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

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Reflection for Monday September 1, Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time; Luke 4:16-30

Gospel: Luke 4:16-30
Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, “Is this not the son of Joseph?” He said to them, “Surely you will quote me this proverb, ‘Physician, cure yourself,’ and say, ‘Do here in your native place the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.’” And he said, “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land.

It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon. Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. But he passed through the midst of them and went away.
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Reflection:
Homecoming is always an event that we look forward to because of the warmth of the reception that we receive from our relatives and friends. Take for example if you’ve not been to your childhood place for a number of years. Just imagine the warm welcome that you’ll receive from your relatives and childhood friends. But not all homecoming are filled with warmth and welcoming people there are sad homecomings also.

Jesus was initially admired and was warmly received by His town mates for He spoke with brilliance. But when He spoke of something that His town mates did not like to hear the admiration turned to derision and the warm reception became cold as ice.  This led His town mates to drive Him away with dangerous intentions going to a hill. What a sad ending of His coming home, Jesus certainly did not expect this kind of sad homecoming.

But this is the reality of life, people will like us for as long as they like what we say even if what we say is already false for as long as its music to their ears. But when we talk about the truth they will not like us anymore. They will also drive us away as if we are carrying a contagious disease.  And the worst part is they may attempt to harm us.  

Nevertheless we must not be cowed from speaking the truth even if it will hurt those who will hear it. This is for the reason that by speaking the truth we correct what is wrong. And by speaking the truth we create awareness that good will always triumph over evil. - Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Cardinal Tagle Leads Lectio Divina at St Patrick's Cathedral Melbourne August 2014

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Reflection for Sunday August 31, Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time; Matthew 16:21-27

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Gospel: Matthew 16:21-27
Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised. Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me.  You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “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 will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?

Or what can one give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay all according to his conduct.”
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Reflection:
When do we have a true encounter with Jesus? It’s when we are burdened by the worries and suffering/s of this world this is where we have a personal encounter with Jesus. Never would we have a personal encounter with Jesus if we are enjoying the fruits of this world. It’s always through our worries and suffering that we have a true discernment of the presence of Jesus in our lives.

When Jesus told the disciples that he will go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed. Peter was adamant with his protestation, Peter even told Jesus, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” Why did Peter oppose this suffering statement of Jesus? Was he concerned of the welfare of Jesus? Or Peter was afraid that if Jesus would suffer and eventually die, they too would experience suffering/s because Jesus will not be with them anymore to protect them.   

Nonetheless, Jesus told them that if they really want to follow Him they must be ready to suffer and embrace suffering as well! For its only through suffering that they would be able to develop deep intimacy with Jesus. We would never develop a personal encounter with our Lord if we are averse with suffering and if we are enjoying life’s hedonism.

But reality bites! We would rather enjoy life than suffer or face hardship and we would rather enjoy life than truthfully follow Jesus. There are even some rich and even famous celebrities who chose to commit suicide than face their suffering/s.

It’s only through our suffering/s and trial/s that Jesus comes to our lives. It’s through our moments of defeat and persecution that the abiding presence of Jesus is clearer to us.  It’s when we carry our own cross that we feel that Jesus is walking with us and helping us to carry it. Let us never be afraid to face our sufferings and to carry our cross no matter how heavy and difficult. For we will be able to hurdle all of these trials if we invite Jesus to help us.

Are you going through some difficult moments in your life right now? Invite Jesus to come into your life and ask Jesus to heal you. He will never refuse you. - Marino J. Dasmarinas

Repleksyon para sa Agosto 31, Ika-22 na Linggo sa Karaniwang Panahon; Mateo 16:21-27

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Mabuting Balita: Mateo 16:21-27
Mula noon ay ipinaalam na ni Jesus sa kanyang mga alagad ang mangyayari sa kanya. Sinabi niya, "Dapat akong magtungo sa Jerusalem at magdanas ng maraming hirap sa kamay ng mga pinuno ng bayan, mga punong pari at mga tagapagturo ng Kautusan. Ako'y papatayin, ngunit sa ikatlong araw ako'y muling mabubuhay."

