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.
August 31, 2019 Saturday
Gospel: Matthew 25:14-30
“To everyone who has, more will be given” – cf Matthew 25:29
The Parable of the Three Servants highlights the importance of how we use the gifts and talents God has given us. On one end, we may use those to boast, to impress or to gain appreciation, while on the other end, we may choose to bury and hide them for fear of humiliation. Jesus then tells us that these should not be. Instead, we must use our talents to serve God, no matter how small and insignificant they seem to be in the eyes of the world.
Thus the more people we draw closer to God through our gifts, the more we also draw ourselves closer to His Kingdom.
August 30, 2019 Friday
Gospel: Matthew 25:1-13
“Stay awake!” – cf Matthew 25:13
After a long tiring day, we often feel that we deserve a good rest. The same goes for our faith. When we get tired of praying because they seemed to be unanswered; when we get tired of serving others because we feel unappreciated; when we get tired of loving when we get nothing in return, our minds often dictate that we deserve a break, we deserve to rest our faith. Then we fall into the trap of laziness, of complacency, of indulging too much in self-comfort.
Today, Jesus is inviting us to be vigilant and to avoid this trap. Stay awake in faith!
August 29, 2019 Thursday
Gospel: Mark 6:17-29
"He was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen.” – cf Mark 6:20
As we commemorate the dark and dreary account of the passion of St. John the Baptist, there is one line that stood out with a hopeful tone. King Herod, despite having John arrested and killed, was shown as someone who still liked to listen to him. ‘He became greatly disturbed every time he heard him’, but that didn’t stop him from listening.
Perhaps like King Herod, we may at times get distraught in our prayer or in the teachings of the Church, nevertheless we will always be drawn to holiness and truth. In the same way, whenever we feel discouraged to stand up for the truth or fearful to confront others, let us remember John who was able to attract even the hardest and proudest of hearts.
August 28, 2019 Wednesday
Gospel: Matthew 23:27-32
"Like whitewashed tombs” - cf Mt 23:27
The gospel reading for today proves that even from olden times, man has that tendency to place a huge importance on outward appearances. Jesus used these strong words to describe the Pharisees- ‘like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside but inside are full of dead bones and filth’.
Do we, too, sometimes get too preoccupied with our image, on how others see us rather than on how God sees us? Do we spend more time and money on things that beautify the body rather than those which beautify the soul? Our physical appearance will surely fade away, but the inner beauty will never decay in God’s eyes.
Saint Augustine, pray for our daily conversion.
August 27, 2019 Tuesday
Gospel: Matthew 23:23-26
"You have neglected the weightier things: judgement, mercy and fidelity” - cf Mt 23:24
In this gospel, Jesus continued to rebuke the Pharisees for their hypocrisy. They tend to take notice of insignificant things, while neglecting the important ones. Like them, sometimes we get too preoccupied with minor things- a vehicle which cuts our lane, a snide remark from a colleague, not receiving a reply from someone we texted- that we fail to see the needs of others, we forget to show compassion, or we simply become unable to smile.
Let us pause and reflect on the things that occupy our mind. Are these things really worthy of our limited time in this world?
St Monica, pray for us.
August 26, 2019 Monday
Gospel: Matthew 23:13-22
"Blind fools, which is greater, the gold, or the temple that made the gold sacred?" - cf Mt 23:17
We are reminded today to purify our motivations as we face our daily chores, studies and work. For every meal we eat, let us pause to say a prayer to the laborers who worked day and night to produce the food on our table. For the money we earn, may we also remember the toil of our clients who chose to avail our services, the people who entrusted their needs to us. For smiles and stories shared, let us pray for the people who chose to spread joy instead of negativity.
Let us see beyond what is apparent, and see the holiness in everyone we encounter today.
August 25, 2019 - Sunday
Strive to enter through the narrow door
I recall an experience of taking a detour up a mountain we were climbing. It was not the usual route but one which was more difficult. It was a hard climb but the scenery was incredible! We would not have seen it if we took the usual path.
The narrow gate is not the usual way either, to choose to go through difficulty as a sacrifice for others’ sake. But such is the invitation of Jesus today. Go through the hardship, the trials, the suffering for the sake of the Kingdom. We will see miracles we will not see if we had taken the simpler route.
August 24, 2019 - Saturday
You shall see greater things than this
“Expect the unexpected”, we are often told when we talk about the future. And many times it happens, whether unexpectedly good or bad. We cannot see into the future and so we just pray for faith and for the care of Jesus. It is comforting though that Jesus knows everything that will happen to us.
And He tells us, like he told Nathaniel — yoau will see greater things than this. In our lives where we may feel disillusioned or weary, put our trust in God who has prepared greater things ahead.
August 23, 2019 - Friday
Love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind
“All” is a strong word. It means there is no room for doubt. It means to give everything. Jesus Himself was the example of giving His heart, mind and soul for love of us. If He loved us only “half way”, He would not be able to save us.
Similarly we are invited today to follow Jesus’ example: to love God and others with everything we’ve got. When we love God 100%, we are able to love ourselves and others much more.
August 22, 2019 - Thursday
Invite to the feast as many as you find
Why wouldn’t you want to attend a party if you’ve been invited? Apparently based on today’s gospel, there would be a lot of reasons. One possible reason is that you don’t love the host. Nevertheless, God’s desire is to invite everyone to His party, even those who don’t want to.
Such is God’s love for all of us, that even if we refuse Him, He will not stop inviting us. Lord please help us to accept your invitation to the Kingdom!