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

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Monday, August 31, 2015

Reflection for September 1, Tuesday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time: Luke 4:31-37

Gospel: Luke 4:31-37
Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee. He taught them on the sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching because he spoke with authority. In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out in a loud voice, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!” Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet! Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down in front of them and came out of him without doing him any harm. They were all amazed and said to one another, “What is there about his word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” And news of him spread everywhere in the surrounding region.
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Reflection:
Do you give time to read the words of Jesus in the bible? Many of us do not have time to read but when it comes to other worldly things we create time.

If only we would give time for Jesus we would certainly feel His authority and power working within us. How does the authority and power of Jesus work in us? Here’s a practical example, if during the time that you still don’t know Jesus you were temperamental. After discovering Jesus in your life you will now become calm and peaceful.

If before you are easily affected by sad events that come your way. Not so much anymore now for the simple reason that you already learned to surrender your life to Jesus. There are other true stories of transformed lives all because of Jesus.

But many have not yet experienced the power and authority of Jesus in their lives. So what are you going to do? You who have already experienced the transforming power and authority of Jesus! You have to lead them to Jesus, you have to encourage them to open and read their bibles.

You certainly will be blessed by Jesus if you do so. Perhaps not material blessing for its temporal and fleeting anyway. Perhaps Jesus would give you the gift of intellect and other blessings that is not seen. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Reflection for August 31, Monday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time: Luke 4:16-30

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

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

Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, “Is this not the son of Joseph?”

He said to them, “Surely you will quote me this proverb, ‘Physician, cure yourself,’ and say, ‘Do here in your native place the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.’ And he said, “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land.

 It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon. Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian. When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. But he passed through the midst of them and went away.
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Reflection:
Acceptance of somebody who achieved something is sometimes hard to accept for many of us. Most especially if we know the person and his/her background pretty well. We sometimes are unbelieving and scornful of them.

This behavior of non-acceptance happened also to Jesus when He went back to Nazareth, the town where he grew-up. Jesus’ town mates did not accept Him even if it was very obvious that he was very exceptional.

Their hearts were hardened already for Jesus. The worst part is they even tried to kill him. This is human behavior at its worst! But why is it that we can’t accept? There’s no other reason but pride, envy and arrogance.

Our pride, envy and arrogance will not bring us any good. It will only hasten our downfall! If we allow these negative emotions to rule our hearts no good will happen to us except self-destruction. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for Sunday August 30, Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time; Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

Gospel: Mark  7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
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 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.

“From within people, from their hearts, 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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Reflection:
A domineering husband was always critical of his wife, he would always create rules in their house for her to follow. The humble and often verbally abused wife would always follow but as years passed by she finally realized that she had enough. So she decided to permanently walk away from her arrogant husband.

Many of the Pharisees during Jesus time had that domineering attitude also, they were very strict with observing their many traditions and rituals. For example the washing of hands before eating meals, purifying oneself after going to the marketplace and they have countless more: They wanted these all to be observed.

In the gospel the Pharisees saw the followers of Jesus eating their meals without washing their hands. They therefore questioned Him: "Why did they not wash their hands first?" But as always Jesus knew about their motives, Jesus knew that they were only good with the external observance of their traditions. But deep inside them they were still the same arrogant and overbearing people who always push their weight around.

The problem with always being strict is it creates a division that  may produce a permanent wedge amongst individuals.  Jesus knew about this problem that's why he often times disregards the rules in favor of the welfare of the people. For Jesus it is first and foremost the welfare of His people before the observance of the traditions, it is first the interior cleansing before the exterior observance of the rituals.    

Strictness always results to alienation, division and permanent separation while compassion and understanding always results to love, healing and unity. Jesus would want us to always be compassionate, to always be understanding and to always be kind towards our fellowmen.

It's only through these acts of love and gentleness that we could become effective vessels of His teachings. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

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

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

Faced with a very powerful man, John never thought of backing down. He stood his ground and simply followed the dictate of the Holy Spirit.

When faced with the same dilemma would we be able to stand our ground and look straight in the eyes those who are corrupt and immoral? Or those who are straying the right path? For example in your house if you sense that something is wrong with your spouse, would you pretend to see nothing and hear nothing? Of course not! You have to denounce it no matter what happens.

Many martyrs and saints of the church took the difficult path of John and like John they paid dearly for it. This is how it is when you are true to your discipleship with Jesus. You have to be ready to sacrifice a big part of your life so that evil will not triumph.

