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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Fasting possesses great power. If practiced with the right intention, it makes one a friend of God - Daily Bible Reflections July 30,2013


FASTING

 
Moses stayed there with the Lord for forty days and forty nights, without eating any food or drinking any water, and he wrote on the tablets... the ten commandments. – Exodus 34:28
 
I am one of those few who have no right to fast because I’m underweight. But I still do it once in a while to deepen my relationship with God.
       One of my most difficult fasts was when I ate only bread and water from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. for several weeks in preparation for the Christian Life Series I was serving in. It wouldn’t have been a struggle if my birthday didn’t fall within that period or if I was not teaching in a preschool. Despite my petite stature, I can eat like a horse after teaching a bunch of energy-zapping preschoolers who never run out of vigor.
       I couldn’t even get to eat the food I had brought for my colleagues for my birthday celebration. It also didn’t help that my peers were telling me that God would understand if I took a sip of Coke or put adobo sauce on my bland bread.    What people don’t know is that I find fasting difficult. I fast not because I want to stay thin, but because I want to master the art of self-discipline and say no to something as basic as food. When I do that, it’s easier to say no to temptation. Ems Sy Chan (havenofleeanne@yahoo.com)
 
Reflection: Fasting possesses great power. If practiced with the right intention, it makes one a friend of God. The demons are aware of that. (Quintus Tertullian)
 
Thank You, Lord, for my first no — I can now easily say no to greater things. All because of Your grace.
 
St. Peter Chrysologus, bishop and doctor of the Church, pray for us.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Blood Covenant - Daily Bible Reflections July 27,2013

BLOOD COVENANT

 
“This is the blood of the covenant...” Exodus 24:8
 
In his book The Blood Covenant, Dr. H. Clay Trumbull writes that “Eve was the first woman to wear a fur coat in the heat of the Mid-East” as she was evicted from Eden.
       Adam and Eve sinned. God could not look at sin. He didn’t want to abandon His creation, so He covered their sin with blood by covering them with the skin of an animal. Now all He would see was the blood that covered this sin.
        Man sinned. God was obligated to destroy man. Instead, He sent His only Son to die and cover us with the blood He shed on the cross.
       Now, all the Father sees when He looks at us is the blood of His beloved Son with whom He is well-pleased. When we kneel before Him, He sees His Son and not the sinful us, and that makes Him smile.
          But you first have to accept the blood offering of Jesus.
       So, similar to what an insurance agent would usually ask, the question is: Are you covered? Ronna Ledesma (ronna_ledesma@yahoo.com.ph)
 
Reflection: If you have not yet accepted Jesus, then God does not see His Son when you come before Him.
 
Father, cover me with the most precious blood of Your Son, Jesus.
 
Blessed Antonio Lucci, pray for us.

Friday, July 26, 2013

What are the things you are grateful to see and hear? Thank God for them today - Daily Bible Reflections July 26,2013



Memorial of Sts. Joachim and Anne, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary
 
SEEING LOUD AND CLEAR
 
“Blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear.” – Matthew 13:16
 
Some of the best reasons to thank God for the gift of seeing and hearing:
       • Every night, before I go to bed, I take a few minutes to bask in awe and wonder at the beauty of the precious gift of my wife curled up beside me, already dozing off.
       • The sight of her walking towards the car when I pick her up from work at the end of the day stirs up a thrill in my heart. At that moment, I just can’t wait to embrace her.
       • The sparkle in her eyes brightens up my day.
       • On the days when things don’t seem to go my way, when the  down, her voice on the phone telling me she’s there for me gives me my second wind. I feel I can go on because my heart is filled with the reassurance of her believing in me.
       • That same voice starts my day off perfectly with the simple words, “I love you.”
       Through these images and sounds, God tells me He loves me — loud and clear. George Tolentino Gabriel (georg.svp@gmail.com)
 
Reflection: What are the things you are grateful to see and hear?  Thank God for them today.
 
Lord, may I never take Your everyday blessings for granted.
 
