Quotations:

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

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

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

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

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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Reflection for Sunday January 1, Solemnity of Mary the Holy Mother of God; Luke 2:16-21

Luke 2:16-21
The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.

When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
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Reflection:
A Blessed New Year to everyone!

What are your plans and expectations as you are ushered into this year? Whatever it is let us not forget that there’s a God who is in-charge of it all. Yes, we have to create our own plans but the final approval will come from God. It’s not our aspirations that will be followed we’re simply planners and the approval for our plans for this year will come from God.

When Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus were told by the shepherds on what was said to them by the angel. The Blessed Mother kept it in her heart, she reflected on it, Perhaps the Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph had their own plans for their family. Perhaps both of them were wandering why it was happening to them why all these adversities?

 But they both listened to the message of God given to them by the shepherds coursed thru an angel. And what was the message? It was the birth of the Savior: That is the Messiah and the Lord.

As we walk the first baby steps of this infant year let us not forget to listen to the voice or messages of God for us. It may be disguised with trials, hardship and with persecution to boot! However, amidst these all let us steadfastly hold-on to our faith in God for He will not fail us!

As the Blessed Mother reflected on what was told to her by the shepherds, we too are encouraged to reflectively discern what is in store for us for this year. And let us not forget to ask the guidance of God and to ask the Blessed Mother to pray for us.

May we all have a Blessed and Prosperous New Year ahead of us and God bless us all! – Marino J. Dasmarinas       

Reflection for Saturday December 31, Seventh day within the octave of the Nativity of the Lord; John 1:1-18

Gospel: John 1:1-18
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God. And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only-begotten Son, full of grace and truth.

John testified to him and cried out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’” From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only-begotten Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.
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Reflection:
Jesus is the word that became flesh that dwell amongst us and He became one with us. This is the mystery of the Incarnation: Jesus the word became like us with flesh and blood. 

This word that became flesh and blood shares with our pains and sufferings; He cures us from our sickness. He lightens our burdens because He walks with us and helps us carry our loads no matter how heavy.

But in spite of His incarnation there are still many who don’t know him. Some of us know Jesus but we refuse to accept Him as our Lord and Savior. We continue to ignore His call for conversion. 

So what happens is we are beset with problems; we don’t have peace of mind and we continue to be enslaved by money and other worldly things. This coming year, let us learn to lean and have hope in Jesus the word that became flesh. Let us allow Him to accompany us this 2017.

The moment you allow Jesus to dwell into your heart your life this 2017 will be full of hope and you will be able to survive the many challenges that you’ll face this 2017. -  Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Reflection for Friday December 30, The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph; Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23

Gospel: Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23
When the magi had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, Out of Egypt I called my son.

When Herod had died, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” He rose, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. 

But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go back there. And because he had been warned in a dream, he departed for the region of Galilee. He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, He shall be called a Nazorean.
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Reflection:
A husband and wife who have been married in the church for more than twenty years. The couple has four grown-up offsprings; one day while the wife was rummaging into his husband’s things she discovered a long kept secret. Her husband has another family, to make a long story short she confronted him about it and he was made to choose by his wife. Them or his other family sadly the philandering husband chose his other family.

A few days ago poor boy around 9 years old approached me and requested something for Christmas. I asked him: where do you live? He said: very far from here. Then I said where are your mother and father? And the boy said: I don’t know where are they; as he walked away with what I’ve given him I looked at him as he faded into the darkness of night.

 I felt compassion for him unbelieving of his parents’ irresponsibility. There are many more depressing family situations that will make us cry and cringe in disappointment for parents who abdicate their family responsibilities.

Today we celebrate the The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph unlike the two depressing stories that I’ve mentioned this family is solid as a rock. They stayed together through severe persecution.

Saint Joseph is the model head of the family, he is obedient to the will of God unlike my first example Saint Joseph had no other family he was obedient to the will of God. He was also faithful to the Blessed Mother he took care of her and the baby Jesus.

Parents are the driver of their family where the parents goes so is their family. If the parents are irresponsible there’s a big chance that children would be also when they have their own families.

 Our own families are our domestic church this is where children are taught about the basics of faith, morals, and manners. What would happen to our children if we don’t even take time to nurture them, if we don’t bring them to church for Holy Mass?

