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

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

1Reflection for March 31, Tuesday of Holy Week; John 13:21-33, 36-38

Gospel: John 13:21-33, 36-38
Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified, “Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant. One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was reclining at Jesus’ side. So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant. He leaned back against Jesus’ chest and said to him, “Master, who is it? Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it.” So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas son of Simon the Iscariot. After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him. So Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly. Now none of those reclining at table realized why he said this to him. Some thought that since Judas kept the money bag, Jesus had told him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or to give something to the poor. So Judas took the morsel and left at once. And it was night.

When he had left, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. You will look for me, and as I told the Jews,
‘Where I go you cannot come,’ so now I say it to you.” Simon Peter said to him, “Master, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, though you will follow later.” Peter said to him, “Master, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow before you deny me three times.”
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Reflection:
Have you already felt how it is to be betrayed by a trusted friend? Have you already felt being denied by somebody very close to you? Jesus felt these all, He was betrayed by a trusted follower in Judas and He was denied by a follower who sworn allegiance to Him in Peter.

Just imagine the feelings of Jesus during that time; He knew that His world was getting smaller by the day. Then comes the betrayal and denial of Judas and Peter perhaps Jesus’ heart was already bleeding with sorrow. He was sorrowful but He never took it personally upon them for  Jesus knew that something good would soon come out of these sorrows.

What was the good that came out from Judas betrayal? Jesus was able to unmask the traitor amongst His followers. What was the good that came from Peter’s denial? Jesus was able to discover that even those who profess to be loyal to Him would deny Him so that he could save his own life. Nevertheless, Jesus never took this betrayal and denial personally, He still forgave the two of them.

We too have denied and betrayed Jesus for countless times already. Has Jesus took our betrayals and denials personally? Of course not for Jesus doesn’t know how to harbour ill feelings in His heart.

But can we do something so that we could somehow show to Jesus that we are remorseful of our disloyalty to Him? Yes we can do something and we begin it during this Holy Week. By observing all the liturgical activities of the church or your parish community. Such as The Way of the Cross, The Chrism Mass and the Mass of the Last Supper, The Veneration of the Holy  Cross and the Easter Vigil Mass.

If we will observe this Holy Liturgical Celebrations of our church we will not only signify our remorse to Jesus. Through these holy activities we also are opening ourselves for the presence of Jesus in our lives.

Will you make yourself available for these sacred celebrations this Holy Week? – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Reflection for March 30, Monday of Holy Week; John 12:1-11

Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served, while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him. Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples, and the one who would betray him, said, “Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages and given to the poor?” He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief and held the money bag and used to steal the contributions. So Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”

The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came, not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too, because many of the Jews were turning away and believing in Jesus because of him.
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Reflection:
What can you offer Jesus this Holy Week? Can you offer Him your time by going through all of the liturgical celebration in your parish? Can you offer Him some of your treasures by helping somebody in need? Or you have nothing to offer to the Lord because Holy Week is like one of the ordinary days for you.

When you treat Holy Week as one of the ordinary days or you treat it as your vacation day. You miss something very significant in your life, you miss the opportunity to have a personal encounter with the Lord. You miss the opportunity to deepen your faith with the Lord.

When Jesus went to the house of the siblings Mary, Martha and Lazarus, the three of them gave their precious time to the Lord. Martha prepared the food, Mary was beside the Lord listening to Him and even anointed His foot with expensive perfume. Lazarus dined with Jesus and listened to Him. No wonder the three of them were close to the Lord because they gave their precious time to the Lord.

Think also of how you could give your time to the Lord this Holy Week. It could be by listening to Him, it could be by serving Him or any activity that could bring you closer to the Lord. This Holy Week, shut yourself out from this boisterous world and enough of the noise of this world for this will not bring you closer to Him.

When you decide to spend time with Jesus this Holy Week you are already investing for your spiritual growth. Which you could always lean on when you go through episode/s of turbulence in your life.

How will you use your time this Holy Week? - Marino J. Dasmarinas   

Reflection for March 29, Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion; Mark 14:1—15:47

Gospel: Mark 14:1—15:47
The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were to take place in two days’ time. So the chief priests and the scribes were seeking a way to arrest him by treachery and put him to death. They said, “Not during the festival, for fear that there may be a riot among the people.”

When he was in Bethany reclining at table in the house of Simon the leper a woman came with an alabaster jar of perfumed oil costly genuine spikenard. She broke the alabaster jar and poured it on his head. There were some who were indignant. “Why has there been this waste of perfumed oil? It could have been sold for more than three hundred days’ wages and the money given to the poor.” They were infuriated with her. Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you make trouble for her? She has done a good thing for me. The poor you will always have with you,  and whenever you wish you can do good to them,  but you will not always have me. She has done what she could. She has anticipated anointing my body for burial. Amen, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed to the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”

Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went off to the chief priests to hand him over to them. When they heard him they were pleased and promised to pay him money. Then he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,  when they sacrificed the Passover lamb,  his disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” He sent two of his disciples and said to them,  Go into the city and a man will meet you, carrying a jar of water. Follow him. Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?” Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready. Make the preparations for us there.” The disciples then went off, entered the city,  and found it just as he had told them;  and they prepared the Passover.

When it was evening, he came with the Twelve. And as they reclined at table and were eating, Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” They began to be distressed and to say to him, one by one, “Surely it is not I?” He said to them, “One of the Twelve, the one who dips with me into the dish. For the Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.”

While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.
Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will have your faith shaken, for it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be dispersed. But after I have been raised up, I shall go before you to Galilee.”Peter said to him, “Even though all should have their faith shaken, mine will not be.” Then Jesus said to him, “Amen, I say to you, this very night before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times.” But he vehemently replied, “Even though I should have to die with you,
I will not deny you.” And they all spoke similarly. Then they came to a place named Gethsemane,  and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took with him Peter, James, and John, and began to be troubled and distressed. Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch.” He advanced a little and fell to the ground and prayed that if it were possible the hour might pass by him; he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will. When he returned he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” Withdrawing again, he prayed, saying the same thing. Then he returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open and did not know what to answer him. He returned a third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough. The hour has come. Behold, the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners. Get up, let us go. See, my betrayer is at hand.”

Then, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs who had come from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying, “The man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him and lead him away securely.” He came and immediately went over to him and said, “Rabbi.” And he kissed him. At this they laid hands on him and arrested him. One of the bystanders drew his sword, struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his ear. Jesus said to them in reply, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs, to seize me? Day after day I was with you teaching in the temple area, yet you did not arrest me; but that the Scriptures may be fulfilled.” And they all left him and fled. Now a young man followed him wearing nothing but a linen cloth about his body. They seized him, but he left the cloth behind and ran off naked.

They led Jesus away to the high priest, and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together. Peter followed him at a distance into the high priest’s courtyard and was seated with the guards, warming himself at the fire.The chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus in order to put him to death, but they found none. Many gave false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree. Some took the stand and testified falsely against him, alleging, “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands and within three days I will build another not made with hands.’” Even so their testimony did not agree.

The high priest rose before the assembly and questioned Jesus, saying, “Have you no answer? What are these men testifying against you?” But he was silent and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him and said to him, “Are you the Christ, the son of the Blessed One?” Then Jesus answered, “I am; and ‘you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.’ At that the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further need have we of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” They all condemned him as deserving to die. Some began to spit on him. They blindfolded him and struck him and said to him, “Prophesy!” And the guards greeted him with blows.

While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the high priest’s maids came along. Seeing Peter warming himself, she looked intently at him and said, “You too were with the Nazarene, Jesus.” But he denied it saying, “I neither know nor understand what you are talking about.” So he went out into the outer court. Then the cock crowed. The maid saw him and began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” Once again he denied it. A little later the bystanders said to Peter once more, “Surely you are one of them; for you too are a Galilean.” He began to curse and to swear, “I do not know this man about whom you are talking.” And immediately a cock crowed a second time. Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had said to him, “Before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times.” He broke down and wept.