Sts. Joachim and Anne, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, pray for us.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Who are the people whom God wants you to talk to about Him? - Daily Bible Reflections July 24,2013


SOWERS OF GOD'S WORD

 
“A sower went out to sow.” – Matthew 13:3
 
Jonah was a faithful prophet of God. Whenever God spoke, he announced it to His people. But one night, God told him to speak to Nineveh, a sinful city. For Jonah, he knew that if he speaks and they repent, God would forgive them. He didn’t think they deserved forgiveness so he initially ran away from God’s call.     Our Nineveh today can be the people whom God wants us to talk to about Him. Maybe He asks us to correct that person’s wrongdoing. Or maybe it’s just to remind that person that God loves him or her.
       There are times when we don’t obey for different reasons: fear of rejection; political incorrectness; the person knew us before our encounter with God and talking about Him might freak them out; or, just like Jonah, we think they don’t deserve the mercy of God.
       But all of us are called to be prophets of God in the sense of being proclaimers of His Word or sowers of His messages. We have been given the seeds, and the Owner of the land has instructed us to sow. At the end of the day, either we go back to the Owner with a full sack or an empty one as we have sown regardless of where the seeds may fall. Emmanuel Calayan (emmanuel_calayan@yahoo.com)
 
Reflection: Who are the people whom God wants you to talk to about Him?
 
Lord, grant me an obedient and courageous heart that I may obey when You instruct me to share Your love.
 
St. Sharbel Makhlouf, pray for us.
 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Have you been a mere “spiritual name dropper” lately? - Daily Bible Reflections July 23,2013


NAME DROPPING

 
“For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.” – Matthew 12:50
 
I noticed that Filipinos love to “name drop.”
       “My classmate is the president of that big company.” “Oh, Bo Sanchez, he’s my friend and we’re quite close.”
           “My relative works in that agency and he can help us.”
       For whatever reason, we like to be associated with successful or popular people.
       Today, the Lord tells us that we should acknowledge Him and be a “spiritual name dropper.” Our car can reflect that by having a crucifix on the rear view mirror or a “Jesus” sticker. We can have pictures of the Lord in our room, a Bible enthroned in the living room or a rosary hanging somewhere to show that we’re Catholic.
       But more than that, we need to drive properly and be patient on the road while our car carries His Name around. God would be more pleased if we show patience at home where we honor His image on display. We should model integrity, gentleness and excellence in the workplace while people see the Bible sitting on our desk.
       Our connection to Jesus is in having the fidelity to do God’s will with the right heart. Ariel Driz (adriz77@yahoo.com)
 
Reflection: Have you been a mere “spiritual name dropper” lately?
 
Lord Jesus, thank You for Your Name! I pray for the grace to bear it well by constantly doing God’s will. Amen.
 
St. Bridget, religious, pray for us.

Monday, July 22, 2013

REWIND AND MOVE ON - Daily Bible Reflections July 22,2013


Memorial of Mary Magdalene, disciple of the Lord
 

REWIND AND MOVE ON!

 
“Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you” – Matthew 12:38
We live in a hurting world. As long as you are breathing, you will be hurt.
       By a breakup. By a business associate who double-crosses you. By your husband who cheats on you. By your teen who falls into drug addiction. By a talebearer who causes strife. By broken promises.
       The list is endless.
       The reason why the world inflicts hurt is because it was hurt before. To understand a difficult or toxic person you need to rewind.
       Find out about that person’s hurtful past and begin to understand the pain.
       Then forgiveness and healing happens — to you and to the person you are forgiving.
       To forgive is to give mercy to the one who needs it most.
       Love, forgive and move on!
It’s the best sign that there really is a God! Obet Cabrillas (kpreacherobet@gmail.com)
 
Reflection: Rewind the past, play and relive the present, and renew the future!
 
Lord, help me heal this hurting world with my forgiving spirit.
 
St. Mary Magdalene, pray for us.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Kindness Begets Kindness - Daily Bible Reflections July 19,2013


KINDNESS BEGETS KINDNESS

 
“I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” – Matthew 12:7
 
Mom and I were having lunch that rainy day. While enjoying our grilled chicken meal, she happened to see a young boy outside, looking intently at the diners through the glass window. Mom asked me if it was alright to invite the young boy to join us. I said yes, by all means. She signaled for the boy to enter the restaurant and gestured for him to sit beside her. I asked him what he wanted to eat and he said, “I’ll have whatever you want me to eat. I am grateful to have even your leftover food because I haven’t had anything to eat since this morning.” We wanted him to have his fill, even just for lunch, so we bought him a grilled chicken meal, too. “Thank you,” he said, “I’ll bring half of my meal home to my mom, if that’s OK.” Mom and I were touched by his gratitude and kindness.
       That is what kindness does to us — it humbles us and reminds us to always give thanks to the one who is kind to us. We have the capacity to be kind because we first experienced the loving kindness of God. And by His grace, kindness begets kindness, forming an unending circle of love. Dina Pecaña (dpecana@yahoo.com)
 
Reflection: No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted. (Aesop)
 
Heavenly Father, You have shown us nothing but Your loving kindness. Teach us to share this love with others.
 
Servant of God Francis Garces and Companions, pray for us.
 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Is your burden too heavy to bear? Lay it at the feet of our Lord - Daily Bible Reflections July 18,2013


BIG TOE

 
“For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:30
 
One of my favorite Christian short stories is “The Parable of the Big Toe” written by Bro. Willy Nakar. It’s about Big Toe (right foot) who was always complaining and envious of the other parts of the body. He complained that he was always covered with socks, sweaty and constantly on the go.
       “They have all the fun while we down here have to bear the full burden of Kuya Body’s weight,” he grumbled. “I just wish I could be on the face one time, somewhere in the center... like the nose,” he added.
       God granted Big Toe’s wish, and instantly, he found himself in the middle of the face. Aside from being a hideous replacement of the nose, his new location compromised the body’s stability. Just as the body was about to take a step, it lost its balance and fell flat on its face. Big Toe, of course, took the brunt of the fall.     
         Aside from being a satire emphasizing the importance of unity in the Body of Christ, this parable reminds me that where I am is where I can serve the Lord best. It’s tempting sometimes to compare myself with others and think that the grass is greener on their side. But in truth, I cannot bloom where I am not planted. The cross that Jesus gives me to carry will always fit me perfectly. Rissa Singson-Kawpeng (justbreatherissa@gmail.com)
 
Reflection: Is your burden too heavy to bear? Lay it at the feet of our Lord.
 
Lord, thank You for the grace You give me at this time of my life. Amen.
 
Blessed Angeline of Marsciano, pray for us.
 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Don’t let this day end without telling your loved ones that you love them - God Whispers July 17,2013

 

Don’t let this day end without telling your loved ones that you love them.
 
I love you,
God
 
P.S. Don’t assume that they know you love them. Sometimes, they have to hear it!

On Fire - Daily Bible Reflections July 17,2013


ON FIRE!

 
He was surprised to see that the bush, though on fire, was not consumed. – Exodus 3:2
 
My depression seemed to get worse by the day. And no amount of money and success could shake me out of it. I mean, what else could I ask for? We were living a life that most people only dream of, so why did I feel so stressed out?
       Going back home to Manila seemed to be such a risky decision, but with God’s grace, it paid off. I was able to find myself again. I found my way back into God’s arms. I fell in love with my wife all over again. And the fire that was lost within me was re-ignited.
       Yes, I had been on fire before. I wanted more fame, more power and more money. But I didn’t realize that I was getting consumed by it until I got burned out.
       The fire that dwells in me now is a lot different — it has caused me to have more service, more love and more security.  And I guess, that’s why God’s fire is so unique. Because the more I get consumed by it, the more light I get to share to the world around me. Orange V. Garcia (orange_garcia@hotmail.com)
 
Reflection: What kind of fire are you lighting up in your life? Is it just for yourself? Or is it to become a channel of God’s light to others?
 
