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Friday, December 28, 2012

Daily Bible Reflections - December 28,2012

Feast of the Holy Innocents
God is light, and there is no darkness at all in Him. – 1 John 1:5
It’s been fifty-something years ago, but up until today, I can still vividly remember what our Ma’am Belen taught us in our Catechism classes. We have to behave always and be good children of God, to obey our parents, to follow the Ten Commandments, to be prayerful and to always turn to God for guidance, especially in times of troubles and indecisions. For He is the “Light in the dark.”
Truly, there are things that just never change despite the passage of time.
Now that we are parents ourselves, we pass on these teachings to our children. We stress about God being the “Light in the dark,” that He is there for us at all times just waiting for us to call on Him.Dr. Henry L. Yu (henrio_md@yahoo.com)
God lights our path whenever it is dark and we could not see and find our way.
Father, admonish us when we stray. Be our guide always. Where there is darkness, be our Light.
Holy Innocents, pray for us.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Daily Bible Reflections - December 27,2012

Feast of St. John, Apostle
What we have seen and heard we announce to you also, so that you will join with us in the fellowship that we have with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. – 1 John 1:3
Three months after our wedding, my wife told me that she’s pregnant with our first child. I was overwhelmed with joy! I was very excited to tell my parents, my friends, my coworkers and the whole world.
I wanted to announce it to everybody. I couldn’t contain it. I felt that I would burst if I kept it to myself.
When the disciples knew about the resurrection of Jesus, they couldn’t contain it. The prophecies became true! They had to announce it to all their relatives, friends, their co-disciples and the whole world. Good News, that’s what Jesus is. We have to do our part in telling others about Him.
It’s not enough that we know Him. We have to share Him, too. Kirby Llaban (kirbyllaban@gmail.com)
When was the last time you told others about Jesus?                                       
Lord, lead me to tell others about You today. Give me the strength and boldness to share the great things You have done in my life. Amen.
St. John the Apostle, pray for us.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Daily Bible Reflections - December 26, 2012

“You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” – Matthew 10:22
To “jump on the bandwagon” is a common phrase referring to people who agree to a popular opinion or idea because they want to be recognized or accepted by the majority.
It’s easy to find ourselves jumping on the bandwagon every once in a while, even when we don’t really agree with the group.
When you’re staring at a crowd of a thousand people united in a single cause, it’s difficult to stand against them alone, no matter how strongly you believe in the opposing view.
When Jesus called us to acknowledge the Lord’s presence and power, many have denied God despite having witnessed His miracles. They were afraid to become an outcast of society. But those who remained faithful were saved from the dire consequence of living with a decision full of regret. There is always great remorse for going against your moral principles and making a choice that you feel is wrong.
So get out of the backseat and into the driver’s side. Follow your heart. Because it’s always more rewarding to make your own judgment than to have others do it for you. Eleanore Lee (elyo.lee@gmail.com)
Are you prone to giving into peer pressure? Are you a follower or are you a leader?
Lord, give me Your strength as I stand firm against the daily temptations that threaten to separate me from You.
St. Stephen, first martyr, pray for us.

Daily Bible Reflections - December 25, 2012

Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord
the gift of jesus
“From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace.” – John 1:16
There was a popular Christian story back in ancient times that told of two thieves who planned to rob the pregnant Mary and her husband, Joseph, as they walked through Bethlehem. It was said that one of the thieves had compassion on the travelers and forced his friend not to touch them.
Thirty years later, these same thieves were crucified beside Jesus. And again, one of the thieves, Dimas, came to Jesus’ aid and rebuked his friend’s disrespect and unbelief. Later, Dimas would be one of the first souls in Paradise. Today, as we give gifts to one another, let us be reminded that we do it in remembrance of God’s generosity. He
gave Jesus to us so we give Jesus to others. Whether the story above is true or not, the Gospel reminds us that the gift of Jesus in our lives is not something we only celebrate during Christmas, but it is a treasure whose value we need to realize, protect, nurture and share.
The very first Christmas in my life was when I accepted Jesus in my heart. May I always remember that — protect it and share Jesus with others. Rod Velez (rod.velez@gmail.com)
How have you shared the gift of Jesus with others?                                          
I honor You, Lord, for Your generosity and kindness. Today, I celebrate my first love – You. May I always have the strength and enthusiasm to share You with others. And before I forget, I want to wish You a happy birthday.
St. Eugenia, pray for us.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Daily Bible Reflections - December 21,2012

“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord will fulfill his promises to her.” – Luke 1:45
I envy our Blessed Mother. The Lord had created her with such a pure heart that obedience to His will and faith in His promises were but natural responses from her. Though gentle in spirit, she had showed a single-minded determination to see to it that the Father’s divine plan is carried out — from the time she gave birth to Jesus and held Him for the first time, until the moment of His death when she held His battered and lifeless body after His agony on the Cross. Through immense joy and deep sorrow, Mary believed.
Over the years, the happiness that accompanies the Christmas season has gradually faded in the shadow of my concerns and problems, stress from work and projects, as well as the sadness of missing my dad who has passed away.
Though the darkness of depression looms, I hold on to the hope that the birth of the Christ Child brings to all the faithful.
Four days from now, we will celebrate the coming of Jesus, Light of the World. And all the earth shall rejoice! I know I will, too. Dina Pecaña (dpecana@yahoo.com)
Darkness is not dark after all — it is just light in hiding waiting to emerge.
Jesus, Light of the World, let Your radiance penetrate the darkness of my depression, fears and sadness. Give me the grace to experience the joy that Your coming into my life brings.
St. Peter Canisius, priest and doctor of the Church, pray for us.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Daily Bible Reflections - December 20,2012

Mary and Me
“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” – Luke 1:38
I wonder how Mary must have felt when God broke the news to her.
She didn’t fully understand how she could give birth to the Messiah, and yet she still said “yes” to God’s plan.
She was also told she would suffer greatly because of her child, and yet she still obeyed. It was painful seeing her Son suffer and die on the cross but she endured it all and stayed with Jesus till the end.
Like Mary, we are called to bring Jesus into this world.
We will also face many challenges along the way.
When this happens, we can be tempted to forget about our journey with the Lord. Or we can do as Mary did and proclaim God’s greatness, knowing that despite the hurdles, God will always look after us if we remain open to His Word. Jane Gonzales-Rauch (mgr516@gmail.com)
Are we living our lives in complete trust and total obedience to God?
Lord Jesus, thank You for Your Blessed Mother. May I imitate her virtues to help me walk with You. Amen.
St. Dominic of Silos, pray for us.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Daily Bible Reflections - December 19,2012

“And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth…” – Luke 1:14
Expecting a baby could be fearful at first but undoubtedly exciting. We prepare the things he would need and, at the same time, we brace ourselves for parenthood.
When he is born into this world, the joy he brings is truly indescribable. You may spend hours just staring at him and peace just overflows from within. You could just hold his tiny hands and a smile gets glued on your face. And whatever little moves he makes, you would want the whole world to know and see.
A baby is like an energy drink that keeps you awake at dawn and up and about even though you feel sleepy and tired. A baby is like a magic pill that makes you feel well even if you’re sick. A baby’s presence helps you shrug off any cause of disagreement. A baby generates light. A baby brings life! A baby is love!
In this season of Advent, we prepare ourselves and rejoice for the birth of the ultimate source of all joy, light, peace and love — our Lord Jesus Christ. O come, let us adore Him! Sol Saura (sol_saura@yahoo.com)
What preparations are you doing for His coming?
Lord, in the midst of all the celebration, may we remember that You are the reason for the season.
Blessed Pope Urban V, pray for us.

Daily Bible Reflections - December 18,2012

In his days Judah shall be saved, Israel shall dwell in security. This is the name they give him: “The Lord our justice.” – Jeremiah 23:6
It was as if a brick dropped on Nick’s head when he was asked to fire someone whom he did not even evaluate. He had been hired only a month ago. The thought of breaking the bad news tormented him. Such action needed an explanation and he couldn’t even justify anything written on the evaluation paper.
With the most earnest intentions, Nick cried out to God. Not only that he be delivered but that the employee be delivered as well. Though he was new to the company, he saw the hard work of the employee and prayed that he be given a second chance. Nick needed a miracle.
On the day he was supposed to talk to the employee, he intended to make a final appeal to his boss to reconsider the decision. But to Nick’s surprise, before he even brought up the matter, he received notice from his boss that had a change of heart. He was willing to give the employee a second chance.
The Lord is just and His miracles are never late. As long as your moral compass is attuned to the Lord’s heart, you need not be afraid to ask for anything. His justice will always prevail. GeorgeTolentino Gabriel (george.svp@gmail.com)
What do you do when you see injustice?
Lord, give me the courage to stand up for those who are unjustly treated.
Blessed Anthony Grassi, pray for us.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Daily Bible Reflections - December 17,2012

“Come and listen, sons of Jacob, listen to Israel, your father.” – Genesis 49:2
I was in Grade 6 when I joked to my dad that I would smoke. His glare at me said it all. I felt like I got a good spanking with that look!
Once, when some classmates and I were attempting to smoke, Dad’s face suddenly popped in my head. Without any explanation, I took off and left my classmates who were wondering what happened to me.
Every time I recall that incident, I can’t help but be thankful for that vision of Dad’s glaring stare, which was enough to strike fear in my heart. Otherwise, I’d have probably become a smoker, complete with nicotine-stained teeth and lungs that no prophylaxis can clean.
There’s a good reason why God commanded us to obey our parents. He has ordained parents to take care of His precious children. Even if parents aren’t perfect, they are nevertheless anointed and appointed by God to raise up and take care of their children. This is the first commandment that has a promise attached to it: “That it may go well with you and that you may have long life on the earth”(Ephesians 6:3). Thanks to my Dad’s glaring look, I am definitely going to live a long and healthy life with healthy lungs!Ronna Ledesma (ronnaledesma@email.com)
If you do not heed the discipine of your father whom you can see, how can you heed the discipline of the Lord whom you do not see? Thank You, Lord, for blessing me with a father who was able to instill discipline in me.
Lord, grant me the grace to love, honor and obey my parents.
St. Lazarus, pray for us. 

Daily Bible Reflections - December 16,2012

“Do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse anyone, and be satisfied with your wages.” – Luke 3:14
Most of us think that to be holy we need to do great and extraordinary things. Like becoming a religious, a missionary or a full-time preacher. Or actively serve in church or belong to a spiritual community. Or have extended hours of prayer time and Bible study.
Of course, all these things are very good! But somehow, we forget to realize that the first important step is to follow the basics.
Be honest. Be faithful. Be content.
Be kind. Be generous. Be loving.
In fact, deepening our spirituality may simply mean and should lead to the strengthening of these basic things!
And these things we can do whoever we are, wherever we are — as an employee, a professional, a soldier, a businessman, etc.
No wonder that’s how John the Baptist started them off. Because you won’t advance ahead without the strong basics. Otherwise you’ll be building on shaky foundations.
Didn’t you move up to higher mathematics by mastering your four fundamentals? Or advanced in reading and writing by first learning the alphabet?
Skip these basics and you’ll get nowhere.Alvin Barcelona (alvinbarcelona@gmail.com)
Am I hurrying to go high and deep but might be skipping the more simple, fundamental and basic things? Be more honest today.
Dear God, in the spirit of Advent, help me prepare for Christmas in the most simple way – by loving more. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Blessed Honoratus Kozminski, pray for us.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Daily Bible Reflections - December 14,2012

If you would hearken to my commandments, your prosperity would be like a river. – Isaiah 48:18
Last year, the news was abuzz with the suicide of General Angelo Reyes. He was implicated in an ongoing investigation on high-level corruption in the military.
The carjacking incidents, anomalies in the government and other issues that mar the peace and order would, at first glance, make us feel disappointed and hopeless for our country. And in truth, these events hamper our ability to move on. They obliterate whatever gains the present administration has scored in its almost one year of running the government.
But God has a purpose for everything that happens in this world. Just like what happens to a person trying to change his ways and move forward, I believe that God is also allowing our nation’s ills and wounds to be exposed so that we may be purified and healed.
And so, with eyes of faith, I still am confident that the Philippines will be a great nation again. It may or may not happen during my lifetime, but I am sure God will prosper our country. But first, we have to obey His commandments — individually and as a nation. Tess V. Atienza (svp_tvatienza@yahoo.com)
How am I contributing to our country’s progress?
Lord, forgive our sins and heal our land.  May we seek only Your face and turn from our wicked ways.
St. John of the Cross, priest and doctor of the Church, pray for us.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Daily Bible Reflections - December 12,2012