Dinala siya ni Pedro sa isang tabi at sinimulang pagalitan, "Panginoon, huwag nawang itulot ng Diyos! Kailanma'y hindi iyan mangyayari sa inyo." Ngunit hinarap siya ni Jesus at sinabihan, "Umalis ka sa harapan ko, Satanas! Hadlang ka sa aking landas. Ang iniisip mo'y hindi sa Diyos kundi sa tao." Sinabi ni Jesus sa kanyang mga alagad, "Ang sinumang nagnanais sumunod sa akin ay kinakailangang itakwil niya ang kanyang sarili, pasanin ang kanyang krus, at sumunod sa akin. Ang naghahangad na magligtas ng kanyang buhay ay mawawalan nito; ngunit ang mawalan ng kanyang buhay alang-alang sa akin ay magkakamit nito. Sapagkat ano ba ang mapapala ng isang tao makamtan man niya ang buong daigdig, ngunit mapapahamak naman ang kanyang sarili? Ano ba ang maibabayad ng isang tao para mabawi niya ang kanyang buhay? Sapagkat darating ang Anak ng Tao na kasama ang kanyang mga anghel, at taglay ang dakilang kapangyarihan ng kanyang Ama. Sa panahong iyo'y gagantimpalaan niya ang bawat tao ayon sa ginawa nito.
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Repleksyon:
Kailan po ba tayo nag kakaroon ng totoong ugnayan kay Jesus? Ito ay pag tayo ay pinahihirapan ng ating mga problema at pasakit sa buhay. Dito tayo nag kakaroon ng personal at mas malalim na ugnayan kay Jesus.  Hindi tayo mag kakaroon ng malalim na ugnayan kay Jesus pag tayo ay nag e enjoy sa mga kasaganahan ng mundo. Palaging sa pamamagitan ng ating mga problema at pasakit lamang mas lilinaw ang presenya ni Jesus sa ating mga buhay.    

Nang sinabi ni Jesus na siya ay magtutungo sa Jerusalem at magdadanas ng maraming hirap. Sa kamay ng mga pinuno ng bayan, mga punong pari mga tagapagturo ng Kautusan at papatayin. Ay nagalit sa kanya si Pedro at sinabi pa ni Pedro kay Jesus "Panginoon, huwag nawang itulot ng Diyos! Kailanma'y hindi iyan mangyayari sa inyo." Bakit nga ba ayaw ni Pedro sa mga pananalitang ito ni Jesus? Siya ba ay nag aalala sa kaligtasan ni Jesus? O baka naman nag aalala si Pedro na pag pinahirapan si Jesus at pinatay sila rin ay makakaranas ng pag hihirap?

Pero ganun paman ay sinabi ni Jesus sa kanila na kung talagang gusto nilang sumunod sa kanya.  Kailagan handa rin silang kalimutan ang kanilang mga sarili at mag pasan ng kanilang sariling krus. Dahil sa pamamagitan lamang nito sila makakasumpong ng malalim na ugnayan kay Jesus. Hindi tayo magkakaroon ng malalim na ugnayan kay Jesus kung ayaw nating yumakap sa ating mga pagsubok sa buhay at panay lang tayo sa pag papasarap dito sa mundo.

Pero mahirap layuan ang katotohanan na mas gusto pa natin na mag enjoy tayo sa mundong ito kaysa mag pasan ng ating krus at harapin ang ating mga pagsubok at sumunod kay Jesus. Meroon pa nga diyan na mga mayayaman at kilalang mga personalidad na dahil sa ayaw nilang mag pasan ng kanilang krus at harapin ang kanilang mga pagsubok sa buhay ay mas ginusto pa nila na tapusin nalang ang kanilang buhay sa pamamagitan ng pag su suicide.   

Sa pamamagitan lamang po ng ating pagdaan at pagharap sa ating mga pagsubok mas makikilala natin si Jesus. Sa pamamagitan lamang po nito mas magiging malinaw sa atin na kasama pala natin si Jesus sa pag pasan ng ating krus at hindi niya pala tayo iniiwan.

Huwag tayong matakot na harapin ang ating mga pagsubok at mag pasan ng ating krus gaano man ito kahirap at kabigat. Sa dahilan na malalampasan din natin ito pag humingi tayo ng tulong kay Jesus.   

Ikaw ba ay dumadaan sa mabigat na pag subok ngayon? Manalagin ka kay Jesus at hingin mo sa kanya ang kanyang tulong dahil  hindi ka niya pababayaan. - Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for Saturday August 30, Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time; Matthew 25:14-30

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Gospel: Matthew 25:14-30
(Jesus told his disciples this parable) “A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one–to each according to his ability. Then he went away. Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five. Likewise, the one who received two made another two. But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money. After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them. The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I have made two more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’ His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter? Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return? Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten. For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’”
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Reflection:
I’ve been blogging for several years now, I have no formal training in writing. When I was just starting doing this blog I could hardly write. And there were times I said to myself, why not simply stop writing this reflections because I felt that I was not made to write. I also often commit grammatical and punctuation mistakes which continues up to this very moment. A few weeks ago I also resumed posting the audio of my reflections on youtube. I did this even if I have difficulty with proper pronunciation. 

Nevertheless I also said to myself, this is the talent that God has entrusted me, I have to do something with this talent. So I continued even if I could hardly write sentences and paragraphs and even if there were many mistakes on punctuation, grammar and pronunciation.

As I struggle to write these reflections I also noticed improvements. I can now write several paragraphs. My grammatical and punctuation mistakes had been reduced although up to know I still commit mistakes but not as severe as before.

The shortcoming of the third servant in our gospel is he kept to himself what was given to him by his Lord. He could have invested it, he could have done something to make it grow but he never did because of his fear for his Lord. If we allow our fears to conquer us it will eventually paralyze us and it will prevent us from becoming fruitful children of God.

Each and everyone of us was given by the Good Lord talents according to our abilities. Let us make the most of this talent/s that He has given us by using it for His greater glory. Let us not be discouraged by our limitations and struggles for God is always there to guide and help us.   

What is the talent that the Good Lord entrusted you? Use it not only for your own advancement, use it also to advance His kingdom in this world. - Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for Friday August 29, the Passion of Saint John the Baptist; Mark 6:17-29

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Gospel: Mark 6:17-29
Herod was the one who had John the Baptist arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married. John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so. Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody. When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him. She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee. Herodias’ own daughter came in and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.” He even swore many things to her, “I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom.” She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.” The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request, “I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her. So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head. He went off and beheaded him in the prison. He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl. The girl in turn gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
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Reflection:
Would we have the courage to denounce the immorality of the rich and powerful? I think that we will think hard and ponder about the consequence of our action. Or perhaps we will not have the courage to speak against it for fear of being rebuked or killed.

John the Baptist is a man of courage for he did not fear speaking against the immorality of King Herod and  Herodias. John told them that it was wrong for them to have a relationship because Herodias was married to his brother Philip. And by speaking about what was moral and true John was imprisoned and eventually beheaded.

There comes a time in our lives that we need to make a stand or speak against what is wrong and immoral. This is for the reason that it is only through this that we will let others know what is wrong with what they are doing.  To remain silent against wrongdoing is never an option because how could we correct a wrong if we will just be silent? How would others know that what they are doing is wrong if we will remain silent? It’s like we are consenting to what is wrong if we will pretend to hear no evil  and see no evil.

We therefore have to speak-out this does not necessarily mean that we will be angry and there would be shouting and cursing. We can speak-out in a civil manner to those whom we perceive to be at fault. What is important is we speak-out and we let others know that we are not consenting to their actions.

Like John the Baptist, let us also have the courage to denounce anything that is wrong. We can do this by speaking to the concerned individual/s with civility and without trying to imply that we are more powerful and superior than them. - Marino J. Dasmarinas

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Reflection for Thursday August 28, Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church; Matthew 24:42-51

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Gospel: Matthew 24:42-51
(Jesus said to his disciples) “Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come. “Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so. Amen, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property. But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is long delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eat and drink with drunkards, the servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”
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Reflection:
What are we going to do if we’re assigned a responsibility? We will do whatever it takes to properly accomplish the responsibility immediately.  There will be no dilly dally we will immediately do what we have to do because this is the responsibility given to us.

