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).

Preach the gospel at all times use words if necessary. - St. Francis of Asisi

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

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

Monday, December 22, 2014

Reflection for Wednesday December 24, Fourth Week of Advent; Luke 1:67-79

Gospel: Luke 1:67-79
Zechariah his father, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied, saying:

“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; for he has come to his people and set them free. He has raised up for us a mighty Savior, born of the house of his servant David. Through his prophets he promised of old that he would save us from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us. He promised to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant. This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to set us free from the hand of our enemies, free to worship him without fear, holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life. You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way, to give his people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins. In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
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Reflection:
When do you feel that you are full of the Holy Spirit? It’s when you make prayer part of your daily life. You pray not once a day, not twice a day, not thrice a day, not four times a day, not even five times a day. You pray more than the sum total of the numbers that was mentioned.

Many of us do not pray often everyday because we think that it takes time to pray, no it doesn’t take time to pray. We can even pray even for a few seconds because the efficacy of our prayer is not measured by its length it’s measured by our focus and intensity.  

In our gospel we have the father of John named Zechariah. He is not only a priest he is also a holy man and as such he is a prayerful man; he prays with focus and passion. Because of his prayerful life it was already automatic for Zechariah to be filled with God the Holy Spirit.

The canticle of Zechariah was not only his own making it was also largely influenced by God the Holy Spirit whom he was always in-touch with thru his prayerful life. It was the Holy Spirit who empowered Zechariah to compose his canticle or song of praise for God.

Do you have an effective and passion filled prayer life? Do you feel in a very special way the presence of God the Holy Spirit in your life? - Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for Tuesday December 23, Fourth Week of Advent; Luke 1:57-66

Gospel: Luke 1:57-66
When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her. When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, “No. He will be called John.” But they answered her, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God. Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, “What, then, will this child be? For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.”
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Reflection:
What can our fidelity to the desire of God do to us? It could bring us blessings, it could free us from the bondage of sin, and it could heal us from any form of sickness and so forth.   

Initially the new born baby was supposed to be named after his father Zechariah for it was the tradition during that time. But his mother Elizabeth intervened she told them that he is to be named John. Perhaps Zechariah had told his wife Elizabeth about his encounter with an angel in the sanctuary who told Zechariah that the boy should be named John.

The relatives were not fully convinced with the desire of Elizabeth to name her child John. So they asked Zechariah and on a tablet he wrote the name John. And immediately Zechariah was freed from the bondage of not being able to speak.

God has always a reward for those who are faithful to His desire and this desire is to follow at all times His will for us. You may ask, what is the will of God for myself? God’s will  is for us to  observe faithfully His ten commandments (Exodus 20:1-17) and to follow Jesus’ two greatest commandments of love (Matthew 22:36-40).

You may not become rich and powerful in the measurement of this world if you will follow His desire. But you will certainly have peace in your life, peace that this world would not be able to give you no matter how rich and powerful you become.

Do you always strive to follow the desire of God? – Marino J. Dasmarinas    

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Reflection for Monday December 22, Fourth Week of Advent; Luke 1:46-56

Gospel: Luke 1:46-56
Mary said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. for he has looked upon his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, and has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.  He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever.”

Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months and then returned to her home.
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Reflection:
Why did Mary remain with her cousin Elizabeth for three months? Why not leave her after one or two months? Mary left after three months because she wanted to ensure that she would be by her side when she gave birth.

Considering that during that time Mary was also pregnant with Jesus she could have simply excused herself and went home to rest. But she did not she saw to it that she would first take care of her cousin’s need before her own.  

By serving her cousin Mary proclaimed the greatness of the Lord who was with her. Perhaps in the infinite mind of God He was telling Mary you want to praise me? Then learn to serve your cousin first. You want to praise me? Forget yourself first because it’s in forgetting of yourself that you could best highlight my abiding presence in your life.

We could indeed best serve and praise God by serving others and by forgetting ourselves so that those who are in need may live. We can never serve our God if our focus is always ourselves and our own needs and wants.

This Christmas let us forget ourselves, let us not focus our attention on ourselves, let us look outside of our self-protected environment. Let us go to the poor and bring Jesus to them and be another Mary for them also. Amen. - Marino J. Dasmarinas  

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Reflection for Sunday December 21, Fourth Sunday of Advent; 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:
How deep is your love for God or how profound is your love for God? Are you willing to sacrifice something of yourself for God? For example if somehow through your conscience you hear the voice of the Holy Spirit telling you to do something, would you be willing to do it?

Christmas is just around the bend four more days to be exact, what does the Holy Spirit telling you to do this Christmas? Surely it’s not to buy things for yourself! Surely it’s not actions that will make you personally happy! For there’s no real happiness in doing something for oneself, real and profound happiness comes out from our hearts when we do something for others. Most especially to those who cannot give back the good that we do for them.

When the Blessed Mother obeyed the will of God for her to be the mother of Jesus she sacrificed her own happiness for the will of God. The Blessed Mother put aside her own safety and honor so that she could honor the will of God for her. So that she could bring joy and salvation to all of humanity.     

