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Marriage Encounter No. 293

Community Word: Jesus the King reigns in the hearts of those who are faithful to Him.
Order: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” (Mk 12:30-31)

Reflection:
The month of November ushers in a very important feast which marks the end of the Church’s liturgical year – Solemnity of Christ the King. There are several references in Scriptures about the sovereignty of Christ and one pre-eminent verse is Matthew 28:18, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” The Feast of Christ the King was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925. The intent of the Encyclical which established the feast is to provide a clear guide on how we can be faithful to Christ and live up to His commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength,” (Mk 12:30-31).

Thus, our Community Word for November tells us: Jesus the King reigns in the hearts of those who are faithful to Him. Pope Pius XI says: “If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth: He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls.”

Among the precepts of the Lord, it is actually “Love your neighbor as yourself” that manifests our love for the Lord in concrete terms. Apparently, this involves a relationship which is quite complex and difficult to handle as it could end up in discord in case of disagreement. There is a businessman, one of the richest in the Philippines, though he holds considerable power and authority, uncharacteristically displays a noble virtue of keeping a good relationship and does not nurture rancor in his heart for any untoward past experience with others.

A parent counsels his children: To journey in this life, keep moving forward and do good things. If you have a positive attitude and you treat others well, the road ahead becomes wider for you to walk through. Extract wisdom from crisis like juicing, but consider as useless residue what is left. If you retain unnecessary baggage of anger and negative thoughts, you will be weighed down and you will lose your freedom. Don’t think of exacting revenge against those who have wronged you, because to think of vengeance is looking back and distracts you from moving on.

During this month, we are exhorted to reflect on the readings of the remaining Sundays of the liturgical year.

For the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, the theme is: Those who are faithful to Jesus the King keep and honor God’s commandments. Psalm 1:1-3 tells us, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, but delight in the law of the Lord. He will be like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither, and whatever he does, he prospers.” God wants us to be happy and live an abundant life. We can attain this if our relationship with God is right and we are in tune with all that He commands us to do. Certainly, a life without God is like a vine cut-off from the main branch that will eventually die. Those who follow God will receive His blessing in this promise: “Keep…all His commandments…that you may grow and prosper the more,” (Dt 6:2b-3a).

Those who are faithful to Jesus the King generously share their blessings – is our theme for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time. Giving generous tithes and love offering is the Lord’s precept that may be very challenging to observe. It may be difficult to let go even a small amount if family earnings is hardly enough for daily needs. It may also be difficult to be charitable if one is not used to giving. But in Malachi 3:10, the Lord says, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” It is an ultimate test of faith. Sometimes, blessing comes in the form of genuine peace and joy because of faithfully serving the Lord. We admire a covenant member from our Smokey Mountain outreach who has been faithful in community for over 25 years, even if her income is not much, giving her all in community service. And, another member who left a high paying job to devote his time fully in community, yet finds joy and fulfillment in his present vocation. Truly, God’s generosity cannot be outdone when He promises: “The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry,” (Kgs 17:14b).

The theme for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time is: Those who are faithful to Jesus the King stay vigilant for His coming. Jesus comes to us every time we receive Him in Holy Communion. He comes to us when we celebrate His birth on Christmas day. And most importantly, we anticipate His second coming at the end of time. To give flesh to the theme in a meaningful way, we are exhorted to follow the directions for the month: 1. Make a daily examination of conscience on how faithful you are in honoring God’s commandments, 2. Go to confession and receive the Holy Eucharist regularly, and 3. Show your love of neighbor by doing spiritual and corporal works of mercy. To those who store treasures in heaven by their acts of mercy, Jesus will say: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world,” (Mt 25:34). Lord, we claim Your promise that: “You will show me the path to life, fullness of joys in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever,” (Ps 16:11).

For the Solemnity of Christ the King, our theme is: Those who are faithful to Jesus the King listen to Him and testify to the Truth. The Truth is Jesus is King and Ruler over all. He has all authority and power to reign over heaven and earth. He came to conquer every heart and soul and establish God’s kingdom here on earth – “a kingdom ruled not by force or fear but by the power of God’s righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit,” (Rm 14:17). Our lives should be submitted to His lordship as we seek to do only His will and to serve His Kingdom above all else today and for all eternity. Which kingdom will you serve today and for all eternity? The world, which is passing, or God’s kingdom, which will endure for all time? If we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and King, we become citizens of this everlasting kingdom which is governed by God’s righteousness, peace, and love.

In community, we testify to Christ in our way of life as genuine Christians, through our evangelization and mission works, through our assignments as lay under-shepherds, in the study of God’s word and in spreading His word by our faith and good works. Is your life submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ? Faithful servants of God will know of this promise: “Behold He is coming amidst the clouds, and every eye will see Him,” (Rv 1:7a) and, in the end of time, will inherit eternal reward in heaven.

Let us all possess this solemn faith, that as we faithfully serve the Lord in the community, He will welcome us at the end of our journey on earth.

