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, February 29, 2016

Reflection for February 29, Monday of the Third Week of Lent; Luke 4:24-30

Gospel: Luke 4:24-30
Jesus said to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth: “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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How does God give His blessings?  God gives His blessings to anyone that He pleases and He surely doesn’t play the game of favoritism.

If God has favorites among us because we are prayerful or because we often go to Holy Mass and do noble acts. Our worship for God would now be motivated by our actions focused to get His favor.  Therefore our worship for God is not anymore motivated by our love for Him. It’s now rather motivated by the result that we want from Him.  

In our gospel Jesus shared the story of a Syrian named Naaman who was sick with leprosy. There were also many lepers in Israel around that time but God chose to heal a non Israelite named  Naaman.

Jesus cited the story of Naaman to send a strong message to those who were listening to Him in the synagogue. That they cannot gain God’s favor by means of their selfish acts of piety. Or worship for God that has selfish motivations.

This is a good point of reflection for all of us for we may be doing things for God with selfish motives. Or we do things for God and our fellowmen because we want something in return from God.

For example we would say to God, I will serve you but I request you to bless my family in return. But this is not how it is because our ways is not God’s ways, we cannot force God to do something because we want Him to do it for us.  

When we do acts for God let us make sure that we primarily do it because of our deep love for God. No other motives than our deep love for God. – Marino J. Dasmarinas    

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Reflection for Sunday February 28, Third Sunday of Lent; Luke 13:1-9

Gospel: Luke 13:1-9
Some people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. Jesus said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did! Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them— do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!”

And he told them this parable: “There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’ He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.’”
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A corrupt government official was being prodded by his wife to leave behind his life of sin. The corrupt official would always say to his wife to be quite and enjoy the fruits of his dishonesty for nobody would know about it. After years of enjoying his dirty wealth he was eventually caught and was imprisoned for the rest of his life.         

What does sin do to us? It gives us nothing but misfortune! But sometimes the result of the dangerous fruit of sin doesn’t immediately manifest so we are tempted to enjoy it. Until the point of reckoning comes where both divine and civil punishment will be served upon us.

Sinful ways doesn’t pay, we may enjoy it for a short or long period of time but the eventual weight of punishment will be upon us. We have to realize this fact that we will not gain anything by miring ourselves with sin.  

Let us therefore examine ourselves regarding the many sins that we have committed. If possible let us write these sins on a white bond paper or a piece of clean paper. And after we are through writing let us cross-out every single sin that has possessed us for so long.

 This would now serve as our initial step toward our repentance and reconciliation with Jesus and with those whom we’ve hurt. – Marino J. Dasmarinas   

Friday, February 26, 2016

Reflection for February 27, Saturday of the Second Week of Lent; Luke15:1-3, 11-32

Gospel: Luke 15:1-3, 11-32
Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So to them Jesus addressed this parable. “A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them. After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’ So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly, bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began. Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing.  He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’ He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’”
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What if the prodigal son did not decide to go back to his father? What would have happened to him? It’s sure that he could have ended in a very problematic situation. But he returned for he realized his mistake, he returned because he badly wants to once again feel the unconditional love of his father.

This parable is also for us who are like the prodigal son. Jesus is inviting us all to repent from our own sinfulness; He wants us to know that He is there eternally waiting for us. Ever ready to embrace us again with His unconditional love and forgiveness.

Where would we go if we will not go back to Jesus? We embrace this world? This world will only give us temporal happiness which afterwards will translate to become problems that could even destroy us. The riches of this world cannot give us peace of mind for the simple reason that it will only pull us farther away from the love of Jesus.

When the prodigal son decided to return he knew that nothing compares to the love of his  father. He knew that his father will still accept him without any questions being asked against him.

We are the modern day prodigal son thus we have to go back to the loving and forgiving embrace of Jesus. – Marino J. Dasmarinas      

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Reflection for February 26, Friday of the Second Week of Lent; Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46

Gospel: Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46
Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: “Hear another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey. When vintage time drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce. But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat, another they killed, and a third they stoned. Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones, but they treated them in the same way. Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’ They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?” They answered him, “He will put those wretched men to a wretched death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the proper times.” Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes?

Therefore, I say to you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.” When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they knew that he was speaking about them. And although they were attempting to arrest him, they feared the crowds, for they regarded him as a prophet.
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Do you see greed in the gospel?  Yes there is greed, the greed of the tenants. They did not give the rightful share of the landowner they instead kept to themselves what was supposed to be the landowner’s share. Was Jesus happy with the greed of the tenants? Of course not! Did the tenants’ greed cause their self-destruction? Yes absolutely!

