Quotations:

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

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

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

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

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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Reflection for April 2, Saturday within the Octave of Easter; Mark 16:9-15

Gospel: Mark 16:9-15
When Jesus had risen, early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. She went and told his companions who were mourning and weeping. When they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.

After this he appeared in another form to two of them walking along on their way to the country. They returned and told the others; but they did not believe them either. But later, as the Eleven were at table, he appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw him after he had been raised. He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”
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Reflection:
Do you believe that Jesus is risen? Well and good if you believe for He has indeed risen and appeared first to Mary Magdalene. Mary Magdalene believed this too for she saw Him personally and she conversed with the risen Lord.

But when she told the disciples that Jesus had risen they did not believe they instead continued to mourn the death of Jesus. The disciples finally believed only when Jesus personally appeared before them. And right there Jesus rebuked them for their lack of faith in His resurrection.

Perhaps the guiding principle of the disciples who did not believe is to see is to believe. For they only believed in the resurrection when He personally appeared to them. Were they already lacking in faith when they did not believe what Mary Magdalene told them? Yes! Lack of faith was slowly but surely creeping into their system until they saw Jesus in the flesh!

The folly of not believing or lack of faith is we will not benefit from Jesus if we don’t have faith or we don’t believe. We will not be healed by Jesus if we lack faith or we don’t believe. - Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for April 1, Friday within the Octave of Easter; John 21:1-14

Gospel: John 21:1-14
Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself in this way. Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We also will come with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” They answered him, “No.” So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.” So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish. So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards, dragging the net with the fish. When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.” So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.” And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they realized it was the Lord. Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish. This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after being raised from the dead.
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Reflection:
What is the scenario when fishermen come home after long hours of fishing at sea? They naturally want to go home and rest their tired bodies.

This was the situation when the fishermen arrived from their long hours of fishing without any catch. They simply want to go home and rest their very tired bodies.  But as they approach the shore they saw Jesus who told the fishermen to put their empty nets back to the sea. 

They simple obeyed Jesus and presto they’ve caught the biggest number of fish. We see here in the gospel that Jesus rewards those who obey Him. We see also the love and care that Jesus gave to His disciples. Love and care that never ends and not constrained by time and space.

Why did Jesus appear to His disciples for the third time after His resurrection? Jesus wanted to reassure His disciples that He will never abandon them and that He is still with them in every step of the way. As if saying to His disciples, I am always with you wherever you go ever ready to guide and help you.

Humans as we are we also pass through episodes of weariness, tiredness and frustrations brought about by our many life challenges. We are never alone when we pass through these challenging episodes of life. The Risen Jesus is also with us ever ready to guide and help us. – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Reflection for March 31, Thursday within the Octave of Easter; Luke 24:35-48

Gospel: Luke 24:35-48
The disciples of Jesus recounted what had taken place along the way, and how they had come to recognize him in the breaking of bread.

While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them.

He said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said to them, “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”
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Reflection:
How would you react if a dead friend suddenly appears before you? Of course you will be shocked and perhaps after a few seconds you will shout and run away. This reaction is human nature, a natural reaction because you are not used of seeing ghost.

This was also the reaction of the disciples when Jesus suddenly appeared before them and said to them: Peace be with you. They were startled and terrified; who would not be? Then, Jesus slowly opened Himself to His disciples by inviting them to look at His hands and feet. And touch it if they want too to prove to them that He has indeed risen and is with them.

Perhaps some of us are troubled and worried because of our present life circumstances. If we are, Jesus would tell us: "Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Firmly believe in me and I will take care of you. Call on me anytime and I will be with you, follow me and I will not disappoint you! I will give you peace, peace that you can’t find anywhere in this world. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid!

The peace that Jesus will give us is beyond compare nothing in this world can approximate it. Some of us mistakenly look for peace and comfort in this world only to end up holding an empty bag. Why? Because it’s only through Jesus that we will find true peace.