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Reflection for November 2018

Community Word: Jesus the King reigns in the hearts of those who are faithful to Him.
Order: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” (Mk 12:30-31)

Reflection:
The month of November ushers in a very important feast which marks the end of the Church’s liturgical year – Solemnity of Christ the King. There are several references in Scriptures about the sovereignty of Christ and one pre-eminent verse is Matthew 28:18, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” The Feast of Christ the King was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925. The intent of the Encyclical which established the feast is to provide a clear guide on how we can be faithful to Christ and live up to His commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength,” (Mk 12:30-31).

Thus, our Community Word for November tells us: Jesus the King reigns in the hearts of those who are faithful to Him. Pope Pius XI says: “If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth: He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls.”

Among the precepts of the Lord, it is actually “Love your neighbor as yourself” that manifests our love for the Lord in concrete terms. Apparently, this involves a relationship which is quite complex and difficult to handle as it could end up in discord in case of disagreement. There is a businessman, one of the richest in the Philippines, though he holds considerable power and authority, uncharacteristically displays a noble virtue of keeping a good relationship and does not nurture rancor in his heart for any untoward past experience with others.

A parent counsels his children: To journey in this life, keep moving forward and do good things. If you have a positive attitude and you treat others well, the road ahead becomes wider for you to walk through. Extract wisdom from crisis like juicing, but consider as useless residue what is left. If you retain unnecessary baggage of anger and negative thoughts, you will be weighed down and you will lose your freedom. Don’t think of exacting revenge against those who have wronged you, because to think of vengeance is looking back and distracts you from moving on.

During this month, we are exhorted to reflect on the readings of the remaining Sundays of the liturgical year.

For the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, the theme is: Those who are faithful to Jesus the King keep and honor God’s commandments. Psalm 1:1-3 tells us, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, but delight in the law of the Lord. He will be like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither, and whatever he does, he prospers.” God wants us to be happy and live an abundant life. We can attain this if our relationship with God is right and we are in tune with all that He commands us to do. Certainly, a life without God is like a vine cut-off from the main branch that will eventually die. Those who follow God will receive His blessing in this promise: “Keep…all His commandments…that you may grow and prosper the more,” (Dt 6:2b-3a).

Those who are faithful to Jesus the King generously share their blessings – is our theme for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time. Giving generous tithes and love offering is the Lord’s precept that may be very challenging to observe. It may be difficult to let go even a small amount if family earnings is hardly enough for daily needs. It may also be difficult to be charitable if one is not used to giving. But in Malachi 3:10, the Lord says, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” It is an ultimate test of faith. Sometimes, blessing comes in the form of genuine peace and joy because of faithfully serving the Lord. We admire a covenant member from our Smokey Mountain outreach who has been faithful in community for over 25 years, even if her income is not much, giving her all in community service. And, another member who left a high paying job to devote his time fully in community, yet finds joy and fulfillment in his present vocation. Truly, God’s generosity cannot be outdone when He promises: “The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry,” (Kgs 17:14b).

The theme for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time is: Those who are faithful to Jesus the King stay vigilant for His coming. Jesus comes to us every time we receive Him in Holy Communion. He comes to us when we celebrate His birth on Christmas day. And most importantly, we anticipate His second coming at the end of time. To give flesh to the theme in a meaningful way, we are exhorted to follow the directions for the month: 1. Make a daily examination of conscience on how faithful you are in honoring God’s commandments, 2. Go to confession and receive the Holy Eucharist regularly, and 3. Show your love of neighbor by doing spiritual and corporal works of mercy. To those who store treasures in heaven by their acts of mercy, Jesus will say: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world,” (Mt 25:34). Lord, we claim Your promise that: “You will show me the path to life, fullness of joys in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever,” (Ps 16:11).

For the Solemnity of Christ the King, our theme is: Those who are faithful to Jesus the King listen to Him and testify to the Truth. The Truth is Jesus is King and Ruler over all. He has all authority and power to reign over heaven and earth. He came to conquer every heart and soul and establish God’s kingdom here on earth – “a kingdom ruled not by force or fear but by the power of God’s righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit,” (Rm 14:17). Our lives should be submitted to His lordship as we seek to do only His will and to serve His Kingdom above all else today and for all eternity. Which kingdom will you serve today and for all eternity? The world, which is passing, or God’s kingdom, which will endure for all time? If we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and King, we become citizens of this everlasting kingdom which is governed by God’s righteousness, peace, and love.

In community, we testify to Christ in our way of life as genuine Christians, through our evangelization and mission works, through our assignments as lay under-shepherds, in the study of God’s word and in spreading His word by our faith and good works. Is your life submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ? Faithful servants of God will know of this promise: “Behold He is coming amidst the clouds, and every eye will see Him,” (Rv 1:7a) and, in the end of time, will inherit eternal reward in heaven.

Let us all possess this solemn faith, that as we faithfully serve the Lord in the community, He will welcome us at the end of our journey on earth.

