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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

March 30, 2011

The Goliath Slayer

“For what great nation is there that has God so close to it as the Lord, our God?” – Deuteronomy 4:7

There was a proverbial sword of Damocles over their heads for the last nine months. Anytime, our employees could lose their jobs because the equipment that we had been renting was being auctioned. Our employees were not young and would have limited job opportunities after this employment. We had led them to pray that the banks approve our huge loan and that the owner decide to award the bid to us as the incumbent operator. But they added something more to their prayers.
They had foregone a summer outing, the budget of which had already been approved at the start of the year. They had offered it as a form of fasting for God to overcome our mammoth obstacle. When the announcement came that there was a failure of bidding and that their employment would not be affected, they decided to spend their “outing” budget to attend a spiritual conference.
At the Kerygma Conference, they met the Giant that faced and overcame their Goliath-like obstacles. The conference reinforced their belief that God is bigger than any problem in their lives.Rolly EspaƱa (rnespana@nwineskin.com)

REFLECTION:
Do you have insurmountable obstacles in your life? Defer to God and mountains become ant hills.

You are the God of the Impossible and I pray to You in all circumstances of my life.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

March 25, 2011
Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

SOMETHING ABOUT MARY

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” – Luke 1:38

A boy from the Kids Ministry handed me a picture and asked, “Tito, where is Mama Mary in this picture of the Last upper?” “Hmmm… I guess she’s not there,” I replied. “She’s there! She’s a mom and follows Jesus anywhere!” he insisted. The kid was a theologian! “I give up!” I said. He replied, “She took the picture.”
Makes sense. Mary as a mom is willing to work behind the stage. She’s the wind beneath Jesus’ and our wings. Let’s use the acronym M-A-R-Y to spell that out:
Mary is Ministering. After the Annunciation, she visited her cousin Elizabeth and served her. Mary just loved to serve. Mary is Affectionate. She loved God, prayer, God’s Word, silence, meditation, people, Jesus… the list is unending.
Mary is Responsive. Obedience delayed is disobedience. Upon receiving the angelic message, she prevailed over internal obstacles (her pregnancy) and outer obstacles (the hill country of Judah), just to obey the Lord.
Mary is Yielding. She had forgone the call to virginity and accepted Motherhood for Jesus; comfort for service; silent contemplation to passionate praises in her Magnificat. Obet Cabrillas (kpreacherobet@gmail.com)

REFLECTION:
Is my devotion to Mama Mary a fanaticism or imitation?

Mother of Christ, I’ll pass the stormy sea... When the tempest is o’er, you will stand on the shore. And show Him at last to me. (Mother of Christ song)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

March 18, 2011

DREAM EATER

And if the virtuous man turns from the path of virtue to do evil… he shall die. – Ezekiel 18:24

In one episode of the cartoon series, Hello Kitty, there was a small creature whose mission was to eat bad dreams of children so they would have happy dreams. This creature knew that when he has eaten 100 dreams, he would become a grown-up. Since he couldn’t wait to become one, he devoured every dream. At first, he ate the bad dreams but later, he shifted to eating the good ones for he found that good dreams tasted yummy. Because of this, the children’s good dreams turned into nightmares. When the dream eater ate his 100th dream, he suffered from a severe stomach ache because he ate what he wasn’t supposed to eat.
In today’s first reading, the Lord said through the prophet Ezekiel that the man who follows and lives by God’s statutes will live; otherwise, he dies. In my previous story, the dream eater initially did the right thing — eat bad dreams. But when he strayed by eating good dreams, he suffered.
We will be judged by God individually according to our actions. If we go against God’s laws, we suffer from spiritual death. But if we recognize our sinfulness, repent and turn back to God, then we will live. Judith Concepcion (svp_jmc@yahoo.com)

REFLECTION:
Do you always want to have it your way? Don’t be selfish but be selfless.

Teach me, Lord, how not to be self-centered that I may always put others’ needs above my selfish desires.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

March 11, 2011

TRUE FASTING

“The kind of fasting I want is this: Remove the chains of oppression and the yoke of injustice and let the oppressed go free.” – Isaiah 58:6

When I was younger, I used to dread the season of Lent. People seemed sad and sometimes irritable, perhaps a result of hunger pangs. As I grew mature in my faith, I started to look forward to Lent and saw how beautiful a time it truly was. It is a special time to draw closer to God and get to know Him more deeply. Controlling our physical desires creates the space and time we need to be with Him in prayer.
In truth, Lent is a spiritual feast, a time to receive special graces and to grow in virtue as we spend more time with the Lord .
I also realized that the money we save from fasting from things or food we like should be used to feed the hungry, to share with those who are in need, to bring them closer to God by caring for them so that they may know that God loves them, too.
Indeed, God is clear in the kind of fasting that He desires from us: “Share your food with the hungry and open your homes to the homeless poor. Give clothes to those who have nothing to wear and do not refuse to help your own relatives.” (Isaiah 58: 7). Lent, like Christmas, is a time to love! Marjorie Ann Duterte (marjorie.travels@gmail.com)

REFLECTION:
Does my fasting lead me to love God and my neighbor?

Jesus, as we journey with You in Your suffering, help us to love the Father and our brother like You do. Amen.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

March 10, 2011

YOUR CHOICE

“Here, then, I have today set before you life and prosperity, death and doom.” – Deuteronomy 30:15

Someone who belonged to a conservative church once asked a guest preacher, “Brother, how much makeup should a Christian woman wear on her face if she really loves the Lord?” The preacher answered, “I don’t know, it depends on her face.”
One thing I’ve learned about giving advice is — as much as possible — we’re not supposed to tell the person what to do outright. We give them choices, explain the options, help shed light on what may happen if they choose this or that, and let them decide in the end. Ultimately, the choice is theirs.
God has made it very clear: the price of sin is death; following Him leads to eternal life. When we obey His commands, we are simply walking the path that leads to heaven — the path set for us in the first place. But when we choose sin, we step off that path and take another road — one that leads to death. He longs so much for us to be with Him that He set it up this way. But He also respects our free will and won’t force us to choose Him. Ultimately, it’s our decision. George Tolentino Gabriel (george.svp@gmail.com)

REFLECTION:
Are you faced with a choice today? Which option leads to life, which one leads to destruction?

Lord, open my eyes to the possible consequences of my future actions. Help me to always make the best decision.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

March 9, 2011

LENT

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. – 2 Corinthians 5:21

When I was a child, I used to dread Ash Wednesday. It usually meant more than a month of not being able to eat meat on Fridays, giving up something I really like — chocolates, colored drinks, TV — as a sacrifice for the season. Holy Week was even more grueling: no good TV shows, I wasn’t allowed to stay out late to play, and all our Holy Week traditions.
But as I grew up and got to know God better, I found myself learning to appreciate Lent more. I used to think Advent and Christmas mattered more, but now I know that Christmas is just the start of the story. Lent, with Holy Week and Easter, is not only the climax, but the ending as well. What we remember and celebrate during Lent is the crux of our belief. Lent reminds us of how much God loved us by letting His only Son die in our place to save us from our sins.
Today is Ash Wednesday and it marks the start of the Lent. May this season be a meaningful one for all of us. Tina Matanguihan (tina.matanguihan@gmail.com)

REFLECTION:
“Ash Wednesday is our reminder to celebrate the mysterious mercy of a God who would love us this much.” (Liz Kelly)

Lord, help me to see You in this Lenten season.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

March 4, 2011

BEG GOD!

Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. – Mark 10:46

I have never yet sat in a corner to beg for alms. But I remember one time in college or high school — I’m not sure when and why — I went to a parish rectory and asked for transportation money. That was embarrassing enough for me.
The term “beg” implies desperation and recklessness, as though you’re caught in a corner and you have no choice but to ask without shame. There’s another angle to the word though, and I think it’s the hope and faith that you have when you beg. I wouldn’t have chosen to go to a parish rectory if I had not thought they were not more open to giving than if I just asked someone on the street.
Many spiritual writers say begging is one of the best postures to take when we come before the Lord. We must not forget that when we beg the Lord, He always wants to restore us to dignity, unlike how the world operates.
So in prayer, let us be beggars — coming before a kindly and generous King and Father. Joy Sosoban (jsosoban@gmail.com)

REFLECTION:
Are you afraid to come before God and to beg Him in prayer?

