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

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Reflection for December 31, Thursday; Seventh day within the Octave of the Nativity of the Lord; John 1:1-18

Gospel: John 1:1-18
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God.

And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only-begotten Son, full of grace and truth. John testified to him and cried out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’” From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only-begotten Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.
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Reflection:
Before the process of creation there was already God (Genesis Chapters 1 and 2) He is the same God who knocks in our hearts; who wants to permanently dwell in our lives, He is the same God who always tells us that we must always do good and be His light in this world.

John was the precursor for Jesus, he prepared the way for Jesus with all humility; he rightfully deflected all the attention that was being given to him when he said: "I am not the Christ and I am not even worthy to untie His sandals strap (John 1:27)."

Do we zealously follow the example of John?
  
It is always thru our daily lives that Jesus is best seen through us: The way we talk the way we behave. Most especially when nobody is looking at us and it is through these unguarded moments that Jesus is truly made visible through us.

John lived his life with one sole purpose and that is to prepare the way of the Lord. There was no pretension nor double speak he humbly lived his purpose driven life for Jesus.  As we near the end of this year and we begin the forthcoming year. We are challenged by the gospel to let the light of Christ shine brightly in our lives with no pretension and no ulterior motives.

Finally, before we depart 2015 let us reflect on the things that we’ve done to advance the mission of Jesus. Have we become His light in this world? Have we enlightened others about the true light that is Jesus?

May you all have a prosperous, meaningful and Christ filled 2016 and God bless you all! – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Reflection for December 30, Wednesday; Sixth day within the Octave of the Nativity of the Lord; Luke 2:36-40

Gospel: Luke 2:36-40
There was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.
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Reflection:
What should we do to grow in wisdom about God? We should invest time with God. This is the secret on how to grow in wisdom about God. The prophetess Anna was eighty four years old, because of her advance age she could have simply stayed in their house, take things easy and do things her way but she did not.

She invested the remaining years of her life with God she stayed in the temple she fasted and prayed there. No wonder she was filled with wisdom about God, if she did not spend time with God she surely wouldn’t be wisdom filled.

Where do we spend most of our time in this world right now? Do we spend most our time by chasing the many pleasures of this world and we only give God a little of our time if at all we give God our time?

 When are we going to spend more time with God? When we are already sickly and old for the reason that we are already retired and in need of God for the reason of our sickness? Let us not wait to grow old before we take God seriously, let us not wait for us to get sickly before we invest time with God.  Let us give God our time right now while we are young and strong.

The mistake of many is they only go to God when they are already old and sickly. Some would even say this; I will serve God now because I am already retired and have nothing to do anymore. 

In our gospel the prophetess Anna was a constant presence in the temple she worshipped God day and night with fasting and prayer. Did she only give her time for God when she became old? Of course not! Even when she was younger she was already a fervent worshipper of God.

How about you when are you giving some of your precious time for God? The best time to invest with God is now not tomorrow, not in the coming days or months but now. For we don’t know what may happen to our tomorrow we have to seize the moment now and lean towards God now.  

Are you willing to give God some of your time right now? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Reflection for December 29, Tuesday; Fifth Day within the Octave of the Nativity of the Lord; Luke 2:22-35

Gospel: Luke 2:22-35
When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.  This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

“Lord, now let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled: my own eyes have seen the salvation which you prepared in the sight of every people, a light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
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Reflection:
Do you feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life?

Surely the Holy Spirit was with Simeon because he knew beforehand the destiny of Jesus. Not everyone is given the kind of wisdom that Simeon has. Let us take a look how the gospel reading described Simeon: “This man was righteous and devote (Luke 2:25).” We know now the hidden secret on how to have the grace of the Holy Spirit—we have to be righteous and devout.

Righteousness in terms of what? Righteousness in terms of how you live, you have to be morally upright at all times. You don’t have to do wrong or compromise with whatever is wrong.  This is hard to do initially but as you live and practice righteousness you would notice that it will become part of your system already. Thus you will now slowly but surely detest whatever forms of sin and evil.

