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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Everything in this world ends except God’s love. It is the greatest love of all. God’s love is eternal - Daily Bible Reflections April 30,3014


GOD’S LOVE
 
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son...” – John 3:16
 
This particular line has always been one of my favorites among the hundreds of biblical passages that I’ve read in my lifetime. It’s very consoling, especially during moments of loneliness and bereavement.
       I remember back in 1986 when my dad was diagnosed with cancer of the stomach. As soon as I knew about it, I surrendered him totally to the Lord.
       Losing someone you dearly love is beyond description. When I was a kid, one of my greatest fears was losing my dad. But as I grew older, I came to realize and understand the fact that death is indeed a part of life, that there’s an end to every beginning, that nothing in this world lasts forever. I realized that no matter how much we love a person, we will have to part ways someday.
       At my dad’s wake, amidst those wreaths and beautiful flower arrangements, one thing stood out. It was this consoling message placed beside his coffin: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son....” Dr. Henry L. Yu (henrio_md@yahoo.com)
 
Reflection: Everything in this world ends except God’s love. It is the greatest love of all. God’s love is eternal.
 
Father, when death comes in the family, remind us of Your love for us when You gave Your one and only Son. Console us in our grief.
 
St. Pius V, pope, pray for us.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What is your code for living? - Daily Bible Reflections April 21,2014


DAD’S LAST WORDS
 
You have made known to me the paths of life… – Acts 2:28
 
       A few days before my father passed away, we had our last serious conversation. It was the most meaningful talk I’d ever had with him. I kept silent as I absorbed his loving advice, summarized in three parts.
     He taught me about life. “Eat less. Temper your shopping. Drive slowly. Don’t come home late unless it’s really necessary. Don’t talk ill about other people personally. Always speak in principles. Remember our household helpers, even if they’re not with us anymore. Keep sending them money.”
       Next, he taught me about family. “Take care of the girls — your mom, Geegee (my older sister) and Giselle (our youngest). And make sure that Dinah (my wife) knows that she’s the most important person in your life.”
       Lastly, he taught me about service. “Always thank God for the people you serve with. Treat them well and love them. They’re God’s gift to you. Be grateful to Bo (Sanchez) for bringing you to where you are now. Never stop serving the Lord.”
       At his funeral, I made him three promises. “Dad, I will try to be like you — wise, generous, forgiving and loving. I will take care of the girls — Mom, Geegee, Giselle and Dinah. And I will never stop serving the Lord.” George Tolentino Gabriel (george.svp@gmail.com)
 
Reflection: What is your code for living?
 
Lord, teach me the paths of life.
 
St. Anselm, bishop and doctor of the Church, pray for us.
 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Suffering for the sake of glory will not always be honored by men. But suffering for the sake of love will always be glorified by God - Daily Bible Reflections April 20,2014

EASTER SUNDAY
 
LOVE, NOT GLORY
 
“Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things to enter into his glory?”– Luke 24:26
 
During the height of typhoon Sendong on December 17, 2012, Doyo Lauron braved the raging floods with all his might to save nine strangers. He swam, dragged them out of the flood and put them on the roof of his house. But after rescuing nine people, his daughter suddenly fell off the roof. He tried to save his daughter, but he died as he fatally hit his head on a solid object.
       Doyo was a competitive swimmer back in the ‘80s and won several medals from 1984 to 1987 in Northern Mindanao regional sports events. But the most glorious moment in his swimming career was not when he received a gold medal. It was when he gave his all to save lives.
       I believe that at the height of Sendong, Doyo didn’t even think of being gloriously regarded as a hero. What drove him was his love for all the people he tried to rescue.
       It’s the same with Jesus Christ. I believe that it wasn’t His glorious resurrection after three days that drove Him to endure suffering and death. It was His love for us. Velden Lim (veldenlim@gmail.com)
 
Reflection: Suffering for the sake of glory will not always be honored by men. But suffering for the sake of love will always be glorified by God.
 
Lord, more than the promised glory, may love drive me as I endure my suffering.
 
