Quotations:

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

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

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

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

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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Reflection for Thursday September 7, Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time: Luke 5:1-11

Gospel: Luke 5:1-11
While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.” When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them.

They came and filled both boats so that the boats were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon. Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.
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 Reflection:
From ordinary fishermen to extra-ordinary fishers of men, this we can best describe the lives of Simon Peter, James and John. Who transformed them to become fishers of men? Jesus! Why were they transformed by Jesus? Because they obeyed, they simply followed the command of the Lord.

When we obey Jesus, extra-ordinary things begin to happen to us; but how could we hear the voice of Jesus? How would we know that Jesus is talking to us when we don’t see and feel His physical presence?

Jesus speaks to us through the readings at Holy Mass, Jesus speaks to us through the priest who prepared for his homily. Jesus speaks to us also when we read His words in the bible and through the words and commentaries of well-meaning people.

Through these we hear Jesus calling us to conversion and to faithfully follow Him. Nothing is impossible for as long as we follow and for as long as we put our faith and trust in Jesus.

Simon Peter, James, John and the other fishermen who were with them during that early morning obeyed the impossible command of Jesus. To once again put their nets (A short distance from them) into the sea because they would be catching the greatest number of fish. And true enough they caught the biggest number of fish in all of their life as fishermen.  

The moment you begin to obey Jesus extra-ordinary things would begin to happen to you as well. – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Reflection for Wednesday September 6, Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time: Luke 4:38-44

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

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

At daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted place. The crowds went looking for him, and when they came to him, they tried to prevent him from leaving them. But he said to them, "To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent." And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
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Reflection:
What do you do after a busy and tiring day? Do you seek to be alone by yourself to commune with God? After healing so many Jesus went to a deserted place at daybreak to commune with God.

Jesus always finds time for God no matter how busy He was. Why? Because Jesus derives strength from His communion with God. Do you also derive strength from God? Do you seek communion with Jesus everyday? 

The beauty of always being in touch with Jesus is you will never be lost in the sinful jungle of this world. Through Jesus you always have a strong anchor to stabilize your life. Do you feel lost every once in while in this world? Ask Jesus to give you the strength to survive the many backbreaking pressures in this world. Ask Jesus to journey with you as you dive to your many pressure laden activities.

Always remember that as you go through the daily grind of your life. Jesus is always there for you ever ready to help you in whatever way possible. Always call on Jesus and always seek His abiding presence in your life.

Do you always seek the presence of Jesus in your life? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for Tuesday September 5, Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time: Luke 4:31-37

Gospel: Luke 4:31-37
Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee. He taught them on the sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching because he spoke with authority. In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out in a loud voice, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!” Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet! Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down in front of them and came out of him without doing him any harm. They were all amazed and said to one another, “What is there about his word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” And news of him spread everywhere in the surrounding region.
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Reflection:
During 1982, while walking to our house. I saw a group of people and I also heard a very loud groaning voice. Out of curiosity I walked going to them to simply see what they were looking at and to find out where that groaning was coming from.

There I saw a man with devilish eyes being held on by a number of men, when the man was asked who was he answered with a frightening voice that he was the devil. Afterwards somebody came (I don’t know if it was priest of a pastor) who said prayers and sprinkled holy water on him while invoking the name of Jesus. While this was being administered to him the man was violently resisting and shouting until he calmed down and he passed-out soon after.

In our gospel we read about Jesus exorcising a demon from a possessed man. After Jesus exorcised the possessed man the crowd said, what is there about his word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out (Luke 4:36).”

The crowd did not know Jesus that’s why they marvelled about the power and authority of His word. Unlike the crowd in the gospel who did not know, we know Jesus; we know where His power and authority is coming from. Let us therefore take advantage of our knowledge of Jesus. Let us dive deeper into it by regularly reflecting upon His powerful words in the bible and by our regular presence at Holy Mass.