To do nothing, to pretend to hear and see nothing in spite of the obvious stench of immorality and other wrongdoings is evil. – Marino J. Dasmarinas    

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Reflection for August 28, Friday Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor: Matthew 25:1-13

Gospel: Matthew 25:1-13
Jesus told his disciples this parable: “The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise ones replied, ‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’ While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked. Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
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Reflection:
Is there a magic word for a successful marriage? Yes there is and the magic word is preparation. When a couple decides to tie the knot they have to ensure that they plunge into the marriage covenant prepared.

They have to be prepared for the emotional and financial stress that they have to go through. They have to be prepared to swallow their own prides/egos. They have to learn to once in a while bend in humility so that their marriage would continue to hold until the end.

In the gospel the five foolish virgins went unprepared to meet the bridegroom. They knew that there was no mention of the time of the bridegroom’s arrival. Yet they did not bring an extra flask of oil for their lamps.

So, when news came that the bridegroom had arrived.  The lights of their lamps were slowly fading for there was hardly oil in their respective lamps. Therefore, the five of them were forced to look for oil but it was already too late. For the door was already locked because the bridegroom was already inside the wedding feast.

When you go to Holy Mass be there before it starts and don’t just go without preparation. Go there prepared by having read the readings most especially the gospel. If you do so you could somehow enter into the mystery of the readings.  

You would also hear clearly the bridegroom which is no other than Jesus Himself speaking directly to your heart through the gospel. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for August 27, Thursday Saint Monica: Matthew 24:42-51

Gospel: Matthew 24:42-51
Jesus said to his disciples: “Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.

“Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so. Amen, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property. But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is long delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eat and drink with drunkards, the servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”
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Reflection:
There’s a story of a woman who transferred to her newly built house. In her two years stay in the said house she had it blessed three times already. And her reason was she always had a feeling that something eerie was going to happen to her in that house. When she was asked if she always has time for God she said that she doesn’t have. She only read the bible if she wants and she only attends Holy Mass if she likes.

What does it mean to stay awake? It means to always be ready for whatever that may come into our lives. Life is so full of surprises that we cannot predict what may happen to us in the next seconds and minutes.

Earthly preparation is always prudent but nothing beats being prepared spiritually. For spiritual preparation is the best preparation that we could ever do. Whatever that may hit us if we are spiritually prepared we are very sure that we will rise up again. For the simple reason that we are connected with God and who could bring us down if we have God? Nobody!

Let us therefore always be prepared by having a special bond with Jesus. We can begin by reading about His life in the bible. And my making ourselves available for Holy Mass most especially during Sunday.   

Are you always prepared? – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for August 26, Wednesday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time: Matthew 23:27-32

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

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the memorials of the righteous, and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’ Thus you bear witness against yourselves that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets; now fill up what your ancestors measured out!
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Reflection:
Why is Jesus so aghast with the scribes and the Pharisees? This is because they don’t walk their talk, what they say is contrary to what they do. They tell their people to do this and that yet they don’t do it themselves. They are only good at giving commands and it ends there.

They also are very much conscious with their outside appearance. They always put their best foot forward so to speak yet they don’t care about the content of their hearts.

They are very much like politicians and government employees who steal money from the coffers of the government. They use a miniscule fraction of the stolen money to deodorize their corrupt image among the common people and the bulk of the dirty money they keep to themselves.

These corrupt politicians and government employees are very much like the scribes and Pharisees which Jesus detested so badly. Thus, Jesus told them: You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth. Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing (Matthew 23:27). – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Philippines becomes regional star as gloom descends around Asia; http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-wp-blm-news-bc-philippines24-20150824-story.html

MANILA, Philippines — It's more what the Philippines doesn't have than what it does have that's making the country Southeast Asia's safe haven amid an emerging-market rout.

Relatively low levels of foreign investment in its bonds and stocks are shielding the Philippines from an intensifying selloff, while a comparative lack of raw materials means it's less vulnerable than Indonesia or Malaysia to sliding commodities prices. Stability under President Benigno Aquino stands in contrast to Thailand, ruled by the military since May 2014, and Malaysia, where the prime minister is facing calls to resign amid a political scandal.