Lord, make me a channel of Your light. May Your fire continue to burn within me so I can share Your light to more people.
 
St. Francis Solano, pray for us.
 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Lord, bless all persons with special needs - Daily Bible Reflections July 16,2013


GUARDIAN

 
His sister stationed herself at a distance to find out what would happen to him. – Exodus 2:4
 
I was watching a show on television about a young girl with special needs. The Department of Social Welfare and Development had rescued her from the guardian to whom she was entrusted by her mother who was working abroad. One administrator of a special needs school made a comment that struck me. She said that having a child with special needs is a gift from God and He knows that those parents are the best guardians for the child.
       Having a special needs person in the family takes a lot of patience, understanding and love. We may not completely understand why God gave us a special person in the family, but one thing is clear from the get-go: we are this child’s guardian.
       It’s a sad reality that many do not understand persons with special needs. But it should not remain so. As we watch over these special persons in our family and community, we can make others aware that these persons may behave differently but they are not lesser beings. They deserve just as much, if not more, respect and understanding as every other “normal” person. Mae Ignacio (maemi04@aim.com)
 
Reflection: More than our sympathy, persons with special needs could do with more understanding, respect and guidance from us.
 
Lord, bless all persons with special needs. May we become better guardians for them and treat them as You would any of Your children.
 
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Ineffective Solutions - Daily Bible Reflections July 15,2013


INEFFECTIVE SOLUTIONS

 
The more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread. – Exodus 1:12
 
Oppression, cruelty, violence — they never work. They’re the most ineffective solutions. The Egyptians reduced the Israelites to cruel slavery because of their insecurity and fear. In the end, they found themselves fighting against God through Moses.
       Still, the world never learns. Many continue to fool themselves thinking, “If I am more powerful I can easily subvert and silence those who are weaker by using force.”
       It may seem to work for a while. But in the end, it will surely backfire. From the politics of world leaders down to how you discipline your child, choosing violence and force will only cause the problem to “multiply and spread.”
       Our Lord Jesus is a perfect example of a victim of cruelty and violence. No less than the Romans, who were the powerful and mighty conquerors then, enforced His execution. And did it stop Him or His followers?
       Look at how Christianity is now everywhere. Rome itself is the seat of the Catholic faith!
       And how was the world conquered by Jesus? By love the most effective way of all. Alvin Barcelona (apb_ayo@yahoo.com)

Reflection: How can you effectively make things happen? Is it through force, coercion or violence? Or is it through dialogue, understanding, compassion and love?
 
Dear Lord, grant me the grace to always remember that it is love — Your love — that conquers all. Amen.
 
St. Bonaventure, bishop and doctor of the Church, pray for us.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Loving Our Next Door Neighbors - Daily Bible Reflections July 14,2013

LOVING OUR NEXT-DOOR NEIGHBORS


 
“Who is my neighbor?” – Luke 10:29
 
Do you know who your next-door neighbor is? How often do you talk with them? Do you care about them?
       In the direction of the Church to build Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC), we are also encouraged to love our “geographical neighbors.” Come to think of it, it does not seem right to co-exist in one milieu, oblivious of the people around us. Every day, we may be communicating with people across the globe through the Internet but we have zero communication with the person next door who, for all we know, may be alone and in pain.
       As Christians, we are asked to love everyone especially the person within our reach. That’s why Bible sharing groups are venues offered by the Church to build and strengthen neighborhood communities. As we get to know each other better, we as neighbors can come together and settle common issues like security measures, garbage disposal systems, or practical concerns that need not be referred to family or friends who live in another city. Then we become a community of disciples witnessing a true reflection of Christian living. Cristy Galang (cristy_cc@yahoo.com)
 
Reflection: Do you live in isolation from your neighbors? Are you willing to open your doors to them in friendship?
 
Father in heaven, help us to respond to Your will that we be one. Let us live together as a family that shares, helps and loves each other, especially our neighbors. Help us not to choose who to love but to love all within our reach.
 