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WSC Circle – October 28 – 30, 2018

Word Sharing Circle (WSC) Reflection Guide
October 28, 2018 – 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Cycle B, Year II)

Community Word: Those who are poor in spirit will inherit the Kingdom of God.
Theme: We inherit the Kingdom of God when we witness to our faith.
Promise: “I will console and guide them, I will lead them to brooks of water on a level road, so that none shall stumble.” (Jer 31:9b)

Reflection:
During His ministry, Jesus stressed that the Kingdom of God is the reign of God in our lives. If we wish to inherit it, we must surrender and completely relinquish our old self at the cross of Christ, to be born again and be renewed, placing our life under the authority of God. We begin to live a new life where everything is under God’s control, allowing Him to transform us, to form and balance our attitude and way of life. There is a total shift of allegiance from this world with all its enticements, to God.

We are no longer self-centered, but we live for Christ, following and walking with Him in faith and obedience. We serve Christ not for own sake or to please others, but doing the will of God wholeheartedly. Because of our faith, we believe and trust that Jesus is always ready to work in and through us for the glory of God. We keep our faith as the key that unlocks God’s power to overcome any obstacle and difficulty which prevents us from inheriting His Kingdom.

This is what is expressed in our theme for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time – We inherit the Kingdom of God when we witness to our faith. As Christians, we are commissioned by Jesus to proclaim, establish and promote God’s kingdom and dominion in this world. We are expected to set the example and lead sinners to repentance and bring them back to a deeper relationship with the Lord. Being a witness to our faith means helping those who are “poor in spirit” recognize their dignity and freedom, and the importance of their conscience. We should be ready to lift up those who are being discriminated, marginalized, oppressed and ignored, so that they will see us as the light bearers and the signs of the Kingdom to come.

Our ultimate goal is holiness, continual conversion of heart and possessing the zeal to change and transform our passion for power, recognition and wealth into true and genuine service. Like Jesus, our lives should be witnesses of the reign of God. We might not be able to escape the temptations of self-glorification and triumphalism that hurt our relationship with God. But we have the Holy Spirit whose task is to convict us whenever we are caught in the bondage of sin. He is our Counselor and Advocate who will defend us before God against Satan who works doubly hard to bring us down and away from our path to holiness. St. Paul reminds us, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it,” (1Cor 10:13).

This week’s promise from Jeremiah, “I will console and guide them, I will lead them to brooks of water on a level road, so that none shall stumble” (Jer 31:9b) should not only inspire us to continue proclaiming God’s powerful presence in our lives. It is also a call for us to live in faith that His Kingdom is already in our midst.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, we thank You for your consolation and guidance that keep our faith strong and our desire to serve You even stronger. Grant us victory over the destructive influences of sin and our self-centeredness that keep us from following Your will. Give us fortitude to always choose what is good and reject what is evil. May Your truth and love permeate our hearts that we may be authentic testifiers of faith as we lead others to the righteous path that your Kingdom may rule their hearts now and always. Amen.

Reflection Questions:
1. In what way can you testify to others that the Kingdom of God is now in our midst?
2. How can you convince others to respond to the call to renew their lives in Christ?
3. How can you take advantage of God’s grace in resisting temptation to sin? How can you use God’s gift of fortitude to overcome obstacles in doing His will?

This Week’s Daily Mass Reading Guide:
Oct 28, 2018 (Sun) – Jer 31:7-9/Ps 126:1-6/Heb 5:1-6/Mk 10:46-52
Oct 29, 2018 (Mon) – Eph 4:32-5:8/Ps 1:1-4, 6/Lk 13:10-17
Oct 30, 2018 (Tue) – Eph 5:21-33/Ps 128:1-5/Lk 13:18-21
Oct 31, 2018 (Wed) – Eph 6:1-9/Ps 145:10-14/Lk 13:22-30
Nov 1, 2018 (Thu) – Rv 7:2-4, 9-14/Ps 24:1-6/1Jn 3:1-3/Mt 5:1-12
Nov 2, 2018 (Fri) – Wis 3:1-9/Ps 23:1-6/Rom 5:5-11/Mt 25:31-46
Nov 3, 2018 (Sat) – Phil 1:18-26/Ps 42:2, 3, 5/Lk 14:1, 7-11

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

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WSC Circle – October 21, 2018

Word Sharing Circle (WSC) Reflection Guide
October 21, 2018 – 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Cycle B, Year II)

Community Word: Those who are poor in spirit will inherit the Kingdom of God.
Theme: We inherit the Kingdom of God when we become servant of all.
Promise: “If he gives his life as an offering…the will of Lord shall be accomplished through him.” (Is 52:10b)

Reflection:
In today’s gospel, we find two of Jesus’ disciples, James and John, being rebuked by the other disciples because of what they see as misplaced ambition of these brothers who were thinking only of personal reward and distinction. They are thinking of personal glory without sacrifice by asking Jesus for privileged places beside Him in His kingdom. In short, in their being ambitious, they have the wrong concept of greatness. Jesus takes this opportunity to teach them the true meaning of greatness by telling them who He is – “For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many,” (Mk 10:45). Being great is not about lording over with authority, but to be slave and servant of all.

Jesus lived His whole life as servant to others and He lived to serve not to be served, even if He is the Son of God. He served by inspiring people with His words of truth and encouragement. He ministered to them through His healing miracles. He fully identified with them through His temptations. As our Master-Teacher, He wants us to learn much from His suffering and from being a servant. He teaches that humble service can motivate us to be true disciples – “Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all,” (Mk 10:43).