By doing these acts of faith we permanently immunize ourselves from the possession of the devil. Which is still very active and pervading (in many disguises) up to this very moment.  The devil is very real! He is just hovering around the moment you sense that he (devil) is near you (Through the many kinds of temptations and so forth) invoke the mighty and powerful name of Jesus and walk away! - Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for Monday September 4, Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time: Luke 4:16-30

Gospel: Luke 4:16-30
Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, “Is this not the son of Joseph?”

He said to them, “Surely you will quote me this proverb, ‘Physician, cure yourself,’ and say, ‘Do here in your native place the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.’ And he said, “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land.

 It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon. Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian. When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. But he passed through the midst of them and went away.
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Reflection:
Do you seek respect? A person who thinks highly of himself would always seek respect.

Respect and acceptance is something that we all want we desire it deep in our hearts. However, there would be times that we will not be respected and accepted. If this happens to us let us be calm, take it in stride and humbly accept the humiliation. Then, let us charge everything to experience and let us quietly walk away from them. 

When Jesus returned to Nazareth (the place where He had grown up) He got an unpleasant welcome.  He was disrespected and was not accepted by his town mates. But instead of hating them back Jesus calmly heard their insulting remarks. Instead of getting back at His town mates Jesus chose to take the road less travelled which is the great virtue of humility.  

They even drove Him out of their town with the intent of killing Him. But instead of getting back at them He walked away from them to avoid a troublesome situation. This is Jesus for us, calm under duress, always humble and peaceful.

Let us therefore learn from Jesus. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for Sunday, September 3; Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time; Matthew 16:21-27

Gospel: Matthew 16:21-27
Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised. Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me.  You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “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 will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?

Or what can one give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay all according to his conduct.”
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Reflection:
A man who was a catholic in name only was being convinced by his friend to transfer to their religious congregation. The man asked: Why should I transfer to your congregation? His friend told him: The moment you transfer to us you will begin to live a life free from worries and problems. So, he transferred to the new congregation and after almost a year he even went through more worries and problems.   

When Jesus told His disciples that He will suffer greatly and be killed, Peter rebuked Him and said: “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” What was in Peter’s mind when he said it? Perhaps, Peter thought that Jesus was already immune from sufferings because He was God and He can do anything to avoid such sufferings.

Like Peter, sometimes this is also our mindset; we think that we are already immune from sufferings. For the reason that we think that we already know Jesus as our savior. Because we already attend Holy Mass read the bible and do good things to our fellowmen. Consequently, we are already immune form sufferings and from carrying our own cross?

However, the testing of our faith is in suffering and in carrying our own cross. We will not fully comprehend the very important role of Jesus in our lives if we will not pass through suffering and the humps and bumps of life.

 Let us remember that before Gold becomes a precious piece of jewelry it is purified by intense fire. And before a diamond becomes an expensive piece of gem it first goes through a lot of cutting and refining. Our faith too is tested by constant refining and is purified by the fire of sufferings.

Therefore, let us not wonder if we suffer, let us not question God if we have failures in life. Instead, let us remain steadfast in our faith, the more that we suffer the stronger that we should cling to Him. The more failures and problems we have the more hopeful we should become that God would soon rescue us. - Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Reflection for Saturday September 2, Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time: Matthew 25:14-30

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

There were three servants who were entrusted with talents by the Master who went on a journey. The first servant was given five talents, the second two and third one. The talents were given to them according to their abilities.

After a period of time the Master came back and settled accounts with them. There was no problem with the first two for both of them were productive, they were able to exactly follow what the Master wanted them. However, the third servant was not productive with the talent that was given to him.

The Master was so angry with him that He lectured him that it was much better if he had put the money in the bank so that it could have earned interest. Then, he was punished. The talent was taken from him and he was banished into the darkness outside, where there was wailing and grinding of teeth.

What a frightening punishment for the unproductive servant, if only he risked in doing business with the one talent that was given him. He could have avoided the embarrassment and the chilling punishment.

What does this gospel say about us? About our talents that we choose to keep to ourselves rather than share it with the church and our fellowmen. Some of us are just content to just come and go to the church every Sunday for Mass and give money during collection. We think that this is already enough. But if we are sensitive to the needs of the church we would notice that from time to time it announces its need for parishioners to share whatever talents that they can share.

