Guest Reflection Writer: Bro. Albert Zabala (thank you!)

March 1

Signs are everywhere. We just have to learn how to look. In today’s Gospel, we see Jesus rebuking people who are asking from Him a sign. He rebuked them for it. His rebuke though is not because He does not want to give a sign. They failed to recognize the ultimate sign that was already in front of them, that was living with them. Ultimately, it’s not the sign that matters. It’s our belief. No sign is necessary for those who believe and no sign is enough for those who don’t. You want to see a sign. Have faith. Then you will see. To believe is to see and not the other way around.

March 2

In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks us to ask, seek and knock and if we do those, we will be able to receive, find and have the door opened. However, it’s not really what we ask, seek or knock for that we will receive. It’s the Who that we will receive and that is Jesus. Jesus, indeed answers our prayers in that He doesn’t only give what we pray for, He gives Himself, Who answers all our prayers. Have you really asked, sought and knocked wholeheartedly? He will come if you do.

March 3

The Christian life is a life that is more than just living a moral life. As Christians, we are all called to live a life like Christ. And Christ’s life is more than just following the rules. He went beyond the rules to the point of death. Not all of us will die like Christ, but we are all called to live in such a way that we carry our crosses: inconvenience, kindness, loving, merciful, endures suffering and the like. Difficult? Yes. Impossible? No. Why? Because Jesus will help us live like Him. We just need to surrender and trust that if we live like Him, we shall also live gloriously like Him. That is His promise. And we can believe that.

March 4

It’s difficult enough to truly love someone we should love like our loved ones: family, friends, etc. Yet in today’s Gospel, Jesus says that that’s not enough. He said that we should love even our enemies, our persecutors. Loving those who love us is not enough because even those who do not know Christ, the non-Christians or simply those who don’t know Him also do that. As Christians, aren’t we supposed to do more than just loving those who are lovable? Try to do some kind act or an act of love today to someone whom you don’t like. Ask God’s grace to help you. When you are able to do that, you will understand why Jesus said what He said in today’s Gospel.

March 5

Have you been experiencing sufferings and difficulties today? Has the demand of Christian life been more challenging to you lately to the point that you’re thinking of giving up? Today’s Gospel is a reminder that there is something beyond this life of suffering and difficulties in the far future. In the immediate future though, the reward is transformation. If you have been trying to live a good Christian life for sometime, surely you would be able to say that you’re a better person now than before. You could honestly say to yourself that you have changed for the better. So isn’t that worth celebrating? Isn’t your growth and becoming a better person a good reward in itself. You have become like Christ even a little bit. Our heavenly Fathers is definitely pleased with you.

March 6

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

“Karma is real.” As Catholics, we don’t believe in karma the way other believers of this philosophy do. But its truth is the same as Jesus expressed it. Today, try not just to stop judging, but also try to stop criticizing and complaining. Instead, be kind, compassionate and helpful. Just try these and notice the difference these will make in your life today.

March 7

“Do not follow their example.”

We often hear: “Actions speak louder than words.” Still, words do speak. When we look at the crucifix we see a genuine act of love. The cross, you can say, speak for itself. However, due to the popularity of the cross or crucifix, often it is worn on our necks or hung on our walls purely for decorative purposes. We fail to listen to the words “I love you” that accompany the cross because this world often equates love with good feelings and rarely as sacrifice. So every time you take a look at the cross or crucifix this Lent, please be reminded of the words, “Jesus loves you.” Jesus on the cross is love’s best example.

March 8

“Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?

After Jesus tells his apostles of his impending suffering and death, two of His apostles were concerned about positions of power which will come after Jesus’ death. They seemed, just like many of us, to be oblivious of the fact that “with great power comes great responsibility” (as we heard it said in a Marvel superhero movie). Jesus says in response to their query that with great power, comes not just great responsibility but huge and humble service. Are you really serving others? Focus on that this Lent and you will attain greatness in the eyes of the Lord.

March 9

‘My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime

while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.’

What we do or don’t do here on earth has repercussions in eternity. The rich man wasn’t a bad man. Nor does it say that Lazarus was a good man. It just says in the gospel that the rich experienced good and Lazarus, the bad. So in the afterlife, they experienced the opposite. God wants all of us to experience the good life both here and after. But for us to live in the good both here and eternally, we need to be conscientious of other people who are not experiencing the good the way we do. That’s the rich man’s fault. He lived only for himself. He seemed to have not been concerned with Lazarus’ bad experiences. Empathy seems to be one of the keys to eternal life. Practice empathy this Lent and you are rehearsing for eternal life now.

March 10

“…the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.”

Is Jesus the Lord and King of your life? If He is, do you think, speak and act in a way befitting someone who belongs to His kingdom? Church membership isn’t just about status, it’s about example. It’s about bearing fruit. Ultimately, the fruit of belonging to God’s Kingdom is being with Him eternally in heaven. But heaven doesn’t have to be in the future. It can be here and now. Think like Jesus. Speak like Jesus. Act like Jesus. That way you make heaven present not just for the people around you, but for yourself as well.

March 11

‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again;

he was lost and has been found.’

Self-righteousness is the enemy of communal joy. The elder brother can’t seem to rejoice at the return of his younger brother because although he’s been physically with his father, psychologically and spiritually, he’s really been away. Many think that the prodigal son is the younger brother who took his inheritance from his father and spent it in a life of “debauchery and dissipation.” But what about the elder son? He’s been with his father, yet, he didn’t even “spend” whatever his father offered him, to enjoy the blessings of being with him. Instead, he spent his time probably being jealous of his younger brother who “had fun”, while he felt “stuck” with his father. He seemed to have spent his time focusing on what others are doing and what they have, instead of what he already has and what he could do with it. You and I are blessed in so many ways. Let’s look and count our blessings so that we can share the joy of the Father. 

March 13

“But He passed through the midst of them and went away.”

God is Emmanuel. He is always with us. We all know this. Yet because He is always with us, we take Him for granted. His so called “presence” has been so familiar with us that to really acknowledge Him, wouldn’t really make a difference in our lives. We take His presence as if He were just one member of the family that we take for granted. Hence, we don’t listen to Him and we miss out on the blessings that He wants to give us.

March 14

“Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan.”

It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than to forgive. We often hear the phrase in Tagalog, “buti pa ang Diyos marunong magpatawad…” (“you see, God knows how to forgive”), then a witty response to this one would be, “…buti hindi ako Diyos” (“and am I glad that I am not He!”). One of the ways Jesus revealed his Divinity is through His forgiveness. Remember Jesus came not just for Him to be like us, but for us to be like Him. Let’s ask for the grace this Lent to be able to forgive others the way we have been forgiven. We all don’t deserve forgiveness. But still God offers and grants it. So should we do to others if we want to be more like the Lord.

March 15

“But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”

In the spiritual life, greatness is defined by obedience and by being last and the least. Just greatness in any field is characterized by hardwork and discipline in that field. In the Christian life, the discipline that greatness demands involves following God’s will, serving others and taking the lowliest place. Jesus’ greatness as a man involved His loving the unlovable and welcoming those who are unwelcome. If we are to be true Christians, then we should do the same.