Wednesday of the 4th Week of Easter

John 12:44-50



The early Christian community was a Spirit-filled and Spirit-guided church. Decisions we reached in prayerful discernment…..

Jesus reminds us that He was sent by the Father to save the world, not to judge or condemn it. People bring about their own judgment or condemnation if, seeing the light, they refuse to accept Him. As the light of the world, He came to banish darkness and evil, to give life that never ends; to let us experience the love of the Father. It is our role also as His followers and as companions of the Divine Word to continue His mission to be little lights or reflections of God’s love and life. We also have the Holy Spirit to guide and help us. (Fr. Jim Risse, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


Fireflies! There were hundreds of them twinkling in the night sky and swooping down toward a solitary pine tree along Naguilian Road. My father, fascinated by this “Christmas” tree stopped his car for a closer look and marvelled, “God is a genius in His creation.” Fireflies emit a phosphorescent light in their abdominal region. Did you ever wonder what “glowworm” means? This is the phosphorescent larva of a firefly. Scientists say five fireflies in a bottle are enough to read in the dark. Just five fireflies.

Five barley loaves to feed a multitude. Five fingers in the hand to hold and be held; to give and to receive. Five toes in the foot for walking and maintaining balance. Little is much when God takes over. You were gifted in Christ, so use your gifts for Him. The challenge then is to become like a firefly. One such firefly is Jim Caviezel, the Roman Catholic actor who portrayed Jesus in the movie, The Passion of the Christ. He said to 1,400 young adults attending the fellowship Catholic University Students Conference, “I want all of you to have the courage to go out into this pagan world and shamelessly express your Catholic faith in public.” Caviezel challenged everyone to resist the desire for comfort, popularity and timidity, to preach the unpopular gospel in season and out of season. He called on all Catholics to recommit themselves to prayer, the rosary, fasting, frequenting Confession and Holy Mass. He said, “Our whole world is entrenched in sin. There in the quiet of our hearts a woman is calling us, each one of us, back to her Son. Jesus is there for us in the Scriptures. How often do we ignore Him? We must shake off this indifference. Only the faith and the wisdom of the Church can save us, but it requires men and women, warriors ready to risk their good names, even their very lives to stand up for the truth….” (SSpSAP Bible Diary 2005)


A true follower of Christ does not only listen to His teachings but also being attentive to situations where he/she can apply such teachings. That is, if a Christian has a good memory! If not, it’s time to take a dosage of memory enhancers.

Memory enhancers, chemical compounds that aid memory retention, in tablet or capsule, in powder or liquid form, abound in supermarkets and drugstores. Advertisements remind us that we are to remember to take memory enhancers lest we become forgetful of names, of past actions and situations. But of these I am not talking about. Rather the memory enhancers abounding in the domain of religion.

Religion rituals and prayer formulas, images and scripts also serve as memory enhancers. As Catholics we have the sacraments, the scriptures and icons. They bring to memory God’s presence, who we are and what we are to do – we are bearers and doers of the words of God. However, no memory enhancer can take the place of practice.

Practice makes perfect as said. It is practice that will keep memories alive. Failing to practice what we believe in is not a case of memory failure. We simply chose to forget as the song The Way We Were aptly mentions. We chose to forget what God’s words exhort as to put into practice. Memory enhancers like mass and sacraments are necessary but it is practice that will not only enhance our lives but also make us grow and bear fruit.

Forgetting God’s words is not a case for worry, “If anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him…” However it appears that it should be taken seriously, ‘Whoever…does not accept my words has something to judge him…” (Frt. Aureenhoor Nercua, SVD Bible Diary 2006)


…..Jesus in the gospel today calls for faith and trust in His words and that of the Father. Whoever believes in Him will never be without reward. The incident that happened to the community of sisters resonates well with the call of Jesus to believe in Him because the Father sent Him. We are invited not simply to listen to Him but also to express our faith in action. The story and the gospel tell us one thing – God is never outdone in generosity. We reap what we plant. Rooting ourselves in the word and promise of Jesus will allow us to harvest a hundredfold. May our faith bear fruit in word and in action. Again, the Lord is never outdone in generosity. May we all experience it! (Fr. Jun Javines, SVD Bible Diary 2007)


A group of Chinese Christian ministers invited an exegete, a Bible scholar, from the United States to give them a sort of a crash course or a workshop on the Bible.

In one of their sessions, the exegete asked the participants to pick out an event in the gospels that struck them most. He was amazed by the fact that they did not choose the Sermon on the Mount as many great writers and authors do, not even the passion and death of our Lord as most of us Filipinos give more importance to, and not even the Resurrection which is the be-all and the end-all of our faith. The instead chose Jesus’ washing the feet of the disciples.

It is said that what one Indian leader admired more than anything in the life of Jesus was His gesture of humble service where he washed lovingly the feet of his apostles. For a God to wash His apostles’ feet is just mind-boggling!

