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

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Reflection for March 3, Friday after Ash Wednesday: Matthew 9:14-15

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

The question about fasting is most relevant to all of us during this season of Lent. Because it’s here where the church actively reminds us about it.  And the gospel for today is a reiteration of this reminder.

It may seem that Jesus is defending His disciples for not fasting. But in hindsight, they were actually fasting; not the literal fasting per see to appease the discriminating eyes of John's disciples.  The disciples of Jesus were fasting from self-righteousness, from doing wrong, from judging others as good for nothing.

This is the deeper form of fasting that Jesus wants from us all and this should not be done only during the season of Lent. Are you capable from permanently fasting from your bloated ego, from doing wrong and from unjustly judging others?

These are the deeper form of fasting that Jesus appreciates for what good it is if we fast from food when we don’t change our undesirable attitudes? Say for example we fast yet we continue to be arrogant, to be judgmental, to be unforgiving, to be uncaring and so forth. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Reflection for March 2, Thursday after Ash Wednesday: Luke 9:22-25

Gospel: Luke 9:22-25
Jesus said to his disciples: “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.” Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?”
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Reflection:
Are you afraid of suffering?

Suffering is part and parcel of our Christian life; in fact we will not be able to reach the fullness of our Christian life without suffering.  For the reason that it is in our suffering that we intensely feel the presence of God. It is through these periods of sufferings that God becomes more real to us.

Try observing your behavior when you don’t have sufferings God seems distant for we rarely remember Him in our days of prosperity. But notice also that when we are having some difficult moments it seems that God is within our reach. We call on Him we cry and unburden to Him.

In the gospel, Jesus tells His disciples about the suffering that He has to go through. Why? This is for the reason that this was Jesus’ destiny. From the beginning Jesus knew that He would be going through intense suffering. So why did He not exempted Himself from it when He actually could?

Because Jesus is faithful to the mission that was given to Him by God, thus Jesus endured suffering for His love of God.  Therefore, the true measure of our love for God is when we are ready to suffer for Him. When we are ready to sacrifice our everything for Him. -  Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for Wednesday March 1, Ash Wednesday: Fasting and Abstinence; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

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

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

“When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”
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Reflection:
Do you have the habit of showing off the good acts that you do? For example you went to church for Holy Mass or you helped somebody in need. Do you take pictures of these acts of piety and post it in your social media account for others to take notice?

The three core teachings of the gospel this Ash Wednesday is about Almsgiving, Prayer and Fasting. Unlike our many facebook posts (pictures, comments, likes, etc…) wherein we show off so that our friends and many others will know who we are and what we are doing. We are being invited by Jesus to permanently veer away from this selfish and ego tripping mentality.

On the aspect of Almsgiving, Prayer and Fasting, Jesus is inviting us to do these noble acts without letting everyone know about it. Let us do these acts piety privately and ensure that nobody will know about it.

For if we do these hidden from the prying eyes of our friends and the public at large. We would then earn approval from Jesus. This is what Jesus would always want us to do for as long as we live: Do our noble acts hidden from anyone’s eye.

In the same breath, lent is also an invitation for us to reflect about our life, concerning our relationship with Jesus and the many sins that we have committed. For example concerning our sins; would we just let this sins remain or we will do something about it by humbly submitting ourselves to the Sacrament of Confession?

Our many sins pull us further away from God and if we are not careful we may live our life permanently away from the love of God. Do you want a life permanently cut off from the love of God?  Of course not! Nobody wants to live his/her own life away from the love of God.

Therefore, let us take a deeper spiritual reflection about our life this Ash Wednesday in particular and during lent in general. Let us take a closer look at our sinfulness, let us take note of the shortness and uncertainty of life. – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Reflection for Tuesday February 28, Eighth Week in Ordinary Time; Mark 10:28-31

Gospel: Mark 10:28-31
Peter began to say to Jesus, “We have given up everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come. But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first.”
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Reflection:
What are you capable of giving up for Jesus? Could you give up your riches? Could you give up your life of hedonism and worldliness? Perhaps this is quite hard to do if you do this abruptly.

But if you try to slowly detach yourself from your life of worldliness and you begin to trust and love Jesus more than this world. You’ll also see a marked improvement in your life, slowly also there would be less human created worries, stress and problems.

This is for the reason that you’ve decided to embrace Jesus more than this world. Jesus tells us in the gospel that if we give up this world and choose to follow Him. We would receive more than this world could offer.

Try it even for only a short time and see the big improvement that it will create in your life. Slowly cut and cut cleanly your relationship with your friends who have not brought any good into your life. Then begin to develop deeper relationship with your family. 

Slowly detach yourself from your vices and anything that is impure. After doing so develop a real relationship with Jesus: Attend Holy Mass more often, pray more often and start to develop a habit of reading your Bible.

Never be afraid to give-up this world for Jesus for this is the best decision that you could ever make in your life. Marino J. Dasmarinas 

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Reflection for Monday February 27, Eighth Week in Ordinary Time; Mark 10:17-27

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

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, 'What are we to eat?' or 'What are we to drink?' or 'What are we to wear?' All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil."
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Reflection:
Do you cling to your wealth as if your life hangs upon it?

The man who asked Jesus as to what must he do to have eternal life was at the threshold of eternal life. But when Jesus asked him to part ways with his wealth and give it to the poor. His face fell, after which he walked away from Jesus for he couldn’t obey the request of Jesus.

Many of us are like this man, very possessive and in love with wealth that we are not willing to give it away. But what we don’t know is it is when we give away our wealth that we will receive more wealth. Perhaps Jesus was just testing this man if he could still accept more wealth. But the man failed the prosperity test of Jesus.

If we want to attract wealth we must always be willing to give because it’s only in giving that we would receive more blessings. Never in not giving that we would receive more wealth. Let us look around and see who are those who are prosperous they are the people who are generous. Let us therefore pray to have the grace to become more generous so that we could bless others.

What if you continue to cling to your wealth and refuse to become generous?  You therefore shut the door of blessings from God and you distance yourself from His kingdom. But all is not lost yet, you still have the time to turn things around and hear the call of Jesus for you to become generous. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Reflection for Sunday February 26, Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time; Matthew 6:24-34


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

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, 'What are we to eat?' or 'What are we to drink?' or 'What are we to wear?' All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil."
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Reflection:
An intelligent lady was hell-bent in her goal of becoming a rich businesswoman. So she engaged in business and she was very successful with it. However, she also noticed that there was no happiness and fulfillment with what she was doing notwithstanding the amount of money that she was earning. She asked herself, why am I not happy even though I am already very successful materially and financially?    

Material and financial wealth will never make us happy no matter how enormous. In fact the more that we become wealthy the more that there would be disturbance and pressure or even emptiness in our lives.

Material wealth will always come to pass us by. It may stay with us for a certain period of time but eventually it will leave us or we will leave it. There’s no security in material wealth; sad to say a lot of us finds security with it.

So what is the best choice? The wisdom filled choice is always God; to be with God and to walk with God. Thus, we will finally find that elusive contentment and happiness that which material wealth can never give us. – Marino J. Dasmarinas    

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Reflection for Saturday February 25, Seventh Week in Ordinary Time; Mark 10:13-16

Gospel: Mark 10:13-16
People were bringing children to Jesus that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” Then he embraced the children and blessed them, placing his hands on them.
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Reflection:
Have you already taught your children about Jesus?

Jesus rebuked the disciples who prevented the children from going to Him. He said to them: “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Why? This is for the reason that children are still not tainted by  sin and they are innocent and harmless. 

The words of Jesus is timeless, it is always in season. So when He said, let the children come to me it is also for the modern parents today. He tells us today, bring your children to me; teach them about me and introduce them to me before they become creatures of this world.

Many modern parents today don’t care to introduce their children to Jesus. Yet they care to introduce even teach them how to play with modern gadgets. Such as cell phones and tablets which do  no good to their eyesight.

The mistake of many parents nowadays is this; they forget to introduce their children to Jesus. For the reason that they were not brought-up that way thus they perpetuate this mistake. Let us correct this error by teaching and bringing our children to Jesus.  

If you do this you’re assuring them of a safe and bright future ahead of them. Have you educated your children about Jesus? - Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Reflection for Friday February 24, Seventh Week in Ordinary Time; Mark 10:1-12

Gospel: Mark 10:1-12
Jesus came into the district of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds gathered around him and, as was his custom, he again taught them. The Pharisees approached him and asked, “Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?” They were testing him. He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?” They replied, “Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her.” But Jesus told them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
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Reflection:
How is your married life?

Many marriages are successful, it last a lifetime. IF we would ask the couples about the secret of their successful marriage they would normally tell us that God is at the center of their marriage lives. When God is present in the lives of couples the chance of betrayal is nil. There is also the equal presence of Humility, Forgiveness, Patience and Love between husband and wife.

From the very start the plan of God for married couples is to stay forever together. But the sad reality is many couples are separated and separating and many couples are betraying their vows of marriage.

 Why is this happening? This is brought about by our weak faith in God. We have no fear of God anymore that is why we easily betray our sacred vows of marriage. We are not even anymore afraid of the negative consequence of separation to our children.

We may not know this but we are actually hurting ourselves and those we love whenever we betray the sacred vows of marriage. We give ourselves and those we love undeserved stress and problems. We also disturb the innocent minds of our children, try asking a child if he wants his parents to separate he surely would say no!

Whenever we are tempted to betray our vows of marriage carefully think of the many aftershocks that it will create in our lives. And the in the lives of those that we love most especially the children. -  Marino J. Dasmarinas      

Reflection for Thursday February 23, Saint Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr; Mark 9:41-50

Gospel: Mark 9:41-50
Jesus said to his disciples: “Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.

“Everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if salt becomes insipid, with what will you restore its flavor? Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another.”
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Reflection:
What makes us sin? It’s the absence of Jesus in our lives and not taking seriously His teachings. What will make us avoid sin? It’s the presence of Jesus in our lives and it’s in carefully observing His teachings.

In our gospel for today, Jesus gives us the grave punishment of sins. It involves maiming and cutting off of body parts. Of course these are just figures of speech but this conveys a message to all of us that there are many punishments for sin.  

If we will not repent for our sinfulness we have to pay for it, there’s no free rides as far as sin is concerned we have to pay for our sins somewhere along our journey. However, if we repent as soon as possible our punishment will forever be written off.

But come to think of it, why do we sin and why are we not averse to sin? The answer is very simple, we love this world more than we love God thus there’s a void of the presence of God in our hearts.

Yes, we know God and yes we go to church to worship Him. But it ends there, we leave Jesus in our church. We don’t bring Him home, we don’t   allow Jesus to have a permanent home in our hearts and we don’t live His teachings.

Would you allow Jesus to carve a home in your heart? – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Reflection for Tuesday February 21, Seventh Week in Ordinary Time; Mark 9:30-37

Gospel: Mark 9:30-37
Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee, but he did not wish anyone to know about it. He was teaching his disciples and telling them, "The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise." But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him.

They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, he began to ask them, "What were you arguing about on the way?" But they remained silent. They had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest. Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, "If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all." Taking a child, he placed it in the their midst, and putting his arms around it, he said to them, "Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.
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Reflection:
Why do you follow Jesus?

As Jesus and the disciples were walking He told them: “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.” But they did not pay much attention to what Jesus told them because they were also busy conversing as to who amongst them is the greatest.

We assume that Jesus and the disciples were just through doing their mission of preaching the kingdom of God. They performed miracles such as: Healing the sick, expelling demons and a lot more. Because of these miraculous acts that they have done the disciple’s high regard for themselves got the better of them. They were already angling to covet the title as the greatest among the disciples.

Are we not like the disciples? Do we not have hidden motives when we do acts of kindness? Do we not desire to be praised for what we do?  Do we not feel proud when we do good things? Was it possible that the disciples were feeding their own egos that is why they were already discussing who was the greatest amongst them?

In the midst of their bloated egos, Jesus gave them a valuable lesson about humility and on how it is to become humble servants of the Lord and the people. Thus He told them: “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” In other words if you want to be the leader then be a humble servant leader who is always ready to serve not minding the accolades and honors. Inside the heart of a true leader is the desire to humbly serve, he is always there silently walking his talk, practicing what he preaches. This is what Jesus wanted the disciples to imbibe: For them to become humble servants.

This is also what Jesus wants for us but some of us are the opposite of the servant leader that Jesus wants the disciples to become. Instead of putting the title leader into our hearts we put it instead into our heads. That is why we become fake and arrogant leaders who only want to give orders. Who only want to abuse and take advantage of our innocent followers, we therefore only want to serve our own personal interest. The servant leadership that Jesus wants us to have is permanently eased out from our system because what takes over is our greed for power and our arrogance.

What must we do so that we can rightfully claim that we truly follow the greatest servant leader who ever walked this earth?  We must be humble at all times, we must continuously decrease while Jesus continuously increase through our acts of humility.

The mistake of many of us who follow Jesus is we often times act without humility. We feel that we are above all because we have this distorted sense that we are close to Jesus when in fact we are not. Our closeness or intimacy with Jesus is not defined by our religious titles, ranks and position neither it is defined by the frequency of our worship for Him.

Our closeness to Jesus is determined only by how we live HIS virtue of humility. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Reflection for Monday February 20, Seventh Week in Ordinary Time; Mark 9:14-29

Gospel: Mark 9:14-29
As Jesus came down from the mountain with Peter, James, John and approached the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and scribes arguing with them. Immediately on seeing him, the whole crowd was utterly amazed. They ran up to him and greeted him. He asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” Someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I have brought to you my son possessed by a mute spirit. Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they were unable to do so.” He said to them in reply, “O faithless generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you? Bring him to me.” They brought the boy to him. And when he saw him, the spirit immediately threw the boy into convulsions. As he fell to the ground, he began to roll around and foam at the mouth. Then he questioned his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” He replied, “Since childhood. It has often thrown him into fire and into water to kill him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “‘If you can!’ Everything is possible to one who has faith.” Then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief!” Jesus, on seeing a crowd rapidly gathering, rebuked the unclean spirit and said to it, “Mute and deaf spirit, I command you: come out of him and never enter him again!” Shouting and throwing the boy into convulsions, it came out. He became like a corpse, which caused many to say, “He is dead!” But Jesus took him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up. When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private, “Why could we not drive the spirit out?” He said to them, “This kind can only come out through prayer.”
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Reflection:
What is the root cause of unhealthy prayer life? It’s lack of faith!  

The disciples asked Jesus: “Why could we not drive the spirit out?” Jesus told them: “This kind can only come out through prayer.” Just like some of us the disciples obviously do not have a very healthy prayer life that’s why they were not able to drive out the unclean spirit that possessed the boy.

When there’s an unhealthy prayer life there is also a fading faith. Perhaps the disciples were already getting used of seeing Jesus doing miracles here and there every day.  

On the other hand the father has a very strong faith. Even if the disciples failed to help him he persisted and asked Jesus to heal his son and he was not disappointed. Is it then safe to say that the father of the boy has a healthy prayer life? Surely the father has a healthy prayer life!

The gospel invites us to examine the health of our prayer life maybe it’s unwell or fading like the disciples. How about our faith? If our faith is fading we have to nurture it by our pious presence at Holy Mass and by reading about the life of Jesus in the scriptures. -  Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for Sunday February 19, Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time; Matthew 5:38-48


Gospel: Matthew 5:38-48
Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand over your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go for two miles. Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

“You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
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Reflection:
Are you capable of not keeping hatred in your heart? For example, when somebody hurts you, are you capable of not taking revenge? When someone strikes you on the right cheek could you turn the other side as well? Are you capable of not refusing somebody who wants to borrow from you? Can you love your enemies and can you still pray for those who’ve been persecuting and hurting you?

Jesus in the gospel gives us teachings that are very difficult for many of us to follow. We may wonder, why these teachings are very hard for us to follow? This is so for the reason that we are humans. We have our limitations we respond based on our limited human instinct.

We normally compartmentalize our fellowmen. For example we label them as those we hate and those we do not hate. Those we love and those we do not love, those who are good to us and those who are not good to us. Therefore, we respond to them according to what they give us.

However, the Lord invites us today to discard our mindset of compartmentalization and retaliation. He invites us to treat everyone equally regardless if this and that person is good or not good to us. He invites us to throw away our mindset of revenge. And finally He invites us all to be humble, to be loving and forgiving. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Reflection for Saturday February 18, Sixth Week in Ordinary Time; Mark 9:2-13

Gospel: Mark 9:2-13
Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, "Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; then from the cloud came a voice, "This is my beloved Son. Listen to him." Suddenly, looking around, the disciples no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them.

As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant. Then they asked him, "Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?" He told them, "Elijah will indeed come first and restore all things, yet how is it written regarding the Son of Man that he must suffer greatly and be treated with contempt? But I tell you that Elijah has come and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him."
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Reflection:
Do you believe in the afterlife?

One of the reasons why Jesus was transfigured is for us to see that heaven and the afterlife is existing and real. This is what the apostles: Peter, James and John witnessed when they were brought along to the mountain of tabor by Jesus.  

There’s life after our journey in this world is over, that’s why we must not leave Jesus for anything of this world. We must continue on doing what is good and righteous. We must not stray off the track of righteousness for this is the way for us to be with Jesus in heaven.

There is heaven, there is everlasting life and this is proven by the transfiguration of Jesus. So what should we do for us to go there? We must faithfully follow Jesus in His words and deeds no matter how difficult.

The reward for our faithfulness to Jesus is eternal life, don’t we all want this eternal life? Of course we do, thus we have to become faithful followers. Thus, we have to leave permanently behind our sinfulness.  – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for Friday February 17, Sixth Week in Ordinary Time; Mark 8:34—9:1

Gospel: Mark 8:34-9:1
Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the Gospel will save it.

What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? What could one give in exchange for his life? Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

He also said to them, “Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the Kingdom of God has come in power.”
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Reflection:
There’s a story of a middle aged man who was newly retired from politics. When he was still active he amassed a lot of dubious wealth. Having a feeling of financial security already, he said to himself now I can enjoy all of my money.

 However, in spite of his wealth he didn’t have peace of mind he was always being hounded by the questionable deals that he made while he was still in power. Then he had a heart attack and he died immediately without enjoying his stolen wealth.

When he was about to enter the pearly gates, Saint Peter refused him entry and told him that he’s not welcome because of the things that he did when he was still alive.

What will it profit us if we gain the riches of this world if we will not be able to gain entry in heaven? What will it profit us if we will continue to steal dubious money if we will not have peace of mind?

Unfortunately this is the mentality of a lot of us; we are so shortsighted that we focus on the here and now even if it’s sinful. We continuously neglect to do good, we purposely shut God out of our system to enjoy worldly life.

All of us are temporary travellers passing through this world. In God’s time we will leave this world. Where would we be by then?  Would we be in heaven with Jesus or in the other side? – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for Thursday February 16, Sixth Week in Ordinary Time; Mark 8:27-33

Gospel: Mark 8:27-33
Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” They said in reply, “John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said to him in reply, “You are the Christ.” Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.

He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days. He spoke this openly. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”
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Reflection:
What does Christ mean?  

Christ means the chosen one or the savior and Peter got it right when he replied to Jesus: “You are the Christ (Mark 8:29).” Unlike the other disciples Peter knew the real identity of Jesus. But up to that point in the gospel his knowledge of the true identity if Jesus was still limited because when Jesus said that He will suffer greatly he didn’t believe.

Peter only knew of the powerful Christ not the Christ who would suffer and eventually die on the cross. Isn’t this our mindset as well? We know Jesus Christ as the powerful one who would save us from our troubles. Yet there is an important side of Jesus that we also have to know and that is the Christ who suffered and died on the cross at calvary.

It is said that: “To follow Christ is always right; but it is never easy.” Jesus was actually foreshadowing the path that Peter has to go thru when He said that He must suffer greatly and be rejected.

This is also Jesus’ own foreshadowing for us: We have to go though suffering as well for the sake of the teachings of Jesus. This may be hard to swallow for many but that this is really how it is: Suffering is part and parcel of our faithful discipleship!

If we really are true and faithful followers of Jesus Christ we must expect sufferings and rejections. We will suffer when we stand for what is right, we will be rejected when we push what is moral. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Reflection for Wednesday February 15, Sixth Week in Ordinary Time; Mark 8:22-26

Gospel: Mark 8:22-26
When Jesus and his disciples arrived at Bethsaida, people brought to him a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on the man and asked, “Do you see anything?”Looking up the man replied, “I see people looking like trees and walking.” Then he laid hands on the man’s eyes a second time and he saw clearly; his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly. Then he sent him home and said, “Do not even go into the village.”
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Reflection:
Jesus asked the blind man: “Do you see anything?” Let us try to modify this question of Jesus in such a way that it is addressed to us who are often times blinded by the things of this world. It will be like this: Amidst the trappings of this world do you see anything worthy about me?

I certainly don’t know what would be our individual answers to this question but one thing is sure Jesus wants to penetrate our hearts. He wants to reside there so that we will not be blinded by the temporary things of this world.

If you will not have that instant feeling of Jesus in your heart just be patient, engage in prayer as often as you can. Pray for enlightenment and for discernment so that the hazy image of Jesus could become clearer in your mind.  Until it becomes crystal clear then allow Jesus to fully engulf your whole being.

The moment you surrender your life to Jesus you will lose your appetite for the things of this world. You'll simply be satisfied with simple things for your eyes are not anymore blinded by the temporal things of this world. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for Tuesday February 14, Saints Cyril, Monk, and Methodius, Bishop; Mark 8:14-21

Gospel: Mark 8:14-21
The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. Jesus enjoined them, “Watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod. They concluded among themselves that it was because they had no bread. When he became aware of this he said to them, “Why do you conclude that it is because you have no bread? Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear? And do you not remember, when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up? They answered him, “Twelve.” “When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?” They answered him, “Seven.” He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”
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Reflection:
Do you allow the enticement of this world to take off your focus on Jesus? For example the Sunday obligation to celebrate Holy Mass. Many of us today sometimes do not pay much attention to the highest form of worship inside the church. We sacrifice it for our man worldly undertaking that only pull us away from Jesus. Do you allow this to happen to you?

In the gospel Jesus admonished his disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod. He used the leaven as a metaphor that they should not be convinced by the inducement of the Pharisees and Herod to leave him for them.

Both the Pharisees and Herod represents power, the power of religion and government which for all intents and purposes are worldly and temporary. Jesus was actually telling His disciples not to leave Him for what they represent. In effect Jesus was telling them not to favor the world over their love for God.

The secular world has many inducements such as: power, money, greed, popularity, lust, ego, self-centeredness etc… We should be careful of these worldly appendages, we should not let ourselves be deceived by these temporal inducement.

Let us rather continue be steadfast with our love, fellowship and fidelity with Jesus through our words and actions. For what would we gain if we have all the things that this world can if we don’t have God? – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Reflection for Monday February 13, Sixth Week in Ordinary Time; Mark 8:11-13

Gospel: Mark 8:11-13
The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with Jesus, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” Then he left them, got into the boat again, and went off to the other shore.
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Reflection:
Do you need to see a sign to believe?

A woman wanted to see a sign from her beloved so that she could finally say yes to him. So she said if this handsome man would bring me flowers and chocolates that would be the sign that he loves me. Lo and behold the man came knocking at their gate with flowers and chocolates. To make a long story short she finally said yes to him but after a few months they broke up.  

Unlike the love of a suitor which is often times bounded by time, Jesus love for us is always there it’s not bounded by time. What are the signs of God’s love?  The food on the table, the new life in the morning and countless more! These are obvious signs of Jesus infinite love for us.

But often times these are still not enough for us, we still seek more signs to strengthen our faith in Him. When we seek additional signs from Jesus it also shows how feeble our faith in Him. Otherwise if we have full faith and confidence we would not anymore seek or ask for whatever sign/s. – Marino J. Dasmarinas