Our greed will not bring us any good, it will only destroy us; the more that we are greedy the more that we hasten our self-destruction. The more that we are greedy the more that we alienate ourselves from the love of God.

So, what is the cure for our greed? The cure is generosity! If we are always generous we will not run out of things to give. We also free ourselves from the curse of greed which has destroyed so many already.  What is with material things that we are so greedy of it? Can it bring us closer to Jesus?

If the tenants in our gospel generously gave what was for the landowner. They could have continued their tenants and landowner relationship. They could have experienced prosperity, peace and they could have avoided destruction.

The lesson for us therefore is we must not be greedy we instead should always be generous. – Marino J. Dasmarinas   

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Reflection for February 25, Thursday of the Second Week of Lent; Luke 16:19-31

Gospel: Luke 16:19-31
Jesus said to the Pharisees: “There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’ Abraham replied, ‘My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’ He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.’ But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’ He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’”
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Let us imagine that we are the rich man in the gospel and we also saw Lazarus at our door. How will you react? Will we do the same as the rich man did in the gospel? Or we will give food to the poor man Lazarus?

We will surely answer that we will give food because this is the right course of action to do. And our decision to give food would also be influenced by the misfortune of the rich man after he died for he ended in hell. But is this who we really are? Do we really help the poor most especially when nobody is watching us?

Often times we do good because we are influenced by the circumstances that surrounds us. For example in the gospel we read the rich man ended up in hell. Of course this is the circumstance that will influence us to do good for we of course don’t want to end-up in hell after we die.

But are we really naturally helpful, do we truly have a heart for the poor? The gospel is an invitation for all of us to reflect on how we treat the poor. For example we may have a poor relative and a poor neighbor. How do we look at them? Do we look at them with derision? How do we treat them? Do we treat them like a third class citizen? Or we treat them with respect and love. – Marino J. Dasmarinas      

Reflection for February 24, Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent; Matthew 20:17-28

Gospel: Matthew 20:17-28
As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the Twelve disciples aside by themselves, and said to them on the way, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.”

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something. He said to her, “What do you wish?” She answered him, “Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom.” Jesus said in reply, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?” They said to him, “We can.” He replied, “My chalice you will indeed drink, but to sit at my right and at my left, this is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” When the ten heard this, they became indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus summoned them and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
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Do you wish to truly follow Jesus?

If we want to truly follow we should prepare for the many sacrifices that we have to do and face for the greater glory of God. Many of us are averse to sufferings and sacrifices we want a life of ease and comfort. But life of ease and comfort are not the way of life of Jesus for His way of life is laden with trials, humility and sacrifice.  

Using their mother as their emissary the two disciples were aspiring to be great in the eyes of men yet they were followers of Jesus. Are they really followers or just pretending? If they are true followers they would have not ask for the best seats beside Jesus.

Let us not lose sight of the fact that the true essence of following Jesus is to serve with humility. And not to serve for us to be seen or to seek the highest place of prominence for us to be noticed, admired and respected.

The true follower is not hungry for power, prestige and entitlement. He is content to humbly serve even if nobody will notice him. The more that he is not noticed for what he does the more that he would favor it.

This is the paradox of true discipleship, it contradicts our way of earthly thinking and it directs us to the real essence of discipleship which involves humility and sacrifice.

Do you still wish to follow Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Monday, February 22, 2016

Reflection for February 23, Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent; Matthew 23:1-12

Gospel: Matthew 23:1-12
Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them. All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’ As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’ You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called ‘Master’; you have but one master, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
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Who is a true follower of Jesus?

A true follower of Jesus is someone who is simple, he doesn’t   think highly of himself neither he isolates himself in an ivory tower so that others will look-up to him. A follower mingles and interacts with the people, he doesn’t throw judgment on anyone regardless who they may be.

A true follower lives and breathes humility, its part and parcel of his way of life. How then can we be humble, how then can we live and breathe humility and how then can we make it our way of life? We always have to do things with the end in mind that everything that we do we do for the greater glory of God. We don’t do things for our own glory, we don’t do things for us to be praised to high heavens.

Many of the Pharisees during Jesus time had a mentality of superiority perhaps this was because they were the ruling power. They love to give commands, they love to be looked-up and they crave for prominence and respect. Servanthood and humility was farthest from their mind.  

