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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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Reflection for Sunday January 31, Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time; Luke 4:21-30

Gospel: Luke 4:21-30
Jesus began speaking in the synagogue, saying: “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, “Isn’t this 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 Jesus passed through the midst of them and went away.
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Reflection:
Do you have an attitude of exclusivity? For example you want to reside in an exclusive community so that those who are not members and those who are not rich will not be able to disturb your peace. You want to be in the company of those who are rich because it enhances your status of being member of an exclusive group of people.

Jesus is not in favor of this exclusive mentality, Jesus mindset is inclusive regardless of who you are. Even if you are poor and uneducated, Jesus desires everyone to come to Him and He reaches out to everyone regardless of faith. Regardless of physical appearance, status in life, learned or not. Jesus welcomes everyone for He is for everyone.

In the gospel, Jesus town mates were angry with Him because they wanted Him to be their exclusive property. His town mates wanted Jesus to exclusively heal and do miracles in their community. But Jesus wanted to reach-out even to those who were not members of their faith.

Our exclusive mentality if we allow it to envelope us would detach us from reality. It will dictate upon us to have a superiority mindset. It will force us to look down on others especially the poor and unlearned and regard them with contempt and condescension. – Marino J. Dasmarinas      

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Reflection for January 30, Saturday of the Third Week; Mark 4:35-41

Gospel: Mark 4:35-41
On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples: “Let us cross to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was. And other boats were with him. A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” The wind ceased and there was great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” They were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”
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Reflection:
Are you easily rattled when you pass through stormy episodes in your life? Or you remain calm amidst the storms because you know that Jesus is always there for you.

The disciples were in a boat together with Jesus when it suddenly encountered a violent storm. They were terrified for they thought that the boat might not be able to withstand the storm.  Why were they terrified when Jesus was with them? Perhaps they were overtaken with fear that’s why they suddenly forgot that Jesus was with them.

For as long as we exist in this world we would continue to encounter also worrisome moments in our life. But we have nothing to worry if we have faith, we have nothing to worry if we have a personal relationship with Jesus.

 We simply have to constantly be connected with Him for the reason that He will take care of everything. Jesus will calm us in the midst of our distress. Jesus will make a way when there seems to be no way.

 All He asks from us is to have faith and this we can have if we ask Him to give us the gift of faith. Because faith is a gift that Jesus gives to those who sincerely ask for it.

Prayer:
O Lord in the midst of the many storms in our life we beseech you to give us the gift of faith. So that we would be able to withstand whatever worrisome situation that we may encounter. Forgive our feeble faith, forgive us for not trusting you and for not always recognizing that you’re with us and you always walk with us. Amen. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) 2016, Testimony of Ms Marianne Servaas 1/26/2016

Friday, January 29, 2016

Reflection for January 29, Friday of the Third Week; Mark 4:26-34

Gospel: Mark 4:26-34
Jesus said to the crowds: “This is how it is with the Kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.”

He said, “To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” With many such parables he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it. Without parables he did not speak to them, but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.
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Reflection:
There was a man who habitually shares inspirational and wisdom filled bible verses to his friends. He used every means available to share it such as through internet, mobile phones and the like. Regardless if he would get a reply of appreciation or not he would continuously send it to them.

There was one day wherein he accidentally met one of those friends who regularly receive his inspirational bible verses. His friend told him this: “Thank you for the daily inspirational bible verses that you’ve been tirelessly sending me, you’ve been planting the seeds of God’s kingdom in my heart, it gives me hope and it strengthens my faith in Jesus.”

In today’s gospel Jesus made use of two comparisons to describe the kingdom of God: the man who scattered seed and the mustard seed that became a great tree. Both seeds grew fruitfully and became useful, the scattered seed grew and was usefully harvested. The small mustard seed that was planted became big and had large branches where birds dwell in its shade. 

Let us think about and ask ourselves if we have planted seeds of faith, goodness and humility in the hearts of our fellowmen. Let us think about and ask ourselves if we have planted the seed of Jesus in their hearts so that it may also grow in them and become as big as the mustard seed where others could benefit from it.

