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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

August 30, 2011
SPEAK UP

“What kind of words are these? With authority and power this man gives orders to the evil spirits, and they come out.” – Luke 4:36

When I was in college, I was walking along a street in Manila and saw an old Caucasian man talking to a very young girl and her teenage brother. It appeared like the old man and the teenager were haggling. I wasn’t sure but something in my gut felt that they were bargaining over the price of the child. I felt bad I couldn’t do anything about it.
Looking back today, I know I should have spoken up against evil that day. I realize now that there was nothing to be shy or afraid about standing up against injustice, against people who abuse and disrespect human dignity. Someone said that for evil to triumph in this world, all you need is for good men to do nothing. I think evil endures when good men say nothing, when we keep quiet and tolerate it.
As children of the light, we have the duty to speak up when we see evil happening in our midst. Jesus gives us the same power and authority He exercises in today’s Gospel to stand up against the evil in this day through the sword of the Holy Spirit which is in our hands. Scripture gives us the power, wisdom and courage to stop darkness in its tracks. Marjorie Duterte (marjorie.travels@gmail.com)
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REFLECTION:
“When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me…” (Acts 1:8)

Father, fill me with Your Holy Spirit that I may have the strength and courage to confront evil and fight it for others’ sake. Amen.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How To Deal With Your Temper

By Bo Sanchez

Do you lose your temper quickly?
When you’re caught in traffic, do you lose your cool?
Do you have shouting matches with your spouse?
Do you yell at your kids often?
Do you use degrading language?
Do you not speak to people you’re angry with for days, weeks, or even months?
If your answer is “Yes” to some of these questions, then you have a problem with patience. And you need to hear what I’m going to say today.
Here’s my big message for you today: Impatience means you lack trust in God. Many times, you’re impatient because you take matters in your hands. If you want to be patient, learn to take matters into God’s hands. (If you don’t understand this yet, it’s okay. By the end of this article, you will.)
Let me tell you about two men who were blowing their top…
(To continue reading Bo's inspiring article, click here.)

Daily Bible Reflections

August 29, 2011
Memorial of Beheading of St. John the Baptist, martyr

LOST YOUR HEAD?

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. – Mark 6:20

The priest read through the story of St. John’s beheading at Mass. As he finished reading the passage, he said, “In the end everyone had lost their heads except John.”
He went through each of the figures in the story to see if we could relate with anyone.
Herod was the one with the most political power but he was careless with his decisions and had no backbone to live out his values. He even married his brother’s wife! Herodias, Herod’s wife, condemned herself as cunning, selfish and manipulative even to the point of making a child ask for what is evil.
Their daughter, who pleased Herod with her dance, lost her head by following someone else’s misguided decisions.
And lastly, even the executioner lost his head by putting a holy man to death.
Someone once said, “It’s easier to die for principles rather than to live up to them.” In John’s case, he was able to do both despite the hardships and all because of his love for God. Rod Velez (rod.velez@gmail.com)

REFLECTION:
There is a potential to do good in every situation. In every role we play in life, have we ever been ashamed to show that we are Christians?

Today, Lord, as in every day, I resolve to live my life according to Your Holy Will. May I always do what is pleasing in Your sight.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

DYING TO ONESELF

“You must forget yourself, carry your cross, and follow me…” – Matthew 16:24

Tears rolled down from my eyes as I humbly said, “Yes, Lord, I surrender to Your will.” God asked me to leave the group where He used me to build from nothing to something. He used me to nurture them. I shed tears and endured difficulties for them. We had a stormy, joyful journey together.
God showed me my problem in surrendering — my attachment and fear of the unknown future.
A week later, I was emailing our heads the details of the group, endorsing to the new head servant and others taking over the ministry. I had a hard time sending it. There was no backing out.
In my heart, I was sad. I was letting go of something precious to me. But I was happy. I obeyed God. And I’m excited for the new experiences I’ll have with Him and the people He called to join us.
Dying to oneself happens as we follow God. It’s difficult to lose ourselves and submit our will to His, but it’s a small price for living in His divine will, enjoying freedom from selfishness and trusting in God. We become great blessing to others! Ma. Luisa A. De la Cruz ma_luisa2004@yahoo.com)

REFLECTION:
What is it that you have to surrender to God now? Will you let go and let Him bless others through you?

Dearest God, please humble me and help me to detach so I can surrender to Your will for me.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

August 27, 2011
SMALL BEGINNINGS

His master said to him, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.” – Matthew 25: 21

The priest heard the commotion. He asked the sacristan to call back “his friend,” the cause of the ruckus, to stay on. After the Mass, he gave the ruffian his first catechism. A week later, Bartholomew Garelli returned with his companions to know God more and to play with his new friend.
That priest was St. John Bosco. His Salesians are all over the world. They bring the young to Jesus through education and play.
Great things come from small beginnings; a house is built brick by brick. Don Bosco started his ministry with one boy and now, countless kids benefit from his system.
Our life is our masterpiece for God, our greatest achievement for Him. Every good word we say, every good deed we do is a small step. Even when it seems that we fall and fail, we must rise up and persevere. Despite not noticing anything substantial, we must strive to become holy. Like Don Bosco, we start with small things — praying, not swearing and telling the truth — and keep at it.
When all these things add up, God will see His masterpiece that we have become. Jun Asis (mabuting.balita@gmail.com)
27
REFLECTION:
Are we growing tired of doing the small things for God? Are we too impatient with God’s masterpiece in us?

Lord, grant me the grace to walk each small step towards Your greatest masterpiece in me.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

August 26, 2011
THE BARGAIN

“Stay awake, because you do not know either the day or the hour.” – Matthew 25:13

As early as high school, Jed felt a calling to the priesthood. He was young, handsome, bright and popular, but even so, he made a bargain with God. He promised that at the age of 30, the same age when Jesus’ ministry began, he would consecrate his life to God.
Years passed, and with his promise always in mind, he made the best of his “freedom” by doing everything that made life exciting. He worked hard. He traveled. He partied. And he tried everything at least once.
The life he was living took a toll on him. When he came back home, he was very sick. At the age of 30, he did give up his life to God, not through consecration but by death.
I know that Jed found peace with God after he went through a lot of remorse and anguish. His experience should remind us to check our own priorities and how we are living our call.
Every day that we live is a gift that should be used wisely. Would Death find us ready when he comes knocking at our door?Cecil Lim (cez_lim@yahoo.com)
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REFLECTION:
“Few souls understand what God would accomplish in them if they were to abandon themselves unreservedly to Him and if they were to allow His grace to mold them accordingly.” (St. Ignatius of Loyola)

Lord, if Your people need me, I will not refuse the work. Your will be done. (St. Martin de Tours)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

August 25, 2011
FAITHFUL AND FRUITFUL

“Who then is the faithful and wise servant...?” – Matthew 24:45

You have two options in life. First: Enjoy now, endure later. Many, upon receiving salary or bonuses, immediately shop till they drop. They enjoy temporary bounty without the thought of tomorrow. When poverty comes, they endure the consequences as they sing: “I wish that I could turn back the clock….”
Second: Endure now, enjoy later! I want to belong to those who choose the latter. They work hard, save, invest and tithe. Their motto: Live today with tomorrow in mind. When they’re old, they enjoy life and generously help many.
Faithfulness works the same way. What God entrusted to us we must grow. To grow fruits, we must work on the roots.
Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar tells a story about the Chinese bamboo tree. From the time you plant it until its fourth year, it doesn’t show signs of growth. But on the fifth year, it finally sprouts and the tree grows up to 80 feet in just one season! During its “dormant” years, it was developing a root system to enable its long-term growth.
So faithfully sow your time, talent and treasure into the rich soil of God’s will. Endure sacrifices now and enjoy Godly prosperity later! Obet Cabrillas (kpreacherobet@gmail.com)
25
REFLECTION:
Do you practice delayed gratification?

Lord, may I be that servant whom You find doing Your will when You return.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

August 24, 2011
Feast of St. Bartholomew, Apostle
yes and no

“Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him.” – John 1:47

“Are you going to the party?” I asked a Caucasian friend regarding an occasion we were both invited to. “Yes, I’ll try,” he replied.
I laughed. The Filipino culture had rubbed off on this foreigner that he could not tell me straight that he had no intentions of going to the party.
“I’ll try” for the Filipino is a euphemism for “no.” Because of our non-confrontational culture or our nature of not wanting to embarrass another, we resort to masking our refusal with a positive response.
How different from what Jesus teaches us in the Gospel! In Matthew 5:37 He says, “Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one.”
When I learned about this aspect of Christian integrity, I strove to be truthful in what I say.
When I do not mean it, I don’t say it.
And if ever I do say it, then I do my best to keep my word.
Or at least, I try. Rissa Singson-Kawpeng(justbreatherissa@gmail.com)

24
REFLECTION:
Is your word your bond? Can people count on what you say?

Let the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart find favor before You, O Lord (Psalm 19:15).

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

August 23, 2011
GOD OR MAN?


Not as trying to please men, but rather God who judges our hearts. – 1 Thessalonians 2:4

“Bro. Danny, you cannot tell us to stop chewing betel nut because this has been our custom.”
A man was sharing his thoughts after the teaching I gave on “witnessing.”
In this foreign city where I work, the government has banned the selling and chewing of betel nut in public places. Chewing this nut is the favorite vice of majority of the population, much more popular than smoking. In my talk, I said that as Christians, we should obey authorities (Romans 13:1), and this includes obeying the laws they implement.
As a lay preacher, sometimes it crosses my mind not to speak words that my listeners might find “radical.” That afternoon was no different: The Spirit led me to speak against the chewing of the nut, to obey the laws and to be a good witness for Christ.
After the man stood in front to speak his mind, I took the floor again and said, “Yes, we are citizens of this country. We know its customs. But more than these, we are citizens of the Kingdom.”
This drew thunderous applause from the congregation.
I would rather please God, than men. Danny Tariman (danny@dtariman.com)
23
REFLECTION:
Have you passed up doing something right because you are afraid it might displease others?

Lord, I am sorry for the times that I have not stood up for You. Please give me strength to witness for You even in the most difficult situation.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

August 22, 2011
Memorial of the Queenship of the Virgin Mary

A MOTHER’S CALL


We give thanks to God always for all of you, remembering you in our prayers... knowing, brothers loved by God, how you were chosen. – 1 Thessalonians 1:2, 4

I found myself in church, seated at the back, staring at the image of the Blessed Mother. A small voice in my heart spoke to me. It felt like a gentle touch from heaven.
It was a time of spiritual darkness in my life. I was deep in sin and I didn’t have a clear direction in my life. Though I looked normal from the outside, I was dead inside. I did not want to approach God again. I tried more than once but I fell into sin over and over. I just gave up.
But that day, for some reason, I felt a different grace. I suddenly stood up, drove around and looked for a priest I could talk to and who would hear my confession. I found a saintly old priest who gave me Spirit-filled advice — unlike any other I’ve had in the past. Not long after that, a friend of mine invited me to a spiritual seminar. There, I accepted Jesus in my heart and received a renewal in the Holy Spirit. Life was never the same after that.
I am eternally grateful to Mama Mary who led me to my Savior. Ariel Driz (adriz77@yahoo.com)
22
REFLECTION:
Do you honor and love Mary as the Lord Jesus honors and loves her?

Lord Jesus, thank You for giving us Your mother to be our Mother. Grant me the grace to heed her voice and follow her example. Amen.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

August 21, 2011
The Mirror of God

“But who do you say that I am?” – Matthew 16:15

I admire those people who don’t really care what others say about them because it had been my problem for many years. I’d always get affected especially when people made unpleasant comments about me.
But one day, a wise friend of mine told me that being conscious of other people’s opinion of me is actually a good thing if I learn to look at it in the light of my relationship with God. This means I will have to make a conscious effort of ensure that others see God’s goodness in me.
As Christians, we represent Christ in our daily encounters with those around us. The way we relate with them is an extension of our personal relationship with God. The way we handle daily challenges reflects what we value most in life in relation to the teachings of Christ. God is calling us today to make Him known to others. What a better way to do this but to be a living witness of Christ in the way we live our lives — a mirror of God for others to see Him clearly shining through us. Jane Gonzales-Rauch (mjsg2468@yahoo.com)

REFLECTION:
Are we able to bring about positive influence to those around us? Do they experience God’s love and goodness through u

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

August 20, 2011
RELIGIOUS SCANDALS

“Do everything they tell you. But do not follow their example.” – Matthew 23:3

A parish priest baptizes an unmarried woman’s baby. It turns out that the priest is the father of the child. Shocking? The Catholic Church has been rocked with sex scandals in the past years. A number of preachers from other denominations have also figured in similar cases.
But what do you expect? These people are made of the same flesh and blood that we “mere mortals” are made of. Being “men of the cloth” doesn’t render them invincible to temptation. On the contrary, it makes them perfect targets for the evil one.
If we put our faith in our religious leaders, we will certainly be disappointed. Some people have even stopped going to church altogether because they got disillusioned with their spiritual head. But if we put our faith in the One who called these people, then we will never be let down. Only God is perfect. As long as we’re wrapped in this flesh and blood, we will always fail. Only Jesus survived this earth without sinning.
Yes, God has called these sinful people for His ministry. He can use these sinful people to spread the Gospel and bring His will to pass. That’s why He’s called God. Ronna Ledesma (ronnaledesma@email.com)
20
REFLECTION:
Let him who has no sin cast the first stone.

Lord, strengthen all our religious leaders against the wily tricks of the evil one.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

August 19, 2011
MY PAPA LOVED JESUS

“Wherever you go I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge, your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” – Ruth 1:16

Many people ask me why I became Catholic even though my father was Hindu. Well, my answer is plain and simple: because Papa made us feel that he loved Jesus even though he was not Catholic.
How did he love Jesus?
When I was six years old, my dad pointed out to me a crucifix. He said, “Arun, follow this God who died for you.”
During my first communion years later, to our surprise, my dad received communion, too.
Papa was so happy the day my mom, my older brother and I joined a Charismatic community.
He drove us to outreaches, missions and community activities. He picked us up anywhere when we came home late because of our ministry work.
He prayed with us.
He loved all those that Jesus loves.
We felt God’s love through him.
On his death bed, my Papa received the Sacrament of Baptism.
He loved Jesus.Arun Gogna (gognaa1@yahoo.com)
REFLECTION:
How willing are you to share and care for the people you love the most?

Jesus, Lover of my soul, please show me the people around me who need my love today.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

August 18, 2011
THE PROMISE

Jephthah made a vow to the Lord. – Judges 11:30

“Lord, I wanted so much to attend the out-of-town retreat. I pray that I may finish my pending work and that my boss would allow me to take a leave, with no questions asked. I will go to Mass for nine consecutive days as my sacrifice.” I made that prayer when I was still very new in the Charismatic Renewal. God answered my prayer as I fulfilled my part of the bargain. It was difficult for me for I was not a daily Mass goer.
In today’s first reading, Jephthah made a vow to God that if He would deliver the Ammonites into his hands, he would sacrifice whatever comes out of the door of his house to meet him after his return. He ended up sacrificing his only daughter.
During Moses’ time, vows made carried much force. In Numbers 30, Moses reminded the people that they have to keep their promises to God and to others. A broken vow meant a broken trust and a broken relationship. Jephthah fulfilled his vow even if it was foolish. Making spiritual “deals” with God may bring us disappointment and guilt when we are forced to fulfill them. God doesn’t want promises for the future, but obedience for today. Judith Concepcion (svp_jmc@yahoo.com)
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REFLECTION:
What “deals” have you made with the Lord lately? Remember that God cannot be bribed. What He needs from us is to obey Him.

Lord, forgive me for my arrogance during the times that I tried to manipulate You by making promises.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

August 17, 2011
BE HAPPY FOR OTHERS

“Are you envious because I am generous?” – Matthew 20:15

People are never satisfied with what they have. Those who are dark bleach themselves while fair ones go sunbathing. Those with curly hair get rebonds and those with straight hair get perms.
We are not satisfied with what we have because we compare ourselves with others.
I remember a classmate of ours named Jello, who used to be jealous of just about anything — from others’ looks down to the minutest details of life. She always had something to complain about — her dress, her grades, the teachers, etc.
She was the exact opposite of Adora, another classmate of ours, who was very easy to please. Of course, between them, we preferred to go with Adora as we found her adorable. (Ah, maybe that’s the reason why she’s named Adora, and Jello for jealousy.)
Years have passed since our graduation. During our reunion, we were quite surprised at how Jello has become the lady she was not. We later learned that she has joined a prayer community and has been very active since then. And that spelled the difference. Dr. Henry Yu (henrio_md@yahoo.com)
17
REFLECTION:
It is exhausting to be human sometimes because we’re never satisfied with anything. For always, we would want to have everything.

Lord, help us to accept and be happy with what we are and with what we have and never be envious of others. Grant us to be happy for others.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

August 16, 2011
leave it to him

The Lord answered, “You can do it because I will help you….” – Judges 6:16

Our prayer group decided to visit Anawim, a home for the abandoned elderly, in 2009. My wife and I used to be regular visitors there so we were requested to lead the event.
However, with just a few days before our scheduled visit, we still did not have a firm plan on what to do. I suggested to our pastoral leader that we just bring some food and talk with the elderly.
In the morning of our scheduled visit, I said a short prayer for God to be with us. We arrived at the site safely. We were able to bring some food for sharing with everyone. We shared stories with the elderly. We talked with the volunteers. We prayed in their chapel. And most of all we had fun!
We felt God’s guidance in all the things we did. We came there with no firm program and yet everything fell into place. We can truly do a lot of things because we have God by our side. Alvin Fabella (alvinfabella@yahoo.com)
16
REFLECTION:
Are you faced with a daunting task today? Just do it, pray for God’s help, and trust that God is with you.

Lord, take over all the plans I have for this day.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

August 15, 2011
WALKING BESIDE ME

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.” – Luke 1:46-47

I will never forget marching down the aisle 12 years ago, while the Magnificat was being sung by the choir. As I saw a sea of loving faces around me, my heart sang with them, “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in my Savior.…”
What better way to exalt God’s goodness on my wedding day than to sing Mama Mary’s canticle? What better place than in the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians? What better day than on the Feast of her Presentation, November 21?
As I met the man of my dreams, I had the song of Mama Mary in my heart. Borrowing her words, I felt one with her in gratitude for the many favors God has bestowed on a sinful, stubborn daughter like me.
I have been very blessed.
And throughout life’s journey, I know I have a Mother to share every single moment yet to come.
Whether I recognize it or not, she is there, walking beside me. Lallaine Gogna (lallygogna@yahoo.com)
15
REFLECTION:
How much do you value Mama Mary’s love and presence in your life? You are her child!

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you! And blessed I am because I have you.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

August 14, 2011
ONE GOD, ONE PEOPLE

For God delivered all to disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all. – Romans 11:32

“May you be saved,” read the text message that a listener sent while we were broadcasting live from the radio station. Our topic: the Blessed Virgin. The listener bombarded us with text messages, telling us that we should pray only to the one true God.
Our guest priest explained very gently why we Catholics honor the Mother of God and the saints. I was trying hard not to lash out at this person for having the audacity to imply that I (and all other Catholics) was doomed. Thankfully, I was able to voice out my thoughts in a friendly way.
Our God is a merciful God. Whether we’re Catholic, or Muslim, or Protestant, or Jewish, I believe that God, in His loving mercy and kindness, will save us when we ask Him to because we are all His.
The second reading today describes what kind of God He really is. His mercy is encompassing! Gentiles and Jews, He forgave. And because He is constant and faithful, from the beginning until this day, He is the same forgiving God.
Instead of fighting over the differences in our faith, let us recognize that we all come from one God, making us one people under heaven.Nova Arias (nova.svp@gmail.com)
14
REFLECTION:
How do we handle people who criticize us for our faith? Do we respond in a loving way?

Father in heaven, remind me that every person I meet is my brother and my sister so that I may treat them with love and respect.

Daily Bible Reflections

August 13, 2011
PROJECT: TABLE RUNNER

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” – Matthew 19:14

My 10-year-old son had a huge, life-changing, and generation-defining project: a newspaper table runner. His teacher’s objective was to strengthen the parent-child bond by getting them together to work on the project. Aside from the table runner, my son was required to submit photos documenting our “partnership.” Under the first photo, he wrote the caption: “First day of the job. Dad helped me out.”
There are times when helping the young with their mundane projects like table runners or with the more complex ones called life drains my physical, mental and emotional reserves. But I also learn valuable lessons:
• Some kids follow life in a straight line, while others zig-zag along life’s pathway. It’s best to “zig” with them in love and with courage.
• Young people need unconditional love because they live in a conditional world.
• Praying with them and reading God’s Word together work miracles.
• Young people need to develop a relationship with Christ that is based not on rules but on a deep love of Jesus.
Raising the young is not disturbance to our work. It’s our work. Jon Escoto (faithatworkjon@gmail com)

REFLECTION:
Has God placed young people in your life? Do the work, friend! “The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Father, teach me how to receive the young people as You did. Grant me patience, faith in them, and perseverance if I have to “zig” my way through their hearts.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

August 12, 2011
Pampered and Privileged

“I gave you a land which you had not tilled and cities which you had not built, to dwell in; you have eaten of vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.” – Joshua 24: 13

There are times when I feel so pampered by God.
Like that time I went to the USA with only $50 to my name. Plane fare and pocket money were C.O.D. (care of Daddy). Yummy food, comfortable places to stay in Chicago and LA, take-home gifts plus part of my tuition for a writing course at the University of Illinois were courtesy of my generous and loving cousins. My cousins’ community, where I attended prayer meetings, even gave me $20. I went home a couple of hundred dollars richer with that together with money sent by an uncle in Florida.
Another time, I needed parking space and thought of parking in front of a spa. I entered to ask about their packages so the guard wouldn’t shoo me away. I got a free massage and a discount card.
There are many other times when the Lord unzips the heavens and showers me with blessings I didn’t work for.
But it’s not just me. I see this scenario repeated in the lives of other people. Just goes to show what kind of a generous and loving God we have. Lella Santiago (mirellasantiago@yahoo.com)
12
REFLECTION:
There’s nothing we have done to deserve God’s love. His love is unconditional.

“For all You’ve given to me, for all the blessings that I cannot see. Thank You, Lord!” (from the song “Thank You, Lord”)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

August 11, 2011
FORGIVENESS COME TO LIFE

Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” – Matthew 18:21-22

“In a bare, white-walled cell in Rome’s Rebibbia prison, John Paul tenderly held the hand that had held the gun that was meant to kill him. For 21 minutes, the Pope sat with his would-be assassin....” This was Time magazine’s moving account of John Paul II’s momentous prison visit in 1983.
As I looked at the picture of Pope John Paul II embracing his gunman, with only tenderness and inner peace emanating from his face, I was teary-eyed. I realized that what I was looking at was no longer just a picture but the message of forgiveness come to life. Can a rape victim face her attacker and forgive him? Can a man forgive the drunk driver who killed his wife and child? Can a holocaust survivor forgive the prison guard who tortured her? By God’s grace, they did — they all forgave the ones who brought them the most pain. By that very same grace, we can forgive anyone anything.
Forgiveness may be difficult but not impossible to do. Just look at our beloved Pope John Paul II lovingly enfolding Agca in an embrace of forgiveness. Look to Jesus who forgave sinners as He hung on the cross. Dina PecaƱa (dpecana@yahoo.com)

11
REFLECTION:
Is there a sin more terrible than Christ’s death on the cross that God will never forgive?

Father, give us an abundance of Your grace to forgive all those who have done us wrong

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

August 10, 2011
Feast of St. Lawrence,deacon and martyr

A MEANS TO AN END

Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work. – 2 Corinthians 9:8

I’ve been serving the Lord since I was 13. But my ministry suddenly expanded a few years ago when Bo Sanchez invited me to be more involved in his mission of evangelization.
I didn’t have my own car, but three months after I came on board, the Lord led me to an 11-year-old car that was in great condition and within my budget. Then, invitations to preach, lead worship and give testimonies all over Metro Manila poured in. Sometimes, I’d have two talks in a day with meetings and activities in between. I would bring my laptop everywhere I went. Sometimes, I’d even have my percussion instruments because I also got invited to play for some events. I’d also have several outfits to suit the different events I was going to. Needless to say, it would be extremely difficult for me to get around with all my stuff if I didn’t have my own transportation.
This made me value my car so much more. I saw it not as a possession but as a means to fulfill my mission of bringing God’s Word to others. The Lord gave it to me right when I needed it most. Truly, when God calls us to do His work, He always equips us. George Tolentino Gabriel (george.svp@gmail.com)

REFLECTION:
Is there a higher purpose for the material blessings you’ve received?

Lord, help me to see every gift You’ve given me as a gift I can share with others.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

August 9, 2011
STEPPING UP

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” – Deuteronomy 31:8

At the start of 2009, my boss talked to me and told me he was making me his shadow. This meant that I would be able to experience and do the things he does for work, so I could prepare myself to be a team leader as well. At first it was OK, and I could do almost everything that was asked of me. However, when things started getting more difficult and inconvenient, I started resisting. Who said I wanted to do this, anyway?
I was resisting all the changes and responsibilities because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to live up to the expectations of the people around me. I was afraid that I would fail at being a leader, and seeing the huge amount of work my boss had to do every day was enough to discourage me from my career plans.
Six months passed and I was able to finish my shadow program successfully. Up to this day, I wonder how I was able to finish the program when half the time I wanted to give up. I know that despite all the hardships, God was with me the entire time, reminding me that He was with me every step of the way. Tina Matanguihan (tina.matanguihan@gmail.com)
9
REFLECTION:
Whatever situation you are in, remember that God is in control.

Jesus, may I never forget that You are with me in every step that I take.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

August 8, 2011
PAY YOUR TA XES!

“But that we may not offend them...” – Matthew 17: 27

I read my assigned verses for today several times, but I could not come up with a reflection. So I prayed, “OK, Lord, what will we write about?” Then I relaxed on my seat and listened to soft music coming from our radio.
Just then, the music stopped to give way to a news update on the Bureau of Internal Revenue. It explained some taxes and who should pay them. I straightened up. Didn’t I just read Matthew’s verses about Jesus asking Peter who should pay taxes? Coincidence? Or was it God telling me, then and now, that those required to pay taxes should do so?
It is never easy to pay our taxes, especially when we are not sure that we really should be paying such taxes. But Jesus was sure He shouldn’t be paying taxes. He knew He was a “subject” not of this world, but of the Kingdom of God. Yet He instructed Peter to pay their taxes. But, take note: Jesus made a miracle to produce the tax payment — apparently to prove what His citizenship really was.
Well, we lesser mortals can’t always have miracles, can we? On second thought, if God helped me write this piece, couldn’t He help me pay my taxes? Cynthia Santiago (boses2go@gmail.com)
8
REFLECTION:
Have faith and pray for a miracle during tax payment time!

Lord, I praise You as a God of Wonders, in all my circumstances.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

August 7, 2011
SAVE ME, LORD!

He was afraid and started to sink down in the water. “Save me, Lord!” he cried. – Matthew 14: 30

I am living my best life now. Yes, I really am! But only because Jesus saved me. When I was a child, my parents separated. It shattered me and my brothers, and it deeply affected us. I was sinking. But I must have cried then, “Save us, Lord. Save me, Lord!” God heard my cry. He saved me. And He would do it again and again.
When I started a family of my own, it went well at the start. But an avalanche of problems and trials came. We lost our firstborn twins. Our family business was collapsing. We were deep in debt. My marriage was in serious trouble. And the last straw was I was diagnosed with an illness that would kill me in months.
Through all these I cried again and again, “Save me, Lord! I’m drowning.” And over and over again, Jesus pulled me up. He saved me not because of, but despite of who I am! At times I would even hear Him say, “What little faith you have.” Yet, more often I’d feel His embrace as He says, “Trust in My love. I will never let you down.”
Now, I stand taller and stronger — with my family, my ministry and my businesses — but again, only because Jesus saved me! Alvin Barcelona (kpreacheralvin@gmail.com)
7
REFLECTION:
Do you feel that you are sinking now? Drowning? Dying? Cry out to the Lord. He hears you.

Save me, Lord! Pull me up. I take Your hand. I hold on tight. And will never let go of You again. Amen.

Daily Bible Reflections

August 6, 2011
Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord

SHE HEARD IT IN HER HEA RT

Moreover, we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. – 2 Peter 1:19

A career-driven person, Beth (not her real name) felt disappointed with herself when, after giving birth to her second child, she lacked the drive to work. Her marriage, too, was breaking apart.
When Beth was still single, she was very devoted to the Eucharist and active in parish work. That stopped when she got married. Even Sunday Masses took a backseat as her work required her to travel. She felt guilty. She sensed that the Lord wanted her back. She came to me for counseling. After allowing her to articulate her thoughts and feelings, and a little processing, we ended the session and agreed to meet again after a week. She resolved to give more time to God.
Days after that, I saw Beth frequenting the adoration chapel.
And then the unexpected happened. A few hours before we were to meet again, Beth died. She was rushed to the hospital because she couldn’t breathe due to asthma.
What she felt was right — that the Lord wanted her back, truly back in His arms. Good thing she listened to the voice in her heart. We all need to. Tess V. Atienza (svp_tvatienza@yahoo.com)
6
REFLECTION:
In the silence of your heart, what do you hear?

Lord, give me an open heart that listens to what You are saying to me. Help me to heed Your message.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

August 5, 2011
DENYING ONE’S SELF

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” – Matthew 16:24

Four months after we got married, my husband and I finally found an apartment which we immediately grabbed because of its very affordable rate. It was near the church, school, market, municipal hall and very accessible to public transportation.
Little did we know that the apartment we transferred to was in an area where you’d have to pass through a narrow alley, where neighbors regularly hold drinking sprees at night and where you sometimes wake up at dawn from the shouts of drunkards fighting.
I felt that living there was denying myself of the ease and comfort of living with my parents in a clean, peaceful and decent residential area in Quezon City where I grew up.
Nonetheless, I shrugged off my concerns and discomforts. Rather, I focused on the joy of our discovering each other as we lived on our own. Obeying the precepts of Jesus for marriage, I knew that loving and serving my husband was my primary concern then. Sol Saura (sol_saura@yahoo.com)
5
REFLECTION:
Are you prepared to abide by the conditions of following Jesus?

Lord, I want to be Your disciple. I take You as my Master. Teach me to obey Your precepts.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

August 4, 2011
FAITH IS A GIFT

“You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” – Matthew 16:16

I have a good friend who is Australian and is a self-confessed atheist. We talk about everything under the sun but carefully avoid the subject of religion.
Finally, one day, the great debate came. My friend was curious about heaven and my faith, and engaged me in an argument of logical reasoning. After years of quiet tolerance for fear of appearing uncool or being mocked, I spoke up.
I explained that faith is like the air that we breathe — you can’t see it but it doesn’t mean it’s not there. I could no longer hide who God is to me and what He means to me. It was a great relief to bravely acknowledge before an unbelieving friend that there is a God and that Jesus is the Son of the living God!
My friend and I are still friends. Although he still struggles with the idea, he acknowledges that faith is a gift, and it is the duty of those who have it to share it with others. I continue to pray that one day his heart will be open to receiving the greatest gift of all, that is, the love and knowledge of Jesus Christ, our Savior.Marjorie Duterte (marjorie. travels@gmail.com)

4
REFLECTION:
It doesn’t matter what other people think of me. What matters is what God thinks of me and what I think of Him.

Dearest Father, may I always acknowledge Your presence before others. It is because of You that all things exist. You are holy. Glory be unto You now and forever. Amen.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

August 3, 2011
SOLID GROUND

“O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” – Matthew 15:28

We Filipinos are well-known for being a happy bunch. Sure it could be a cultural coping mechanism on our part but, on a deeper level, I wouldn’t hesitate to say that it’s because of our faith.
I say that because, on a personal level, it is that faith that keeps me going even when I have trials and challenges.
Think about it. What would you do today if you didn’t have faith? Would you continue doing what you’re doing? Would you seek to be kind to people around you? Would you even want to live?
I have come to treasure this faith so much, this undeserved gift that I so often take for granted. Because when everything is dark and I feel like I’m just hanging on a thread, I get reminded of Hebrews 11:1: “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” And life becomes simpler. Yes, I can and will put my hope in the Lord and His good plans for me.
And though it sometimes takes much effort, I get back on solid ground. Joy Sosoban (jsosoban@gmail.com)
3
REFLECTION:
“Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us… persevere in running that race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:1, 2).

Strengthen my faith, oh Lord. Enable me to hold on to You.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What Will Matter

By Francis Kong

Michael Josephson of Character Counts says something that is so sobering. He says:

Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end. There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours, or days. All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame, and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.
So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire.
The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won't matter where you came from or what side of the tracks you lived on at the end.
It won't matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.
Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.
So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built; not what you got(,) but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success, but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage, or sacrifice that enriched, empowered, or encouraged others to emulate your example.
What will matter is not your competence, but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you're gone.
What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live in those who loved you.
What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom, and for what.
Living a life that matters doesn't happen by accident. It's not a matter of circumstance, but of choice. Choose to live a life that matters.
How true this is. And Michael Josephson gives us reasons to think.

Have you ever seen aged people in wheelchairs, have you ever seen people in Intensive Care Units, have you ever visited a graveyard?

All the striving, all the achieving, all the awards, recognitions and applause forgotten and what is left will be raw essence.

The raw essence of character built over the years.

I have seen aged people so inspiring they are still inspiring others.

I have seen medically challenged people still reaching out to others and encouraging others even in the midst of their own pains.

I have also seen some rich and powerful people living in their twilight years yet still exuding with the raw essence of greed and selfishness.

I have also seen people in their deathbed still defiant, stubborn and controlling.

At the end of the day and perhaps towards the end of our life’s journey, what will matter is our character.

How do we build our character?

Live a Christ-like life. Read His Words, do what He says regardless of what you currently believe or do not believe. Trust in Him to change you and build you to become the person He wants you to be.

Then you will begin to know Him better. Experience Him better and you become better. Test this and see how the character is built in the process.

Daily Bible Reflections

August 2, 2011
Oh, Me, of Little Faith!

But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened... – Matthew 14:30

Many times in my life, God has called me to step out in faith and walk on water, just like Peter.
Resigning from my demanding and high-paying job two months after I got married was one of them. I felt God was calling me to prioritize building our family over pursuing my career. So with all the courage in our hearts, my husband and I decided that I’d stop working full-time.
Fear, however, started to grip my heart after I left my job. I started thinking, “Could we really afford to pay all our bills with only my husband working? How about the equity and monthly amortization of our newly acquired home? Could we afford to have a child at this time?”
I started to “sink” in my doubts and fears. But God saved me from drowning further in my doubts and fears by dispelling them with His love and His timely provisions.
He gave my husband a new and better paying job. God also took care of all our financial concerns and provided for us in ways beyond our imagination. Like He said, “It is I; do not be afraid.”Teresa Gumap-as Dumadag (teregmps@yahoo.com)
2
REFLECTION:
What causes me to be frightened at this time of my life?

Lord Jesus, save me from sinking in the sea of doubts and fear.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

August 1, 2011
Key to God’s Supply Room

“Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.” – Matthew 14:17

“Lord, thank you for giving us a nice parking slot.” You might think I’m crazy for disturbing God for something as silly as a parking space. But I believe He doesn’t mind if it’s a parking space or a few million dollars. Because I have the key to His supply room: trust.
Two years ago, we created a five-year plan for Anawim, our ministry for the abandoned elderly. I told my team I wanted to build five new houses in five years. I figured that’s how long it would take for us to raise the needed money. God must have heard us planning that day — and laughed. Because what I thought would take five years, God supplied in three months. I’m not kidding.
Five friends told me they’d be donating one building each, costing one million pesos a piece. Amazing! But then I had another problem. Anawim wasn’t ready to sustain the additional number of elderly we’d be accommodating. It would take a few millions more for their food, medicines and the staff needed!
What should I do? Walk into God’s supply room and get what I need. You should learn to do this, too, for all your needs.
Keep giving in faith. And keep asking in faith. Bo Sanchez (bosanchez@kerygmafamily.com)
1
REFLECTION:
How big is your trust?

Lord, help me to trust that with You, all things are possible.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Daily Bible Reflections

July 31, 2011
IN THEIR SHOES

Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” – Matthew 14:16

Many events I covered in the past as a reporter included tragedies, deaths, fatal accidents and killings. I did my best to get the job done — interview people, know the facts and get all the sides. But there came a point when I became desensitized. I would ask mourning interviewees or traumatized victims questions with the right words and appropriate tone but I couldn’t feel for them anymore.
This bothered me. I prayed for compassion so I could feel again how it was to be in their shoes and be able to minister to them. In today’s Gospel, Jesus wanted His disciples to also learn compassion. They saw the crowd and asked Jesus to tell them to go home because they couldn’t feed them. But Jesus wanted the disciples to realize that these people had waited long hours, ready to stay put for days to listen to Him. It just wouldn’t be right to send them away.
Jesus wanted His disciples to give what they had even if they think it wasn’t enough because He could multiply what they had. This the disciples witnessed with the five loaves and two fish that fed thousands. Carlo Lorenzo (carloflorenzo@yahoo.com)
31
REFLECTION:
Do I lack compassion? Am I just doing my job but my heart does not go out to the people around me? Do I hold back in giving because I feel inadequate?

Father, let Your Spirit search the deepest parts of me. Tell me what I lack. Fill me with confidence to give even when I think I’m not enough.

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