I am with you always until the end of this world - Jesus (Matthew 28:20).

Preach the Word in season and out of season reproving, rebuking or advising always with patience and providing instructions (2 Timothy 4:2).

Do not fear, Mary, for God has looked kindly on you (Luke 1:30).

Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly. - G. K. Chesterton

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Reflection for February 26, Thursday of the First Week of Lent; Matthew 7:7-12

Gospel: Matthew 7:7-12
Jesus said to his disciples: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asked for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asked for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.

“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.”
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What do you do when your child sincerely ask something from you? You try your very best to give what he/she is asking from you. Why? Because you love your child and you don’t want to disappoint him/her. What if your parents will sincerely ask something from you? For the same reason you will also try your very best to give what your parents are asking from you.

The love of Jesus is far greater than the love of a parent to his/her child or a child’s love for his/her parents. What does this mean? If we will do everything to grant the request of our loved ones, Jesus will surely grant also whatever we sincerely ask from Him.

Our sincerity counts when we ask something from Jesus. For example when Jesus said to His disciples: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7). It goes without saying that Jesus expects utmost sincerity from them.

This is also what Jesus expects from us when we ask Him for something. The pureness of our desire is a major factor for Jesus to grant us what we want from Him. If Jesus sees that there’s no purity and sincerity in our prayers or if our prayers are centered  to serve our selfish ends. Then we can be assured that nothing will come out from it for we do it for our own selfish objectives.

In hindsight, this is also an invitation for us to reflect on our prayers for Jesus. He may not have yet granted some of our prayers, perhaps we need to re-assess our objectives. Perhaps we need to be more sincere and selfless in our prayers.

Are you always sincere when you pray to Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Monday, February 23, 2015

1Reflection for February 24, Tuesday of the First Week of Lent Matthew 6:7-15

Gospel: Matthew 6:7-15
Jesus said to his disciples: “In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.    

“This is how you are to pray: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

“If you forgive men their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”
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What is the secret toward intimacy with God? Its prayers that comes from the depths of our beings. This is the foundation of our intimacy with God. From the fountain of our prayerful life will emanate the God given desire to know more about God. Do you always pray with your heart and mind on it? Or you only pray when you feel that you need to pray or when you have the time to pray?

The most effective method of prayer is to pray without any excess baggage in your heart. What does this mean? You pray without carrying any hatred in our heart. For example if someone has done you wrong and this person is asking for your forgiveness. What would you do? Will you forgive or not forgive? Of course you have to forgive. For how could God forgive you when you yourself is not willing to forgive? We have to live forgiveness if we want God to hear and forgive us.

We are mere passers by in this world, sooner or later the curtains of our life in this world will come to a close. How can we go to heaven if we carry the weight of unforgiveness in our hearts? And how can we go to heaven if we carry the weight of hatred in our hearts?

When Jesus was dying on the cross He said a short yet very meaningful prayer to God. While gasping for breath Jesus prayed this: Father forgive them for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34). If Jesus can forgive why can’t we forgive?        

Do you have hatred or any form of unforgiveness in your heart right now? Let go of it and if you still cannot let go humbly pray to Jesus and ask Him to heal you.  – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Reflection for Sunday February 22, First Sunday of Lent; Mark 1:12-15

Gospel: Mark 1:12-15
The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.

After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.
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What is the purpose of temptation/s? It’s to test a person’s endurance against Satan and his accompanying offer of attractive sin/s. Many of us fall prey to this temptation because we are spiritually weak and this is primarily caused by our not being always wired with God. This is the only reason why we fall into temptation: Our missing or weak connection with God.

What made Jesus survive His forty days temptation in the wilderness by Satan? It was His close connection with God. Jesus achieved this connection with God through His prayerful life. This is the reason why Jesus survived His own test of temptation by the devil in the desert. Jesus was tempted by the devil three times and He subsequently rejected it also three times.

Gold is purified by severe fire to eliminate its impurities we humans are also purified through temptations to make us pure and worthy before God. We are made more worthy before the eyes of God once we are able to pass through and defeat temptations.

As we go through our own forty days journey this lent we will not obviously be brought by satan to the desert like what he did with Jesus.  But certainly satan will also be at our side every once in a while he would try to temp us to sin against God and our fellowmen.