From time to time we need to ask ourselves, Am I a true follower of Jesus? Or I’m becoming more like the Pharisees who always seeks prominence, honor and attention. – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Friday, February 19, 2016

Reflection for Sunday February 21, Second Sunday of Lent; Luke 9:28b-36

Gospel: Luke 9:28b-36
Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray. While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem. Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But he did not know what he was saying. While he was still speaking, a cloud came and cast a shadow over them, and they became frightened when they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.” After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. They fell silent and did not at that time tell anyone what they had seen.
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A young wife has decided to finally leave behind her irresponsible and philandering husband. Before leaving him she wrote a letter which contained all of her angst. At the end of the letter she closed it with this statement: If you want me back you have to change otherwise you will not see me again.

In the transfiguration of Jesus at the mountain of tabor the three disciples: Peter, James and John saw firsthand how Jesus was transfigured. From a mortal like them Jesus’ face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white (Luke 9:29).

What went before the three apostles went to the mountain to witness Jesus transfiguration? The three were doing their mission, they witnessed many miracles being performed by Jesus. Yet, Jesus also intimated to them that He would soon suffer and be put to death by His persecutors (Luke 9:22).

Upon hearing from Jesus that He was going to suffer perhaps the three had a low morale. They couldn’t believe that this was going to happen to their Lord and master. And with this hypothesis Jesus brought them along to the mountain of tabor. For the three of them to know and see His real identity.

With their witness of Jesus transfiguration the three apostles were also transfigured albeit in a different manner. Their witness of Jesus transfiguration energized their sagging spirit it boosted their motivation to continue to move-on with their sacred mission of evangelization.

In our story, when the young wife decided to finally leave behind His philandering and irresponsible husband. That decision was her moment of transfiguration and her decision also influenced her husband. To change and leave behind his philandering and irresponsible ways.  

At what stage are you in your life right now? Are you facing your own share of challenges? Let the transfiguration of Jesus energize you and let it give you hope. Let it change, strengthen and empower you so that you too could be motivated by the powerful transfiguration of Jesus. – Marino J. Dasmarinas     

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Reflection for February 20, Saturday of the First Week of Lent; Matthew 5:43-48

Gospel: Matthew 5:43-48
Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers and sisters only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
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Are you still capable of loving someone who doesn’t love you anymore?

In the gospel Jesus calls us to a higher form of love: “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44).

It’s not easy to give love to someone who betrayed your trust. But that’s what Jesus is telling us: to love unconditionally. Regardless of the hurts and betrayal done to us we still need to love and pray for those who’ve hurt us.

There’s no winner when we respond betrayal with betrayal, anger with anger. In spite of the injury done to us, why not try to still be meek and forgiving and leave everything in the hands of God? God doesn’t love us selectively; He doesn’t love us because we follow His commands. He still loves us even if we’ve betrayed Him so many times.    

God loves us without any preconditions; He lets the sun rise and the rain to fall on all of us sinners. Therefore we have to love even those who don’t love us anymore. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Reflection for February 18, Thursday of the First Week of Lent; Matthew 7:7-12

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

“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.”
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Do you have a prayer before God? 

God always answers our prayers and petitions oftentimes it’s yes, sometimes No. And there will be times that He will test our patience and say to us wait. Whatever God’s response to us let us simply be patient and continue to pray.  

Almost all of us have our own pending prayer petitions before God. We should not lose our faith and patience. We should continue to hope that in time God will grant us our respective prayer before Him.

When we ask God for something we must not lie idle and wait for the answers to our prayers to simply land on our lap like manna from heaven. We must do our part also for God looks kindly to those who accompany their prayer petitions with actions.

The secret therefore is to not give-up on God and to always believe that God always answers our prayers. We may not initially like God’s reply to us; nevertheless we have to continuously believe in the goodness of God.

What are your prayer petitions before God? Believe and you will have it. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for February 17, Wednesday of the First Week of Lent; Luke 11:29-32

Gospel: Luke 11:29-32
While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. At the judgment the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation and she will condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something greater than Solomon here. At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.”
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Can you still remember the thief on the side of Jesus who asked Jesus to remember him when He is in His kingdom? The thief had an on the spot salvation because he repented from his sins (Luke 23:42-43).

Jesus calls us also to repentance every minute of our life. Let us not be deaf to this call, let us listen and embrace this call.