This choice of the Chinese pastors as well as the Indian leader perfectly fits what our Lord says in the gospel about His mission. He came into the world to be its light. In other words, He came into the world to serve. As Jesus himself said, “the Son of man did not come to be served but to served and give His life as a ransom for the many.” (Fr. Fred Mislang, SVD Bible Diary 2009)


April 20, 2016 Wednesday

What is this that God would like to enter into the life of the world, that he even finds ways to make himself closer to the lives of the people? The gospel relates how God revealed himself to us through Jesus and how Jesus would like to instill in our minds and hearts that the Father in heaven sent Him and seeing Him is also seeing the Father. Hearing his Words is believing in him and everything he says are the Words of the Father. Thus, his coming is Light to our lives.

This is good news, that in Jesus Christ, God is not a distant person, He is a God with whom we can speak to, we can know, and we can tangibly establish a close and personal relationship with.

Wonderful revelation indeed from Jesus. This revelation of Jesus and his purpose in coming to us may also be a call to a renewal of our faith: How far have we gone with our believing in Jesus? Is our faith in Him still of value? In as much as Jesus assures us light in our Faith, His light is hope to our day to day life. As the light gives brightness to our way, our faith in him gives a direction towards how we are to live a joyful and meaningful life.

Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me. I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness. And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day, because I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. So what I say, I say as the Father told me.” (Fr. Ronilo T. Borja, SVD SVD, Retreat House, Baguio City Bible Diary 2016)


The Light of Life

April 29, 2015 (readings)

Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church

Father Steven Reilly, LC

John 12:44-50

Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me. I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness. And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day, because I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. So what I say, I say as the Father told me.”

Introductory Prayer: Father, you have blessed me with this opportunity to pray. I come into your presence to please and glorify you. I offer it up for all those who are counting on me for spiritual support.

Petition:  Lord, increase my hope so that I know that you are always guiding me.

  1. Our Souls Were Made for the Light:Little children are scared of the dark – after all, monsters and ghosts live in the dark. Flick on the light switch, however, and all the fears dissipate. The real world is so much less scary when the light is on. What’s true for children is also true for us – but on a different level. We have many fears, and so many of them come because we are in the dark. We don’t know the future; we can’t control outcomes. We fear spiritual darkness because our souls were made for the light. But Jesus “came into the world as light.” When we know Jesus, the light has come into our lives, the fears vanish. We don’t know the future, but he does. We can’t control outcomes, but his providence guides all. Like the little child who is relieved when Mom or Dad comes into the dark room, with Jesus we can rest assured that everything will be okay.
  2. Living in the Truth:If there is one thing that we should fear, it is ourselves. It is said that Saint Philip Neri used to wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and say, “Lord, watch out for Philip lest he betray you again today.” The Lord speaks of a self-inflicted condemnation that comes from not accepting his words. When we feel the inner tug of our pride or sensuality, beckoning us to confide more in ourselves than in Christ, then we need to pause. It is like a spiritual red flag telling us that our adherence to Jesus’ words is waning. If we stick with Christ, and abhor the thought of going our own way rather than his, we will avoid that inner darkness which is far more fearsome than anything in the world.
  3. The Father’s Command Is Eternal Life:The philosophy of the 1960’s has left a long trail of wreckage that persists to this day. “Do your own thing!” the Woodstock creed, would have us believe that self-assertion is the key to happiness. As counterintuitive as it may sound, obedience is really the key. Jesus was the man that could walk on water, pacify storms with the snap of the finger, and provide dinner for thousands with a few loaves and fish. Yet he teaches that happiness doesn’t lie in power. Rather it lies in obedience to the Father’s command. Obeying him is the road to eternal life: fulfillment beyond our wildest dreams.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, take away all my fears. I know that my true good is to be found in loving you and following you. Give me the strength to obey the Father and so find the eternal life that I seek.

Resolution: I will fulfill my spiritual commitments perfectly today.


A POPE’S GESTURE – “And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world.” – John 12:47

A video clip of Pope Francis went viral and stunned many people. He was amidst a crowd in St. Peter’s Square when he took the hands of Vinicio Riva, a man with a rare disease causing neuronal tumors and deformities. The Pope kissed him, embraced him and gave him a blessing. As I watched the video clip, I was touched that this humble religious leader made a gesture that showed warmth, compassion and affection towards the marginalized of society. Articles said that after the Pontiff’s embrace, it boosted Vinicio’s self-esteem, making him happier and stronger despite his terrifying physical appearance. It also amazingly changed his life because he became more sociable to others and closer to God by frequenting Holy Mass at the Vatican City. I believe that it’s neither force nor condemnation that will change our sinful world, but simple acts of compassion — a sincere kiss, a warm hug, or even a simple word of affirmation, like saying, “You look great!” This can melt a man’s heart of stone and transform it to a Christ-like attitude that can be a key to his eternal salvation. Dho Rimando (dougsterrimando@yahoo.

Reflection: Do you want to change a man’s miserable life? Start it with compassion, not condemnation.

Lord, may I be Your channel of compassion to those who are in need. When people see me, may they know You because I carry Your love to them.