You also have to be devout in the observance of your faith. When it’s time for Holy Mass you have to leave everything behind for your highest form of worship for God. Same as when it’s time for your private moment with God through personal and structured prayers. Your devoutness to your faith will always bring you closer to Jesus. Thus you will always feel the presence of Jesus in every minute of your life.

The Holy Spirit will not be upon you if you continue to sin and do things that are against the will of God. It is a gift that God the giver of the Holy Spirit freely gives to those who are open to receive it.

Aspire to be righteous and devout and see the positive transformation that it will create in your life and in the lives of those around you. – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Reflection for Sunday December 27, Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph; Luke 2:41-52

Gospel: Luke 2:41-52
Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man.
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Reflection:
How’s your family today?

Today we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family a very appropriate feast for our times today. The families of today are a lot more different from the families of yesteryear. I think there are more broken families today; I think the family of today is constantly under attack from various secular environments.

Father Patrick Peyton the famous rosary priest has beautifully said: “The family that prays together stays together.” This was more than fifthly (50) years ago when families were still conservative and closely knit. Today we seldom see families going to Mass together everyone in the family nowadays have their own personal activities that tend to destroy the close bond of the family.

Today there’s the influence of the internet everyone in the family now has its own smart phone and tablet that keeps family members selfish and busy. Fifthly, thirty or even twenty years ago there was no internet and smart phones families were so simple then; so unlike of the modern and complicated families of today.

So what should we do to bring back the close bond of the family and to prevent families from breaking apart?  We have to infuse back prayers and worship for God in the family. How many families are still praying the Rosary today? How many families are still worshipping Jesus at Holy Mass today?

The domestic church that is, our respective families are under attack today. By whom? By the devil disguised as a hi-tech gadget such as smart phones, tablets and the like. High tech gadgets are not evil per se, it becomes evil when we allow it to control and enslave us. 

We must do our humble share to re-energies our respective families and we could only do this if we will put Jesus at the center of our family. Nowadays many families are somewhat hesitant to put or adopt Jesus as a member of their family they instead willingly adopt the many inducement of the world. That is why there are many families that are breaking apart.

Let us invite Jesus to become a member of our family and the first step that we must do is to faithfully go to Holy Mass and live the valuable teachings that it bestows upon us.

How’s your family today? – Marino J. Dasmarinas    

Friday, December 25, 2015

Reflection for December 26, Saturday; Saint Stephen the first martyr; Matthew 10:17-22

Gospel: Matthew 10:17-22
Jesus said to his disciples: “Beware of men, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.”
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Reflection:
During this season of Christmas we savor the many good things about life. Such as food, gifts and other beautiful things that will satisfy us. But there will come a time that we will be called to live our faith to the fullest. This simply means that we’ll have to witness for our love and faith for Jesus. This witness for Jesus may require us to pass through hard times or it may even require us to even give our very own life.

Saint Stephen the first martyr of the church whose martyrdom we remember today. Is one of those who witnessed for Jesus until the very end of his life. He advanced the faith and did great things in the name of Jesus. But he was eventually savagely killed for witnessing for Jesus.

In this modern time of internet and other modern gadgets we are still called to witness for our faith in Jesus. We are called to use every means available so that Jesus will become more relevant. More relevant in the hearts and minds of the modern people of today most especially the young ones for they are the future of the church.

Have we already witnessed for Jesus? Have we already been persecuted for our love for Jesus? Let us not be disheartened if we’ve been through these tests of faith for these are part and parcel of our witness and discipleship for Jesus. Let us make Jesus more relevant today as what Saint Stephen did during his time. Let us not be afraid of the severe consequences that may befall us.

We have nothing to fear if Jesus is with us. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for December 25, Friday; Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord- Christmas Day; John 1:1-18

Gospel: John 1:1-18
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God. And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth. John testified to him and cried out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’” From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.
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Reflection:
During Christmas there are two primary mindsets that are in our mind: The mindset of receiving and the mindset of giving or making a positive difference in the lives of others. The mindset of receiving creates a feeling of expectation and excitement.