As soon as morning came, the chief priests with the elders and the scribes, that is, the whole Sanhedrin held a council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. ilate questioned him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” He said to him in reply, “You say so.” The chief priests accused him of many things. Again Pilate questioned him, “Have you no answer? See how many things they accuse you of.” Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.

Now on the occasion of the feast he used to release to them one prisoner whom they requested. A man called Barabbas was then in prison along with the rebels who had committed murder in a rebellion. The crowd came forward and began to ask him to do for them as he was accustomed. Pilate answered, “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” For he knew that it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed him over. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. Pilate again said to them in reply, “Then what do you want me to do with the man you call the king of the Jews?” They shouted again, “Crucify him.” Pilate said to them, “Why? What evil has he done?” They only shouted the louder, “Crucify him.” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas to them and, after he had Jesus scourged, handed him over to be crucified.

The soldiers led him away inside the palace, that is, the praetorium, and assembled the whole cohort. They clothed him in purple and, weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him. They began to salute him with, AHail, King of the Jews!” and kept striking his head with a reed and spitting upon him. They knelt before him in homage. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak, dressed him in his own clothes, and led him out to crucify him.

They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.

They brought him to the place of Golgotha — which is translated Place of the Skull —They gave him wine drugged with myrrh, but he did not take it. Then they crucified him and divided his garments  by casting lots for them to see what each should take. It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” With him they crucified two revolutionaries, one on his right and one on his left. Those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself by coming down from the cross.” Likewise the chief priests, with the scribes, mocked him among themselves and said, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also kept abusing him.

At noon darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lemasabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Some of the bystanders who heard it said, “Look, he is calling Elijah. One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink saying, “Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down.” Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.

Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. When the centurion who stood facing him saw how he breathed his last he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” There were also women looking on from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene,  Mary the mother of the younger James and of Joses, and Salome. These women had followed him when he was in Galilee and ministered to him. There were also many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem.

When it was already evening, since it was the day of preparation, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a distinguished member of the council, who was himself awaiting the kingdom of God, came and courageously went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate was amazed that he was already dead. He summoned the centurion and asked him if Jesus had already died. And when he learned of it from the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. Having bought a linen cloth, he took him down, wrapped him in the linen cloth, and laid him in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses watched where he was laid.
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Reflection:
Could you fit in yourself in the gospel of the Lords passion narrative for today? Could you be one of the crowd who were shouting hosanna as the Lord astride on a donkey going to Jerusalem?

Could you be Peter the rock who said to Jesus that he will never deny Him? Yet the same Peter who professed loyalty to Jesus denied Him not once, not twice but three times! Could you be the Chief Priest, the scribes and the others who plotted to kill Jesus? Could you be Judas who betrayed Jesus with thirty pieces of silver? Could you be one of the crowd who shouted crucify Him , crucify Him?

Could you be Simon of Cyrene who carried the cross of Jesus, could you be one of the women who stayed loyal to Jesus until His death? Could you be the centurion who said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” after Jesus breathed His last? Could you be Joseph of Arimathea who took care of the Body of Jesus?

You could be anyone of these actors in the gospel of the passion of the Lord. You may be one of the villains or you may be one of those who helped Jesus and who remained loyal to Him until the end. You could also be the centurion who was enlightened by God to recognize Jesus as the son of God.

As you begin your Holy Week, think of your relationship with Jesus. Think of how many times you have betrayed Him and think of how many times you have helped Him. Your betrayal of Jesus surely outnumbers the times you have helped Him.

What are you going to do to this Holy Week to make amends with Jesus who died for you on the cross? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Reflection for March 28, Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent; John 11:45-56

Gospel: John 11:45-56
Many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what Jesus had done began to believe in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and said, “What are we going to do? This man is performing many signs. If we leave him alone, all will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our land and our nation.” But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing, nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish. He did not say this on his own, but since he was high priest for that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God. So from that day on they planned to kill him.