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
“Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” – Luke 1:45
“God wants me to tell you that He has heard your prayers, and that He will surprise you this year,” said Kerygma preacher Jon Escoto during a short prayer and worship gathering at the office. For some reason, those words brought me to tears. When we opened our eyes I saw that I was the only one crying. A coworker later told me that I had a rhema, a Greek term for God’s Word that becomes alive to the person who receives it.
I had a lot of issues then: financial drought, unforgiveness and longing to love and be loved again. I thought, Go ahead, Lord, surprise me.
For the rest of 2009 I was receiving surprises from above. Sidelines came my way, increasing my income. The person that hurt me personally sought my apology and I learned to forgive. By November, someone from my past came into my life and taught me to love again. Since then, I have been claiming to receive more surprises from the Lord. Believe it or not, they just keep coming!
God wants to bless us every day. We merely have to spread our palms to receive His blessings. The first step to being blessed: Believe that you will receive. Nova Arias (nova.svp@ gmail.com)
How can God bless you with your heart’s desires if you doubt Him in the first place?
Dear Father in heaven, I receive Your blessings with arms open wide. Thank You in advance for granting the desires of my heart.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.

Daily Bible Reflections - December 11,2012

“And if he finds it…he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray.” – Matthew 18:13
Beep! Beep! As if on cue, my sister’s pet dogs, Tiger and Mozart, ran towards the gate. Richard, my brother-in-law, had just arrived and the dogs impatiently waited for the gate to open. When it did, they scampered onto the street. Mozart was the first one to return but Tiger was nowhere in sight.
Then it rained. The heavy downpour flooded the street. When the rain stopped and the water subsided, my sister went out a few times to check whether Tiger was back. But he was nowhere in sight. In tears, my sister prayed for Tiger’s safe return. When she checked again, she saw three dogs coming towards her direction. It was Tiger, accompanied by two other dogs. When Tiger finally went in, the two dogs quietly left.
In the parable of the lost sheep, Jesus exhorts His disciples to seek out those who have gone astray and bring them back to community. Tiger lost his way but two dogs led him back home. My sister rejoiced for Tiger was lost and was found.
Likewise, we, too, are called to be seekers of the lost — those who may have strayed from the right path — and lead them back to God.Judith Concepcion (svp_jmc@yahoo.com)
Do our lives point the way towards God or are we lost ourselves?
Lord, let Your light shine brightly in me so I may lead the stray back to You.
St. Damasus I, pope, pray for us.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Daily Bible Reflections - December 10,2012

Simple Christmas Joy
“Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak.” – Isaiah 35:3
From Paete, Laguna, we stopped by a small hut on the road to buy native corn. The woman who was selling was also cooking dinner for her family, which included her aging father. I noticed that it was a very modest dinner or, more accurately, there was nothing much that she was cooking. So we decided to buy all the remaining corn she had for sale. My husband, also moved by what we saw, handed a little amount of money to the father.
There was rejoicing inside that impoverished hut, the old father tearfully commenting that Christmas had come early.
Later on, in Pagsanjan, we looked for a 75-year-old woman whom we used to see almost every week on our way to our outreach years ago. When we found her, she broke into a bright, joyful smile upon recognizing us.
Sharing blessings may not cost us much, but it means a lot to simple people. On that first Christmas day, Jesus came and shared in our humanity. His birth was a simple event that took place among simple people, but the course of humanity changed forever because of that divine sharing. Donna España (donna.espana@yahoo.com)
Have you discovered joy with the simple people around you? Be a joybearer!
Lord, help me to bring joy and glad tidings to those who are oppressed.
St. John Roberts, priest and maryr, pray for us.

Daily Bible Reflections - December 9,2012

prepare the way
“A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” – Luke 3:4
A noted psychiatrist recognized his own limitations in a conversation he had with British clergyman William Barclay. “All that a psychiatrist can do,” said the doctor, “is strip a man naked until you get to the essential man; and if the essential man is bad stuff, there’s nothing you can do about it. That’s where you come in.” Barclay later commented, “I think he meant that this is where Jesus comes in.”
I’ve always enjoyed listening to motivational speeches. They make learning fun and easy, give me special information, share moving stories, inspire me to alter my attitudes, help me develop useful skills and help me to decide on a special course of action. But a genuine life change and enduring inner joy is too much to ask!
Psychiatry and motivation have always been useful, but they are never meant to change a person’s nature. The noted psychiatrist had no choice but to admit that at some point, Jesus has to come in!
Friend, your family, friends, office teammates, customers, business associates, and all who are in your sphere of relationships need Jesus. Is He calling you now to prepare the way for His coming in their hearts?Jon Escoto (faithatworkjon@gmail.com)
Do you have someone in mind whom you feel the Lord wants you to “prepare the way” for His coming in their lives?
Jesus, use me to “prepare the way” for Your coming in other people’s hearts. Show me who and teach me how.
St. Juan Diego, pray for us.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Daily Bible Reflections - December 7,2012