The mindset of giving creates a burning desire within us which is fuelled by Jesus Himself. We give something that comes from our heart we give something that would be very useful and meaningful to the receiver. We don’t only give for the sake of giving.  

Today God gave us His Son Jesus the word that became flesh that dwelt amongst us. The light that shines in the darkness, the light that gives life, enlightenment and direction.

The true essence of Christmas is the mindset of giving; it doesn’t matter if we don’t receive anything for so long as we give. This is what God wants us to do; to learn how to give as He had given us His only begotten son so we must give. 

What a big difference will it make to a very poor family this Christmas if we will give them something to eat (not from our excess!). What a huge difference will it make if we will give them something to wear (not from our surplus!).

A few more hours Christmas Day will be over. Have you already given something very meaningful something that would bring the receiver closer to Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Reflection for December 24, Thursday of the Fourth Week of Advent; Luke 1:67-79

Gospel: Luke 1:67-79
Zechariah his father, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied, saying:

“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; for he has come to his people and set them free. He has raised up for us a mighty Savior, born of the house of his servant David. Through his prophets he promised of old that he would save us from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us.He promised to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant. This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to set us free from the hand of our enemies, free to worship him without fear, holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life. You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way, to give his people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins. In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
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Reflection:
Do you acknowledge the many blessings that God has given you? For example: The air that you breathe, your loving family, the good health that you have and there are many more blessings that God showered you. Do you always remember to thank the Lord for all these blessings?  Or you are already used to these blessing that it becomes ordinary for you already.

The devil would always lure us to get busy with worldly things so that we would eventually forget God. So what are the results? We will not anymore fear God, we will lose our guilt of conscience. We will therefore mindlessly commit sin such as abortion,  infidelity and many more sins against God.

Zechariah was well aware of the many blessings that God has showered him and his family that’s why he praised Him. In good times and in bad he never walked away from God he remained faithful to Him. We must also be fully aware of the many blessings that God has been showering us. And we must always be grateful for all of these blessings by sharing it with those who are poor.

As I was roaming around the market to buy little food for Christmas, I saw a husband being guided by his wife. Both were old and thin and obviously very poor. I went to them and silently gave them a little from my heart. I did not receive any material thing in return from them. But   got the purest smile and sincerest thank you from both of them.

Then, they proceeded to begging for anything that they could have for Christmas. As I walked away from them a tear fell from my eyes I don’t know if it was a tear of sadness or joy. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Reflection for December 22, Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Advent; Luke 1:57-66

Gospel: Luke 1:57-66
When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her. When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, “No. He will be called John.” But they answered her, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God. Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, “What, then, will this child be? For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.”
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Reflection:
Do you have a prayer before the Lord? Do you follow the will of the Lord for your life?

The pious couple of Zechariah and Elizabeth had a prayer before the Lord and their prayer was for them to have a child. After a long period of time their prayer was granted by the good Lord for they were given the gift of a child. Thus, it was an answered prayer for the pious couple.

But that is not the end of the story, the good Lord through an angel told the couple to name the child John. And so they named him John contradicting the wishes of their relatives and perhaps the custom of naming a child after their parents. The pious couple of John and Elizabeth followed the will of the Lord and named the child John which means gracious gift of God.

What is the implication of the gospel for your life?

You have to be persevering and persistent in your prayer. And you should not waver for God rewards those who persevere and those who are persistent. It may take time for your prayers to be granted but it surely will be granted not based on your own time but based on God’s time. 

Oftentimes you want to chart your own destiny, your own personal journey and somehow through your hard work you were able to achieve what you want. Yet there is still that void and emptiness. Why? This is for the reason that you carved your own destiny, your own personal journey. You did not follow God’s will for you, the God who has been manifesting in your life. The same God who has been silently speaking to you though the events of your life. 