We might have not planted anything yet that will grow and bear much fruit in their hearts. Lest we forget that one of our foremost Baptismal mission as Christians is to scatter and plant the seeds of Jesus and our faith by sharing and living it.

Have you already done something to sow the seeds of Jesus in the hearts of your friends and relatives? – Marino J. Dasmarinas    

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Reflection for January 28, Thursday; Saint Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church; Mark 4:21-25

Gospel: Mark 4:21-25
Jesus said to his disciples, “Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible; nothing is secret except to come to light. Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.” He also told them, “Take care what you hear. The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you. To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away."
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Reflection:
There was a man who had an enormous thirst for the knowledge about God. He reads his bible everyday in the process he could already remember majority of the bible verses. But he was selfish and not willing to share what he knew about the bible with his friends.

He defends his selfishness by saying: How could they be encouraged to read the bible if I would share my knowledge with them? He further said that it would be better for them to invest some of their time in reading the bible also.

But this is not what Jesus commands us Jesus doesn't want us to be stingy with whatever knowledge we know about Him. Jesus doesn’t want us to create self-serving reason to escape sharing what we know about God.

Jesus wants us to be generous with our knowledge about Him. He wants us to share Him with others. Most importantly, Jesus wants us to live His teachings. So that it could spread even to the farthest corner of the world.  

When we share and live the teachings of Jesus we become like lighted lamps in the midst of darkness. This is the purpose why we are in this world; to be Christ light which brightly illuminates those who are in darkness. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for January 27, Wednesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time; Mark 4:1-20

Gospel: Mark 4:1-20
On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea. A very large crowd gathered around him so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down. And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land. And he taught them at length in parables, and in the course of his instruction he said to them,  “Hear this! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep. And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it and it produced no grain. And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit. It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” He added, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”

And when he was alone, those present along with the Twelve questioned him about the parables. He answered them, “The mystery of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you. But to those outside everything comes in parables, so that they may look and see but not perceive, and hear and listen but not understand, in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven.”

Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand any of the parables? The sower sows the word. These are the ones on the path where the word is sown. As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once and takes away the word sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who, when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy. But they have no roots; they last only for a time. Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Those sown among thorns are another sort.
They are the people who hear the word, but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches, and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word, and it bears no fruit. But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”
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Reflection:
Do you want to grow in faith?

Sometimes we may wonder why others do not grow in faith yet others grow in faith? The secret for those who grow in faith is the time that they invest with God. For example if we would have a solemn daily prayer life we would be assured that God will look kindly upon us and He will give us the gift of faith.

We have in our gospel the parable of the sower who is no other than God. He sows the seeds of faith in our hearts but not everyone of us are able to grow and deeply nurture the seeds of faith that He sows. For the reason that we lack time for God but the paradox is we have time for this world and we even create time for this world. But do we have time for God? Do we create time for God?

Faith is a gift from God but at the same time we have to open and use this gift of faith we should not take it for granted. Otherwise this gift will not blossom, grow and have deep roots within us. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why our faith doesn’t blossom because we take it for granted.

When are we going to get serious with our faith in God? When are we going to live our faith? So that it could finally blossom and bear abundant fruit. When we are already sickly and near the cliff of death? – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Reflection for January 25, Monday Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle; Mark 16:15-18

Gospel: Mark 16:15-18
Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
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Reflection:
Have you already shared Jesus and the gospel to anyone? Jesus tells the apostles and us too: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”

Perhaps more than half of us would be saying that we’ve not yet shared the word of God and what is the reason? Perhaps lack of time is not the reason because if we can give time to our other worldly activities why can’t we have time to share the words of Jesus?

To share our faith and Jesus is the duty of every baptized Christian no one is exempt from this responsibility. But how can we share if we don’t regularly read the bible? If we seldom go to Holy Mass? So we read first and we give time to be present at Holy Mass and then we share the blessings and knowledge that we’ve imbibed.

Saint Jerome has said: “Ignorance of the bible is ignorance of Christ.” This is very true, for us to effectively share Jesus we must know Him first. How can we share what we don’t have or know? But if we seldom read the words of God in the bible and if we seldom go to Holy Mass. There’s no way for us to share our faith for the simple reason that we cannot give what we don’t have.  

