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

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Reflection for September 4, Friday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time: Luke 5:33-39

Gospel: Luke 5:33-39
The scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, “The disciples of John the Baptist fast often and offer prayers, and the disciples of the Pharisees do the same; but yours eat and drink.” Jesus answered them, “Can you make the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, and when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast in those days.” And he also told them a parable. “No one tears a piece from a new cloak to patch an old one. Otherwise, he will tear the new and the piece from it will not match the old cloak. Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilled, and the skins will be ruined. Rather, new wine must be poured into fresh wineskins. And no one who has been drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.
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Reflection:
Can we discover the purity of a person heart by mere observance of tradition or ritual such as fasting? No because that is only an external show of one’s faith and what is external does not totally represent the inner being of an individual. For example if a person is always at church could we now say that he/she is holy? Of course not! We still need to know more about the person so that we could discover more about his/her character.

Jesus was questioned by the scribes and Pharisees, why His disciples were not fasting like them and the followers of John the Baptist. The simple answer of Jesus was they can’t fast yet because He is still with them.

Fasting is actually good because it cleans and purifies our bodies but what is the use of fasting if we continue to sin? What is the use of fasting if we just use it as our standard to judge others who are not fasting? What is the use the of fasting if there’s no inner transformation and conversion?

There is more to life than mere observance of self-serving laws and traditions such as fasting. Inner conversion is better than fasting, not having a self-righteous mindset is better than fasting. 

Understanding those who commit mistakes is better than fasting. Forgiving those who ask for our forgiveness is better than fasting. And most of all, a life spent together with Jesus is far better than fasting.- Marino J. Dasmarinas

Reflection for September 3, Thursday Saint Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church: 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:
What is it with Jesus that He can make ordinary fishermen to become fishers of men? This is for the reason that all things are possible with our Lord and Savoir Jesus Christ.

The encounter of Simon Peter and the other fishermen with Jesus by the lake of gennesaret is a magical and whirlwind encounter. It was an encounter that transformed their very lives! An encounter that moved them out of their own comfort zones so that they could follow Jesus.

We too have our own encounter/s with our Lord. We encounter Him through the celebration of the Eucharist/ Holy Mass. We encounter Him when we take time to read His very words in the bible. We encounter Him in the Sacrament of Confession and we encounter Jesus through the poor that we see everyday.

All of these encounters with Jesus are specifically designed to transform us. So that like Simon Peter and his companion of fishermen we too could be converted and become Jesus’ followers. Our every encounter with Jesus is always precious and magical. Let us therefore allow these encounters to purify and transform us.

Think about your latest encounter with Jesus, have you allowed that encounter to purify and transform you? – Marino J. Dasmarinas   

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Reflection for September 2, Wednesday of the 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 is. Why? Because Jesus derives strength from His communion with God. Do you also derive strength from God? Do you seek a communion with Jesus everyday?   

The beauty of always being in-touch with Jesus is you will never be lost in this world. You would 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 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Reflection for September 1, Tuesday of the 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:
Do you give time to read the words of Jesus in the bible? Many of us do not have time to read but when it comes to other worldly things we create time.

If only we would give time for Jesus we would certainly feel His authority and power working within us. How does the authority and power of Jesus work in us? Here’s a practical example, if during the time that you still don’t know Jesus you were temperamental. After discovering Jesus in your life you will now become calm and peaceful.

If before you are easily affected by sad events that come your way. Not so much anymore now for the simple reason that you already learned to surrender your life to Jesus. There are other true stories of transformed lives all because of Jesus.

But many have not yet experienced the power and authority of Jesus in their lives. So what are you going to do? You who have already experienced the transforming power and authority of Jesus! You have to lead them to Jesus, you have to encourage them to open and read their bibles.

You certainly will be blessed by Jesus if you do so. Perhaps not material blessing for its temporal and fleeting anyway. Perhaps Jesus would give you the gift of intellect and other blessings that is not seen. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Reflection for August 31, Monday of the 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:
Acceptance of somebody who achieved something is sometimes hard to accept for many of us. Most especially if we know the person and his/her background pretty well. We sometimes are unbelieving and scornful of them.

This behavior of non-acceptance happened also to Jesus when He went back to Nazareth, the town where he grew-up. Jesus’ town mates did not accept Him even if it was very obvious that he was very exceptional.

Their hearts were hardened already for Jesus. The worst part is they even tried to kill him. This is human behavior at its worst! But why is it that we can’t accept? There’s no other reason but pride, envy and arrogance.

Our pride, envy and arrogance will not bring us any good. It will only hasten our downfall! If we allow these negative emotions to rule our hearts no good will happen to us except self-destruction. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Reflection for Sunday August 30, Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time; Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

Gospel: Mark  7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands. —For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews do not eat without carefully washing their hands, keeping the tradition of the elders. And on coming from the marketplace they do not eat without purifying themselves. And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed, the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds. So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him, “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?” He responded, “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written: This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts. You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”

He summoned the crowd again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.

“From within people, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile.”
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Reflection:
A domineering husband was always critical of his wife, he would always create rules in their house for her to follow. The humble and often verbally abused wife would always follow but as years passed by she finally realized that she had enough. So she decided to permanently walk away from her arrogant husband.

Many of the Pharisees during Jesus time had that domineering attitude also, they were very strict with observing their many traditions and rituals. For example the washing of hands before eating meals, purifying oneself after going to the marketplace and they have countless more: They wanted these all to be observed.

In the gospel the Pharisees saw the followers of Jesus eating their meals without washing their hands. They therefore questioned Him: "Why did they not wash their hands first?" But as always Jesus knew about their motives, Jesus knew that they were only good with the external observance of their traditions. But deep inside them they were still the same arrogant and overbearing people who always push their weight around.

The problem with always being strict is it creates a division that  may produce a permanent wedge amongst individuals.  Jesus knew about this problem that's why he often times disregards the rules in favor of the welfare of the people. For Jesus it is first and foremost the welfare of His people before the observance of the traditions, it is first the interior cleansing before the exterior observance of the rituals.    

Strictness always results to alienation, division and permanent separation while compassion and understanding always results to love, healing and unity. Jesus would want us to always be compassionate, to always be understanding and to always be kind towards our fellowmen.

It's only through these acts of love and gentleness that we could become effective vessels of His teachings. – Marino J. Dasmarinas 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Reflection for August 29, 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:
Where does John the Baptist’s courage comes from? John’s courage emanates from God, he draws strength from God. It’s God who fuels John’s motivation to denounce the immorality of Herod and Herodias.

Faced with a very powerful man, John never thought of backing down. He stood his ground and simply followed the dictate of the Holy Spirit.

When faced with the same dilemma would we be able to stand our ground and look straight in the eyes those who are corrupt and immoral? Or those who are straying the right path? For example in your house if you sense that something is wrong with your spouse, would you pretend to see nothing and hear nothing? Of course not! You have to denounce it no matter what happens.

Many martyrs and saints of the church took the difficult path of John and like John they paid dearly for it. This is how it is when you are true to your discipleship with Jesus. You have to be ready to sacrifice a big part of your life so that evil will not triumph.

To do nothing, to pretend to hear and see nothing in spite of the obvious stench of immorality and other wrongdoings is evil. – Marino J. Dasmarinas