So Jesus no longer walked about in public among the Jews, but he left for the region near the desert, to a town called Ephraim, and there he remained with his disciples.

Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before Passover to purify themselves. They looked for Jesus and said to one another as they were in the temple area, “What do you think? That he will not come to the feast?
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Reflection:
What would be your reaction if someone you know has achieved greatness? Will you envy and eventually decide to bring down this person? Or you will be happy for his/her success and you will even wish him/her more success. 

Because of His many miracles Jesus was already becoming popular with the people especially the poor. And the ruling authorities (Pharisees) were already threatened by Jesus growing popularity. So they did what they have to do to silence Jesus. They hatched an evil plan of killing Jesus with the thought that if Jesus dies so goes also His popularity. But it did not happen that way, for their plan did not go as they want it to be.  

What if the Pharisees did not envy Jesus? What if they simply had a dialogue with Jesus so that they could work hand in hand to help the poor? The Pharisees could have been an agent of positive change in the lives of the poor. But they chose to allow the devil to sow envy and greed in their hearts. Hence, they committed a despicable crime of killing an innocent man in Jesus.  

Can envy and greed do us any good? No it will not do us any good, it will only push us to do evil just like what the Pharisees did to Jesus. Let us therefore weed out any feeling of envy and greed in our hearts. Instead of being envious let us be happy with those who succeed. Instead of being greedy, why not become generous? - Marino J. Dasmarinas   

Friday, March 27, 2015

Reflection for March 27, Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent; John 10:31-42

Gospel: John10:31-42
The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you trying to stone me? The Jews answered him, “We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy. You, a man, are making yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, ‘You are gods”‘? If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came, and Scripture cannot be set aside, can you say that the one whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world blasphemes because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me; but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may realize and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Then they tried again to arrest him; but he escaped from their power. He went back across the Jordan to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained.
 
Many came to him and said, “John performed no sign, but everything John said about this man was true.” And many there began to believe in him.
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Reflection:
Do you sometimes feel unrewarded for the effort/s that you do? For example, you did something good to a person and then the person did not care to compliment or recognize your good deed. 
 
How would you feel? Perhaps you will be disheartened or even feel bad. On second thought instead of feeling disheartened or bad I think you should still feel good for the reason that you’ve done something worthy to someone. 
 
Jesus did everything for the jews yet they never thanked Him. He instead was persecuted for doing good. Did He feel bad for not being given due recognition? Yes, because He was human like us. However Jesus never allowed thier ingratitude to bring Him down and distract Him from His focus with His mission of salvation.  
 
This is the reality  of life, there are those who will not compliment us for the good that we’ve done for them. Nevertheless let us continue to do good and not be disheartened for God knows everything and God will always reward those who do good. – Marino J. Dasmarinas    

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Reflection for March 26, Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent; John 8:51-59

Gospel: John 8:51-59
Jesus said to the Jews: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.” So the Jews said to him, “Now we are sure that you are possessed. Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death. Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? Or the prophets, who died? Who do you make yourself out to be?” Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing; but it is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ You do not know him, but I know him. And if I should say that I do not know him, I would be like you a liar. But I do know him and I keep his word. Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad.  So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham? Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM. So they picked up stones to throw at him. but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.
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Reflection:
How would you feel if a religious leader would tell you this, if you follow me you will never die. You will not believe this leader of course for the simple reason that this is not true. Jesus in the gospel tells us that anyone of us who will keep His word will never see death.  

What is this death that the Lord is speaking about?  Obviously this doesn’t pertain to physical death for we all will die. The death that Jesus is alluding to is the death in the spirit. We are taught by our faith that when we die our mortal remains will decay. And we are also taught that if we have a close and personal relationship with Jesus our spirit will continue to live for it does not die along with our mortal death. 
 
No one of us has been to the afterlife but this one is true: We will not be afraid to pass through physical death if we are close to Jesus and if we have a personal relationship with Him. Because we know that everlasting life would only come after our mortal death, mortal death is our launching pad to eternal life. But we have to believe first in Jesus and we have to have a personal relationship with Him for us not to experience spiritual death.  