OBEDIENCE IS VERY IMPORTANT – An important attribute of a disciple is obedience. Without it, the result will be chaos. Obedience presumes the existence of truth, and without truth there is also chaos.

One of the greatest dangers the world faces today is moral relativism. This places singular importance on the individual and not enough on the objective nature of truth. The relativist allows that what is true for me may not be true for you, and that is OK.

This is nonsense. If there is no truth, then it is impossible to talk about morality, other than in the sense that whoever is the most powerful arbitrarily decides what is “right” and then proceeds to enforce this view on the populace. In order for communities to exist, there has to be commonly held moral beliefs, otherwise there are no grounds upon which to build a common understanding of anything. It is a bit like each person being able to name all the animals in the world and then expecting a constructive dialogue about them.

This is why everywhere we look, society is full of broken relationships and families. Jesus makes it very clear that He does not make independent decisions when it comes to the Gospel. He simply speaks the words and performs the deeds that His Father in Heaven tells Him to say and do. It is God who, in creating us and the world in which we live in, governs what is right and what is wrong. When humanity tries to take this role, disaster strikes, sin enters the world, and we are thrown out of the Garden of Eden lest we do more damage.

Operating a complicated piece of machinery is simpler and more effective if one follows the instructions that come with it. The same is true for our lives — we need to follow the instructions of our Creator as to what is right and what is wrong, and that which can fulfill us and that which can destroy us. Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL

REFLECTION QUESTION: Have you allowed the slippery doctrine of relativism to creep in and damage the way you think about moral issues?

Holy Spirit, renew my mind in the truth so that I may know what is the will of God and do what is good, acceptable and perfect. I know this is the only way to true human fulfillment. Amen.


April 20, 2016

REFLECTION: In all the gospel readings we have come across in the past couple of weeks, one theme is endlessly ­recurring, always the same under countless variations. And it is this one: Jesus and his Father act in perfect unison. In fact, we hear Jesus proclaim that they are perfectly one: “The Father and I are one” (Jn 10:30) “Whoever sees me sees the one who sent me” (Jn 12:45) “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9) “Father, you are in me and I am in you” (Jn 17:21). Now these declarations give us a precious key for understanding the Old Testament correctly. Because there it is said many times that God kills babies (cf. the Great Flood, the Tenth Plague of Egypt, the Holy Wars of extermination) and punishes ruthlessly the sinner. Yet, when Jesus comes he welcomes children, never punishes anybody, meekly lets himself be crucified. This complete dissonance between the angry God of the Old Testament and the gentle Jesus of the New Testament invites us to correct the image of the angry God: this image is pure projection of the Old Testament authors’ personal convictions about God—not a ­­rea­listic depiction of who God really is.


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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

WEDNESDAY OF THE 4TH WEEK OF EASTER (YEAR C) – JUAN 12:44-50. SA UNSA MANG KANGITNGIT KITA BUOT LUWASON NI HESUS? Gipasabot ni Hesus nga gusto niya kitang luwason gikan sa kangitngit sa pagkawalay pagtoo. Ang tawo nga modumili sa pagdawat ug pagpaminaw Kaniya anaa pa sa kangitngit. Siya mao ang kahayag nga gipadala sa Langitnong Amahan dinhi sa kalibotan ug Siya mao ang kinatibuk-ang hulagway sa Dios Amahan. Kini ang Iyang giingon: “Ang nakakita Kanako nakakita usab Kaniya nga nagpadala Kanako…Wala ako magsulti sa akong kagalingong kabubut-on, kondili sa Amahan nga nagpadala kanako.” Busa, kon buot kitang malamdagan ang atong kinabuhi, si Hesus maoy atong sundon. Si Pope John Paul II nag-awhag: “Do not be afraid to be saints. Follow Jesus Christ who is the source of freedom and light. Be open to the Lord so that He may lighten all your ways.” Posted by Abet Uy


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Reflection for April 20, Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter; John 12:44-50

Reflection: Do you know somebody who is sinful? Don’t give up on that sinful person continue to stretch your patience and pray for his/her conversion.

There are countless stories of conversion in the scripture/bible and foremost of these is the conversion story of Saul. Saul or Saint Paul was formerly the number one persecutor of the church. He in fact had a hand in the killing of many followers of Jesus yet Jesus did not judge Saul. In His infinite wisdom and mercy Jesus converted Saul/Paul to become the number one propagator of the Christian faith to the gentiles.

What is the message of these conversion stories for us? The message is, there is hope for all of us no matter how sinful we are and no matter how grave the sins that we have committed there is still hope for us! Jesus even said: for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world (John 12:47).

Jesus is not interested on the sins that you have committed He is rather very much interested in your conversion so that He could change you to become His follower. He is interested to bring you to the light so that you will become also His light for others.

This is your mission in this world to become bearer of Jesus’ light.  Do you open yourself to this desire of Jesus for you? – Marino J. Dasmarinas


See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Wednesday of the 4th Week of Easter

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