Let us not be stagnant followers of Jesus, let us not be satisfied with this status quo. Let us read God’s words in the bible afterwards let us live it and then let us have the courage to share it in whatever means possible.

Share your faith within your family first, to your spouse, children and to the other members of your household. And see for yourself the miracle that Jesus will create in your life and in your family the moment you share Him.  

When you share Jesus you assure yourself of a sacred space in heaven when your life in this temporal world is over and done with already. – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Reflection for Sunday January 24, Third Sunday in Ordinary Time; Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21

Gospel: Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21
Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us, I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received.

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region. He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all.

He 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.”
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Reflection:
A group of young people asked a learned man of faith about Jesus and the Catholic faith. He answered them and was able to satisfactorily address their questions. But when pressed to share some more of his wisdom he politely refused to do so. He told them that they should also read and study so that they would learn too.

But what this learned man of faith doesn’t know was  the group who’ve asked him to share more of his wisdom were uneducated (they don’t know how to read and write). If only this learned man of faith were generous enough to share his time and wisdom. He could have blessed and watered barren minds thirsting to know more about Jesus and the universal faith. He could have been an instrument of evangelization and propagation of the faith. But he chose to be selfish and egocentric and he kept to himself what was supposed to be generously shared.

In the gospel we read about Saint Luke who was very generous about his knowledge of the faith. He wrote everything about the teachings accurately and then he shared it with Theophilus.

In the second part of the gospel we also read about Jesus who was just through with His mission. Instead of resting for a while He went directly into the synagogue for the Sabbath day. There He movingly read the scroll about the prophet Isaiah: “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 (Luke 4:18-19).”

in the first reading we also about the Priest Erza who generously read about the laws of God to all people from daybreak till midday. While reading it he touched hearts and minds thus it moved his audience to tears. The crowd was touched by the Holy Spirit for the reason that the Priest Erza passionately shared the book about God.

My friend, you may not be that learned/knowledgeable about Jesus and our faith but you certainly know something that others don’t. Why not share what you know about Jesus and His message of salvation. If you’re not used to preaching before an audience use the many platforms available in the internet. Have no fear because the Holy Spirit will be there to empower you.

Why not take this extra step for Jesus? You will certainly touch hearts, empower minds and change lives too! – Marino J. Dasmarinas    

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Reflection for January 23, Saturday of the Second Week; Mark 3:20-21

Gospel: Mark 3:20-21
Jesus came with his disciples into the house. Again the crowd gathered, making it impossible for them even to eat. When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
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Reflection:
Are you quick to judge someone based on what you see? Jesus was called as somebody who is out of His mind by His relatives. Why? Because Jesus dared to do something out of the ordinary. Just imagine instead of enjoying a quite life as a carpenter Jesus did the extra-ordinary.

 Jesus ventured into something that is totally alien to His environment and background. Jesus left His comfort zone to become a nomad, a healer and itinerant preacher. And Jesus relatives couldn’t believe and accept His unorthodox decision.

This is perhaps the reason why they called Him as someone who is out of His mind. Did Jesus’ relatives really know who He was during that time? Yes perhaps they knew Him but they had no idea about His true identity. They judged Jesus based on their superficial knowledge about Him.   

The trouble with judging others is it blinds us of our own faults and shortcomings as if we are perfect, as if we don’t sin. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for January 22, Friday of the Second Week; Mark 3:13-19

Gospel: Mark 3:13-19
Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him. He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons: He appointed the Twelve: Simon, whom he named Peter; James, son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder; Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus; Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.
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Reflection:
How do you deal with betrayal?

Jesus appointed the twelve to be His apostles; it means that they would be His supporter, helper, co-missioners and co-propagators of the gospel. It means also that they would stick it out with Jesus until the very end even at the cost of their life.   

Unfortunately there was one who betrayed Him in exchange for thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26:14-16). Betrayal is an unfortunate incident that happens to all of us, sometimes those whom we trust or even love are the very people who would betray us.

But we must learn from Jesus on how He handled Judas’ betrayal. He did not seek revenge for He knew that nothing good would come out of it. He just let it be and He continued to do His mission and let Judas deal with himself.