If we don’t teach them about our Roman Catholic faith? If we don’t teach them how to pray the Rosary which is one of the basic family prayer. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for Thursday December 29, Fifth day within the octave of the Nativity of the Lord; Luke 2:22-35

Gospel: Luke 2:22-35
When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

“Lord, now let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled: my own eyes have seen the salvation which you prepared in the sight of every people, a light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
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Reflection:
Parents play a very vital role in the formation of values of their child, where the parents go so does their child.

For example, if the parents seldom brings to church for Holy Mass their children there’s a big chance that when they grow-up they will also rarely go to church for Holy Mass. If parents do not lead worthy lives there’s a big chance as well that children would be also. In other words the fruit would almost be the same with the tree.

In our gospel, Mary and Joseph both devoted to their Jewish upbringing brought the child Jesus to the temple in compliance with their Jewish law. They were leading by example on how it is to be faithful to the laws of God; they were forming the child Jesus to be like them.

It always pays to be good and godly parents because it helps mold the mind of the child to be good and to be godly as he/she matures. On the other hand we can just imagine a child being brought-up by irresponsible parents and parents who do not recognize the vital role of God in their life.

Though it does not assure 100%  that the fruit will always be like the tree. Yet when we always model good and godly behavior to our children we are already conditioning their minds to always do what is good and godly.

Therefore this modelling of good behavior will surely help them make important decisions in their own life as well. – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Reflection for Wednesday December 28, The Holy Innocents, martyrs; Matthew 2:13-18

Gospel: Matthew 2:13-18
When the magi had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, Out of Egypt I called my son.

When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi. Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet:

A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more.
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Reflection:
What fuels extreme anger? It’s arrogance of power, it’s the mindset of ego and superiority. But the trouble with extreme anger is it makes us capable of doing extreme and dangerous acts too.

For example, in a quarrel between husband and wife. When the quarrel reaches its highest point both spouses could say and do things that they would regret after a few days or even hours. But the damage has been done already and there are times that the damage done would be irreversible no matter the regret and remorse.

So what should we do to avoid being sucked into this troublesome situation? Avoid the mindset of superiority and arrogance. Even if we have all the power and authority in this world let us not allow ourselves to be possessed by that power otherwise it will eventually destroy us.

Be humble instead, be considerate and be gentle. Be calm and collected under pressure of anger for this is how you could best live the teachings of Jesus.

When King Herod ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity within the age of two years and below (Matthew 2:16). His order was certainly fueled by his arrogance, ego, abuse of power and the mindset of superiority.

Did Herod suffer for his despicable act? He did certainly, he suffered in silence and he had no peace of mind for the rest of his life. This could happen to us also when we are arrogant and when we allow blind and extreme anger to rule us. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Monday, December 26, 2016

Reflection for Tuesday December 27, Saint John, Apostle and evangelist; John 20:1a, 2-8

Gospel: John 20:1a, 2-8
On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we do not know where they put him.” So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed.
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Reflection:
Who is the disciple that Jesus loved most? Of course it’s John the apostle whose feast we celebrate today. Among many other reasons, John is the beloved apostle because he remained with Jesus until His death on the cross.

 John never left Jesus like what others did; he stood for Jesus and was never afraid to show his fidelity to Him. John showed the mettle of his faith in Jesus by remaining with Him until the end. This is perhaps the reason why he is called the beloved disciple of Jesus.

Many times in our lives we also profess our love for Jesus. But when temptation comes along we often times choose to be tempted rather than remain loyal to Jesus. This is primarily the reason why many of us live complicated and chaotic life.

What if we try to be loyal to Jesus, what would be the effect of it in our life? If we would be loyal to Jesus we would avoid self-inflected problems and we will not fear whatever that may come to us.

Why is this so? The reason behind is we remained with Jesus and we never betrayed Him no matter how attractive the temptations to do so. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for Monday December 26, Saint Stephen, first martyr; Matthew 10:17-22

Gospel: Matthew 10:17-22
Jesus said to his disciples: “Beware of men, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.”
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Reflection:
Do you feel persecuted for following Jesus? You are not alone; as you read this many are choosing to die for Jesus Christ than deny Him.

Contrary with those who promise a life of ease and affluence the moment we follow Jesus. Truth to tell is Jesus did not promise us a life of comfort and ease; He promised His constant presence within us amidst the persecution.

 So let us continue to become Jesus eyes, ears and hands in this world. Let us radiate Jesus’ light and love no matter the difficulties; let us not be afraid Jesus will always be with us.