Let us not give-in to satan’s temptation no matter how attractive for when we succumb to it we sin and we distance ourselves from the love of God. The devil is very creative and devious he will do everything to make us sin. The devil will sugarcoat sin so that we would bite upon it and if we succumb our very life would now be in trouble for we would be under the devil’s control already.

Some of us would say to avoid the temptation of the devil is to already defeat it. No, for when we avoid temptation we are only prolonging our own agony and connection with the devil. Let us stare the devil and his temptation in  the eye and when we are eyeball to eyeball already let us reject him by our rock solid faith in God.

How do you defeat your own temptation/s? – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

1Reflection for February 21, Saturday after Ash Wednesday Luke 5:27-32

Gospel: Luke 5:27-32 
Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me. And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him. Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were at table with them. The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners? Jesus said to them in reply, “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”
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How do we treat sinners? Are we quick to condemn them for who they are? Or we are patient with them and even build bridges with them so that they would also feel the love and forgiveness of Jesus?

When we judge sinners we also immediately cut-off the chance for us to be an instrument of their healing and conversion. We are also pushing them deeper into the mud of sin. But why are we judgmental when we are sinners also? Why are we judgmental when we are not perfect, when we too are subject to judgment?    

There is a story of a sinner who finally decided to change his ways. So he gathered enough courage and presented himself to his parents to ask for forgiveness. But the parents did not forgive him they instead condemned him as good for nothing and useless.

In the days that followed they received a call that their son ended his life. If only they were not  judgmental they could have saved a life and became an instrument of conversion. But they choose not to forgive.  

When Jesus saw the tax collector named Levi who was labelled as sinners by those who knew him. Jesus never condemned the tax collector He instead asked Levi to follow Him and this sinner left everything to follow Jesus. We see the beautiful result when we don’t condemn.

In the heart of every sinner rest a sacred place that is reserved for someone who will not judge them. A sacred place exclusively for those who would be willing to forgive them and help them get-up and start a new life with Jesus. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for February 20, Friday after Ash Wednesday Matthew 9:14-15

Gospel: Matthew 9:14-15 
The disciples of John approached Jesus and said, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast much, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them and then they will fast.”
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What does fasting do to us? It cleanses our bodies, when we fast we dictate on our bodies rather than our bodies dictating on us. For example when we see a delicious food, our bodies would normally dictate upon us to eat that delicious food. This is always the scenario: Our bodies dictate upon us and we succumb to it.

However, when we fast, it’s the other way around we don’t succumb to this dictate we contradict it, for what reason? For the observance of certain customs and tradition in this case we can cite our fasting during Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

In our gospel, Jesus was questioned by the Pharisees why His disciples were not fasting. Jesus answered them this: They are not fasting for the reason that the bridegroom (Referring to Himself) is still with them. Therefore their tricky question was properly answered by Jesus.

Literal fasting when done for a good reason is valid but when it’s done for people to see or to get praise from people. It becomes invalid or useless it’s much better not to fast when we do it for show.   

But there’s a much meaningful and permanent fasting that God wants us to do. We permanently fast from oppressing others, we permanent fast from our arrogance and high sense of ourselves and we permanently fast from our greed and indifference.

Are we capable of doing this kind of fasting? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Monday, February 16, 2015

Reflection for February 19, Thursday after Ash Wednesday Luke 9:22-25

Gospel: Luke 9:22-25
Jesus said to his disciples: “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.”

Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?”
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A man of the world was on the verge of ending his life, he decided to go to a cliff to jump so that he could end everything.  On his way he saw a church that has an inscription of the words of Jesus that says: Come follow me. He gave it a serious thought and decided to go to the church and inquire about it.

 There he was informed that it was a call to vocation in the service of the Lord. He thereafter decided not to end his life he instead responded to the instant vocation call. And soon after he found God and he also discerned the true meaning of his life with Jesus.

Many of us spend our lifetime to pursue our earthly ambition such as to be rich and powerful. And then when we reach the pinnacle of our ambitions we also discover that something is still lacking or missing. We yearn for something that is meaningful and something that would satisfy our inner being.   

This something that is meaningful that we yearn is no other than God. No matter how rich and powerful some of us may become we will still not have peace of mind. For the simple reason that only God will gives peace of mind only God will give us inner calmness and healing.

