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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - January 31,2013

“Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear. Take care what you hear.” – Mark 4:23-24
I have this knack for listening to a voice and identifying the celebrity it belongs to. I see this useless skill as one of the quirks of my good sense of hearing.
On New Year’s day each year, I put my “hearing” skills to work in a special way. On this day, I listen for the voice of the Lord speaking to my heart. I ask Him about the year that’s before me, and I also seek a message from the Bible to confirm His leading. I’m OK with Him knowing all His plans for me, without revealing to me what those are right away. It’s my position as His child to listen for His cues as His plan unfolds. How well my year will play out will depend on how I listen to His leading and voice each step of the way.
How does one hear God? Through careful listening, as Jesus Himself points out in today’s Gospel. Hearing God’s voice means paying attention to circumstances, counsel, and that sense of peace that surpasses all understanding. When all of these mesh well, we can move forth to follow God’s command for us, with the assurance that we’ve heard Him right. Martine De Luna (the.dainty.mom@gmail.com)
Reflection: How “well-tuned” are your listening skills when it comes to hearing what the Lord has to say?
Dear Jesus, open my ears that I may hear You clearly each day.
St. John Bosco, priest, pray for us.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - January 30,2013

I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds... Their sins and their evildoing I will remember no more. – Hebrews 10:16-17
The children in my third grade Christian Living Education class will be receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time. Preparing them for the big day has been interesting and heartwarming.
Here are some things my students have asked over the course of our preparation: Is there any sin that God won’t forgive? If someone commits a mortal sin, and years later decides he wants to be with God again, will God forgive him? What if someone commits a sin over and over, but then wants to be with God later on?
It’s wonderful to be able to tell them what a loving and merciful God we have. I get teary-eyed when I share that, unlike us, He never holds grudges. He’s always ready to forgive and forget. When I say these things to my eight-year-old students, smiles break out and eyes light up in awe. A bit of the nervousness that comes with First Confession melts away.
As adults, we sometimes forget what a happy occasion Confession really is. Remember, once we come to Him, no matter what we have done, He forgives us and remembers our sins no more. Geraldine G. Catral (teachergeegee@yahoo.com)
Reflection: When was the last time you went to a priest to confess your sins? Celebrate God’s healing love today!
Lord, thank You for the Sacrament of Reconciliation that You make available to us. Through it, we receive Your healing grace.
St. Hyacintha of Mariscotti, pray for us.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - January 29,2013

“Whoever does the will of God...” – Mark 3:35
I applied for a position at a university in Baguio City. I knew I was qualified because of my college and master’s degree. My vast experience in the academe also added to my confidence that I was going to be hired.
During my job interview, the personnel manager found out that I had a seizure disorder, an illness I’ve had since birth. I surmised that this was her basis for rejecting my application.
My world crumbled because I wanted the job badly. My wife and mother consoled me by saying that God’s plans were better for sure. They said the job was most probably not meant for me. I chose to believe in what they said and entrusted everything to God.
Weeks later, I applied for a position in another university. I was hesitant at first because of my recent experience. But with a faith-filled heart, I gave them my resume.
Guess what? I got the job! I’m happy at work and I get along well with my co-teachers and other work mates. The students are cooperative. My workload is light.
I learned from this experience that the only way to live is to give everything to God — to say a heartfelt yes to His divine will. Dho Rimando (dougsterrimando@yahoo.com.ph)
Reflection: Do you want to be happy? Say yes to the Lord always.
All to Jesus, I surrender. All to Him I freely give.                                                                                                            
Servant of God Brother Juniper, pray for us.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - January 28,2013

Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas, priest and doctor of the Church
“But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin.” – Mark 3:29
A mysterious incurable disease swept through an entire continent. Mankind was at the brink of extinction. The United Nations commissioned one great doctor who could make diagnoses by merely staring at the individual. He discovered the antidote serum. He went around telling people they were sick, then they’d come to him and they’d get well. But not everyone received him though. Some said, “No. I’m not sick. And I don’t believe your good intentions. I think you were sent by this corrupt government to extort money from us, the poor!”
Was the disease incurable? Certainly not. But many still died because they wouldn’t take the cure.
The Holy Spirit says, “You’re sick,” and points us to the Great Doctor, Jesus. But there are those who blaspheme against Him and say, “You are evil. I don’t need anything from you!”
Is there an unforgivable sin? Certainly none! God can forgive all our sins! However, refusing the invitation of the Holy Spirit to receive God’s forgiveness, my friend, is the only “unforgivable sin.” Jon Escoto (faithatworkjon@gmail.com)
Reflection: What has the Holy Spirit been speaking to you about that you find hard to respond to?
Father, let me be sensitive to the work of Your Holy Spirit as You call my attention when certain areas of my life and actions are not surrendered to You.
St. Thomas Aquinas, priest and doctor of the Church, pray for us.

Daily Bible Reflections - January 27,2013

But as it is, God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended. – 1 Corinthians 12:18
Do you know that the smallest bone in the body is no bigger than a grain of rice? It’s called the stapes and it’s one of the three tiny bones in the middle ear. It’s so tiny, almost insignificant in size, but if anything happens to it, we lose our ability to hear clearly.
Sometimes we can also feel insignificant compared to those who have more important roles. Or maybe, if we’re on the other end of the pendulum, we may feel that we are more indispensable than other people.
Each one of us has specific roles to play that are equally important in the grand scheme of life. Jesus was anointed by God for a special purpose. Although He was born in a stable and worked as a carpenter, who would have imagined that He was destined to be the Savior of mankind?
All of us have appointed parts to play in God’s beautiful tapestry of life. It doesn’t matter if you’re onstage to be seen by all or at the backstage hidden from men’s eyes. What’s more important is — are you doing what you were anointed to do? Ronna Ledesma (ronna_ledesma@yahoo.com.ph)
Reflection: If you were called to play the part of Romeo and you instead memorized Juliet’s lines, do you think the play will still turn out well?                                                                                                                                                                
Lord, use me, mold me, lead me, guide me — but first, please help me hear Your instructions correctly.
St. Angela Merici, virgin, pray for us.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - January 25,2013

Solemnity of the Conversion of Paul, Apostle
“For you will be his witness before all to what you have seen and heard. Now, why delay?” – Acts 22:15-16
There’s someone I know — let’s call him Dax — whom I invited to join my former Catholic community. For a while, he gladly listened to the talks and even participated in the activities.
One day, Dax stopped attending. He reasoned that although he saw and believed that God changes lives, he wasn’t ready for his own turnaround.
“I want to live the good life first,” said Dax. “I’m not ready to be a saint.”
Many people like Dax think that it’s no fun to have God in their lives. They equate uprightness with boredom, and think that the so-called “good life” has more adventure. What they forget, however, is that no man lives forever, and that all of us may die at any time.
As God’s witnesses, He calls us to be holy — to preach the Good News with our lives. It’s tough, I know. But don’t we always say that life is short? If it takes only a short lifetime to reach that state of holiness, then we better start the journey early. Why delay? Nova Arias-Sevilla (nova.svp@gmail.com)
Reflection: Why choose to live the good life when you can have the best life in the company of God?
Lord God, grant me the courage to lead others to You… now.
St. Peter Thomas, pray for us.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - January 24,2013