If only you would learn to be persevering in your prayer. If only you would follow God’s will for you. There surely will be no more emptiness in your life and you will not be longing for anything more in your life. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Reflection for December 22, Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Advent; Luke 1:46-56

Gospel: Luke 1:46-56
Mary said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, and has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones and has lifted up the lowly.He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever.”

Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months and then returned to her home.
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Reflection:
Why did Mary remain with her cousin Elizabeth for three months? Why not leave her after one or two months? Mary left after three months because she wanted to ensure that she would be by her side if she gave birth.

Considering that during that time Mary was also pregnant with Jesus she could have simply excused herself and went home to rest. But she did not she saw to it that she would first take care of her cousin’s needs before her own. 

By serving her cousin Mary proclaimed the greatness of the Lord who was with her. Perhaps in the infinite mind of God He was telling Mary you want to praise me? Then learn to serve your cousin first. You want to praise me? Forget yourself first because it’s in forgetting of yourself that you could best highlight my abiding presence in your life.

You can indeed best serve and praise God by serving others. And by forgetting yourself so that those who are in need may live and have life. You can never serve God if your focus is always yourself and your own selfish needs and wants. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Monday, December 21, 2015

Reflection for December 21, Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent; Luke 1:39-45

Gospel: Luke 1:39-45
Mary set out in those days and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”
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Reflection:
The distance between people can sometimes make them feel as if they don’t know each other. As if they have not shared time together, indeed sometimes distance can torn people apart.

What is the distance between the location of Mary and the location of her cousin Elizabeth in Judah? Many miles or kilometres apart, it was a very long distance that could permanently separate these two cousins.

Perhaps when Mary was thinking of visiting her cousin Elizabeth, Mary pondered first of the distance between them. And perhaps after thinking of the very long distance that she would traverse Mary said: The heck with this very long distance between me and my cousin Elizabeth, I will visit my cousin, I want to see her and boost her spirit up.    

And so Mary did not anymore think of the distance, she simply went ahead risking everything with her. 

How about you? Do you allow distance to separate you from somebody you love and care? – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Reflection for Sunday December 20, Fourth Sunday of Advent; Luke 1:39-45

Gospel: Luke 1:39-45
Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”
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Reflection:
An adopted man wanted to find out who is his real mother. So he asked his adoptive parents about the whereabouts of his biological mother. He was told that she lives in a faraway place. He told his parents; even if she lives in a faraway place I will go and find her for I owe my life to her.

 So he went to the faraway place and he found his mother, already very old and sickly. The son told his mother, I am your son I am here to take care of you and I will never leave you alone from now on. The mother unabashedly cried and said, thank you for finding me and I am very sorry for giving you away.   

Mary and Elizabeth must have been very close relatives and both may have known each other since childhood. Otherwise Mary would have not endeavored to go to a faraway place to visit and stay for six months with her cousin Elizabeth.

In her visit to her cousin Elizabeth Mary imparts to us the importance of having concern for the welfare of others. Mary imparts to us that we should learn to forget our own needs in favor of those who are in great need of our help and care. Mary imparts to us the importance of reaching-out and building bridges instead of walls. And last but certainly not the least Mary shows us the importance of giving Jesus to others. For this is the greatest gift of love that Mary brought to her cousin: She brought and gave Jesus to her.

Five more days and it will be the birth of Jesus. Think of a relative or a dear friend whom you have not seen or been in-touch with for a long time. Then reach-out to that friend or relative if your physical presence is not possible. Reach-out by communicating via the internet using every available platform available at your disposal. A simple hello, how are you or God bless you will surely lift their morale. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Reflection for December 19, Saturday of the Third Week of Advent; Luke 1:5-25

Gospel: Luke 1:5-25
In the days of Herod, King of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah of the priestly division of Abijah; his wife was from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both were righteous in the eyes of God, observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren and both were advanced in years.