St. Camillus de Lellis, priest, pray for us.
 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - July 12,1013


ANOTHER CALL

 
“Behold, I am sending you out...” – Matthew 10:16
 
This is my second trip to Papua New Guinea.
       The first one was “Mission Accomplished.” I was able to help the Charismatic organization in the archdiocese for two years, and ended my trip with a big bang — a huge Pentecost celebration attended by Catholics from all over the archdiocese.
       I thought I was finished. But another call came: to set up The Feast in Port Moresby. There was literally no presence of the Light of Jesus Family in the city. I had to rely solely on the Lord to lead me.
       In July 2011, I had an audience with the archbishop and presented to him a letter from The Feast founder Bo Sanchez about our intention to set up a local community. The archbishop immediately approved it.
       Sometime in late August, I got a call from a “stranger” who traced me through my Didachereflection. We met, and he agreed to help build The Feast.
       From a group of four friends, we had grown to 55 by March 2012, with twice a month Feasts. By the time you read this, The Feast should be held weekly.
       Indeed, when God calls, He leads. The Bible says, “Do not be anxious... for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour” (Matthew 10:19). Danny Tariman (dtariman.loj@gmail.com)
 
Reflection: Do you sense a calling? Listen to God’s Word and command for you today.
 
Here I am, Lord. Send me!
 
St. John Jones, priest and martyr, pray for us.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - July 11,2013


HEALTHFUL CLICHÉ

 
“But now do not be distressed, and do not reproach yourselves for having sold me here. It was really for the sake of saving lives that God sent me here ahead of you.” – Genesis 45:5
 
According to WebMD.com, research shows that forgiveness is beneficial to one’s health. It affects not just the emotional health of a person but also his or her physical well being. And if you couple “forgive” with “forget,” studies say that stress hormones will be reduced, your immune system will be strengthened and blood pressure may stabilize.
       Amazing? Yes, indeed! Easy? Uhmm… not really.
       My mom would usually tell me to always live out this Christian value of forgiveness. She would remind me of the importance of having a tranquil mind and a peaceful heart if I forgive others of whatever offense they have done against me.
       She would also remind me of forgetting after forgiving. Though this part seems to be more difficult to do, still she would insist on its significance to Christian living. Consequently, if we get the hang of doing it at all times, for sure, it will be easier for us to make it a part of our system. Analiza Obiasca (aobiasca_cute@yahoo.com)
 
Reflection: There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness. (Unknown)
 
Lord, teach me to be a forgiving person. Amen.                                  
 
St. Benedict, abbot, pray for us.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - July 9,2013


MAN IN THE MIRROR

 
Jacob said, “I have seen God face-to-face.” – Genesis 32:31
 
I have a friend who always complains. He always gripes that he’s at the receiving end of unfair treatment or surrounded by incompetent nincompoops. But I don’t believe he just happens to be the unluckiest person in the world.
       In reality, the way we perceive others is a reflection of how we see ourselves. Our insecurities, fears, defects and guilt manifest in the way we relate to other people. That’s why the insecure always find fault in others, the guilty are judgmental, and the unloved are unnecessarily harsh.
       To change the people around us, we need to change ourselves. Look at your innermost self and confront the monsters lurking inside. Scary, isn’t it? We refuse to do this because we are driven by the fear of being found unacceptable when we show our true selves.
       Understanding God’s unwavering love for us helps us to accept our true nature. We are all wonderfully made. No fault, no shortcoming and no past can ever change this. Accept His mercy and you’ll be surprised to see the changes it will bring to yourself and, by extension, to the people around you. Cecil Lim (cez_lim@yahoo.com)
 
Reflection: Why did Jacob see God in the person who hurt him, and the Pharisees see a demon in Jesus when He healed? It’s not what is apparent outside but what is perceived from within.
 
Lord, I will no longer wound myself [and others] with the thoughts and questions that have surrounded me like thorns: that is a penance You do not ask of me. (Thomas Merton)
 
St. Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions, pray for us.

