July 21, 2018 - Saturday
Gospel: Matthew 12:14-21
Many people followed him and he cured them all (Mt 12:16)
One song goes, "When love calls your name, follow him. Though you don’t know where it leads."
In the gospel, Jesus is followed by many people. He cured all who followed him, fulfilling what Prophet Isaiah said: Jesus will proclaim justice and victory and his name will give hope to the Gentiles. Many people still followed him even though he warned them not to make him known.
In our lives, when Jesus seems not to make his presence known and felt by us, do we still follow and seek him? His presence? Do we crave and ask for his healing to the different realities we experience? We pray that we can be able to offer to Jesus all the present worries, problems, and challenges we are experiencing. Let us hold on to the promise of victory that Jesus hopes in each of our lives.
July 20, 2018 - Friday
Gospel: Matthew 12:1-8
I desire mercy, not sacrifice (Mt 9.13)
When we see others commit wrong acts, we feel bad and we judge them because they did something wrong. We initially react based on what we feel and what we know. In the gospel, the Pharisees were quick to judge the disciples who became hungry and ate the grains in the field. They rushed to Jesus and told him. They said it was unlawful based on the Sabbath law. In response, Jesus told them a powerful message, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” He said that there is something more than the temple and the sacrifice. Jesus invites us to have a compassionate heart and extend our mercy to other people.
At this moment, let us examine ourselves. Are we like the Pharisees who are quick to judge at the moment we see others doing wrong things? Let Jesus be our inspiration in planting the grains of mercy in our hearts so that we may be compassionate to those who need it. Amen.
July 19, 2018 - Thursday
Gospel: Matthew 11:28-30
"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest." (Mt 11:28)
When life becomes tiring, we feel as if everything upsets us: physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We feel headache in the midst of the day, anxious over our deadlines, and sometimes, lost and away from God’s presence.
In our gospel, Jesus tells us not to worry and instead come to him. Let us go to him, all of us who labor and are burdened and He will give us rest. Jesus knows that we are just human who live our lives here on Earth, so he inspires us to learn from the meekness and humility of his heart and not to be taken by the heaviness of the world of today.
Today, we ask for the humility and openness to approach and be near to Jesus when we experience restlessness and tiredness in our hearts. We pray that his words guide us, that his mercy be present with us, and that his love strengthen us as we face our everyday lives. Amen.
July 18, 2018 - Wednesday
Gospel: Matthew 11:25-27
“You have revealed them to the childlike”
Jesus has revealed the kingdom to the childlike. Each and every one of us is worthy of the kingdom of God. Whatever status of life we are in right now, we are blessed to know and receive the kingdom.
Jesus wants to reveal the kingdom of God to the world through us. We should not be selective of whom we will proclaim God’s kingdom to. We may encounter different people in our everyday life. People you encounter may have different beliefs from you, different culture, and different status in life, but God has shared to you the beauty of the kingdom, and our gracious God wants to reveal it through us.
We pray to you, Lord, to give us the strength to carry out our mission to proclaim the kingdom of God to the world and to be humble servants of yours so that we may carry out this mission. May the world obtain your kingdom through your grace. #PrayVD
July 17, 2018 - Tuesday
Gospel: Matthew 11:20-24
“His mighty deeds”
In the gospel, Jesus reproached the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done but still haven’t repented.
We have experienced Jesus many times doing mighty deeds in our lives; but sometimes even in witnessing for Jesus we are still not living the teachings we received from him. Jesus is always giving a second chance, reproaching us so that we may turn ourselves fully to Him.
There might be a part of our lives that is hard to give up; it could be our habits, things that entertain us temporarily, and others. Let us pray to Jesus to give us welcoming hearts so that in the moment Jesus approach us once again, we are open and ready to listen to him and become confident to live him out in our lives for we have witnessed the mighty deeds he has done.
July 16, 2018 - Monday
Gospel: Matthew 10:34-11:1
“Whoever receives you, receives me and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” (Mt 10:40)
We, disciples of Christ, are missionaries the moment we were baptized as Christians. In our baptism, we became children of God. We are citizens of God’s kingdom. Our mission is to be Christ-like.
The gospel is telling us that we should seek Jesus above anything. It is our desire to be the best version of ourselves. We become our best version when we follow the footsteps of Christ for in him we attain perfection.
As disciples of Christ, we are to proclaim Jesus to the world so that the world will be its best version, and let the world experience the incomparable happiness that only Christ can bring. Let the world receive Christ from you.
July 15, 2018 - Sunday
Gospel: Mark 6:7-13
Take nothing for the journey
There's a famous quote that goes "Less is more." In focusing on the most essential, that is where we will be most fulfilled. Jesus instructs His disciples to not rely on what people perceive as basic needs-- food, money, even an extra tunic, but to surrender fully to God's capacity. He is the only One we need in this life's journey.
If we detach ourselves from worldly means; if we declutter our lives from gossip, judgement, pride, dishonesty, discrimination, and vanity; we will find ourselves being less stressed and more productive.
The same applies to relationships. "If people do not welcome you or will not listen to you, leave it and shake the dust off your feet." Jesus reminds us not to take grudges against people who hurt or misunderstood us. Just let go and our hearts will find peace.
By living simply we are actually making the most out of the life He's given us. So let us start decluttering our lives, and live out what is most essential.
July 14, 2018 - Saturday
Gospel: Matthew 10:24-33
Even the hairs of your head have all been counted
Have you ever pondered on how many hours a day you spend worrying? A recent poll done among 1000 young adults in UK showed that more than 6 hrs a day is spent feeling "stressed out". And according to an author, Dr. Robert Leahy, 85% of the things we worry about never happen.
In today's reading, Jesus assures us that our Father will never ever forsake us: "Not one sparrow falls to the ground without your Father's consent. So do not be afraid; you are worth much more than many sparrows." Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. So what is there to worry about for one who trusts the Lord completely? What is there to fear in proclaiming His word and doing His will, knowing that our Father will always be there backing us up? So
let us put our heads up today in confidence, and cast our worries aside. Let us not be afraid to proclaim His love in words and in deeds, keeping in mind and heart our Father's assurance. #PrayVD
July 12, 2018 - Thursday
Gospel: Matthew 10:7-15
You receive without charge, give without charge
Are you well-compensated in what you do? As a student, do you think the grades you get are equivalent to the effort you give? As a working person, do you think your salary is enough for the services you provide? As a parent, do you feel you are loved as much as the love you are giving to your sons/daughters?
One specific instruction Jesus gives to His disciples is this: You receive without charge, give without charge. He reminds us that the motivations we have in doing the duties entrusted to us is not to get adequately compensated by worldy means. Conflicts arise when we begin to think we don't get what we deserve, and we are fixated on our personal demands. The greatest compensation we can ever receive in this world is His love and mercy.
Jesus, guide us so that we may be able to give our unconditional love as You did, freely and wholeheartedly, with no demands and no expectations.
July 11, 2018 - Wednesday
Gospel: Matthew 10:1-7
He summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority
According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, to summon means "to be called upon for a specified action." In today's reading, Jesus summons the twelve disciples to drive out unclean spirits and cure all kinds of disease. They were then identified one by one and entrusted with the mission--whatever status they're in, however sinful they may be. No one is exempt in receiving God's grace.
So whatever state we're currently in, and however sinful our past could've been, Jesus still calls us day by day to be part of the mission. Right where we are--in the middle of our busy schedules, difficult situations and various roles in society--He challenges us.
So today, let us ask ourselves, are we ready to heed this call?
Reflections of Faith
Read and be inspired by a reflection based on today's Gospel made by members of the Verbum Dei Family in Manila.