Eventually Judas was bothered by his conscience and had a realization he returned the money to the chief priest. Then, he went away and hanged himself (Matthew 27:3-5).

There would be those who will betray our trust even love. How should we react if say for example we pass through this betrayal? Should we get back at him/her and get even? Of course not! If we get even we are no different from the person who betrayed us.

Let us follow Jesus’ example when he dealt with Judas betrayal. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Reflection for January 21, Thursday; Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr; Mark 3:7-12

Gospel: Mark 3:7-12
Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples. A large number of people followed from Galilee and from Judea. Hearing what he was doing, a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem, from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan, and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon. He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him. He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him. And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him and shout, “You are the Son of God.” He warned them sternly not to make him known.
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Reflection:
Do you believe in the saying, to see is to believe?

Large number of people from Galilee, Judea, Jerusalem, Idulmea, Jordan, Tyre and Sidon were following Jesus because of the physical and spiritual healing that He has done for them. And after experiencing healing from Jesus they surely would spread it through word of mouth and by other means.

This kind of situation is no different in our time right now. Whenever we hear that someone heals in the name of Jesus it immediately goes viral, it spread and soon after populate the internet world. And naturally we would all go there (if we could) and see and experience it for ourselves as they say: “To see is to believe.” We therefore go to see and once we see it as if on cue we would now immediately believe.

On the other hand there’s that silent majority who follow Jesus not because of His miracles and healings. They follow Him for the simple reason that they feel it in their hearts their need for Jesus, immaterial of His miracles and healings. It doesn’t even matter if he would be able to heal or not. They follow already for their love and thirst for Jesus.

The ideal and true followers are those who follow even without experiencing miracles. Are you one of those? Or you still need to see and feel a miracle before you follow Jesus. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Reflection for January 20, Wednesday of the Second Week; Mark 3:1-6

Gospel: Mark 3:1-6
Jesus entered the synagogue. There was a man there who had a withered hand. They watched Jesus closely to see if he would cure him on the Sabbath so that they might accuse him. He said to the man with the withered hand, “Come up here before us.” Then he said to the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” But they remained silent. Looking around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of heart, Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel with the Herodians against him to put him to death.
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Reflection:
Do you strictly observe the law or  you  sometimes bend the law so that the mercy, love and compassion of Jesus could be seen through you?

The question of observing the Sabbath day crops up again in the gospel.  Jesus proves once again that it is far more important for Him to make a big difference in the lives of the people than observe the Sabbath day as what He did when He cured a man with a withered hand amidst the protestation of the Pharisees.

The gospel is silent if the sick man had faith but he was obedient, when Jesus told him: “Come up here.” He simply followed without question. Our obedience to the teachings of the good Lord can do us a lot of good if only we would learn to follow it.

On the other hand Jesus was well aware of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. He knew that they were there to watch and denounce His every move. For the simple reason that He was slowly becoming a threat to their dominance in their society.

In the same manner, Jesus is also well aware of our own hypocrisy towards Him. If we are only using His name to gain dominance and popularity in our respective field of influence. And if we are only using His name to advance our own selfish interest. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Monday, January 18, 2016

Reflection for January 19, Tuesday of the Second Week; Mark 2:23-28

Gospel: Mark 2:23-28
As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath, his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain. At this the Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?” He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry? How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat, and shared it with his companions?” Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”
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Reflection:
What is a Sabbath?

Sabbath is a day of rest and worship based on this command: “Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day. Six days you may work and do all your occupation, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD, your God. No work may be done then.” (Exodus 20:8-10)

 Whenever there is a rule there is also a valid exception. And this is what Jesus was pointing out to the Pharisees. For Jesus the fulfilment of a human need is more important than fulfilling the law in this case the Sabbath law.

Law/s should always serve the good of humanity, laws are there to serve humanity not to punish or restrict humanity. 

Some of us create restrictive and oppressive laws inside our own respective fields. Not to serve its purpose but to serve our own selfish purpose and interest. At the end, due to our insistence of fulfilling our self created and self serving laws. It results to enmity and discord among us.

