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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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Reflection for Saturday September 3, Saint Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor; Luke 6:1-5

Gospel: Luke 6:1-5
While Jesus was going through a field of grain on a sabbath, his disciples were picking the heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands, and eating them. Some Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?” Jesus said to them in reply, “Have you not read what David did when he and those who were with him were hungry? How he went into the house of God, took the bread of offering, which only the priests could lawfully eat, ate of it, and shared it with his companions?” Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.”
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What kind of Lord and Master is Jesus? He is a loving and caring Lord and Master, He will always see to it that His people are properly taken care of no matter what the circumstances are. If there’s a need and a precedence to violate certain laws so be it for as long as it could help His people.

When Jesus defended His disciples from the rebuke of the Pharisees (From picking and eating grains on a Sabbath day) He was simply saying that the need of His disciples always takes precedence over any observance of the Jewish law/s.

Jesus was indirectly saying to His critics that they sometimes have to be flexible also anyway they did not commit any criminal act. The disciples were simply hungry and that was it they simply have to satisfy their need.  In fact King David also did that in the old testament as told to them by Jesus(1 Samuel 21:2-7).

Here we see what kind of Lord and Master Jesus is, He properly takes care of His people. Jesus is even willing to violate the sacred Sabbath law for as long as it would be beneficial to His followers. By virtue of our baptism we already are followers of Jesus we may not be faithful to Him all the time. Nevertheless, His love, care and concern for us will always be there by our side no matter the circumstances we are in. - Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for Friday September 2, Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time; Luke 5:33-39

Gospel: Luke 5:33-39
The scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, “The disciples of John the Baptist fast often and offer prayers, and the disciples of the Pharisees do the same; but yours eat and drink.” Jesus answered them, “Can you make the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, and when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast in those days.” And he also told them a parable. “No one tears a piece from a new cloak to patch an old one. Otherwise, he will tear the new and the piece from it will not match the old cloak. Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilled, and the skins will be ruined. Rather, new wine must be poured into fresh wineskins. And no one who has been drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’”
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A lady was giving her personal testimony on how Jesus made a big impact on her life and how Jesus filled her life with joy and contentment. She said further that now that Jesus is in her heart. She now will always ask Jesus to take over her sadness and other trials.

Whether we admit or not sadness and other lonesome emotions will once in a while pass us by. This is normal for we are all beings with emotions. However if we have Jesus, we have nothing to worry even if these lonesome feelings will come to us.

We would know how to handle it for the simple reason that we already have Jesus in our lives. We have nothing to worry about anything that may come to us. Thus, we continue to move ahead with hope because Jesus is by our side.

Assuring us that no human affliction and emotion no matter how severe could bring us down anymore. Not even the saddest moment in our lives for we have already been renewed and poured into the fresh wineskin which is Jesus. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for Thursday September 1, Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time; Luke 5:1-11

Gospel: Luke 5:1-11
While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.” When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that the boats were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon. Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.
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A married couple was being convinced by their neighbor to join them in their weekly bible sharing. The couple said that they are not worthy to be with them because they are sinners. However, the persistent neighbor told them that, nobody is perfect. He further said that all of us are sinners. For we have offended God for so many times yet God in His infinite love and mercy is persistently calling us to follow Him and eventually serve Him.

In our gospel Simon was told by Jesus to go into deep water and lower their nets. Then Simon said, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.”

Soon after they’ve caught hundreds of fish that their nets were breaking already, Simon felt that he was unworthy of the Lord and the bountiful fish that they’ve caught. So he said to Jesus: “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”

Who is worthy before the Lord? Who is qualified to follow Jesus? None of us are worthy; none of us are qualified for we are all sinners. But our sinfulness should never be an excuse for us not to follow the Lord and leave behind our life of sin.

Jesus always qualifies the unworthy, He always purify the unworthy to become worthy before His eyes. The infinite love and mercy of Jesus is always there for us ever ready to purify us no matter who we are, no matter how sinful we are. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for Wednesday August 31, Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time; Luke 4:38-44

Gospel: Luke 4:38-44
After Jesus left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon. Simon’s mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever, and they interceded with him about her. He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up immediately and waited on them.