You may have the talent for singing, why not join the choir? You may have the charism for service; why not join the Mother Butler or any other community oriented organization in the church. You may have the talent for teaching, why not join the catechist? And so on and so forth.

Let us learn to share the talent that we have to our church and to our fellowmen so that it will grow and bear much fruit in the hearts and minds of our fellowmen. Let us share it not because we are afraid of the punishment that may befall us if we would not. Let us share our talents out of our love for Jesus. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for Friday September 1, Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time: Matthew 25:1-13

Gospel: Matthew 25:1-13
Jesus told his disciples this parable: “The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise ones replied, ‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you.

Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’ While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked. Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
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Reflection:
Are you always prepared for the coming of the Lord?

In the gospel there are two sets of virgins composed of five women who waited for the bridegroom. The one set belongs to the five who were foolish and the other set belongs to the wise ones.

 We would always want to be identified with the five wise virgins who brought more than enough oil. The oil that they brought keep their lamps burning until the arrival of the bridegroom. By doing so they gained entry to the wedding reception which is the kingdom of heaven.

The other five were not as fortunate for they were refused entry. They have nothing to blame but themselves, if only they were like the five wise virgins they could have also been present in the wedding feast.

One of the realities of life is its fragility it could end anytime. We don’t hold our life its God who knows when would our call time to the great beyond will be. This is the mystery of our lives, it’s temporary and uncertain. So while we are still alive let us always be prepared for God’s call time by doing good always. And by following the road of uprightness that HE prepared for us to walk on.

To say that we want to be identified with the wise virgins is easier said than done. Because how can we gain entry if we are not presently living our lives according to what God wants us to live it?

To be prepared and wise requires us to do good always, to always be humble, to always be loving even to those who are not lovable to our sight. Being prepared requires us also not to be judgmental and to always be forgiving. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Reflection for Thursday August 31, Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time: Matthew 24:42-51

Gospel: Matthew 24:42-51
(Jesus said to his disciples) “Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come. “Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so. Amen, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property. But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is long delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eat and drink with drunkards, the servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”
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Reflection:
What are you going to do if you’re assigned a responsibility? You surely will do whatever it takes to properly accomplish the responsibility immediately.  There will be no dilly dally you will immediately do with competence what you have to do because this is the responsibility given to you.

In our gospel for today Jesus tells the disciples: Be prepared for the son of man will come at an hour you do not expect. What kind of preparation does Jesus wants from His disciples? Of course it is to live their lives the way Jesus lived His life, this they could achieve through their humility, their concern for the poor and by living their lives in the service of others.

How should we prepare for Jesus? Should we prepare by making ourselves busy on how to increase our material wealth? Of course not! The preparation that Jesus speaks about is the same preparation that He required from His disciples. So that when He knocks we would be able to let Him enter our lives.

Therefore, we must not always busy ourselves on how to increase our wealth and how to satisfy our earthly desires. For earthiness and material wealth are not the be all and end all of life.  The best preparation for the coming of Jesus into our lives is to create time for Him no matter how busy we are for this is the only way we could prepare for His coming.   

How are you preparing for Jesus? - Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for Wednesday August 30, Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time: Matthew 23:27-32

Gospel: Matthew 23:27-32
Jesus said, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men's bones and every kind of filth. Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the memorials of the righteous, and you say, 'If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets' blood.' Thus you bear witness against yourselves that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets; now fill up what your ancestors measured out!"
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Reflection:
A woman was swept off her feet by her handsome and rich suitor. To make a long story short she married this handsome and rich man. After a few months the many irresponsible behaviors of this man started to unravel before her. Then she said to herself, if only I did not allow myself to be smitten by his external appearance I would have been able to avoid this man.

Jesus is criticizing the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees because they are only good at what others see on them. They neglect the most important requirement: none other than interior purity and transformation.

