I am with you always until the end of this world - Jesus (Matthew 28:20).

Preach the Word in season and out of season reproving, rebuking or advising always with patience and providing instructions (2 Timothy 4:2).

Do not fear, Mary, for God has looked kindly on you (Luke 1:30).

Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly. - G. K. Chesterton

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Monday, 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

1Reflection 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      

1Reflection 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

1Reflection 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  

Reflection for February 22, Monday, Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, Apostle; Matthew 16:13-19

Gospel: Matthew 16:13-19
When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
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Do you know Saint Peter?

We celebrate today the feast of the chair of Saint Peter. Peter is the most prominent apostle; Jesus built and founded the church thru him, he was also the leader of the twelve. Peter unwaveringly spread the gospel of Jesus even at the expense of his own life.

If someone would ask us this question: “Who is Jesus to you?” I am sure that our answer would depend on how well we know Jesus. Some of us may answer that Jesus is a friend who’s always there for us a friend who walks with us and ever ready to hear us. Others may say that Jesus is a brother who is always ready to help us.

This was the question posed by Jesus to His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” the people were unsure for they don’t know Jesus that well. Then Jesus asked the apostles: “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. Peter knew Jesus well because more than any other apostle he was always prominently with Jesus (Matthew. 10:2; 14:28; 15:15; 17:24; 19:27; Luke 8:51; 12:41).  

Peter also initially did not want Jesus to wash his feet, (John 13:7-9). When Jesus was about to be arrested by the roman soldiers it was Peter who drew his sword and cut off the ear of the soldier, (John 18:10) Peter was the first apostles to enter the empty tomb of Jesus, (Luke 24:12), Peter was the first apostles to whom Jesus appeared after His resurrection, (Luke 24:34)

Like Peter, are we always prominently with Jesus by our prayers, through the Sacraments and by always being present during Holy Mass?

Like Peter, do we have that desire to know Jesus fully well by regularly reading the Bible specially the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?

If Jesus will ask us this question today: “Who do you say that I am?” will He also be satisfied with our reply? – 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

Reflection for February 19, Friday of the First Week of Lent; Matthew 5:20-26

Gospel: Matthew 5:20-26
Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.

“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, Raqa, will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”
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A young man who was working as a houseboy was always being insulted by the family that he worked for. Name all the insulting words around and chances are that it could have been already hurled at him. Eventually the young man reached the limit of his patience so instead of doing something criminal to the family. He just walked away from them emotionally hurting and wounded.  

In the gospel Jesus reminds us to be careful with the words that we say for it can create a permanent wound in the emotions of our fellowmen. If the words that we will say are insulting it’s better not to say it anymore. It’s better to simply shut our mouth and be quite.

Let us remember that insulting words deeply hurts the receiver and it carves a permanent emotional wound in his being. But why do we say words that are not fit to be said? Why are we very quick to insult and belittle? This is primarily brought about by our arrogance, bloated egos and the feeling of superiority.

What is the cure for this unhealthy behavior? The cure is Jesus, if we will follow Jesus and if we will allow Him to change us. He will cleanse us of our arrogance, egotism and feeling of superiority toward our fellowmen.   
Thus, we will now become tolerant, humble, kind and gentle.

Dear Lord I pray that you’ll cleanse me of my arrogance and feeling of superiority. I know that I’ve hurt others with this sinful behavior as such I ask for your forgiveness. Purify me O Lord, teach me how to be humble, teach me kindness and teach how to love and forgive. This I humbly ask of you my Lord. Amen. – 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

Monday, February 15, 2016

Reflection for February 16, Tuesday of the First Week of Lent; Matthew 6:7-15

Gospel: Matthew 6:7-15
Jesus said to his disciples: “In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“This is how you are to pray: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

“If you forgive men their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”
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If God knows what we need before we ask him, what is then the use of our prayer before him? It is through our consistent prayer life that we get intimate with God. If we are not yet prayerful or we don’t have yet a regular prayer life, just try having a consistent prayer life. And you will be surprised by the growth of your intimacy with Jesus.

So we pray not because we want to ask something from God for indeed He knows beforehand what we need. He in fact knows everything that we desire. We pray because we want to be best friends and intimate with God.  

When we pray with piety our whole being talks to God and in the silence of our hearts He also talks to us. We hear God whispering to us this is hard to explain but this is what occurs when we pray this prayer with devoutness or any form of prayer for that matter.  This kind of prayer relationship with God is a sign of a mature life of prayer.

