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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

How do you take part in Jesus’ work of salvation? - Daily Bible Reflections August 31, 2016

“To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.” – Luke 4:43
       Years ago, Bo Sanchez gathered all servants and told us of his plan of multiplying the Victory Celebration by holding it in different cities in the country and abroad. Then, the Victory Celebration was held at the AFP Theater in Quezon City once a month. He said, “The gathering will be called The Feast.” I had the courage to speak out, “But, Bo, are we sure  people will come to The Feast if you are not the one leading the gathering?” He had strong faith and believed that it was the movement of the Holy Spirit.
       Today, Feasts are being conducted all over the world. It’s a venue where people experience healing, find hope, and encounter Jesus. God corrected my wrong notion that it was Bo Sanchez that people would seek.
         Now, as part of the intercessory ministry, I pray that God will invade people’s lives through The Feast in the places that I go. I may not be able to speak to others eloquently about God’s love, but in prayer I ask God to raise up servants to start a Feast in that place so that people can receive salvation. Banjoy Santillan (santillanbanjoy@yahoo.com)
Reflection: How do you take part in Jesus’ work of salvation?
Anoint me to be Your missionary, Lord, using the gifts You have given me.
Sts. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, pray for us.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Has God answered your prayer in a way you do not understand? - Daily Bible Reflections August 30, 2016

The one who is spiritual, however, can judge everything... – 1 Corinthians 2:15
       Before I got into the habit of having quiet time and of reading the Bible, I would always rely on signs or on my personal interpretation of things. I would say things like, “I think God says no because…” without enough prayers and reflection. Because of that, I misunderstood some events in my life and felt that God didn’t answer some of my prayers.
        It wasn’t until I prayed for clarity, an open mind and heart, and for me to feel the Holy Spirit more that I understood some of God’s movements in my life. When I prayed for my broken relationships to be healed, I gave God two options to do it.
       I waited for a long time, and when His answer came, it was very clear. His answer was neither of my two options. But it was bigger and greater!
       Truly, His plans are greater than anything we can ever imagine. And this we can only understand when we pray, when we listen, and when we form a relationship with Him. Angel Directo(jeldirecto@gmail.com)
Reflection: Has God answered your prayer in a way you do not understand? Have you intently prayed for clarity? Have you tried reading and listening to His Word?
Dear Father, teach us to open our hearts and ears for things we cannot understand. Guide us to Your truth and lead us by Your Spirit.
St. Jeanne Jugan, pray for us.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

What message is God whispering (again) to you today? - Daily Bible Reflections August 28, 2016

The mind of a sage appreciates proverbs, and an attentive ear is the wise man’s joy. – Sirach 3:28
       What recurring messages are being given to you? Maybe you are being asked to step up, to be healthier, to serve more, to reach out to someone. My father was being given a message as he struggled with his advancing age. From the eyes of my mom, her 70-year-old husband wasn’t as strong as before. When he made his usual uphill walk to our home in Baguio, he was short of breath.
         My mom knew that something was changing in the body of her aging husband. So she told Dad, “Tony, you should see the doctor.” My father retorted, “I am a doctor. I know better.”
          Then one day, my father missed a step and fell from the stairs. Mom called our family friend, Doc Sabrina, a young doctor whom we had known since she was a little girl.
          After examining Dad, Doc Sabrina said, “Tito, you should see the doctor.” This time, Dad heeded. Same message, different response.
         Sometimes in our life, we are given a message that we refuse to listen to. But every message has a purpose. Our Lord continues to send us messages in various forms. He knows what is best for us, and He is just waiting for us to listen. Edwin KaEdong Soriano (edwin@winningcoaching.net )
Reflection: What message is God whispering (again) to you today?
Lord, open my eyes, my ears and my heart to Your message today.
St. Augustine of Hippo, bishop and doctor of the Church, pray for us.