Jesus would not have minded if the scribes and Pharisees were not able to measure up to their self-created external standards. For as long as they go through interior cleansing and do away with whatever that would make them sin. But they refused to acknowledge the constructive criticism of Jesus, they even have the temerity to take it against Jesus that’s why they plotted to kill Him.

Somehow many of us are not alien to this self-righteous behavior of the scribes and Pharisees. Be presentable outside but neglect the more important aspect of life which is interior cleansing, renewal and transformation. Nevertheless, we still have time to hear and act on this call of Jesus.- Marino J. Dasmarinas

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

Gospel: Mark 6:17-29
Herod was the one who had John the Baptist arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married. John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so. Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody. When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him. She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee. Herodias’ own daughter came in and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.” He even swore many things to her, “I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom.” She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.” The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request, “I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her. So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head. He went off and beheaded him in the prison. He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl. The girl in turn gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
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Reflection:
Would you have the courage to denounce an adulterous relationship? You surely will think and ponder very hard about the consequence of your action. Or perhaps you will not have the courage to speak against it for fear of being rebuked or even killed.

John the Baptist was a man of courage for he did not fear speaking against the adulterous relationship of King Herod and Herodias. John told them that it was wrong for them to be in that relationship because Herodias was married to his brother Philip. Yet, by speaking about what was moral and true John was imprisoned and eventually beheaded.

There comes a time in our lives that we need to make a stand or speak against what is wrong and immoral. This is for the reason that it is only through this that we would let others know what is wrong with what they are doing. 

To remain silent against wrongdoing is never an option because how could we correct a wrong if we will just be silent? How would others know that what they are doing is wrong if we will remain silent? It’s like we are consenting to what is wrong if we will pretend to hear no evil and see no evil.

We therefore have to speak out this does not necessarily mean that we will be angry and there would be shouting and cursing. We can speak out in a civil manner to those whom we perceive to be at fault. What is important is we speak out and we let others know that we are not consenting to their actions.

Like John the Baptist, let us also have the courage to denounce anything that is wrong. We can do this by speaking to the concerned individual/s with civility and without implying that we are more holy, powerful and superior than them. - Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for Monday August 28, Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, Matthew 23:13-22

Gospel: Matthew 23:13-22
Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men. You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You traverse sea and land to make one convert, and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna twice as much as yourselves.

“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If one swears by the temple, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.’ Blind fools, which is greater, the gold, or the temple that made the gold sacred? And you say, ‘If one swears by the altar, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.’ You blind ones, which is greater, the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it; one who swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it; one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who is seated on it.”
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Reflection:
Do you allow your faith in Jesus to transform you to become a practicing follower?

 For example, His teaching on how many times you should forgive (Matthew 18:21). Do you follow this teaching that says that you should always be forgiving or you put limitations and conditions before you forgive? Or you appear to forgive but deep in your heart you still keep a deep seated hatred toward others?

Jesus in our gospel condemns in strongest terms the scribes and Pharisees because they teach but they themselves don’t follow what they teach. They do mission to convert people to their faith but when they are already converted. 

They condition and indoctrinate their minds for them to follow whatever they say even if it is already against the morals of God and society. By doing so the followers don’t anymore follow the teachings of God but the self-serving teachings of their leaders.

What Jesus wants from you is to lead by example; you should mean what you say and do what you say. You must not only put lip service to what you say and profess. For example, if you say you follow Jesus it is incumbent upon you to be humble, to be forgiving and not to be judgmental. - Marino J. Dasmarinas

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Reflection for Sunday, August 27; Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time; Matthew 16:13-20

Gospel: Matthew 16:13-20
Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.
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Reflection:
If Jesus will ask us the same question: “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” of course all of us will say that He is Jesus the second person in the Trinity and He is Jesus the son of Joseph and Mary. These answers are what our mind will feed us.

But looking deeper into our hearts, “who is Jesus to us?” if we have a personal relationship with Jesus our answer would be: He is Jesus my savior and friend who is always there for me.

To personally know Jesus, we need to read the bible specially the first four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John because it is in these four gospels that we will have an in depth knowledge of who really is Jesus. We also need to attend Holy Mass consistently because at Holy Mass Jesus is present.

The word of God is read in the liturgy of the Word and in the liturgy of the Eucharist Jesus is made present by the priest through Consecration. Upon consecration by the Priest, the ordinary bread and wine is transubstantiated to become the body and blood of Jesus.

If only we would read the bible with all our hearts and minds, if only we would be attentive and observant during Holy Mass. Carefully listening to the words of God being read by the lectors and to the gospel reading being proclaimed by the Priest. Being observant of his every movements and gestures at Mass, if we would be like that eventually the grace of the Holy Spirit would be upon us and it will be the beginning of a much profound relationship with Jesus our savior.

Among the disciples present, it was only Simon Peter who said: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father (Matthew 16:16-17).

It was pure grace from God that Simon Peter knew of the true identity of Jesus. Among the many disciples why was Peter chosen? Maybe because Peter was always close to Jesus, he had that hunger to be always in His company.

When Jesus went to the mountain to be transfigured Peter was there (Matthew 17). When Jesus was walked on water peter was also there walking on water towards Jesus (Matthew 14:29). There were many more instances that tells us of the closeness of Peter with Jesus, of course Peter had his own weaknesses too but he was humble enough to admit it.

Jesus rewarded Peter by founding the Church through him: And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).” This is still the same Catholic Church where we belong right now. From Peter who is our first Pope until our present Pope: Pope Francis who is the 266th successor of Peter.

After our lifetime Jesus may ask us: “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” How would we answer Jesus during that time? -  Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Reflection for Saturday August 26, Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time, Matthew 23:1-12

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

Many of us including those who do volunteer work for the church as well as politicians fail in this aspect of true and humble servanthood. For the reason that instead of giving true service we accompany it with our own selfish motives.

Why are we offering our free time to the church? Is it purely to serve, or we have hidden motives? Same with politicians during campaign they would always offer themselves as servants, but after they’ve won we could hardly see them anymore.

Jesus is teaching us that if we truly want to serve we must be ready to forget ourselves or forget who we are. We walk our talk without complaining whatsoever. We silently do what we have to do not minding if we would be rewarded for what we do for this is what servanthood is all about.

Let us not worry if we are not cited for whatever noble undertaking that we do. God is not sleeping He sees everything and knows everything. - Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for Friday August 25, Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time, Matthew 22:34-40

Gospel: Matthew 22:34-40
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a scholar of the law, tested him by asking, "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" He said to him, "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."
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Reflection:
A middle aged rich woman was always present in the church for worship. It was her way of showing people how she lived the commandment of loving God with all our Heart, Soul and Mind. Near the house where she lived is a community of poor people.

While the pious lady was passing by the leader of the poor community saw her and he remembered her as the lady who was always at church. So he said to himself: We will ask help from this prayerful woman for I know that she will not fail us.

He approached her and asked for her help in whatever way possible. But the supposedly pious and prayerful lady said no and she even had the temerity to scold the poor man. Obviously the woman was not true to her self- proclamation that she loves God. And obviously her love for God was a charade for how can she loved God when she ignores the poor who ask for her help.

In our gospel for this Sunday Jesus gives us the two greatest commandments: Our love for God and our love for our neighbor. We cannot separate our love for God with our love for our neighbors. These two greatest commandments are inseparable one cannot exist without the other one.

If we profess to love God with our worship; God wants this love for Him to cascade to our poor neighbor. This is always the action that God wants us to do: To love Him and our neighbor.

If we say that we love God yet we don’t love our neighbors because they incessantly disturb us. If we say that we love God yet we hate those who hurt us. Then our love for God is empty and baseless. –Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for Thursday August 24, Feast of Saint Bartholomew, Apostle: John 1:45-51

Gospel: John 1:45-51
Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth. But Nathanael said to him “Can anything good come from Nazareth? Philip said to him, “Come and see. Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Here is a true child of Israel. There is no duplicity in him. Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me? Jesus answered and said to him “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree. Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel. Jesus answered and said to him “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this. And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.
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Reflection:
Nathanael said to Jesus, “How do you know me?” Why did Nathanael ask this question? This is for the reason that he did not know Jesus that well. Otherwise if he knows Jesus he would have not asked, “How do you know me?”

