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

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 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Reflection for August 24, Monday Saint Bartholomew, Apostle: John 1:45-51

Gospel: John 1:45-51
Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth. But Nathanael said to him “Can anything good come from Nazareth? Philip said to him, “Come and see. Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Here is a true child of Israel. There is no duplicity in him. Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me? Jesus answered and said to him “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree. Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel. Jesus answered and said to him “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this. And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.
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Reflection:
How do you encounter Jesus in your life? The best encounter with Jesus that you could ever have is through the Holy Mass. Because it’s through this sacred celebration that you become united with Jesus.

But can you have an encounter with Jesus if you seldom go to Holy Mass? If you only go to Holy Mass because you feel like going then if you don’t or you have other activities you sacrifice your presence at Holy Mass for your worldly activities.  

Nathanael in our gospel had an encounter with Jesus. And he was never the same again after that encounter for he was profoundly blessed by Jesus.

Our spiritual development hinges on our hunger and thirst for the Holy Mass. The more that we hunger for it the more that Jesus becomes more real to us. And the more that we feel His abiding presence in our lives.  The more also that we are freed from our fears, worries and vulnerability from the evil scheming of the devil. – 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

Friday, August 21, 2015

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

Gospel: Luke 1:26-38
The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you. But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever and of his Kingdom there will be no end. But Mary said to the angel “How can this be since I have no relations with a man? And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.  And behold, Elizabeth, your relative has also conceived a son in her old age and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren for nothing will be impossible for God. Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word. Then the angel departed from her.
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Reflection:
Are you ready to humbly obey God’s will for your life?

In our gospel we have a model of humility  and obedience to the will of God and that is the Blessed Mother, she submitted herself to God’s will. With trepidation she humbly embraced the will of God for her to bear in her womb Jesus. Why was the Blessed Mother selected by God to be the mother of Jesus? When she was not the only woman during that time? There were many of them but amongst them she found favor with God.

It was her selflessness it was her humility; perhaps God scouted many women to become the mother of Jesus. But the Blessed Mother was way above the others simply because of her self-sacrifice, humility, obedience and faith. God knew beforehand that Mary would not take advantage of the honor which He will give her. God knew that Mary had in her immaculate heart obedience. This is the reason why she said to the angel: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word."

In the midst of our disobedience to God.  God wants us all to model our lives upon the Blessed Mother: Her humility, her altruism and her total embrace of the will of God for her. God is challenging us to hold close in our hearts and emulate the virtues of the Blessed Mother.      

If there are people whom we have been estranged with for so long let us humbly reach-out to them. If we are selfish it’s about time that we become selfless and if we have not been obedient to the will of God let us embrace it now.

Are you ready to humbly obey God’s will for your life? - Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Reflection for August 21, Friday Saint Pius X, Pope: Matthew 22:34-40

Gospel: Matthew 22:34-40
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a scholar of the law, tested him by asking, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.
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Reflection:
When can you say that you truly love God? It’s when you translate your love for God to love for your neighbor.

The perfection of our love for God reaches its zenith when we unconditionally love our neighbor. Thus, we don’t only love those who are lovable to our eyes; we also love even those who are not. Even those who do nothing but hurt us and betray our love for them.

Love that is based on the notion of reciprocal love is not anchored on the love of God. This is for the reason that the love of God is unconditional. It does not discriminate and it loves everyone, including those people who keep on hurting and betraying our love for them.

For example, if your spouse has been continuously hurting you and has been betraying your love. You will still continue to love him/her but not anymore based on romantic love. You will continue to love him/her because you love God and your love for your wayward spouse is not anymore defined by romanticism. But already defined according to God’s unconditional love.

Therefore when a couple separates, it does not mean that there’s no more love. There is still love but not the romantic kind of love anymore. But love based on a much higher plane which is based on a person's love for God. And it does not anymore include romantic love. – 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   

Reflection for August 19, Wednesday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time: Matthew 20:1-16

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

In the gospel, the workers who worked much earlier were complaining to the landowner (God) because they have the same wage as with those who worked late in the afternoon. Why did they complain to the landowner?

They complained because they thought that there seem to be an injustice on how the landowner paid them. But there was no injustice because everyone of them agreed to receive the usual daily wage. Therefore there was no injustice, it so happen that God was generous  to everyone of them.

There may be events in our lives that we may be tempted to  question the wisdom of God and His decisions. But who are we to question the wisdom of God? Who are we to complain before God?

Instead of questioning, why not simply obey? Why not always humble ourselves before God and continue to trust in His infinite wisdom? – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Reflection for August 18, Tuesday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time: Matthew 19:23-30

Gospel: Matthew 19:23-30
Jesus said to his disciples:“ Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For men this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Then Peter said to him in reply, “We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”
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Reflection:
Is there a reward for following Jesus? Yes there is! What then is the reward, material riches? No, it’s something more profound than anything in this world. It’s something that no worldly riches no matter how enormous could buy.

Many of us may quantify through material riches the reward that Jesus will give us once we decide to follow Him. This is a big lie for Jesus is not a God of materialism yet there is a
God of materialism named the devil. The devil would normally entice his prospects with material wealth. Then as the devil takes control of his prospects he slowly destroys the person and his/her family.

So what is the reward of following Jesus? It’s eternal life (Matthew 19:29)! Eternal life that you would even feel while you are still living in this world. For example, those who faithfully follow Jesus have this certain feeling of peace and serenity in their lives. They are always peaceful and not afraid no matter the challenges that they may encounter. This is so because they already gave their faith and confidence in the Lord.     

Then, when these faithful followers finally depart this world, they will be like seeds planted beneath fertile soil. They will once again rise and have new life. Not in this temporal world anymore but in heaven in the company of God and His holy angels.

Do you want to follow Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Reflection for August 17, Monday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time: Matthew 19:16-22

Gospel: Matthew 19:16-22
A young man approached Jesus and said, “Teacher,  what good must I do to gain eternal life?” He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He asked him, “Which ones?” And Jesus replied, “You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; honor your father and your mother; and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
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Reflection:
Are your possessions in this world your sole obsession for living? The young man in our gospel was obsessed with his possessions for he couldn’t give it up in exchange for his discipleship with Jesus.  He was seemingly a good man but how come he couldn’t give-up his wealth? If this young man was all good, he would not have thought of giving up his wealth for Jesus.

Does this young man represent many of us today? Yes! For there are many of us who are enslaved by wealth. Yes we do good but sometimes the good that we do is for others to see. When nobody sees us anymore we once again allow ourselves to be possessed by wealth. We work hard for wealth some of us  even sacrifice our honor  for wealth as if it will give us peace, contentment and happiness.

Who can give us peace, happiness and contentment in this world? It’s only Jesus, He alone can give us peace and contentment. The rich young man in the gospel did not see it in Jesus that’s why he sacrificed his once in a lifetime opportunity in favor of his possessions/wealth.

How about you? Who would you choose the glitters of material wealth and power or the life of peace and contentment with Jesus? – 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