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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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Reflection for July 2, Saturday of the Thirteenth Week in OT; Matthew 9:14-17

Gospel: Matthew 9:14-17
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. No one patches an old cloak with a piece of unshrunken cloth, for its fullness pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse. People do not put new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”
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What will make us complete? Its Jesus he only can complete us, the things of this world no matter how enormous will never complete us. Our treasures and power will never complete us and if these are not handled properly this may even destroy us.   It will never fill our longing for God because our love for the things of this world only brings us farther from God.    

John’s disciples asked Jesus: "Why do we and the Pharisees fast much, but your disciples do not fast?" Jesus meaningfully answered them: "Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The wedding guests are the followers of Jesus and the bridegroom is no other than Jesus himself.

Just like in a wedding banquet wherein the guests are forever joyous the same also with us. We become renewed, happy and complete for we are already with Jesus. We permanently leave behind every aspect of our old sinful selves and everything that will make as sin.

We also throw our fears of what tomorrow may bring us for the simple reason that we are already with Jesus. With Jesus the fear of the unknown will be banished from our system, what will remain is our faith in our Lord and savior. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

1Reflection for July 1, Friday of the Thirteenth Week in OT; Matthew 9:9-13

Gospel: Matthew 9:9-13
As Jesus passed by, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
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Do you feel that Jesus is calling you to leave behind your sinfulness?  

Aside from Matthew whom Jesus called to follow Him we too are being called by Jesus to follow Him. We may say that we are not worthy to follow Jesus but who amongst us are worthy? No one for we are all sinful creatures of this world.

Matthew was called by Jesus to follow Him for the precise reason that he was a sinner. This is the character and mission of Jesus to call every sinner to follow Him. But why is it that even if we know that we are called to repentance we still continue to sin? We refuse to leave behind us our sinful ways. 

This is indeed very puzzling, why is it that many of us ignore Jesus call for us to follow Him? Does this mean that we love this world more than we love Jesus? Does this mean that Jesus is losing influence over us that is why we refuse to heed his call to a life of renewal and repentance?

Why did Matthew followed Jesus call? Perhaps somebody had shared to him the magnificence of Jesus. Somebody had lived his faith in Jesus and Matthew heard and saw it, that’s why it was not anymore difficult for Matthew to recognize and follow Jesus.

The challenge before us is to share and live our faith in Jesus to the many Matthews (Sinners) of our time. They may not have heard yet anything about Jesus that is why they keep on sinning until this very day.

Will you share Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas   

Reflection for June 30, Thursday of the Thirteenth Week in OT; Matthew 9:1-8

Gospel: Matthew 9:1-8
After entering a boat, Jesus made the crossing, and came into his own town. And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.” At that, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, “Why do you harbor evil thoughts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”– he then said to the paralytic, “Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” He rose and went home. When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe and glorified God who had given such authority to men.
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Can we obtain the same forgiveness of sins that Jesus gave to the paralytic?

 Yes we can! The same forgiveness is given to us by the priest who acts in Persona Christi (In the Person of Christ) the moment we humbly submit ourselves to the Sacrament of Confession. However, the sad part is this: Not everyone is aware of this grace of forgiveness!

If only they have an awareness of the grace that is given to us by Jesus when we submit ourselves to this sacrament we would not think twice to humbly submit ourselves to the healing Sacrament of Confession.

A large part of the blame why not everyone is educated about this sacrament lies on us who know the enormous gift of the Sacrament of Confession. Because we don’t bother to share what we know and we don’t live and pay forward the grace that we receive from Jesus through this sacrament.

It’s never too late to repent, it’s never too late to ask God to heal us of our many sickness caused by our sinfulness. Let us go and humbly submit ourselves to this healing sacrament and let us not also forget to share the grace that we have received from this healing Sacrament.

Will you humbly submit yourself to this healing Sacrament today or perhaps in the coming days? – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Reflection for June 29, Wednesday; Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul; 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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If somebody would ask us this question: “Who is Jesus to you?” I am sure that our answer will depend on how well we know Jesus. Some of us may answer that Jesus is a friend who’s always there for us. Others may say that Jesus is a brother who is always ready to help us.

Today the church celebrates the Solemnity of Apostle Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Saint Peter is the most prominent apostle; Jesus built and founded the church thru him, he is also the leader of the twelve. Saint Paul was tasked to spread the gospel to the gentiles. Both Saints unwaveringly shared with the ministry of Jesus in spreading the good news at the cost of their lives.

In the gospel Jesus posed this question to His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is (Matthew 16:13)?” the disciples were not able to answer. Then Jesus asked the apostles: “But who do you say that I am (Matthew 16:15)?”

 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 apostles he was always prominently with Jesus. (Mat. 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 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 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?

On the other hand, Paul had a lesser close encounter with Jesus (Acts 9). But his zeal to advance the gospel of Christ is unmatched until now. Saint Paul allowed Jesus to work in his life for the advancement of the gospel.

Saint Paul also courageously advanced of the teachings of Jesus to those who don’t know Jesus yet. He was also educated and he used it to write some books in the New Testament. Do we allow Jesus to move in our lives so that others may know more about Jesus?

If Jesus would ask you this question today: “Who do you say that I am?” Would you be able to satisfactorily reply? – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for June 28, Tuesday; Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr; Matthew 8:23-27

Gospel: Matthew 8:23-27
As Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him. Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but he was asleep. They came and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?” Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm. The men were amazed and said, “What sort of man is this, whom even the winds and the sea obey?”
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A young man was on the verge of giving-up on his life so he thought of hanging himself. But before doing it he said this silent prayer, Jesus if you are really alive let somebody come in to my house and I will not push through anymore with my desperate plan. Lo and behold, after a few seconds a neighbor was knocking on his door inviting him to join their bible study.

We must always remember that God is alive. He is always a prayer away but often times we forget about this. Because of our worldliness we always focus on our struggles thus we forget that there’s a God who is ever ready to listen to us. Who is always there to lift us up whenever we are feeling down and weary.     

In our gospel for today the disciples encountered a violent storm and in that desperate moment they had nothing to hold on but God. So they said, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” After which there was great calm because Jesus rebuked the winds and the sea.

Whatever that you’re going through right now always remember that Jesus is just a prayer away. Seek Him, pray to Him and He surely will help and save you.

Do you always pray to the Lord Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas   

Monday, June 27, 2016

Reflection for June 27, Monday; Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time; Matthew 8:18-22

Gospel: Matthew 8:18-22
When Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other shore. A scribe approached and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” Another of his disciples said to him, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.” But Jesus answered him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.”
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There’s an old adage that says: “To follow Christ is always right but it is not always easy.”

In the gospel passage a scribe approached Jesus and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”

In fact Jesus was telling the scribe who signified his intention to follow Him that it’s never easy to follow me. You have to think a hundred times before you decide to follow me.

Indeed, it’s not always a bed of roses when we decide to follow Jesus. Oftentimes Jesus will tell us that if you really want to follow me, you need to forget yourself and you need to be selfless. Amidst the hardship that we may encounter in following Him, we can also rest assure that Jesus will always be there for us to guide and inspire us.

Be not afraid therefore to follow Jesus no matter how hard it is. For the reason that every second that you invest in following Him will pay you great reward someday. – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Reflection for Sunday June 26, 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time; Luke 9:51-62

Gospel: Luke 9:51-62
When the days for Jesus' being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?" Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.

As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus answered him, "Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head."

And to another he said, "Follow me." But he replied, "Lord, let me go first and bury my father." But he answered him, "Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." And another said, "I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home." To him Jesus said, "No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God."
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A man who was newly transplanted to his new community heard the announcement of the church’s need for Catechist. So he went to the parish office to signify his intention.

The parish priest asked him: Why do you want to become a Catechist?   The man replied: I want to have new friends in the parish community.  The priest said to him: is that the sole reason why you want to become a Catechist? The man replied: no, I also want to serve the church based on my own schedule.

While going to Jerusalem Jesus met three men who want to follow Him. The two men signified their intention to follow Him and one He personally called. Jesus emphasized to each of them that it’s not easy to follow Him because they have to sacrifice and persevere.

Many of us have this mistaken notion that to follow Jesus is easy but it’s not. Many of us think that the moment we follow Jesus our life will now become a bed of roses, but it will not.

 To follow Jesus is to carry our cross and others cross too! To follow Jesus is to be ready to embrace suffering and even humiliation for this is really how it is when we decide to sincerely become Jesus’ follower.

Will you still follow Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas        

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Reflection for June 25, Saturday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time; Matthew 8:5-17

Gospel: Matthew 8:5-17
When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.” He said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven, but the children of the Kingdom will be driven out into the outer darkness, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.” And Jesus said to the centurion, “You may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you.” And at that very hour his servant was healed.

Jesus entered the house of Peter, and saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand, the fever left her, and she rose and waited on him.

When it was evening, they brought him many who were possessed by demons, and he drove out the spirits by a word and cured all the sick, to fulfill what had been said by Isaiah the prophet:

He took away our infirmities and bore our diseases.
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What is with the roman centurion that we often times do not have?

 Its faith and humility, very profound faith and humility! The centurion/soldier was the personification of deep faith. He simply believed that Jesus would grant what he wished for and because of his deep faith Jesus healed his servant.

The centurion was also humble enough to beg the Lord for healing for his servant. He did not mind going to Jesus to ask Him to cure his servant. The Centurion could simply sent an emissary to Jesus and let his emissary do everything for him. But he did not, in spite of his status as a ranking soldier he still humbled himself before Jesus.  

This is oftentimes what we lack, we don’t have deep faith and we are lacking in humility. We ask God to grant us something yet we doubt and we don’t care to humble ourselves before Him.

We withhold the fulfilment of what we want to happen to ourselves when we start to doubt if God will grant us what we wish Him to bestow upon us. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for June 24, Friday, The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist (Solemnity); Luke 1:57-66, 80

Gospel: Luke 1:57-66, 80
When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her. When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, “No. He will be called John.” But they answered her, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God. Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, “What, then, will this child be?” For surely the hand of the Lord was with him. The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel.
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Have you been faithful to the Lord?

To continuously propagate the name of a certain clan it is customary to name a newly born baby after his father’s name. This was in the mind of the relatives who proposed that the newly born baby of Elizabeth be named after his father Zechariah.

 But Zechariah had previously had an agreement with the Angel Gabriel when he appeared to him in the sanctuary that the baby will be named John (Luke 1:13). True to their word both Elizabeth and Zechariah fulfilled their promise and did not reneged on their agreement with the Lord through the angel Gabriel.

 Their faithfulness to God’s covenant was further rewarded when Zechariah was able to speak again. What is the implication of this for us? This tells us that the good Lord has a reward for those who are faithful to Him. Are we always faithful to the Lord?

 We too are being reminded by this gospel to be faithful to our own covenants with the Lord. You may be asking yourself: What is my covenant with the Lord? there are many, I will just mention a few. If you’re married your covenant with the Lord is to be faithful to your spouse until the very end.

Our Baptismal covenant with the Lord is faithfulness to the teachings of the church. Have we been faithful to the teachings of the church and have we already shared and lived its teachings? 

God through the angel Gabriel has rewarded the faithfulness of Elizabeth and Zechariah. There’s also a reward in store for us all for so long as we will be faithful to God. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for June 23, Thursday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time; Matthew 7:21-29

Gospel: Matthew 7:21-29
Jesus said to his disciples: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”

When Jesus finished these words, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.
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"I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." - Mahatma Gandhi.

It was said that Gandhi was being encouraged to embrace the Christian faith when he said this famous quotation. He admired Christ deeply but he did not admire what he saw on the followers of Jesus, that includes us.

Maybe, Gandhi saw these Christians who only pay lip service to their faith, who are only active on worship but deficient in living their faith.

James 2:17 says: “faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

In the gospel Jesus told his disciples: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven (Matthew 7:21).”

Some of us are so active in our church worship we are always there every Sunday for Holy Mass, some are there daily to worship God. But the irony of it all is many of us choose to leave in the church what we hear and learn from it. We don’t breathe it, we don’t practice it.

The will of God is for us to practice and live our relationship with Him through our fellowmen specially those who are in need. What is the use of our worship for Jesus if we don’t live it? – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Reflection for June 22, Wednesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time; Matthew 7:15-20

Gospel: Matthew 7:15-20
Jesus said to his disciples: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them.”
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Is initial impression a good gauge for us to say that we already know someone? Of course not, we still need to know the person for a certain period of time before we know who he/she really is.

The early stage of courtship between a man and a woman is where both of them try to put their best foot forward. They show all the positive attributes that they have. Thinking that the positive exterior is also the same with the inner being of their soon to be spouse they end up as married couple. The sole basis of their marriage was the positive exterior appearance.

After a few months of being married here come the real identity of the spouse: grouchy, self-centered, extravagant, has no manners and immature. Seeing this negative interior they end up alienated from each other.

Initially the spouse shows his/her sheep’s clothing after they marry the real self: a ravenous wolf is unmasked.

This case is no different with “Men of God” who try to get the trust of their prospective victims and after they’ve gained their trust their real evil selves comes to fore and that’s when they do their bestial acts.

We should always be wary of these individuals; let us carefully discern for they may be in sheep’s clothing but underneath are ravenous wolves. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Reflection for June 21, Tuesday, Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious; Matthew 7:6, 12-14

Gospel: Matthew 7:6, 12-14
Jesus said to his disciples: Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces. “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the Law and the Prophets.

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.”
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There is a story of a boy who was neglected by his irresponsible parents. A kind-hearted relative saw something from this boy who was always at the church to do volunteer work and attend Holy Mass. So he offered to take care of this boy and without any hesitation the negligent parents immediately agreed.

To make a long story short the boy stayed with his relatives who took care of his education and other personal needs. To compensate for his free board, education and lodging he worked for them by helping with the household chores and other basic house work. Years quickly passed by and this good and hardworking boy became very successful.

What is the narrow gate that Jesus wants us all to enter? This is the narrow gate of hardwork, the narrow gate of life with Jesus and the church that He founded.

Not many of us now are truly hardworking we want shortcuts, for example to become rich we engage in corruption and other illegal actions. Not many of us now do volunteer work for the church because we are very selfish with our time and treasure. Not many of us now are fulfilling our Sunday Mass obligation; we just go to Mass if we want to go.

Indeed, those who enter or pass thru the narrow gate and find it are few but these few will always be rewarded someday by Jesus himself. – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Monday, June 20, 2016

Reflection for June 20, Monday of the 12th Week in OT; Matthew 7:1-5

Gospel: Matthew 7:1-5
Jesus said to his disciples: “Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.”
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Why is it that we are judgmental? This is for the reason that we feel superior than the person that we are judging or we have this attitude of dominance. Otherwise if we don’t feel superior we would not dare judge others as good for nothing.

But very clearly in our gospel for today we hear Jesus is telling us to stop judging. This is difficult to follow for those who have superiority complex but easy to follow for those who are docile, and humble.

It’s always very tempting to be judgmental most especially if the person is at fault. However, what would we get from judging others? Nothing except to increase the value of our arrogance and to increase the worth of our egos! Instead of judging, why not simply advice and impart words that heals rather than words that condemn.  

When we perceive that someone is a sinner let us always think that we are sinners too! So that we would not be tempted to judge them. The reality of our lives is we are all sinners that is why we have no right to condemn or to judge our fellowmen.

We can only bring others to Jesus when we are not judgmental, when we are compassionate, loving and forgiving. For who are we to judge? We are not Jesus, even Jesus doesn’t judge, therefore; we have no right to judge.  

There are sinners because many of us do not dare impart Jesus’ compassion, forgiveness and love.

Are you judgmental? – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Reflection for Sunday June 19, 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time; Luke 9:18-24

Gospel: Luke 9:18-24
Once when Jesus was praying by himself, and the disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They said in reply, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.’” Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said in reply, “The Christ of God.” He scolded them and directed them not to tell this to anyone.

He said, “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.”
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Do you want to grow in your relationship with Jesus and are you willing to suffer for Jesus?

Our personal relationship and knowledge about Jesus is always brought about by the frequency and intensity of our prayer life. For example, the more that we incorporate prayer in our daily lives the more that Jesus becomes clearer to us and the more also that we become closer to Him.

It is in this process of being close to Jesus that we allow ourselves to suffer for Him.  Not suffer for the sake of suffering but to suffer joyfully for Him and for His people.

 For example, if we help and give food to those who are in need our pockets will suffer. When we give our priceless time and energy for the sake of the people of God our bodies will suffer for the simple reason that we will be tired. But the true joy and fulfillment of this kind of suffering is unfathomable.

Jesus in the gospel invites us all to have this prayerful life, to emulate Him who always pray to the Father in solitude. In the process of our prayerful life the true identity of Jesus will crystallize in our lives. And without us knowing it we are already sharing Him by the way we live.

We will surely suffer if we follow, share and live Jesus. However, let us not be afraid of this kind of suffering since this kind of suffering is actually a blessing.  – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Friday, June 17, 2016

Reflection for June 18, Saturday of the Eleventh Week in OT; Matthew 6:24-34

Gospel: Matthew 6:24-34
Jesus said to his disciples: “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”
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There was a man who literally wanted to test God’s providence, so he said to God: “God I will go to a remote mountain. I will be wandering there for a month and I will bring nothing with me except what I’m wearing.

On the first week he sustained himself with fruits that were within his reach. Then on the second week he accidentally stumbled on a small community of tribesmen. Once they saw him they wondered why he was different from them. They said to themselves this man must be God sent, so they treated him like a king and in return he taught them a lot of things that could be useful to them.

After a month he bade them goodbye, he was now fully convinced of God’s eternal providence.

In the gospel Jesus said to his disciples: “If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all (Matthew 6:30-32).”

The secret to a happy and fulfilled life is to serve God in whatever capacity and abandon our lives to His providence, he will provide for us for so long as we trust him our lives. Let us not be worried let us not be afraid.

Jesus himself said this: “Do not be troubled; trust in God and trust in me.” (John 14:1) – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Reflection for June 17, Friday of the Eleventh Week in OT; Matthew 6:19-23

Gospel: Matthew 6:19-23
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.

“The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light; but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness. And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be.”
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There were two friends named Romeo and Lito. Romeo was a man of the world, he was very obsessed on getting rich. He engaged in business spending a major portion of his time thinking how he could further grow it. He was very successful at it because he ended up as one the richest in their town. He was a very busy man and due to his busyness God was never part of his life.

Lito was the exact opposite of George; he was not obsessed with getting rich. He was content with his job in the government. He was a very pious man, doesn’t miss to worship Jesus at Mass and he was a helpful presence in their community.

Eventually both of them died, Lito had a smooth transition towards heaven but Romeo was not as fortunate. He was denied entry by Saint Peter for he stored treasures on earth where moth and decay destroys and thieves break in and steal.

Whether we admit it or not majority of us are people of this world, we are so concerned with our materials wellbeing and the exterior impression that others would have on us. We forget that what we have in this world are all temporary. It’s like “Chasing the wind” so to speak. All these material things that we have right now will eventually slip from our hands sooner or later.

What is important is we store up treasures in heaven.  Where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. This is best exemplified by being always connected with God and by doing acts of mercy and love.

Let us always bear in mind that all of us are just passersby in this world, this is not our permanent dwelling. Thus we have to put forward God first before anything that is from this world. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Reflection for June 16, Thursday of the Eleventh Week in OT; 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 others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”
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How important is prayer to your life? If you have five things to do everyday, is prayer included in that five?

When we pray with our heart we allow the good Lord to nourish our parched spirits. Through our prayers we also invite the good Lord to come into our life. And it’s also through our humble prayers that we slowly but surely develop our intimacy with Jesus.

In our gospel Jesus teaches us how to pray: It’s simple, short and direct and it does not beat around the bush. We must be frank, persevering and honest to Jesus for He knows what we need beforehand. We must also be sincere and always humble in prayer before our God.

For example, do we close our eyes when we pray the Our Father? Does this prayer make us sometimes cry when we pray it? Do we still kneel when we pray this prayer? These are all acts of piety that will help us have a more personal connection with Jesus.  

Jesus is also reminding us to re-examine our life of prayer. For we may be just praying for the sake of praying thus it’s already without spirit and fire.

How do we pray the Lord’s prayer? Do we still pray it with all our heart and being or we simply babble it with our minds wandering somewhere else? – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Reflection for June 15, Wednesday of the Eleventh Week in OT; Matthew 5:1-6, 16-18

Gospel: Matthew 5:1-6, 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 others 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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Jesus gives us three commands:

1. 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.
2.  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.
3. When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting.

Jesus reminds us to have an interior self-examination about our lives.  How are we living it right now? Do we live our lives so that others may notice us?  Are we only using God so that we will gain the admiration of our fellowmen?