Once when he was serving as priest in his division’s turn before God, according to the practice of the priestly service, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense.
Then, when the whole assembly of the people was praying outside at the hour of the incense offering, the angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right of the altar of incense. Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him.

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He will drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb, and he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of fathers toward children and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare a people fit for the Lord.”

Then Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” And the angel said to him in reply, “I am Gabriel, who stand before God. I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news. But now you will be speechless and unable to talk until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time.” Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah and were amazed that he stayed so long in the sanctuary. But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He was gesturing to them but remained mute.

Then, when his days of ministry were completed, he went home. After this time his wife Elizabeth conceived, and she went into seclusion for five months, saying, “So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit to take away my disgrace before others.”
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Reflection:
How profound is your faith in God? Does your faith in God create awareness in you that nothing is impossible with God?

We have in our gospel Zechariah a priest who is in the twilight of his life. For the reason of his advance age Zechariah thought that he would never have a child. Until the Lord through an angel intervened and granted what he long for but Zechariah still did not believe.      

Nothing is impossible with God for those who believe; unfortunately Zechariah was deficient in this aspect. The possible for God was impossible for him. Considering that he is a Priest his faith seems to be shallow. But we can’t blame Zechariah for he was just being realistic; he and his wife Elizabeth were both old already.

Once in a while we also pass through this episode of unbelief and lack of faith. Amidst this episode, let us not lose focus on the fact that nothing is impossible with God for those who believe and have faith.  

We may have dreams or aspirations in life that may seem impossible for us to achieve and we naturally doubt. But let us not doubt let us continue to silently work for that seemingly impossible dream. Then let us leave everything to God’s providence let us ask Him to bless and guide us as we aspire for this impossible dream.

Do you believe that God will give you what you’re praying for? If you believe and you have strong faith you will have it. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for December 18, Friday of the Third Week of Advent; Matthew 1:18-25

Gospel: Matthew 1:18-25
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.  She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus.
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Reflection:
If only all husbands are like Saint Joseph, there would be no broken marriages; there would be no suffering wives, there would be no suffering children that ultimately bear the trauma of their parents’ separation.

Joseph initially planned to divorce Mary quietly until the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:20-22).”

When he woke up, he humbly did what was commanded to him by the angel of the Lord. What if Joseph brushed aside the message of the Lord? The Blessed Mother would have been in a very difficult situation. She could have died through stoning a brutal punishment for those who bore a child out of wedlock.

 There would be no birth of Jesus; therefore there would be no savior for mankind. But thanks to Joseph who listened to the Lord. With Joseph’s acceptance of the responsibility the plan of God was laid out without anymore hindrance.     

God has a plan for you also, just like Joseph who listened and obeyed; God wants you also to listen and obey.  – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Reflection for December 17, Thursday of the Third Week of Advent; Matthew 1:1-17

Gospel: Matthew 1:1-17
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham became the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar. Perez became the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab. Amminadab became the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab. Boaz became the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth. Obed became the father of Jesse, Jesse the father of David the king. David became the father of Solomon, whose mother had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon became the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asaph. Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, Joram the father of Uzziah. Uzziah became the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah. Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amos, Amos the father of Josiah. Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers at the time of the Babylonian exile.

After the Babylonian exile, Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, Zerubbabel the father of Abiud. Abiud became the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, Azor the father of Zadok. Zadok became the father of Achim, Achim the father of Eliud, Eliud the father of Eleazar. Eleazar became the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

Thus the total number of generations from Abraham to David is fourteen generations; from David to the Babylonian exile, fourteen generations; from the Babylonian exile to the Christ, fourteen generations.
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Reflection:
Can you still trace back the ancestry where you are from?  Some of us may still be able to trace it back some may not anymore. The importance of tracing back our roots is we somehow will have an idea about who we are and who our relatives are.

The gospel reading shows the many names of the family tree of Jesus. Just like us many members of Jesus’ lineage are flawed like King David who had an immoral affair with Bathsheba.  Solomon was a bigtime womanizer; he was not faithful to the Lord as well.

 Jesus ancestors were not perfect like us but God chose Jesus to belong into that family tree. To show to us that despite our sinfulness God still wants us to belong to Him.

God in His infinite wisdom believes in our capacity to change for the better we who are sinful. God knows that deep in our hearts we yearn to leave behind our sinful life. He believes that someday somehow we shall be able to see the light. And that light is Jesus.

God is offering us Jesus who is ever ready to redeem us from our sins no matter how grievous our sins are. God is so merciful that He doesn’t discriminate whoever we may be. He doesn’t judge us. He rather looks at our desire to renew our lives and leave behind our sinfulness. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for December 16, Wednesday 1st day of Misa de Gallo (Simbang Gabi), in the Philippines; John 5:33-36

Gospel: John 5:33-36
(Jesus said to the Jews,) You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth. I do not accept testimony from a human being, but I say this so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light. But I have testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.
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Reflection:
The people during Jesus’ time thought that John was the promised messiah but John humbly told them that he’s not. After John was beheaded Jesus started His three years public ministry. Jesus called for repentance, Jesus’ healed the sick, gave hope to the hopeless and the like.

But they still found fault and did not believe. This is due to the scheming of the high priest and those who were in position of authority. In this season of advent Jesus calls us to believe in Him, to learn from Him, to have hope and to give hope on His behalf and to repent from our sins.

As we witness for Jesus the devil will temp us to put ourselves prominently in front than Jesus. The devil will temp us to own for ourselves the wisdom that we have. But let us fight these temptations by looking at John, by following his humility and fidelity towards Jesus. 

As John has said: It is necessary that He must increase and I must decrease. (John 3:30) This must also be our guiding principle Jesus must always shine brightly in our life. How about us? Never mind, let us simply fade away and let Jesus take the center stage. – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Reflection for December 16, Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent: Luke 7:18B-23

Luke 7:18B-23
At that time, John summoned two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” When the men came to the Lord, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?’” At that time Jesus cured many of their diseases, sufferings, and evil spirits; he also granted sight to many who were blind. And Jesus said to them in reply, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”
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Reflection:
The disciples of John the Baptist asked Jesus, are you the one who is to come? Jesus did not directly answer this question from the messengers of John the Baptist. Instead of directly admitting that He was it Jesus told them about the miracles that He does for the people.

We can only guess the reason why Jesus did not directly admit that He was the messiah. But instead of admitting it Jesus told the messengers about the miracles that He does for the people. Perhaps we can attribute this to Jesus’ desire to maintain a low profile so that he could silently do His mission for the greater glory of God.

Jesus could have easily admitted it and told the messengers that He is the awaited messiah. But He never did, Jesus simply mentioned the things that He does for the people. What if we are in the shoes of Jesus? How would we react to the tempting question?

When we are faced with the same situation let us always follow what Jesus did. Let us never take advantage of the chance to be popular. Let us continue to be self-effacing and humble for this is God’s will for us. – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Monday, December 14, 2015

Reflection for December 15, Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent: Matthew 21:28-32

Matthew 21:28-32
Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: “What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ The son said in reply, ‘I will not,’ but afterwards he changed his mind and went. The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did his father’s will?” They answered, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the Kingdom of God before you. When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did. Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe him.”
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Reflection:
Aside from Jesus and the man and his two sons there are others who play an important role in the gospel reading. They are the following: Chief Priest, Elders of the people, Tax collectors, the prostitutes and John the Baptist.

The chief Priest and the elders of the people are those who were always in their place of worship but ironically they oftentimes are wanting or lacking in terms of living their faith. Jesus is actually telling the chief Priest and the elders of the people about their faith that lacks action.

The chief Priest and the elders of the people  represents the Son who said, Yes, sir, but did not go to work in the vineyard. They also did not listen to the call of John the Baptist to turn away from their sins and completely repent.