Jesus Himself said in the gospel: “Whoever endures to the end will be saved (Matthew 10:22).” – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Reflection for Sunday December 25, Christmas, Solemnity of the Lord’s Birth, Holy Mass during the Day; John 1:1-18

John 1:1-18
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God. And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth. John testified to him and cried out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’ From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.
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Reflection:
A pregnant young woman was given a choice by her doctor: Her life or the life of her child. The young woman was not able to immediately answer. The next day she was again asked the same question by her doctor. 

She replied that she would choose her life over her child’s life. The love of God for us is not like the selfish love of the young woman; the love of God is immeasurable. God gave to us His only begotten son so that we may live and have life.

A family to bond together needs immeasurable love and the secret to a long and lasting marriage is immense love between the husband and wife. Without this immeasurable and immense love this family is bound to disintegrate same with the union of husband and wife.

The birth of Jesus the word made flesh which we celebrate today is the result of God’s  immeasurable and immense love for us. What have we done with this gift of love by the birth of Jesus through the Blessed Mother? – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for Sunday December 25, Christmas, Solemnity of the Lord’s Birth, Holy Mass during Midnight; Luke 2:1-14

Gospel: Luke 2:1-14
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
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Reflection:
What is the meaning of Christmas to you?

People nowadays are fond of shortcuts even the solemn celebration of Jesus’ birth has not been spared. For example, many of us today use the greeting Merry X-Mas instead of Merry Christmas. What does this signify? This signifies that many of us are slowly losing sight of the true meaning of Christmas.

Christmas is not about material things. Christmas is about the love of God for us. We must not keep this love in our hearts we must express this love through our words and actions. Thus Christ love is made alive through us.

For example; if it so happen that you saw a stranger without anything in life or you know someone who is poor. What would you do? Will you just stand and be insensitive to his/her needs? We must not be insensitive we must do something to extend Christ love and blessing for us. We must pay forward the real essence and blessing of Christmas which is the birth of our savior.

The birth date of Jesus every year should also be the birth of Christ love in our hearts every year. And we must not keep this selfless love we must plant this love in others hearts too by being a blessings to them. 

So that it will bear much fruit in their hearts that will feed others who are hungry and thirsty for Jesus’ Christ love. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Reflection for Saturday December 24, Fourth Week in Advent; Luke 1:67-79

Gospel: Luke 1:67-79
Zechariah his father, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied, saying: “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; for he has come to his people and set them free. He has raised up for us a mighty Savior, born of the house of his servant David. Through his prophets he promised of old that he would save us from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us. He promised to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant. This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to set us free from the hand of our enemies, free to worship him without fear, holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life. You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way, to give his people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins. In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
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Reflection:
Imagine these words of Zechariah for his son John being addressed to you as well : You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way, to give his people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins. In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace (Luke 1:76-79).”

Have you already prepared the way of the Lord? Have you been already a shining example of John who called for repentance? By virtue of our Baptism we also share in the mission of John, we also take into our hearts what his father Zechariah has said to him.

This season is the best time to share Jesus with others; we do this by giving something from ourselves to our fellowmen especially to those who are in need. Many of us tend to forget that Christmas is not about anyone of us.

Christmas is about Jesus so we have to share Jesus. God shared to us His only begotten so that we could also share Him with others. The true essence of Christmas is sharing not only of gifts but most essentially sharing of Jesus the incarnate God who is already within many of us.

When we share Jesus we therefore prepare His way we become like His precursor John. Have we already prepared the way for Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for Friday December 23, Fourth Week in Advent; Luke 1:57-66

Gospel: Luke 1:57-66
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.”
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Reflection:
“What then will this child be?” asked the neighbors about the newly born John. Perhaps, this is also the million dollar question that every parents ask themselves when their baby is born.

A child’s future to a great extent depends on how their parents rear them. As for John the Baptist, even if his destiny was already carved in stone and even if the guidance of the Lord was with him he was also properly brought-up by his parents: Elizabeth and Zechariah.

In every baptism that a baby goes through the guidance of the Lord is already with him/her. Then after baptism it is now the responsibilities of the parents to properly bring—up their child according to our catholic teachings and values. What happens then if the parents are irresponsible and they failed to properly guide the child? The parents are partly to blame if the child ends-up as a failure in his/her adult life.

Zechariah and Elizabeth were both ideal parents of John. He was taught discipline, simplicity, humility and the like.  John imbibed all of these values given to him by his parents. His parents teachings was John’s guiding light that prepared him to become the precursor for Jesus.

How are you rearing your child or how did your parents raise you? – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Reflection for Thursday December 22, Fourth Week in Advent; Luke 1:46-56

Gospel: Luke 1:46-56
Mary said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. for he has looked upon his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, and has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children forever.” Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months and then returned to her home.
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Reflection:
Do we remember to proclaim the greatness of our Lord and do our spirit rejoice in God our savior?

We may have different answers but the Blessed Mother pronounced these words (Magnificat) in the gospel with the purest of intentions. No double speak or meaning it was pure rejoicing for her for she realized the great honor that God bestowed on her.        

Did the Blessed Mother still rejoice during the passion of her son Jesus? Of course in her humanity she did not but deep inside her she was also ready for it for she knew that her son was destined to become the savior of humanity.

The Blessed Mother in her magnificat teaches us that we must proclaim and rejoice the greatness of Jesus we must thank Him for everything. In our triumphs and in our failures we must thank Him.

 But do we always remember to thank the Lord for our triumphs and failures every day? And why should we also thank the Lord for our failures? For the simple reason that we also learn from our failures and there’s always silver lining behind every failure.

Therefore we must proclaim the greatness of the good Lord in good times and in bad and triumphs and failures. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Reflection for Wednesday December 21, Fourth Week in Advent; Luke 1:39-45

Gospel: Luke 1:39-45
Mary set out in those days and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”
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Reflection:
Are we aware of the fact that during this Christmas season there are people who badly want our presence and who want to touch base with us? These people desire us to be with them even for a short time. They may be our parents, our siblings our children and our relatives whom we have not seen and talked for so long.

In the gospel today the Blessed Mother walked more than 100 km from Nazareth to the residence of her cousin Elizabeth just to see her and to let her know that she is there for her. Mary visited her cousin not minding the long distance that she will be going through Mary simply wanted to express her support to her cousin Elizabeth.

The Blessed Mother was also pregnant around that time. Yet she purposely did not mind her own needs so that she could focus on the needs of her cousin. Mary could have simply brushed aside her cousin Elizabeth but she did not.

How many of us are willing to do that selfless act? How many of us are willing to forget our own needs so that we could give happiness to others?  Let us all be like the Blessed Mother. 

Let us forget ourselves and make a very big difference in the lives of others especially the poor ones who cannot repay our act of altruism. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Reflection for Monday December 19, Fourth Week in Advent; Luke 1:5-25

Gospel: Luke 1:5-25
In the days of Herod, King of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah of the priestly division of Abijah; his wife was from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both were righteous in the eyes of God, observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren and both were advanced in years.

Once when he was serving as priest in his division’s turn before God, according to the practice of the priestly service, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense. Then, when the whole assembly of the people was praying outside at the hour of the incense offering, the angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right of the altar of incense. Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him.

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He will drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb, and he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of fathers toward children and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare a people fit for the Lord.”

Then Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” And the angel said to him in reply, “I am Gabriel, who stand before God. I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news. But now you will be speechless and unable to talk until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time.” Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah and were amazed that he stayed so long in the sanctuary. But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He was gesturing to them but remained mute.

Then, when his days of ministry were completed, he went home. After this time his wife Elizabeth conceived, and she went into seclusion for five months, saying, “So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit to take away my disgrace before others.”
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Reflection:
Are you faithful to the Lord’s command?

The couple Elizabeth and Zechariah were both well beyond their best years as far as having a child is concerned. But God unexpectedly blessed them with a child. Why did God elected to bless them with a child? Perhaps God did so because both were faithful to Him, both were righteous and they both observe blamelessly His commandments and ordinances.

There are things in life that may seem to be impossible already for us to achieve. But we must always remember that nothing is impossible with God.  Everything is possible for Him for so long as we have faith and are faithful to Him. This is evidenced by what happened to the righteous couple of Zechariah and Elizabeth.

What if they were not righteous? What if they did not faithfully observe the commandments of the Lord? Perhaps, the Good Lord wouldn’t have blessed them with a child. But they were faithful that’s why God rewarded them with a blessing of life.