When the Blessed Mother said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word (Luke 1:38). There was already profound happiness in her heart for she knew that she would be doing something not for herself but for God and humanity.

For this Christmas why not try doing something different? Instead of doing it all for yourself why not do something for the people that He loved dearly? The poor and the unwanted those people who cannot give back the goodness that you will be doing for them. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Friday, December 19, 2014

Reflection for Saturday December 20, Third week of Advent; 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:
Do you bow in humility to the will of the Lord? For example, you want to focus on something that you want to become your lifelong career. Yet in your heart you also feel that the Holy Spirit is leading you to something which is meaningful. Do you listen to this leading of the Holy Spirit in your life or you listen only to what you want for yourself?

Mary listened to the voice of the Lord God, Mary listened to the Holy Spirit who spoke to her heart. Mary had her own plans yet she subordinated her plan to God’s plan for her which is to become the mother of Jesus.

When you obey the voice of God who is continuously speaking to you, your life will change for the better. You may not gain the material wealth that this world will offer you but once you say yes to the voice of God. You will gain peace in your life; peace that you have never experienced before and peace that no material wealth could give you.

The Blessed Mother did this, she listened to the voice of God thru angel Gabriel and she listened to the voice of the Holy Spirit which was already speaking to her heart. Thus she gained peace and serenity in her life courtesy of God.

Do you still don’t have peace in your life right now? Listen to the voice of God and listen to the leadings of the Holy Spirit. It may be telling you to reconcile with someone close to you, it may be telling you to reach-out in humility to a friend? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Reflection for Friday December 19,Third week of Advent; Luke 1:5-25

Gospel: Luke 1:5-25
In the days of Herod, King of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah of the priestly division of Abijah; his wife was from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both were righteous in the eyes of God, observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren and both were advanced in years.

Once when he was serving as priest in his division’s turn before God, according to the practice of the priestly service, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense. Then, when the whole assembly of the people was praying outside at the hour of the incense offering, the angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right of the altar of incense. Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him.

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He will drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb, and he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of fathers toward children and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare a people fit for the Lord.”

Then Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” And the angel said to him in reply, “I am Gabriel, who stand before God. I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news. But now you will be speechless and unable to talk until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time. Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah and were amazed that he stayed so long in the sanctuary. But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He was gesturing to them but remained mute.

Then, when his days of ministry were completed, he went home. After this time his wife Elizabeth conceived, and she went into seclusion for five months, saying, “So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit to take away my disgrace before others.”
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Reflection:
Do you have a prayer request before God? Do you believe that your prayer request will be granted by God? You must always believe that God will grant your prayer request. Because when you believe that you will have what you want from God what you want from Him is already within your reach.

In our gospel the couple Zechariah and Elizabeth was praying to God for the gift of a child. Yet when the angel of God appeared to Zechariah in the sanctuary and told him that his wife would be pregnant. Zechariah suddenly had doubts and the reason for his doubt was credible for the reason that both of them were already old.

It was so uncharacteristic for Zechariah to doubt considering that he is a priest serving God. Zechariah forgot that nothing is impossible for God, did he forget or he simply had weak and feeble faith? Perhaps Zechariah had weak faith during that moment when the angel appeared to him.

Perhaps Zechariah was overwhelmed by their personal circumstances (Old age and the like). Let us not doubt when we have prayer/s for God. Let us firmly believe and have faith that God will grant us what we want from Him.  

Do you have a prayer request for God? Believe and have faith that He will grant it to you for He will surely give it to you if you would only believe and have faith. Amen. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Reflection for Thursday December 18, Third week of Advent; Matthew 1:18-25

Gospel: Matthew 1:18-25
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. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.  When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. He had no relations with her until she bore a son and he named him Jesus.
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Reflection:
What if Joseph did not listen to the angel of God? Mary could have died violently by way of stoning. For that was the punishment for those caught cheating on their betrothed husband. But Joseph listened to the voice of the angel of God who told him that the fruit of Mary’s womb was brought to her by the Holy Spirit.

We see humility in Joseph, we see obedience and love for God in Joseph and we also see the great love of Joseph for Mary. Deep in his heart Joseph loved Mary to the deepest core of his bones, Mary was his everything. Joseph loved Mary more than his life. If Joseph did not love Mary more than his life he could have easily left Mary and told the authorities about her out of wedlock pregnancy.

Aside from Joseph’s love for Mary, Joseph also loved God for if he did not love God he could have simply brushed aside the angel of God and move-on with his plan of divorcing Mary. But Joseph loved God this is the reason why he listened to the voice of God coursed through an Angel.

In the Sacrament of Matrimony/Marriage the voice of God is an ever present guiding light that couples must always follow. God tells the couples to stay with the Marriage covenant until mortal death breaks it. Of course no marriage is made in heaven, husbands and wives have their own behavioral shortcomings.

However, if couples would make the humility, the love of God and the holiness of both Joseph and Mary their role model in their married life. There would be no divorce; there would be no quarrels that sometimes become violent.

What would only exist is love, love that is humble, love that is truthful and love that is forgiving. Amen. – Marino J. Dasmarinas