Jesus knows everything about us: Our deepest even darkest secrets, our thoughts and plans. Jesus knows everything and we certainly can’t hide anything from Him. If Jesus knows everything including our darkest secrets, would this mean that He will not love us anymore? Of course not!

The more hidden sins we have the more that Jesus will love us and the more that He would seek us. Why? This is for the reason that Jesus walked on this world to save us: We who are all sinners. We therefore have to repent from all of the sins that we have committed. So that we make it easy for Jesus to find us.

How are you going to repent? You have to humbly submit yourself to the Sacrament of Reconciliation/Confession. In this healing Sacrament you will surrender yourself to our merciful Lord by telling Him your sins. You will allow our merciful Lord to heal you of your many sins. – Marino J. Dasmarinas   

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Reflection for Wednesday August 23, Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time: Matthew 20:1-16

Gospel: Matthew 20:1-16
Jesus told his disciples this parable: “The Kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. Going out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.’ So they went off. And he went out again around noon, and around three o’clock, and did likewise.

Going out about five o’clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’ When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.’  When those who had started about five o’clock came, each received the usual daily wage.

So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’ He said to one of them in reply, ‘My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?’ Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
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Reflection:
Do you sometimes think that God is not treating you fairly? For example, you are faithful to Him and even serve Him. Yet you don’t get what you’ve been wanting to receive from Him.

The actions of God are unfathomable there are times that HIS decisions are hard for us to comprehend. But that’s how God is; HE does not think the way we think. HE doesn’t decide the way we decide. God is infinite and we are simply finite.

There are even some who would think that God is an absentee God. Because how come many corrupt people are getting richer by the day? And those who are poor are getting poorer by the day?

We will not be able to comprehend the actions of God no matter how hard we try to comprehend it, we will not! But come to think of it, who are we to question God? We are mere mortals with a very limited shelf life in this world.

Instead of questioning the mysterious actions of God in our lives, why not simply work hard,  be a good and faithful follower and trust HIM our lives? – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for Tuesday August 22, The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Luke 1:26-38

Gospel: Luke 1:26-38
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. He went in and said to her, 'Rejoice, you who enjoy God's favor! The Lord is with you.' She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, 'Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God's favor. Look! You are to conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.'

Mary said to the angel, 'But how can this come about, since I have no knowledge of man?' The angel answered, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. And I tell you this too: your cousin Elizabeth also, in her old age, has conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.'

Mary said, 'You see before you the Lord's servant, let it happen to me as you have said.' And the angel left her.
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Reflection:
Do you always submit to the wisdom of the Good Lord?

Sometimes there are situation/s in life that will disturb our peace, for example a sudden diagnoses of sickness. This kind of life event will surely bother us. But in the midst of this life disturbances let us not forget that the good Lord is always there for us. To comfort us, to give us hope and to assure us that He will always be there for us.

When the angel Gabriel appeared and greeted the Blessed Mother she was naturally concerned about it, who would not be? Perhaps the Blessed Mother told herself, Why did this angel appeared to me? What would this angel bring me; a trial that is hard for me to bear?

But the angel told the Blessed Mother that she would bear a son and His name is Jesus. The angel further said that she has nothing to worry because the Lord will take care of her. Thus, the Blessed Mother humbly accepted her fate and entrusted herself to the wisdom of God.

Whatever we are going through right now or we might go through in the future. Be it sickness or severe trial that may test our fidelity to Jesus, let us hold on to our deep faith in Jesus. For as long as we have faith there would be hope and deliverance from all of life’s challenges.

As the Blessed Mother entrusted her fate to the good Lord we too must learn to submit to God’s will for ourselves. Let us never worry for Jesus is always there for us and never will He abandon us. -  Marino J. Dasmarinas