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Community Word for June 2018

COMMUNITY WORD FOR JUNE 2018
(WORD, THEMES AND PROMISES)

READINGS
June 3 – Ex 24:3-8/Ps 116:12, 13, 15-18/Heb 9:11-15/Mk 14:12-16, 22-24
June 10 – Gn 3:9-15/Ps 130:1-8/2Cor 4:13-5:1/Mk 3:20-35
June 17 – Ez 17:22-24/Ps 92:2, 3, 13-16/2Cor 5:6-10/Mk 4:26-34
June 24 – Is 49:1-6/Ps 139:1-3, 13-15/Acts 13:22-26/Lk 1:57-66, 80

COMMUNITY WORD
God’s great mercy keeps us in communion with Christ

ORDER
“Take it; this is my body…this is my blood of the covenant.” (Mk 16:22b, 24)

PROPHECIES:
• You will be the bread of life to the poor and the hungry as you receive Me in the Eucharist.

DIRECTIONS:
• Live out the meaning of the Eucharist by serving Christ through acts of charity.

THEMES AND PROMISES

Week#1 (Solemnity of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ)
Theme: We are in communion with Christ when we offer ourselves as a living sacrifice.
Promise: “…those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance.” (Heb 9:15b)

Week#2 (10th Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Theme: We are in communion with Christ when we draw others to Him.
Promise: “…more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.” (2Cor 4:15b)

Week#3(11th Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Theme: We are in communion with Christ when we allow the word of God to grow in our hearts.
Promise: “They shall bear fruit even in old age; vigorous and sturdy shall they be.” (Ps 92:15)

Week#4 (Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist)
Theme: We are in communion with Christ when we let God empower us to grow strong in spirit.
Promise: “I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” (Is 49: 6b)

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WSC Reflection – April 15, 2018

Word Sharing Circle (WSC) Reflection Guide
April 15, 2018 – 3rdSunday of Easter (Cycle B, Year II)

Community Word: The resurrection of Jesus Christ strengthens our faith.
Theme: Our faith is strengthened when we open our hearts and minds to God’s word.
Promise: “… whoever keeps his word the love of God is truly perfected in him.” (1Jn 2:5)

Reflection:
“He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,” (Lk 24:45). His disciples were still fearful, troubled and unbelieving so Jesus had to prove to them that he was not a ghost, but truly resurrected in “flesh and bones” leading them tobelieve that he indeed rose from the dead. It takes the Lord’s wisdom and authority to help them understand and accept the truth of his word.Jesus enlightened them and opened their minds to the understanding of what the Scriptures had foretold and meant regarding the Messiah. The Risen Christ guided his disciples then and he continues to lead us to a fuller knowledge of faith. As the community word for the month declares – The resurrection of Jesus Christ strengthens our faith.

“Our faith is strengthened when we open our hearts and minds to God’s word,” is our theme for the week. By his words in the scriptures, Jesus continues to widen our understanding and build up our reason that our spiritual convictions may be strengthened. As our Messiah, he offered the perfect sacrifice for us in order that the gates of heaven would be opened again, surpassing every human expectations. Now, all we need to do is to allow Jesus to enter our hearts and open our minds so that in turn we may have the light and truth of our salvation through his word, and in all his works and promises.

In fulfillment of the Scriptures, Jesus told his disciples: “You are witnesses of these things,” (Lk 24:48) and told them to preach in his name to all nations and they were to do this as witnesses. We, too, are to witness to others that we who believe in the Risen Christ will also rise again with him on the last day. Because of this, we are to live not only for this world but for the next one as well. We are to be witnesses to Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist, the bread that was broken and given for us to partake. The Risen Lord lives in us and helps us to serve one another, to lighten their burdens as we help them, give them words of encouragement and heal them with our prayers.

Our mission to proclaim our Risen Lord is urgent because more people are putting their faith in matters other than God. The influences of technology, media, worldly ideas and ideology are distracting many from the godly truth. In the midst of these earthly challenges, we are to be God’s witnesses by our own lives despite our weaknesses. We can still live our faith. Jesus approaches us in our humanness with our ups and downs. Our encounter with Jesus is filled with deep emotions and love, given and received, and are committed with care, forgiveness and love beyond measure. We encounter him in the community of faith that gathers to celebrate the Eucharist.We encounter him in a mystifying experience when we reflect on God’s word because God speaks to us here. That is why it is so important to read and meditate upon the holy words. It is the way by which God tells us to cleanse our life and come to know Him in an intimate way.