Unfortunately, many are not interested in being servants. Their thoughts, actions and even their prayers are centered on simply fulfilling ones desires. They want to stay in power, retain their authority, and sustain their selfish ambition, thinking that they are better and more qualified than others. We must not fall into the trap of Satan who feeds us with lies; he promotes pride and not humility. St. Paul cautions us, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others,” (Phil 2: 3-4).

To be truly great in the eyes of God, Jesus tells us to be “servant of all,” to sacrifice and serve others. This means we go out of our comfort zones and be His real missionaries to serve inside and outside of community without reservations and counting the cost. He urges us to go out to the mission areas to proclaim the gospel and to help those who are in need. Jesus encourages us to suffer with and for Him in order to achieve greatness in the Kingdom of God. To be great is to serve the flock of Christ, following His call to “feed my sheep,” (cf. Jn 21:17).

The 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time is also World Mission Sunday. Today, we honor and pray for those who have left the comfort of their homes to be missionaries here and abroad. Their sacrifices deserved to be recognized and their examples of emboldened faith be emulated. We pray for their safety and success in their missionary endeavors, especially for those who are in difficult situations. For us who are called to our own vocations in life, we are also missionaries by virtue of our baptism. We have the responsibility to be witnesses to the love of Christ in our lives and to spread that love to others by the sharing of our time, talent and treasures.

Greatness is not about power and authority. It is about fulfilling one’s responsibility with love and fidelity. Greatness is to be able to make a difference in the life of other people by our ability to serve them and being open to help those in need. True service is bearing our own burden and that of our neighbor without complaining and expecting anything in return, but doing it with loving dedication in the name of Jesus, our model of greatness. His greatest service is doing God’s will for mankind and giving His own life as a ransom for all. Jesus gives us this assurance, “If he gives his life as an offering……the will of the Lord shall be accomplished through him,” (Is 52:10b). And as our theme tells us: We inherit the kingdom of God when we become servant of all.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, teach and guide me to be humble at all time. Grant me the grace to surrender all of my selfish ambitions. I want to be like your Son, Jesus, to serve & not to be served. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and be Your instrument of love, mercy, compassion & generosity to others especially in the mission areas. Amen.

Reflection Questions:
1. What are the obstacles that hinder you to serve in the mission areas? How do you intend to overcome these obstacles?

2. Are you willing to give up your personal ambition in exchange of loving & serving God & others faithfully?

This Week’s Daily Mass Reading Guide:
Oct 21, 2018 (Sun) – Is 53:10, 11/Ps 33:4, 5, 18-20, 22/Heb 4:14-16/Mk 10:35-45
Oct 22, 2018 (Mon – Eph 2:1-10/Ps 100:1-5/Lk 12:13-21
Oct 23, 2018 (Tue) – Eph 2:12-22/Ps 85:9-10, 11-14/Lk 12:35-38
Oct 24, 2018 (Wed) – Eph 3:2-12/Is 12:2-6/Lk 12:39-48
Oct 25, 2018 (Thu) – Eph 3:14-21/Ps 33:1, 2, 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19/Lk 12:49-53
Oct 26, 2018 (Fri) – Eph 4:1-6/Ps 24:1-6/Lk 12:54-59
Oct 27, 2018 (Sat) – Eph 4:7-16/Ps 122:1-5/Lk 13:1-9

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

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Community Word for December 2018

COMMUNITY WORD for DECEMBER 2018
(Word, Themes and Promises)

READINGS
December 2 – Jer 33: 14-16/Ps 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14/1Thes 3:12-4:2/Lk 21:25-28, 34-36
December 9 – Bar 51-9/Ps 126:1-2, 2-3,4-5,6/Phil 1:4-6,8-11/Lk 3:1-6
December 16 – Zep 3:14-18/Is 12:2-3, 4, 5-6/Phil 4:4-7/Lk 3:10-18
December 23 – Mi 5:1-4/Ps 80:2-3,15-16,18-19/Heb 10:5-10/Lk 1:39-45
December 30 – Sir 3:2-6, 12-14/Ps 128:1-2, 3, 4-5/Col 3:12-21/Lk 2:41-52

WORD
Disciples of Christ prepare their hearts for His coming with joy.

ORDER
“Be vigilant at all times and pray!” (Lk 21:36)

PROPHECIES:
1. My spirit will give you strength to face any adversity while you await My coming.
2. Live a righteous life, honor your father and mother that you will reap the full measure of My blessings.

DIRECTIONS:
1. Pray persistently, go to confession and receive Holy Communion regularly.
2. Do charitable works and share your blessings during the Season of Joy.