And the law that we have created to create order becomes the very reason for disorder, conflict and disunity. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for January 18, Monday of the Second Week; Mark 2:18-22

Gospel: Mark 2:18-22
The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast. People came to Jesus and objected, “Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day. No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak. If he does, its fullness pulls away, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse. Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”
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Reflection:
A renewed catholic has said that his life was never the same since he had a personal relationship with Jesus. He said that since he met Jesus he was always joyful.  And even if there were problems he always ensures that it would never ruin his day. His reason for his newfound joyfulness and happiness is his re-energized faith in Jesus.

Fasting in the context of our gospel reading for today is connected with self-sacrifice or self-denial. Which is actually not bad because it strengthens a person’s faith and dependence on God. But there is something that is very much supreme than fasting and it’s no other than Jesus! If Jesus is within our lives already there’s no more need for superficial fasting.

For the reason that Jesus will teach us to fast without anyone else knowing it and this is the more important form of fasting: fasting that is not for show and fasting that is not seen and known by anyone except Jesus .

The disciples of John and the Pharisees in our gospel were after the exterior fasting. Fasting that could be seen by our naked eyes and Jesus surely hates this kind of superficiality. If we are already with Jesus we would not be concerned anymore about superficial fasting. For the simple reason that we will fast without broadcasting it for the world to hear and see.

Nobody will know about this kind of fasting except you and Jesus. And this would surely happen once you learn how to surrender yourself to the Love, Mercy and Compassion of Jesus. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Reflection for Sunday January 17, Second Sunday in Ordinary Time; John 2:1-11

Gospel: John 2:1-11
There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told them, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it.And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from — although the servers who had drawn the water knew —, the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.” Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.
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Reflection:
How influential is your mother to you? Do you always listen to her whenever she speaks to you?  Influence is something that Mary has over her son Jesus not only that she exercised influence over Jesus. She also has the listening ear of Jesus.

The backdrop of Jesus’ first miracle is the wedding at Cana that run out of wine. The wedding feast could have already been over in that instance but Mary was there to save the day. She went to Jesus for the reason that she knows that she exercised influence over her son. Mary also knows that she has the listening ear of Jesus. 

What does Mary teach us? She teaches us that we always have to go to Jesus when we have issues in our life. We have to let Jesus take over the driver seat not us taking over, we have to be patient and not be demanding toward Jesus.

Mary is also silently teaching us about humility, patience and acceptance of the will of God for our life. – Marino J. Dasmarinas.

Reflection for Sunday January 17, Feast of the Sto. Nino; Luke 2:41-52

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

As we celebrate today the feast of Sto. Nino we will obviously be seeing many processions, motorcades and parades in honor of the baby Jesus. But some of those who will be joining this celebration will not be in the church for Mass. Some will be giving more importance to the parades than to their worship for Jesus at Holy Mass.

Joseph and Mary absolutely knew the importance of introducing their child to their Jewish faith. That is why they brought the twelve years old Jesus to worship God during the yearly celebration of the feast of Passover. Joseph and Mary completely knew also that their worship for God will help form the young mind of Jesus. By doing so Jesus would learn to love and honor God more than anything else in this world.

The primary duty of parents is to teach their child/children to love and honor God and this they could do by bringing their children to church for Holy Mass. Because the moment they always bring their child for Holy Mass everything that is good and Godly is inculcated in their young minds. And it will become their guiding light as they grow-up.

Bring your children to church for Holy Mass, teach them to love and honor God, and teach them also about your faith. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Reflection for January 16, Saturday of the First Week; Mark 2:13-17

Gospel: Mark  2:13-17
Jesus went out along the sea. All the crowd came to him and he taught them. As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, sitting at the customs post. Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed Jesus. While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many who followed him. Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinners and tax collectors and said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus heard this and said to them, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
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Reflection:
Why did Jesus called Levi to follow Him notwithstanding his notorious reputation as a corrupt tax collector? This is for the reason that Jesus loves sinners. He walked on this earth primarily to save the sinners and to call them all  to follow Him.

 Jesus is pro sinners, He loves sinners, He favors the sinners, He seeks the sinners and He doesn’t judge and discriminate the sinners. This is what happened to Levi or Matthew being a sinner Jesus went to Levi to express to him that He still love him even if he is a sinner.

No matter how sinful we are, God is continuously calling us to conversion and to follow Him just like what He has done with Levi. He doesn’t judge us by our sins; He rather looks at our desire to leave behind us our sinfulness. The moment we decide to change our sinful ways we can always be assured of His peace and His abiding presence.

It is always us who creates detachment from Jesus and not Jesus detaching Himself from us.   This occurs when we commit sins and continuously ignore Jesus’ call for repentance. Jesus is just a prayer away, ever ready to embrace us with His love and forgiveness the moment we decide to walk away from our sinful ways.

When are you going to respond to Jesus call of repentance? – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Reflection for January 15, Friday of the First Week; Mark 2:1-12

Gospel: Mark 2:1-12
When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it became known that he was at home. Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them. They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?” Jesus immediately knew in his mind what they were thinking to themselves, so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth” –he said to the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.” He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone. They were all astounded and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”
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Reflection:
Would you be willing to help a person in need?

We can gain a lot of valuable insights in today’s gospel reading, insight on faith by the four men who brought to Jesus the paralytic. Insights on, forgiveness of our sins, spiritual as well as physical healing.

However, there are two more insights that we can learn in this gospel. Insight on humility; the four that brought the paralytic to Jesus were so humble that they immediately evaporated after they’ve brought the sick man to Jesus. They did not care if they would be recognized for their heroic act. The four men obviously had no bloated egos. So unlike of us who always want to be recognized and seen whenever we do something for our fellowmen.

The other insight that we can learn here is to be more sensitive to the needs of those who are in greater need than us. Sometimes we are so concerned about our own needs that we tend to forget the greater need of others. We become very selfish instead of selfless.

The four humble men were selfless, perhaps they were also in need of Jesus’ healing but they saw that the paralytic was in greater need than them and need to be healed immediately healed by Jesus. They’ve sacrificed their own need to address the pressing need of the paralytic. They channelled every ounce of their energies so that they could help the paralytic, even opening up the roof of the house to bring him in-front of Jesus.

Would you also be willing to help someone in need? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for January 14, Thursday of the First Week; Mark 1:40-45

Gospel: Mark 1:40-45
A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched the leper, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once. Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.” The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere.
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Reflection:
There was a man who had a kidney failure. To temporarily extend his life he would submit himself to a twice a week dialysis treatment. After two years of searching for a donor he finally found a poor relative who was very willing to donate one of his kidney.

To facilitate fast matching and compatibility the donor was invited to stay with the family of the sick man. He was treated well until it was found out during the battery of health test that he had AIDS.  Naturally he was not anymore fit to be a donor and fearing contagion all his things were isolated by his relatives including his utensils.

After the discovery that he had AIDS their treatment of him radically changed s well. He was not welcome anymore and he felt his relative’s isolation and ill-treatment. After a few days he was asked to leave them permanently. We cannot be infected with AIDS by merely staying with an infected person or by sharing the same utensils with someone who has AIDS.

In our gospel we have a man with leprosy (a contagious disease) who humbly went to Jesus He knelt and begged Jesus to cure him. Jesus had nothing in His heart but mercy and compassion for the man He touched him and was immediately made clean without any reservation. 

By touching the man with leprosy Jesus broke the stereotyped ill-treatment of those who were sick with leprosy. By touching the man with leprosy Jesus’ shows us that Love, Mercy, Compassion are more powerful than any dreaded disease.     

As we move forward with our lives we shall be meeting or will be acquainted with people with contagious disease. Or people who are sinful or who lived wayward and misguided lives. Let us not scorn them, let us not avoid them and let us not judge them for what they’ve done.

Let us rather show them that like Jesus our Love, Mercy and Compassion for them are more powerful than any dreaded and despicable disease. – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Reflection for January 13, Wednesday of the First Week; Mark 1:29-39

Gospel: Mark 1:29-39
On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them.

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

Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.”  So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.
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Reflection:
How’s your relationship with your mother-in-law?