Daily Bible Reflections - July 8,2013


FAITHFUL TITHER

 
“Of everything you give me, I will faithfully return a tenth part to you.” – Genesis 28:22
 
I didn’t use to tithe faithfully. Although I grew up in a Catholic community since I was a teen, I didn’t give tithing much importance, even when I became a full-time mission worker. Giving 10 percent of my meager missionary allowance to the Lord didn’t make much sense to me at that time. (Ssshh! Don’t tell my leaders!)
       Don’t get me wrong. I did tithe but not regularly. However, when my boyfriend and I got engaged, we decided to start tithing faithfully, no matter what. (My fiancé, now my husband, also works full-time for our community.)
       It’s been eight years since we made that decision and we’re still tithing as faithfully as we can. Although it can be quite challenging, especially now that we have kids to raise, we have seen how God faithfully provides.
       His grace is sufficient. With Him, we can say that we are truly rich! (That’s mostly why my blog is named Truly Rich Mom!) Tina Santiago-Rodriguez (teachermamatina@gmail.com)
 
Reflection: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides” (Matthew 6:33). When you tithe, you are “seeking first the kingdom of God.” Believe that He will provide for you always.
 
Lord, thank You for all Your blessings and gifts. Help me to be faithful in trusting in Your abundant provision.
 
St. Gregory Grassi and Companions, pray for us.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - July 7,2013


MY PERSONAL PURSUIT

 
From now on, let no one make troubles for me; for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body. – Galatians 6:17
 
Our house rests on the ridge of Mount Makiling where we watch birds freely flying in front of our house. One time, I saw two birds — one chasing after the other, over one tree, then another, and circling back several times tirelessly. All the while, the birds were happily chirping.
       In my mind, I likened the joyful bird chase in the way I pursue God through my apostolic work in the office. I am reminded of my personal mission to keep doing the right thing despite the opposition of my colleagues on how we earn money from our real estate dealings.
       Coincidentally, my Bible reading for this day is about the parable of the sums of money and the principle behind chasing after wealth. It made me resolve more firmly to be a witness to others on how my husband and I earn money.
       I thank God that I find consolation in doing what is right and following His precepts. Donna España (donna.espana@yahoo.com)
 
 
Reflection: He who kneels before God can stand before anyone. (Unknown)
 
Jesus, I thank You for Your cross and Your great love that saves me. May I always boast of what You have done for me.
 
Blessed Emmanuel Ruiz and Companions, pray for us.

Friday, July 5, 2013

God Whispers - July 5,2013



You teach children to be careful with scissors, flames and other things that may hurt them. Are you as careful when it comes to things that will hurt your soul?
 
Protecting you,
God
 
P.S. Greed, envy and resentment will hurt you big-time.

Daily Bible Reflections - July 5,2013


THE LOVE THAT CHANGES

 
“I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” – Matthew 9:13
“Every saint has a past; every sinner, a future.” This was the beautiful lesson of the film There Be Dragons, which portrayed the friendship of St. Jose Maria Escriva with a childhood friend who lived his life in anger but was redeemed in the end by his son’s forgiveness and the love of his friend.
       In a prayer meeting, Bo Sanchez told a story of a young atheist who got pregnant out of wedlock. But she found herself welcomed by a group of mothers who accepted her without judgment and loved her to wholeness. Today, she believes in a loving God because of the kindness she received from them and continues to share how her life has changed because of God’s love.
       The Gospel today speaks of the kindness of God. He calls sinners like you and me and transforms them with His unconditional love.
       There is always hope because we have a God who will not give up on us even when we want to give up on ourselves because of our many weaknesses. Jesus invites us to stand up and walk and try again when we stumble and fall because it’s not what we do but what He is going to do in us that matters. All we need to do is follow Him. Let us allow His love to change us. Marjorie Ann Duterte (marjorie.travels@gmail.com)
 
Reflection: He said to him, “Follow me.”
 
Lord Jesus, I am ashamed of my many sins. Please forgive me and bring me to wholeness. I trust in Your healing love. Amen.
 
St. Anthony Zaccaria, priest, pray for us.

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