Philippine local-currency sovereign bonds returned 2.9 percent over the last three months, the most in Southeast Asia. The peso has held up better than its peers, losing 4.5 percent, compared with drops of 8 percent in Thailand's baht, 12 percent in Indonesia's rupiah and 18 percent in Malaysia's ringgit. The benchmark Manila stocks index has also declined the least in the region over the period.

"It's definitely the regional star," said Edwin Gutierrez, who helps oversee $13 billion as the head of emerging-market sovereign debt at Aberdeen Asset Management in London. "In a world starved of growth, Philippine growth -- albeit slowing -- is holding up relatively well," he said, adding that a relative lack of foreign participation had protected the country from capital flight.
  
The economy expanded 5.7 percent last quarter from a year earlier, according to a Bloomberg survey before data due Aug. 27. That would be an improvement from 5.2 percent expansion in the first three months, although slower than 6.1 percent in 2014. Indonesian and Malaysian growth slowed to 4.67 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively, last quarter, while Thai gross domestic product increased 2.8 percent.

A burgeoning business-process outsourcing industry is aiding the Philippine economy. Revenue from BPO, which includes customer call centers as well as the farming out of accounting tasks, will rise to $21.2 billion this year and $25 billion in 2016 from $18 billion in 2014, according to the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines.

Money sent home by Filipinos living abroad, which makes up about 10 percent of GDP, increased 5.6 percent to $12.1 billion in the first half from a year earlier. A net oil importer, the Philippines has also benefited from falling crude prices. The country ran a $3.3 billion current-account surplus in the first quarter, compared with $1.5 billion in the same period of 2014, according to central bank data.

The Philippines' consumption-based economy and steady dollar inflows mean it's insulated from China's yuan devaluation and U.S. interest-rate increases, according to Jay Peiris, the International Monetary Fund's representative in Manila.

"It's very hard to think of a country that's less vulnerable," he said in an Aug. 20 interview.

Peso sovereign notes are the best performers in Asia after Taiwanese securities in the last three months, according to Bloomberg indexes. Thai debt returned 1.6 percent, while Malaysian and Indonesian paper declined 1.1 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively.

I just hope we won't waste this momentum by electing a corrupt president in 2016. Aquino may not be perfect . To my countrymen back home please vote wisely...Every election we are learning ...lets not elect those pretending to protect the welfare of the Filipinos. Lets look closely at...

Around 10 percent of Philippine bonds are foreign-owned, according to BPI Asset Management and Trust Group, part of the country's second-largest lender. That compares with 39 percent in Indonesia, 31 percent in Malaysia, and 17 percent in Thailand at end-March, Asian Development Bank figures show.

"Philippine fixed-income assets stand out versus their Asian peers largely due to the dominance of domestic investors," said Mario Miranda, senior vice president at BPI Asset in Manila.

Outflows from Philippine stocks have also been more modest than for regional peers. Some $332 million has been pulled from the country's shares this quarter, compared with $587 million from Indonesia and $1.6 billion from Thailand. The Philippine benchmark share gauge is down 13 percent in three months, trailing drops of 13.8 percent in Thailand, 14.3 percent in Malaysia and 21 percent in Indonesia.
  
Saturna, the Malaysian unit of Saturna Capital, is overweight Philippine shares in its Asean portfolio as the country is a regional bright spot and less dependent on foreign funds, said Monem Salam, Saturna's president in Kuala Lumpur.

There are pockets of concern in the Philippine economy including companies with high levels of foreign-currency debt and property developers that engage in shadow banking, said the IMF's Peiris. The Philippine Exporters' Confederation warned last month that the peso's resilience was a potential threat to shipments. The currency is 20 percent overvalued, said Claudio Piron, co-head of Asia FX and rates strategy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Singapore.

Filipinos go to the polls next year to elect a new president, with Aquino prohibited from running for another six- year term. Since 2010, his administration has pursued tax evaders and corrupt officials, allowing it to collect more revenue to build roads and schools and boost cash handouts to the poor, while shrinking budget deficits.

Standard & Poor's has upgraded the Philippines' credit rating four times during Aquino's tenure and all of the three big ratings companies assess it as investment grade.

Strong growth fundamentals, a large English-speaking population, fiscal and monetary prudence, and political stability support the positive outlook on the economy, said Andrew Wood, the Singapore-based head of Asia Country Risk Research at BMI Research, part of Fitch Group.