The Jews in our gospel were critics of Jesus and as such they do not believe in Jesus much less have a personal relationship with Him. This is the reason why they (Jews) were not able to understand Jesus when He said: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death (John 8:51).” 

Do we strive to have a personal relationship with Jesus? - Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Monday, March 23, 2015

1Reflection for March 24, Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent; John 8:21-30

Gospel: John  8:21-30
Jesus said to the Pharisees: “I am going away and you will look for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going you cannot come. So the Jews said, “He is not going to kill himself, is he, because he said, ‘Where I am going you cannot come’? He said to them, “You belong to what is below, I belong to what is above. You belong to this world but I do not belong to this world. That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins. So they said to him, “Who are you? Jesus said to them, “What I told you from the beginning. I have much to say about you in condemnation. But the one who sent me is true, and what I heard from him I tell the world. They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father. So Jesus said to them,  When you lift up the Son of Man then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own but I say only what the Father taught me. The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him. Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.
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Reflection:
What is the barrier that prevents us to be with Jesus? It’s our sinfulness and unfaithfulness to Him. Whenever we sin we put barrier that divides us from Jesus the more we sin the more barriers that we create that separates us from Jesus.  

But we also know that this separation is not permanent because through our humble submission to the Sacrament of Reconciliation we allow Jesus to reach out to us as we reach out to Him also. This is what separates us from the many Pharisees of Jesus time.

 By their arrogance and unbelief they created a permanent barrier between them and Jesus. This is one of the reason why Jesus told them (Pharisees), where I am going you cannot come. What then is the key element for us to be able to go eventually where Jesus is? It’s our humility and belief in Jesus.

We read in the first part of the gospel that Jesus is somewhat distant and aloft. Yes, in His humanity Jesus was perhaps exasperated already with the Pharisees. Who would not be? They always contradict Him, they always find fault in Him and they were full of jealousy and unbelief.

Nevertheless Jesus loved them dearly also the same love and intensity that He gave to His followers and to us also. Jesus did not sacrifice His life on the cross for those who only believe Him. He died on the cross or all of us believers, unbelievers and sinners.

If you think that because of your sinfulness and unbelief you’re already hopeless and out of the loop of the love of Jesus. You’re not, you still have hope, you’re still dearly loved by Jesus who died for you on the cross. Pray to Him and look up to Him. – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Reflection for March 23, Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent; John 8:1-11

Gospel: John 8:1-11
Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area, and all the people started coming to him, and he sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say? They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her. Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. And in response, they went away one by one beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him. Then Jesus straightened up and said to her “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you? She replied, “No one, sir. Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.
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Reflection:
Are you sometimes quick to judge those whom you perceived to be sinners?  In the gospel the Pharisees and scribes were very quick to draw judgement from the woman caught committing adultery. They brought this woman to Jesus with the expectation that Jesus Himself would pronounce judgment upon her.

Yet Jesus never judged her for what she did, Jesus choose to highlight God’s mercy and compassion upon her. At the end of the gospel Jesus told her, “I do not condemn you, go and do not sin anymore (John 8:11). As if Jesus was telling her, go and start a new life forget the past for I have already forgiven you. This gospel episode is perhaps one of the best showcase of Jesus’ mercy and compassion.

Perhaps through this gospel Jesus is also inviting us to look at ourselves and have a self-reflection on how we relate with sinners. Do we also judge them quickly just like the Pharisees and scribes did? When we judge we also invite judgment on ourselves, when we judge we further push this person to commit more sins. And when we judge we only highlight the arrogance of the devil instead of the mercy and compassion of Jesus.

But who are we to condemn or judge when we are to be judge also. Who are we to judge when we are sinners also. Instead of judging let us always show the mercy and compassion of Jesus. In doing so we show the sinner that there’s a God who cares, a God who listens and surely a God who is always merciful and forgiving. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Friday, March 20, 2015

Reflection for Sunday March 22, Fifth Sunday of Lent; John 12:20-33

Gospel: John 12:20-33
Some Greeks who had come to worship at the Passover Feast came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus. Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.

“I am troubled now. Yet what should I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour? But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name. Then a voice came from heaven “I have glorified it and will glorify it again. The crowd there heard it and said it was thunder but others said, “An angel has spoken to him. Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come for my sake but for yours. Now is the time of judgment on this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself. He said this indicating the kind of death he would die.
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Reflection:
A cancer patient once asked the Lord, why me O Lord? I do not deserve this severe sickness! Nevertheless I will embrace this trial in my life for I know that you have a good reason why I have this affliction.  From thereon he resigned from his job and devoted his remaining time in this world on spreading the word of God. He was very successful in his new vocation for he led others to Jesus.

There are instances in our life that we have to encounter trials for us to lose our life in this world. And give this very same life a new breath of life in the vineyard of the Lord. Such is God when He wants to use us to advance His kingdom. He creates mysterious instances for us to finally find Him.

 But how would we know that the good Lord has a mission for us?  We simply have to become sensitive to His call and be ready to leave everything. And embrace something that is worthy and noble. We could only find this when we are ready to let go of our old life and leave everything into the hands of God.

Jesus had to let go of His earthly life and He had to leave His life into the hands of God. It was not easy for Him to do this but this is His mission. He had to turn His back from His earthly life to finally fulfill His mission of salvation.

There comes a point in our lives that we also have to make a choice in order for us to find the real essence of our life. This is not easy to do most especially when we are already used to a worldly life. But how can we find the real meaning of our life if we are afraid to die from our sinfulness?   
  
What is preventing you from leaving behind your old life in favor of a new and meaningful life with Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Thursday, March 19, 2015

1Reflection for March 21, Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent; John 7:40-53

Gospel: John 7:40-53
Some in the crowd who heard these words of Jesus said, “This is truly the Prophet. Others said, “This is the Christ. But others said, “The Christ will not come from Galilee, will he? Does not Scripture say that the Christ will be of David’s family and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived? So a division occurred in the crowd because of him. Some of them even wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.

So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why did you not bring him? The guards answered, “Never before has anyone spoken like this man. So the Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed. Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them “Does our law condemn a man before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing? They answered and said to him “You are not from Galilee also, are you? Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”

Then each went to his own house.
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Reflection:
What will happen to us if we try to read the words of Jesus in the bible with reverence and  reflection? It will change us and create a positive impact in our lives. There would be a life changing event that will renew us spiritually.

The guards who were supposed to arrest Jesus were suddenly changed by the very words of Jesus. Thus they were not able to carry out their mission they instead became secret followers of Jesus. This is the great mystery of the words of Jesus once we read it. It will capture and change our life for the better.

Just try reading His words in the bible with piety and notice how it will sink to you and how it will soon change and transform you. There’s great power in the words of Jesus if only we would try to read and reflect upon it.

But do we still have time to read His words in the bible? We should create time for this noble endeavor for this is our ticket to have a personal encounter with Him. This is our ticket to know Jesus more deeply and intimately.

Never mind if you will read the words of Jesus for the very first time in a very long time. For the Holy Spirit will always be there to open your mind and walk you through it. What is important is you take the initiative to listen to Jesus by reading His life transforming words. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

1Reflection for March 20, Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent; John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

Gospel: John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30
Jesus moved about within Galilee; he did not wish to travel in Judea, because the Jews were trying to kill him. But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near. But when his brothers had gone up to the feast, he himself also went up, not openly but as it were in secret.

Some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem said, “Is he not the one they are trying to kill? And look, he is speaking openly and they say nothing to him. Could the authorities have realized that he is the Christ? But we know where he is from. When the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from.” So Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said, “You know me and also know where I am from. Yet I did not come on my own, but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me. So they tried to arrest him, but no one laid a hand upon him, because his hour had not yet come.
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Reflection:
Does Jesus fear death? Yes, He feared death, yet Jesus did not allow His fear of death to paralyze His movement and desire to do His mission for God. He continued with His mission and became more creative in doing it until He reached His appointed time of arrest, persecution and death on the cross.

We see this in the gospel reading for today, Jesus did not want to travel to Judea for the reason that the Jews were planning to kill Him. But it was the feast of tabernacles, a sacred Jewish feast that He should observe. So Jesus went albeit secretly and there He preached with passion as if there was no threat on His life.    

Do you also have fear/s in your life? Whatever your fears are don’t let it paralyze you. You have to face it so that you could conquer or defeat it. If Jesus let His fear of death overcome Him  there would have been no triumphant death on the cross and there would have been no salvation for all of us.

When we face our fears we live our dreams and we are able to achieve great things in life. Fear is an instrument of the devil to prevent us from achieving great things for us and for God. What are your fears? Ask Jesus to help you defeat it for He will surely help you. – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Monday, March 16, 2015

Reflection for March 18, Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent; John 5:17-30

Gospel: John 5:17-30
Jesus answered the Jews: “My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.” For this reason they tried all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath but he also called God his own father, making himself equal to God.

Jesus answered and said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for what he does, the Son will do also. For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything that he himself does, and he will show him greater works than these, so that you may be amazed. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life, so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes. Nor does the Father judge anyone, but he has given all judgment to the Son, so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and will not come to condemnation, but has passed from death to life. Amen, amen, I say to you, the hour is coming and is now here when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in himself, so also he gave to the Son the possession of life in himself. And he gave him power to exercise judgment because he is the Son of Man. Do not be amazed at this, because the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and will come out those who have done good deeds to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked deeds to the resurrection of condemnation.

“I cannot do anything on my own;I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just, because I do not seek my own will but the will of the one who sent me.”
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Reflection:
Do you believe that Jesus and the Father are one and the same? The critics of Jesus did not believe this oneness of the father and the son. The critics of Jesus did not believe because their mindset was based on their human understanding which is always subject to limitations.

What separates us from the critics of Jesus in our gospel? We believe in the oneness of the father and the son, we believe because we have faith. Faith that is not subject to  what our eyes and ears can see and hear.

If our faith is confined to what we could only see and hear this in actually not faith because true faith or deep faith requires believing even without seeing.  Through our faith in both the father and the son we are able to further discover the many truths about our catholic faith.  And we are also able to grow more in faith and knowledge about our universal church.

Perhaps some of us may ask, Why am I not growing in faith? The answer to this is we lack something perhaps this something is our lack of faithful adherence to the teachings of our universal faith.

Say for example our lack of adherence to the insolubility of the Sacrament of Matrimony, the Sanctity of human life, the healing and cleansing value of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the many more teachings of our catholic faith. We will not grow in faith if we don’t believe these teachings.  

Do you believe in the oneness of the Son and the Father and do you also believe the teachings of our catholic faith? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for March 17, Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent; John 5:1-16

Gospel: John 5:1-16
There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes. In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be well?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me. Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk. Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.

Now that day was a sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who was cured, “It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat. He answered them, “The man who made me well told me, ‘Take up your mat and walk. They asked him, “Who is the man who told you, ‘Take it up and walk’? The man who was healed did not know who it was for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there. After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him “Look, you are well; do not sin any more, so that nothing worse may happen to you.” The man went and told the Jews that Jesus was the one who had made him well. Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus because he did this on a sabbath.
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Reflection:
How does it feel to be sick? Those who got sick already would answer that it doesn’t feel good to be sick for you feel weak and can’t function properly. Absurd as it may sound but sickness is sometimes God’s gift to us for it’s through our sickness that we get to know God more deeply. It’s through our getting sick that we become aware of the majestic healing power of God.

The blind man in our gospel had this kind of experience. He was beside the pool waiting for someone to help him immerse in the pool. He didn’t know Jesus thus he did not ask Jesus to heal him.  Jesus by Himself desired to appear to this man and heal him right there. If the man was not sick Jesus would not have appeared to him.  

It’s through our sickness often times that Jesus strongly manifest Himself to us. Through our getting sick we get a clearer picture of who Jesus is. If Jesus healed the man in our gospel without asking for it,  will He not heal us as well? We who know Him and we who always pray to Him.   

There's always hidden silver lining when we get sick, we may not know it immediately but there's certainly silver lining. And one of this is to get to know more Jesus deeply and to have this up close and personal encounter with Him. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Reflection for Sunday March 15, Fourth Sunday of Lent; John 3:14-21

Gospel: John 3:14-21
Jesus said to Nicodemus: “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.
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Reflection:
Why do some people decide to end their life? There are many reasons but perhaps one of those reasons is the lack of knowledge about the infinite love of God. If only they know beforehand the encompassing love of God they wouldn’t dare decide to end their life.

This is the tragedy of our modern times; many of us strive to know how to use high-tech gadgets. Yet many of us also do not exert any effort to know this great love of God that He freely offers to each and every one of us.

Take for instance our Sunday Holy Mass obligation. If we attend Holy Mass with fidelity and devotion the Holy Spirit will open our mind so that we would know this redemptive and salvific love of God.  But sad to say, many do not give priority to this sacred Sunday Holy Mass obligation.    

God’s love for us is encompassing. For example, if someone committed a mortal sin such as abortion.  Does this make the person already unloved by God? The love of God is by no means constrained by our sins even mortal sins. For God’s love is always there for us, it’s ours to take! We have to own this love of God that He freely gives to us.

What kind of love is this that God gives us so freely? This is a salvific love and a redemptive love a love that saves a sinner like you and me. Yes we sin every so often but the sin that we commit does not diminish the salvific and redemptive love of God for us.

During this season of lent let us embrace this encompassing, salvific and redemptive love of God. By humbly submitting ourselves to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Reflection for March 14, Saturday of the Third Week of Lent; Luke 18:9-14

Gospel: Luke 18:9-14
Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else. “Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity — greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’ But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.
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Reflection:
Is humility the passageway to the heart of God? Yes it is! By our humility we are able to access the sacred passageway to the heart of God. By our humility we are able to make God smile at us and we are able to make God embrace us.  

Humility is not only the passageway to the heart of God for this is also the passageway to the heart of our fellowmen. We are silently admired and respected if we are always humble and if we don’t raise ourselves to be exalted by our fellowmen.

In our gospel reading this Saturday there’s this Pharisee who boasted about his good qualities before God. Why did he boast? Perhaps the Pharisee thought that in so doing God would take notice and be impressed of his good qualities. But we cannot impress God, we cannot bully our way to the heart of God.

On the other hand the tax collector and perceived to be sinner by many humbled himself before God. He did nothing except to humbly acknowledge his own sinfulness in front of God. By humbly admitting his own sinfulness and shortcomings the tax collector gained the mercy and favor of God.

Do you also want to gain the mercy and favor of God? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for March 13, Friday of the Third Week of Lent; Mark 12:28-34

Gospel: Mark 12:28-34
One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments? Jesus replied, “The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, He is One and there is no other than he. And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength and to love your neighbor as yourself is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices. And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him “You are not far from the Kingdom of God. And no one dared to ask him any more questions.
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Reflection:
What can save a marriage from breaking apart? It’s the love of God of the spouses. If both husband and wife have the love of God in their hearts they wouldn’t dare walk their own separate ways. For their love of God is much stronger than their love for their own self.

The love of God is supreme amongst any kind of love for it detaches us from our love for our own self. The same love of God will dictate us to stay in the marriage being buffeted by many trials. And the same love of God will teach us to forgive and eventually forget the many offenses that have been done upon us.

The love of God binds and strengthens marriages. It makes the marriage indestructible no matter the waves of trials that it may encounter.  

But how can we find this love of God? How can we have an encounter with God? For it’s very rare for someone to find God by himself or herself alone. Somebody should lead someone to God and who is this somebody?  This somebody is no other than you! Through your love for your neighbor you will introduce others to the encompassing love of God so that they will discover how to love God.  – Marino J. Dasmarinas