The tax collectors and the prostitutes were obviously the sinners who humbly repented. They represent the Son who said: “I will not go to the vineyard”, but afterwards changed his mind and went and did his father’s will. They listened to the call of John the Baptist: “Repent and change your ways for the kingdom of God is forthcoming.”

What is the relevance of the gospel to our lives? We who are all sinners like the tax collectors and prostitutes and the son who initially said: “I will not go to the vineyard.” But afterwards changed his mind and went. We are being called by Jesus to repent from our sinful ways. It’s not anymore John who calls us out to repentance but Jesus Himself.

We must listen to this clarion call of Jesus for this is what He desires for us all. To lead lives according to His will and not according to our sinful will. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for December 14, Monday, Saint John of the Cross, Priest and Doctor of the Church: Matthew 21:23-27

Matthew 21:23-27
When Jesus had come into the temple area, the chief priests and the elders of the people approached him as he was teaching and said, “By what authority are you doing these things? And who gave you this authority?” Jesus said to them in reply, “I shall ask you one question, and if you answer it for me, then I shall tell you by what authority I do these things. Where was John’s baptism from? Was it of heavenly or of human origin?” They discussed this among themselves and said, “If we say ‘Of heavenly origin,’ he will say to us, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’  But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we fear the crowd, for they all regard John as a prophet.” So they said to Jesus in reply, “We do not know.” He himself said to them, “Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
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Reflection:
Are you in a position of authority?

Authority is synonymous with power and there are many who do not know how to properly use their authority. They use their authority to oppress, bully, corrupt and to look down to those who are powerless and poor.

The chief priests were like that they were always at the back of Jesus watching his every move so that they could humiliate Him. Aside from the fact that they are threatened by Jesus popularity amongst the ordinary people. They also perceived Jesus as powerless and lowly that’s why they make it a habit to oppress Him.

Jesus has the greatest authority that anyone of us could have but how did He used it? He used it with humility, He used it to cure, He used it to comfort people, He used it to give hope and to serve. Never did He boast about it, never did He told anyone to worship Him because of His authority.

If you are a parent, how do you exercise your authority in your home? If you are a manager/leader, how do you exercise your authority in your sphere of environment? If you are a politician, how do you exercise your authority on your constituency? If you are a priest, how do you exercise your authority in your parish? If you are a teacher, how do you exercise your authority to your students?

The best model on how to exercise authority is the model of Jesus: Authority used with humility and authority used for the greater glory of God.

How do you exercise your authority? – Marino J. Dasmarinas    

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Reflection for Sunday December 13, Third Sunday of Advent; Luke 3:10-18

Gospel: Luke 3:10-18
The crowds asked John the Baptist, “What should we do?” He said to them in reply, “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him, “Teacher, what should we do?” He answered them, “Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.” Soldiers also asked him, “And what is it that we should do?” He told them, “Do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse anyone, and be satisfied with your wages.”

Now the people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ. John answered them all, saying, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” Exhorting them in many other ways, he preached good news to the people.
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Reflection:
A troubled husband was asking the Lord for enlightenment. Thus; he said to the Lord. Lord help me I am so burdened by my problems, my wife and children are not speaking to me, I feel so alone in our house.

 All of a sudden the husband heard the booming voice of the Lord which said, your wife and children are not talking to you because you’re arrogant and domineering. The Lord further said, change your ways by being more humble, gentle and loving. So the troubled husband followed the advice of the Lord and it immediately had a positive result. The divided family became one and they lived happily ever after.  

In the gospel, before the crowd asked John, what should we do? John had already preached to them about repentance and renewal of their wicked lifestyles.

Why is repentance very important? Repentance is important because it makes us more worthy before the Lord. Repentance also straightens our crooked lives and it brings us closer to the Good Lord.

Why is it that many of us live problematic family life? The reason is very simple, we refuse to hear John’s call for renewal and repentance. We continuously refuse to embrace humility, forgiveness and gentleness.

Why not listen to the preaching of John the Baptist? – Marino J. Dasmarinas