Memorial of St. Francis de Sales, bishop and doctor of the Church


Whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him and shout, “You are the Son of God.” – Mark 3:11                                                                                                                                                                                   
I saw an interesting video that someone posted on my Facebook account. It was a robbery captured on video by a
CCTV camera of a jewelry shop in the US.
A masked man entered a jewelry store and held up the store owner and a customer at gunpoint. Without even a hint of panic, the store owner firmly told the robber, “You get out of my store right now in the name of Jesus!” She spoke those words again firmly, commanding the masked man to obey her.
True enough, the robber was rattled and didn’t know what to do. The lady’s words made him back away and exit her store.
I was stunned with what I saw on the video. I even thought that what the store owner did was insane because
she could have been shot. But I realized that she did the right thing at the right time. The name of Jesus held more firepower than the gun that was aimed at her. His name was more powerful than the evil spirit that caused the man to commit the crime. This woman stood her ground and allowed the power of God to take over. Monty Mendigoria (montymendigoria@yahoo.com)
Reflection: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
Jesus, I need Your protection from the hands of the enemy. Let Your Mighty Name be my weapon in times of battle. Amen.
St. Francis de Sales, bishop and doctor of the Church, pray for us.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - January 23,2013


“Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” – Mark 3:4
I saw a picture on Facebook that touched my heart. It had 179 comments and 2,083 shares, including mine. It was a photo of a guy waiting in a terminal with a woman, a very old man — probably his father — and their baggage.
So, what was so moving about it?
Without any chairs to sit on, the guy sacrificially squatted on the floor and let the old man sit on his lap as he secured him from falling by embracing him. It was not a comfortable position for the guy, but it gave relief to the old man as they waited for their ride.
The guy’s good deed toward the old man is a good example of Jesus’ compassion and love. Their picture brought hope and it inspired me to be kinder even through simple acts. I’m pretty sure those who liked and shared this FB postfelt the same.
In spite of persecutions, Jesus healed people even on the Sabbath, giving comfort and love to those in need. He planted hope and inspiration in the hearts of people.
This 2013, don’t let time, place, people or situations stop you from being Jesus to others. Ma. Luisa De la Cruz (theessence_byluisa@yahoo.com)
Reflection: How can you ease someone’s suffering today?

Dear Jesus, unite my heart, mind and soul with You. Help me make my life a fragrant offering to the Father.

Blessed Mother Marianne Cope, pray for us.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - January 22,2013


God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love you have demonstrated for his name by having served and continuing to serve the holy ones. – Hebrews 6:10
       I could sense she was distraught just from her text message.
She told me her story as soon as we sat down. She was burdened by heavy personal problems and her spiritual disciplines, instead being a source of refreshment, only served to weigh her down even more. Attending prayer meetings had become an obligation because she feared the judgment of others if she didn’t show up. She kept a list of her debt to the Lord in the form of tithes she had not been able to turn over because of her financial woes. She felt that if she didn’t continue with her spiritual obligations, the Lord would stop blessing her. But I knew she loved the Lord sincerely.
I felt sorry for her. She was carrying a load we were not meant to bear. She was weighed down by Pharisaism.
I assured her that our God was not a cosmic potbellied policeman ready to whack us with a club for every misdemeanor. Our God is the Prodigal Father in the Parable of the Lost Son. He is the One who runs to us with open arms and clothes us with His robes even if we have sinned.
Even if our own hearts make us feel guilty, God is infinitely greater than our hearts, and He knows everything (1 John 3:19-20). Rissa Singson-Kawpeng (justbreatherissa@gmail.com)
Reflection: There is nothing you can do that will make God love you less.
Lord, correct my image of You. Amen.
St. Vincent, deacon and martyr, pray for us.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - January 21,2013

Pray, Forgive and Bless
He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring, for he himself is beset by weakness. – Hebrews 5:2
I often share that one of the litmus tests of being a true Christian is when we pray, forgive and bless our enemies.
The Lord challenged my words a few years ago — if indeed I would walk my talk. Some people were trying to destroy my integrity and I struggled with being patient with them. It was painful to see them seemingly winning in their erring ways and glorifying in their perceived triumph.
I realized later on that I was going through a learning experience, a test. God was reminding me that if I claim to be not just an ambassador for my country but also for God, then I should make sure I am worthy, especially of the latter title or responsibility. He showed me that I was indirectly contributing to the situation I was in through my own mistakes and weaknesses. He validated His message through the readings in the Bible and other daily devotionals.
That made me forgive and bless my detractors but not to trust them. God was reiterating that in this world, we should indeed be wise as serpents but gentle as doves.Grace Princesa (grprincesa@yahoo.com)
Reflection: Patience is concentrated strength, not weakness. It is easier to give in to anger than to choose to love.
“Make me a channel of your peace. Where there is hatred let me bring Your love. Where there is injury, Your pardon, Lord.”
St. Agnes, virgin and martyr, pray for us.