Friday, August 26, 2016

“Teach us to count our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart.” (Psalm 90:12) - Daily Bible Reflections August 26, 2016

“Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” – Matthew 25:13
   In 1988, a good number of people from our Catholic community gathered in an open basketball court waiting for Jesus to come and take us away. We did this because we read a booklet entitled 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Could Be in 1988. We not only read it — we believed it and lived like Jesus would return to earth that September, just as the booklet had predicted.
       Looking back now, it was silly to believe anyone who claims to know when Jesus’ Second Coming will be when He Himself said that “not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” knows. One thing I did learn from that exercise is to live with the awareness that Jesus is coming at a time we do not expect. He may not come on the clouds with angels in tow as Rapture advocates believe, but Jesus comes in the most unexpected ways.
       He came quietly to take a friend’s mom in her sleep. He came swiftly to take a teenage boy who figured in a car accident. He came suddenly to take thousands during a violent earthquake.
       We don’t need a prophet of doom to tell us when Jesus is coming. What’s important is that we live in a way that we’re ready for the Lord to take us when it’s time. Rissa Singson Kawpeng (justbreatherissa@gmail.com)
Reflection: “Teach us to count our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart.” (Psalm 90:12)
“We proclaim Your Death, O Lord, and profess Your Resurrection, until You come again.” (Memorial Acclamation)
St. Joseph Calasanz, pray for us.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Do you believe that you have a loving God? Do you believe that He sent His Son for you? - Daily Bible Reflections August 25, 2016

“Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.” – Matthew 24:42
       I asked a friend, who was studying Theology, “Bro, what will happen on judgment day?” He looked at me and said, “Jan, on judgment day, you will be judged.” After that, I began to question if he was really attending his classes.
     He continued, “You will be judged based on how you used and developed your talents. You will also be judged on your sins from day zero to the day of your death. Everything will be accounted for.”
       It didn’t sound encouraging. But, he further added, “Jan, you will be judged based on your talents and sins, but remember, your Judge is a loving Judge. He will look at you with love. God is love. It’s up to you if you want to accept that love.”
       His answer left a huge impact on my heart. Yes, our God is the God of love. His love will cover over a multitude of sins.
      Friends, there is hope. God is love. His love will change you. He knows your sins, but He invites you into a relationship to remind you that you are loved. Jan Carlo Silan (jan@makatifeast.com)
Reflection: Do you believe that you have a loving God? Do you believe that He sent His Son for you?
Lord, thank You for Your unconditional love. May we experience this amazing love, especially in times when we fall into sin.
St. Louis of France, pray for us.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Don’t let your lack limit your giving - Daily Bible Reflections August 24, 2016

Feast of St. Bartholomew, Apostle
“You will see greater things than this.” – John 1:50
       During special occasions, Aurea racks her brain for gimmicks and surprises. But due to time constraints or financial lack, she ends up just giving simple gifts. The same happens for her birthday every August 24 — she thinks up of something special, not for herself but for others.
       She offers Mass for a seriously sick friend, prays for hours at the Adoration Chapel and bargains with God for the deepest intentions of friends and family, chats with street kids then treats them to Jollibee, buys food for the drivers of public vehicles.... The list goes on.
         One year, she planned to celebrate her special day at an orphanage in Pasig. She wanted to order food for the kids, bring little knick-knacks and spend time with them. But her money was just enough for her fare. Still, she went. She played, sang and danced with the children, appreciated their drawings, enjoyed having the little ones sit on her lap and chatted with the older girls.
        Even if she had nothing monetary to give, she had a great time on her birthday. God allowed her to play with His angels and see greater things. Sol Saura (sol_saura@yahoo.com)
Reflection: Don’t let your lack limit your giving.
Lord, thank You for answering our simple prayers. And we believe that we could also present bold prayers because You are our big, amazing, answering God.
St. Bartholomew, Apostle, pray for us.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

To whom do you run first in times of trouble or disappointment? - Daily Bible Reflections August 23, 2016

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself... encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word. – 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
       I made it my goal for the year. I worked hard to make sure that I’d be able to run whatever training programs and workshops I planned to do. I was determined to earn the prize the following year.
       But when the midyear bonus was paid out, I wasn’t among those who received it. I was disappointed and confused. I asked my immediate superior why I didn’t get the bonus. She gave me an explanation that I didn’t think was sufficient. I felt cheated.
     There is always something that can disappoint us every day of our lives. Think about this day. Are there concerns that disturb you? Is there someone who has disappointed you? How do you deal with your feelings? How do these affect your actions?
      As we remember how much God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ love us, may our hearts and souls be strengthened. May we continue to do the good that God has called us to do in the midst of our challenges as we allow His grace to renew and recharge us every day. Teresa Gumap-as Dumadag (teregmps@yahoo.com)
Reflection: To whom do you run first in times of trouble or disappointment?
May my heart be open to receive Your grace always, Lord. For by Your grace alone can I continue to walk in faith.
St. Rose of Lima, virgin, pray for us.

Monday, August 22, 2016

We all have a mother who loves us — Ina, our Mama Mary. - Daily Bible Reflections August 22, 2016

Memorial of the Queenship
of the Blessed Virgin Mary
We boast of you in the churches of God regarding your endurance and faith in all your persecutions and the afflictions you endure. – 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4
       We Bicolanos are blessed to have two titles with which we honor our Ina (Mother), whom we run to in times of joy and sorrow. One is the more widely known Virgin of Peñafrancia which is enshrined in Naga City. Her feast day is on the third Sunday of September celebrated region-wide.
       Recently, I rediscovered another title of our Mother, exclusively for the Albayanos. She is “Our Lady of Salvation” in Joroan, Tiwi, a well-known pilgrimage site in Albay.
       Mama Mary is a towering example of a Mother whose fiat (“Let it be done”) made salvation history possible. Her yes allowed the birth of our Savior and Lord. It was not a picnic for a teenage mother to be pregnant out of wedlock in a society that would stone her to death for this supposed crime. Yet, in all the persecutions and sufferings she went through, her faith grew. God honored her by making her the Queen of Heaven.
       Mothers, let us do our mission as ina in the best way we can, by holding on to faith as our best example of motherhood. Then, for sure, we are “queens” in our earthly families. Grace Princesa (grprincesa @yahoo.com)
Reflection: We all have a mother who loves us — Ina, our Mama Mary.
Lord, thank You for our Mother and Queen.
St. Andrew the Scot, pray for us.

“Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not yet seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) - Daily Bible Reflections August 21, 2016

Endure your trials as discipline; God treats you as sons. – Hebrews 12:7
       I’ve made it a discipline to trust God’s Word even for the smallest things, literally. When I search for something that’s seemingly lost, I claim the Word “that the eyes of the Lord (are) ten thousand times brighter than the sun” (Sirach 23:19). This is what happened during a recent trip.
       While waiting at the hotel lobby, I felt something fall on my shoulder and onto the granite floor. It was the tiny clasp of my earring. I looked for it but it was difficult to spot because of the shades of the granite floor. A hotel personnel helped me by asking a cleaner to mop the area. I didn’t lose hope. After a long while, I was overjoyed to find it.
       On the same day, the tiny screw on my shades got lost, rendering my sunglasses unusable. Later in the evening, still confident that I would find it, I knelt on the white sheets of my hotel bed and shook my clothing there. Again, I was overjoyed to find it.
       Trusting God without limits is a discipline that I want to develop in the tiniest of trials as well as in the most difficult ones. Donna España (donna.espana@yahoo.com)
Reflection: “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not yet seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
Lord, I believe that You will grant everything I need as I pray and have faith.
St. Pius X, pope, pray for us.

Friday, August 19, 2016

“We forget to remain focused on the things that really matter. We forget to remain, at heart, children of God. That is sin: [to] forget at heart that we are children of God.” (Pope Francis) - Daily Bible Reflections August 19, 2016

“The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” –Matthew 22:39
       Today is my grandmother’s birthday. My favorite bonding moment with her is when she massages my head while recounting random memories.
        I was lying on her lap one afternoon when she told me, “Do you know why I want you to be the emcee during reunions? It’s because your presence radiates and influences joy.”
       Her words melted my heart. Even before I could react, she con-tinued, “You must be really happy from within.”
       That day, I was reminded that our actions and reactions towards others reflect what’s going on inside us.
       Including love for ourselves. Sometimes we are so busy loving the whole world except the person that we see in front of the mirror. American preacher Joel Osteen once said, “God wasn’t having a bad day when He made you… If you don’t love yourself the right way, you can’t love your neighbor.”
      Loving ourselves presupposes loving others. It is only when we genuinely love who we are that we can extend sincere love to others. It’s the kind of love that glows from the inside out. Maymay R. Salvosa (cmaysalvosa@yahoo.com)
Reflection: “We forget to remain focused on the things that really matter. We forget to remain, at heart, children of God. That is sin: [to] forget at heart that we are children of God.” (Pope Francis)
Dearest Father, thank You for creating me the way I am. Open my heart to see my uniqueness.
St. John Eudes, priest, pray for us.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Are your dreams bold and big enough for God? - Daily Bible Reflections August 18, 2016

“Thus the nations shall know that I am the Lord.” – Ezekiel 36:23
       I used to think that being humble meant having small dreams. Because of this, I discarded my grand dreams —become an internationally acclaimed author, travel the world giving talks and signing books, sponsor many children’s schooling, donate lots of money to charity, pay for annual family vacations, and many more. My dreams became simpler — to be God’s mighty pen and spread His message through the written word, and to have enough money to give to my family, to tithe, and to live comfortably.
       But God spoke to me one day during worship. “How great is our God… and all will see how great, how great is our God,” we sang. “Karren, how will the world see how great I am if you won’t allow yourself to become a channel and reflection of that greatness?” He asked with a smile on His face.
       I was dumbstruck. I realized then that we owe it to a great God to become great people with great dreams and great capacities, not for our glory, but for His. To become small is to discredit the greatness He has instilled in us from the moment of our birth.
    We have a great God. Let us be great for Him. Karren Renz Seña(karren.s@shepherdsvoice.com.ph)
Reflection: Are your dreams bold and big enough for God?
Lord, we mistake meekness and timidity for humility. Give us the grace to dream big dreams so that the world will see How great You are.
St. Louis of Toulouse, pray for us.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

If the Lord granted your greatest wish right now, would it affect your life positively or negatively? - Daily Bible Reflections August 17, 2016

They thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner… – Matthew 20:10-11
       I am always for fairness and equality. After all, we were taught that hard work earns good rewards. If I study hard, I get good grades in school. If I work diligently on the job, I get a raise or a promotion. So on and so forth.
       When I started serving the Lord, many wonderful blessings that I did not ask for came my way. I was truly grateful for them, but the things I desired the most and endlessly prayed for were landing on other people’s laps. So you can imagine how I grumbled, much like the first laborers in today’s parable. “What about me? I’ve served You longer. Shouldn’t I have gotten by now what I’ve been asking for?”
       But I have learned that God’s fairness is not measured by our deeds — or misdeeds. That His blessings are available to all. That He will not grant them if they are not going to do us good.
       As I turn a year older today, I thank God that He did not grant all that I desired.
       Instead, He gave me more than my fair share — all that is best for me. Nova A. Sevilla (nova.svp@gmail.com)
Reflection: If the Lord granted your greatest wish right now, would it affect your life positively or negatively?
You know me more than I do, Lord Jesus. Teach me to embrace every blessing that You have justly picked out for me. Amen.
St. Joan of the Cross, pray for us.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