THEMES AND PROMISES

Week#1 (1st Sunday of Advent)
Theme: We prepare for Christ’s coming when we persevere in doing what is right and just.
Promise: “Good and upright is the Lord; thus he shows sinners the way.” (Ps 25:8)

Week#2 (2nd Sunday of Advent)
Theme: We prepare for Christ’s coming when we repent of our wrongdoings and seek forgiveness.
Promise: “…the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil 1:6)

Week#3 (3rd Sunday of Advent)
Theme: We prepare for Christ’s coming when we gladly share our blessings with others.
Promise: “The peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:7)

Week#4 (4th Sunday of Advent)
Theme: We prepare for Christ’s coming when we accept and obey the will of God in our lives.
Promise: “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” (Lk 1:45)

Week#5 (Feast of the Holy Family)
Theme: We prepare for Christ’s coming when we let God be the center of our family life.
Promise: “For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork, blessed shall you be and favored.” (Ps 128:2)

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WSC Circle – October 14, 2018

Word Sharing Circle (WSC) Reflection Guide
October 14, 2018 – 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Cycle B, Year II)

Community Word: Those who are poor in spirit will inherit the Kingdom of God.
Theme: We inherit the Kingdom of God when we share our blessings with those in need.
Promise: “…give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven.”(Mk 10:21b)

Reflection:
In the gospel of Mark, we catch sight of a rich young man as he hurries towards Jesus and falls on his knees before Him. This is an action of a man, not only filled with personal certainty and determined desire for something, but one who has great respect for Jesus. He is quite different from the Pharisees and Sadducees who hound Jesus only to test and trap Him. This young man seems honest and worthy, only wanting to ask a question to find out how he can gain eternal life. Just as it was for him, it is a question which has occupied our minds and all true Christians throughout the ages.

The rich young man addresses Jesus, “Good teacher…” Then almost to set the youth straight and maybe, curb his enthusiasm, Jesus answers, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone,” (Mk 10:18). Jesus goes on to quote the Commandments which the youth assures Jesus he has kept all his life. The Gospel says, “Jesus, looking at him, loved him…,” (Mk 10:21a).

This is how Jesus looks into our hearts when we feel so self-assured, but do not realize that we lack many things in our spiritual life. Jesus knows that this young man is a good person, but He also sees his weak point and gives him a truthful exhortation, to give everything that he has to the poor and follow Him, (cf. Mk 10:21b). But apparently, this young man had a heart divided between two masters – God and money, and he goes away sad. He is too attached to his wealth to part with it and follow Jesus instead.

When we are called to serve Jesus as He wants us to, are we like the young man in this episode? Sometimes or oftentimes, we might be materialistic like the rich young man. Knowingly or unknowingly, we have our attachments; there may be times when the thought of being without our cell phone, car, and other prized possessions, including our careers, our comforts, and even our relationships, is inconceivable. The thought of giving up our vices and pleasures seems hard for us; so too is denying ourselves of putting God before all material things.

It is not bad to have money and other material goods, or to spend time on our temporal concerns, but if these things become our attachments and top priorities in our life, then this is not good for us. Instead, Jesus is asking us to share our blessings – time, talent and treasures, with those in need in order to inherit the Kingdom of God just. Our theme reminds us of this: We inherit the Kingdom of God when we share our blessings with those in need. Our Lord Jesus wants us to spend time serving Him everyday in prayer and in Scriptures. He wants us to share our gifts and to serve our communities. Likewise, God expects us to be generous even if our financial resources are not plenty. Consistent financial giving is the best remedy for any greedy tendencies.

Jesus makes this solemn declaration: “I assure you that he who leaves everything to follow me will have eternal life in the age to come and a hundred times more now in this present age,” (cf. Mk 10:29-30). Pope Francis echoes these words today: “We deprive ourselves of goods and receive in exchange the joy of the true good; we free ourselves from slavery to things and we win the liberty of service out of love; we renounce possessing and we attain the happiness of giving.” About which Jesus says – “There is more joy in giving than receiving,” (cf. Acts 20:35). The rich young man did not allow himself to be conquered by the loving gaze of Jesus and thus, he was not able to change. In fact, he “went away sad.”

In one of his Angelus addresses, Pope Francis tells us: “Only in welcoming with humble gratitude the Lord’s love do we free ourselves from the seduction of idols and the blindness of our illusions. Money, pleasure and success dazzle, but later they disappoint: They promise life but cause death. The Lord asks of us a detachment from these false riches to enter into true life, a full life that is authentic and luminous.”

The Lord is inviting us to be poor, to live with and serve the poor; then the treasure of Heaven will be ours. In His promise, He says: “…give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven.” (Mk 10:21b). Unlike the rich young man, we can be with Jesus and be His true followers by being mindful of sharing our blessings and our gifts with those who are in need. Then, we can rejoice in anticipation of our true treasure of eternal life in heaven.

Prayer:
Father God, we ask You to instill in us a generous heart, a heart that is willing to serve even the poorest of the poor. Grant us the grace, Lord God, to give our yes to You everyday and to put You first before other things here on earth. Help us to use our time, talent and treasure always in the service of You and Your people. All these we pray in Jesus name, through the powerful intercession of Mama Mary, St. Joseph and St. Padre Pio. Amen.

Reflection Questions:
1. If I am to meet Jesus face to face today, what would my question to Him be?
2. How can I stop putting off following Jesus 100% when I keep on clinging to something or someone?
3. In what way can I be generous in sharing my blessings to others?