Daily Bible Reflections - January 20,2013

Feast of the Sto. NiƱo
And he said to them,“Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” – Luke 2:49
In 2006, my older brother vanished without any warning or explanation. We had an inkling that stress from his corporate life was the cause. For many months, we searched for him but to no avail. Every so often, we would hear sightings of him from friends of friends, as if he were a Sasquatch or an extraterrestrial. It wasn’t until two years later that he reemerged. Looking disheveled and detached, he told us of his adventures in Mindanao and how he managed to find his place and purpose in this world.
My brother’s face, that was once chiseled with undefined sadness, is now a picture of peace and happiness. He founded a movement that has evolved into an open community that seeks to heal Mother Earth by opening one’s conscious connection with the world. He has found his calling.
Mary and Joseph were frantic because they couldn’t find Jesus. When they finally found him at the Temple, He was so calm and at peace that He even questioned why His parents were distressed. No need for them to worry because He was in His Father’s house fulfilling His purpose.
When we find our purpose, it’s like being in our Father’s house where we are safe at all times. Audee Villaraza (avillaraza@gmail.com)
Reflection: Today, pray that God may reveal His purpose and plan for your life and that you surrender your life to His will.
Almighty God, keep me safe in Your house as I journey towards finding my purpose.
St. Sebastian, martyr, pray for us.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - January 18,2013

healing power of forgiveness
“Which is easier to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’?” – Mark 2:9
My two-year-old daughter was tumbling about on her bed when her forehead hit a corner of the bed frame. Blood quickly oozed from the gaping wound. I tried to stop the bleeding but an hour after bandaging her wound, it looked like it was still oozing. Worried that her wound might not heal properly, I took her to the emergency room.
I was amazed at how quickly she healed. When they removed the bandage I had applied a couple of hours earlier, her gaping wound looked like a tiny cut! No stitches needed. More than my children’s ability to heal quickly, I’m even more amazed at how fast they can forgive and forget. I watch my two-year-old get clobbered by her older sister and, like a cat and a dog, they get into a brawl. They kick, bite and scream at each other, but a few minutes later, they’re back to being the best of friends.
Many of us lose that childlike quality to easily forgive as we grow older. No wonder Jesus asked the question in the passage above. It was as if He was saying that it’s easier to perform a miracle by making the lame walk than to forgive. What we don’t realize is that when we forgive, we heal quickly as well. Rissa Singson-Kawpeng (justbreatherissa@gmail.com)
Reflection: Resentments hurt you, not them. Always forgive people, even if they never ask for your forgiveness. Don’t do it for them — do it for you. (www.marcandangel.com)
Lord, make me a person who is quick to forgive.
St. Charles of Sezze, pray for us.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - January 17,2013

Harden not your hearts
If today you would hear his voice, harden not your hearts. – Hebrew 3:7-8
Five years ago I heard the voice of the Lord calling me to serve in our community. The council asked me to discern if I really wanted to take the position as one of the leaders. Hesitation filled me as I discerned. Questions like, “Am I capable? Am I worthy of that position?” besieged me like waves testing my boat of faith.
Almost a month had passed when I finally came to a decision — I passed my letter of intent to the coordinator. I said yes to the Lord.
Looking back, it’s a good thing I listened to His call. During my years of service, He revealed His plans to me. I expanded my territories, enhanced my speaking skills and created new relationships.
Maybe God is asking you to make a decision right now. Or maybe you are being pushed beyond your comfort zone. Your mind is uncertain, doubtful if you can do it. But, friend, if the Lord calls you to do something, trust Him with your all. “If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.” Jan Carlo Silan (jan@makatifeast.com)
Reflection: God calls every single one of us to do His will. Have you freely opened your heart and soul to His voice?
Lord, grant me the courage to say yes to Your call and the faith to strongly believe that You are with me every step of the way. Amen.
St. Anthony, abbot, pray for us.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - January 16,2013

Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. – Mark 1:35
It was a day of many firsts. The first work day of the year, the first day of work for our participants and their first time to work. It was the first time that I was incharge of that training, my first time to see it run.
I admit that I was nervous and wanted to do well. There were a lot of things that could go wrong, a lot of things to check. I had assigned tasks for each team member and they knew what to do. I was tempted to take over. Yet I knew I had to do something more important first. I’d been in similar situations before when I chose to veer away from my routine — my prayer time. So I prayed.
After my quiet time with the Lord, we went about our work. Everything went fine. There were a few kinks here and there, and we could definitely improve on many things. Yet, we were grateful that our first training run went smoothly. I had a sense of peace and tranquility since I had prayed earlier.
Prayer settles. Prayer calms.
For me, it’s also prayer first. Jun Asis (mabuting.balita@gmail.com)
Reflection: Is prayer a priority in your life?
Lord, grant me the grace to prioritize my prayer time, that I may always listen and draw life from You.
St. Bernard and Companions, pray for us.

Daily Bible Reflections - January 14,2013

“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” – Mark 1:17
I heard this call way back in 1980 and with God’s grace, I said, “Yes, Lord.” In more than 30 years, I do testify that Jesus was able to “fish men” through me in various ways — in my counseling, my writings and reflections, and in the various ministries I embarked on, especially in my parish ministry as coordinator of the BEC (Basic Ecclesial Communities).
Our zone leaders here are simple folk and some have not even finished secondary education. But the Lord used their yes to serve as leaders in building BECs to “fish men” in the parish areas. There are those who were unchurched before but are now potential area leaders. Their weekly Bible sharing sessions give Jesus a chance to speak to them, direct them and mold them as Christians. Some of them have already whispered a yes to the Lord, too.
My life has taught me that our small yes to the Lord, faithfully lived, is all He needs to build His Church and fish men — the children whom He longs to be with forever. Our positive response consequently fishes other yeses for  the Lord, bringing in more and more fishers of men for the Kingdom. Cristy Galang (cristy_cc@yahoo.com)
Reflection: Listen to the Lord in prayer or through Scripture or in the silence of your heart. Whatever He tells you to do, say yes.
Lord, I want to follow You all the days of my life here on earth. I surrender my all, Lord, that You may be able to use me for Your greater glory. Amen.
Servant of God John the Gardener, pray for us.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - January 11,2013

Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do will it. Be made clean.” – Luke 5:13
In December 2011, I had the privilege of interviewing people who were healed through natural and alternative healing methods. Many of them simply changed their eating habits — from an “eat anything” diet to a plant-based one.
One was a pancreatic cancer survivor who drinks guyabano tea as her water. Another one drinks pure, fresh calamansi extract every morning as his maintenance for a stronger immune system. From near-death, most of them are now enjoying their second lives.
But what I realized from their stories is that our health is in our hands — not in the doctors’.
We can choose to be healthy or unhealthy, depending on what we put into our bodies. And this is what I am guilty of. Although I try to eat less meat and more fish and fruits, I still do eat a lot of sweets and chips, and drink soda.
But as the Lord said to the leper in the Scripture passage today, “Be made clean,” I believe that, with God’s grace, I can make a turnaround.
So for this year, I promise to myself and to the Lord that I will nourish myself only with healthy food, not only physically but also spiritually, emotionally and mentally. Tess V. Atienza (svp_tvatienza@yahoo.com)
Reflection: What do you want to be healed of? Ask the Lord to heal you.
Lord, I present to You my unclean self. Make me clean again.
Blessed William Carter, pray for us.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - January 8,2013

Everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.– 1 John 4:7
In marriage preparation or in marital counseling, one of the tools used to help the couple know one another better and heal family relationships is the genogram. They are asked to draw their family tree, which includes not just the names and dates of birth and death, but also detailed information about relationships, traits, illnesses, achievements, disorders and significant life patterns.
Knowing these would help each partner know where the other is coming from, cut trans-generational negative patterns that could affect their union, and many other benefits.
When I did mine as a course requirement for the Pastoral Counseling course I took at the Center for Family Ministries, I noted how I took after both my father and mother in terms of talents. I got from my father my analytical mind and my love for writing. From my mother, I got her heart — her compassion, her strength of spirit and quiet countenance.
Now I wonder, if we put God at the topmost of our family genogram, what traits would we discover that we inherited from Him? After all, He created us all in His image and likeness. Tess V. Atienza (svp_tvatienza@yahoo.com)
Reflection: What traits did you inherit from your ancestors? Are they godly traits?
God, our Father, thank You for creating me in Your image and likeness. Help me to become more like You each day of my life.
Blessed Angela of Foligno, pray for us.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - January 7,2013

Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. — 1 John 4:1
Three fully made-up and identically dressed contestants enter the stage. A male celebrity guest will try to guess who the real girl is among the three. If he guesses correctly, he wins the cash prize; if not, the prize goes to the contestant
whom he thought was a girl. The three contestants employ different tactics to deceive the celebrity. They change their
voices, act and walk in a weird manner, and give silly answers to serious questions. This surely gives the celebrity a big headache. There are times when the celebrity-guesser picks the wrong contestant.
“Our world is filled with voices claiming to speak for God,” a Bible commentary says. We may be deceived by the
eloquence of their words, not noticing that their lives speak of a different gospel. St. John reminds us to “test the spirits to see whether they belong to God.” Do they walk their talk? What are the fruits of their ministry? Do they point towards God and not to themselves? Is the message they proclaim consistent with Jesus’ teachings? Be vigilant and see if they pass the test. Judith Concepcion (svp_jmc@yahoo.com)
Reflection: Do you accept everything that you hear or see as absolute truth? Be discerning lest it lead you into a trap.
Lord, grant me a discerning spirit that I may not be led astray. St. Raymund of Penyafort, priest, pray for us.

Daily Bible Reflections - January 6,2013

Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
They all gather and come to you. Your sons come from afar.– Isaiah 60:4
It couldn’t have been any better: a dark sky, amazing fireworks, a canopy of stars overhead and thousands of people standing within inches of each other in a wide open field. It was the presence of warm-blooded individuals that actually made the difference, and what made the entire night most memorable.
This wasn’t a concert or a pyrotechnic competition. It was God’s presence manifested at the Kerygma Conference Grand Feast 2011.
Throughout the event, there were moments when I just found myself marveling at the sight of God’s people coming together and praising in unison. I imagined God smiling from ear to ear, pleased at seeing His children.
As I looked around, I told myself that these are thousands of people who may have failures and ongoing difficulties, who may have broken hearts and broken relationships, and who may still have unfulfilled dreams and unanswered prayers. But they are also thousands of people who still choose to praise God in the midst of the trials they face.
Such thoughts compelled me to remain an avid fan, a loyal follower and a firm believer of the God of the universe, my loving Father.Osy Erica (osy.erica@gmail.com)
Reflection: If you can shout, dance and sing at the top of your lungs for your favorite artist, how can you not do the same for your God?
Lord, You are the Greatest Artist. Yours is a song of unconditional love and compassion. Instill in me the heart of a loyal follower.
St. Andre Bessette, religious, pray for us.

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