What is sin that many of us can’t leave it behind? What does it give us?  Does committing sin give us fulfilment that we continue to embrace it? Whatever pleasure sin gives us it’s actually a curse coated in pleasure. For example the sin of adultery, it’s pleasurable for the person who commits adultery.

But as the person enjoys the pleasure, sins start to pile-up as well. Until such time that it destroys the individuals involved in the sinful relationship. However, why wait to be destroyed by sin when Jesus is always offering us repentance. When Jesus is ever and always ready to forget and forgive all our past sins provided we leave it behind.    

There’s a reward that awaits us once we listen to Jesus’ call of repentance. The incentive is maybe like the reward of salvation that He gave to the repentant thief on the cross.

 Perhaps it may not be instant salvation but certainly there would be a reward if we decide to leave our sinful life. Rewards like: peace of mind, peace in the family, a life free from any guilt of conscience and so forth. -  Marino J. Dasmarinas

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Reflection for Sunday February 14, First Sunday of Lent; Luke 4:1-13

Gospel: Luke 4:1-13
Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, One does not live on bread alone.” Then he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant. The devil said to him, “I shall give to you all this power and glory; for it has been handed over to me,  and I may give it to whomever I wish. All this will be yours, if you worship me.” Jesus said to him in reply, “It is written: You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.” Then he led him to Jerusalem, made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written: He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you, and: With their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” Jesus said to him in reply, “It also says, You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.” When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time.
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What do you see in the temptation of Jesus in the desert? Do you see that the devil is powerful too? Yes indeed, the devil is also powerful he can entice us to follow him through the instrument of his many temptations. Temptations that are very hard to resist for those who are disconnected from God. For those who seldom pray and for those who don’t take their faith seriously.

What do you see in Jesus? Do you see the intense connection of Jesus with God and the Holy spirit? Before Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert, Jesus was baptized first by John in the river Jordan and in the process of His baptism He prayed to God and the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit ascended to Him and God said to Jesus, “You are my Son, in whom I am well pleased (Luke 3:21-22).”    

Temptations are part and parcel of our life so as the devil, it’s always there ever ready to sow temptation for us to sin. Yet the love, guidance and protection of God are also always there for us it has not left us since we were baptized. It’s ours to own and take!

We can always ward-off whatever temptation the devil may sow upon our way if we always have a wired or even wifi connection with God. This we can do best through our personal prayers, our pious presence at Holy Mass and our reading and meditation of the words of God in the bible.

As we start to dive into our own forty day’s journey into the wilderness of this world. The good Lord is always reminding us that He is just a prayer away from us. He is always by our side ever and always ready to protect us from the many temptations of the evil one.

Do you always have a connection with the good Lord? – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Friday, February 12, 2016

Reflection for February 13, Saturday after Ash Wednesday; Luke 5:27-32

Gospel: Luke 5:27-32
Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him. Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were at table with them. The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus said to them in reply, “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”
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Who are the modern day sinners that Jesus wants to call to repentance? Its no other than us, we are sinners; we sin through our thoughts, actions and words. Like the tax collector Levi, Jesus calls us to follow Him, to leave behind us our sinfulness.

Why does Jesus calls us to follow Him? He wants to build a deeper friendship with us. And this would only happen if we would choose to respond to His call. Rather than respond to the call of the devil.

When we respond to the call of Jesus we ensure ourselves of a meaningful life. This doesn’t mean that the moment to we say yes to Jesus we would be free from worries and trials. We would still have our own share of trials and worries. Yet in the midst of our worries and trials we will feel the abiding presence of Jesus in our lives. 

If we decide to follow Jesus there would be people who will despise and perhaps belittle us. But we have nothing to worry with those who will despise us. What is most important is we chose to leave behind our sinfulness in favor of Jesus’ call.

To leave behind our sinfulness is not easy to do because the devil will not easily let us go. Nevertheless, nothing is impossible for Jesus all He asks us is our yes and our firm desire to leave behind our sinfulness.

Lest we forget, a sinful life is a life in union with the devil. Let us therefore respond to this call of Jesus, to leave behind our sinful life. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Reflection for February 9, Tuesday, of the Fifth Week; Mark 7:1-13

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

This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts. You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.” He went on to say, “How well you have set aside the commandment of God in order to uphold your tradition! For Moses said, Honor your father and your mother, and Whoever curses father or mother shall die. Yet you say, ‘If someone says to father or mother, “Any support you might have had from me is qorban”’ (meaning, dedicated to God), you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother. You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many such things.”
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Are you very strict with the observance of your customs and traditions?