Thank You, Lord, that You are always there waiting for me.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Life Inspirations

March 2, 2011

THE DESIRE FOR ETERNAL LIFE

We see in the desire of James and John something unbecoming of a true disciple. A disciple’s reward is doing what his Master tells him to do, not seeking to gain favors from him. It is no wonder that the other disciples become incensed when they find out about the request of James and John. However, Jesus, in His infinite wisdom, is able to defuse the situation by refusing to entertain the brothers’ request and secondly by using the incident and response of the others as the basis for a teaching.
Jesus assures them all that anyone who desires to be first must willingly place oneself last. What does this mean? The desire for honors is the desire for leadership and attention. Jesus tells the disciples that leadership comes with a cost, one that is probably initially surprising to the group. Leadership is all about service. The disciples will come to understand this much better after the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Jesus’ response to James and John is to question their willingness to serve and thus lay down their lives. If I were one of the brothers, I think I would be fairly ashamed about what I had done at this point. By expressing their desire for favors the brothers are ultimately saying that they deserve better than the rest, perhaps even setting themselves up over the others in their own eyes. Jesus does not follow their line of reasoning and comes back to the crucial question: It is not at all a matter of what someone deserves (because we all deserve to be judged and condemned for our sins), but how fully a person is willing to serve his brother or sister. This is what the Kingdom of God is all about, laying down one’s life in the service of the people of God. James will do this in the ultimate manner when he is martyred for the sake of the Gospel.
As we seek to find our own places within the plan of God for everything, we can be pretty sure that it will contain some very difficult sacrifices.Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL

Reflection Question:
How serious am I in trying to discover God’s will for my life? Do I try hard enough to achieve this goal?

Jesus, You have revealed to us the love of God, our Father. Help us to always put first His plan for the salvation of all.

Sts. Jovinus & Basileus, pray for us.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

March 2, 2011

Servant Leader

“But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.”– Mark 10: 43-44

Have you ever heard of a president of a company going down on his knees in order to shine the shoes of his employees?
This is a president of a company that generates millions of dollars and enjoys steady increases in their annual sales since it opened more than 60 years ago, operates more than 1,400 outlets and employs more than 50,000 people.
The president engages in such a powerful form of gesture to inspire his people in providing a genuine sense of customer service.
I always thought that being on top meant telling people what to do, when to do it and how to do it. But Christ showed me a different path to greatness — to be a source of blessing to every person and situation that life gives me.Orange Garcia (orange_garcia@hotmail.com)

REFLECTION:
How do you intend to bless the people that you come in contact with today?

Lord, I pray for a heart filled with genuine service so that they may see You in me.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

PLANT IN THE SPRING

Daily Bible Reflections
March 1, 2011

Give to the Most High as he has given to you, generously, according to your means. – Sirach 35:9

When I watched the replay of Manny Pacquiao’s victory over Ricky Hatton, I recalled the great quote by Jim Rohn. He said, “You must be good in either two things: planting in the spring or begging in the fall.”
From Monday to Saturday, Manny starts training from 5:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Manny is a winner because “he plants during spring.”
I am not Manny, but the stage is my ring. When it comes to my talks for The Feast, I “overtrain.” I read a ton of books just to give one single talk. For many days, I’d labor over it, crafting my message, selecting the right stories, choosing and re-choosing the right adjectives and adverbs, rehearsing my entire talk over and over again — until I can give my talk in my sleep.
Why do I “overtrain” in my talk preparation?
Because I love my audience.
Because they deserve the best.
Because I can’t give nothing than my best to God, the One who anointed me with the gift to preach.Bo Sanchez (bosanchez@kerygmafamily.com)

REFLECTION:
What’s your boxing ring? How can you overtrain to win for God?

Dearest Father, may I be like Your Son, Jesus, who gave nothing but the best for You in His life.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

February 28, 2011

21st CENTURY MARTYRS

“For man it is impossible but not for God.”– Mark 10: 27

Evangelizing Muslims is an “impossible task” in the eyes of several Christians I’ve talked with. Statistics I’ve read show little effort to bring the Gospel to our Muslim brothers.
In my six years of active parish ministry, we have only one case of baptism of a Muslim convert.
“Is the spread of Islam unstoppable? Are Muslims unreachable?” So concludes the introduction of the book, A Friend of Ishmael. The book narrates the episodes of Christians who had the passion to introduce Jesus Christ to our Muslim brothers. They are modern-day saints and martyrs who “dared to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ into the heart of radical Muslim” in Afghanistan, Iraq, Cyprus, Sudan and the Philippines.
Many of them suffered imprisonment and died as martyrs. But they succeeded in bringing the love of Jesus to them and organizing Christian churches among Muslims.
What seems impossible is not impossible after all! Not by men but through His Spirit!Cristy Galang (cristy_cc@yahoo.com)
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REFLECTION:
How much passion do I have in bringing Jesus to others? Do I shy away from evangelizing them?

Free me, Lord, from a lukewarm spirit. Mold me and use me to bring Your love to others especially to those whom I tend to think are impossible to minister to. Amen.

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