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.
July 4, 2020 - Saturday
" New wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved."
We are introduced to a new way of life with Jesus obliterating our past life which is displeasing to Him. When the Lord forgives, He forgets. So if the wounds of past traumas resurface, guilt or unforgiveness lingers, know for certain that it is the Enemy of our soul working to hinder us from moving on and progressing in our following of Christ.
Jesus wants our minds and hearts to be like new wine skins - open and ready to receive the new wine of the Holy Spirit, thereby making our hearts new. Do we desire to fulfill God's best plan in our lives? We need to trust Him fully; grow in our knowledge and understanding of His Word; follow His ways, and let go of our old wineskins - our old heart and its ways. A heart made new and nourished by the Holy Spirit, enables it to resist the lures of the world and gain the promise of heaven.
Mama Mary, mold our hearts to be pure like yours, making it most pleasing to Jesus.
July 3, 2020 - Friday
"We have seen the Lord."
Not everyone may experience a miracle, nor a very profound encounter with the Lord, which can remarkably strengthen one's faith. So to those who have been profoundly touched by God; those whom Jesus called to be witnesses of His love, mercy and power, much more is expected. We are called to be authentic witnesses; to be Christlike, so those who have not seen Him, those who like Thomas doubted the risen Lord will believe that God is real, Jesus is alive, because He is working in us and through us.
Our Blessed Mother, please help us overcome all the challenges we face in our witness for Christ.
July 2, 2020 - Thursday
"Take heart, son, your sins are forgiven."
The story tells how Jesus brought about the healing of the paralytic. He forgives his sins before he tells him to arise and walk. Sins block us from receiving God's graces. Hence, it is necessary to be cleansed and purified for healing to take place. We receive spiritual cleansing through the sacraments, initially the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
During this time of pandemic, the Church teaches us how we can still receive God's grace even if we cannot confess directly to a priest. If we truly desire it, make an Act of Contrition; from the heart, that we are sorry for our sins and make a resolution to make better, and return to this sacrament as soon as possible. A clean heart coupled with an absolute faith in God unblocks the outpouring of God's graces.
Mary, our heavenly mother, please help us to remain faithful and pleasing to our Lord Jesus until the end.
July 1 2020 - Wednesday
"Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?"
The first time I joined the Verbum Dei disciples retreat, I chanced to be seated during lunch near one of the disciples who has been with the community for decades. I learned that she is one of the pioneers, so I asked her what made her persevere to stay this long. Her reply, "I found peace."
Inner peace is absolutely necessary for us to find joy in this life. But the Adversary and his cohorts are also relentless in their efforts to deprive us of peace and joy. The Gospel story tells us how these evil spirits tremble and flee at the command of Jesus. The Lord is our invincible protector, and prayer is our most powerful weapon. Is there anything that greatly pains our heart, troubles our mind? Turn to Jesus in heartfelt prayer. He alone can give us true joy and inner peace, even in the midst of troubles and uncertainties.
Blessed Mother Mary, please cover us with your mantle of protection. Protect us from the wickedness and snares of the Evil One.
June 30 2020 - Tuesday
"Why are you afraid, you of little faith."
Jesus awakens from the loud cries for help of His disciples, when their boat was caught up in a stormy sea. Jesus calms the agitated sea. This story reminds us not to let anything disturb our inner peace because God is in control. Jesus has authority over harmful acts of nature, sickness and evil spirits. Everything that torments His people surrender at His command.
In the past, I have of little faith and was greatly frightened when my life was threatened. I succumbed to an overwhelming anxiety, fear and hopelessness that rendered me all the more dysfunctional. But victory dawned on me when I surrendered everything to Jesus and stormed Him with desperate cries of prayer. In His own perfect time, Jesus beautifully redeemed me. My fear and distrust turned into courage and deep faith that grew by leaps and bounds. Let us constantly make use of the greatest weapon we possess - Prayer. St. Padre Pio says, "Prayer is the key that opens the heart of God."
Blessed Mother Mary, please continue to guide us to your Son Jesus, and follow Him in a perfect manner like you do.
June 29, 2020 - Monday
"And I tell you that you are Peter and on this Rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hades will not overcome it."
In the story, Peter was able to give the correct answer when asked who Jesus is; not by his own wisdom, but through a heavenly revelation from God the Father. The Holy Spirit is our divine counselor, who leads us into all truth, so we may not run into pitfalls from the evil schemes of the enemy. Let us strive to become a desirable dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. When we remain in a state of grace, united with Him, we become God's resting place.
Peter was chosen amongst all, despite his weaknesses to be the earthly foundation stone upon which Jesus built His Church. Peter was flawed, but he loves Jesus and passionately protects Him. Like Peter, we may be counted in among the imperfect workers in God's vineyard, flawed, but passionately love God; greatly desire to follow Him and struggle every day to become righteous.
June 28, 2020 Sunday
“Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it”
“Take up your cross and follow me", is meant to allow us to live freely our true identity. When we take that option, our commitment may separate us from people and ways of this world. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t love our family and friends.
It is meant to remind us to re-direct our priorities - To love God first then our neighbours. In doing so, we will inherit eternal life, peace and joy that the world cannot give.
June 27, 2020 Saturday
“As you have believed, let it be done for you”
“Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed.” Such display of faith from the Roman Officer, Peter’s Mother In-law and many others.
Faith tested by fire is a gift of grace. This on-going pandemic has put us to test. Has it surfaced our lack of faith or strengthened it? Gold that has been tested by fire is pure and precious. There are no shortcuts or easy ways to remove the dross and impurities.
Having faith is what sets us apart from the world who do not. Today as we continue to adjust to the new normal we pray “Refiners fire, purify and increase our faith.” Amen.
June 26, 2020 Friday
“Heal me and make me clean”
COVID -19 can be likened to leprosy today. It is contagious and has no cure! We are pretty much like the man with leprosy! Clearly, we are invited to imitate him.
To approach Jesus, kneel before him, cry out and pray - “if you are willing, you can heal our world! Protect and preserve us from this virus! And be gone! Jesus, we believe! Amen!
June 25, 2020 Thursday
Gospel: Mt 7:21-29
“Built on solid rock”
“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” James1:22
The effectiveness of the word is manifested in our behaviour and attitudes. Our action speaks more of our intentions and words. In the world, the sweet talker most often gets to be recognised, praised and promoted!
On the contrary, Jesus is more concerned about our walk than our talk. The key therefore is listening and action. When we do, we can brave all life’s storms.