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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - June 30,2013

BREAKING RULES

 
But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh... For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” – Galatians 5:13-14
 
While riding in a taxi cab in another country, I was reviewing with my three-year-old daughter the meaning of the colors on the traffic light. We together exclaimed, “Green means... go! Red means... stop!” And just as we approached the intersection, the yellow light flashed, and our driver sped away. I jokingly said, “Yellow means... go faster!” My daughter was perplexed. I assured her afterwards that what she knew was correct — yellow means “slow down.” I had to explain to her that the driver wasn’t following the rules.
       People break rules because they know they won’t get caught. People break rules thinking that what they do does not affect those around them. But rules are made for our own good, and for the good of those around us. Some rules are laws that govern how we conduct ourselves in public. Some rules are unspoken, but deal with matters of the heart. In big and little things, in the office, in school, on the road, or in our homes, let us choose to use our freedom to do what is right, and take each chance we get to love others the way God wants us to. Geraldine G. Catral (teachergeegee@yahoo.com)
 
Reflection: Today, in what ways will you love your neighbor as you love yourself?
 
O Lord, help me to serve and love those around me just as You want me to. Holy Spirit, help me to always choose what is pure, and good, and right. Amen.
 
The First Martyrs of the Church of Rome, pray for us.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - June 28,2013


THE DECLARATIONS

 
And then a leper approached, did him homage, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I will do it. Be made clean.” – Matthew 8:2-3
 
Outcast. That’s his name. During his time, this leper guy was not just sick. He himself was the disease of society. Hopeless and lonely were synonyms for him. While other sick people were cared for by their loved ones, nobody wanted to be near this dude.
       That’s why when he declared what Jesus can do to his life, Jesus piped back with a counter declaration, “Of course! I’m  willing! Be clean!” My heart can even hear Jesus continue, “Today is the day you are stepping into a new season of your life. The rest of your life will be the best years of your life. You’ve been buried in this sickness for so long, but this is not your home. The treasure called ‘you’ is coming out. I’m calling forth the dreams I’ve planted in your heart — the gifts, the talents, even the untapped potential that I created you with — to come back to life.”
       “You can overcome all obstacles. You can prosper amidst difficulty. You can be joyful amidst trials. You can recover from a fall. You can be all God created you to be.”
       If these sound familiar, it’s because these are God’s declarations for you, too! Jon Escoto (faithatworkjon@gmail.com)
 
Reflection: How do you feel as you read God’s declarations for you?
 
Jesus, give me grace to have faith in the faith You have in me.
 
St. Irenaeus, bishop and martyr, pray for us.
 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - June 27,2013


TOO MUCH INITIATIVE

 
Sarai said to Abram: “The Lord has kept me from bearing children. Have intercourse, then, with my maid; perhaps I shall have sons through her.” – Genesis 16:2
 
It was an expensive sport shirt brand from the 70s that had an  embroidered logo of a face with a moustache and one eye. A guy who had that new shirt told his maid to take extra care in handling it. The maid obeyed and washed it carefully. But when she was about to iron it, she panicked when she saw that there was only one eye. She thought the other eye had gotten washed off! Instead of telling her boss about it, she did what she thought was best — she embroidered another eye!
       Isn’t that what we do sometimes? We have the best intentions but later on, we end up doing more damage than good. Take Sarah, for example. She gave her slave Hagar to Abraham in her desire to have an offspring. It was taking too long for God to fulfill His promise, so she took matters into her own hands and did the next best thing. But the next best thing is never good enough. This offspring, Ishmael, known as the Father of the Arabs, became the perpetual enemy of the Israelites.
  Only God can give the best. Ronna Ledesma (ronna_ledesma@yahoo.com.ph)
 
Reflection: Hell isn’t merely paved with good intentions; it’s walled and roofed with them. Yes, and furnished too. (A.Huxley)
 
Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me... (Psalm 25:4)
 
St. Cyril of Alexandrea, bishop and doctor ofthe Church, pray for us.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - June 25,2013


FALLING OUT

 
So Abram said to Lot: “Let there be no strife between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are kinsmen.” – Genesis 13:8
 
Just last night when I was out partying with college friends, I learned that a popular bar across our party venue happened to be the brainchild of one of our friends. He put it up with his brother, and it became a hit. However, he is no longer connected with the  establishment because he had a falling out with his brother.
       Time and again we hear of money and business destroying family relationships and friendships. My mother once warned me to never get into business with relatives and closest friends. “That’s the beginning of conflict,” she said. But there are many successful family corporations around, as well as businesses run by friends.
       When do conflicts arise then? When pride, greed and envy step in.
       Abram’s words to Lot in the chosen verse above reflect that he valued family relations. And this story shows us that relationships are more valuable than any material wealth that we possess. Between material possessions and relationships, may we keep in mind that the latter is irreplaceable. Nova Arias-Sevilla (nova.svp@gmail.com)
 
Reflection: Do you have conflicts with family or friends about money? How can you resolve this peacefully?
 
Everything that we possess belongs to You, Father. Let these blessings be a source of unity among us, and not of division. Amen.
 
Blessed Jutta of Thuringia, pray for us.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - June 24,2013


Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist
 

NAME TAGS

 
He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name.” – Luke 1:63
 
I remember a classmate of ours named Jun who projected a strange image as far as we were concerned. We would call him “the exception to the rule,” a different kind of personality, a deviant, a weirdo and not a PLU (Person Like Us).
       We later found out the reason for his attitude and behavior: he was label-conscious. Being the eldest and the only son in a brood of five children, he was brought up and trained to be a strong man at all times — to speak with authority, to walk upright, to be inflexible as a bamboo and to not cry.
       Yes, we found out all these things. But it was too late because we discovered these at the funeral parlor where his body laid in state.
       In today’s Gospel, relatives disapproved of the name that Elizabeth and Zechariah wanted to give to their son because none of their relatives had that name. But the couple chose to follow the Lord’s leading instead of caving in to pressure.
       In the final analysis, we really don’t have to live up to what people think of us. What matters is what God says. Dr. Henry Yu (henrio_md@yahoo.com)
 
Reflection: We are all God’s children and are each called by Him in a special way. We are not meant to be a xerox copy of somebody else. We are made in the image of God and we are meant to live up to that.
 
Father, remind us not to tailor our lives according to labels and name tags but to live up to the name that You gave us.
 
St. John the Baptist, pray for us.

Daily Bible Reflections - June 23,2013


GOD’S CHILDREN

 
Through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus. – Galatians 3:26
 
With my highly idealistic and romantic nature, I used to see every member of the opposite sex as a potential boyfriend. I met one potential after another and had a relationship with a couple of them when I was close to my ideal marrying age. But both didn’t last. What followed was terrible heartache.
       Then three years ago, I started to actively seek for a future spouse. But before 2010 ended, I got a message that I was to consecrate the following year to God, so I focused on my career instead.
       I got the breakthrough I was praying for, as I managed to write articles for an inspirational magazine almost every month. On some months, two or three of my articles were published in a single issue. The magazine also won a highly-coveted award for the first time.
       Just when my year of consecration was almost over, I met a brother in Christ. This time around, I saw him as a potential friend first, probably because his sister and sister-in- law are my friends. Six months after we first met, I knew he was The One I’ve been patiently waiting for. The Feast brought us together. Ems Sy Chan (havenofleeanne@yahoo.com)
 
Reflection: It is good to see a member of the opposite sex as a brother or sister first rather than a future partner, since we are all united by the blood of Christ.
 
Lord God, bring to my awareness the people You want me to disciple and meet. May I bring them all closer to You.
 
St. John Fisher, pray for us.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - June 21, 2013


REAL TREASURE

 
“For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” – Matthew 6:21
In high school, I was part of the play Our Town by Thornton Wilder. One of the characters there asked this crucial question, “Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it – every, every minute?” Another character replied, “No, saints and poets maybe, they do some.” This question made me reflect even more that there was more to life than just eating, drinking, sleeping and waking up.
       So for a time, I believed that spiritual relationships outside my temporal family was paramount. My heart was focused on this belief. Until God literally silenced me to hear His message. In 2000, I had a voice operation that rendered me speechless for three months. Looking deep inside me, I was apparently being prepared to be contemplative — I realized who I was and who is my real wealth, the Love of my life and my eternal Best Friend — Jesus.
       I promised God that I’d sing to Him once I gained back my voice. On that day, He arranged for me to render Him a solo concert in our empty parish adoration chapel. I sang one of my favorite songs with gusto and feeling, “Tanging Yaman.” My restless heart finally rested in God’s loving embrace. How true St.Teresa de Avila’s epiphany is: Solo Dios basta — God alone is enough! Grace Princesa (grprincesa@yahoo.com)
 
Reflection: Are you still asking what or who is your treasure?
 
Lord, let me, like St. Augustine, rest my heart in Thee and be still.
 
St. Aloysius Gonzaga, martyr, pray for us.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - June 20,2013


BABBLING

 
“In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words.” – Matthew 6:7
 
In my service for the Lord as a worship leader, I often find myself praying publicly, leading people into God’s presence. But I have a confession to make.
       During my younger days, whenever I would lead people in worship or in prayer, I would always use highfaluting and complex words to make me appear spiritual and knowledgeable in the faith. Although some people would affirm me for my deep prayers, I knew I wasn’t that effective because I was only pleasing myself, not God.
       I still lead worship regularly, but now it’s different. Having matured in my walk with Christ, instead of praying to draw attention to myself, I now pray to draw attention to the One most worthy of our affection and devotion — God. With this, I’m glad to be simply used by God, for Him to bless His people in worship. I know now that it’s not about me; it’s all about Him.
           Underneath it all, God sees what’s in our hearts.
       Our intentions will determine whether our words and actions are worship or indulgence.
       Let’s worship God with our lives, in spirit and in truth. Mike Viñas (mikemichaelfcv@yahoo.com)
 
Reflection: I’m coming back to the heart of worship and it’s all about You, it’s all about You, Jesus. (Matt Redman)
 
Lord, teach me to be sincere in my service and worship of You.
 
St. Paulinus of Nola, pray for us.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - June 19,2013


NO SECRETS

 
“And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” – Matthew 6:4
 
My friend shared with me that he has been donating to a home for the elderly anonymously. For many years, he was able to keep his good deed a secret. He said he wanted to remain unknown as a reminder to be humble and that whatever he is able to give comes from the Lord.
       I admire my friend for his silent generosity and I believe God is blessing him with even more opportunities to give.     
       There may be many good works we do that others will never know about. That’s OK because nothing good ever escapes God. He sees every single act of kindness, hears every prayer uttered and feels every heart beating out of love. And His is the only acknowledgment and attention we need.
       We can never hide anything from God, especially the good we do. He knows all about it and has already set aside a prize for us in heaven. Try as we might, our secret is no secret after all. Dina Pecaña (dpecana@yahoo.com)
 
Reflection: Keep your deeds of mercy secret but shout God’s goodness from the housetops.
 
You know everything about me, Lord, and there is nothing I can hide from You. Grant me the grace to humbly surrender everything in my life to You.
 
St. Romuald, abbot, pray for us.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - June 18,2013


THAT ’S WHY HE CAME

 
For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that for your sake he became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich. — 2 Corinthians 8:9
 
It was the most emotional rosary I’ve ever prayed. More than a dozen of us were gathered in a hospital chapel one late evening, praying for the healing of the small daughter of our friends. As we interceded, her parents began to weep. Before long, the whole group — most of us young parents who could relate to how the couple felt — was weeping along with them as we finished the rosary.
       I can imagine this girl’s parents would be more than willing to trade places with their little daughter if only to spare her of the pain from her condition. I know I would.
       Right then and there, I got a deeper insight into why the Father sent Jesus to save us. If a flawed, sinful, selfish mother like me would be willing to trade places with her sick daughter, how can I not understand the love that prompted Jesus to lay down His divinity and take on my cloak of flesh?
       Jesus came to take our place! It grieved Him to see us suffering in our sinful condition. So He came for us every time we’d fall into sin, every time we’d be sick, every time we’d be heartbroken and devastated.
       We are the reason why He came. Rissa Singson-Kawpeng (justbreatherissa@gmail.com)
 
Reflection:Who are the people you’d be willing to trade places with to spare them of suffering? Jesus already did it for them.
 
Lord Jesus, thank You, thank You, thank You!
 
Venerable Matt Talbot, pray for us.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - June 17,2013

BUILT FOR AWESOMENESS!

 
Behold now is a very acceptable time. – 2 Corinthians 6:2
 
What if J.K. Rowling had second guessed her story line and kept the Harry Potter novel all to herself? What if Steve Jobs had stuck to conventional technology? What if Mother Teresa had gotten lazy?
       These big names made history because they acted on their passions. They didn’t allow fear or disappointment to intimidate them as they opened themselves up to the opportunities of the world.
       Today, the Lord is inviting us to open ourselves up to His abundance because He wants to fulfill our dreams! He’s reminding us that every day is packed with endless blessings reserved just for us. Now is a very acceptable time to pick ourselves up and succeed.
       You know what else comes with God’s abundance? People. He makes sure that we’re never alone, whether in success or in failure. He placed us in a ministry of people who will back us up. They’re our secret weapons, our angels on earth.
       So whenever you feel like you’re not good enough, remember that Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team and a newspaper editor fired Walt Disney because he lacked imagination. Don’t stop. You are made for awesomeness! Pia Angelica Suiza (piasuiza@yahoo.com)
 
Reflection: Who are the people who push you to fulfill your dream?
 
Lord Jesus, today I claim Your blessings for me. Fill me with courage as I carry out Your purpose. Amen.
St. Joseph Cafasso, pray for us.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - June 14,2013


WHITE LACE AND PROMISES

 
“You shall not commit adultery.” – Matthew 5:27
The wooden doors of the San Antonio de Padua Church in Silang, Cavite flung open and there she was, the most beautiful bride I had ever seen, in the most gorgeous gown made of French lace. The angelic voices of the Las Piñas Boys Choir filled the whole church with their own version of “Yellow” that instantly captured everyone’s heart. If only one could freeze that moment to make it last forever.
       It was the wedding of our only daughter Trina to Jang, her law school classmate, and they wanted to share with their guests something really special. Nothing was left to chance ever since Jang made the proposal in Central Park. The “same day edit” video caught many guests in tears at the wedding ceremony officiated by a family friend, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo. The garden reception in Tagaytay was equally enchanting as guests delighted in a delectable sit-down dinner. A firework display signaled the start of the celebration that lasted for hours. What a night to remember!
       But beyond all that was visible to the senses, what mattered more was what was written in the hearts of our newlyweds. “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6). Mari Sison-Garcia (mari_sison_garcia@yahoo.com)
 
Reflection: A marriage is a contract among three parties: the bride, the groom and our Lord Jesus Christ.
 
Lord, be the center of my marriage.
 
St. Albert Chmielowski, pray for us.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - June 13,2013


PHOTOSHOP, ANYONE?

 
“I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.” – Matthew 5:20
 
I used to edit a lifestyle magazine and the Photoshop technique came real handy when we had to correct photographs. With the graphics editing program developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated, you can easily erase a model’s wrinkles or smoothen her dress.
       One day, we were going to use a photograph of a foreign model for the cover of the magazine. To enhance the photo, the artist took a photo of a local model, cut out the body, and pasted it under the head of the foreign model.
       I okayed the layout and it was sent for proofing. When I saw the proof, I realized my big mistake. I wouldn’t want my head pasted on another woman’s body, would I? But if I changed the layout, I would be slapped with a P30,000-fine to pay for the cost of the press proofing.
       At the moment, one principle I’ve tried to live by nagged me: “Do what is right.” So I had the layout changed, and I paid the fine. Ouch.
       But now, as I reflect on today’s readings about doing the right thing, I smile and feel like patting myself on the shoulder. Cynthia U.Santiago (cusantiago@gmail.com)
 
Reflection: What teachings in today’s Gospel do you find hard to follow?
 
Lord, let Your love ease the pain of doing what is right.
 
St. Anthony of Padua, priest and doctor of the Church, pray for us.

Daily Bible Reflections - June 12,2013


QUALIFIED!

 
Our qualification comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5
 
As I write this, I have been working at Shepherd’s Voice Publications (SVP) for two weeks. For me, it’s a dream come true! I had always wanted to be a writer, but because I wanted to fulfill my parents’ dream of having a doctor in the family, I took up Physical Therapy in college, supposedly as a pre-med course.
       But God had other plans. My parents became Couples for Christ (CFC) members and I joined Youth for Christ (YFC). I became active in our campus ministry in UP Manila. After graduation, I decided to work fulltime for CFC/YFC. God brought me to mission in different places, including Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia and Timor Leste. It was the best and most blessed 10 years of my life!
       But God showed me that He still has other plans for me. After a long period of discernment, I decided to leave full-time work for CFC. Right after I made my decision, God led me to work in SVP.
       Am I a Communications graduate? No. Did I take up writing courses? No. But I believe my qualification comes from God. His grace is more than enough! Tina Santiago-Rodriguez (teachermamatina@gmail.com)
 
Reflection: Believe that God has the best plan for you. He will make you “qualified” and will equip you with what you need.
 
Lord, thank You for Your grace and for leading me to where I am now. May I always depend on You in all I do, trusting that You know what’s best for me.
 
Blessed Jolenta (Yolanda) of Poland, pray for us.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - June11,2013


Memorial of St. Barnabas, Apostle
 

BAKING BOO-BOO

 
“It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out.” – Matthew 5:13
 
One thing that I used to love to bake was lengua de gato. I did it so well — the kind that melts in the mouth — that my sweet-toothed sisters, nieces and nephews loved it so much. And I guess, over time, I got too confident doing it. One time, as I was mixing the ingredients, I noticed that the mixture’s consistency was different. After reviewing the ingredients I had already poured into the bowl, I realized I had used salt instead of sugar. I had no choice but to throw out the mixture and start all over again.
       In life, we make mistakes — that’s for sure. Instead of following what we know to be right and true, we deviate and follow our own sinful ways. We mix our divine nature with impure, lustful thoughts and acts, with greed and gluttony, with selfishness and apathy.
       But we’re blessed because we have a God who doesn’t throw us out of the circle of His love whenever we fail Him. Instead, He allows us to start over and over again, loving us unconditionally until we finally realize how great His love for us is.
       Let us not waste His love. Tess V. Atienza (svp_tvatienza@yahoo.com)
 
Reflection: In what ways are you failing God now? What are you going to do about it? Do it now.
 
Forgive me, Lord, for the many times I have failed You. Grant me the grace to live my divine nature in this life.
 
St. Barnabas, Apostle, pray for us.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - June 9,2013


DON’T CRY

 
When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” — Luke 7:13
 
Imagine a society with no means to support a widow. How can she go on living especially when her only child dies? Hopeless, alone and in pain, the widow is like a dead woman walking.     In the Gospel, Jesus was with a crowd going along their way when He saw the widow and her dead son. He could’ve just stayed the course and ignored her. She did not ask for help, she did not ask for any miracle but Jesus felt her pain and took the initiative. She did not go to Him but He went to her. Not only that, He said, “Don’t cry.” This probably meant, “Hush, all will be well. I’ll take care of everything.”
       And though considered ritually impure, Jesus touched the bier and commanded the dead son to rise. The son was brought back to life!
       This is an awesome account of how our true God is. Like the widow, even before we ask for help, even before we make any move to go to Him and even if we’re not worthy, He takes  the initiative to restore us. He comes to us! So the next time you’re in great pain, in silence, listen to the voice in your heart telling you, “Don’t cry. I’ll take care of everything.” Carlo Lorenzo (carloflorenzo@yahoo.com)
 
Reflection: God meets us where we are. Whether we’re in pain, in anger, in sin, or away from Him. He finds ways to bring us back to His embrace.
 
Father God, restore me every time I fall away from You. Help me see the real You — a loving Father who takes the first step to go and embrace His child.
 
St. Ephrem, deacon and doctor of the Church, pray for us.

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