But the big question is this: Are we willing to give away our life to God so that He could save it and make full use of it? – Marino J. Dasmarinas   

1Reflection for February 18, Ash Wednesday (Fasting and Abstinence) Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

Gospel: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
Jesus said to his disciples: “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.When you give alms,do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that you may not appear to be fasting except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”
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How does the season of lent affect you? Does this make you closer to God? There are three keys for you to have a meaningful observance of lent. The first is Almsgiving, the second is Prayer and the third is Fasting. In all of these three Jesus advocates silence and self-introspection and Jesus advocates contradiction to what this world would normally dictate you to do.

In Almsgiving, Prayer and Fasting Jesus advocates doing it in the privacy of your heart. Nobody will know except you and God alone not even your closest relative or friend.  Why? Because it is in silence and secrecy that you would also receive blessings from God (Most especially spiritual blessings).  For example, how could you have peace of mind? It’s through silence. How would you feel the presence of God in your life it’s in silence also.

God is not a loud or boastful God He is not like the many artificial Gods of this secular world that thrives in noise and publicity. Come to think of it, is it possible to have communion with Jesus through noise and publicity? Never. You will never have connection with Jesus through noise, publicity and other acts of self-promotion.    

As we begin our forty (40) days journey this lent let us try to look back about the loudness of our lives. Let us look at our facebooks and observe how we loudly promoted our lives there and let us ask ourselves this question: Has this self-promotion and sometimes hedonistic lifestyle led me in close communion with Jesus?

Lent is the time of year that the Good Lord gives us so that we could get closer and intimate with Him. It is His hope that through lent we could have a close encounter with Him and this we could best do in silence.

As the priest or lay minister put ash with the sign of the cross on your forehead. Close your eyes and silently pray this to the Lord: Lord Lead me back to you and bring me closer to you. – Marino J. Dasmarinas   

Reflection for February 17, Tuesday Sixth Week in Ordinary Time; Mark 8:14-21

Gospel: Mark  8:14-21
The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. Jesus enjoined them, “Watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod. They concluded among themselves that it was because they had no bread. When he became aware of this he said to them, “Why do you conclude that it is because you have no bread? Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear? And do you not remember, when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up? They answered him, “Twelve.” “When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?” They answered him, “Seven.” He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”
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What do you do when you go through your life’s trials? Do you fully trust the Lord to make things better for you? Do you say, Lord I give to you all my worries and I trust the you will take care of it and you will give me help. 

If your mindset is to surrender everything to the Lord, it then speak volumes of you enormous faith in Jesus. Come what may you will trust Jesus more than trust yourself and anybody else. Is your faith in Jesus as strong as this that you trust Jesus more than anybody else?

In our gospel, when the disciples together with Jesus were already in the boat they found out that they had only one bread. And they were naturally worried, for how could this one bread fill all of their hungry stomachs?

In the midst of their worries Jesus reminded them about His miracle of the loaves where He feed the thousands. As if Jesus was telling them: Why are you worried that you will not be able to eat when I am with you!

The disciples failed their test of faith; they doubted if Jesus would be able to help them. Did they doubt or they simply forgot that Jesus was with them in that boat?

We all face our own set of test of faith. Perhaps many of us also fail this test of faith and we doubt if we will be able to achieve what we want in life. Or for the reason of our many worries we simply forget that we have a powerful friend and God in Jesus.

Let us doubt no more let us fully trust Jesus for He will never fail us. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Reflection for February 16, Monday Sixth Week in Ordinary Time; Mark 8:11-13

Gospel: Mark 8:11-13
The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with Jesus, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation. Then he left them, got into the boat again, and went off to the other shore.
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What does it mean when we seek signs from the Lord Jesus? It means weakness of faith, it means that Jesus is not yet enough for us to hold-on for our salvation for we still need signs and wonders from Jesus. A true believer and a person of faith will not anymore seek a sign from the Lord. He/She will trust the Lord Jesus regardless of if he/she will see or not see signs from Him.

If we truly love the Lord and if we have faith in the Lord we will not anymore ask for a sign from Him. Why? Because His name alone is more than enough to deliver us from all of our fears and doubts.  This is for that reason that we always feel His abiding presence in our lives.

The Lord is with us the moment we reverently attend Holy Mass most especially when we partake of His Body and Blood during Holy Communion. The Lord speaks to us the moment we reverently read His words in the bible. Jesus is with us the moment we pray with reverence the Holy Rosary.  

If only we will invest time to dive deeper into the life of Jesus and our catholic faith we will not anymore ask for any signs from Jesus. Because as we invest time for Him, we will also notice slowly but surely His abiding presence in our lives.