In our gospel for today Jesus tells the disciples: Be prepared for the son of man will come at an hour you do not expect. What kind of preparation did Jesus wants from His disciples? Of course it is to live their lives the way Jesus lived His life, this they could achieve through their humility, their concern for the poor and by living their lives in the service of others.

How should we prepare for the coming of Jesus? Should we prepare by making ourselves busy on how to increase our material wealth? Of course not! The preparation that Jesus speaks about is the same preparation that He required from His disciples. So that when He knocks we would be able to let Him enter our lives.

Therefore, we must not always busy ourselves on how to increase our wealth. For material wealth is not the be all and end all of life.  The best preparation for the coming of Jesus into our lives is to create time for Him no matter how busy we are for this is the only way we could prepare for His coming.    

How are we preparing for the coming of Jesus? - Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for Wednesday August 27, Saint Monica; Matthew 23:27-32

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Gospel: Matthew 23:27-32
(Jesus said) “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth. Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the memorials of the righteous, and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’ Thus you bear witness against yourselves that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets; now fill up what your ancestors measured out!”
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Reflection:
There is a story of a woman who was swept off her feet by her handsome and rich suitor. To make a long story short she married this handsome and rich man. After a few months the many irresponsible behaviors of this man started to unravel before her. Then she said to herself, if only I did not allow myself to be smitten by his external appearance I would have been able to avoid this man.

Like in yesterday’s gospel Jesus is again criticizing the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees because they are only good at what others see on them. They neglect the most important requirement of Jesus none other than interior transformation.

Jesus would not have minded if the scribes and Pharisees were not able to measure-up to their self-created external standards. For as long as they go through interior cleansing and do away with whatever that would make them sin. But they refused to acknowledge the constructive criticism of Jesus, they even have the temerity to take it against Jesus that’s why they plotted to kill Him.

Somehow many of us are not alien to this self-seeking behavior of the scribes and Pharisees. Be presentable outside but neglect the more important aspect of life which is interior cleansing and transformation. All is not lost nevertheless, we still have time to hear and act to this call of Jesus.- Marino J. Dasmarinas

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Reflection for Tuesday August 26, Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time; Matthew 23:23-26

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Gospel: Matthew 23:23-26
Jesus said: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity. But these you should have done, without neglecting the others. Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel!

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean.”
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Reflection:
Why do we follow Jesus? Do we follow Him because we are obliged by our faith or we follow Him because of our deep love for Him? When we follow Jesus because we see it as our obligation; it does not create a deep transformation within us. We simply follow for the reason that it creates a positive self-image for us and it ends with the positive self-image: No interior cleansing and transformation.

When we follow Jesus because we love Him, we allow the love of Jesus to deeply transform us. For example if we follow Jesus because we love Him, we will be forgiving, we will not store hatred in our hearts. And we will abhor anything that is bad and evil because we give Jesus the freehand to transform us.

Our discipleship with Jesus must always be rooted in our love for Him and not because this is dictated by our faith. For this is what true discipleship is all about, a discipleship that creates a very deep transformation within our being.

Let us therefore examine ourselves and reflect for we may be only following Jesus because we are obliged by our faith or even by our position in the church and community. If this is so it’s about time that we allow Jesus to interiorly renew us. 

This would only commence when we forgive those who’ve hurt us. When we are willing to build bridges than walls and when we humble ourselves before those whom we've hurt by asking for their forgiveness. - Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Reflection for Monday August 25, Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time; Matthew 23:13-22

Gospel: Matthew  23:13-22
Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men. You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You traverse sea and land to make one convert, and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna twice as much as yourselves.

“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If one swears by the temple, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.’ Blind fools, which is greater, the gold, or the temple that made the gold sacred? And you say, ‘If one swears by the altar, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.’ You blind ones, which is greater, the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it; one who swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it; one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who is seated on it.”
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Reflection:
Do we allow our faith to transform us the way Jesus wants it? For example the teaching of Jesus on how many times we must forgive (Matthew 18:21). Do we follow this teaching that says that we must always be forgiving or do we put limitations and conditions before we forgive? Or we appear to forgive but deep in our hearts we still keep this deep seated hatred toward others?

