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, February 13, 2016

Reflection for Sunday February 14, First Sunday of Lent; Luke 4:1-13

Gospel: Luke 4:1-13
Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, One does not live on bread alone.” Then he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant. The devil said to him, “I shall give to you all this power and glory; for it has been handed over to me,  and I may give it to whomever I wish. All this will be yours, if you worship me.” Jesus said to him in reply, “It is written: You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.” Then he led him to Jerusalem, made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written: He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you, and: With their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” Jesus said to him in reply, “It also says, You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.” When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time.
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Reflection:
What do you see in the temptation of Jesus in the desert? Do you see that the devil is powerful too? Yes indeed, the devil is also powerful he can entice us to follow him through the instrument of his many temptations. Temptations that are very hard to resist for those who are disconnected from God. For those who seldom pray and for those who don’t take their faith seriously.

What do you see in Jesus? Do you see the intense connection of Jesus with God and the Holy spirit? Before Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert, Jesus was baptized first by John in the river Jordan and in the process of His baptism He prayed to God and the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit ascended to Him and God said to Jesus, “You are my Son, in whom I am well pleased (Luke 3:21-22).”    

Temptations are part and parcel of our life so as the devil, it’s always there ever ready to sow temptation for us to sin. Yet the love, guidance and protection of God are also always there for us it has not left us since we were baptized. It’s ours to own and take!

We can always ward-off whatever temptation the devil may sow upon our way if we always have a wired or even wifi connection with God. This we can do best through our personal prayers, our pious presence at Holy Mass and our reading and meditation of the words of God in the bible.

As we start to dive into our own forty day’s journey into the wilderness of this world. The good Lord is always reminding us that He is just a prayer away from us. He is always by our side ever and always ready to protect us from the many temptations of the evil one.

Do you always have a connection with the good Lord? – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Friday, February 12, 2016

Reflection for February 13, Saturday after Ash Wednesday; Luke 5:27-32

Gospel: Luke 5:27-32
Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him. Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were at table with them. The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus said to them in reply, “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”
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Reflection:
Who are the modern day sinners that Jesus wants to call to repentance? Its no other than us, we are sinners; we sin through our thoughts, actions and words. Like the tax collector Levi, Jesus calls us to follow Him, to leave behind us our sinfulness.

Why does Jesus calls us to follow Him? He wants to build a deeper friendship with us. And this would only happen if we would choose to respond to His call. Rather than respond to the call of the devil.

When we respond to the call of Jesus we ensure ourselves of a meaningful life. This doesn’t mean that the moment to we say yes to Jesus we would be free from worries and trials. We would still have our own share of trials and worries. Yet in the midst of our worries and trials we will feel the abiding presence of Jesus in our lives. 

If we decide to follow Jesus there would be people who will despise and perhaps belittle us. But we have nothing to worry with those who will despise us. What is most important is we chose to leave behind our sinfulness in favor of Jesus’ call.

To leave behind our sinfulness is not easy to do because the devil will not easily let us go. Nevertheless, nothing is impossible for Jesus all He asks us is our yes and our firm desire to leave behind our sinfulness.

Lest we forget, a sinful life is a life in union with the devil. Let us therefore respond to this call of Jesus, to leave behind our sinful life. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Reflection for February 12, Friday after Ash Wednesday; Matthew 9:14-15

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

The church teaches us that we have to observe fasting during Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Does it have any basis in the Bible? Yes just to name a few: Jonah 3:7, Neither man nor beast, neither cattle nor sheep, shall taste anything; they shall not eat, nor shall they drink water.

Matthew 4:2: “He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry.”

Matthew 6:16: When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting.

To practice fasting is an edifying experience for we would discover that we can still be productive even without food. For as long as we focus our attention to Jesus who observed fasting for forty days in the desert. And in the process was tempted in-vain by the devil (Matthew 4:1-11).   

But more than the voluntary denial of food it also requires us to fast from doing anything that would offend God and our fellowmen. From doing anything that would defile us physically and spiritually. For example we fast from committing sin, we fast from judging our neighbor and so forth.  

In the gospel Jesus was asked by the Pharisees and John’s disciples why His followers were not fasting. Jesus answered them that there’s no reason yet for them to fast for the reason that He is with them (Matthew 9:15).

When are we going therefore to be with Jesus so that we will not anymore practice fasting? It’s when we die and eventually ascend to heaven, there we will be with Jesus and we will not be fasting anymore. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for February 11, Thursday after Ash Wednesday; Luke 9:22-25

Gospel: Luke 9:22-25
Jesus said to his disciples: “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.”

Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?”
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Reflection:
Are you ready to carry your cross and faithfully follow Jesus now?

Jesus gives us a paradoxical statement: "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself (Luke 23:25)?"

On the surface this may seem to be an odd statement but if we are faithful followers of Christ these are precious and priceless wisdom filled words from Jesus. The moment we decide to follow the path of Jesus we will deny ourselves with the hedonism of this world and we will courageously carry our cross to follow Him.

Amidst the carrying of our daily cross we will also notice that it is not that heavy simply because Jesus is with us. He is helping us carry whatever cross that we have, making sure that the burdens that we carry right now are still light.

When Jesus was carrying the cross towards Golgotha/Calvary His cross became a sign of suffering and intense pain. However the same cross became the sign of Triumph and Salvation. If we carry our cross with Jesus the same cross would also be our means of purification and salvation.

Are you carrying a cross right now? Humbly ask Jesus to help you carry that cross.

Prayer:
O Lord we humbly beseech you to help us carry our cross. Sinners as we are yet we still know that you will never refuse to help us, you will never refuse to give us hope amidst our many crosses. Make our daily burdens light O Lord no matter how heavy.  This we humbly ask you. Amen. – Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Reflection for February 10, Ash Wednesday (Fasting and Abstinence); Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

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

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

“When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”
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Reflection:
During the public ministry of Jesus he healed countless people and this healing would always have a common denominator. He would constantly say to them: do not tell anyone about the healing that I did for you.

This attitude of Jesus is attributed to His humility and to His self-effacing demeanor. As much as possible Jesus wanted to always maintain a low profile and he did not crave any form of publicity.

Today is Ash Wednesday; this is the start of our forty day’s journey of self-examination if we were able to truly follow Jesus in His humility and self-effacing attitude. We examine ourselves if we were able to shun the many temptations of this world in favor with our love for Jesus.

We also examine our attitude when we give Alms, when we Pray and when we Fast. Do we do these acts of piety with humility? Or we do these to show to the whole world that we are holy. There is more to life than the exterior showcase of our acts of piety.

As you go to the priest or to the ministers of the church for them to impose ash with the sign of the cross on your forehead. You are reminded that someday you shall become ash and your mortal body will forever be part of this world. You will leave behind whatever temporal achievements and riches that you have acquired. And you will just be forgotten and permanently fade away.

But you need not worry for so long as you have tried your very best to follow the humble path of Jesus. - Marino J.Dasmarinas