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

Forgive my many grammatical and punctuation mistakes :). - mjdasma

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Reflection for March 28, Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent; John 11:45-56

Gospel: John 11:45-56
Many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what Jesus had done began to believe in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and said, “What are we going to do? This man is performing many signs. If we leave him alone, all will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our land and our nation.” But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing, nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish. He did not say this on his own, but since he was high priest for that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God. So from that day on they planned to kill him.

So Jesus no longer walked about in public among the Jews, but he left for the region near the desert, to a town called Ephraim, and there he remained with his disciples.

Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before Passover to purify themselves. They looked for Jesus and said to one another as they were in the temple area, “What do you think? That he will not come to the feast?
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Reflection:
What would be your reaction if someone you know has achieved greatness? Will you envy and eventually decide to bring down this person? Or you will be happy for his/her success and you will even wish him/her more success. 

Because of His many miracles Jesus was already becoming popular with the people especially the poor. And the ruling authorities (Pharisees) were already threatened by Jesus growing popularity. So they did what they have to do to silence Jesus. They hatched an evil plan of killing Jesus with the thought that if Jesus dies so goes also His popularity. But it did not happen that way, for their plan did not go as they want it to be.  

What if the Pharisees did not envy Jesus? What if they simply had a dialogue with Jesus so that they could work hand in hand to help the poor? The Pharisees could have been an agent of positive change in the lives of the poor. But they chose to allow the devil to sow envy and greed in their hearts. Hence, they committed a despicable crime of killing an innocent man in Jesus.  

Can envy and greed do us any good? No it will not do us any good, it will only push us to do evil just like what the Pharisees did to Jesus. Let us therefore weed out any feeling of envy and greed in our hearts. Instead of being envious let us be happy with those who succeed. Instead of being greedy, why not become generous? - Marino J. Dasmarinas   

Friday, March 27, 2015

Reflection for March 27, Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent; John 10:31-42

Gospel: John10:31-42
The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you trying to stone me? The Jews answered him, “We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy. You, a man, are making yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, ‘You are gods”‘? If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came, and Scripture cannot be set aside, can you say that the one whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world blasphemes because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me; but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may realize and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Then they tried again to arrest him; but he escaped from their power. He went back across the Jordan to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained.
 
Many came to him and said, “John performed no sign, but everything John said about this man was true.” And many there began to believe in him.
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Reflection:
Do you sometimes feel unrewarded for the effort/s that you do? For example, you did something good to a person and then the person did not care to compliment or recognize your good deed. 
 
How would you feel? Perhaps you will be disheartened or even feel bad. On second thought instead of feeling disheartened or bad I think you should still feel good for the reason that you’ve done something worthy to someone. 
 
Jesus did everything for the jews yet they never thanked Him. He instead was persecuted for doing good. Did He feel bad for not being given due recognition? Yes, because He was human like us. However Jesus never allowed thier ingratitude to bring Him down and distract Him from His focus with His mission of salvation.  
 
This is the reality  of life, there are those who will not compliment us for the good that we’ve done for them. Nevertheless let us continue to do good and not be disheartened for God knows everything and God will always reward those who do good. – Marino J. Dasmarinas    

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Reflection for March 26, Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent; John 8:51-59

Gospel: John 8:51-59
Jesus said to the Jews: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.” So the Jews said to him, “Now we are sure that you are possessed. Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death. Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? Or the prophets, who died? Who do you make yourself out to be?” Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing; but it is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ You do not know him, but I know him. And if I should say that I do not know him, I would be like you a liar. But I do know him and I keep his word. Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad.  So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham? Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM. So they picked up stones to throw at him. but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.
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Reflection:
How would you feel if a religious leader would tell you this, if you follow me you will never die. You will not believe this leader of course for the simple reason that this is not true. Jesus in the gospel tells us that anyone of us who will keep His word will never see death.  

What is this death that the Lord is speaking about?  Obviously this doesn’t pertain to physical death for we all will die. The death that Jesus is alluding to is the death in the spirit. We are taught by our faith that when we die our mortal remains will decay. And we are also taught that if we have a close and personal relationship with Jesus our spirit will continue to live for it does not die along with our mortal death. 
 
No one of us has been to the afterlife but this one is true: We will not be afraid to pass through physical death if we are close to Jesus and if we have a personal relationship with Him. Because we know that everlasting life would only come after our mortal death, mortal death is our launching pad to eternal life. But we have to believe first in Jesus and we have to have a personal relationship with Him for us not to experience spiritual death.  

The Jews in our gospel were critics of Jesus and as such they do not believe in Jesus much less have a personal relationship with Him. This is the reason why they (Jews) were not able to understand Jesus when He said: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death (John 8:51).” 

Do we strive to have a personal relationship with Jesus? - Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Reflection for March 25, Wednesday, Solemnity of 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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Reflection:
What are you going to do if you receive a shocking news? Perhaps the first that will come to your mind is to pray and ask for guidance and strength from the Lord. You will ask the Lord for calm and strength.