Jesus in our gospel condemns in strongest terms the scribes and Pharisees because they teach but they themselves don’t follow what they teach. They do mission to convert people to their faith. But when they are already converted they condition and indoctrinate their minds for them to follow whatever they say even if it is already against the morals of God and society. By doing so the followers don’t anymore follow the teachings of God but the self-created teachings of their leaders.

What Jesus wants for us is to lead by example; we mean what we say and do what we say. We must not only put lip service to what we say and profess. For example if we say we follow Jesus it is incumbent upon us to be humble, to be forgiving and not to be judgmental. To always lead others to the teachings of Jesus and not to manipulate them by using Jesus.  

Do we truly follow Jesus? - Marino J. Dasmarinas

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Reflection for Sunday August 24, Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time; Matthew 16:13-20

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Gospel: Matthew 16:13-20
Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.
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Reflection:
Do we boast about the things that we do and own? For example we post on facebook the things that we own or the beautiful places that we’ve been through with the motive of letting others know about who we are. Do we boast about how intelligent we are and how profound our knowledge about Jesus and the catholic faith?

The intellect that we have and everything that we have we did not earn by your own effort alone. The Good Lord has a hand on what we know and what we have today. Even our personal success we did not earn it by our own effort, the Good Lord has His hand on it also.

In our gospel today, Peter hit the jackpot when he correctly answered this question of Jesus, “Who do you say that I am?” But Jesus immediately told Peter that it was not through his own intellect that he know Jesus for it was God who enlightened him to know the real identity of Jesus.

We can perhaps relate with this statement of Jesus to Peter. Because there may be times that we boast also about who we are and what we know and have. Jesus reminds us that everything is a gift and grace from the good Lord. Who we are today or how successful we are today is God’s gift to us. That’s why we must not allow ourselves to be carried away by our success no matter how big. 

The Catholic church that we have today was founded by Jesus through Peter. Jesus did not do it because Peter was the favored one or because Peter was always in the thick of things in the life of Jesus. Peter was chosen for the simple reason that it was the will of God and not Peter’s will.

We must therefore stay humble and we must continue to firmly plant our feet on the ground. No matter how successful we are for everything is a gift from God and everything emanates from God’s good will. - Marino J. Dasmarinas

Repleksyon para sa Agosto 24, Ika-21 na Linggo sa Karaniwang Panahon; Mateo 16:13-20

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Mabuting Balita: Mateo 16:13-20
Nang dumating si Jesus sa bayan ng Cesarea ng Filipos, tinanong niya ang kanyang mga alagad, "Ano ang sinasabi ng mga tao patungkol sa Anak ng Tao?" At sumagot sila, "Ang sabi po ng ilan kayo si Juan na Tagapagbautismo. Sabi po naman ng iba, kayo si Elias. At may nagsasabi pong kayo si Jeremias, o isa sa mga propeta." Tinanong ulit sila ni Jesus, "Ngunit para sa inyo, sino ako?" Sumagot si Simon Pedro, "Kayo po ang Cristo, ang Anak ng Diyos na buhay." Sinabi sa kanya ni Jesus, "Mapalad ka, Simon na anak ni Jonas! Sapagkat ang katotohanang ito'y hindi inihayag sa iyo ng sinumang tao kundi ng aking Ama na nasa langit. At sinasabi ko sa iyo, ikaw ay Pedro, at sa ibabaw ng batong ito ay itatayo ko ang aking iglesya at ang pintuan ng daigdig ng mga patay ay hindi magtatagumpay laban sa kanya. Ibibigay ko sa iyo ang mga susi ng kaharian ng langit. Ang ipagbawal mo sa lupa ay ipagbabawal sa langit, at ang ipahintulot mo sa lupa ay ipahihintulot din sa langit." At mahigpit niyang iniutos sa kanyang mga alagad na huwag sabihin kaninuman na siya nga ang Cristo.
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Repleksyon:
Ipinagmamalaki po ba natin ang mga bagay na ginagawa natin at ang mga kayamanan natin? Halimbawa po ay inilalagay natin ito sa facebook hindi para ipakita lamang kundi para ipagmalaki natin at para malaman ng mga kaibigan natin kung sino tayo at kung ano ang ating mga ginagawa. Ipinagmamalaki din po ba natin kung gaano tayo katalino at kung gaano kalalim ang ating kaalaman kay Jesus at sa ating simbahan?

Ang ating talino at kung ano mang bagay o kayaman na mayroon tayo ay hindi natin  naabot sa pamamagitan ng ating sarili lamang.  Ang Panginoon ay ang siyang nag bigay sa atin kung ano man ang mayroon tayo ngayon. Kahit na ang  ating mga tagumpay sa buhay ito ay hindi natin naabot sa pamamagitan lamang ng ating kakayahan ang Panginoon ang siyang nag bigay sa atin nito.

Nang mag tanong si Jesus sa mga alagad kung sino siya para sa kanila. Ito ay nasagot ni Pedro ng sinabi niya na kayo po ang Cristo, ang Anak ng Diyos na buhay. Ngunit kaagad sinabi ni Jesus kay Pedro, “Ang katotohanang ito'y hindi inihayag sa iyo ng sinumang tao kundi ng aking Ama na nasa langit.”

Marahil po ay makakarelate din tayo sa sinabing ito ni Jesus kay Perdo. Sa dahilan na may mga pagkakataon din na ipinag mamalaki din natin kung sino tayo, kung ano ang meron tayo at kung gaano tayo katalino. Ipinaaalala din sa atin ni Jesus na ang lahat ay regalo at grasya mula sa Diyos. Kung sino tayo ngayon at kung gaano tayo kamatagumpay ngayon, itong lahat ay galing din sa Diyos.

Ang simbahan na mayroon tayo ngayon ay itinatag ni Jesus sa pamamagitan ni Pedro. Hindi ito ginawa ni Jesus dahil malapit sa kanya si Pedro o dahil palaging nandoon si Pedro sa buhay ni Jesus. Pinili si Pedro sa dahilang ito ang gusto ng Panginoong Diyos at hindi dahil ito yung gustong mangyari ni Pedro.

Kaya dapat po tayo ay palaging nag papakumbaba at palagi nakaapak ang ating mga paa sa lupa. Kahit na gaano man tayo kamatagumpay sa buhay. Sa dahilan na ang lahat ay regalo at mula sa grasya ng Panginoong Diyos. - Marino J. Dasmarinas

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Reflection for Saturday August 23, Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time; Matthew 23:1-12

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Gospel: Matthew 23:1-12
Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them. All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’ As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’ You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called ‘Master’; you have but one master, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
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Reflection:
Should we aspire for greatness in our service for Jesus and our fellowmen? No, because the moment we aspire for greatness we are not anymore serving Jesus and our fellowmen. We are rather feeding our own egos and personal agendas, whatever our personal agendas are.

Many of us including church people as well as politicians fail in this aspect of true servanthood. For the reason that instead of giving true service we accompany it with our own selfish motives. Why are we offering our free service to the church? Is it purely to serve, or we may have hidden motives in serving the church. Same with politicians during campaign they would always offer themselves as servants, but after they’ve won we could hardly see them anymore.

Jesus is teaching us that if we truly want to serve we must be ready to forget ourselves or forget who we are. We walk our talk without complaining whatsoever. We silently do what we have to do not minding if we would be rewarded for what we do for this is what servanthood is all about.

Let us not worry if we are not cited for whatever noble undertaking that we do. God is not sleeping He sees everything and knows everything. - Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for Friday August 22, The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary; Luke 1:26-38

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Gospel: Luke 1:26-38
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. He went in and said to her, 'Rejoice, you who enjoy God's favor! The Lord is with you.' She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, 'Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God's favor. Look! You are to conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.'

Mary said to the angel, 'But how can this come about, since I have no knowledge of man?' The angel answered, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. And I tell you this too: your cousin Elizabeth also, in her old age, has conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.'