It is easy to be lost in expectations, thinking that the world is open in entirely material manner and believing that only in this way can we have complete joy. But we have learned of the possibility of eternal life and that’s the only triumph that truly matters in the end. Sometimes, unbelief and doubt overwhelm the heart and weaken our faith that God is truly present in our life. But we have the assuring promise that “… whoever keeps his word the love of God is truly perfected in him,”(1Jn 2:5).

Prayer:
Almighty God, You are omniscient and all-loving. Touch our hearts and our minds that we remain strong and steadfast in our Catholic faith. Give us the grace that allows us to encounter You always in the many ways that You seek to encounter us. Help us to grow in Your abundant love and to share that same love and encounters with You with our sisters and brothers in community. Amen.

Reflection Questions:
1. How do you deepen your understanding of the Scriptures to strengthen your faith?
2. How can you testify that God is truly present in your life after your renewal experience?

This Week’s Daily Mass Reading Guide:
April 15, 2018 (Sun)- Acts 3:13-15, 17-19/Ps 4:2, 4, 7-9/1Jn 2:1-5/Lk 24:35-48
April 16, 2018 (Mon) -Acts 6:8-15/Ps 119:23, 24, 26, 27, 29, 30/Jn 6:22-29
April 17, 2018 (Tue) – Acts 7:51-8:1/Ps 31:3,4,6,7,8,17,21/Jn 6:30-35
April 18, 2018 (Wed) – Acts 8:1-8/Ps 66:1-7/Jn 6:35-40
April 19, 2018 (Thu) -Acts 87:26-40/Ps 66:8, 9, 16, 17, 20/Jn 6:44-51
April 20, 2018 (Fri) -Acts 9:1-20/Ps 117:1, 2/Jn 6:52-59
April 21, 2018 (Sat) – Acts 9:31-42/Ps 116:12-17/Jn 6:60-69

“Ignorance of the Bible is ignorance of Christ. Read your Bible daily!”

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WSC Reflection – April 8, 2018

Word Sharing Circle (WSC) Reflection Guide
April 8, 2018– 2nd Sunday of Easter (Cycle B, Year II)

Community Word: The resurrection of Jesus Christ strengthens our faith.
Theme: Our faith is strengthened when we truly believe in Christ’s presence in our midst. 
Promise: “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” (Jn 20:29b)

Reflection: 
Nowadays, it is not uncommon for people to doubt something that they only heard about or haven’t seen even when there are tons of information available in the market of ideas. This was the predicament of many of the Jews even after news of the resurrection of Jesus had spread like wildfire in Jerusalem. And today more than 2,000 years later, we are still caught up in our own doubts and or indifference that prevent us from establishing a more concrete relationship with God that is rooted in humility and obedience. Why? Because the world we are in actually is preventing us from doing so as it offers us a comparative view of both dimensions.

On one hand is the material world where we live in, the fast-paced search for comfort and luxury; anything that would bring us prestige, wealth and power have kept us glued in this mundane world. On the other is the eternal life that was promised to those who will believe in him. Such belief, however, is premised on our subservience to God’s Holy Will and a life that is anchored on sacrifice and suffering. This last part is what makes people think because most often we want to reap the promise of eternal joy but without the pain and sacrifice attached to it.

It is not that the people do not really believe that Jesus Christ is Lord, but the circumstances of our present lives cause people to dwell in their unbelief. The economic difficulties that people experience nowadays are also a factor that contributes to the estranged relationship between God and the people He has created. When Jesus appeared to his disciples he offered proofs of his resurrection by showing them the wounds of his passion, his pierced hands and side. He calmed their fears and brought them peace, the peace which reconciles sinners and makes one a friend of God. As our theme for this week says: Our faith is strengthened when we truly believe in Christ’s presence in our midst.