When Mary received the annunciation from angel Gabriel that she will 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 and Elizabeth. It conveys 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 we somehow feel weariness with our journey with the Lord for the reason that nothing significant is happening to us. Let us not lose heart, let us rather continue to journey with Him and let us trustingly hold-on to Him. For He will not forsake those who continue to trust Him. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Reflection for March 24, Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent; John 8:21-30

Gospel: John  8:21-30
Jesus said to the Pharisees: “I am going away and you will look for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going you cannot come. So the Jews said, “He is not going to kill himself, is he, because he said, ‘Where I am going you cannot come’? He said to them, “You belong to what is below, I belong to what is above. You belong to this world but I do not belong to this world. That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins. So they said to him, “Who are you? Jesus said to them, “What I told you from the beginning. I have much to say about you in condemnation. But the one who sent me is true, and what I heard from him I tell the world. They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father. So Jesus said to them,  When you lift up the Son of Man then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own but I say only what the Father taught me. The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him. Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.
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Reflection:
What is the barrier that prevents us to be with Jesus? It’s our sinfulness and unfaithfulness to Him. Whenever we sin we put barrier that divides us from Jesus the more we sin the more barriers that we create that separates us from Jesus.  

But we also know that this separation is not permanent because through our humble submission to the Sacrament of Reconciliation we allow Jesus to reach out to us as we reach out to Him also. This is what separates us from the many Pharisees of Jesus time.

 By their arrogance and unbelief they created a permanent barrier between them and Jesus. This is one of the reason why Jesus told them (Pharisees), where I am going you cannot come. What then is the key element for us to be able to go eventually where Jesus is? It’s our humility and belief in Jesus.

We read in the first part of the gospel that Jesus is somewhat distant and aloft. Yes, in His humanity Jesus was perhaps exasperated already with the Pharisees. Who would not be? They always contradict Him, they always find fault in Him and they were full of jealousy and unbelief.

Nevertheless Jesus loved them dearly also the same love and intensity that He gave to His followers and to us also. Jesus did not sacrifice His life on the cross for those who only believe Him. He died on the cross or all of us believers, unbelievers and sinners.

If you think that because of your sinfulness and unbelief you’re already hopeless and out of the loop of the love of Jesus. You’re not, you still have hope, you’re still dearly loved by Jesus who died for you on the cross. Pray to Him and look up to Him. – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Reflection for March 23, Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent; John 8:1-11

Gospel: John 8:1-11
Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area, and all the people started coming to him, and he sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say? They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her. Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. And in response, they went away one by one beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him. Then Jesus straightened up and said to her “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you? She replied, “No one, sir. Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.
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Reflection:
Are you sometimes quick to judge those whom you perceived to be sinners?  In the gospel the Pharisees and scribes were very quick to draw judgement from the woman caught committing adultery. They brought this woman to Jesus with the expectation that Jesus Himself would pronounce judgment upon her.

Yet Jesus never judged her for what she did, Jesus choose to highlight God’s mercy and compassion upon her. At the end of the gospel Jesus told her, “I do not condemn you, go and do not sin anymore (John 8:11). As if Jesus was telling her, go and start a new life forget the past for I have already forgiven you. This gospel episode is perhaps one of the best showcase of Jesus’ mercy and compassion.

Perhaps through this gospel Jesus is also inviting us to look at ourselves and have a self-reflection on how we relate with sinners. Do we also judge them quickly just like the Pharisees and scribes did? When we judge we also invite judgment on ourselves, when we judge we further push this person to commit more sins. And when we judge we only highlight the arrogance of the devil instead of the mercy and compassion of Jesus.

But who are we to condemn or judge when we are to be judge also. Who are we to judge when we are sinners also. Instead of judging let us always show the mercy and compassion of Jesus. In doing so we show the sinner that there’s a God who cares, a God who listens and surely a God who is always merciful and forgiving. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Friday, March 20, 2015

Reflection for Sunday March 22, Fifth Sunday of Lent; John 12:20-33

Gospel: John 12:20-33
Some Greeks who had come to worship at the Passover Feast came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus. Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.

“I am troubled now. Yet what should I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour? But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name. Then a voice came from heaven “I have glorified it and will glorify it again. The crowd there heard it and said it was thunder but others said, “An angel has spoken to him. Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come for my sake but for yours. Now is the time of judgment on this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself. He said this indicating the kind of death he would die.
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Reflection:
A cancer patient once asked the Lord, why me O Lord? I do not deserve this severe sickness! Nevertheless I will embrace this trial in my life for I know that you have a good reason why I have this affliction.  From thereon he resigned from his job and devoted his remaining time in this world on spreading the word of God. He was very successful in his new vocation for he led others to Jesus.

There are instances in our life that we have to encounter trials for us to lose our life in this world. And give this very same life a new breath of life in the vineyard of the Lord. Such is God when He wants to use us to advance His kingdom. He creates mysterious instances for us to finally find Him.

 But how would we know that the good Lord has a mission for us?  We simply have to become sensitive to His call and be ready to leave everything. And embrace something that is worthy and noble. We could only find this when we are ready to let go of our old life and leave everything into the hands of God.

Jesus had to let go of His earthly life and He had to leave His life into the hands of God. It was not easy for Him to do this but this is His mission. He had to turn His back from His earthly life to finally fulfill His mission of salvation.

There comes a point in our lives that we also have to make a choice in order for us to find the real essence of our life. This is not easy to do most especially when we are already used to a worldly life. But how can we find the real meaning of our life if we are afraid to die from our sinfulness?   
  
What is preventing you from leaving behind your old life in favor of a new and meaningful life with Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas