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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - February 28,2013

“Remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.” – Luke 16:25
A man went to the slums riding a sleek, lowered-chassis, latest model Mercedes Benz. One boy, who recognized him, boldly asked, “Can you take me for a ride in your car?”
Perfect! This was just the situation the man had been waiting for to top his bragging expedition. Before he could even answer, the boy ran away then returned with his polio-stricken brother on his back. They both quickly hopped in.
“Where did this car come from?” the boy wondered. “I have an extremely wealthy employer and he bought this car for me,” the man replied.
“Cool!” the boy said. He then closed his eyes, and was silent in prayer for a minute. When the boy opened his eyes, the man asked, “Did you pray that you may become like me and have a nice car like this?”
“No,” said the boy, “I prayed that I be like your boss, so I could give this kind of car to my brother.”
You don’t have to wonder who among the two enjoys the heaven of sleeping soundly at night, relishing simple joys, savoring the warm embraces of love.
The rich man in the Gospel is in hell not because he is rich but because he didn’t love. Jon Escoto (faithatworkjon@gmail.com)
Reflection: Do you want a dose of heaven now? Love the Lazarus that God puts in your path today.
Lord, let me recognize the Lazarus You are putting in my path today.
Blessed Daniel Brottier, pray for us.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - February 26,2013

“Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow, though they be crimson red, they may become white as wool.” – Isaiah 1:18
Have you ever gotten a tattoo? I hear it’s quite painful and almost impossible to remove. I never imagined I’d get one until I went to Phuket during my honeymoon. But mind you, it wasn’t a permanent one. It was just a henna tattoo — the temporary kind that lasts for about two weeks. (Mine lasted for only two minutes because they didn’t finish it and it was washed away by the rain.)
This got me thinking about how I used to brand myself as a jerk because I always broke up with my girlfriends. I couldn’t seem to make a relationship work. I pounded myself for my mistakes and called myself a failure. I believed I was permanently doomed to hurt people and never have a successful relationship. Mercifully, God showed me that my failures don’t define me. I was able to conquer my fear of commitment and I am now very, very happily married.
Our sins are not permanent. Our failures are not permanent. They may have stained us but they’re only henna tattoos, washed away by His blood. What is permanent is God’s mark of ownership on us. We are His children, made in His image and likeness. Nothing can wash that away. George Tolentino Gabriel (george.svp@gmail.com)
Reflection: Have you sinned? Failed? Made mistakes? Confess. Get back up. Move on. His love is greater.
Lord, thank You for Your mercy and forgiveness. Thank You for Your love that never ends.
St. Porphyry of Gaza, pray for us.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - February 25,2013

But yours, O Lord, our God, are compassion and forgiveness! Yet we rebelled against you. – Daniel 9:9
Celine was angry with her nephew, whom she helped raise. He spoke to her disrespectfully when she expressed her disappointment to him over something wrong he had done. Her nephew remained defiant even after she explained why she was displeased. The result: Celine stopped talking to her nephew, while the latter continued to be unmindful of his aunt’s feelings.
“Never bite the hand that feeds you,” Celine maintains.
I cannot blame Celine for her anger, more so because the nephew never apologized for his actions. But to harbor this anger for an extended period of time hardened Celine’s heart, and she became indifferent to her nephew.
Imagine if God were like this towards us. To have an indifferent God means to be stripped of all blessings, big and small. What a miserable life we would all be living! But praise God that He is a God of compassion and forgiveness, no matter how difficult we can be. It is His unconditional love that melts hardened hearts.
Celine admits she has a lot to learn about love and forgiveness. For now, it’s good enough that she is aware of it. God is surely at work. Nova Arias-Sevilla (nova.svp@gmail.com)
Reflection: Are you harboring ill feelings at the moment? Lift them up to God.
To love like You, to be forgiving like You, this I pray today, O God. Amen.
Blessed Sebastian of Aparicio, pray for us.

Daily Bible Reflections - February 24, 2013

Abram put his faith in the Lord, who credited it to him as an act of righteousness. – Genesis 15:6
One of the first prayers taught to us when we were kids was the Apostle’s Creed. “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord….” This has been one of our regular prayers until now. But do we really mean what we say?
Oftentimes, we doubt God’s omnipotent power, no matter how many times we’ve been told to just go ahead and trust in Him. We have our misgivings, especially when we encounter situations which to us seem hopeless and impossible to solve. We bombard God with our prayers, but do we really believe?
Just like Abraham, there will be different magnitude of problems that would make us worry, despite the assurance that God will never abandon nor forsake us.
Amidst all these seemingly insurmountable trials, let us believe in God, the Father Almighty. He will always make a way.
He is the Way. Dr. Henry Yu (henrio_md@yahoo.com)
Reflection: The same God whom we used to believe in when we were kids is here today. He is the same God yesterday, today and tomorrow. He cares for us. His love is everlasting and knows no end.
Father, remind us always to believe and trust in You with all our hearts and minds — to never doubt, no matter how rough the roads are and how hard life becomes.
Blessed Luke Belludi, pray for us.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - February 21,2013

“You, O, Lord, chose Israel from among all peoples.” – Esther C:16
The title of my reflection is our national anthem, which means “a chosen nation.” Indeed, we are the only Christian country in South East Asia blessed with abundant natural and human resources. Expectedly, we should be spiritually and materially wealthy. But sadly, we are not. 
Just like another chosen people, the Israelites of the Old Testament, we have not walked our talk as a supposedly faith-based nation. We have sinned and destroyed our natural wealth.
During one Ash Wednesday, Fr. Troy, our Filipino priest in Abu Dhabi, reminded us in his homily to go back to the basics, to God, during the Lenten season. If we do so, we can claim God’s promised blessings.
I believe that our lasting heritage as a “lupang hinirang” — a chosen people enjoying the fulfillment of God’s promises — can happen if we all repent and believe in the Gospel. Grace Princesa (grprincesa@yahoo.com)
Reflection: Do you believe and claim that as a baptized Filipino Christian, you are chosen to spread the Good News to the ends of the earth?
Papa God, let me claim my heritage as a favored child of a chosen nation.
St. Peter Damian, bishop and doctor of the Church, pray for us.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - February 20,2013

“So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh, according to the Lord’s bidding.” – Jonah 3:2
I’ve always had the passion to present God in a cool, relevant, and contemporary way. I enjoy introducing modern Christian music to my friends. Whenever I’d share His Word, I try to use present-day examples so that those listening can easily relate to it.
Because God is cool. His love is hip. God’s Word is always in-style. He transcends all trends. God is everything but boring. He’s the greatest person ever — yesterday, today and forever. (Hey, it rhymes!)
Now, I believe God calls us to present Him to the world in the same way. Especially today, when we’re competing against the Internet, movies, MTV, Lady Gaga, and so much more. We have to fight for His Word to stand out and be heard! So that those who are far away from Him, people who are lost and hurting, will come to know love personified — Jesus.
Friends, God is giving us a megaphone today to speak to this generation. Our message is the Gospel. Our platform is the marketplace, our office, Facebook, Twitter, our friends, our family, the strangers we meet. Let’s broadcast the game-changing story of Christ! Mike Viñas (mikemichaelfcv@yahoo.com)
Reflection: How will you tell the world that Jesus lives?
Father, empower me to amplify Your message of grace every day.
Blessed Jacinta and Francisco Marto, pray for us.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - February 18,2013

Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your fellow countrymen. – Leviticus 19:18                                        
Phinehas Gage was a capable and efficient railroad construction foreman. But in 1848, he had a freak accident where a rod pierced through his skull above his left eye. His recovery was miraculous but the damage to the front lobe of his brain caused Gage to be angry, short-tempered and unsteady.
Many point to his case in illustrating the role that our frontal lobe plays in controlling our anger. Scientists say that this part balances the amygdala, the portion of our brain dealing with our emotions that goes crazy when we’re angry. This whole balancing act can take as little as two seconds to control our anger. That’s why there’s great wisdom in counting to 10 before reacting when we’re infuriated.
God has equipped our bodies with systems to control our emotions. We don’t need to be a slave to our feelings; instead, we can be their master. But more than the physiological mechanisms He has built into us, God also gives us His power to bear the fruits of patience and temperance.
So the next time you feel like bursting with rage, remember: God has already given you what you need to control your anger. Then start counting to 10. Rissa Singson-Kawpeng (justbreatherissa@gmail.com)
Reflection: For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Jesus, teach me to master my emotions. Amen. Blessed John of Fiesole, pray for us.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - February 15,2013

“This, rather, is the fasting that I wish.” – Isaiah 58:6
I have personally found fasting a truly effective way of spiritual discipline. In fact, it is also a very practical way to detoxify the body.
Yet, I discovered long before that real fasting should lead you to love and serve more. I believe that fasting is depriving yourself so that others may gain more. Otherwise, you may simply be going on a cleansing diet.
Read how the verse above continues:
“… releasing those bound unjustly…
Setting free the oppressed….
Is it not sharing your bread with the hungry,
bringing the afflicted and the homeless into your house;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own flesh?”
At the start of this Season of Lent, complete your “negative action” of denying yourself with “positive acts” of charity, mercy and love for others, especially those who are truly deprived. Alvin Barcelona (apb_ayo@yahoo.com)
Reflection: Are others gaining from your denying of yourself? Love and serve someone today.
Dear God, I pray that my spiritual discipline and obedience to my religious obligations lead me to the point of it all — to love You and others more. Amen.
St. Claude la Colombiere, pray for us.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - February 14,2013

“He must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me.” – Luke 9:23
It’s freezing cold outside in Hoboken, New Jersey, where our family spent Christmas with our son, Peevee. Six blocks is quite a walk to the nearest church when it’s -8°C. “We can do this,” my husband, Raul, assures me as I put on five layers of clothing. I must have weighed at least 10 pounds more with my winter coat, boots, leather gloves and muffler. This has been our daily morning routine since we arrived.
It doesn’t end there. Once inside the church, we have to take off the outer layers one by one, only to put them back on again before we head back home after Mass. But once we step into Peevee’s apartment, the “unlayering” takes place yet again.
This is what happens when we make Jesus the Lord and Savior of our life. Out of our immense love for Him, we shed off our old self and put on a new way of life to please Him. It is not easy and we stumble along the way. But loving Him means taking up our cross daily until we finally reach home to be with our Heavenly Father, free at last from the layers of our past. Mari Sison-Garcia (mari_sison_garcia@yahoo.com)
Reflection: What cross do you bear? This Valentine’s Day, offer it with love to the Lord.
Lord, serving You is not easy but You call us to persevere and endure things in life to get to the place You want us to be.
St. Cyril, monk, and St. Methodius, bishop, pray for us.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - February 13,2013

Ash Wednesday
Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord, your God. For gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment. – Joel 2:13
I used to follow a strict, sometimes unkind, work ethic to get things done.
Later, I would find out, I had so terrorized people that they don’t easily forget me — and my tyrant ways.
Like Jess who printed a magazine I edited some 30 years ago.
Last year, I met Jess again because he was printing another publication I was editing for a client. And the moment Jess and his staff saw me, they looked like they were seeing a monster.
Yes, they hadn’t forgotten the “terrorist me,” who behaved so far from the Lord’s ways as enumerated in the first reading.
When I received the assignment to write this reflection last year, I was so busy that I got to look at the readings only three days after — guess what — exactly on Ash Wednesday! And, would you believe, I just came from church where I had lined up to receive ash on my forehead!
So now I rend my heart and pray that I can be as kind as the Lord. Because I am working again with Jess and his staff on another printing project. Cynthia U. Santiago (cusantiago@gmail.com)
Reflection: Lent is here. Be kind.
Lord, I pray I may be merciful not only during Lent, but always and forever.
St. Giles Mary of St. Joseph, pray for us.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - February 12,2013

“This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” – Mark 7:6
How many times have we said certain things but contradicted our words with our actions?
We tell our spouses that we will love, honor and cherish them “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part,” but when the going gets tough, oftentimes we wish we were “going” too! (Gulp! I’m guilty of this!)
We tell our kids that they’re important to us, but we don’t look at them when they’re talking to us or pay attention when they’re showing us their latest “masterpieces.” Instead, we’re focused on our cell phones or computers. (Guilty here, too!)
We tell our God that we love, honor and worship Him alone — but we get distracted by other “gods” in our lives — our work, worries, material things, desire for success, the media, etc. (Ahem... guilty again!)
What a great reminder we have in God’s Word for today!  Bearing in mind His words, let’s commit ourselves again to really honor God with our hearts, and to practice what we preach. After all, actions really do speak louder than words. Tina Santiago-Rodriguez (teachermamatina@gmail.com)
Reflection: Today, offer to the Lord your heart, hands and life inprayer and worship.
Lord, please take me back to the heart of worship — it’s all about You, Jesus! Use my words and actions — my whole life — to glorify Your name.
St. Apollonia, pray for us.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - February 11,2013

Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes
Evening came, and morning followed. – Genesis 1:19
As I write this reflection, I am in the middle of discernment — whether to continue working from home or go back to the regular five-day work schedule at the office.
For the first two months of 2012, I tried the first scheme, working from home and reporting to the office only twice a week. The transition was hard. Home was normally a retreat place for me, so I found it hard to work, especially at the start of the day. Other things would catch my attention and I’d only be able to start working late in the morning. Thus, I’d end up working late into the night, sometimes up to midnight, because once I gained momentum, it’d be hard to stop. But on the days that I felt I didn’t work enough, I’d feel guilty.
So which is which for me? The story of creation in today’s first reading gives me the answer. God first formed the world, put a structure to it, before He filled it up. He did His work in an orderly fashion. He worked during the day, but when evening came He stopped. And on the seventh day, He rested.
I believe that’s what I need — a sense of order so I could “create” more. I am a “structure” person but also an “artist” by nature, an engineer yet also a writer. Now I realize, God must have purposely designed that mix in me, my left brain as active as my right brain, so I could carry out His mission for me. Tess V. Atienza (svp_tvatienza@yahoo.com)
Reflection: What helps you to be more productive?
Lord God, You fashioned each of us differently. May I learn to dance to my own tune.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.

Daily Bible Reflections - February 10,2013

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send?” “Here I am,” I said, “Send me!” – Isaiah 6:8
I remember my first service for the Lord. I held the light for the cameraman covering a prayer event and followed him wherever he went. It was a big deal because: 1) it was a privilege to do God’s work and honor Him; 2) I was the one chosen among many; and 3) I said yes!
Unfortunately, not all respond as enthusiastically as I did. Some are fearful, falsely believing they are not skilled or talented enough. Many are too busy and do not have time to engage in ministry work. Worse, there are those who are indifferent, claiming that serving God is not for them.
Matthew 22:14 says, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” I believe few are chosen because few respond to God’s call. The Lord invites us to have an intimate relationship with Him, and this includes serving Him in whatever capacity He calls us to.
The service could be as simple as being a greeter in your community event, or leading the prayer in your caring group.
The key is availability, not ability. Once you say yes to God’s call to serve, He will honor you and use you mightily for other works. Erwin Roceles (erwin_roceles@yahoo.com)
Reflection: When the opportunities to serve the Lord present themselves, will you have an excuse or are you ready to be used?
Lord, I make myself available to You. Use me as You please. Bless me with the skills and gifts I will need and empower me with Your Spirit. Amen.
St. Scholastica, virgin, pray for us.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - February 8,2013

Let brotherly love continue. – Hebrews 13:1
Into each life, some rain must fall, so the saying goes.
The year 2011 wasn’t easy for my sisters and me.
There were trials — big ones, small ones — in the areas of health, finance, business and work.
Through it all, we carried each other’s burdens. And we survived, by the grace of God.
2012 came, and right on the first day of the year, my nephew and his young family got involved in a road mishap. Fortunately, they were not hurt.
On the second month, a niece got into a car accident, too.
Each time something happens, all of us, seven sisters (sometimes six, because we don’t bother our sister in the US for minor problems), would be busy with our cell phones, texting and communicating with one another for comfort and strength. We would pray for whoever is in trouble and be present to whoever is in need, even if not always physically.
And during such times, I’d remember my deceased mother.
She was the one who taught us, by her example, how to love one another, how to be strong for each other, how to give and share whatever we have — as Jesus had told us.
Today’s first reading says, “Let mutual love continue.”
I pray we’re doing it right. Tess V. Atienza (svp_tvatienza@yahoo.com)
Reflection: How do you show mutual love for the people God has put in your life?
Lord Jesus, thank You for showing us the way to love.
St. Josephine Bakhita, pray for us.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - February 7,2013

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two. – Mark 6:7
Many years ago, I enrolled in a weight-gain program of a popular fitness center. Initially, I was motivated to go to the gym because I wanted to add some pounds to achieve my ideal body weight. But after four sessions, I stopped. After several years, I bought an exercise equipment. After trying it out a few times, I abandoned the idea of exercising and left the equipment in a corner, collecting dust.
I didn’t stick to my exercise program because I did it alone. Based on statistics, people who exercise with a buddy are more motivated and successful at exercising consistently.
The same is also true in doing God’s work. In today’s Gospel, Jesus sent His disciples out on a mission, not individually, but by twos. He knew the importance of people working as a team. This way, they can provide support and encouragement to one another, especially when they experience laziness, frustration or rejection.
We get more things done effectively when we work with a team. As you serve Christ, don’t try to do it alone. Judith Concepcion (svp_jmc@yahoo.com)
Reflection: Are you suffering from burnout? Learn to delegate.
Lord, help me to realize that I can’t possibly do everything with my own power. Grant me the grace to share the work with others.
St. Colette, pray for us.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - February 6,2013

Endure your trials as “discipline.” – Hebrews 12:7
I was asked long ago how one should face the many trials we encounter in the world. As we all know, being a Christian is not a bed of roses. I answer the question through a poem I wrote entitled “Bravery”:
Ahead of me is a battle
Created for me to fight
Thousands of foes will attack
I will be hit, they won’t be light
My face will touch the ground
My spirit will shout in pain
But my trembling knees won’t give up
I will not die in vain
For inside me is a great desire
To finish the battle within
Though wounded, I will stand up
I must conquer, I must win
I do this not for my sake
Nor for arrogance or pride
But for a King who believes in me
Who knows that I could fall, but will not hide.
I still use this poem to remind me that I should press forward, even in the midst of trials and failures, because I have a King who believes in me. Emmanuel Calayan (emmanuel_calayan@yahoo.com)
Reflection: How is the Lord disciplining you right now?
Lord, thank You for disciplining me that I may share in Your holiness.
Sts. Paul Miki and Companions, martyrs, pray for us.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - February 4,2013

Some were tortured and would not accept deliverance, in order to obtain a better resurrection… – Hebrews 11:35
I have a confession to make. During the 2011 Kerygma Conference Grand Feast, I bailed out from the choir midway through the program. The heat had triggered my dizziness. Wind couldn’t squeeze through the four rows of singers in front of me and about six rows at my back. The sight of people jumping up and down and the swaying of the stage made my head whirl all the more.
I also pitied the people around me. Every time I raised my hand in praise, I accidentally bopped the girls in front. When I stepped back, I crushed someone’s toes behind me. To give them more space, two friends and I snuck out during the break. We continued singing to the Lord on solid ground, fanned by a cool breeze.
As I watched the choir onstage, I was filled with both admiration and shame. Through all that discomfort, there they were singing with joyous abandon!
We face many trials when we serve. The servants who don’t buckle under are the ones who win over many souls for the Lord. Lella M. Santiago (mirellasantiago@yahoo.com)
Reflection: Are you experiencing service burnout because of difficulties? Focus on the reason why you serve.
Lord, when things get tough in my service to bring others to You, help me to take it one soul at a time.
St. Joseph of Leonissa, pray for us.

Daily Bible Reflections - February 3,2013

So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13
It was supposed to be our pre-Valentine outreach with streetkids from He Cares Foundation. Along the way, they taught us their definition of love.
“Why don’t you want to take a bath?,” one of the volunteers asked one young girl. “Because this is my sister’s dress,” the girl replied.
“I promise not to curse anymore,” said one boy, when we discussed what to do as our Valentine promise.
“Why do they ask for cellophane when they sit down to eat?,” I asked Daryl, the housefather. “Because they want to bring the food to their mother,” he said.
If we judge the topic of love by the amount of attention it gets in songs, movies, books and everywhere else, we can easily conclude that it is the greatest. But “greatest” is not necessarily popular. So on that day in February, I learned the various ways of showing love.
And it wasn’t any less great for being different from what I am used to. Just like Jesus—who offered His life for love of me. Joy Sosoban (jsosoban@gmail.com)
Reflection: God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
Dearest Jesus, as You are Love Himself, grant me the grace to show love.
St. Blasé, bishop and martyr, pray for us.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Daily Bible Reflections - February 1,2013

And the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. – Mark 4:27
When I was in college, I had a friend with whom I had lunch almost every day for two years. Let’s call him Bill. During those lunches, I’d share my faith with him. But no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t seem to convince Bill to follow Jesus. He said he had a lot of doubts. He had many other problems and he wasn’t ready to commit. But even if we didn’t agree about spiritual things, we enjoyed our friendship.
We talked about sports, girls, cars, girls, music, and…did I mention girls? (After all, we were college guys!)
When I dropped out of college, we lost touch.
And I never heard of Bill again.
Eleven years later, I was walking in a mall and guesswho I saw — Bill! I asked him how he was, and he gave me the shock of my life. He said he was a Christian missionary!
I couldn’t believe my ears.
He then said five words that made my heart leap for joy: “Thanks for showing me Jesus.”
For those two years that I had lunch with the guy, it seemed like nothing was happening.
But what showed him Jesus?
Our friendship. Bo Sanchez (bosanchez@kerygmafamily.com)
Reflection: Have you shown Jesus to anyone? Why not start now?
May my every word and deed reflect You to others, Lord Jesus.
St. Ansgar, bishop, pray for us.

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