Let us not ask for signs let us instead get intimate with Jesus and our faith by our faithful presence at Holy Mass. By having a daily habit of reading our bible and by humbly submitting ourselves to the healing Sacrament of Confession. – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Thursday, February 12, 2015

1Reflection for Sunday February 15, Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time; Mark 1:40-45

Gospel: Mark 1:40-45
A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once.

He said to him, “See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.”

The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere.
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How would you react if we are the leper in the gospel that was healed by Jesus? Should you just keep silent about your miraculous healing or you tell everyone how Jesus healed you? Perhaps you would also spread the good news of your healing from Jesus for this is basic human nature.

The healed leper disobeyed the command of Jesus not to tell anyone of the miracle that he received from Him (Mark 1:44). Did Jesus get angry with his disobedience? Of course not! For Jesus perfectly understands that his disobedience is with a good reason.

The healed leper wanted everyone to know that Jesus heals! The former leper simply wanted to share the good news of his healing so that others could also receive healing from Jesus. Soon enough, the healing that Jesus did for the leper spread like wild fire and as a result of this, people from everywhere went to Jesus.  

Have you received a miracle from Jesus? For example healing from your sickness, healing of a family relationship or healing from an emotional spiritual sickness and the like. Don’t keep it within yourself! Spread the good news about the greatest healer who ever walked on this earth; no other than Jesus.– Marino J. Dasmarinas

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Reflection for February 14, Saturday Saints Cyril, Monk, and Methodius, Bishop; Mark 8:1-10

Gospel: Mark 8:1-10
In those days when there again was a great crowd without anything to eat, Jesus summoned the disciples and said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will collapse on the way, and some of them have come a great distance. His disciples answered him, “Where can anyone get enough bread to satisfy them here in this deserted place?” Still he asked them, “How many loaves do you have? They replied, “Seven.” He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then, taking the seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them, and gave them to his disciples to distribute, and they distributed them to the crowd. They also had a few fish. He said the blessing over them and ordered them distributed also. They ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets. There were about four thousand people.

He dismissed the crowd and got into the boat with his disciples and came to the region of Dalmanutha.
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What kind of God is Jesus? He is a God of compassion and mercy, Jesus feels our loneliness when we are lonely. Jesus cries with us when we cry. Jesus feels the heavy load that we carry when we are so burdened by it. Does this feeling of compassion and mercy stops with Jesus empathy? No, Jesus never stops of thinking of ways on how He can make light the burdens that we carry.

We see this deep compassion and mercy of Jesus in our gospel today. When Jesus saw the crowd who had been following them for days He had deep compassion with them for they were already hungry. And His mercy and compassion led Him to think on how He could feed them.

So Jesus asked His disciples for whatever food that they may have and out of seven loaves and few fish Jesus miraculously multiplied it to feed almost four thousand. This is how merciful and compassionate Jesus is to those who follow Him.

How does this gospel speak to us? This tells us that we will never go hungry once we decide to faithfully follow Jesus! Jesus will never let us go hungry for He will take care of our food and He will take care of our needs. This may be hard to believe for others but this is very true! Jesus provides for those who faithfully follow Him.

Do we faithfully follow Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas   

Reflection for February 13, Friday Fifth Week in Ordinary Time; Mark 7:31-37

Gospel: Mark  7:31-37
Jesus left the district of Tyre and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, into the district of the Decapolis. And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”) And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly. He ordered them not to tell anyone. But the more he ordered them not to the more they proclaimed it. They were exceedingly astonished and they said, He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.
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How can you have an up close and personal encounter with Jesus? It’s when the environment around you is silent there’s no presence of anyone except Jesus and you. This is always the most conducive environment for you to have an encounter with Jesus.  It’s very difficult to encounter and feel the presence of Jesus when there’s noise and disturbance.

In the quietness of your life you will be able to encounter and feel the healing presence of Jesus. And in the quietness of your life you would be able to hear the voice of Jesus. Telling you what you need to hear so that you can have the motivation and energy to move-on amidst the drudgery of life.

Do you feel the presence of Jesus in your life? If no, then try to live a quite life and try to give time for Jesus more than you give time in satisfying your pleasure-seeking lifestyle. This doesn’t mean that you will be isolating yourself from your friends and usual environment.

This simply means that you’ll lessen the noise in your life and you lessen your engagement with worldly pleasures. Yet you still connect yourself to this world not anymore to seek earthly pleasures. But to seek people who are engaged with earthly pleasures so that you could bring them closer to Jesus also.