This Week’s Daily Mass Reading Guide:
Oct 14, 2018 (Sun) – Wis 7:7-11/Ps 90:12-17/Heb 4:12, 13/Mk 10:17-30
Oct 15, 2018 (Mon – Gal 4:22-24, 36, 27, 31-5:1/Ps 113:1-7/Lk 11:29-32
Oct 16, 2018 (Tue) – Gal 5:1-6/Ps 119:41, 43, 44, 45, 47, 48/Lk 11:37-41
Oct 17, 2018 (Wed) – Gal 5:18-25/Ps 1-4, 6/Lk 11:42-44
Oct 18, 2018 (Thu) – 2Tm 4:10-17/Ps 148:10-13, 17, 18/Lk 10:1-9
Oct 19, 2018 (Fri) – Eph 1:11-14/Ps 33:1, 2, 4, 5, 12, 13/Lk 12:1-7
Oct 20, 2018 (Sat) – Eph 1:15-23/Ps 8:2-7/Mk 10:35-45

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

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WSC Circle – October 7, 2018

Word Sharing Circle (WSC) Reflection Guide
October 7,2018 – 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Cycle B, Year II)

Community Word: Those who are poor in spirit will inherit the Kingdom of God.
Theme: We inherit the Kingdom of God when we possess childlike humility andobedience.
Promise: “Blessed are you who fear the Lord, who walk in his ways!” (Ps 128:1)

Reflection:
Jesus declared: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” (Mt 5:3). The “poor in spirit” are those who are lowly and reverent before God. It does not matter if they are materially rich or poor, but they acknowledge in the depth of their being that they depend completely on God. In the words of Jesus, the “greatest in the kingdom of heaven” is the person who humbles himself like a child. He attributes his life – who he is and what he does, as God’s gift to him. Obedience, humility and dependence are characteristics of children who are worthy of the Kingdom.

Children are always presented as examples of the “little ones.” They are powerless and vulnerable and they are able to trust and depend totally on others for their well-being and guidance. Jesus sees children as having unique qualities that can teach deep lessons to the rest of us and He shows children reverence. He lays hands on them and blesses them. It is the childlike humility and obedience of the “little ones” that we are asked to emulate in our theme – We inherit the Kingdom of God when we possess childlike obedience and humility.

Jesus humbled Himself many times and in many ways during His life on earth. At the age of twelve, He humbly obeyed His parents by leaving the temple and His “Father’s business” to return home with them (Lk 2:41-52). He humbled Himself when He was baptized by John, fulfilling all righteousness (Mt. 3:13-17). There was, however, no greater example of humility than that of Jesus’ obedience to death on the cross. Jesus humbled Himself in perfect obedience to the Father. He wasn’t afraid to ask that the cup be taken from Him, that God would perhaps deliver Him from suffering. But in the end, Jesus surrendered His will. “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not as I will, but as you will,”(Mt 26: 39).

Humility and obedience go hand in hand. Without one, the other is nearly impossible. It’s like the example of a child, who, when told to clean his room, grumbles and slams the door. Eventually, the child will have a choice. He can either humbly accept the parent’s instruction to clean his room or he can remain stubbornly defiant. We, too, have a choice. When called by God to do something difficult, like forgiving someone who hurt us, we can cross our arms in defiance or we can humbly accept the command. It may take some wrestling through prayer, just as Jesus did in the garden of Gethsemane, but ultimately, true obedience will follow humility.

Let us be child-like and Christ-like, humble, obedient and steadfast in submitting to the will of God in all things. Like Jesus, we can always choose to have the right attitude and actions in life. By doing so, we may be assured of His promise: “Blessed are you who fear the Lord, who walk in his ways!” (Ps 128:1).

Prayer:
Lord, grant me the virtue of humility, perfectly exemplified by Your Son, Jesus, that I may claim the riches of Your grace. May I obey Your commands and be filled with Your mercy that I may be Your authentic witness to the people You have asked me serve. Amen.

Reflection Questions:
1. In what area in your life are you struggling the most with humility? In what ways are you overly self-focused with pride, insecurity, or self-promotion?

2. What aspect in your life is competing with obedience to God or the duties He has given you?

This Week’s Daily Mass Reading Guide:
Oct 7, 2018 (Sun) – Gn 2:18-24/Ps 128:1-6/Heb 2:9-11/Mk 10:2-16
Oct 8, 2018 (Mon) – Gal 1:6-12/Ps 111:1, 2, 7-10/Lk 10:25-37
Oct 9, 2018 (Tue) – Gal 1:13-24/Ps 139:1-3, 13-15/Lk 10:38-42
Oct 10, 2018 (Wed) – Gal 2:1-2, 7-14/Ps 117:1, 2/Lk 11:1-4
Oct 11, 2018 (Thu) – Gal 3:1-5/Lk 1:69-75/Lk 11:5-13
Oct 12, 2018 (Fri) – Gal 3:7-14/Ps 111:1-6/Lk 11:15-26
Oct 13, 2018 (Sat) – Gal 3:22-29/Ps 105:2-7/Lk 11:27-28

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

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Reflection for October 2018

Reflection for October 2018

Community Word: Those who are poor in spirit will inherit the Kingdom of God.
Order: “…come, follow me.” (Mk 10:21b)

Reflection:
For the month of October, our community word states: Those who are poor in spirit will inherit the Kingdom of God. We are exhorted to continually ask the Holy Spirit to lead us and help us do the things that God wants us to do and to allow the Holy Spirit to take control over more areas of our lives. What is important is our response and cooperation with God’s grace to do our part, especially in consistently reading the bible and reflection on God’s word, in fervently praying and asking the Holy Spirit to show us the Truth and teach us how to live and inherit the Kingdom of God. God’s Kingdom is within every man’s heart, within us, to make the right choices. It is in the midst of every true believer, in the presence of Jesus, following His command (our Order for the month): “…come, follow me,” (Mk 10:21b).

For the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, our theme is – We inherit the Kingdom of God when we possess childlike obedience and humility. Jesus tells us to be like children who are innocent and dependent, and to come to Him full of faith and trust. The attitude and characteristic of children who are humble and obedience are what Jesus is referring to when He opens Himself to them: “…let the children come to me for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these,” (Mk 10:14). We are likewise encouraged to be strong in our humility and obedience to the Lord’s will to claim our rightful place as God’s children, to walk more closely with Christ in our relationship and exciting journey with Him. Let us be stirred by His words and be lead to travel the path of spiritual growth as His empowered disciples, with this inspiring promise: “Blessed are you who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways!” (Ps 128:1).

We inherit the Kingdom of God when we share our blessings with those in need, is our theme for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time. God’s kingdom cannot be received or felt by people who are engrossed with their own self, their self-sufficiency, their attachment to self-serving comfort, pleasure, power and wealth. The message of the readings is the need for detachment by way of sharing our time, talent and treasure for the good of others. The way towards God is following the example of Jesus in serving others – His care, empathy, compassion and sacrifice, not only by words but through actual action and service. Let us not wait for tomorrow to discover the joy of being free from the vanity of material things and to share the wonders of God’s boundless blessings. Indeed the promise “… give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven,” (Mk 10:21b) encourages us to imitate our ever generous and loving God.

The theme for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time is – We inherit the Kingdom of God when we become servant of all. Our mission will only have meaning if we keep the spirit of service alive. In God’s Kingdom, there is no position of power but the power of perfect love of God. Though Son of God, Jesus taught us how to empty ourselves of self-preoccupation – “Whoever wishes to become great among you must be the servant of all,” (Mk 10:43). A man who develops his full potentials and uses God-given gifts is the one who glorifies God the most. If we want to be great in God’s presence, we must learn to be the “servant of all.” The crosses in our life, accepted in faith and humility, become the antidotes to our pride and self-centeredness. Let us pray to be instilled by the Lord with a passion for service and not a desire for power and self-glorification, for great is the person who willingly accepts the role of a servant to others. In all we do for others, Christ gives us this assurance: “If he gives his life as an offering…the will of Lord shall be accomplished through him,” (Is 52:10b).

Finally, for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, our theme is – We inherit the Kingdom of God when we witness to our faith. Like Bartimaeus in the gospel, Jesus is asking each of us, “What do you want me to do for you?” He longs to see us cast aside anything that limits our vision and expectations. He wants to heal our hearts and fill it with the fire of His love. But like Bartimaeus, we too can be blind. Our blindness may be compared to those of the crowd who rebuked Bartimaeus to stay silent. Sometimes we, too, keep quiet and are indifferent when we ought to speak out against what is morally wrong in defense of our faith. Let us be like Bartemaeus who cried out, “Master, I want to see,” (Mk 10:51b); to be open, honest, courageous, calling out in faith to plead for our conversion and to bear witness to Jesus as our Savior and Lord and for all that He has done in our life. For the Lord reaches out to us and gives us His word of life: “I will console and guide them, I will lead them to brooks of water on a level road, so that none shall stumble,” (Jer 31:9b).

Prayer: 
Lord Jesus, give us the courage to follow you faithfully on the road of life. Give us the strength to live for you day by day in the loving service of our brothers and sisters. As we travel on the road to holiness, be our peace and our joy. Amen.

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WSC Circle – September 30, 2018

Word Sharing Circle (WSC) Reflection Guide
September 30, 2018 – 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Cycle B, Year II)

Community Word: Honoring God’s commandments bring peace to our hearts
Theme: There is peace in our hearts when we do not allow sin to separate us from the love of God.
Promise: “… because you belong to Christ …you will surely not lose his reward.” (Mk 9:41)

Reflection: 
Sin is described in the Holy Scripture as a transgression of the law of God (1Jn 3:4). Sin is simply doing what is wrong (or sin of commission), or not doing what is right (sin of omission) according to God’s laws. The Ten Commandments was expanded into 613 Jewish laws. In contrast, Jesus simplified it in Matthew 22: 37-40: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” This is the law of love. Those who transgress these commandments go against the love of God.

The law of love is the foundation of the doctrine of the Cross. A cross is formed by two lines. The vertical line corresponds to our relationship with God and the horizontal line corresponds to our relationship with man. Our relationship with both God and man must be our way of life. John 14:16 states, “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.” The Holy Spirit is our Helper who enlightens us to know what is good and what is bad. The Holy Spirit enables us to obey God’s laws and experience the joy of living in accord to God’s will. In our faithfulness to Him, we experience true happiness of being filled with peace and surrounded with His love and mercy. The law of love is the centerpiece of life.

We are all invited to experience God’s love. But there are times that we reject this invitation and we choose to live in sin. The reality is that God does not separate Himself from us. In fact, God patiently offers His forgiveness to those who ask for it. He wants us to reconcile with Him. Regrettably, knowing that we sinned against God, we are filled with shame, guilt, anger, or pride that we do not see His loving mercy and hear His call for us to repent. We are so consumed with the effects of sin that we separate ourselves from God even more.

God constantly reminds us to avoid sin at all times so that we might feel His love. Most of all, God strongly warns us not to be the cause for others to commit sin. He asks us to reflect on our life and identify the things that cause us to sin. He exhorts us to leave these things and cut them off, for they are not worth keeping if they cause us to lose our chance of being in God’s loving and holy presence. Keep yourself pure, live holy lives and resist evil. “Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good,” (Rom 12:21).

In the gospel reading this Sunday, the disciples are envious of the one who drove out demons in the name of Jesus because he is not part of the inner circle of Jesus. But even if he is not a disciple, he already has a strong faith and relies in the power of Jesus. Doing mighty deeds is not exclusive to a person or certain group. Jesus does not want others to be treated as “outsiders” and exhorts us to look beyond ourselves and realize our mission to bring more people to Him. Doing good to others assures us of His promise, “Anyone who gives a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward,” (Mk 9: 42). We will surely experience peace in our hearts when we remain pure of hearts and do what is right in God’s presence.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, open the eyes of my soul that I may see my weaknesses and my sins. Convict me of my sinful nature and guide me to avoid sin at all times. I desire to be holy like Jesus, totally obedient to Your Holy Will. Restore me to be your child that I may always feel Your peace and presence in my life. Amen.

Reflection Questions: 
1. What do you do when you are tempted to sin, especially sin that you have difficulty overcoming.
2. What are the obstacles that hinder you from doing good deeds? How steps can you take to overcome these challenges?

This Week’s Daily Mass Reading Guide:
Sept 30, 2018 (Sun) – Nm 11:25-29/Ps 19:8, 10, 12, 13, 14/Jas 5:1-6/Mk 9:38-43, 45, 47, 48
Oct 1, 2018 (Mon) – Job 1:6-22/Ps 17:1-3, 6, 7/Lk 9:46-50
Oct 2, 2018 (Tue) – Ex 23:20-23/Ps 91:1-6, 10, 11/Mt 18:1-5
Oct 3, 2018 (Wed) – Jb 9:1-12, 14-16/Ps 88:10-15/Lk 9:57-62
Oct 4, 2018 (Thu) – Jb 19:21-27/Ps 27:7-9, 13, 14/Lk 10:1-12
Oct 5, 2018 (Fri) – Jb 38:1,1-21,40:3-8/Ps 139:1-3,7-10,13,14/Lk 10:13-14 
Oct 6, 2018 (Sat) – Jb 42:1-3, 5, 6, 12-17/Ps 119:66, 71, 75, 91,125,130?Lk 10:17-24

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

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Community Word for November 2018

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

READINGS
November 4 – Dt 6:2-6/Ps 18:2-4, 47, 51/Hb 7:23-28/Mk 12:28-34
November 11 – 1Kgs 17:10-16/Ps 144:7-10/Hb 9:24-28/Mk 12:38-44
November 18 – Dn 12:1-3/Ps 16:5, 8-11/Hb 10:11-14, 18/Mk 13:24-32
November 25 – Dn 7:13-14/Ps 93:1, 1-2, 5/Rv 1:5-8/Jn 18:33-37

COMMUNITY WORD
Jesus the King reigns in the hearts of those who are faithful to Him.

ORDER
‘’Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” (Mk 12:30-31)

PROPHECIES:
1. Those who love Me obey My commandments and I will bless them abundantly.
2. Show your faithfulness to Me by loving those who are difficult to love.

DIRECTIONS:
1. Make a daily examination of conscience on how faithful you are in honoring God’s commandments.
2. Show your love of neighbor by doing spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

THEMES AND PROMISES
Week#1 (31st Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Theme: Those who are faithful to Jesus the King honor and keep God’s commandments.
Promise: “Keep … all His commandments … that you may grow and prosper the more.” (Dt 6:2b-3a)

Week#2 (32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Theme: Those who are faithful to Jesus the King generously share their blessings.
Promise: “The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry.”(1Kgs 17:14b)

Week#3 (33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Theme: Those who are faithful to Jesus the King stay vigilant for His coming.
Promise: “You will show me the path to life, fullness of joys in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever.” (Ps 16:11)

Week#4 (Solemnity of Christ the King)
Theme: Those who are faithful to Jesus the King listen to Him and testify to the Truth.
Promise: “Behold He is coming amidst the clouds, and every eye will see Him.” (Rev 1:7a)

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