Mary said, 'You see before you the Lord's servant, let it happen to me as you have said.' And the angel left her.
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Reflection:
Sometimes there are situation/s in life that will disturb our peace, for example a sudden diagnoses of ailment. But in the midst of this life disturbances let us not forget that the good Lord is always there for us. To comfort us, to give us hope and to assure us that everything will be OK for as long as we hold-on to Him.

When the angel Gabriel appeared and greeted the Blessed Mother she was naturally concerned about it, who would not be? Perhaps the Blessed Mother told herself, Why did this angel appeared to me? What would this angel bring me; a trial that is hard for me to bear?

But the angel told the Blessed Mother that she would bear a son and His name is Jesus. The angel further said that she has nothing to worry because the Lord will take care of her. And the Blessed Mother humbly accepted her fate and entrusted it to our merciful Lord.

Whatever we are going through right now or we might go through in the future. Be it sickness or severe trial that may test our fidelity to Jesus, let us hold-on to our deep faith in Jesus. For as long as we have faith there will be hope and deliverance from all of life’s challenges.

As the Blessed Mother entrusted her fate to the good Lord we too must learn to submit to God’s will for ourselves. Let us never worry for Jesus is always there for us and never will He abandon us.

Do we always submit to the wisdom of God? - Marino J. Dasmarinas

Monday, August 18, 2014

Reflection for Thursday August 21, Saint Pius X, Pope; Matthew 22:1-14

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Gospel: Matthew 22:1-14
Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and the elders of the people in parables saying, “The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. A second time he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast.” Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then the king said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.’ The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to meet the guests he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. He said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’ But he was reduced to silence. Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’ Many are invited, but few are chosen.”
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Reflection:
Jesus compared The Kingdom of heaven to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. When it was the day of the wedding feast none of the invited guest arrived for they all had their preoccupations. How could they refuse the graciousness of the king?

The kingdom of heaven and the wedding feast that Jesus speaks about is within our midst which is the celebration of the Holy Mass.  And just like the king who invited guest, Jesus is inviting us also to be present at Holy Mass most especially during Sundays. But do we make time for Holy Mass to partake of the Body of Christ?

Like going to a wedding banquet where the invited guests prepare their most elegant clothes. Do we prepare ourselves before going to Holy Mass by having prior knowledge of the gospel and the other readings?

In our gospel, the expected guest refused the invitation of the king so the king was disheartened by their refusal. The king then instructed his servants to go out again and invite anyone (bad and good alike) they could find and many came to the wedding banquet and ate to their hearts content.     

Perhaps, many of us do not also honor this invitation of Jesus to be present at Holy Mass. Why? Is it because we are also busy like the invited guest in the gospel? We are missing heaven on earth when we refuse to honor this invitation of Jesus for us to go to His wedding banquet which is none other than the celebration of Holy Mass.

Do we always listen to this invitation of Jesus? - Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for Wednesday August 20, Saint Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church; Matthew 20:1-16

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Gospel: Matthew 20:1-16
Jesus told his disciples this parable: “The Kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. Going out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.’ So they went off. And he went out again around noon, and around three o’clock, and did likewise. Going out about five o’clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’ When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.’ When those who had started about five o’clock came, each received the usual daily wage. So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us,  who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’ He said to one of them in reply, ‘My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?’ Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
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Reflection:
God thinks differently from how we think and God decides not based on how we decide.

 It seems that the landowner is unfair this is for the reason that He payed the workers the same amount regardless of how much time they’ve labored in his vineyard. Was he really unfair to the other workers who worked for longer hours?

The landowner was simply generous and fair for he paid everyone based on what they’ve agreed upon.   It did not matter to him who worked early in the day and who worked late in the day. What was important for him was he paid justly and generously to everyone who worked in his vineyard.

We can’t help but compare God’s generosity compared to ours if at all we are generous. If God doesn’t count the cost we count the cost and if God is generous we are often times not generous. If we discriminate God doesn’t discriminate whomever we are, what is important for God is we respond to His invitation.  

God doesn’t look at how sinful we are, God doesn’t look at how early and late we respond to His call of repentance. What is important for God is we respond to His call of renewal no matter how late. All of us whomever we are are being invited by God to walk away from our sins and follow Him.