They say that mother-in-laws are the scourge of married couples but they are not. Mother-in-laws are blessings to married couples, they are the guiding light that always illuminates couples whenever they go through humps and bumps in their married life.     

In our gospel Jesus was brought by Simon to their house to cure his mother-in-law. Why? Because his mother-in-law is a blessing and guiding light to his family otherwise Simon would have not asked Jesus to come by to their house and heal her.

Simon told Jesus about her sickness and entrusted her healing to Him. Jesus immediately went to her grasped her hand and she was immediately cured. That’s how big the love of Simon towards his mother-in-law and that’s how huge the trust of Simon toward Jesus.

Sometimes our problem is we trust more on ourselves rather than Jesus. We put more weight on our human effort rather than the divine effort of Jesus. This is perhaps the reason why many of us forget to bring first our sick to Jesus by way of our prayers before bringing them to those who could cure them.

What is it that is bothering you right now? Is it the harshness of life? Is it sickness? Is it unfulfilled dreams? Is it family and personal problems? You tell Jesus about it, be patient, don’t give-up; continue to have hope and trust in Jesus. His help and healing will come to you sooner than you expect it. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Monday, January 11, 2016

Reflection for January 12, Tuesday of the First Week; Mark 1:21-28

Gospel: Mark 1:21-28
Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers, and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught. The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes. In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; he cried out, “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, “Quiet! Come out of him!” The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him. All were amazed and asked one another, “What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.” His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.
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Reflection:
What would we get if we are taught by someone without authority? We get nothing from it. Would we still go and listen to him? Of course not! We would prefer to go and listen to the person who teaches with authority and conviction.

Jesus teaches both with authority and conviction that’s why when He entered the synagogue and taught there. Everyone was captured in amazement and admiration. It was further reinforced when they saw Jesus rebuked and commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man whom it has possessed.

Jesus still talks to us with authority and conviction up to this very moment it happens when we read the bible specially His proclamations. If we would be serious in our bible readings/study we would be able to discern Jesus directly speaking to us. But the big question is do we read our bibles? Or it is just in the corner gathering dust.

The man possessed with an unclean spirit immediately sensed the presence of Jesus that’s why when Jesus said: “"Quiet! Come out of him!" It instantly convulsed and was immediately freed from evil possession.

This is also what Jesus will do in our life if we would allow Him to speak to us by reading the bible.  If we would allow Him to speak to us through our pious presence at Holy Mass.

He will drive out all the demons of this material world that is slowly enslaving us. These demons/unclean spirit are the following: Our greed, our lust for the flesh our egotism and the like. – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Reflection for January 11, Monday of the First Week; Mark 1:14-20

Gospel: Mark 1:14-20
After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfilment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Then they left their nets and followed him. He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him.
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Reflection:
A man had a dream of a death experience. Thus he dreamt being ushered into a dark and grisly environment wherein he heard people groaning in agony.  Then he saw the devil frighteningly smiling at him motioning him to go towards him. He suddenly run away as fast as he could and soon after he woke-up from his horrible dream. The man incidentally was living a very sinful life.

The horrifying dream led the man to church he prayed and ask Jesus’ forgiveness then he saw the confessional booth. He went there and confessed his sins to the priest and the priest advised him to repent and to sincerely follow Jesus by faithfully practicing his faith.

The story of this man is our own story of sinfulness too, we are sinful and we keep on sinning. Would we allow the devil to continue to enslave us by incessantly sinning? Would we allow the devil to bring us to hell by ignoring Jesus’ call of repentance? What if we die right now do we want to end up in hell and be in the possession of the devil?

No one of us is wishing for hell, deep inside our beings we yearn for God, we yearn for peace and serenity in our life. And this is what God wants for us also; He wants to give us peace and calmness that He only can give us. But what must we do?  We must repent, believe in the gospel and follow Jesus.

In the gospel for this Monday, the four fishermen (Simon, Andrew, James and John) heard this call of repentance of Jesus for they too were sinful just like all of us. Then after repenting they followed Jesus to become His disciples.

When are you going to repent from your sinfulness? When are you going to faithfully follow Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas