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, March 28, 2017

Reflection for Saturday April 1, Fourth Week of Lent: John 7:40-53

Gospel: John 7:40-53
Some in the crowd who heard these words of Jesus said, “This is truly the Prophet. Others said, “This is the Christ. But others said, “The Christ will not come from Galilee, will he? Does not Scripture say that the Christ will be of David’s family and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived? So a division occurred in the crowd because of him. Some of them even wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.

So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why did you not bring him? The guards answered, “Never before has anyone spoken like this man. So the Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed. Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them “Does our law condemn a man before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing? They answered and said to him “You are not from Galilee also, are you? Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”

Then each went to his own house.
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What would happen to you if you try to read the words of Jesus in the bible with reverence and  reflection? It will change you and create a positive impact in your life. There would be renewal in your life and you will live a life that has new meaning and purpose.

The guards who were supposed to arrest Jesus were suddenly changed by the very words of Jesus. Thus they were not able to carry out their mission they instead became secret followers of Jesus. This is the great mystery of the words of Jesus the moment you begin to read it.

Just try reading His words in the bible with piety and notice how it will sink to you and how it will soon change and transform you. There’s great power in the words of Jesus if only we would try to read and reflect upon it.

But do we still have time to read His words in the bible? We should create time for this noble endeavor for this is our ticket to have a personal encounter with Him. This is our ticket to know Jesus more deeply and intimately.

Never mind if you will read the words of Jesus for the very first time in a very long time. For the Holy Spirit will always be there to open your mind and walk you through it. After which you will notice a positive transformation in your life. - Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for Friday March 31, Fourth Week of Lent: John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

Gospel: John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30
Jesus moved about within Galilee; he did not wish to travel in Judea, because the Jews were trying to kill him. But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near. But when his brothers had gone up to the feast, he himself also went up, not openly but as it were in secret.

Some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem said, “Is he not the one they are trying to kill? And look, he is speaking openly and they say nothing to him. Could the authorities have realized that he is the Christ? But we know where he is from. When the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from.” So Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said, “You know me and also know where I am from. Yet I did not come on my own, but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me. So they tried to arrest him, but no one laid a hand upon him, because his hour had not yet come.
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Does Jesus fear death? Yes, He feared death, yet Jesus did not allow His fear of death to paralyze His movement and desire to do His mission for God. He continued with His mission and became more creative in doing it until He reached His appointed time of arrest, persecution and death on the cross.

We see this in the gospel reading for today, Jesus did not want to travel to Judea for the reason that the Jews were planning to kill Him. But it was the feast of tabernacles, a sacred Jewish feast that He should observe. So Jesus went albeit secretly and there He preached with passion as if there was no threat on His life.   

Do you also have fear/s in your life? Whatever your fears are don’t let it paralyze you. You have to face it so that you could conquer or defeat it. If Jesus let His fear of death overcome Him  there would have been no triumphant death on the cross and there would have been no salvation for all of us.

When we face our fears we live our dreams and we are able to achieve great things in life. Fear is an instrument of the devil to prevent us from achieving great things for us and for God. What are your fears? Ask Jesus to help you defeat it for He will surely help you. – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Reflection for Thursday March 30, Fourth Week of Lent: John 5:31-47

Gospel: John5:31-47
Jesus said to the Jews: “If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true. But there is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true. You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth. I do not accept human testimony, but I say this so that you may be saved. He 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. Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf. But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form, and you do not have his word remaining in you, because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures, because you think you have eternal life through them; even they testify on my behalf. But you do not want to come to me to have life.

“I do not accept human praise; moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you. I came in the name of my Father, but you do not accept me; yet if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God? Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father: the one who will accuse you is Moses, in whom you have placed your hope. For if you had believed Moses, you would have believed me, because he wrote about me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”
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How are you as a witness for Jesus? Do you live and share His teachings? A good witness for Jesus is someone who walks with Him all through the seasons of his/her life. What would you get for witnessing for Jesus?

There would be instances that you would be ridiculed. It doesn’t matter anyway because everything is worth it for Jesus. You may not immediately see the fruits of your witnessing for Jesus but in His own perfect time you shall harvest those fruits.

In our gospel Jesus mentions John the Baptist who prepared the way for Him. John told those who were acclaiming him to be the messiah that he was not. He told them that something greater is to come after him and it was none other than Jesus.

John was an effective witness for Jesus because he did not grab the credit that was only due for Jesus. He was content to fade away so that Jesus would be highlighted more. With John’s witness for Jesus we are educated about lessons on humility. 

That humility is one of the best if not the best virtue that we could harness so that we can effectively bring and lead others to Jesus. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for Wednesday March 29, Fourth Week of Lent: John 5:17-30

Gospel: John 5:17-30
Jesus answered the Jews: “My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.” For this reason they tried all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath but he also called God his own father, making himself equal to God.

Jesus answered and said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for what he does, the Son will do also. For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything that he himself does, and he will show him greater works than these, so that you may be amazed. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life, so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes. Nor does the Father judge anyone, but he has given all judgment to the Son, so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and will not come to condemnation, but has passed from death to life. Amen, amen, I say to you, the hour is coming and is now here when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in himself, so also he gave to the Son the possession of life in himself. And he gave him power to exercise judgment because he is the Son of Man. Do not be amazed at this, because the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and will come out those who have done good deeds to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked deeds to the resurrection of condemnation.

“I cannot do anything on my own;I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just, because I do not seek my own will but the will of the one who sent me.”
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Do you believe in the oneness of Jesus with God the Father? If you do, count yourself as blessed for others do not believe. After believing in the oneness of Jesus and God the Father, what must you do next? You must obey His teachings and help Jesus spread the good news of His salvation for this is His will for you.

As we journey in this world there would be instances that we would veer away from Jesus and disobey His commands. We would embrace the teachings of this world, we would embrace sin and in the process we slowly but surely are creating distance between us and Jesus.

But all is not lost yet no matter how despicable the sins that we have committed. The infinite love of Jesus is always there for us, it’s there for us to take and to ask for. Therefore, let us be aware of this infinite love and mercy of Jesus while we are still alive.

Let us go to Him and let us turn our backs from sin. In the latter part of the gospel Jesus mentions about judgment that would befall to those who have done evil. Let us not wait for that judgment to come to us by walking away from the curse of sin. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Reflection for Tuesday March 28, Fourth Week of Lent: John 5:1-16

Gospel: John 5:1-16
There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes. In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be well?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.” Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.

Now that day was a sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who was cured, “It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.” He answered them, “The man who made me well told me, ‘Take up your mat and walk.’“ They asked him, “Who is the man who told you, ‘Take it up and walk’?” The man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there. After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him, “Look, you are well; do not sin any more, so that nothing worse may happen to you.” The man went and told the Jews that Jesus was the one who had made him well. Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus because he did this on a sabbath.
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Imagine that Jesus is in front of you and He tells you this question:  “Do you want to be well?” How would you reply? Of course you will say, Yes I want to be well! After which Jesus will tell you, then go humble yourself before me in the Sacrament of Confession. Then you tell Jesus some other time Jesus I’m busy right now and with the passing of days you eventually forgot about the command of Jesus to go to the Sacrament of Confession.

Many of us want to get closer to Jesus and we want to be healed by Jesus. Yet we don’t bother to humbly submit ourselves to the healing Sacrament of Confession. In this sacrament we are healed from our spiritual sickness and we may not know it that through His infinite grace we are also healed from our many physical sickness.

When we humble ourselves through this sacrament we allow Jesus to wash away all our sins no matter how severe. We entrust ourselves to the healing mercy of Jesus. Saint John Paul II once said:  "Confession is an act of honesty and courage - an act of entrusting ourselves beyond sin, to the mercy of a loving and forgiving God." 

The disabled man in our gospel for today who had been sick for thirty eight long years was instantly healed by Jesus because he obeyed His command. The disabled man did not care if it was a Sabbath day, a day of rest for them. What was important for him was to obey the command of Jesus.

Often times we also create our own Sabbath day and it’s none other than our own preoccupations. We are so busy with so many passing and temporal activities that we don’t anymore have time to submit ourselves to this healing Sacrament.  

Would you submit yourself to the Sacrament of Confession this Lent? – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for Monday March 27, Fourth Week of Lent: John 4:43-54

Gospel: John 4:43-54
At that time Jesus left [Samaria] for Galilee. For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his native place. When he came into Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, since they had seen all he had done in Jerusalem at the feast; for they themselves had gone to the feast.

Then he returned to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. Now there was a royal official whose son was ill in Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, who was near death. Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” The royal official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus said to him, “You may go; your son will live.” The man believed what Jesus said to him and left. While the man was on his way back, his slaves met him and told him that his boy would live. He asked them when he began to recover. They told him, “The fever left him yesterday, about one in the afternoon.” The father realized that just at that time Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live,” and he and his whole household came to believe. Now this was the second sign Jesus did when he came to Galilee from Judea.
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A middle aged woman who was praying for a boyfriend she however did not get what she wanted. So she did not pray anymore and permanently distanced herself from God. For the simple reason that she did not get what she was praying for.  

For many of us miracles are very important anchor of our faith in Jesus. For example, the royal official’s son in our gospel who was cured by Jesus; he and his household believed immediately because his son was healed.

What if Jesus tested their faith? Would they still believe even if there was no occurrence of healing? Perhaps they will not, and then the father would have searched for someone else who could heal his son.

Our discipleship in Jesus or our faith in Jesus must not only be anchored on miracles alone. It must be based on our deep friendship with Him. Regardless if we’ve experienced miracles or not, immaterial if we gained material blessings or not we must continue to believe, follow and have faith in Him.

We have in Jesus a friend who will always be honest to us. There will be times that he will say no to us. Let us not be disheartened with these rejections from Him for He always knows what’s best for us. Let us remember that it’s not us who knows what is best for us it’s always Jesus. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Reflection for March 26, Fourth Sunday of Lent; John 9:1-41

Gospel: John 9:1-41
As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him. We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world." When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes, and said to him, "Go wash in the Pool of Siloam" —which means Sent—.So he went and washed, and came back able to see.

His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said, "Isn't this the one who used to sit and beg?" Some said, "It is, " but others said, "No, he just looks like him." He said, "I am." So they said to him, "How were your eyes opened?" He replied, "The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and told me, 'Go to Siloam and wash.' So I went there and washed and was able to see." And they said to him, "Where is he?" He said, "I don't know."

They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees. Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath. So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see. He said to them, "He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see." So some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, because he does not keep the sabbath." But others said, "How can a sinful man do such signs?" And there was a division among them. So they said to the blind man again, "What do you have to say about him, since he opened your eyes?" He said, "He is a prophet."

Now the Jews did not believe that he had been blind and gained his sight until they summoned the parents of the one who had gained his sight. They asked them, "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How does he now see?" His parents answered and said, "We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. We do not know how he sees now, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him, he is of age; he can speak for himself." His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone acknowledged him as the Christ, he would be expelled from the synagogue. For this reason his parents said,"He is of age; question him."

So a second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, "Give God the praise! We know that this man is a sinner." He replied, "If he is a sinner, I do not know. One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see." So they said to him, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?" He answered them, "I told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?" They ridiculed him and said, "You are that man's disciple; we are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but we do not know where this one is from." The man answered and said to them, "This is what is so amazing, that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if one is devout and does his will, he listens to him. It is unheard of that anyone ever opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, he would not be able to do anything." They answered and said to him, "You were born totally in sin, and are you trying to teach us?" Then they threw him out.

When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, he found him and said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" He answered and said, "Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?" Jesus said to him, "You have seen him, the one speaking with you is he." He said, "I do believe, Lord," and he worshiped him. Then Jesus said, "I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind."

Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and said to him, "Surely we are not also blind, are we?" Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, 'We see,' so your sin remains.

Reflection for March 26, Fourth Sunday of Lent; John 9:1-41
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Imagine yourself being blind, you see nothing except darkness then suddenly you are able to see. How would you feel about it? Of course you would feel indescribable joy because you’re now able to appreciate the beauty of your surroundings.

This was how the blind man must have felt when his blindness was cured by Jesus. He felt an overwhelming joy that he never felt before in his entire life. Aside from the physical blindness the man was also healed from his spiritual blindness.

But why did Jesus heal the blind man in the first place? This is for the reason that Jesus found faith and humility in this blind man. Jesus would have not healed him if he did not have faith and humility.

 Jesus saw something that is not visible through the naked eye. Jesus saw that in the hearts of heart of this blind man lies the two golden virtues which are faith and humility. This is what is oftentimes lacking within us that is why we don’t receive what we pray for.

Does this mean that this blind man had been praying for healing long before Jesus saw him? Yes! He had been praying so that he would be cured of his blindness, praying with faith and praying with humility.

Do you have faith in the Lord Jesus? Faith that is very much willing to abandon yourself upon the mercy and goodness of the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you have humility? Humility to follow without question what the Lord tells you?

Let us pray for healing regarding our lack of faith and let us pray for healing regarding our lack of humility. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Monday, March 20, 2017

Reflection for Saturday March 25, the Annunciation of the Lord: Luke 1:26-38

Gospel: Luke 1:26-38
The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you. But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever and of his Kingdom there will be no end. But Mary said to the angel “How can this be since I have no relations with a man? And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.  And behold, Elizabeth, your relative has also conceived a son in her old age and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren for nothing will be impossible for God. Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word. Then the angel departed from her.
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What are you going to do if you receive a shocking news? Perhaps the first that would come to your mind is to pray and ask for guidance and strength from the Lord.

When Mary received the annunciation from angel Gabriel that she would be pregnant with the baby Jesus. She might have been in shock for a moment, then right after she perhaps prayed to the good Lord for guidance and strength. After which she was ok and with faith she accepted the will of the Lord for her.

The annunciation of the birth of the Lord Jesus conveys to us that nothing is impossible for God. That God can do miracles as He did to Mary. It convey to us that our God is a God of possibilities and miracles. Our God can make things happen for us for as long as we have faith and for as long as we have unwavering belief in Him.

If you somehow feel weariness with your journey with the Lord for the reason that nothing significant is happening to you. Do not lose heart, continue to journey with Him and trustingly hold-on to Him. For He will not forsake those who continue to trust Him. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for Friday March 24, Third Week of Lent: Mark 12:28-34

Gospel: Mark 12:28-34
One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, "Which is the first of all the commandments?" Jesus replied, "The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these." The scribe said to him, "Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, He is One and there is no other than he. And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him, "You are not far from the Kingdom of God." And no one dared to ask him any more questions.
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Long time ago in a certain neighborhood there a this family who would always go to church to worship God. They never miss to attend Sunday Mass and they regularly give to their church. Thus they were greatly admired by their church community.

But upon going home they belittle and berate their maids when they commit unintentional mistakes. They also look down on their poor neighbours because they are too rich and educated.

What is the best expression of our love for God? It’s to love our fellowmen no matter who they are, no matter if they’ve hurt us or not and no matter if they've done good to us or not. This is the best expression of our love for God: To love our fellowmen without any discrimination.

How can the love of God be with us or how can we say that we love God if we look down on the poor and downtrodden?  If we only love those who are lovable to our eyes?    The best testament of our love for God is when we are ready to love and forgive even those who are not good to us. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Reflection for Thursday March 23, Third Week of Lent: Luke 11:14-23

Gospel: Luke 11:14-23
Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute, and when the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke and the crowds were amazed. Some of them said, “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons. Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven. But he knew their thoughts and said to them “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house. And if Satan is divided against himself how will his kingdom stand? For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons. If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own people drive them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man fully armed guards his palace, his possessions are safe. But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him, he takes away the armor on which he relied and distributes the spoils. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
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Do you believe in Jesus as your Lord and savior? In our gospel for today, after casting out the demon from a man Jesus was accused to be one with the demons. They obviously did not believe in Jesus as their Lord and savior. They also can’t believe that Jesus is capable of doing this miracle with good intentions in His heart. Otherwise they would have not accused Him as one with the demons.

Who is one with the demons? Is it Jesus or the ones who refuse to believe in Him? There are only to options that we have in this world to believe in Jesus or not to believe in Jesus. To believe means that we should walk the path of Jesus for we can’t say that we believe yet we don’t walk the path of Jesus. Those who don’t believe are those who are vulnerable to the company and possession of the devil.

Many of the people of today are like those in the time of Jesus who did not believe in Him. For what reasons? Perhaps they are so obsessed with their own selves. That they regard themselves as somebody who know better than Jesus that’s why they don’t believe.

But the consequence of not believing in Jesus is enormous. First and foremost is they invite the devil to possess them. And once they are already possessed by the devil they now are capable of doing evil without any guilt of conscience.

This is the reason why there are mothers who abort their unborn child without any guilt of conscience. They are capable of doing this despicable act because they are already possessed by the devil of convenience.    

But there’s still hope for as long as there are people like you who believe in Jesus. People like you who will stand for the teachings and values of Jesus and people like you who will value the gift of life more than the evil of abortion and wicked convenience. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

1Reflection for Wednesday March 22, Third Week of Lent: Matthew 5:17-19

Gospel: Matthew 5:17-19
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”
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What is life without Jesus? It’s barren, chaotic and without peace. What is life without following the laws of God? It’s the same as well.  Jesus comes into our lives to make it meaningful and productive. Not meaningful and productive in the eyes of this world but meaningful and productive in His eyes.

When we break the laws of God we also distance ourselves from the love of Jesus. For example if a politician shows in his public image that he is a follower of Jesus. He will not break the law by stealing money from the coffers of the government.

 He will not break the law of God by siding with those who are espousing death penalty. Otherwise he is only using Jesus to serve his own hidden agenda. Same goes for a spouse who professes to follow Jesus. He/she should not break the law by betraying the marriage covenant.

There’s always a reward that awaits those who follow the laws of God. And there’s always a reward that awaits those who follow Jesus and His commandments.  – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for Tuesday March 21, Third Week of Lent: Matthew 18:21-35

Gospel: Matthew 18:21-35
Peter approached Jesus and asked him,“Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times? Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount. Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt. At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full. Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan. When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, ‘Pay back what you owe. Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back. But he refused. Instead, he had him put in prison until he paid back the debt. Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair. His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant as I had pity on you? Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.”
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Are you forgiving?

In our gospel there is this servant who asked to be forgiven for the huge amount that he owed from his lord, so he was forgiven. Yet when he met the person who owed him a much lesser amount he demanded for the debt to be paid back to him.

Perhaps many of us are like this servant who asked for forgiveness from his Lord and Master. We ask for forgiveness from Jesus from all of our sins, yes we submit ourselves to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. But do we truly live this forgiveness that we have received from Jesus? Do we pay forward this forgiveness that we have received from Jesus?

When we forgive we free ourselves from the imprisonment of anger and hatred. Just imagine if we have anger in our hearts we carry this burden that does no good to us except to heighten our blood pressure. Why not let bygones be bygones and forgive and forget and move on without carrying a heavy burden in our heart?

We only are punishing ourselves if we don’t forgive. And we only leave a devious space for the devil to dwell when we don’t forgive. Let us always learn from Jesus who is always forgiving. Let us learn from Jesus who doesn’t keep any record of wrong in His heart.  – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for Monday March 20, Solemnity of Saint Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24a

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

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

When Joseph discovered that Mary was pregnant he decided to quietly separate from her. Quietly because Joseph is a quiet and humble man. As much as possible Joseph did not want to create any scene that could result to Mary’s being ostracized by her town mates.   

Perhaps the devil was already insidiously trying to provoke Joseph to do something that would humiliate Mary. But Joseph calmly defeated whatever evil machinations the devil had. He defeated this by listening to what the angel told him to do thus Joseph faithfully loved and protected his family. By his action of obedience to the will of God we can safely conclude that Joseph loved Mary deeply.

Many fathers today easily give up when their marriage is tested, they easily succumb when tempted by the devil. And they do not anymore listen to the voice of God who always tells them to keep the sanctity of marriage and family life.

Let us be inspired by the life of Saint Joseph: His humility, His obedience to the voice of God. His unconditional love and protection for his wife and his child.

Saint Joseph Patron Saint of Fathers, Patron Saint of Family and Patron Saint of Happy Death we beseech you to always pray for us. – Marino J. Dasmarinas   

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Reflection for March 19, Third Sunday of Lent; John 4:5-42

Gospel: John 4:5-42
Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there. Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well. It was about noon.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." His disciples had gone into the town to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, "How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?" —For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.— Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, 'Give me a drink, ' you would have asked him and he would have given you living water." The woman said to him, "Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep;  where then can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself with his children and his flocks?" Jesus answered and said to her, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water."

Jesus said to her, "Go call your husband and come back." The woman answered and said to him, "I do not have a husband." Jesus answered her, "You are right in saying, 'I do not have a husband.' For you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true." The woman said to him, "Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain; but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem." Jesus said to her, "Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You people worship what you do not understand; we worship what we understand, because salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth." The woman said to him, "I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ; when he comes, he will tell us everything." Jesus said to her, "I am he, the one speaking with you."

At that moment his disciples returned, and were amazed that he was talking with a woman, but still no one said, "What are you looking for?" or "Why are you talking with her?" The woman left her water jar and went into the town and said to the people, "Come see a man who told me everything I have done.

Could he possibly be the Christ?" They went out of the town and came to him. Meanwhile, the disciples urged him, "Rabbi, eat." But he said to them, "I have food to eat of which you do not know." So the disciples said to one another, "Could someone have brought him something to eat?" Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work. Do you not say, 'In four months the harvest will be here'? I tell you, look up and see the fields ripe for the harvest. The reaper is already receiving payment and gathering crops for eternal life, so that the sower and reaper can rejoice together. For here the saying is verified that 'One sows and another reaps.' I sent you to reap what you have not worked for; others have done the work, and you are sharing the fruits of their work."

Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him because of the word of the woman who testified, "He told me everything I have done." When the Samaritans came to him, they invited him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. Many more began to believe in him because of his word, and they said to the woman, "We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world."
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Do you seek out the lost and those who do not believe?

Considering that Jews and Samaritans were not supposed to be near each other much less talk with each other. Why did Jesus talk to the Samaritan woman and conversed with her at Jacob’s well?

Jesus wanted to introduce Himself as the living water and obviously Jesus wanted the woman from Samaria to convert and become His believer and follower.

It was Jesus who patiently initiated the conversation with the woman from Samaria it was never the Samaritan woman who went to that well. The woman from Samaria never had any idea about the identity of Jesus but she listened and even conversed with Jesus. Why? This is for the reason that Jesus did not condemn or belittle her.

In this very long gospel episode we get lessons from Jesus on how to seek out the lost and unbeliever. First is we have to be patient and gentle with those who do not believe, second is we should never judge them for who they are and third is we should be willing to listen to their own life story.

If we are patient and gentle if we are not judgmental and if we are willing to listen to those who do not believe or to those who have scant belief. We draw out from their inner world or even sinful world those who do not believe.

We therefore lead them to their own Jacob’s well and there they will finally meet up close and personal Jesus our living water. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Reflection for Saturday March 18, Second Week of Lent: Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

Gospel: Luke  15:1-3, 11-32
Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them. So to them Jesus addressed this parable. “A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father ‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them. After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers. So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.

But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly, bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found. Then the celebration began. Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. The servant said to him ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound. He became angry and when he refused to enter the house his father came out and pleaded with him. He said to his father in reply ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’ He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.
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What kind of God is Jesus? He is a God of encompassing love, mercy and forgiveness, what does this mean? This simply means that nobody is beyond reach of the love of God. No matter how sinful we are and no matter how grave the sins that we have committed we are still loved dearly by our God.

But there’s one quality that we must have to experience God’s love mercy and forgiveness . And this is repentance, we have to realize first our own sinfulness and have the desire to walk away from our sinfulness and be one again with God.

After wasting his inheritance to debauchery and sinfulness the younger son in our gospel parable had a humbling experience. He had nowhere to go, he lived a life of a beggar so to speak.

 So different from his life of comfort when he was still with his father.  He therefore said to himself, why not go back home and ask for forgiveness from my father? So he did, and to make a long story short his father forgave him.    

This season of lent think and reflect about your own sinfulness and the many offenses that you’ve done that created distance between you and Jesus. Heal that distance by humbly asking for His forgiveness. This you can do best if you would humbly submit yourself to the healing Sacrament of Reconciliation/Confession.

Are you humble enough to submit yourself to the Sacrament of Confession? – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for Friday March 17, Second Week of Lent: Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46

Gospel: Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46    
Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: “Hear another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey. When vintage time drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce. But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat, another they killed, and a third they stoned.

Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones, but they treated them in the same way. Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’ They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.

What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?”They answered him, “He will put those wretched men to a wretched death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the proper times.”Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes?

Therefore, I say to you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.” When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they knew that he was speaking about them. And although they were attempting to arrest him, they feared the crowds, for they regarded him as a prophet.
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One of the gifts that Jesus gave us is our Catholic faith, Jesus gave this to us through our baptism. Does this gift of faith end with our baptism? No, Jesus is also expecting us to share this gift of our baptism by living and sharing our faith. 

We read in our gospel this Friday that there was a landowner who leased his vineyard to some tenants. After a period of time the landowner was now demanding his share of their produce. But they did not give him his share, the tenants were ruled by greed that they kept to themselves the fruits of the vineyard.

The same is true with the gift of faith that Jesus gave us, Jesus expects us to share the fruits of our faith. Let us not be content with status quo let us move and do something so that we could share our faith for this is what Jesus demands from us.

For example, why don’t you share your faith with the members of your family by inviting them to go to Holy Mass? Why don’t you share your faith with them by having a regular time for family reflection about the words of Jesus in the bible?  Or perhaps by praying the Holy Rosary which can certainly strengthen the unity of your family.

What have you done so far with this gift of faith that Jesus gave you through the Sacrament of Baptism? Have you shared it already most especially with the members of your family? – Marino J. Dasmarinas