The Pharisees were very particular of their custom/tradition they follow it to the letter. So when they saw that Jesus’ disciples ate their meals without washing their hands—they told Jesus about it.

They said to Jesus: “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?" and Jesus told them: You disregard God's commandment but cling to human tradition." He went on to say, "How well you have set aside the commandment of God in order to uphold your tradition!

We see that Jesus puts more weight on the commandments of God more than their traditions the interior rather than the exterior, the inside conversion rather than the fake exterior observance of their laws.

The conversion that Jesus desires for us is one that involves a change of our hearts and mindsets. To be more compassionate and not to judge the poor and sinners for we often times are quick to throw judgment at them. Why are we so quick to judge when we are to be judged also.

Lest we forget that we are sinners too! Instead of judging them, why not listen to them and afterwards give them advice so that they wouldn’t feel forsaken. So that they would feel the presence of Jesus in us,  Jesus who is always forgiving and loving.  

How about the well-heeled or the rich and powerful? Of course they are always given respect because of their external appearance. Which is very deceiving to say the least. - Marino J. Dasmarinas    

Monday, February 8, 2016

Reflection for February 8, Monday, of the Fifth Week; Mark 6:53-56

Gospel: Mark 6:53-56
After making the crossing to the other side of the sea, Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret and tied up there. As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him. They scurried about the surrounding country and began to bring in the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed.
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Yesterday I went to a sick man to give him Holy Communion. As I was reading to him the Sunday gospel and I as I was giving him a short reflection, I noticed that he was sobbing. I proceeded pretending not to notice his sobs.

As I gave him the Body of Christ tears were already welling in his eyes. After I was through with the rite and about to leave their house, he cried and asked me, “Why am I suffering brother? I can’t bear my sickness anymore and I can’t bear the pain of going through the procedure of chemotherapy anymore.”           

In the gospel those who were able to touch the tassel of Jesus’ cloak were very fortunate for they received healing in return.  It speaks volumes of their faith. But there are also those who have faith but they’re not physically healed. There are those who have faith but they continue to suffer from their sickness. Sometimes it may baffle us why they physically suffer considering that they also have faith that they also love Jesus.

The healing that Jesus gives us is not always physical, oftentimes its spiritual which means that we're given the grace to accept our physical sickness and the grace to completely surrender our life to the great mercy of Jesus.

There are people who are still happy in spite of their physical sickness for they’ve learned to offer to God their suffering. They’ve learned that the suffering that they’re undergoing right now is nothing compared to the suffering that Jesus went through.

Are you suffering right now? Offer your suffering to Jesus ask Jesus to help you endure your suffering/sickness. Though it may be difficult, learn to accept it and continue to have that enormous faith in Him. Jesus is already healing you and He's already purifying your spirit. – Marino J. Dasmarinas   

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Reflection for Sunday February 7, Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time; Luke 5:1-11

Gospel: Luke 5:1-11
While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.” When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that the boats were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon. Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.
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A middle-aged man wanted to follow Jesus but he would always have second thoughts if he would proceed with his desire because he was sinful. Thus, the feeling of unworthiness creeps into him.

Who among us are worthy to become a follower of Jesus? Nobody for all of us are sinful, all of us have offended the Lord one way or another. Yet in spite of our unworthiness we are always being called by Jesus to follow Him so that He could clean us of our sins no matter how dark and dirty our past. 

The Lord does not call us to condemn us of the countless sins that we have committed. He calls us so that He could restore us of our dignity which we have lost through our sinfulness. He calls us to tell us that His love for us can overcome whatever sins that we have committed. All He want from us is our yes!

In the gospel, after Jesus performed the miracle of the great catch of fish before the very eyes of Simon and the other fishermen (Luke 5:6). Simon Peter kneeled before Jesus and he begged Jesus to leave them for they were all sinful. And therefore unworthy of the miracle that he did for them (Luke 5:8). 

However, Jesus with all the love, mercy and forgiveness in His heart told Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men (Luke 5:10).” Right after bringing their boats to the shore, Simon and the other fishermen left everything including their sinfulness to follow Jesus (Luke 5:11).

