Thursday of the 28th Week of the Year

Luke 11:47-54

Denunciation of the Scholars of the Law


Jesus was not always popular among the people. His life was not easy, neither was it smooth. The Pharisees criticized him bitterly, so many people tried to plot his death, people hurled at him framed up charges, betrayed by his friends, deserted by many when his teachings came to the to the nitty gritty and finally, he was killed by the leaders/elders and by the common people.

In his book, the brothers Karamazov, Feodor Dostoevski says, “Men reject their prophets and slay them, but they love their martyrs and honor those whom they have slain.” Dostoevski’s words somehow echo the words of Jesus in today’s reading, Jesus says to the Pharisees: “How terrible for you! You make fine tombs for the prophets – the very prophets your ancestors murdered.”

Ironically, these same Pharisees would plot to prosecute and execute Jesus. In turn their young would one day build statues to honor Jesus. The irony continues to this day, even here in our country. For instance, Benigno Aquino was murdered by the fathers of those who honor him today. Indeed, a good hero is a dead hero, yes, a loved hero is a dead hero.

Jesus, however, is more than a hero. He is Lord and Savior who gave his life for us, suffering everything for us, even death, so that we may have life – life eternal with him. (Fr. Fred Mislang Bible Diary 2004)


I had been away from the Philippines for quite a long time – 27 years. Listening to the radio nowadays is quite interesting, especially on Saturdays. One hears preaching or explanation here and there on the Word of God from almost every station. It’s impressive, even inspiring.

But there are problems. When one sees obvious contradictions in the different teachings, the question arises: who among them are teaching the truth?

In our gospel reading today, Jesus issues a harsh earning: “Woe to you!” Apparently, the target was the scribes and Pharisees.

Who were the Pharisees? We know, first of all, that they were the enemies of Jesus. He denounced their hypocrisy and they always attempted to trap him. The Pharisees were actually lawyers, not civil lawyers, but biblical lawyers. They knew much about the Bible, at that time the Old Testament. They were experts and guardians of the Law of Moses. They could cite the Bible left and right, but did not know how to interpret it rightly. They were stern and strict in interpreting and applying the law. Obviously, they had not been properly formed and officially commissioned to teach the Word of God. This requirement is essential to ensure that what one teaches is orthodox and correct. In reading the Bible, everyone is encouraged to do what the Book teaches on personal level. But to teach others is entirely a different matter.

We glean from today’s reading that one who teaches must first be SENT, must be COMMISSIONED: “Therefore, the wisdom of God said: ‘I will SEND to them prophets and apostles.’” This sending or commissioning of someone to teach is the guarantee of truth. Who do you think has the authority to send? We continue to search the Bible. (Fr. Erasio Flores, SVD Bible Diary 2006)


The story is told about a guru who ordered the Ashram cat to be tied during the evening worship so as not to disturb the worshippers. After the guru died, the cat continued to be tied worship so as not to disturb the worshippers. After the guru died, the cat continued to be tied, and when the cat died, another was brought to the Ashram so that it could be tied during the evening worship. And so it was that years and years later, many treatises were written by the guru’s scholarly disciples on the liturgical significance of tying up a cat during worship.

It can happen that we get so caught up on the externals that we lose sight of the essentials. Religion and tradition can give us false security and complacency. Remember, a lot of sins and injustices have been committed in God’s name.

Today, we are reminded about our role as prophets. Someone once said that the business of preaching is to comfort the disturbed and to disturbed the comfortable. When we find ourselves comforting the comfortable and disturbing those who are already disturbed, this means we have ceased to be prophets. When we no longer do our role of challenging people to go beyond their comfort zones, when we no longer offer a vision to give hope and deeper meaning, then we have failed in our role to help people cross over their miseries and fears.

If we are not prophets, what are we? Prophets for profit who become perpetrators of untruthfulness, partners and accomplices of injustice, agents of the status quo and worse, just palliatives, court jesters and entertainers. (Fr. Jerry Orbos, SVD Bible Diary 2008)


An article on the sexual scandals besetting he Church maintains that the problem more than anything is a sociological concern, that these abuses happen because of power. For people who have power are little gods; they can manipulate and use anything or anyone just to get what they want. And this is true not only among priests but practically among all the children of Adam and Eve.

I remember asking a kid to distribute to her friends a box of school supplies as my gift to them. I was dumbfounded to see how that cute little girl used those supplies to manipulate her friends. One she sent to get something for her, another she compelled to lend to her his cell phone, still another was told to get lost for he did not give her candy the day before. And I thought how much more damage could she have done if she had something more than a box of school supplies….like the scribes and Pharisees in the gospel today. The ordinary Jews depended on them for the interpretation of the Law, for most of these ordinary people could not read and write. They were the voice of the prophets and even the voice of God to the people. They had power and they used that power to manipulate the law to forward their own personal agenda.