Today, this has not changed as Jesus still is offering the same proof at the table of the Paschal sacrifice each time Mass is celebrated. This should serve as a memorial for us that God already took our sins and sufferings to the cross and the peace that He offered to his disciples in the Upper Room is the same kind of peace he is offering to us now. This is what the Feast of Divine Mercy is all about. But in us there will always be a Thomas who will doubt not because we love the Lord less but because we simply lack the courage to stand with Jesus and share his passion and crucifixion. Jesus came back and appeared to his disciples not only to prove he had resurrected from death. He came back because he needed his disciples to establish his Church. In the same way, his disciples and we who now comprise the Church also need Jesus. As we are being sent to make disciples of all nations, we need someone to send us and without Jesus we have no message to bring to all the nations. This means that as Jesus is dependent on us to keep his message alive, we also need Jesus to equip us and empower us by His Holy Spirit.

The one thing to remember is that Jesus needs the Church to keep the fire burning and we need Jesus because he is the very message that we need to know and bring to others. As God sent Jesus to the cross, so Jesus is also sending us now and no one can truly understand why unless we come to realize that the relationship between God and Jesus is premised on Jesus’ obedience and love. And so it must be with us. For us to develop a truly meaningful relationship with Jesus we need to humble ourselves and go down from our pedestal and obey whatever He tells us to do but this subservience to His will must be anchored on love for God and neighbor. Our belief in the resurrection of Christ then leads us to this promise: “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” (Jn 20:29b)

Reflection Questions:
1. How are you living your life to show that you truly believe in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?
2. Do you received Jesus regularly in the Eucharist and continue to be nurtured in the Holy Scriptures?

This Week’s Daily Mass Reading Guide:
April 8, 2018 (Sun) – Acts 4:32-35/Ps 118:2-4,13-15,22-24/1Jn 5:1-6/Jn 20:19-31
April 9, 2018 (Mon) – Is 7:10-14;8:10/Ps 40:7-11/Heb 10:4-10/Lk 1:26-38
April 10, 2018 (Tue) – Acts 4:32-37/Ps 93:1-2,5/Jn 3:7-15
April 11, 2018 (Wed) – Acts 5:17-26/Ps 34:2-9/Jn 3:16-21
April 12, 2018 (Thu) – Acts 5:27-33/Ps 34:2,9,17-20/Jn 3:31-36
April 13, 2018 (Fri) – Acts 5:34-42/Ps 27:1,4,13,14/Jn 6:1-15
April 14, 2018 (Sat) – Acts 6:1-7/Ps 33:1-5,18-19/Jn 6:16-21

“Ignorance of the Bible is ignorance of Christ. Read your Bible daily!”

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Easter Message

BUKAS LOOB SA DIYOS
Catholic Charismatic Covenant Community

EASTER MESSAGE

The Peace of the Risen Christ be with you all! Alleluia!

It is with great joy, as BLD-Global Community Spiritual Director, to greet and extend to all of you the grace of Easter.

As Jesus is risen and gave new life and new hope, may we too, rise from our old selves and in our apostolate and by our witnessing bring new hope and new life to others also not just this season of Easter but every day of our life so that they too ay mag Bukas-Loob sa Diyos!

I keep you all in my prayers and I bestow on you the blessing of the Risen Lord!

+ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, D.D.
Apostolic Administrator
Archdiocese of Jaro &
BLD Community Spiritual Director
April 5, 2018

 

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Reflection for April 2018

Community Word: The resurrection of Jesus Christ strengthens our faith.
Order: “Live and declare the works of the Lord.” (Ps 118:17)

Reflection:
There are people to this day who do not believe that Jesus rose from the dead. But for us Christians, if Christ’s resurrection was a hoax, then nothing in our faith has any meaning at all. We are still guilty of sin and those who have died believing in Christ are lost. Living this life and all good things we do including a life of sacrifice will be pointless and useless.

The truth is that Jesus was risen and is alive today and forever, founded on facts, faith and testimonies of his disciples who have witnessed the events after his passion and death. His resurrection is a promise to all of us that our life is not in vain and has temporal and eternal meaning. Jesus conquered death and because of our faith in him we now anticipate victory over the grave. Our community word for this month declares – The resurrection of Jesus Christ strengthens our faith. His triumph gives us courage to endure our tragedies and the wisdom to relish every earthly delight. His victory over the final evil, death, assures us that there is no one dead to sin who cannot be revived and be transformed. And because we are a redeemed people we will continue to “live and declare the works of the Lord,” (Ps 118:17).

The theme for Easter Sunday is – Our faith is strengthened when we testify to Christ’s resurrection. Jesus’ resurrection is the momentous display of God’s mighty power assuring us that, like Christ who suffered, died and has risen, rebirth to new life awaits those who are faithful in following God’s will even in difficult and trying circumstances. We are compelled to believe that even if we experience disappointment, injustice and failure, our faith brings us hope that all will be restored. Thus, we can also testify to God’s love and justice, encouraging others to persevere in their own trials, as we are assured by the Lord’s promise – “When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with Him in glory,” (Col 3:4).

Our faith is strengthened when we truly believe in Christ’s presence in our midst. This is our theme for the 2nd Sunday of Easter. Our faith tells us that Jesus became one of us and he is with us until the end of age. Though sometimes we might lose the sense of God’s presence in our lives, we should never forget that Jesus is our Emmanuel – God is with us. He desires to be with us in our homes, in our family, and in our relationships. He wants to be part of our work and careers, be involved in our finances and health. He wishes to dwell in us and influence every aspect of our lives. For his love cannot separate us from him. In him we are more than conquerors; no one can be against us, no one can condemn us and everything we need will be provided for. We only need to believe in his resurrection and his promise to us – “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed,” (Jn 20:29b).

The theme for the 3rd Sunday of Easter is – Our faith is strengthened when we open our hearts and minds to God’s word. Often times our faith weakens and we struggle with the feelings of discouragement and hopelessness. The good news is that God has the power to strengthen our faith if we only surrender ourselves to Him completely and totally trust in His word. It is not by our own effort that we earn merit from God or do the best we can to raise our spirits. But rather it is by our humility that we cry out to Jesus to help us in our unbelief. We need to listen to his word that not only tells us what to do, but empowers us to act as well. As we continue to trust and follow his direction, his promise is fulfilled in us: “… whoever keeps his word the love of God is truly perfected in him,” (1Jn 2:5).

Our faith is strengthened when we serve others in self-giving sacrifice – is the theme for the 4th Sunday of Easter. God has served our needs when His mercies are bestowed on us by Christ’s sacrificial service on the cross – redeeming us and restoring our heavenly inheritance. By Christ’s ultimate example of service, we are called to serve others to demonstrate our faith and in gratitude for what he had done for us. We serve others not for selfish intentions or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regarding others as more important than ourselves. This means looking beyond our own interests for the interests of others. We draw from the power of Christ’s spirit of servanthood more than what we can produce on our own. When this happens we become God’s instruments of love for others as we look towards His promise: “… we are God’s children now; what shall be revealed is … we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is,” (1Jn 3:2).

Finally, for the 5th Sunday of Easter, the theme is – Our faith is strengthened when we bear much fruit for God’s kingdom. As faithful servants and followers of Christ, we cannot be barren or useless. We are called to remain in Christ and continue to be nourished by his word to be formed and equipped, otherwise we become dry and we will wither like dying plants bereft of spiritual nourishment from the Lord. Our fruitfulness is necessary to build God’s kingdom. We are given gifts to promote and proclaim his gospel of love to others and to build their faith up that they too might experience God’s faithfulness and mercy. Those who believe in Christ, and are in and for Christ, are destined for eternal life. They bear much fruit and become his disciples. And they receive his promise: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you,” (Jn 15:7).

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WSC Reflection – April 1, 2018

Word Sharing Circle (WSC) Reflection Guide
April 1, 2018 – Easter Sunday (Cycle B, Year II)

Community Word: The resurrection of Jesus Christ strengthens our faith.
Theme: Our faith is strengthened when we testify to Christ’s resurrection.
Promise: “When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.” (Col 3:4)

Reflection:
Christ is risen! Alleluia!

The joyful celebration of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday reminds us once again that this is a life-transforming event for all who believe in Him. Thus, the message of our theme for the week is so expressed: Our faith is strengthened when we testify to Christ’s resurrection. For Peter, John and Mary, their faith was made stronger despite the confusion and bewilderment they felt when they saw the empty tomb. It took them a while to recognize that Jesus truly fulfilled his promise to be the Risen Lord.

The Easter message tells us of the living presence of our Lord to this day. Experiencing the presence of Jesus permanently changed the disciples’ lives. Overwhelmed with love, they ceased to be fearful. They found the courage to proclaim the Easter message – the gospel of love. They passed from darkness into light, and the passage is an appropriate symbol of the Lord’s resurrection which began in sorrow but ended in victory, reviving our hope. And from this hope, we have been commissioned to proclaim the Good News and continue his ministry.

In Psalm 118, Jesus Christ is the “stone which the builders rejected (and) has become the cornerstone.” Regardless, God chose to build His new “temple” in His Son, Jesus, by his death and resurrection. Resurrection is a call to formation. Jesus, as the Risen Christ, continues to guide his disciples today, including ourselves, by leading us to a fuller understanding of our faith. Jesus forms his disciples through his word, and he continues to open our understanding, shed light to our reason, and strengthen our convictions, that we may grow strong in faith. On this greatest of all Christian feasts, let us remember that love must occupy and take first place in our lives – love of God and love of neighbor.

By Jesus’ death and resurrection, we, his followers “have been raised up in company with Christ” (Col 3:1). Therefore, we who believe in Jesus must die to sin and self-interest and rise to the new life which he gave us. Christ raised us up to rise above our human weaknesses and limitations and empowered us to conquer great heights. He raised us up to rise above our human pettiness, our fits of anger, shame, humiliations, defiance, rebellion and disobedience. As “risen people,” let us forget ourselves and live for others. This is the best preparation for eternal happiness. By loving others, we will come ever closer to God and acquire His glory, as we claim the assurance of this promise – “When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with Him in glory,” (Col 3:4).

We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ today as we rise from darkness into his marvelous light. Our Risen Lord, represented by the lighted Easter candle with warmth and light, invites us to leave behind the works of darkness and to renounce anything in our lives that is wrong and self-centered. As true Christians joined to Christ in our baptism, we must choose to follow the footsteps of Jesus and walk as “children of the light.” Let us renew our baptismal promise to reject Satan and all his evil works and turn to Christ who is Light and Truth. Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit who is our Advocate, Teacher, and Guide as he promised to be with us until the end of age. For we are the Easter people, redeemed by Jesus in his death and resurrection.

A blessed Easter to all!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, we give You all honor, glory and praise for giving us Your Son, Jesus, who redeemed us from sin and death. We thank You for Your great and unconditional love and for granting us forgiveness, restoring our heavenly inheritance in Jesus Christ who raised us from darkness and brought us to Your light. Today, we celebrate the gift of new life, and with stronger faith, we commit to remain Your faithful Easter children as we testify that Christ is risen and He is our Lord and Savior today and forever! Amen.

Reflection Questions:
1. In what ways have I been raised to life by Christ? Can I honestly say that I have been brought to light from my sinful and self-centered ways?

2. Is my faith strong to enable me to proclaim the Gospel of Christ to others?

This Week’s Daily Mass Reading Guide:
April 1, 2018 (Sun) – Acts 10:34, 37-43/Ps 118:1, 2, 16, 17, 22, 23/Col 3:1-4/Jn 20:1-9
April 2, 2018 (Mon) – Acts 2:14, 22-33/Ps 16:1, 2, 5, 7-11/Mt 28:8-15
April 3, 2018 (Tue) – Acts 2:36-41/Ps 33:4, 5, 18, 19-22/Jn 20:11-18
April 4, 2018 (Wed) – Acts 66:1-10/Ps 10:1-9/Jn 21:1-14
April 5, 2018 (Thu) – Acts 3:11-26/Ps 8:2, 5, 6, 7, 8-9/Lk 24:35-48
April 6, 2018 (Fri) – Acts 4:1-12/Ps 118:1, 2, 4, 22-24, 25-27/Jn 21:1-14
April 7, 2018 (Sat) – Acts 4:13-21/Ps 118:1, 14, 15, 16-18, 19-21/Mk 16:9-15

“Ignorance of the Bible is ignorance of Christ. Read your Bible daily!”

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WSC Reflection – March 25, 2018

Word Sharing Circle (WSC) Reflection Guide
March 25, 2018 – Palm Sunday (Cycle B, Year II)

Community Word: Jesus, our Redeemer, calls us to be the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Theme: As the temple of the Holy Spirit we allow the Lord to sanctify us through suffering.
Promise: “The Lord God is my help therefore I am not disgraced … I shall not be put to shame.” (Is 50:7)

Reflection: 
We begin the celebration of Holy Week on Palm Sunday. While we usually remember the joyous entrance of Jesus to Jerusalem with the blessing of the palms, this Sunday’s celebration is about the start of the suffering of Jesus Christ towards His eventual death on the cross. This is Passion Sunday ushering the Holy Week in to commemorate the Paschal Mystery – the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. We render the coming week truly holy by expressing gratitude to God with our sincere conversion, resolving to turn away from sin and to remain pleasing in His sight by acts of kindness and love for one another. Radical conversion means a total rejection of sin with the knowledge that sin always offends God.

The solemn entrance of Jesus to Jerusalem was the decisive step Jesus took so that his suffering and death would be accomplished as his time had already come. It was the hour when he had to offer himself as sacrifice on the cross. He died for each and every one of us by this supreme offering of life, for it is the will of our heavenly Father to ransom people from sin and death. This is God’s love for us.

We re-echo this reflection of a Christian columnist: 
“Jesus made the problems of the world his own. He teaches us to trust not in our will but in the will of the one who knows how to love and to save. He was willing to undergo what hatred and persecution meant, and embraced the most difficult part of our human experiences. He embraced all these to make us realize that he will journey with us and not abandon us, he will help us not removing all the pains of life but by assuming all these pains in himself. He did this to manifest to us that in our pains, we are not alone, we are not abandoned. Holy Week is important to us who follow Jesus because we believe that by his love, he changed the world and the history of our lives. In our world today, we need love most of all but only true love. Jesus can make a difference and can bring change to us.”

The simplicity of Mark’s account focuses on the humility of Jesus. He came to suffer and die as revealed in earlier prophecies of his betrayal and death. The gospel illustrates a cruel human abandonment of Jesus – Judas betrays him, all the other disciples flee at his arrest and Peter denying knowledge of him. Jesus dies feeling abandoned even by God, crying out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me”. The Father’s reply to His Son’s cry soon comes as Jesus carry out His sacrifice. The curtain in the temple is torn in two – from top to bottom, as a sign of the passing away of the old temple and the coming of the new one. This is what we contemplate on our community word for this month – Jesus, our Redeemer, calls us to be the temple of Holy Spirit.

The gospel tells us that though Jesus is being manifested as the Son of God through the authority and power of his teachings and miracles, we will not be able to understand his true identity until we see him die on the cross, obedient to the end. Through his ultimate suffering, Jesus can address all our longings and hardships. There are moments in our lives as Christians when we need desperately to cry out – My God, why are you forsaking me. As we go through difficult times, we have this Holy Week’s theme to ponder upon: As the temple of the Holy Spirit we allow the Lord to sanctify us through suffering. As we meditate on the cross, let us reflect on what it means to strengthen and deepen our declaration of faith that Jesus, in his obedient suffering and death, revealed himself to us as the Son of God. This is the most opportune time to renew our commitment to follow him in our struggle to die to ourselves so that he will again be the Lord of our lives.

Let us humbly examine the many ways we have betrayed and failed Jesus because of our sins, make a sincere confession and finally ask for the grace to always remain as his faithful servants. Let us go through our sufferings and join them to the One who truly gives sense to all of our pains. And as we are there, let us be assured with this Holy Week promise: “The Lord God is my help therefore I am not disgraced … I shall not be put to shame,” (Is 50:7).

Prayer: 
We adore you O Christ and we praise you. By your holy cross, you have redeemed the world! May our meditation on your passion, suffering, and death transform our whole lives and being into a living sacrifice of praise to our all-loving Savior and Redeemer!

Reflection Questions: 
1. Jesus walks with us and shares our loneliness, sorrows and sufferings. How do you respond to such amazing love and genuine solidarity?

2. Passion Sunday invites us to “empty” ourselves of our own interests, fears and needs for the sake of others. How would you reach out to heal those who are hurting and comfort the despairing around despite your own denials and betrayals?

This Week’s Daily Mass Reading Guide:
March 25, 2018 (Sun) – Is 50:4-7/Ps 22:8, 9, 17-24/Phil 2:6-11/Mk 14:1-15:47
March 26, 2018 (Mon) – Is 42:1-7/Ps 27:1-3, 13, 14/Jn 12:1-11
March 27, 2018 (Tue) – Is 49:1-6/Ps 71:1-6, 15, 17/Jn 13:21-33, 36-38
March 28, 2018 (Wed) – Is 50:4-9/Ps 69:8-*10, 21-22, 31, 33, 34/Mt 26:14-25
March 29, 2018 (Thu) – Is 61:1-3, 8, 9/Ps 89:21, 2, 25, 27/Rv 1:5-8/Lk 4:16-21
March 30, 2018 (Fri) – Ex 12:1-8, 11-14/Ps 116:12, 13, 15, 16-18/12/1Cor 11:23-26/Jn 13:1-15
March 31, 2018 (Sat) – Is 52:13-53:12/Ps 31:2,6.12,13-16,17,25/Hb 4:14-16;5:7-9/Jn 18:1-19:42

“Ignorance of the Bible is ignorance of Christ. Read your Bible daily!”

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Invitation Seven Last Words

Through Mission Apostolate, BLD will hold the Rite of the SEVEN LAST WORDS on Good Friday, March 30 from 12 noon to 3 p.m. for the members of our Prayer Groups at Tunasan, Muntinlupa, Bagumbayan, Euro Maralit, BF Target Range and Villa Paraiso.
Venue is at Barangay Don Bosco Gym, Dona Soledad Avenue, Bicutan, Paranaque City (pls. see map at the back).

Sharers will come from the different Ministries (Donna Napoles, Glady Segundo, Aliza Nocom, Anna Bantayan, Bobby Villar, Arning Lalu and Ed Malay). They willingly responded to bare their soul to endow more meaning to Jesus’s Last Words on the cross as they proclaim His message of hope, triumph and redemption amidst seeming hopelessness and utter brokenness.

WE INVITE EVERYONE TO JOIN US INFULLY SUPPORTING THIS SACRED ENDEAVOR AND PROVIDE MORALE SUPPORT TO OUR DEAR COMMUNITY MEMBERS WHO WILL SHARE THEIR LIFE TESTIMONIES! AS THEY “DIE TO THEMSELVES SO OTHERS MAY LIVE”, MAY WE ALL RISE TRIUMPHANT WITH CHRIST AT THE END.

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CBCP Statement on the Divorce Bill

The fact that we’re one of the last few countries without a divorce law until now speaks volumes about us as a nation. No doubt, those who associate divorce with being progressive would laud our legislators who are currently raring to pass a divorce bill in Congress. With due respect to them, we beg them to make room for more reasoned debates on the issue. Since they act as representatives of the people who elected them in office, we humbly suggest that they submit their personal opinions to a further consultation with their constituents. Perhaps they can also consult experts in various fields in order to consider the many implications of the issue, not just on families but on the Philippine society as a whole.

 

Ask people around and they’ll have no second thoughts affirming that the family remains as one of our most valued treasures as Filipinos. Do we really intend to follow the same path taken by so-called “progressive countries” like the US where 4 out of 10 marriages end up in divorce?

 

We do not doubt the sincerity of our pro-divorce legislators.  It is precisely their good will which we wish to appeal to in asking them to reconsider their moves towards legalizing the dissolution of marriages. We do not even question the fact that there are indeed failed marriages and that not all married coupled were “joined together by God”. Thus, we have provisions for both canonical and civil annulments, which are not exactly the equivalent of divorce. They are provisions that demonstrate how seriously we take marriage as an institution, such that we make room for the possibility that some marriages might have been null and void from the start, such as when couples enter into marriage not for love, but for family pressure, and for many other similar reasons that suggest that no valid marriage took place. The legal remedies for such difficult circumstances are not lacking in our existing laws, both civil and canonical.

 

The social costs that go with an easy recourse to the dissolution of a marriage when couples begin to face the difficult challenges of marital love and commitment are what we ask our legislators to consider seriously.  Even couples in seemingly successful marriages would often look back and recall the countless challenges that had almost brought their relationship to a breaking point if they had not learned to transcend personal hurts through understanding and forgiveness, or sometimes through the intervention of a dialogue facilitator such as a marriage counselor.  In a context in which divorce is presented as an easy option, marriages and families are bound to break up more easily. More children will grow up disoriented and deprived of the care of both parents.

 

We do not mean to interfere with the dynamics of a political entity such as our country’s legislature. We are fully aware of the limits of our influence as spiritual and moral leaders of the ecclesial communities entrusted to our care. We also acknowledge plurality and diversity of moral opinions on the matter at issue. We merely ask that they consider the possibility that divorce,  while it  may  indeed  provide  quick legal remedies for some              

 

seemingly “failed marriages”, might end up destroying even those marriages that could have been saved by dialogues or the intervention of family, friends, pastors, and counselors.

 

Like Catholics in most other countries where divorce is legal, we wish to assert that nothing, not even a divorce law can make us give up our faith in the indissolubility of marriage as a lifetime covenant between a man and woman who have freely said yes to the call to love and commit themselves to God and to each other, through thick and thin.

 

For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines,

 

+ROMULO G. VALLES

  Archbishop of Davao

  President, CBCP

  13 March 2018

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2017 – 2018 SOH-ELP Moving Up Day

This is the day that the LORD has made.  We will rejoice and be glad in it. Ps 118:24

 

Last Saturday, March 17, was a special day of rejoicing as parents, teachers, friends, benefactors and BLD members gathered together for a graduation ceremony of ninety-six(96) Enhanced Learning Program(ELP) scholars aged 4 to 6 years old. It is noteworthy that the affair was a formal graduation rite which was held in no less than the spacious air-conditioned Sports &Social Hall in Paranaque with the kids wearing immaculate white togas. This is rightly so since our ELP is recognized by the Department of Education and its graduates are elevated to grade 1.

 

Unbeknown to many, our scholarship program is made up of two components: a) ELP where we have a curriculum that is taught in a classroom by regular teachers and b) public school students from grade 1 (coming from ELP graduates) up to high school,with the scholarship in the form of uniform, school supplies, transportation allowance, etc.

 

Ross Manlapat, CSL for Mission, gave the inspirational message and he started with the very reason why we have the Scholarship of Hope (SOH). He narrated that the SOH is the brainchild of BLD’s global Community Spiritual Director, Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo. The program aims to provide educational assistance to poor and marginalized children so that they will have the opportunity to complete their education, from pre-school to high school inspite of their family’s poverty. He dramatized its value by citing the aphorism, “Give a man a fish and he will have something to eat for a day, but give him a net and teach him how to fish and he will never get hungry.”

 

While ELP kids have a long way to go to independently earn a living, the SOH Program has a holistic vision which embraces not only education but livelihood, health and spirituality, as well. The family of the scholars accordingly receives benefits for their well-being, most especially on spiritual matters where they become members of prayer groups under the guidance of BLD. What these all mean is that family ties become stronger and the children develop core values that prepare them to face the exigencies of life as they grow up.

 

 

On the whole, including the grade 1 to high school scholars, the number of our SOH beneficiaries has now grown to about 400 with a cost outlay of about P2.4 Million at P6,000 per student. This is projected to increase to 500 next school year; certainly, a very challenging and formidable endeavor for the Community. Aman&Winda Piano, Mission Apostolate DCS, however, remains unfazed. They believe that this is not an ordinary project, but inspired by the Holy Spirit for the poor and the weak. Thus,by dedicating themselves passionately to this endeavor and with the same indomitable spirit by all the members of the Poverty Alleviation Ministry headed by Bobby and EndaVillar, they have that unshakable faith that the Lord will continue to open the flood gate of heaven to pour blessings not only on the scholarship program but to BLD.

 

There was no better way to close the affair than a thanksgiving prayer by Jhed Alonzo, the Most Outstanding Student from Tunasan, for all those who make the SOH a continuing success, most especially the sponsors and donors who were touched by the Lord to give their untainted support to the program.

 

 

Postscript: Informative background was included in the Newsletter for the benefit of new members and donors who may not yet be familiar with the scholarship program of the Community.

 

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