How would we respond to this call of God? - Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for Tuesday August 19, Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time; Matthew 19:23-30

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Gospel: Matthew 19:23-30
Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, 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.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For men this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Then Peter said to him in reply, “We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”
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Reflection:
The recent suicide of Robin Williams tells us that fame and fortune is not a guaranty to have inner peace and serenity. We may have all the material wealth of this world but it amounts to nothing if we are without inner peace.

In our gospel Jesus said to the disciples, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven. This was in reference to the rich man in our gospel yesterday (Matthew 19:16-22) who couldn’t give-up his treasures in favor of the poor and his discipleship with Jesus. That rich man was actually invited by Jesus to become his follower but he declined the glorious offer because he held-on to his wealth.

It’s not actually bad to be rich it becomes a hazard to our well-being when we make our riches our God. That we are not willing to let it go for anything even for the sake of the kingdom of God. Therefore, when we are so in-love with our fleeting wealth we become capable of doing anything that Jesus abhors.  

That’s why Jesus said in our gospel that 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. Because the more that we get richer the more that we distance ourselves from the love of Jesus yet the more that we give away our riches  the more that we become fit for the kingdom of God.

God created us to freely aspire for His kingdom in heaven and not to be permanently imprisoned by our riches in  this world. - Marino J. Dasmarinas

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Reflection for Monday August 18, Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time; Matthew 19:16-22

Gospel: Matthew 19:16-22
A young man approached Jesus and said, “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?” He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He asked him, “Which ones?” And Jesus replied, “You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; honor your father and your mother; and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
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Reflection:
So near and yet so far, perhaps this was the predicament of the man who asked Jesus on what must he do to have eternal life. He already did everything that was asked of him until Jesus told him to sell everything in his pessession and give the proceeds to the poor then follow Him. The man quietly walked away for the reason that he couldn’t let go of his many earthly possession.

Somehow this man represents all of us we who find it very hard to let go of our earthly possession in favor of helping others and the kingdom of God. What is with wealth that we cannot let go? We cannot bring it to our graves we cannot even possess it anymore when we are already old for someone will possess it for us or even hide it from us.

Saint Francis of Asisi was from a noble and rich family he gave-up everything to the poor so that he could follow God’s will for him.  God’s will for us also is to give-up our riches so that others may live from it. This is very hard to do that requires radical change of mindset for us to fully embrace it.

Perhaps if we are not willing to give-up everything because we also have our own family to feed and take care of. We can give something for the poor  because it’s only through giving-up of something that we treasure in this world that we could follow Jesus.    

Are we like the young man in our gospel who walked away from Jesus because he had many possessions? Or we are like Saint Francis of Asisi who gave-up everything to the poor so that he could follow God’s will for him. - Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for Sunday August 17, Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time; Matthew 15:21-28

Gospel: Matthew 15:21-28
At that time, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.” But Jesus did not say a word in answer to her. Jesus’ disciples came and asked him, “Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.” He said in reply, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But the woman came and did Jesus homage, saying, “Lord, help me.” He said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” Then Jesus said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And the woman’s daughter was healed from that hour.
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Reflection:
How do we define our faith in Jesus? It’s when we don’t give-up on what we want from Jesus. We continuously badger Him until He gives in to our prayer request for Him.

The Canaanite woman had this kind of faith, she never gave-up on her prayer request for Jesus to heal her daughter tormented by a demon. There were many obstacles against her foremost of this was her being not a Jew but it did not matter to her. She persisted and she even argued with Jesus until she passed Jesus’ examination of her faith on Him. After which her daughter was healed by Jesus.

This gospel relates with our own journey of faith in Jesus also. We could be that Canaanite woman who badgered Jesus no end until she got the healing that she wants for her daughter.

 However, unlike the woman from Canaan who persisted until the very end we may not have the will to badger Jesus. We may have quit already and said to ourselves, I give-up on my prayer for Jesus because He seems to be deaf. What we do not know is it's just a part of the testing of our faith.

Every trial that we go through is our own test of faith we may be going through some trials right now. We may be asking ourselves, why am I going through this difficulties? Let us not  give-up and let us continue to have faith in Jesus. - Marino J. Dasmarinas