For example, in a married life relationship the marriage bond is strengthened by constant communication between husband and wife. Through this regular communication they both mature in the marriage relationship. Until such time that they know and understand practically everything about themselves even without verbal expression.

This is the same with our prayer life; the more we pray with our whole being focused to God the more that we would grow in intimacy with God. Then, there will eventually come a time that when we pray to God we will not anymore utter a single word. We will simply keep silent and let our heart talk to our merciful, compassionate and loving God. – 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

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Reflection for February 12, Friday after Ash Wednesday; Matthew 9:14-15

Gospel: Matthew 9:14-15
The disciples of John approached Jesus and said, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast much, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”
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Do you practice fasting? 

The church teaches us that we have to observe fasting during Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Does it have any basis in the Bible? Yes just to name a few: Jonah 3:7, Neither man nor beast, neither cattle nor sheep, shall taste anything; they shall not eat, nor shall they drink water.

Matthew 4:2: “He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry.”

Matthew 6:16: When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting.

To practice fasting is an edifying experience for we would discover that we can still be productive even without food. For as long as we focus our attention to Jesus who observed fasting for forty days in the desert. And in the process was tempted in-vain by the devil (Matthew 4:1-11).   

But more than the voluntary denial of food it also requires us to fast from doing anything that would offend God and our fellowmen. From doing anything that would defile us physically and spiritually. For example we fast from committing sin, we fast from judging our neighbor and so forth.  

In the gospel Jesus was asked by the Pharisees and John’s disciples why His followers were not fasting. Jesus answered them that there’s no reason yet for them to fast for the reason that He is with them (Matthew 9:15).

When are we going therefore to be with Jesus so that we will not anymore practice fasting? It’s when we die and eventually ascend to heaven, there we will be with Jesus and we will not be fasting anymore. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for February 11, Thursday after Ash Wednesday; Luke 9:22-25

Gospel: Luke 9:22-25
Jesus said to his disciples: “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.”

Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?”
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Are you ready to carry your cross and faithfully follow Jesus now?

Jesus gives us a paradoxical statement: "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself (Luke 23:25)?"

On the surface this may seem to be an odd statement but if we are faithful followers of Christ these are precious and priceless wisdom filled words from Jesus. The moment we decide to follow the path of Jesus we will deny ourselves with the hedonism of this world and we will courageously carry our cross to follow Him.

Amidst the carrying of our daily cross we will also notice that it is not that heavy simply because Jesus is with us. He is helping us carry whatever cross that we have, making sure that the burdens that we carry right now are still light.

When Jesus was carrying the cross towards Golgotha/Calvary His cross became a sign of suffering and intense pain. However the same cross became the sign of Triumph and Salvation. If we carry our cross with Jesus the same cross would also be our means of purification and salvation.

Are you carrying a cross right now? Humbly ask Jesus to help you carry that cross.

O Lord we humbly beseech you to help us carry our cross. Sinners as we are yet we still know that you will never refuse to help us, you will never refuse to give us hope amidst our many crosses. Make our daily burdens light O Lord no matter how heavy.  This we humbly ask you. Amen. – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Reflection for February 10, Ash Wednesday (Fasting and Abstinence); Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

Gospel: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
Jesus said to his disciples: “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”
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During the public ministry of Jesus he healed countless people and this healing would always have a common denominator. He would constantly say to them: do not tell anyone about the healing that I did for you.

This attitude of Jesus is attributed to His humility and to His self-effacing demeanor. As much as possible Jesus wanted to always maintain a low profile and he did not crave any form of publicity.

Today is Ash Wednesday; this is the start of our forty day’s journey of self-examination if we were able to truly follow Jesus in His humility and self-effacing attitude. We examine ourselves if we were able to shun the many temptations of this world in favor with our love for Jesus.

We also examine our attitude when we give Alms, when we Pray and when we Fast. Do we do these acts of piety with humility? Or we do these to show to the whole world that we are holy. There is more to life than the exterior showcase of our acts of piety.

As you go to the priest or to the ministers of the church for them to impose ash with the sign of the cross on your forehead. You are reminded that someday you shall become ash and your mortal body will forever be part of this world. You will leave behind whatever temporal achievements and riches that you have acquired. And you will just be forgotten and permanently fade away.

But you need not worry for so long as you have tried your very best to follow the humble path of Jesus. - Marino J.Dasmarinas