot was breaking out instead, he took water and washed his hands in the sight of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. Look to it yourselves.” And the whole people said in reply, “His blood be upon us and upon our children.” Then he released Barabbas to them, but after he had Jesus scourged, he handed him over to be crucified.

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus inside the praetorium and gathered the whole cohort around him. They stripped off his clothes and threw a scarlet military cloak about him. Weaving a crown out of thorns, they placed it on his head, and a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They spat upon him and took the reed and kept striking him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the cloak, dressed him in his own clothes, and led him off to crucify him.

As they were going out, they met a Cyrenian named Simon; this man they pressed into service to carry his cross.

And when they came to a place called Golgotha ¬—which means Place of the Skull —, they gave Jesus wine to drink mixed with gall. But when he had tasted it, he refused to drink. After they had crucified him, they divided his garments by casting lots; then they sat down and kept watch over him there. And they placed over his head the written charge against him: This is Jesus, the King of the Jews. Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and the other on his left. Those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, if you are the Son of God, and come down from the cross!” Likewise the chief priests with the scribes and elders mocked him and said, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. So he is the king of Israel! Let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now if he wants him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” The revolutionaries who were crucified with him also kept abusing him in the same way.

From noon onward, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice,  “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Some of the bystanders who heard it said, “This one is calling for Elijah.” Immediately one of them ran to get a sponge; he soaked it in wine, and putting it on a reed, gave it to him to drink. But the rest said, “Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to save him.” But Jesus cried out again in a loud voice, and gave up his spirit.

Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

And behold, the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised. And coming forth from their tombs after his resurrection, they entered the holy city and appeared to many. The centurion and the men with him who were keeping watch over Jesus feared greatly when they saw the earthquake and all that was happening, and they said, “Truly, this was the Son of God!” There were many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him. Among them were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph, who was himself a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be handed over. Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it in clean linen and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn in the rock. Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and departed. But Mary Magdalene and the other Mary remained sitting there, facing the tomb.

The next day, the one following the day of preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember that this impostor while still alive said, ‘After three days I will be raised up.’ Give orders, then, that the grave be secured until the third day, lest his disciples come and steal him and say to the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead.’ This last imposture would be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “The guard is yours; go, secure it as best you can.” So they went and secured the tomb by fixing a seal to the stone and setting the guard.
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Reflection:
Imagine that we are all present in what transpired in our gospel today. From Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem up to His condemnation courtesy of the same crowd who cheered Him going to Jerusalem. Would we have reacted in chorus with the crowd? Perhaps yes and no but there is a bigger chance that we would react as how the crowd reacted.

So we would also be hollering hosanna to the son of David as Jesus makes His way to Jerusalem riding a donkey. So we would also be in chorus with the crowd yelling crucify him! Crucify him! This is who we normally are; we go where the crowd goes, we are afraid to contradict or to go against the crowd.

For example, except for Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday most of the crowd will be out of the church. Few are those who will join the way of the cross, the remembrance of the Last Supper and the washing of the disciple’s feet during Holy Thursday. Few are those who will honor the Cross during Good Friday and few are those also who will be at the Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday.   

Let us not perpetuate this immoral indifference to Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection. Let us journey with Jesus as He goes through His many triumphs and sufferings. Let us not be like Peter who said that he would not deny Jesus only to deny Him not once but three times.

This Holy Week let us go against the crowd by making ourselves available in all of the church liturgical celebrations.

Friday, April 11, 2014

My Reflection for Saturday April 12, Fifth Week of Lent, John 11:45-56

Gospel: John 11:45-56
45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him; 46 but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council, and said, "What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. 48 If we let him go on thus, every one will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation." 49 But one of them, Ca'iaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing at all; 50 you do not understand that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish." 51 He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. 53 So from that day on they took counsel how to put him to death.

54 Jesus therefore no longer went about openly among the Jews, but went from there to the country near the wilderness, to a town called  E'phraim; and there he stayed with the disciples. 55 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover, to purify themselves. 56 They were looking for Jesus and saying to one another as they stood in the temple, "What do you think? That he will not come to the feast?"
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Reflection:
There’s a saying that, Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

During the time of Jesus the Pharisees were the ruling class they were very powerful yet they were also afraid to lose power. Why were they afraid to lose power? For the reason that they were afraid to lose their influence in their territory.

 After years of being in power the powerful and charismatic personality of Jesus suddenly became visible. And naturally they were now threatened by the powerful charisma of Jesus. So they must do everything to hold on to their power.

But why where the Pharisees afraid to lose power? Perhaps they were afraid that people would discover the many skeletons in their closets. That’s why they plotted to kill Jesus for the reason that they saw in Jesus someone who will finally expose them to the light of righteousness.

In a family setting, there are some parents who act like modern day Pharisees. They would continue to dominate their children. They would try to stifle the freedom of their children at all cost. Even if their children are right they would make it appear that their children are wrong.

Who lose in the end? It’s their children because their domineering parents reared them to be subservient and dependent to them. They never gave them their rightful freedom. They never allowed them to spread their wings and be exposed to the realities of life.

To dominate a child is wrong and to dominate anyone for that matter is also wrong.     

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My Reflection for Wednesday April 9, Fifth Week of Lent, John 8:31-42

Gospel: John 8:31-42
31 Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." 33 They answered him, "We are descendants of Abraham, and have never been in bondage to any one. How is it that you say, `You will be made free'?" 34 Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not continue in the house for ever; the son continues for ever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me, because my word finds no place in you. 38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father." 39 They answered him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would do what Abraham did, 40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God; this is not what Abraham did. 41 You do what your father did." They said to him, "We were not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God." 42 Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded and came forth from God; I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.
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Reflection:
What will happen to us if we give space for the words of Jesus in our hearts? Of course we will start to build that special relationship with Jesus. We will start to trust Jesus more than we trust ourselves and we will also become averse with sin.

In our first reading, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego trusted more on their faith in God than  obey the command of the king. They were being forced by king Nebuchadnezzar to worship his own God. But until the end the three did not follow the king’s order so they were thrown into the hot furnace yet they were not hurt because God was with them.

This is what will happen to us also if we faithfully follow Jesus, yes there would be instances of persecution. But if we remain faithful then our being persecuted is nothing compared to the glory that awaits us. If there’s glory for those who would remain faithful, why are we not faithful to Jesus? Why do we easily betray Him for the fleeting and sinful pleasures of this world?  

This is so for the simple reason that we allow ourselves to succumb to the inducement of Satan. That’s how plain and simple it is, we give up Jesus for this world because we love this world more than we love Jesus.

As we approach the holiest of weeks let us reflect on how many times have we given up Jesus for the sinful pleasures of this world and what have we gained for giving up Jesus for this world? Nothing except the continuous pilling up of our problems.  This is what we gain for giving up Jesus for this world. 

But there's still hope for us all courtesy of that man on the cross.

Monday, April 7, 2014

My Reflection for Monday April 7, Fifth Week of Lent, John 8:1-11

Gospel: John 8:1-11
1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple; all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?" 6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." 8 And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus looked up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" 11 She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again."
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Reflection:
Do you easily condemn or are you quick to utter your words of condemnation to your fellowmen? For example you see a wrongful act, do you immediately judge them as good for nothing, as immoral and sinner?

The problem when we condemn is we immediately put the heavy weight of judgment of sin to our fellowmen. Without knowing first why they sinned. Many of those who sin are not bad per see, they commit sin because they are forced by the circumstances of life. If we offer a sinner a way out of their life of sin they would be more than willing to leave permanently behind their sinful lives.

When the woman in our gospel was caught in the act of adultery, she was immediately condemned by the Pharisees and scribes. And the punishment during that time for that kind of immorality was slow and painful death by stoning.      

But as always Jesus taught them something so that they could examine themselves also. HE said to them: "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her (John 8:7)." After hearing these crucial words from Jesus the Pharisees and scribes all walked away for they were all sinners like us.  Then Jesus said something very profound to the woman: “I will not condemn you, go and do not sin anymore (John 8:11).

These healing worlds of Jesus is still very much with us today and we will hear this when we humbly submit ourselves to the healing Sacrament of Confession. We must all remember that we are all sinners in the eyes of God and men. And as such we are all in dire need of the Devine mercy of Jesus.

If we have not been to the Sacrament of Confession yet this lent, there is still time for us to go to Confession. There is still time for us to be healed and forgiven from all of our wrongful actions by Jesus Himself.

Have you already humbly submitted yourself to this healing and forgiving sacrament? 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

My Reflection for April 6, Fifth Sunday of Lent; John 11:1-45

Gospel: John 11:1-45
1 Now a certain man was ill, Laz'arus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Laz'arus was ill. 3 So the sisters sent to him, saying, "Lord, he whom you love is ill." 4 But when Jesus heard it he said, "This illness is not unto death; it is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by means of it."

5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Laz'arus. 6 So when he heard that he was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. 7 Then after this he said to the disciples, "Let us go into Judea again." 8 The disciples said to him, "Rabbi, the Jews were but now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?" 9 Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any one walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of  this world. 10 But if any one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him." 11 Thus he spoke, and then he said to them, "Our friend Laz'arus has fallen asleep, but I go to awake him out of sleep." 12 The disciples said to him, "Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover." 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, "Laz'arus is dead; 15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him." 16 Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him."

17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Laz'arus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary sat in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have  died. 22 And even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you." 23 Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." 24 Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." 25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?"  27 She said to him, "Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world."

28 When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying quietly, "The Teacher is here and is calling for you." 29 And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Then Mary, when she came where Jesus was and saw him, fell at his feet, saying to him, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have  died." 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled; 34 and he said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to him, "Lord, come and see." 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews said, "See how he loved him!" 37 But some of them said, "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?"

38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb; it was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. 39 Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, "Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been  dead four days." 40 Jesus said to her, "Did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?" 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. 42 I knew that thou hearest me always, but I have said this on account of the people standing by, that they may believe that thou didst send me." 43 When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, "Laz'arus, come out." 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with bandages, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Unbind him, and let him  go." 45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him;
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Reflection:
A true friend is expected to help you even in  in your most difficult moments. And you could be assured that this true friend will help you in whatever way possible.

In our gospel for this Sunday the display of true friendship of Jesus and the siblings Martha, mary and Lazarus is very obvious. When the sisters were in need of help because of the death of their brother lazarus. Jesus went to them to re-assure them that He would be with them to help them in whatever way possible.

When Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave, He showed us that there is life and resurrection even if our physical body dies. There is hope even if we die but to have this resurrection and hope we must be friends first with Jesus. For it’s only through Him that we could have hope and resurrection.

Let us therefore develop our friendship with Jesus, let us discover more about Him. Through our faithful attendance at Holy Mass, through our daily reading of the scriptures and through our deep prayer life.

Just imagine if you’re a friend of Jesus, He will always be there for you even in your most difficult and darkness moments. He will always be there to give you that helping hand that no one of your friends could give you. He can even resurrect you from death to life.

Are you a friend of Jesus?