The deaf mute man in our gospel was healed by Jesus not in the midst of the crowd. He instead brought the deaf mute man away from the crowd. To be with Him alone in a quiet place and in the stillness of the environment Jesus healed him (Mark 7:33-35).

Do you regularly have your own quiet time with Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for February 12, Thursday; Fifth Week in Ordinary Time; Mark 7:24-30

Gospel: Mark 7:24-30
Jesus went to the district of Tyre. He entered a house and wanted no one to know about it, but he could not escape notice. Soon a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him. She came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She replied and said to him, “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.” Then he said to her, “For saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter.” When the woman went home, she found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.
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What is the key for us to have what we want from Jesus? It’s persistence! If we think that Jesus doesn’t hear our prayers we should continue to beg Him to grant us what want. We should never give-up because giving up is a sign of our lack of faith in Jesus.

The Syrophoenician woman in our gospel never gave-up on her prayer request even if she was already being tested by Jesus. She persisted and humbly beg Jesus to cure her daughter possessed by the devil. Eventually her persistence bore fruit for when she went home she found out that her daughter was not anymore possessed by the devil.

As we continue our journey in this temporal world we surely will be facing a lot of problematic situations. Let us not let these disappointing events bring us down and let us not let these situations separate us from Jesus. The more we encounter trials in our lives the more that we go persistently to Jesus for help.

For it’s only Jesus and it’s only through Jesus that we would be able to survive the many trials and tribulations in this world.  What if for example we persistently pray to Jesus for help and he did not help us? Would this be possible that we pray and we did not receive any help from Jesus?

Yes this is very possible but this should not be a reason for us to give-up and distance ourselves from Jesus. For life in this world is temporary unlike in the afterlife where life is eternal. If our prayers did not get any response from Jesus in this world surely He will not only respond to us in the afterlife. We will also be with Him in His kingdom in heaven for we never gave-up on Him while we were still in this world.

Are you persistent in your prayer/s before Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Monday, February 9, 2015

Reflection for February 11, Wednesday; Fifth Week in Ordinary Time; Mark 7:14-23

Gospel: Mark 7:14-23
Jesus summoned the crowd again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.” When he got home away from the crowd his disciples questioned him about the parable. He said to them, “Are even you likewise without understanding? Do you not realize that everything that goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters not the heart but the stomach and passes out into the latrine?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) “But what comes out of the man, that is what defiles him. From within the man, from his heart, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile.”
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Where does the desire to commit sin emanates? It first emanates from within us. It begins when we think about it and if we don’t stop thinking about our desire to commit sin it slowly progresses. Until we actually give flesh to our desire to sin by actually doing it!

For example, the desire of a husband/wife to betray their marriage vows. It starts by thinking about it and when we see that the situation is conducive to commit the act of sin/betrayal. The spouse will now succumb to commit this immoral sin. Therefore, the desire to commit sin originates from within us.

How then could we avoid sin? We pray to Jesus and ask His help to exterminate whatever sinful desires that we have in our minds. Then we also have to do our part by taking action to rid ourselves of the desire to sin and by running away from sin. Because if we pray yet our actions are not according to what we have been praying for we would still commit sin sooner or later. As the saying goes God help those who help themselves.

But come to think of it, why do we commit sin? The simple answer is we don’t take our faith in Jesus seriously this is the reason why we commit sin when we want to commit it. Are we not tired yet of sinning? Are we not tired yet of mortgaging our lives to the devil? When we continuously mortgage our lives to the devil through sin, there is the danger that we may not anymore be able to get out of it!

It’s about time that we change this cycle of sin, it’s about time that we rid ourselves of any sinful thoughts and desires. It’s about time that we free ourselves from any problems and complication brought about by sin.  This could only happen if we ask Jesus to come into our lives.  