St. Beuno, abbot, pray for us.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.” (Romans 6:5) - Daily Bible Reflections April 19,2014

HOLY SATURDAY
Easter Vigil
 
DESPEDIDA
 
Suddenly Jesus met them.”Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshipped him. – Mathew 28:9
 
       My mom came home for a vacation last holiday season. It was the best holiday ever! Many of our relatives from abroad also came back to the country to celebrate with us. We had parties, overnights, camping trips and several reunions. Indeed, it was the most wonderful time of the year.
       But after a few days, my mom was bidding us farewell and on her way back to UAE, where she works. It was time to say goodbye soon. We wanted to make her feel special by giving her gifts as remembrances of her time with us. We even hosted a fun despedida party, which many friends and relatives attended.
       This made me think about how Jesus, before His coming death, bid farewell to His disciples. Jesus walking with the crown of thorns towards His crucifixion was not exactly a despedida  party. It was such an unceremonious ending to a very meaningful visit of this special Man, the Messiah.
       This Holy Saturday, let us prepare ourselves to celebrate His return. Like Mary and Mary Magdalene, let us clasp His feet and worship Him for He has risen! Erika Mendoza (epaulmendoza@gmail.com)
 
Reflection: “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.” (Romans 6:5)
 
Lord, thank You for visiting us and changing our lives forever. Blessed Luchesio and Buonadonna, pray for us.

Friday, April 18, 2014

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) - Daily Bible Reflections April 18,2014

GOOD FRIDAY
 
LOVE TRIUMPHS
 
“It is finished!” – John 19:30
       What started as a mouth sore when they first entered the hospital in November 2012 turned out to be the start of a two-month fight against lupus. Ardy and Ting Roberto fought bravely together with their deep faith, prayers and support from family and friends.
       Throughout their suffering, Ardy praised God in the storm. He was in his Gethsemane, in tears, while his wife spat blood on the day they were supposed to return home.
       But it was a different home the Lord called Ting to. In the last few minutes of her life, Ardy lay beside his wife in the hospital bed, showered her with kisses and took her into his arms, assuring her of his love, “You don’t deserve this body, Ting. When you see Jesus’ hand, take it. Don’t let it go.”
       She died in her husband’s arms as he gave her back to her Eternal Groom. “She is free,” Ardy said in tears.
       Ting’s pain ended in victory. For she returned to the Lover of her soul, to the one who suffered and died for her first so that she may live forever. In the end, God’s love conquered pain and sin and death. It is finished.
       We are free. Thanks be to God. Marjorie Ann Duterte (marjorie.travels@gmail.com)
 
Reflection: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
 
You died, Jesus, but the source of life flowed out for souls and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. Jesus, King of Mercy, I trust in You.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Recall the many good things you have received from God lately. How can you best express your gratitude to God for the good He has done in your life? - Daily Bible Reflections April 17,2014

EXCEEDING GOODNESS
 
How can I repay the Lord for all the good done for me? – Psalm 116:12
 
       The New Year has just begun as I write this reflection for Didache. I cannot help but feel overwhelming gratitude to God for His exceeding goodness to me in the past year. He has showered me abundantly with both material and spiritual blessings. He has promised me a “future full of hope.” And yet, even as I recall and list down the big and small blessings I received from Him last year, all these pale in comparison to His gift of Himself on the cross.
       Nothing beats this great mystery and miracle! The Son of God coming into the world and laying down His life to save sinners like me even before I’d decided to change my ways or love Him back. The Son of God rising from the dead and overcoming sin and death so I could have eternal life. The Son of God calling me His friend and loving me this much.
       How can I repay the Lord for all the good He has done for me? I can never repay Him. I can only live my life following His example, as my way of loving Him back and showing Him gratitude. Teresa Gumap-as Dumadag (teregmps@yahoo.com)
 
Reflection: Recall the many good things you have received from God lately. How can you best express your gratitude to God for the good He has done in your life?
 
Lord, show me how I can best show my gratitude for Your exceeding goodness to me. Inspire me through Your Holy Spirit and enable me to express my thanksgiving in my own unique way.
 
St. Katéri Tekakwitha, virgin, pray for us.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Seek a local or global organization fighting against sex trafficking and get involved - Daily Bible Reflections April 15,2014


HOLY TUESDAY
 
MODERN-DAY SLAVERY
 
“I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” – Isaiah 49:6
 
I read recently that there are an estimated 27 million slaves around the world today. Most of these are women who are being exploited for sexual labor against their will. The average age of trafficking victims is 12 years old. They are recruited with a false promise of a job and are coerced into prostitution. In secret centers they are raped, beaten, threatened (for their lives or their family’s), slapped with exorbitant debt, extremely maltreated, and sold to paying customers. This is a booming industry that makes about $12 billion worldwide, run by ruthless and powerful multinational criminal networks with a Philippine presence.
       Sickening but real. This evil is present in our world today. It’s high time we open our eyes to its realities and save those held captive by this darkness.
       Friend, you and I are called to illuminate the darkest places of this world with the light of Christ, to shine His light not just in places that are already well lit, but more so, in places consumed by utter darkness. Let’s do something about this. Let’s fight and be a light! Mike Viñas (mikemichaelfcv@yahoo.com)
 
Reflection: Seek a local or global organization fighting against sex trafficking and get involved.
 
Father, allow Your light to radiate through me to reach the darkest of dens and defeat evil.
 
Blessed Caesar de Bus, pray for us.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile - Daily Bible Reflections April 14,2014


HOLY MONDAY
 
IN DEED
 
“He will not cry out, nor shout, nor make his voice heard in the street.” – Isaiah 42:2
 
       A Korean family that lived in the Philippines for a couple of years had themselves baptized as Catholics. Asked by the priest why they wanted to convert to Catholicism, the wife said it was because they admired the Filipino family who were their neighbors. This family showed them little acts of kindness during their stay in the country, like bringing over some food to share, acknowledging their presence with a warm smile, getting to know them through casual conversations across their fences, and the friendly Filipino children inviting their kids over to play.
       The Korean family didn’t know what Catholicism was about, but those acts of kindness were enough to make them believe that the God their neighbors worshipped was a good God.
       We don’t have to be skilled preachers of the Word to be called good servants of God. We need not “cry out, nor shout, nor make [our voices] heard in the street.” We preach simply by the way we live. Of this we have long been told, and it’s good to be reminded again and again. Nova Arias-Sevilla (nova.svp@gmail.com)
 
Reflection: “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.” (Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta)
 
Lord, make me a servant today and every day.
 
Blessed Peter Gonzalez, pray for us.
 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Let’s make sure that our descendants will continue to be blessed by being the covenant keeper of our generation - Daily Bible Reflections April 10,2014


THE PROMISE
 
“I will establish my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant...” – Genesis 17:7
 
       Her husband promised that he would take care of her and their family. He fulfilled that by being a very good provider. But suddenly, he suffered a massive heart attack and died. During the wake, a man approached the wife to inform her that her husband had called him to sell a land property so that his family would be provided for. When she asked the date and time of the call, it was when her husband was already unconscious, if not dead. Her husband fulfilled his promise to take care of his family even when it was physically impossible to do so.
       The covenant we make when we get married is as binding as the covenant God made with Abraham. It transcends time, generations and physical barriers. God keeps His promise to take care of us even if we are unfaithful at times. There may be some who don’t even live godly lives but remain abundantly blessed. Maybe he or she had a godly parent or grandparent who prayed for his children or grandchildren, and God is honoring that person’s prayer. The blessing will continue to trickle down the generations because God is faithful to His convenant even when we are not. Ronna Ledesma (ronna_ledesma@yahoo.com.ph)
 
Reflection: Let’s make sure that our descendants will continue to be blessed by being the covenant keeper of our generation.
 
Father, thank You for honoring my mother’s faithfulness. I am reaping the blessing because of what she has done.
 
St. Magdalene of Canossa, pray for us.
 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

When you peel off the layers of husks, what remains of you? - Daily Bible Reflections April 8, 2014



WHAT REMAINS OF
 
YOU?
 
“Who are you?”– John 8:25
 
       We had this exercise in the pastoral counseling course I took. We were asked to imagine ourselves as coconut husks. As we imagined peeling off the layers of husk, we were invited to think of who we are to the world or the people around us.
       As I followed our priest-professor’s instructions, I identified myself as a business owner, a loyal friend, a trustworthy daughter, a dependable sister, a child of God, and so on. It took an effort to remove the husk that represented the hats that I wore in life. Because each time I removed one layer of the husk, or one role I had in life, I felt my self-worth diminish. Until there was only one identity left — a child of God — and this was something that could not be taken away from me.
       From the exercise, I learned an important life lesson: that our real identity comes from our being a child of God, not from the roles we play in life. Since then, each time I take on a role, I remind myself:
       “Tess, you are not your role. You are worth more than your role. You are God’s beloved child.” Tess V. Atienza (svp_tvatienza@yahoo.com)
 
Reflection: When you peel off the layers of husks, what remains of you?
 
Lord Jesus, please remind me to always anchor my life on You.
 
St. Julie Billiart, pray for us.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The sacrament of reconciliation is a wonderful gift from God. Let’s find time to go to confession regularly - Daily Bible Reflections April 7,2014


FOCUS ON WHAT’S
RIGHT
 
She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” – John 8:11
 
       I wish I had posted a “Do Not Disturb” sign on my forehead that day. I was cramming for a major presentation the next day. My imaginary “D-N-D” sign seemed to work until my 10-year-old son, Jason, started this conversation.
       Jason: Papa, can we play Wii? I need a good partner to beat the opponent in the new game.
       Me : OK, but can I go back to my laptop from time to time?
       Jason: Hmm... how much time do you need to finish that?
       Me : Forty-five minutes. But I can play with you now and work on it during the breaks in the game.
       Jason: Nope, better finish that first. I need you to focus. I need your focus on the game so we can win.
       That conversation reminded me that whatever we focus on grows. If we focus on the sin, there is a high chance that we will fall into it or feel more unworthy before God. In today’s Gospel, Jesus encourages the woman not to focus on the sin. Instead, He wants her to focus on God’s love. That is the right attitude if we want to follow God. Alvin Fabella (alvinfabella@yahoo.com)
 
Reflection: The sacrament of reconciliation is a wonderful gift from God. Let’s find time to go to confession regularly.
 
Lord, I humbly come before You to ask forgiveness for my sins. I have not been faithful yet You continue to be faithful.
 
St. John Baptist de la Salle, priest, pray for us.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Keep my promises before you. Write them down and post it where you can always see it - God Whispers April 4,2014


Keep my promises before you. Write them down and post it where you can always see it. That way when fear and doubt come, you can always remind yourself of what I promised you.
 
Faithfully yours,
God
 
P.S. My word is sure and fire-tried

Are you brave enough to express your faith even if other people will think you’re strange? - Daily Bible Reflections April 4,2014


OTHER WORLDLY
 
“They are not like other people; they have strange ways.” – Wisdom 2:15
 
       He’s such a traditionalist he thinks what my children and I do for a living are strange — an online writer, a 3D animator, and a preschool teacher. In his world, only engineers, pilots, doctors, lawyers and other typical career people can succeed.
       He also said, “When I read your blog, I don’t understand a thing. It’s like writing from the Holy Land.” I wondered if I ever sleep-wrote in Aramaic and emailed him by mistake. I like writing about my faith. He only likes to hear about worldly matters. He must think I came to my parents from another galaxy so we’re really not related.
       I’ve never been able to convince him and his family to come to our prayer meetings. The “Praise the Lords,” the “Alleluias” and the raised hands are probably too peculiar for them.
       There might be people — those you hardly know or, sadly, even those close to you — who think that following God’s call for your life and expressing your love for Him is weird. Don’t let them discourage you because the most important opinion is from the One who created you. Lella M. Santiago (mirellasantiago@yahoo.com)
 
Reflection: Are you brave enough to express your faith even if other people will think you’re strange?
 

Help me, Jesus, to be bold for You and to keep on trying to get other people to know You even if I get laughed at or persecuted.
 
St. Isidore of Seville, bishop and doctor of the Church, pray for us.
 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Love is giving oneself without expecting anything in return - God Whispers April 3,2014


Love is giving oneself without expecting anything in return.
 
Crazy for you,
God
 
P.S. I love you so much, that I sent My Son into the world that whoever believes in Him will not die but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Faith is seeing, feeling and touching what isn't there yet as if it has already happened - God Whispers April 1, 2014

 
Faith is seeing, feeling and touching what isn't there yet as if it has already happened.
 
Believe,
God
 
P.S. Faith isn't faith until it's all you're holding on to.

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