Look for the peace that only Jesus will give you and humbly ask Him to give it to you. If you will be persistent He surely will give it to you. – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Reflection for March 30, Wednesday within the Octave of Easter; Luke 24:13-35

Gospel: Luke 24:13-35
That very day, the first day of the week, two of Jesus’ disciples were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?” They stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?” And he replied to them, “What sort of things?” They said to him, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him. But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his Body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures. As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the Eleven and those with them who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
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Reflection:
Do you sometimes feel down and discourage for the reason of the many life challenges that you’re facing?

The two followers who were going to Emmaus were obviously discouraged they were feeling down and had a very low morale. They were in such behavior because their Lord and Master had a violent death on the cross. They thought that Jesus was their powerful savior but they were disappointed. For Jesus died on the cross badly bruised and beaten.

Their joyful expectations were suddenly replaced by feeling of loneliness, defeat and disappointment.  Until the Risen Christ walked with them, conversed with them and eventually went to their house to break bread with them.

After which Cleopas and his companion recognized that it was Jesus who walked, conversed and broke bread with them. Upon discovering the identity of Jesus their loneliness was immediately replaced by happiness, their discouragement was overpowered by encouragement. Their lowly spirits were suddenly aflame and glowing.  

What do you do when you feel down, sad and discouraged? Do you just sulk in one corner as if you’re the most inferior person in the world? Or you always call on Jesus to lift you up and strengthen you?

When you are at your lowest remember that Jesus is eager to be with you. He wants to give you hope, He wants to inspire you and break bread with you. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for March 29, Tuesday within the Octave of Easter; John 20:11-18

Gospel: John 20:11-18
Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the Body of Jesus had been. And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” She thought it was the gardener and said to him, “Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher. Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and then reported what he had told her.
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Reflection:
Are you always aware of the movement of the Lord Jesus Christ in your life? 

For example, you’re beginning to like somebody but you’re not free anymore because you’re already married. Then out of the blue you were suddenly reminded by your spouse about this impending transgression. 

You immediately had an awareness of this mistake as if you were doused with cold water. You became aware that the devil is leading you to destroy your marriage. Who gave you the enlightenment? Who stopped the devil from destroying your marriage? It’s none other than Jesus Himself!

Jesus is omnipresent He is always with us, He walks with us, He cries and commiserate with us. He comforts us, He gives us hope.  He is an ever present shoulder to cry and lean on. But we are not always aware of this fact.

Mary Magdalene in our gospel was not aware that Jesus was already beside her, she thought He was the gardener. Until Jesus called her name and right there she had an awareness that He was already with Jesus (John 20:14-16).

How could we always discern the presence of Jesus in our life?  We must have our regular prayer time: Prayer time means time spent conversing and listening with Jesus. We must always attend Holy Mass and receive Him during Holy Communion. We must read about Him in the Bible and we must also lead a life worthy in the eyes of Jesus.

Do you have an awareness of Jesus constant presence in your life? – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Reflection for March 28, Monday within the Octave of Easter; Matthew 28:8-15

Gospel: Matthew 28:8-15
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce the news to his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them. They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had happened. The chief priests assembled with the elders and took counsel; then they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep.’ And if this gets to the ears of the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” The soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has circulated among the Jews to the present day.
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Reflection:
Can you hide or suppress the truth?

You can never suppress the truth no matter what you do. You may be able to suppress it for a period of time but eventually the truth will come out.

The chief priest and the elders tried very hard to hide the truth about the resurrection of Jesus. But except for their supporters who refused to believe. The followers of Jesus believed that He had risen from the bondage of human death.

Just like Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, we also believe that Jesus has defeated the curse of death by His resurrection. But our belief is not enough we must put into actual acts of faith our belief that Jesus has risen.

How are we going to do this? Let us do good all the time, let us help everyone who are in need, Let us be humble, let us be truthful, let us be, forgiving, kind-hearted, understanding and so forth. We need to do this so that the risen Jesus would become truly visible and risen in our lives.   

Otherwise if we will not do these worthy acts then our belief is useless. And it would remain forever a figment of our imaginations. And in the process we become failed missioners for Jesus for the simple reason that we did not live our faith.

Are you doing something to live your faith in the risen Lord Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Reflection for Sunday March 27, Easter Sunday, Resurrection of the Lord; John 20:1-9

Gospel: John 20:1-9
On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.
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Reflection:
How profound is your love for Jesus? Mary of Magdala, Peter and the beloved disciple loved Jesus deeply. Perhaps to say that the three of them were distressed is an understatement when Jesus’ body was buried. They certainly felt that a certain part of them had been taken away from them permanently, for this is how it feels when somebody you love deeply dies.

Therefore by the next day or in the early hours of the next day Mary of Magdala went to the tomb only to find out that Jesus’ body was not there anymore. She told Peter and the beloved disciple about the missing body of Jesus. So racing against time they went to see for themselves the empty tomb of Jesus. 

What does this gospel episode signify to us? Does it tell us that we too should look and long for Jesus? Surely it tells us that we too should have this ever present longing for Jesus. For the simple reason that the moment we long for Jesus it’s already automatic that we will also search, hunger and thirst for Jesus.

Jesus is alive and Jesus has risen yet many are not longing for Him. This is the sad truth: many are still not longing for Him. Why? Because many don’t care to share Him and many don’t care to live His teachings.

Let us therefore be different from those who don’t care to share Jesus. Let us humbly share the Resurrected Christ and let us humbly live the teaching of the Risen Christ. So that through us many will be enlightened and be blessed by our Risen Savior.

Will you care to share the risen Christ or you will continue to keep Him in yourself? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Friday, March 25, 2016

Reflection for March 26, Holy Saturday, Easter Vigil; Luke 24:1-12

Gospel: Luke 24:1-12
At daybreak on the first day of the week the women who had come from Galilee with Jesus took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb; but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were puzzling over this, behold, two men in dazzling garments appeared to them. They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground. They said to them, “Why do you seek the living one among the dead? He is not here, but he has been raised. Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners and be crucified, and rise on the third day.” And they remembered his words. Then they returned from the tomb and announced all these things to the eleven and to all the others. The women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James; the others who accompanied them also told this to the apostles, but their story seemed like nonsense and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb, bent down, and saw the burial cloths alone; then he went home amazed at what had happened.
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Reflection:
How would you react if you were with the women who went to the burial site of Jesus? You surely would also be amazed and perhaps you will also ask where is the body of my Lord? The Lord is risen but He is nowhere to be found!

There was no physical manifestation of His resurrection except for the rolled stone that serve as the cover of the tomb of Jesus and the burial cloths. Where is Jesus then? Where can you find the Lord? Don’t look far for the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ is not far from you.

Many of us look for Jesus most especially when we are being buffeted by problems. Some of us may even ask, where are you Lord? Since our baptism the Lord Jesus Christ has always been with us and He is an ever present character in our life. Yet we don’t know it.

Many of us have no awareness of His presence in our life for the reason that we don’t call upon Him or we seldom call upon Him. However, if we would only try to call on Jesus we surely would find Him, we surely would be enlightened about His ever present presence in our life.

Do you always call on Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for March 25, Good Friday, Passion of the Lord; John 19:25-34 (Full version of the gospel: John 18:1-19:42)

Gospel: John 19:25-34
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. 26 When Jesus saw his mother* and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. 28 o After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled,* Jesus said, “I thirst.” 29 There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth. 30  When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.” And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit. The Blood and Water. 31 Now since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, 34  but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out.
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Reflection:
Can you comprehend the pain of Mary seeing her son dying on the cross? Mary went through this painful episode of her motherhood with dignity. Whatever sorrow that she was feeling around that time she kept it as much as possible within her.

She suffered in silence and in her suffering she surrendered everything to God. Mary knew deep in her heart that this was the plan of God for her son and for her as well. Mary trusted the will of God and surrendered everything to God.

Jesus suffering and death on the cross of Calvary was not in vain it was with a purpose and that is for the salvation of humanity. As we live in this world we too will go through suffering and there would be instances that it will be very hard for us to accept this suffering/s.

But if Jesus suffered and if Mary was pained seeing her son die a brutal death. Who are we not to experience sufferings and pains? Life is never complete without sufferings and pains. We have to go through these experiences for us to live a complete and meaningful life. 

We have to go through these episodes so that we would have an awareness of the presence of God in our life. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Reflection for March 24, Holy Thursday, Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper; John 13:1-15

Gospel: John 13:1-15
Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end. The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over. So, during supper, fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God, he rose from supper and took off his outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel around his waist. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Master, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.” Jesus said to him, “Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed, for he is clean all over; so you are clean, but not all.” For he knew who would betray him; for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

So when he had washed their feet and put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”
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Reflection:
Would you be willing to emulate the humility of Jesus?

Aside from being the son of God, What is the secret of the endless longevity of Jesus’ teachings? Countless people have already belittled Jesus as an ordinary human. Yet His legacy and teachings still echoes until this very moment and will continue to echo until eternity. What is the secret of the permanence of Jesus’ teachings?

The secret is in His Self-sacrifice, the secret is in His humility. Jesus never thought of His own safety, He never created any comfort zones or anything that would ensure His safety.  He instead blazed the trail of Self-sacrifice and Humility.

In His self-sacrifice Jesus instituted this very day the Eucharist or the first Mass to humbly keep alive Himself and His teachings. He did this for us to have something to hold-on as we face the many battles and struggles of our lives. Thus, He continuously strengthens us every time we make ourselves present in the sacrifice of the Holy Mass. And He nourishes us every time we partake of His Body and Blood during Holy Communion.        

By His humility Jesus’ embodied servant leadership. He showed the twelve apostles and us also how it is to truly serve. He washed the feet of the apostles to signify to them that they must do the same to those whom they will be serving. That they will only become true leaders the moment they learn to give their lives in humble service for others.

Therefore we ask ourselves: Are we willing to follow the trail of Jesus’ Self-sacrifice and Humility? – Marino J. Dasmarinas    

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Reflection for March 23, Wednesday of Holy Week; Matthew 26:14-25

Gospel: Matthew 26:14-25
One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples approached Jesus and said, “Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The teacher says, “My appointed time draws near; in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples.” The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered, and prepared the Passover.

When it was evening, he reclined at table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” Deeply distressed at this, they began to say to him one after another, “Surely it is not I, Lord? He said in reply, “He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me is the one who will betray me. The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born. Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” He answered, “You have said so.”
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Reflection:
Are you a lover of money or do you allow money to take control of you?

What a shame that Judas betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver it was again his greed for money that made him betray Jesus. Money indeed can make people do inhuman things such as betrayal of one’s trust. The love for money is indeed the root of all evils (1 Timothy 6:10).

 If Judas did not love money or if he did not allow money to take control of him he would not have betrayed Jesus. But he loved money and he allowed money to get the better of him. Don’t we sometimes also betray Jesus for our love and greed for money?

In what other ways do we betray Jesus? When we are also so much greedy for power not only in secular organizations, we also betray Jesus when we are greedy with power to head church organizations.

There is a true story of ladies who were in-charge to lead a certain church organization. Their greed for power made them arrogant whenever they saw fit. They gloat over the people whom they’ve offended and worst is they cling to their church positions even if they’ve been there for a very long time.

We must not let the devil implant in us all forms of greed; this can only be made possible if we don’t have this love for money and love for position of prominence. Instead of loving money why not hate it like a plague by sharing it with those who are badly in need?

Share it because it’s in sharing our blessings that we would receive more blessings from God. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Reflection for March 22, Tuesday of Holy Week; John 13:21-33, 36-38

Gospel: John 13:21-33, 36-38
Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified, “Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant. One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was reclining at Jesus’ side. So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant. He leaned back against Jesus’ chest and said to him, “Master, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it.”So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot. After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him. So Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” Now none of those reclining at table realized why he said this to him. Some thought that since Judas kept the money bag, Jesus had told him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or to give something to the poor. So Judas took the morsel and left at once. And it was night.

When he had left, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. You will look for me, and as I told the Jews, ‘Where I go you cannot come,’ so now I say it to you.”

Simon Peter said to him, “Master, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, though you will follow later.” Peter said to him, “Master, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow before you deny me three times.”
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Reflection:
Have you been betrayed already? How did you feel? You felt bad of course; you felt anger and disappointment toward the person who betrayed you.

When Jesus was betrayed by Judas he felt bad and disappointed same perhaps when He was disowned by Peter not once, not twice but three times! However, after all had been said and done Jesus forgave them all. When Jesus was dying on the cross He said: “Father forgive them for they do not know what they do (Luke 23:34).”

To be betrayed and disowned by those whom we thought were not capable of doing it to us is something that is very hard to accept. But that’s life, that’s how many of us are when we are tempted by the devil disguised as an attractive person we easily embrace betrayal.

For example in the Sacrament of Marriage, how many times have we betrayed our sacred wows for those fleeting self-gratification? Not knowing the immense consequence that will befall us.

Betrayal initially starts in the mind when we conjure images of the person who attracts us. Until he/she completely captures us, yet betrayal is not an act by the person alone. It is an act by the devil feed to the mind of the person. And when the person has weak faith he/she naturally succumbs to the evil scheming of the devil until it completely destroy the person.

When Jesus said on the cross: “Father forgive them for they do not know what they do (Luke 23:34).” He was not only referring to those who denied and betrayed Him during that time of His passion. He was also referring to us who are easily swayed by the many temptations of the devil.

In this Tuesday of Holy Week let us think about the many betrayals that we’ve made to Jesus. The many betrayals that we’ve made inside the Sacrament of Marriage/Matrimony. Let us beg for healing and forgiveness from Jesus. And lest we forget let us also beg for forgiveness and restoration from the person whom we have betrayed. – Marino J. Dasmarinas   

Monday, March 21, 2016

Reflection for March 21, Monday of Holy Week; John 12:1-11

Gospel: John 12:1-11
Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served, while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him.  Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples, and the one who would betray him, said, “Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages and given to the poor?” He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief and held the money bag and used to steal the contributions. So Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”

The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came, not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too, because many of the Jews were turning away and believing in Jesus because of him.
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Reflection:
A wealthy woman once said: I love money and I can’t live without it. Do you also love money and can’t you also live without it?

The love for money is the root of all evils we saw this in Judas, he betrayed Jesus all because of his love for money(Matthew 26:15). The same thing in the gospel; Judas criticized Mary for anointing the feet of Jesus with expensive perfume. Judas said “Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages and given to the poor (John 12:5)?” However, this statement of his was simply a charade for he is a thief of the highest degree.

Those who love money will never have enough of it. They will continue to amass it with greed and they will do every possible way (even ways that are contrary to morals) just to have it. Not knowing that at the end their greed for amassing money will eventually destroy them. The same greed will be their ticket to the kingdom of the evil one.

 Money is not everything! Money can buy us a house but not a home, money can buy us books but not knowledge. Money can bring us laughter but not true happiness, money can buy us temporary friends but not true friends who will be there through the highs and lows of our life. Money can buy us sex but not love and there are many more things that money can buy but will not give us true peace and happiness.

Do you allow yourself to be enslaved by money? – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Reflection for Sunday March 20, Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord; Luke 23:1-49

Gospel: Luke 23:1-49
The elders of the people, chief priests and scribes, arose and brought Jesus before Pilate. They brought charges against him, saying, “We found this man misleading our people; he opposes the payment of taxes to Caesar and maintains that he is the Christ, a king.” Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” He said to him in reply, “You say so.” Pilate then addressed the chief priests and the crowds, “I find this man not guilty.” But they were adamant and said, “He is inciting the people with his teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee where he began even to here.”