At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him. He laid his hands on each of them and cured them. And demons also came out from many, shouting, “You are the Son of God.” But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak because they knew that he was the Christ.

At daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted place. The crowds went looking for him, and when they came to him, they tried to prevent him from leaving them. But he said to them, “To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.” And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
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Have you asked Jesus to heal somebody close to you? Have you brought to Jesus a relative or a friend? Your faith and relationship with Jesus becomes more meaningful when you are able to bring/introduce someone to Him. For the reason that this means that your faith has already matured and is bearing fruit already.

In the gospel for today, Simon’s humbly asked Jesus to heal his mother in-law who was sick with fever. And right there and then Jesus went to her and immediately healed her. What if Simon did not asked Jesus to heal his mother in-law? Of course his mother in-law would not been healed but she was healed courtesy of Simon’s prayerful and humble intercession.

This act of Simon of asking Jesus to heal her mother in-law is a very good reminder for us. That we too must see to it that we also pray to Jesus to heal and enlighten someone. Many are very much in need of enlightenment and healing from Jesus. Let us not take for granted the power of our prayerful intercession for others most especially for the sick and for those who are not enlightened yet about the love of Jesus.

This is for the reason that our prayerful intercession for them can heal and change them. For example Saint Monica (the mother of Saint Augustine) she was forced to marry a non-believer but through her unceasing prayer she was able to convert her husband to the catholic faith. Saint Monica also unceasingly prayed for 17 long years for the conversion of her son Augustine who was living a life of sin at that time. And through her humble and persevering prayers she was eventually heard by God.  

We are being challenged by our gospel for today to bring someone closer to Jesus though our intercession and prayers.

Have you already brought somebody closer to Jesus? - Marino J. Dasmarinas

Friday, August 26, 2016

Reflection for Tuesday August 30, Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time; Luke 4:31-37

Gospel: Luke 4:31-37
Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee. He taught them on the sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching because he spoke with authority. In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out in a loud voice, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!” Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet! Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down in front of them and came out of him without doing him any harm. They were all amazed and said to one another, “What is there about his word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” And news of him spread everywhere in the surrounding region.
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Do you recognize the authority of Jesus over you?

When Jesus speaks He speaks with authority and being so we have to listen to Him. For example, His teachings about love, forgiveness and humility. Do we love and forgive the way Jesus loves and forgives? Do we live the virtue of humility? For example if there’s misunderstanding in the family, are we humble enough to extend our hand of forgiveness even if we are not the culprit?

In our gospel even the demon recognized the power and authority of Jesus. If the demon listens to Jesus why can’t we listen to Jesus? We don’t listen to Jesus because we prefer to listen to our own selves.

The aspect of forgiveness and humility is where we are usually weak. We usually find it hard to forgive and we find it very hard to humble ourselves. Why? Because we override the teaching of Jesus with our ego driven teachings.

We must listen to Jesus if we want peace and quiet in our lives. Otherwise there would always be an absence of peace within us and absence of harmony within our own homes. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for Monday August 29, the Passion of Saint John the Baptist; Mark 6:17-29

Gospel: Mark 6:17-29
Herod was the one who had John the Baptist arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married. John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so. Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody. When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him. She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee. Herodias’ own daughter came in and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.” He even swore many things to her, “I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom.” She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.” The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request, “I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her. So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head. He went off and beheaded him in the prison. He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl. The girl in turn gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
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How would you react if you see an adulterous relationship? Would you simply keep your mouth shut for fear of the consequence once you speak against it? Or you courageously correct it never minding the consequence that it may bring you?

Saint John the Baptist chose the road less travelled, he denounced the adulterous relationship of King Herod and Herodias. Thus, he dearly paid for it with his life. John could just have pretended to see no evil and hear no evil. But John did not let their adulterous relationship pass by him quietly, he made noise by denouncing it.  

What if we are John?  How would we react? Would we just let it happen, be indifferent and do nothing? The problem with this kind of attitude is we are perpetuating and consenting with evil. And we all know that evil will not bring us any good. So the moral action that we must do is to correct any form of evil and immorality.

Just like what John did, this is very difficult to do but we have to do it otherwise we are consenting with evil. By correcting them we are actually leading them to the right and moral path of life. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for Sunday August 28, Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time; Luke 14:1, 7-14

Gospel: Luke 14:1, 7-14
On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully.