"The Philippines' large and growing labor force, along with increased policy-making credibility, should continue to draw investors' interest over the medium term," he said. "We believe the Philippines can continue to outperform the region."

Contributors: Clarissa Batino, Siegfrid Alegado and Ian Sayson in Manila and Lilian Karunungan in Singapore.

Copyright © 2015, Chicago Tribune
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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Reflection for August 25, Tuesday Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time: Matthew 23:23-26

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

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean.
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Reflection:
Which is more important to you? The outside of a person (what is seen) 0r the inside of a person (what is not seen)? For Jesus it is always the inside, the content of a person’s heart and thought.

What is seen doesn’t matter for what good it is to wear nice clothes, to have nice houses and to have wealth. If the content of our hearts and minds are filthy and toxic? What good it is to have all the material wealth and power in this world if you have no God in your heart. If you have no compassion and love?

Power and material things are temporal. But if you have God in your heart, if you have compassion and love you are forever peaceful until the end.  

The Pharisees in the gospel which was the ruling power during Jesus’ time were the recipient of Jesus woes. For they were always looking good and pious on the outside but morally and spiritually lacking in the inside. Thus, Jesus wanted them to change and to have an interior cleansing and renewal.

Let us reflect on these pronouncements of Jesus for He is speaking to all of us also: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean (Matthew 23:25-26). – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Reflection for Sunday August 23, Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time; John 6:60-69

Gospel: John 6:60-69
Many of Jesus’disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.” As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.
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Reflection:
Do you believe the claim of Jesus that He is the Bread of Life? Many of the followers of Jesus were scandalized about his pronouncements that He is the Bread of Life. That whoever comes to Him will never hunger or thirst (John 6:35).

So they detached themselves from following Jesus. After which they quickly returned to their former way of life. Perhaps it was a life of sin and emptiness, they chose to regress rather than to progress with Jesus. Why did they walk away? Perhaps it was influenced by their arrogance and unbelief towards Jesus.

Those followers who chose to walk away missed the golden opportunity to know more about Jesus. They also missed the chance to feel and witness more miraculous manifestation from Jesus.

How about you? Are you also walking away from Jesus? Stay with Jesus, never leave Him, always have a connection with Him. It doesn’t matter if it’s a wired or wifi connection for as long as you are always connected with Jesus.

No matter how difficult your present circumstances are right now continue to follow Jesus. Remember that the best is yet to come in your master and follower relationship with Jesus. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Reflection for August 20, Thursday Saint Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church: Matthew 22:1-14

Gospel: Matthew 22:1-14
Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and the elders of the people in parables saying, “The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. A second time he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast. Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then the king said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.’ The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to meet the guests he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. He said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment But he was reduced to silence. Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’ Many are invited, but few are chosen.
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Reflection:
Do you always find time for Holy Mass especially during Sunday? Every Holy Mass is an invitation for all of us to be present at the Lord’s banquet. To be present there will not cost us anything except a little of our time. In fact it’s us who will be greatly blessed by the Lord if we would make ourselves available for Holy Mass.

In the gospel Jesus tells us about a parable regarding a king who had invited guest to come to the wedding banquet of his son. But for the reason of their preoccupation nobody came to honor the king’s invitation. Thus, they missed the opportunity to break bread with the king, his son and other members of his family.
    
This is also what we miss when we fail to attend Holy Mass. We miss the opportunity to break bread with Jesus and partake of His Body and Blood and subsequently be strengthened by it. 

Let us always find time to respond to Jesus’ invitation to be with Him at Holy Mass no matter how busy we are. Let us not miss the opportunity to be blessed by Him and to be up close and personal with our Lord and Master.

Do you always find time to be with Jesus at Holy Mass? – Marino J. Dasmarinas   

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Reflection for Sunday August 16, Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time; John 6:51-58


Gospel: John  6:51-58
Jesus said to the crowds: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.
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Reflection:   
A drug addict was submitted by his relatives to a rehabilitation center. While in the center he was required to be present at Holy Mass everyday. Every Holy Mass this man would always humbly partake of the Body of Christ and he would silently ask Jesus to heal and transform him.

After six months of stay in the rehabilitation center the man was already free from addiction. When he was asked to whom he would attribute his successful rehabilitation. He humbly said, to Jesus the living Bread of Life which I regularly received everyday for six months.