On hearing this Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean; and upon learning that he was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod who was in Jerusalem at that time. Herod was very glad to see Jesus; he had been wanting to see him for a long time, for he had heard about him and had been hoping to see him perform some sign. He questioned him at length, but he gave him no answer. The chief priests and scribes, meanwhile, stood by accusing him harshly. Herod and his soldiers treated him contemptuously and mocked him, and after clothing him in resplendent garb, he sent him back to Pilate. Herod and Pilate became friends that very day, even though they had been enemies formerly. Pilate then summoned the chief priests, the rulers, and the people and said to them, “You brought this man to me and accused him of inciting the people to revolt. I have conducted my investigation in your presence and have not found this man guilty of the charges you have brought against him, nor did Herod, for he sent him back to us. So no capital crime has been committed by him. Therefore I shall have him flogged and then release him.”

But all together they shouted out, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us.” — Now Barabbas had been imprisoned for a rebellion that had taken place in the city and for murder. — Again Pilate addressed them, still wishing to release Jesus, but they continued their shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Pilate addressed them a third time, What evil has this man done? I found him guilty of no capital crime. Therefore I shall have him flogged and then release him.” With loud shouts, however, they persisted in calling for his crucifixion, and their voices prevailed. The verdict of Pilate was that their demand should be granted. So he released the man who had been imprisoned for rebellion and murder, for whom they asked, and he handed Jesus over to them to deal with as they wished.

As they led him away they took hold of a certain Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country; and after laying the cross on him, they made him carry it behind Jesus. A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.’ At that time people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?” Now two others, both criminals, were led away with him to be executed.

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” They divided his garments by casting lots. The people stood by and watched; the rulers, meanwhile, sneered at him and said, “He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God.” Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine they called out, “If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.” Above him there was an inscription that read, “This is the King of the Jews.”

Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us.” The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”; and when he had said this he breathed his last. Here all kneel and pause for a short time. The centurion who witnessed what had happened glorified God and said, “This man was innocent beyond doubt.” When all the people who had gathered for this spectacle saw what had happened, they returned home beating their breasts; but all his acquaintances stood at a distance, including the women who had followed him from Galilee and saw these events.
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Reflection:
Denials and betrayals perhaps these two words best describe the fate which sealed the crucifixion of Jesus. He would have not been crucified if he was not denied and betrayed by the very people who followed Him, people who benefited from His miracles and people who were praising Him to high heavens as he entered Jerusalem astride on a donkey.

Why was He betrayed? Jesus was betrayed because there were no more miracles coming from Him. There were no more displayed of powerful healings and eloquence of speech. What they saw was a defeated and powerless man, a man who couldn’t defend Himself. So unlike of the powerful image of Jesus before He entered Jerusalem, thus they left Jesus to fend for himself!

Such is our human behavior, we side with the powerful and when the powerful is not anymore powerful we hastily abandon ship. To cling to the new power, this is what happened to Jesus, He was abandoned by the very people who were supposed to defend Him.      

Perhaps in His humanity Jesus was expecting to be defended by those who benefited from Him. But His expectation did not become a reality. In His humanity Jesus saw for Himself the pain of betrayal and defeat.

This is the reality of life during the time of Jesus and this is still the reality of life today during this very hour. We love to side with the powerful and those who are not anymore powerful we discard like a hot potato.

If we continue to side with the powerful we will not find Jesus because Jesus is not with them. Jesus is with the powerless, those who are being oppressed and those who have nothing in life except the tattered clothes that they are wearing.   

As you begin your journey this Holy Week get deeper into the character of the powerless and have an up-close and personal encounter with them. – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Reflection for March 19, Saturday Solemnity of Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary; Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24

Gospel: Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24
Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.
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Reflection:
Do you always obey the will of the Lord for your marriage? For example the will of God for the marriage covenant to be forever and not to be stained by any hint of infidelity. Are you ever faithful to this marriage covenant in your thoughts and actions?

Today is the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Aside from being responsible father and husband to Jesus and Mary what else makes Saint Joseph so especial? Joseph humbly and quietly followed the will of the Lord.

Saint Joseph accepted without question what God wanted him to do. Yes he was planning to quietly divorce Mary. However, the moment the angel appeared in his dream to convey God’s message for him. He never questioned the will of the Lord. He followed what the angel told him to do, he loved Mary and Jesus deeply and he responsibly took care of them.

Let us reflect on the humility of Saint Joseph and compare it with our humility before God. Let us reflect on the submissiveness of Joseph to the will of the Lord and compare it with our own submissiveness to the will of God regarding our fidelity with the marriage covenant. 

Let us reflect on the sacrificial and deep love of Joseph towards Mary and Jesus and compare it with our love for our spouse and children. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for March 18, Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent; John 10:31-42

Gospel: John 10:31-42
The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you trying to stone me?” The Jews answered him, “We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy. You, a man, are making yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, ‘You are gods”‘? If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came, and Scripture cannot be set aside, can you say that the one whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world blasphemes because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me; but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may realize and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Then they tried again to arrest him; but he escaped from their power.

He went back across the Jordan to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained. Many came to him and said, “John performed no sign, but everything John said about this man was true.” And many there began to believe in him.
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Reflection:
How deep is your faith and belief in Jesus?

As we near Holy Week we hear Jesus inviting us all to believe in Him. Why? Why is He inviting us to fully believe Him? Because He wants us all to be saved from the evils of this world, this is the primary reason why Jesus wants us to believe.

We will not lose anything except our sins, worldliness and vices if we will choose to believe and embrace Jesus.  Everything is ours to gain including eternal life if we will decide to finally believe and follow Jesus.

 Everything in this world is passing and temporary we are in fact not in control with our lives. Within a matter of seconds our life may change drastically for the worse and this is reality.

 Jesus invites us to believe in Him for this will serve as our security blanket. And our assurance that no matter what happens in our lives we are firmly secure in the loving arms of Jesus.  Don’t gamble your life in this world by embracing the many evils of hedonism.

Embrace the love of Jesus which He generously offers to us free of any cost. Thus we already secure our life here in this world and our future life after this world. – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Reflection for March 17, Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent; John 8:51-59

Gospel: John 8:51-59
Jesus said to the Jews: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.” So the Jews said to him, “Now we are sure that you are possessed. Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? Or the prophets, who died? Who do you make yourself out to be?” Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing; but it is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ You do not know him, but I know him. And if I should say that I do not know him, I would be like you a liar. But I do know him and I keep his word. Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad.” So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?”  Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.” So they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.
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Reflection:
What does Jesus gives us? Eternal life, we believe that if we have faith in Jesus we will never die. Yes we literally die through our physical death but after that we believe that we will be with Jesus in heaven to live eternally.

Among other reasons to believe in Jesus we primarily believe and love Jesus because we want to be with Him in heaven someday. But there are still many who do not believe in Jesus, yes they know Jesus but they don’t believe in Jesus.  Same as with the Jews in our gospel who did not believe Jesus when He told them that He already had seen Abraham and yet they didn’t believe Him they even had the temerity to throw stone at Him (John 8:57-59).

So what must we do to those who know Jesus but do not believe or they believe in Jesus but their belief is in name only? We must therefore bring them closer to Jesus and to our faith. For example this coming Holy Week, let us encourage them to attend the many liturgical celebrations in our respective parishes. For this surely will strengthen their union with Jesus and the church that He Himself founded.

Liturgical celebration such as the Way of the Cross, the Holy Thursday Chrism Mass, The institution of the Eucharist in the afternoon, the Veneration of the Holy Cross during good Friday and the Easter Vigil Mass during black Saturday. Let us not keep to ourselves our faith and love for Jesus let us share and live it as well. So that others may have an awareness of Jesus through us.

Will you be present in all of the Liturgical celebration this coming Holy Week?   – Marino J. Dasmarinas