He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him, and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place. Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, ‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’ Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table. For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Then he said to the host who inited him, “When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
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What is the advantage of a humble person over an egotistical person? The humble person never competes with anyone he is always peaceful. He does things quietly without trumpeting it to anyone. The humble one can calmly walk away from anyone without resentment even those who’ve hurt him.

 If the person that he loves has betrayed his love for her. The humble person can also quietly muster enough strength to silently leave behind his beloved and evaporate with the sunset to permanently fade away from her sight.

In the gospel for this Sunday Jesus talks about humility. Jesus tells us that if we are invited into a wedding banquet or any banquet for that matter. We should choose to seat at the back and not in the place of honor, not because we feel inferior or we have an inferiority complex.  We seat at the back for this is the right action to do, afterwards if the host would call our attention to be seated elsewhere then we should humbly follow.

What if for example a person is egotistical could he/she be converted to have the virtue of humility? Yes absolutely! He/she could be converted provided that he would be ready to follow the leadings of Jesus in his life.

This is for the reason that Jesus would always want us to be humble. And the virtue of humility if this is present in a person’s life could become his/her walkway towards Jesus.    

Strive to be humble and ask Jesus to make you humble for nothing is impossible for Him. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Reflection for Saturday August 27, Saint Monica; Matthew 25:14-30

Gospel: Matthew 25:14-30
Jesus told his disciples this parable: “A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one– to each according to his ability. Then he went away. Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five. Likewise, the one who received two made another two. But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money. After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them. The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I have made two more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’ His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter? Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return? Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten. For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’”
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Do you recognize that Jesus has given you talent/s to help Him advance His teachings in this world?

Whether we like it or not our day of reckoning will eventually come. There He will ask us this question: What have you done to the talent/s that I have given you? Did you properly use it to help those who are in need? Did you use it to advance my teachings?

Some of us will answer in the affirmative. Others will be on the negative for the reason that we only used our God given talents for our own self interest: to earn a living and so forth. 

Others would even have excuses like: How can I use my talents for the church when I don’t know anybody there? How can I give my talents for the church when I don’t even have enough time for my family? These are valid excuses, right?

However, if there’s a will to be of service in our local churches there would be a way. God will find it for us.

The big question mark is, are we selfless enough to share the talent/s that God has only loaned to us? – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for Friday August 26, Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time; Matthew 25:1-13

Gospel: Matthew 25:1-13
Jesus told his disciples this parable: “The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.  At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise ones replied, ‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’ While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked. Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
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What is the advantage of being prepared? You are always ready for what may happen during any time of the day.

In the gospel, Jesus said to his disciples: “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come (John 25:13). Indeed, nobody knows the moment of His coming, that’s why it is a must that we always do good. As much as possible we must avoid doing things that would hurt us (sin) and the feelings of others especially to those who are close to us.

It is very easy to say that we will always be prepared for His coming but sometimes it is only lip service without real conviction to do so. We are easily tempted to sin again, to hurt people again, to ignore those who are in need most specially the poor.

To be egoistic and have that superiority attitude again. We are like that we are only good for a short period of time then we wrap ourselves again with sin. Why is this so and what must we do to avoid backsliding to our sinful behavior again?

We must have a continuous encounter with Jesus through our attendance at Mass, through the Sacrament of Confession, through our prayers, through reading the Bible and through our visits to the Eucharistic Adoration Chapel. For this is the only way for us to keep ourselves from backsliding into sinfulness again. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for Thursday August 25, Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time; Matthew 24:42-51

Gospel: Matthew 24:42-51
Jesus said to his disciples: “Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.

“Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so. Amen, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property. But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is long delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eat and drink with drunkards, the servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”
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Are you afraid to die?

Death is like a thief in the night it comes when we least expect it. There are even people who are healthy who suddenly die without any apparent reason. That’s life it can be taken from us anytime for we don’t own it we simply are stewards of this life that we have.

 In the gospel Jesus oddly compared the Lord to a thief who comes unexpectedly. Maybe He did this to inculcate into the stubborn minds of some of His followers the value of always doing good so that if they unexpectedly die they can still be with Him in heaven.