Two blind men followed [Jesus]. – Matthew 9:27
In college, I volunteered to teach a blind class in a school for special children. The students there were some of the happiest people I have ever met. As soon as I entered the classroom, a student would greet me, “Long time no see, Ma’am!” And another would say, “Gumaganda po tayo, ah” (You’re getting prettier). Being blind didn’t stop them from being happy. Instead, it gave them a better appreciation of themselves and even indulged in humor.
Having been around blind people, today’s Gospel left me with some questions. How can it be physically possible for two blind men to follow Jesus? How could they find their way? Did Jesus have a special scent that allowed them to track Him? Maybe they had a guide. Or ropes tied to their waists that were latched on to Jesus. Or, just maybe, their blindness allowed them to ignore the distractions of physical beauty and gave them the chance to clearly see Jesus’ healing power.
And there they found true joy. Pepper Bruce (pepper.bruce@gmail.com)
Am I distracted by my studies, my work, by the things that I want to have, that I lose track of Jesus and forget that He is the source of my happiness?
Dear God, please make me blind to worldly distractions and allow me to focus on Your great love.
St. Ambrose, bishop and doctor of the Church,pray for us.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Daily Bible Reflections _ December 6,2012

more than Phoenix
“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.” – Matthew 7:24
Seventeen days after a mine collapsed in Chile, rescuers were surprised to see a note attached to their drill bit with the words “Estamos bien en el refugio los 33” (“We are alright in the shelter, the 33 [of us]”).The eventual rescue of all the miners trapped 2,300 feet below ground and who survived underground for a record 69 days became a worldwide media event.
The capsule that they used to bring up the men from the bowels of the earth was  called the Phoenix. It was constructed by the Chilean Navy with design help from NASA. It had retractable wheels, oxygen supply, lighting, video and voice communications, and an escape hatch. The world gave a collective sigh of relief each time the capsule emerged with a rescued miner in it.
All of us need to be rescued. We may not feel like we’re caught in the bowels of the earth but sometimes we aren’t even aware that we need to be rescued. If we choose to listen to the Lord and His Word, we will be heeding more than the Chilean Navy, or even NASA. We will be following the Truth Himself. We will be listening to Wisdom Himself. We will be listening to Life Himself. Joy Sosoban (jsosoban@gmail.com)
Are you too comfortable with your world that you don’t think you need the Lord?
Lord, forgive me if I have not listened to Your Word. I will do so now.
St. Nicholas, bishop, pray for us.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

God Whispers - December 5,2012

Live this day by doing every little thing with joy. Enjoy even the stuff you hate to do and you'll find new strength surging from within you.

Empowering you,


P.S. When you do things with joy, things just become easier to do.

Daily Bible Reflections - December 5,2012

They all ate and had enough. Then the disciples took up seven baskets full of pieces left over. – Matthew 15:37
There were only a couple of days left before the start of our Life in the Spirit Seminar. However, we only had 22 confirmed participants. Twenty-two participants is a good number but not when we booked a venue good for a hundred.
The day before the evangelization event, I asked my pastoral leader if we needed to move to a smaller venue given the number of participants. My leader told me to keep the room and pray for the bountiful harvest that God will give.
On the day itself, God proved me wrong. The venue was packed with both participants and service team members. Some of the service team members couldn’t fit inside so they had to stay out of the room during the talk. We were blessed with a bountiful harvest with very diverse profiles. We had high school students, married people and singles. Thank God we had enough group leaders to handle the discussion sessions after the talk. 
Our God is a generous God. He will always give us more than what we ask for.  Alvin Fabella (alvinfabella@yahoo.com)
“Give to others, and God will give to you. Indeed, you will receive a full measure, a generous helping, poured into your hands — all that you can hold. The measure you use for others is the one that God will use for you.” (Luke 6:38)
Lord, I know that nobody can outgive You. I thank You for all Your blessings that I continue to receive. May I be a blessing to others, too. Amen.
St. Sabas, pray for us.

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