What God forgives, He forgets - Daily Bible Reflections August 11, 2016

“My heavenly Father will also do the same to you if each of you does not forgive from the heart.” – Matthew 18:35
       A parish priest carried the burden of a secret sin he committed years ago. Even though he had confessed, he had no peace. Then a woman in his parish claimed to converse with God in her visions. He was skeptical,  so to test her, he said, “When you talk to God, ask Him what sin I committed when I was in the seminary.” The woman returned to the priest with an answer from God. “He said, ‘I don’t remember,’” she remarked.
       I cannot even begin to imagine our heavenly Father as an unforgiving God. If He possessed even an iota of  unforgiveness in His heart, sinners like me would have disappeared from the face of the earth a long time ago. But despite my imperfections and wretchedness, I’m still here — only because of God’s merciful love and forgiveness.
     The verse above is a warning for us who refuse to forgive. A hardened, vengeful heart deprives us of experiencing the forgiveness that the Lord so generously gives us. When we do not forgive those who wrong us, we slap God’s outstretched arms that long to embrace us in His mercy. Undaunted, He pursues us until we come to our senses and fall into His arms. In that very moment, God erases all our sins and wrongdoing, and only His perfect love remains. Dina Pecaña (dpecana@yahoo.com)
Reflection: What God forgives, He forgets.
Lord, forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
St. Clare of Assisi, virgin, pray for us.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Nobody is so poor that he has nothing to give - Daily Bible Reflections August 10, 2016

Feast of St. Lawrence, disciple
God loves a cheerful giver. – 2 Corinthians 9:7
         Gina was an only child from a well-to-do family in the province. She married an industrious entrepreneur who afforded her a comfortable life complete with many “alalay” (ladies-in-waiting). Unexpectedly widowed in her 50s, she was transformed overnight from being a plain housewife to the steward of her family, the business and a vast fortune.
       In spite of her religiosity, she eventually got so attached to the business and material wealth. She even failed to give fair wages and benefits to her loyal staff. She also had to deal with never-ending family squabbles over corporate leadership,
inheritance and share of profit. In spite of the abundance of her wealth, she was in constant fear of losing everything.
       Gina is now in her eighties. She looks fragile, worn-out and suffers from severe depression. One day, she lamented to her son, “I have done everything for the Lord except to tithe.”
      The Lord has entrusted each one of us with blessings in varying degrees. And to whom much is given, much is  expected. Wealth should not just serve our own purposes alone but is meant to be shared with others. God loves a cheerful giver. Marie Franco (mariefranco_pie@yahoo.com)
Reflection: Nobody is so poor that he has nothing to give.
Forgive me, Lord, for the times I ignored the needy and failed to feed, clothe or shelter them. Release me from the bondage of wealth so that I can share with others what You’ve graciously entrusted to me.
St. Lawrence, deacon and martyr, pray for us.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

What can you do on a daily basis to deepen your commitment as a follower of Jesus? - Daily Bible Reflections August 9, 2016

He rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. – Matthew 18:13
       It looks like a harmless and stylish wristwatch, but it’s actually a device that tracks steps, distance and calories burned. My husband and I immediately wore it and started a bond that’s extremely difficult to break without feeling a sense of defeat. With the use of LED lights, it shows us how we stack up vis-a-vis a daily goal — steps, calories or distance. It automatically syncs the data to my laptop and smartphone, giving real-time access to our stats, 24/7. Knowing how close I am to reaching my goals gives me the motivation to reach for them and aim higher.
       If this is the kind of commitment that I am willing to make to my health, how much more can be expected of me as a follower of Jesus? On my own, it’s difficult. But by God’s grace, I have committed myself to be counted as one of the 99 who chose not to wander off. Faith lights up like the scoreboard on my wrist, challenging me to be more committed day after day. Mari Sison-Garcia (mari_sison_garcia@yahoo.com)
Reflection: What can you do on a daily basis to deepen your commitment as a follower of Jesus?
Lord, give us the grace to get closer to our goal of attaining eternal life with You.
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, pray for us.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Do you focus on the sins of the world or the beauty by God’s hand? - Daily Bible Reflections August 8, 2016

Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights, praise him, all you his angels; praise him, all you his hosts. – Psalm 148:1-2
       Two weeks ago, I shut down my social media connections and went offline. As someone who purposely reads the news every morning, I had become fearful of the current events that littered the Internet. Plane crash. Outbreak of disease. War and retaliation. I began to ask so many questions. Why was this happening? Is this the kind of world that God envisioned?
       Disturbed by my own lack of faith, it took a few days before I realized that you must first face the problem to find a solution. So I came back online and the bad news didn’t disappear. But in between, friends got married. Beautiful babies were born. Celebrations were shared and achievements proudly applauded. And then I saw it. The same line, although phrased in different ways, was always visible somewhere within the captions of these posts. Thank You, God, for this blessing. And it all made sense. He creates both small and great miracles every day.
       So do not doubt Him. Praise Him instead for the good that is present in this world because, together, we can make this world a better place. Eleanore Teo (elyo.lee@gmail.com)
Reflection: Do you focus on the sins of the world or the beauty by God’s hand?
Lord, I place my hands together not only in prayer but in applause and glorification of Your work.

How, where and for whom are you using your gifts? - Daily Bible Reflections August 7, 2016


Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more. – Luke 12:48
       You must have heard it a thousand times, but I’m saying it again here. “With great power comes great responsibility.” And yes, you must have heard it from Spiderman (or Uncle Ben or Stan Lee). But hey, it’s solidly biblical after all!
       Sometimes you may regret knowing too much, having too much, or having become somebody. Because along with the blessings is your conscience prodding you to do more because of the “more” that you have. I call that “holy disturbance.”  Because when you’re disturbed, God will give you peace. But when you’re too peaceful (and comfortable), God will disturb you. Whether you’re a fisherman, a doctor, an employer or a church volunteer, there will always be the call to do something  with what you have — for others.
       It doesn’t matter if you were entrusted with millions, thousands, hundreds or even with just 10 or one. The ultimate question is, what did you do with it? In the end, your true peace and joy will come only from fulfilling your life’s purpose using everything you’ve got. And you just can’t retire from who you truly are! Alvin Barcelona (apb_ayo@yahoo.com)
Reflection: How, where and for whom are you using your gifts?
Lord, may I use the blessings You give to fulfill Your great purpose and plan for me.
St. Cajetan, priest, pray for us.

Friday, August 5, 2016

What do you truly value in life? How is it drawing you closer to God? - Daily Bible Reflections August 5, 2016

For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. – Matthew 16:25
       The man we know as Saint Francis of Assisi was not always so “saintly.” In his young adulthood, he lived a life of partying and pleasure, very carefree. Being born into a rich family, he had everything a guy could want. But because of a series of events, Francis realized that he wanted to change. He decided he would live for God. He left the lavish lifestyle he led. He began to give away his belongings and upon his interpretation of Jesus’ message in a vision, he even sold his father’s expensive fabrics to help rebuild a chapel. His father disapproved of Francis’ behavior, so Francis cut himself off from his family completely, literally taking the clothes off his back. He lived in poverty while ministering to the needs of others, later on becoming one of the more popular and well-loved saints, so much so that our Pope has taken on his name.
       Our worldly attachments — riches, popularity, vanity, pleasure, pride — are things that can hinder us from focusing on
what is truly important. In denying all these, Francis found a life of meaning. In giving up all he had, he gained eternal life. Like St. Francis, may we find ourselves detached from this world, and immersed in His work, that we, too, can be called “saints” one day. Geraldine G. Catral (catral.geegee@beaconschool.ph)
Reflection: What do you truly value in life? How is it drawing you closer to God?
Lord, You are my true treasure. May I be ready to give up all for You.
St. Addal, pray for us.

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