This is a wake-up call to all of us to change our ways for the better. Let us always remember that we too are walking on this earth on borrowed time. Our life can be taken from us anytime. If our eventual appointed time will come, it is a must that we are always ready.

God has given us this temporary life and eventually at His appointed time He will take it away from us. We therefore have to always be prepared for we really do not know our time of departure from this world. Only God knows, God gives and God takes.

What are you doing with your life right now? – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for Wednesday August 24, Saint Bartholomew, Apostle; John 1:45-51

Gospel: John 1:45-51
Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.” But Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Here is a true child of Israel. There is no duplicity in him.” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
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Have you shared your faith and friendship with Jesus with your family members and friends?  If yes, well and good continue sharing Jesus and continue reforming and saving lives through Jesus. You may not see worldly rewards with what you do for Jesus but you surely will receive a reward from Jesus  

Time and again we've heard personal testimonies about how Jesus restored back their wayward lives. From a pointless life to a life of purpose and meaning, all because of Jesus. From a life of addiction to a life free from any form of addiction.

In our gospel, Philip was on fire for Jesus, he wanted to share the miracle of Jesus to his friend Nathanael. That is why Philip said to Nathanael: “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth (John 1:45).”

Our faith and intimacy in Jesus becomes more alive, meaningful and productive when we share it. For example, we become a beacon of light for Jesus once we share our personal relationship with HIM. Then, by doing so we save wayward lives, thus we once again create meaning and purpose in a person’s life.

You may not have shared Jesus yet, be not afraid to share HIM now. Will you share your personal relationship with Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Reflection for Tuesday August 23, Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time; Matthew 23:23-26

Gospel: Matthew 23:23-26
Jesus said: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity. But these you should have done, without neglecting the others. Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel!

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean.”
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Are you easily taken by physical appearance?

A lady was smitten by the external appearance of her handsome neighbor. When he asked her to elope with him she agreed without any hesitation. As weeks and months passed by she discovered his true character; his domineering behavior, lack of responsibility and many more hidden negative behaviors.     

External impression is very important to many of us. We are easily attracted to those who look good or we adore to high heavens those who are good looking. Our attention is easily taken by people who wear nice and expensive clothes.

 But external appearance is not important for Jesus. HE is more concerned about the pureness of our hearts and motives. Those that are unseen and can only be perceived by our feelings are more important for Him. 

Remember, that not everyone who look good has a good heart and has humility within them.  Some of those who look good don’t have a good heart and they don’t have the virtue of humility. - Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for Monday August 22, the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary; Matthew 23:13-22

Gospel: Matthew 23:13-22
Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men. You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You traverse sea and land to make one convert, and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna twice as much as yourselves.

“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If one swears by the temple, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.’ Blind fools, which is greater, the gold, or the temple that made the gold sacred? And you say, ‘If one swears by the altar, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.’ You blind ones, which is greater, the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it; one who swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it; one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who is seated on it.”
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What is the meaning of the word woe?

Woe is a word that has a negative meaning and Jesus has many woes addressed to the Pharisees and the Scribes. Why? This is for the reason that many of the Pharisees and scribes are hypocrites. They teach their subjects to do this and that yet they themselves are not practising what they are teaching and preaching.

These woes are not exclusively addressed to the Pharisees and Scribes, this is also for many of us who are hypocrites. We who are not true to our word and we who often are good only with worship for God yet very much wanting in living our faith.

But it’s not yet late for us to turn things around, to make amends with God. This is for the reason that all of us no matter how sinful have hope before God. For God condemnation is not forever, God can easily erase His condemnation and replace it with salvation.  

Remember the sinner who was crucified with Jesus? He was originally sinful but he repented, thus Jesus brought him along to paradise. (Luke 23:43). Let us therefore repent from our sinfulness while we still have the luxury of time. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for Sunday August 21, Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time; Luke 13:22-30

Gospel: Luke 13:22-30
Jesus passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He answered them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough. After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’ He will say to you in reply, ‘I do not know where you are from. And you will say, ‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’ Then he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!’ And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out. And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God. For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
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A lady who was very obedient in her catholic faith was asking herself this question: “what should I do to be in heaven someday”? She herself answered her question by saying, I need to be at the Eucharistic celebration every Sunday, I need to pray the rosary everyday and I need to humbly submit myself to the Sacrament of Reconciliation at least once a year.

She did all of these acts of piety for she believed that this would be her passage to heaven. When she died she was confident of having a hassle free passage towards the door of heaven. However when she was about to enter an angel prevented her from passing through the door. Therefore her acts of piety were not enough to enter heaven. What is the secret ingredient that is lacking in her recipe to enter heaven?

In the gospel for this Sunday someone asked Jesus, "Lord will only a few people be saved?" Jesus said strive to enter the narrow gate, for many I tell you will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough (Luke 13:23-24).

Our acts of piety and worship for God are good for it will lead us to know more about God and it will surely deepen our relationship with Him. But we still need to take that extra step to complete the recipe to enter the narrow gate that leads to heaven.
We need to put flesh to our acts of piety. In other words we need to translate our worship for God to living acts of mercy, love, compassion, humility and so forth.

What is the use of going to Holy Mass every Sunday if we don’t allow it to transform us? What is the use of reading the bible if we don’t live the teachings of Jesus in the bible? What is the use of praying the Holy Rosary if we don’t live the humility of the Blessed Mother? – Marino J. Dasmarinas      

Friday, August 19, 2016

Reflection for Saturday August 20, Saint Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church; Matthew 23:1-12

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

The principle of leadership by example is one wherein the leader set the standards to be followed and he himself leads the way in following the said standards. In the same manner parents should set the benchmark in their home and they live to the hilt these benchmark for their children to emulate.   

On the other hand bad or lousy leaders will tell their people to do this and that but they will not do what they command. They preach the standards but they do not practice what they preach. Same as with irresponsible parents; they will tell their children to observe this and that discipline but the irony is they themselves do not do what they tell their children.

The Pharisees and scribes during the time of Jesus were the religious leaders and they were supposed to lead by example. But they did not; they were only good on giving commands/orders but when it comes to living it they were badly deficient.

Perhaps, this was one of the reasons why the common people of that time started to gravitate towards Jesus. Because they saw in Jesus someone who leads by example; someone who empathised with them, someone who ate and mingled with them; in other words Jesus lived what He preached. 

What is the lesson of our gospel for us?  We must always be true with our words and actions. We must not be like the Pharisees and scribes in our gospel: For they were only good on preaching but very deficient in practicing and living what they preach.  

We must always be like Jesus; for He lived what He preached in other words Jesus is always true to His words and actions.

Do you always live what you preach and are you always true to your words? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Reflection for Friday August 19, Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time; Matthew 22:34-40

Gospel: Matthew 22:34-40
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a scholar of the law, tested him by asking, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
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Can you measure the length and width of true love?

The length and width of true love is something that we cannot measure no matter how hard we try to measure it. We will be willing to give everything for the sake of this true love and this is what our love for God should be.

If we love God we would be willing to do everything for Him including to give our life for the advancement of His kingdom here in this world. If we love God we would be willing to forgive those who have hurt us no matter how deep the would it inflicted upon us.

The martyrs and saints of the church best exemplify this greatest commandment of love and forgiveness. They lived it to the hilt that they willingly gave their lives for the sake of their great love for God.

We often times say that we love God but when we are confronted with difficult situations such as giving something very important out of ourselves. We capitulate thus we betray our self- serving profession of love for God. Same with when we are challenged to forgive those who’ve hurt us.

True love for God is the willingness to give our time, our treasures and even our life for the advancement of God’s kingdom. True love for our neighbor/s is our readiness to forgive somebody even if she/he does not ask for our forgiveness. -  Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for Thursday August 18, Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time; Matthew 22:1-14

Gospel: Matthew 22:1-14
Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and the elders of the people in parables saying, “The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. A second time he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast.”’ Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then the king said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.’ The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to meet the guests he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. He said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’ But he was reduced to silence. Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’ Many are invited, but few are chosen.”
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There was a man who died; a few moments after his death he saw two places one was with fire and with souls in terrible torment. The other one was a brightly lighted and heavenly place with joyous souls. An Angel asked him where would you chose to be? The man quickly replied: I chose the heavenly place with pearly gates.

When he was about to enter the pearly gates he was barred from going there. Then a loud voice boomed and told him: Why are you trying to desperately enter now? Do you remember when you were still alive? I invited you to church for countless times but you did not give any importance to my invitations. You gave more priority to your temporal earthly activities.

In our gospel Jesus gives a parable about a wedding feast, the king ordered the servants to invite the chosen guests. But they were all busy so they ignored the invitation they instead went to their usual daily tasks. One was busy with his farm, another with his business. And how about the others? They maltreated then killed the messengers of the king.

The king represents God and He perpetually invites us all to be present in the weeding banquet that is the celebration of the Holy Mass. We oftentimes hear people urging us to be present in the Holy Mass, to read the bible, to pray and be connected with God. They are the messengers or servants of God sent by Him for us to be closer to Him. For God desires our intimacy with Him this is the primary reason why He always invites us to His feast.

But what is our reaction to His perpetual invitations? We often times ignore it for the reason that we are so much busy with the things of this temporary world. We ignore it until we become aware of our own mortality so we are forced to know and discover God because we are already in dire need of Him.

Why wait for that time when we are already sick or near death?   Why not respond now to His invitation while we are still in the pink of health? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Reflection for Wednesday August 17, Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time; Matthew 20:1-16

Gospel: Matthew 20:1-16
Jesus told his disciples this parable: “The Kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. Going out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.’ So they went off. And he went out again around noon, and around three o’clock, and did likewise. Going out about five o’clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’ When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.’ When those who had started about five o’clock came, each received the usual daily wage. So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’ He said to one of them in reply, ‘My friend, I am not cheating you.
Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?’ Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
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A lady who is always envious of her neighbors would always complain to God why they are rich while she is not. Considering the fact that during weekends she is in the church doing volunteer work. Thus, she thought that God is being unfair to her. 

Months and years had passed, her complaint to God was still the same: “Why is it that they are rich while I am not?  Then, one night she had a dream and in that dream God said to her: You only measure the blessings that I bestow upon you by the money and properties that you possess.

God further said to her: Yes you are not blessed materially but look at your very successful and very well brought-up children. Look at your loving husband that has been faithful to you since day one of your married life. Look at your health, nobody amongst your family members has been to a hospital for health issues. Suddenly the woman had a realization that she was far more blessed by God than her neigbor.

The workers in the vineyard who worked early complained about wages and that is material wealth or money! They failed to realize that they were first assured of the day’s work by the landowner early of that morning. And surely it created already a guarantee that they have something to feed to their families for the coming days. Unlike those who came in late who were not assured until late in the afternoon that they would have money to buy food for their respective families.

When we account the blessings that God gives us let us not solely focus on money or any material wealth because we might complain also. Let us rather have a holistic appreciation of God’s blessings for us. Such as peace and good health in our respective family, faithfulness and tranquillity in our married life . Plus many more blessings that cannot be compensated by any amount of money. 

Are we not often times like the lady who envied her neighbors? Are we not often times like the workers in the vineyard who complained because they were so fixated on the wage that they had received? – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Reflection for Tuesday August 16, Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time; Matthew 19:23-30

Gospel: Matthew 19:23-30
Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For men this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Then Peter said to him in reply, “We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”
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What have you given up for your love of Jesus? Have you given up your vices and your sinfulness?

In the gospel Peter said to Jesus, “We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?” Perhaps this is also your question before Jesus, What will there be for me your follower? Ah, Jesus would probably say, there would be peace in your life, there would be less human created stress and so forth.

But judging from the life of Jesus and of those who faithfully followed Him its hardships, sacrifices, poverty and even martyrdom. Now that you have an idea, would you still follow? You should still follow Jesus even if people will persecute you for following Him, even if there would be hardships and sacrifices. For this is the true measure of your discipleship.

Remember that before gold becomes a magnificent piece of jewelry it passes through severe testing by fire. And before a diamond is made it goes through several hard processes that involves crushing, cutting and refining.

So is your life with Jesus, there would be humps and bumps here and there. But nothing to worry about these humps and bumps for its just part of the testing of your faith and certainly part of your purification.

Will you still faithfully  follow Jesus from now on notwithstanding the humps and bumps in your life? – Marino J. Dasmarinas