Would you be willing to humbly pray to Jesus to come into your life? –  Marino J. Dasmarinas

1Reflection for February 10, Tuesday; Saint Scholastica, Virgin; Mark 7:1-13

Gospel: Mark  7:1-13
When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus, they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands. (For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews, do not eat without carefully washing their hands, keeping the tradition of the elders. And on coming from the marketplace they do not eat without purifying themselves. And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed, the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds.) So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him, “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?” He responded, “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written:

This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts. You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.” He went on to say, “How well you have set aside the commandment of God in order to uphold your tradition! For Moses said, Honor your father and your mother, and Whoever curses father or mother shall die. Yet you say, ‘If someone says to father or mother, “Any support you might have had from me is qorban” (meaning, dedicated to God), you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother. You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many such things.”
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Why is Jesus a revolutionary leader? Because Jesus’ dares to violate established rules to benefit His people. For Jesus it’s always the greater good of His people before the observance of any rules or laws. Which by the way was created to serve the whims and caprices of the ruling class (The Pharisees and scribes).

Jesus violates the rules created by the ruling class because it’s oppressive; it makes the ordinary people servants of the ruling class. Who are good only with utterance of their laws but visibly wanting in human compassion. Truth to tell, the ruling class (Pharisees and scribes) sacrifice human compassion in exchange for the observance of their self-serving created laws.

Case in point is the washing of hands before eating which was mentioned by the ruling class in the gospel. They asked Jesus: “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands (Mark 7:5)?” Jesus answered them by simply pointing at their hypocrisy, their lack of interior transformation and compassion toward the ordinary people.

If we want our fellowmen to truly respect and follow us we should not be imposing, we should not be dictators. Because if we are like this our people will rebel against us, they may externally show their respect towards us but it’s a respect devoid of substance and spirit.  Instead we should always live the gentleness and compassion of Jesus  – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

1Reflection for February 9, Monday; Fifth Week in Ordinary Time; Mark 6:53-56

Gospel: Mark  6:53-56
After making the crossing to the other side of the sea, Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret and tied up there. As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him. They scurry about the surrounding country and began to bring in the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed.
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 Do you have the habit of touching the image of Jesus in your house or when you are at church? Then as you touch His image you say your silent prayer of petition and thanksgiving to Jesus. Continue doing it because that is a good habit it signifies your humility and surrender to the mighty power of Jesus.

The healing crusade of Jesus continues in our gospel. Wherever He goes those who are in need of His healing goes also. The moment they get the information that Jesus is near them they hurry to go to Him to have this healing encounter with Jesus. They never mind if they are not able to talk to Jesus. It’s enough for them that they’re able touch any part of His clothes. Or to have a glimpse of Him is already enough for them to be healed by the mighty power of Jesus.

Up to this very moment this mighty healing power of Jesus is very much present in our midst. For He’s just a prayer away, His very image is within our reach. Look at the cross in your house or in your church Jesus is there. Touch Him and as you touch Him ask Him to heal you, ask Him to change you ask Him to make you more humble and kind.     

Surely, Jesus will never disappoint anyone who humbles and surrenders himself/herself before Him. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The education of Mar Roxas...


Reflection for Sunday February 8, Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time; Mark 1:29-39

Gospel: Mark1:29-39
On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them.

When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door. He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him.

Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.” So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.
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Are you afraid to get sick? Of course we all are afraid of sickness and as much as possible we don’t want to get sick. Some of us would even wish to have an instant death so that we could avoid getting sick and being enslaved by sickness.  But one of the many truths of life is the reality of sickness and death. Somehow it will catch-up with us no matter how we try to avoid it.

What is our shield for sickness? Our money and health insurance? It will not be enough and it may run out before we get healed. So what is the best cure for sickness? It’s our faith in Jesus! Our deep faith in Jesus will set us free from all kinds of sickness: Be it physical, emotional and spiritual sickness. Faith is a mystery that we should all embrace and faith is also a gift that we should ask Jesus to give us so that we would be able to feel His healing presence in our lives.

After preaching in the synagogue Jesus went to the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. He went there because Simon’s mother in law was sick with a fever. Jesus simply approached her grasped her hand and helped her get-up and with those simple gestures from Jesus she regained back her health. It was not only Simon’s mother in-law who got healed; many more were brought to Jesus in that place and all of them were healed.  

The big question here is this; did they all have faith in Jesus that’s why they were all healed? Yes of course otherwise they would have not been healed.

Do you always ask Jesus to give you the gift of faith and do you always prayerfully ask Jesus to heal you with anything that ails you?  – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Friday, February 6, 2015

Reflection for February 7, Saturday; Fourth Week in Ordinary Time; Mark 6:30-34

Gospel: Mark 6:30-34
The Apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while. People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place. People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them.