Unlike regular bread that fills us and after a few hours makes us hungry again. The living Bread of Life which we partake during Holy Communion does not only fill our physical hunger. It also fills and heals our emotional and spiritual hunger.

Perhaps many will not believe that regular partaking of the Body of Christ would heal and fill us. But if we try it and be humble and docile to the will of Jesus, we would also feel His transforming power working within us.

Nevertheless at the end of the day our healing and transformation are still dependent on how docile and humble we are before God. The Lord in His infinite wisdom has given us the freedom also to allow or not to allow the living Bread of Life to heal us. This is the reason why many of us who partake of the Body of Christ, are not healed or transformed, because we are not docile and humble before Jesus.   

If only we would learn to always be docile and humble. If only we would allow the will of God to direct our lives. – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Reflection for August 15, Saturday, Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Luke 1:39-56

Gospel: Luke 1:39-56
Mary set out and travelled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

And Mary said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, and has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children forever.” Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.
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Reflection:
Today is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This doctrine was dogmatically and infallibly defined by Pope Pius XII on November 1 1950.

The Blessed Mother, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory. Her acceptance into the glory of Heaven is a symbol of the promise made by Jesus to all enduring Christians that we too will be received into paradise.

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is only one of the many rightful honors that we bestow upon her. We hold her in great esteem because amongst many women of her time she was chosen by God to be the mother of Jesus. Why Mary amongst the many women of her time? It was her humility, docility and the readiness to subordinate her will to the will of God.  

She knew that she was chosen but she did not boast about it. The Blessed Mother choose to proclaim the greatness of the Lord instead of her own greatness. She chose share the blessing of God by visiting her cousin Elizabeth who was also pregnant during that time. And she did not leave her cousin until she gave birth.

Like The Blessed Mother, may we also learn to be humble, to comfort others to do big and little acts of kindness and to be selfless.

We may not know this but there are also at this very moment people who are longing for our physical presence. Or longing to simply hear something from us so that they will know that we still care.

It will not cost us much if we would give them a call or a text to simply say hello or how are you? Perhaps we can send them private message via facebook, twitter and instagram? Let us take advantage of the many modes of modern and internet based communication to let others know that we care for them.

Would you be willing to do it? – Marino J. Dasmarinas   

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Reflection for August 13, Thursday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time: Matthew 18:21–19:1

Gospel: Matthew 18:21–19:1
Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount. Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt. At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full. Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan. When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, ‘Pay back what you owe. Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back. But he refused. Instead, he had the fellow servant put in prison until he paid back the debt. Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair. His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant!  I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?’ Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.”

When Jesus finished these words, he left Galilee and went to the district of Judea across the Jordan.
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Reflection:
How do you feel after you’ve been through the Sacrament of Confession/Reconciliation? You feel light and free as if a big burden has been taken off from your back. This perhaps was the feeling of the servant in our gospel who asked forgiveness from his master/king.

But the irony is this: the servant who was forgiven by his master did not forgive a fellow servant who owed him a small amount of money. Hmm… something is terribly wrong here because the servant should have also forgiven his fellow servant. But he did not take advantage of the grace of forgiveness that was showered upon him by his master.  

Do you always take advantage of the grace of forgiveness that is graciously given to you by God during the Sacrament of Confession? God’s desire for us is to forgive as we have been forgiven. To forgive and forget the offense/s that is done to us as God has forgiven the countless offenses that we’ve done to Him. Think about if you don’t forgive, you’re imprisoned by your anger and you don’t have peace of mind. 

You have everything to gain and nothing to lose if you will forgive or if you become forgiving. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Reflection for August 12, Wednesday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time: Matthew 18:15-20

Gospel: Matthew 18:15-20
Jesus said to his disciples: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell the Church. If he refuses to listen even to the Church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector. Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
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Reflection:
A domineering husband would always shout at his wife whenever she commits mistake. Eventually the wife had enough of his domineering behavior so she decided to leave him for good and live her life in peace.

It’s always very tempting to show off our authority and power in the sphere of environment that we are in. Yet the more that we become authoritarian the more that we alienate ourselves from the people that we love. The more that we become domineering that more that we hasten our downfall.

Whenever there is conflict in our sphere of environment. The devil would always tell us to show-off our domineering behavior through the exercise of our authority.  But this kind of action will never heal conflict it will even exacerbate conflict.