Jesus advocates humility and secrecy in doing things for Him. We should not boast of the things that we do for God and for our fellowmen. Otherwise it’s all useless and chasing the wind. Jesus knows everything about us; our motives and the real reason why we do things for Him. He knows if we are only using Him to advance our own self serving agendas.   
Maybe we only live and do things for ourselves and we have no real concern for the lives of others. We may have also strayed very far already from Jesus, we may have betrayed Him for countless times in favor of the many sins of this world.

Let us humble ourselves before Jesus and ask for His mercy and forgiveness. – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Reflection for June 14, Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in OT; 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 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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It’s very easy to love those who love us back but can we still love those whose  love for us is declining?

During the infancy of marriage both spouses love each other deeply. But after a couple of years cracks will show up to test the strength of the marriage bond. For example, the spouse will not be affectionate anymore he would not be as what he used to be during the early part of marriage.

Will you easily give-up on your spouse whose love for you is waning? Of course not! You should rather continue on loving your spouse no matter his/her coldness to you. You should never give up and try to understand his/her imperfections and shortcomings for the simple reason that you also have your own imperfections and shortcomings.

Jesus’ love for us is not a selective love, love that is not based on the love that we give to Him. He loves us dearly in-spite of our many imperfections and shortcomings. – Marino J. Dasmarinas      

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Reflection for Sunday June 12, 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time; Luke 7:36-50

Gospel: Luke 7:36-50
One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to share his meal, so he went to the Pharisee’s home, and as usual reclined at the table to eat. 37 And it happened that, a woman of this town, who was known as a sinner, heard that he was in the Pharisee’s house. She brought an alabaster jar of perfume, 38 and stood behind him, at his feet, weeping. She wet his feet with tears; she dried them with her hair; she kissed his feet and poured the perfume on them. 39 The Pharisee who had invited Jesus was watching, and thought, “If this man were a prophet, he would know what sort of person is touching him; isn’t this woman a sinner?” 40 Then Jesus spoke to the Pharisee and said, “Simon, I have something to ask you.” He answered, “Speak, master.” And Jesus said, 41 “Two people were in debt to the same creditor. One owed him five hundred silver coins, and the other fifty. 42 As they were unable to pay him back, he graciously canceled the debts of both. Now, which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, who was forgiven more.” And Jesus said, “You are right.” 44 And turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? 45 You gave me no water for my feet when I entered your house; but she has washed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. You didn’t welcome me with a kiss; but she has not stopped kissing my feet since she came in. 46 You provided no oil for my head; but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 This is why, I tell you, her sins, her many sins, are forgiven, because of her great love. But the one who is forgiven little, has little love.” 48 Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 The others reclining with him at the table began to wonder, “Now this man claims to forgive sins!” 50 But Jesus again spoke to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace!”
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A sinner who was so burdened by her many sins was contemplating of ending her life. When he was about to take the drugs that would end it all. She suddenly remembered what he read about the infinite love of Jesus. That Jesus loves her dearly no matter who she is and no matter how grave the sins that she committed.

After that enlightened episode in her life she decided to go to the Sacrament of Confession so that she could be reconciled once again with Jesus and be cleaned from all of her sinfulness. 

Aside from Jesus when have two very interesting characters in the gospel. One is a Pharisee named Simon and the other one is an unidentified woman who was labeled as a sinner. As usual Simon was the self-righteous Pharisee who thinks of himself as a non-sinner thus he detested the woman who humbly went to Jesus begging for forgiveness of her many sins. Did this woman know that Jesus would listen to her plea for forgiveness? Did this woman know that Jesus would give a portion of His precious time for her?

Yes this woman knew that Jesus would listen to her appeal of forgiveness and yes this woman knew that Jesus will give not only a portion of His precious time but even all of His time so that He could listen to her.

Many of us do not care to submit ourselves to the Sacrament of Reconciliation/Confession because we have the same mindset with Simon the Pharisee. We are self-righteous and we are quick to judge our fellowmen’s sinfulness but not our own sinfulness.

But truth be told, nobody is free from sin amongst us for we are all sinful. So what are we going to do? We have to be like the woman who recognized her own sinfulness. The same woman who went to Jesus with an alabaster jar of perfume to pour it on His feet. And the same woman who was so filled with repentance thus she wept unabashedly before Jesus.

Have you been to the healing Sacrament of Confession lately? – Marino J. Dasmarinas