When Jesus disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.
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Do we want Jesus to teach us many things (Mark 6:34)? Therefore we should hunger for Jesus, we should follow Jesus and we should thirst for Jesus. Many of us today do not feel Jesus in our lives because we don’t thirst and hunger for Him. We thirst and hunger more for the things of this world, we follow more the false teachings of this world than abide by the teachings of Jesus.

What will it benefit us if we follow Jesus and If we give-up everything for Jesus? We gain a foretaste of heaven while we are still in this world. This doesn’t mean that we will not experience anymore human difficulties once we choose Jesus over this world. Yet we can be assured that as we go through our human difficulties or problems we are certain of Jesus abiding presence in our lives. Jesus will make our difficulties lighter and Jesus will walk with us as we walk carrying our burdens.

In our gospel for this Saturday we read about the multitude of people chasing after Jesus and His disciples. The disciples were about to rest and go through some physical and spiritual re-charging. Yet when the multitude of people discovered it they hurriedly went there leaving behind whatever worldly undertaking/s that they were doing.

When Jesus saw the vast crowd waiting for Him, He did not turn them away, never did He scold them or told them, Why are you people disturbing our rest? Jesus instead pitied them, Then, He taught them and healed them of whatever sickness that they may have.

Would you also go after Jesus? Are you willing to leave everything to have a precious encounter with Jesus? - Marino J. Dasmarinas

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Reflection for February 6, Friday; Sts. Pedro Bautista, Paul Miki and Companions; Mark 6:14-29

Gospel: Mark 6:14-29
King Herod heard about Jesus, for his fame had become widespread, and people were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead; That is why mighty powers are at work in him.” Others were saying, “He is Elijah” still others, “He is a prophet like any of the prophets. But when Herod learned of it, he said “It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up. Herod was the one who had John 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. Herodias 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. His 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? Her mother 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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What does it mean when you’re constantly being bothered by your conscience? It simply means that you’ve done something that is wrong and the only cure for this wrongdoing is to correct it. For example if a believer has cheated on his/her spouse she/he will naturally be bothered by her/his conscience. And this torment will not end until there’s a closure or admission of the sin.

When King Herod heard about the miraculous actions of Jesus and the popularity that He was earning from the ordinary people. Herod thought of John whom he ordered beheaded it suddenly came to his mind that John was alive. But it was very clear to King Herod that he ordered John killed.

So why did King Herod thought of John when he heard about Jesus? This is for the reason that King Herod was already being bothered by his conscience. Herod did something which is terribly wrong and the price that he has to pay for his wrongdoing was the guilt of conscience which was constantly bothering him.

Aren’t we like that also when we do wrong? But what separates us from Herod is we have an opportunity to admit our wrongdoing. And once we do so the guilty feeling will not be there anymore.

But why allow ourselves to be pestered by our guilt? Why not permanently delete guilt from our minds by not committing a wrongdoing/sin? Some of us may say that it’s impossible not to commit a wrongdoing or sin. Yes it may be impossible but, why not try asking Jesus to help us be clean all the time or if we sin, why not humbly apologize and admit our sin or wrongdoing? –  Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for February 5, Thursday; Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr; Mark 6:7-13

Gospel: Mark 6:7-13
Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits. He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick –no food, no sack, no money in their belts. They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic. He said to them Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there. Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them. So they went off and preached repentance. The Twelve drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
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What is the advantage of not being attached to worldly things? We learn to trust on the providence of God and we learn that the things of this world do not matter for its temporary and fleeting. We learn that our faith in God is more than enough to compensate for our lack of worldly things.  

Come to think of it, how much money do we need to earn in our lifetime that there are people who work their butts out to earn money? Money that if we are not discerning could even contribute to our being sick! And then at the end this same money that we’ve earned so hard may not even be enough to pay for our hospital bills!

In the gospel, when Jesus told His disciples not to bring, food, money and the like. He was essentially telling them not to worry for He would provide for them. If God can provide for the birds and other animals will He not provide for us whom He created in His image (Genesis 1:27)?

Many of us are so concerned with the material and physical aspect of life such as the clothes that we wear. The high-tech gadgets that we have but in close retrospection we actually can live even without these material things.

Our problem is we allow this world to dictate upon us. This is the reason why many of us punish ourselves to work so hard to earn money. For what? So that we could show off how wealthy we’ve become?

Jesus invites us to re-think our style of living for we may have already become slaves of this world. Rather than become His faithful and trusting followers. –  Marino J. Dasmarinas