The original sin was man wanting to be like God. And we see traces of this in the power struggles illustrated in the gospel today which is also a common sight in our contemporary society. The perfect antidote to this is of course Jesus, who was a master but chose to serve, who was a king but chose to be slave, a God but chose to be man….all because of love, for God so loved the world that He sent His only Son. May we all learn to shun away the power that lords over and instead embrace the power that serves and loves. (Frt. Dante Barril, SVD Bible Dairy 2009)


The Bible speaks a lot about hypocrisy. On many occasions Jesus himself denounces both hypocrites and hypocrisy. What are they exactly? gives us a useful definition of a hypocrite: “A person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he/she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.” Or “A person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, , especially one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his/her public statements.”

Does this sound familiar to us? Can we name people who fit this description? Certain politicians perhaps? Various government officials? True enough and sometimes even spectacularly so. However, let’s not to be too selective. Can we recognize ourselves there as well? It is important to realize that the words of Jesus are no longer being addressed to the Pharisees of long ago. They are now being addressed to the people of our time and place, including each one of us. Do we not have to constantly struggle to have our actions and way of life live up to our words? Will we ever completely succeed in the struggle?

We priests should be the first to admit how difficult it can be ti live what we preach. W3e need great humility to admit that we are so inadequate at times and to trust in God to complete what is lacking in us. Let the words of the great St. Teresa of Jesus, our saint of today (Oct 15) be our support and consolation: “Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you. all things pass away, God never changes. Patience obtains all things. he who has God finds he lacks nothing. God alone suffices.” (Fr. John O’Mahony SVD Bible Diary 2015).


October 13, 2016 Thursday

In 1991, Father Nerilito “Neri” Dazo Satur, age 28, was murdered while faithfully implementing an advocacy against illegal logging in the Bukidnon Diocese. A year earlier, Fr. Neri had been deputized by DENR to become one of the forest guards leading a church-based anti-logging campaign.

Here’s an excerpt of a blog on this incident:  “On October 14th, 1991, Father Neri and a female assistant attended Barangay Guinoyuran’s patron saint esta where Neri offered mass. At a bit past 2PM Father Neri and his assistant remounted his trusted motorcycle to begin the long and arduous trip back to Valencia proper. … three men “walked out to the jungle ahead of him, each carrying M16s… Of fifteen rounds fired, seven met their mark, badly wounding the priest. His assistant, Jacqueline Lunzaga took a single round to the leg. The three gunmen, one of whom was unmasked quickly made their way over to the fallen priest and his assistant. Taking his M16 the unmasked attacker then began beating the priest in the head with it. On the third blow the rifle’s stock broke into pieces due to the force with which it was wielded.”(Raki Ben Ami,

There were killings of prophets in the past, and in the future prophets will continue to be hunted and killed. Such is the reality in this world where evil resides in the hearts of people. In the same manner, Jesus was heading towards his death when he started confronting the scholars of the law, the pharisees and the scribes. The price of going against evil is great. However, without people who fight against the onslaught of evil, greater harm will arise. (Fr. Lorz Estomo, SVD | SVD Verbum House of Studies, Los Baños, Laguna Bible Diary 2016)


Tulak ng bibig kabig ng dibdib.”


THURSDAY OF THE 28TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR A) – LUKAS 11:47-54. Unsa may saktong paagi sa pagpanudlo? Ang mga magtutudlo sa Balaod gitahasan sa pagpasabot sa kahulogan sa Balaod ngadto sa katawhan sa Dios. Dako kaayo ang ilang papel sa kinabuhing moral sa mga tawo. Apan, gisaway sila ni Hesus tungod kay sila mismo wala nagsunod sa espiritu sa Balaod, ug gani sila pa ang nahimong babag sa mga tawo nga makasabut ug makatuman sa kabubut-on sa Dios. Kining ebanghelyo usa ka dakong hagit sa mga ginikanan, mga magtutudlo sa tulonghaan, ug mga pangulo sa Simbahan. Anaa kanila ang dakong katungdanan sa pagpasabut sa kabubut-on sa Dios ngadto sa ilang mga anak, mga estudyante, ug mga parokyano. Hinaot nga sila ang mag-una sa pagpuyo sa Kristohanong pagtulon-an nga ilang itudlo aron sila daling masabtan sa ilang mga ginsakopan. Posted by Abet Uy


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

THURSDAY OF THE 28TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B) – LUKAS 11:47-54. KINSA MAN ANG MAAYONG MAGTUTUDLO? Ang mga magtutudlo sa Balaod gitahasan sa pagpasabot sa kahulogan sa Balaod ngadto sa katawhan sa Dios. Dako ang ilang papel sa kinabuhing moral sa mga tawo. Apan, gisaway sila ni Hesus tungod kay wala man nila sunda ang espiritu sa Balaod ug nahimo silang babag sa mga tawo nga makatuman sa kabubut-on sa Dios. Kining ebanghelyo usa ka dakong hagit sa mga ginikanan, mga magtutudlo, ug mga pangulo sa Simbahan. Anaa kanila ang katungdanan sa pagpasabut sa kabubut-on sa Dios ngadto sa mga anak, mga estudyante, ug mga parokyano. Matuman nila kini kon sila makamaong mag-ampo, mamalandong ug magpuyo sa Kristohanong pagtulon-an nga ilang itudlo. Adunay panultihon: “A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others.” Posted by Abet Uy


Reflection for Thursday October 16, Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time; Luke 11:47-54 – Reflection: Why were the prophets killed? For example John the Baptist, why was he killed? Because he courageously spoke about the truth no matter who gets hurt! During that time John was enjoying a respectable status until he denounced the immorality of King Herod.

Therefore from respectability John was scorned, imprisoned and eventually beheaded. What a frightening end for a prophet of God but this is the role of the prophet: To speak about the truth no matter who gets hurt! Because in speaking about the truth we change lives, we correct errant behaviors and we create awareness that evil deeds will not get away unnoticed.

We too could become a prophet when we are not afraid to speak about the truth no matter who gets hurt. When we present Jesus not only as a miracle worker and a God of prosperity. For example, we also present Jesus as someone who would invite us to carry our burdens and our life’s trials.

It’s so tempting to always package Jesus as a God of miracles, abundance and prosperity. But this is not the totality of Jesus because Jesus also went through sacrifices and trials without which there would have been no triumph over the cross and there would have been no salvation.

What would happen to a follower when he/she encounters trials if he/she only know Jesus as a God of prosperity?  He may not know how to deal with his trials and the worst case scenario is he/she may even blame Jesus for his/her trials.

We should therefore not forget to also present Jesus as someone who will bring us trials and hardship. This is for the reason that it is only through our trials that we get to have a deeper intimacy with Him.

Are you going through hardship and trials right now? It has a purpose, none other than for you to be aware of the abiding presence of Jesus in your life. – Marino J. Dasmarinas


BARKIN’ DOGS – “So you testify that you approve of what your ancestors did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs.” – Luke 11:48

Pharisees are still alive today — people who kill the Jesus-planted dream in your heart. But you don’t have to stop at every dog that barks.

But barking dogs may have already affected you. Insecurities, disappointments, and low self-esteem talk you out of God’s dream. Dogs might be barking so loud that you can’t hear the Spirit within that says: “Everyone has seeds of greatness. You have a gift to share with the world. There is a buried treasure in you. You have true potential that has not yet been released. You may have victories in the past, but that’s nothing compared to what God has in store for your future.”

God didn’t make average people. You are not ordinary!

You can overcome all obstacles. You can recover from a fall. When you go out of your comfort zone and step out in faith, God releases more of His favor. When you think bigger, God will act bigger. God shows up — and in unusual ways. If you take care of the natural, He will do the supernatural. If you take care of the ordinary, He will do the extraordinary.

Friend, do you hear that? Jon Escoto (

Reflection: Hush the dogs. What is the Spirit saying to your heart now? Friend, listen to Him.

Lord, speak to me now. Help me to know the “true” me and live it out.


CATCH THE GOOD – It almost seemed like the Lord was picking on the scribes, the Pharisees and the scholars of the Law. Yet one more time, our Gospel passage puts them at center stage, with the Lord giving them a mouthful. He was preaching, in and out of season, and He told them like it is. But the same passage tells us how His interlocutors plotted to catch Him in everything He says.

Today, I am aghast at what I see every day in the world of social networking and liberal mainstream media. I see how so many sensationalists, passing off as legitimate journalists, seem to wait for the Holy Father’s latest faux pas, the latest misstep, and the most juicy statement, which they invariably take out of context in order to push their liberal agenda or sow intrigue and confusion in the minds of readers.

When Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI announced last year that he was stepping down from office, such a tendency to put color into every event inthe Catholic Church became very obvious. The major news networks were abuzz, calling in one “Vatican observer” or “Vatican expert” after another, trying to squeeze from everyone their take on “what is really going on” in the “secretive” Vatican enclaves. All this in order to impress upon the masses a less than holy and sacrosanct Church, now painted and alluded to as breeding ground of all forms of corruption and deceit, or at the very least a Church “no longer in touch with postmodernity.”

How times have changed and how they have remained the same! The modern-day “scholars of the law” have been very busy looking at the Church’s flaws and failings, while closing their eyes on the good She does in all times and cultures. A group of them has even sued the Vatican in the international courts, for violations against human rights!

What about plotting to catch the good in what everybody says or does?Fr. Chito Dimaranan, SDB

REFLECTION QUESTION: Do you have a tendency to criticize a lot and catch other people’s mistakes?

Forgive me, Lord, for the times I was too uncharitable to others and saw only their weaknesses and failures.


SECOND CHANCES – For God is one and will justify the circumcised on the basis of faith and the uncircumcised through faith. – Romans 3:30

While flipping through TV channels one late night, I chanced upon the story of a woman — an atheist — on The 700 Club. She was a non-believer for most of her adult life.

When she became very ill, she died and saw herself shooting up into space and through a tunnel with a very bright light at the end. Just before reaching the light, she dropped twice as fast, falling into darkness toward what seemed to be a fire pit. It was during this drop that she felt great fear, that hell (and heaven) could be real, and she found herself shouting out a prayer, “God! If You really exist, please save me!”

Suddenly, she ascended again, and then went back to her hospital bed where the doctors were trying to revive her. She lived and became a true believer in the Almighty.

Today’s chosen verse tells us that we will all be justified on the basis of faith. The God of second chances turns non-believers into believers through mysterious ways that all may have faith in Him. Surely, He wants us all to be with Him at the end of time. So blessed are we who already believe. Nova A. Sevilla (

Reflection: Do you still doubt God sometimes? How can you strengthen your faith?

Lord Jesus, I ask that You open my senses to Your daily presence in my life in order to strengthen my faith in You. Amen.


THREE LESSONS FROM ST. TERESA OF AVILA – Teresa of Avila lived in an exciting time. Less than 20 years before she was born, Columbus discovered America. Two years after she was born, Luther started the Protestant Reformation. Out of all of this change came Teresa pointing the way from outer turmoil to inner peace.

In spite of living the life of a mystic, she stood with both feet on solid ground. She said, “Even when in the kitchen, our Lord is among the pots and pans.” In other words, wherever you are, the Lord is present, and wherever you are, you can pray.

When St. Paul wrote, “Pray always,” he did not mean that we have to be on our knees the whole day. We can communicate with God day and night, wherever we are.    Another famous saying of St. Teresa is, “I know by frequent experience that there is nothing which puts the devils to flight like holy water.”

At home we had a small holy water container at the doors to all rooms. Being surrounded by evil and living in a corrupt and sinful society, we could make more use of holy water as protection against evil influences.

A third quite famous word of St. Teresa is this: “Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing make you afraid. All things are passing. God alone never changes. Patience gains all things. If you have God you will want for nothing. God alone suffices.”

Could there be a better advice for us worriers? St. Teresa expresses her total surrender to God’s providence. This attitude gives inner peace and calms all fears and anxieties.

Don’t think St. Teresa could easily write such beautiful words because she was in the safety of her convent. No, she traveled a lot while founding several convents and got in trouble with the Holy Inquisition. In 1576, a series of persecutions began on the part of the older observant Carmelite Order against Teresa and her reforms. But her rock-like trust in God made her sail safely through these storms. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD

REFLECTION QUESTION: Do you trust God even in times of terrible problems and crises?

Lord, thank You for giving St. Teresa to the Church. Let me learn from her attitude of total trust in You and to find You close wherever I am.


EQUATION OF SUCCESS – You have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter, and you stopped those trying to enter. – Luke 11:52

Will the attributes — dangerous, desperate and devoted — bring success?

The difficulty comes from their negative or passive connotations. Dangerous means unsafe. Hazardous. Risky. Treacherous. Perilous. Threatening. Desperate means frantic. Anxious. Despairing. Worried. Distressed. Distracted. Devoted means keen. Dedicated. Dutiful. Diligent yet non-aggressive. Then how did I come up with this success equation? Success = Dangerous + Desperate + Devoted.

negative and passive words also have positive connotations. Dangerous can mean risk-taking. Daring. Courageous. Brave. Valiant. Fearless. Desperate can mean surrendered. All-out. Total self-giving. Thorough. Devoted can mean tenacious. Decisive. Religiously focused.

Dangerously courageous, desperately self-giving and devotedly faithful. I think I am right in my equation!

Friends, wisdom is knowledge applied to our life. Don’t imitate the selfish and stingy Pharisees and experts of the law who kept the key to knowledge to themselves. Be generous, share wisdom and give life. Obet Cabrillas (

Reflection:Are you keeping your life skills to yourself? Will you take on being dangerous, desperate and devoted and bring success to your life?

Lord, let me grow wise by applying the knowledge I gain to build Your Kingdom.


October 15, 2015

Thursday of the 28th Week in the Ordinary Time

Romans 3: 21-30, (Lk 11: 47-54) John 15: 1-8

Feast day- St. Teresa of Avila

We are the Branches

Teresa entered the Carmelite Monastery in 1535, at the age of 20. After years of struggling with her prayer life, Teresa felt that she was still living in shadow rather than in God’s light. Repeatedly, she asked God to help her, seemingly to no avail. It was not until 1554 that she experienced the conversion that would mark the rest of her life. Coming upon a statue of the wounded Christ, Teresa was suddenly and intensely moved by what Christ had suffered for her and she was overwhelmed by her own lack of gratitude for His sufferings. In tears, she begged the Lord to strengthen her that she might not sin anymore; she resolved not to leave until this prayer was granted. From then on, Teresa felt that she began to improve.

With God so close to her, not only was Teresa able to change her own ways, but she also came to realize that God wanted her to begin reforming the Carmelites. Convinced that God was with her, she set about reforming the Carmelite order, founding new houses, with a renewed spirit of detachment, charity, and obedience.

Teresa’s whole life was one of relationships. She had firsthand experience what good and bad relations can do to people, and she longed and worked earnestly for the Best Friendship – which she found in Jesus.

“In this house all must be friends…”

Her experience gives us wonderful descriptions of mental prayer: “For menta prayer in my opinion is nothing else than an intimate sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us. The important thing is not to think much but to love much and so do that which best stirs you to love. Love is not great delight but desire to please God in everything.”

“Do whatever moves you to love more.”

Today’ Gospel passage is on the vine and the branches. Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. The branches are to bear fruits. St. Teresa advises us:

Christ has no body now, but yours.

No hands, no feet on earth, but yours.

Yours are the eyes through which

Christ looks compassion into the world.

Yours are the feet

with which Christ walks to do good.

Yours are the hands

with which Christ blesses the world.”


Tuesday, October 11, 2016                  

Reflection for Thursday October 13, Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time; Luke 11:47-54

Reflection: Why were the Pharisees and scribes angry with Jesus? It was for the reason that Jesus was telling the truth about their hypocrisy and double speak!  The truth hurts but Jesus doesn’t mince words He tells it as He sees it.  So Jesus tells it directly to them without fear because He wants them to open their minds about their pretentions and double standard.

When somebody corrects us and tells negative things about us; let us accept it as a constructive criticism and let us look at it on a positive way.  Where we can learn and further improve, if we close our minds to criticism it’s like saying that we don’t want to improve. And those who do not want to improve and those who refuse correction will never become better individuals.

Let us remember that nobody is perfect except God. We all have our own flaws and shortcomings and these are natural for we are imperfect humans. We all are subject to our own frailties and weakness.  What is important is we accept corrections and we make it as our reference point for us to become better and useful citizens of this fleeting world.

Let us therefore always be humble let us be open to advice, let us always be open to reproaches and let us make these as a springboard for us to become a much better person. – Marino J. Dasmarinas


October 13, 2016

One of the high points of a holiday like Thanksgiving Day or of a feast day like Christmas is when the extended family all gather together around the clan’s grandparents. When the latter see all their children and grandchildren united together in love and harmony, their joy knows no limit. And this is indeed the dream of all parents: to have their children gather around them in a circle of love.

Well, God our Father has the same dream, as we learn from today’s first reading, where we hear Paul say: “In Christ and under Christ, God wanted to unite, when the fullness of time had come, everything in heaven and on earth.” Yes, that is God’s dream.

And, if we look back on human­kind’s evolution over the past ten thousand years or so, we see a ­progressive formation of bigger and bigger groups of humans gathered ­together: towns becoming cities, cities becoming nations, nations ­becoming empires, empires ­becoming the United Nations. And, parallel to this movement, inventions help to unite us: printing press, steamship, loco­motive, telegraph, telephone, television, cellphone, etc. It looks like we will indeed eventually be united around Christ forever under the loving care of the Father…



See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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