I think that most of the blessing that God gives us is anchored on our faith and faithfulness towards Him. This is perhaps the first requirement of God if we want to receive something from Him. But are we always faithful to God? Do we always follow His commandments?- Marino J. Dasmarinas

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Reflection for Sunday December 18, Fourth Sunday of Advent; Matthew 1:18-24


Gospel: Matthew 1:18-24
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means, "God is with us." When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took his wife into his home.
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Reflection:
Why can’t husbands be faithful to their wives? I can only surmise that it’s the lack of sufficient moral and spiritual groundings. I think it’s also the husband’s intentional forgetfulness of their Marriage vows which states: “To have and to hold, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health till death do us part.”

In contrast to the philandering husbands of today is Joseph the faithful, righteous and obedient husband of Mary. When Joseph found out that Mary was pregnant before they lived together he decided to divorce her quietly so that she would not be exposed to shame, humiliation and severe punishment.

 It was Joseph’s intention to divorce Mary but the angel of the Lord intervened in a dream and said: "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took his wife into his home.

In the Sacrament of Matrimony the husband is also being told by God thru the  Marriage vows, thru the Sacramental blessing of the Priest which officiates through the person of Jesus and thru his wedding ring that he must be faithful to his wife not only for a month, not only for a year but for the rest of his life!
  
In the gospel we see Joseph’s humble submission to the will of God. He obediently followed what God said thru an angel; he therefore brought Mary to his home and took care of her for the rest of his life. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for Saturday December 17, Third Week in Advent; Matthew 1:1-17

Matthew 1:1-17
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham became the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar. Perez became the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab. Amminadab became the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab. Boaz became the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth. Obed became the father of Jesse, Jesse the father of David the king.

David became the father of Solomon, whose mother had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon became the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asaph. Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, Joram the father of Uzziah. Uzziah became the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah. Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amos, Amos the father of Josiah. Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers at the time of the Babylonian exile.

After the Babylonian exile, Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, Zerubbabel the father of Abiud. Abiud became the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, Azor the father of Zadok. Zadok became the father of Achim, Achim the father of Eliud, Eliud the father of Eleazar. Eleazar became the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

Thus the total number of generations from Abraham to David is fourteen generations; from David to the Babylonian exile, fourteen generations; from the Babylonian exile to the Christ, fourteen generations.
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Reflection:
Can you still trace back your own family tree?

The family tree of Jesus is not all righteous some were sinners like us, for example King David committed adultery with a woman named Bathsheba. There were other sinners in His family tree but God chose to imbed Jesus in that lineage.

The incarnate God our Emmanuel wants to dwell in us too it doesn’t matter who we are or how sinful we are. He just wants to be with us so that we could find peace and hope in our lives. Peace and hope which are sorely lacking in our lives today.

As you trace back your own family tree you surely would find imperfections amongst them. But it should not dishearten you for the simple reason that nobody is perfect in this world. Even you are not perfect, notwithstanding your own imperfections always believe that the Good Lord has a plan for your life.   

And that plan is for you to have a personal relationship with Him. God is very excited to have a personal encounter with you! He wants you to become His close confidant. So that you’ll always have someone to run to whenever you’re being enveloped by the trials of this world.

This advent season, allow Jesus to come into your life and strive also to live your life worthy for His coming birth. Don’t think anymore of your sins for everyone of us are sinners think rather of Jesus unconditional love which is always available for you. -  Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Reflection for Friday December 16, Third Week in Advent; John 5:33-36

John 5:33-36
Jesus said to the Jews: “You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth. I do not accept testimony from a human being, but I say this so that you may be saved. John was a burning and shining lamp, and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light. But I have testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.”
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Reflection:
Do you have a personal experience about Jesus? For example an instance in your life wherein Jesus changed you to become a gentler and loving person or any experience that you have about Jesus.

If you have this one of a kind life changing experience with Jesus you have to share it, don’t just keep it to yourself.  This is for the reason that when you share your life experience with Jesus you can change another life courtesy of Jesus through you.

However we have to remember that we have to share Jesus in humility and gentleness. For the simple reason that this is where we could become more effective heralds of our savior. If we share Jesus with bombast we may never be able to bring others near Him because we humans gravitate toward humble and gentle people.

If we are afraid of sharing Jesus through the spoken word let us not be afraid to share Jesus through our actions. Actions of love, humility and gentleness for the simple reason that these acts are the best testament that Jesus is alive and has an active part in our lives. – Marino J. Dasmarinas