Jesus is calling you also to lead a new life with Him, regardless of your sins and your dark past. Will you heed this call of Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Friday, February 5, 2016

Reflection for February 6, Saturday; Sts. Pedro Bautista, Paul Miki and Companions; martyr Mark 6:30-34

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

When Jesus disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.
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Do you always have time to be with Jesus?

In the gospel, after working so hard to spread the gospel Jesus noticed that the apostles were tired from doing their mission. Thus, He told the apostles to be with Him in a place by themselves to rest.

Why to be with Him and not to be alone by themselves? Because it’s only through Him that they could have complete recovery from their physical and spiritual tiredness. If they go alone to a quite place by themselves they surely could re-invigorate themselves physically. But how could they re-energize their spirits without Jesus?   

In our materially driven world we are always on the move, always busy with work and other things. So we get tired naturally and to ease this tiredness some of us go on vacation to re-charge our tired and weary bodies.

But this earthly vacation is not enough we need to have time for Jesus also so that He could restore and strengthen our weary spirits. We are not only  creatures of this world we are also to become citizens of heaven in the future time appointed by God. Thus, we need to have our regular quite and solemn time for Jesus. To simply be with Him and deepen our intimacy with Him.

In what way can we have an intimacy with Jesus to rest and allow HIM to nourish us? We can go to Mass to listen to His words being proclaimed in the readings. WE can also receive HIM during Holy Communion.

We can have our quite time with Jesus in the Adoration chapel and allow HIM to embrace us with His unconditional love. We can read the bible and meditate on His very words that can transform us anytime. We can also attend a recollection and feel the presence of God there. These are simple ways on how we can spend time with God and be in quite place with HIM.

But sad to say many of us forget it because we are always busy, we allow ourselves to be engulfed by the things and activities of this world which are temporary and passing. We forget the eternal that is Jesus. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

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Reflection for February 5, Friday; Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr; Mark 6:14-29

Gospel: Mark 6:14-29
King Herod heard about Jesus, for his fame had become widespread, and people were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead; that is why mighty powers are at work in him.” Others were saying, “He is Elijah” still others, “He is a prophet like any of the prophets. But when Herod learned of it, he said, “It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up.”

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

John courageously denounced the immorality of King Herod and Herodias that is why he was imprisoned by King Herod. Not only that John was imprisoned soon after he was beheaded upon the request of Herodias. John paid dearly for speaking against immorality and for speaking about the sanctity of marriage.

Many marriages right now are breaking apart, many immoral relationships are on-going for the simple reason that nobody dares to speak against it. We must speak against any form of immorality, against any attempt to violate the sacred vows of marriage. We need not worry about the after effect of our righteous action for Jesus will take care of us.

Some marriages fall apart because there are relatives who choose to be silent instead of speaking against it. For the simple reason that they are afraid to offend or hurt the feelings of their relative/s.

But there’s that bigger picture once we remain silent and condone immorality: Families will be destroyed, lives will be destroyed and the future of innocent children will also be destroyed.

Would you be courageous enough to denounce immorality? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Reflection for February 4, Thursday of the Fourth Week; Mark 6:7-13

Gospel: Mark 6:7-13
Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits. He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick –no food, no sack, no money in their belts. They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic. He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there. Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them. So they went off and preached repentance. The Twelve drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
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There is a story about a newly ordained priest he was so idealistic that he wished to be assigned in the farthest and un-evangelized place. He got what he wished for, during the time that he was about to go there. He brought nothing with him except for the clothes and his priestly things.

He said to himself: “I will not bring anything with me because Jesus had said that in going to your mission do not bring anything with you (Mark 6:8). He believed that God would provide for his needs. He eventually reached his place of assignment and his parishioners were sensitive enough to notice his needs so they provided him with what he needed.

Jesus demanded trust from the apostles. He wanted them to trust him as they go about their mission for He would provide for their needs. Jesus said to them: “Bring nothing with you except your walking stick and sandal (Mark 6:8-9). Jesus wanted them to depend on Him and not on themselves.

Due to the modernity of our time trust or faith in God is a word that is somewhat not relevant anymore. Because we tend to trust more on ourselves rather than God. We long for our smart phones rather than long for God. There are even those who don’t believe in the existence of God anymore (atheist).

Their God is their knowledge, their power and their wealth. But truth be told, everything in this world will come to pass us by. But God? He will not cease to exist for us, he will be there for us even beyond this temporary life.

Do you still trust Jesus or you trust more yourself and the things that you have? – Marino J. Dasmarinas