Jesus has an advice for all of us on how to deal with those whom we have issues to settle.  The advice of Jesus is to always use the way of diplomacy and never the way of arrogance. To sit-down and talk as civilized and educated people, to stretch our patience to the limit and not to immediately get angry.

How do you behave when there are issues in your sphere of environment, say for example in your  family? – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Reflection for August 11, Tuesday Saint Claire, Virgin: Matthew 18:1-5, 10, 12-14

Gospel: Matthew 18:1-5, 10, 12-14
The disciples approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?” He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.

See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father. What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.”
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Reflection:
A rebellious young lady has five children from five different men. She tried every sin that this world could offer her. There was no sign of repentance in her heart she continued to sin like it was breakfast in the morning. Her relative had already given up on her so they let her live her sinful life.

In the gospel Jesus speaks about searching for the lost sheep and searching for those who stray no matter where they are. Unlike us who often times give up on those who do not listen to us. Jesus doesn’t give up, He continuously search for those who sin or those who are lost. No sin is too big for the merciful heart of Jesus.

Each and every one of us are precious in the eyes of God, He holds us dearly in His loving heart. No matter if we are big time or small time sinners we are all precious in His eyes.

In so many ways the gospel invites us to self-reflection on how we feel towards those who sin. Have we already given up on them because they don’t listen to us? Or we continue to patiently wait or even search for them. Until we find them so that we could offer them our unconditional love.   

Do you easily give up on those who sin or you patiently wait and pray for  them until they see the healing light of Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for August 10, Monday Saint Lawrence, deacon and martyr: John 12:24-26

Gospel: John 12:24-26
Jesus said to his disciples: “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.”
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Reflection:
What does it mean to hate your life in this world? It’s to give your life in the service of Jesus so that through you others may know Jesus. When you do not give your life for the mission of Jesus and just keep it to yourself you will not grow in wisdom and faith. Yes, you will grow in worldliness and hedonism but eventually your life will come to a halt. And that’s basically the end of it.

When you choose to give your life for the mission of Jesus you will not anymore enjoy this world as you enjoyed it before.  Yet you will also discover a more profound and deeper meaning in your life.

 Why? Because you chose to give your life for the mission of Jesus. You chose to throwaway your life away from the prying eyes of worldliness going to the direction of Jesus so that you could walk hand in hand with Jesus.

As Jesus gave away His very own life on the cross so that God’s kingdom in this world could grow and flourish. We too should not be afraid to give away our lives for the sake of the kingdom of God for this is where the true essence and meaning of life lies.

Where are you in your life right now? Have you already found the true essence and meaning of life with Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Reflection for Sunday August 9, Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time; John 6:41-51

Gospel: John 6:41-51
The Jews murmured about Jesus because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven, ” and they said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph? Do we not know his father and mother? Then how can he say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Stop murmuring among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day. It is written in the prophets: They shall all be taught by God. Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
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Reflection:   
How can Jesus be the bread that gives life? This is very hard to believe for a non-believer. But for those who believe they know that Jesus indeed is the Bread of Life.

The Jews were protesting about Jesus’ pronouncement that He is the Bread of Life that came down from heaven (John 6:41). They know Jesus pretty well as the son of Joseph and Mary, some of them perhaps grew with Him.  How could then He become the Bread of Life?  

Faith and actual experience is what moves us to believe this sacred declaration of Jesus that He is the Bread that gives life. Why do we yearn to receive Jesus during Holy Communion? Because our love and faith in Jesus pushes us to do so.

Everytime we submit to the desire of our faith in Jesus to partake of Him during the Sacrament of Holy Communion/Eucharist. We also obey Jesus’ desire to dwell in us and to be with us. The Jews did not submit themselves to this desire of Jesus that’s why they did not believe Him.

Each and every one of us goes through an extra-ordinary experience whenever we partake of Jesus’ Body and blood. Many of us do not notice this extra-ordinary experience anymore for the simple reason that we treat this experience as an ordinary experience.  
  
Whenever we receive The Body and Blood of Jesus it’s not us who desire to be one with our Lord and Master. It is Jesus our Lord and Master who desires to be one with Him. It’s Jesus who calls each and every one of us to receive Him so that He could dwell in us and in the process He could transform and bless us.

What then is your responsibility? You have to share the miracle of the Bread of Life; you have to share what you know about Jesus no matter how limited and you have to allow Jesus to transform you according to His will. – Marino J. Dasmarinas