March for Life begins this weekend nationwide. After morning Mass today, a bunch of us started pounding dozens of white crosses into the ground in front of the church to commemorate the aborted unborn. After all the crosses were up, while driving home I felt the great sorrow that the Lord feels for this horrendous sin our nation commits against him. In that moment, the Lord made me see that we are basically creatures with a good heart, but because of the original sin we inherited, we become sinners when we are subject to temptation. All we need to do is to have God shield us from all temptations for us to remain sinless. Of course, given our free will, we must want to ask the Lord to protect us, which means that we must yield ourselves to him first. This is at the crux of the whole matter.
Saturday, January 20, 2018
It is not a good feeling to know that you are not ready to die yet. It shows that you are still tied to the world and yourself and that you are not spiritually free. The Lord is not going to drag you into heaven if you are reluctant to go there. Therefore, voluntarily detach yourself from the world and yourself so that you may freely soar to God when he calls you. It might turn out to be quite a battle, but it's a battle you must win and you can absolutely win with God's help. Think of it as preparing for taking the happiest trip you'll ever have, which, of course, is true.
Communion experience. Each time I attend Mass to receive Christ in the Holy Eucharist, I am dining at his table with him serving, giving me himself to consume as nourishment and the promise of eternal life. It's unbelievable and unbeatable intimacy and union!
Jesus makes it amply clear in the Gospels that if we see him, we have seen the Father, that if we know him, then we know the Father, and that he and the Father are one. Therefore, know Christ and you don't need to ask where God is or who he is anymore. We now learn from the Lord directly!
You believe in God and want to do your very best, that is, to give 100% of your effort, to serve him; but you will not get far if you do not surrender yourself to God completely first. This is something people do not realize (or do not want to face). I am repeating the same message I have said before in various ways because it is important. If you want to go extreme with the Lord, then set aside your concern, you own effort, yourself, and go directly to him to receive power directly from him. I am making it as directly as possible to you again.
Today's Gospel at Mass consisted of just two verses from Mark: Jesus came with his disciples into the house. Again the crowd gathered, making it impossible for them even to eat. When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, "He is out of his mind." I can understand that because one time when I showed my great enthusiasm in Christ, one of my relatives also thought that I was out of my mind (although he didn't seize me). I suppose that if you seem to have gone overboard for something others do not understand, you look abnormal or odd to them. At one time I did visit a nearby prison regularly to assist a deacon in his prison ministry and a nonChristian friend of mine just couldn't understand why I should spend my time doing that. Decades back, when I first read about Mother Teresa who had gone to India to devote her life to serving the dying and the poor, I almost thought that she was out of her mind. Well, know Jesus and you'll understand everything.
I mentioned yesterday in a post that sometimes the Lord has his plan and what we pray for may not happen if it does not accord with his plan. But praying for the salvation of those you love is totally in accord with his will, as our salvation is his foremost desire. Therefore, do not be discouraged. Persist in praying for them and believe that the Lord will answer your prayer as you wish.
Friday, January 19, 2018
This morning I got the news that a dear friend, a fellow parishioner, passed away at a hospital. She had heart surgery and was placed under intensive care. For the last two weeks or so, she remained practically unconscious and had to be sustained by machine. Many of us had been praying so hard for her recovery and healing, until this morning. The news hit us hard. What can I make of it? There is no doubt that God hears us, but he has his plan and knows what's best for us. We sometimes can sway him, but not this time. Did our praying efforts prolong our friend's agony? I doubt it. We can pray for what we desire, but ultimately, it comes down to accepting God's will. What we need to do before our time is up is to ask for what we wish, but always seek his will. We are not free until we abandon ourselves totally to God. Another reminder for us.
Again, on this Friday I prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. Jesus was hurt so much by those who falsely accused, scourged, ridiculed, insulted, and crucified him. Do you know that every time we sin, even though we do not hurt him physically, we likewise cause pain and agony to his heart? What basically hurt the Lord the most are ingratitude, not taking him seriously, hardened hearts, and disobedience.
Thursday, January 18, 2018
I see God as a wonderland for us to lose ourselves in, as it's an infinite space to explore, discover, and enjoy. Ideally, we should be aware of the Lord's dwelling in us and our dwelling in him and let the Holy Spirit initiate all our actions. Then everything will come forth from us naturally, following God's will. Of course, as humans, we always fall short. We fall asleep even as we pray or our thoughts wander even during Mass. Again, intention counts. I don't like to say that we should "strive" to be perfect, because the effective and right approach is to rest in the Lord even more, giving him the freedom to mold and shape us. This is taking advantage of the fact that nothing is impossible with him. Following Christ is truly exciting and relaxing at the same time. It's a unique journey.
Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Today's alternate Communion antiphon, Matthew 19.21: If you would be perfect, go, sell what you have, give to the poor, and follow me, says the Lord to the young man who wished to gain eternal life. If we do not actually do as advised by the Lord, we should at least be detached from all material goods to the point that we would be willing to give them up if need be. Again, intention comes into play.
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 3, the Pharisees watched closely to see if Jesus would cure a man with a withered hand on the sabbath so that they might accuse him. He asked them, "Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?" But they remained silent. Looking around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of heart, Jesus restored the hand of the man. The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel with the Herodians against him to put him to death. The generation today is like the Pharisees. Their hearts are hardened to the point that they no longer listen to reason. They act as if they are the righteous ones knowing more than God. How foolish can you be?
Jesus healed so many who were sick and disabled. None of them who asked to be healed used too many words; they just said, "Have pity on me," "I want to see," or something like that. It shows me that intention and faith count, not how many words we use. It's so good that the Lords knows our intention right away (all along).
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Our church is running the Alpha program. It consists of 11 sessions. Each session starts with a video presentation, followed by discussion in small groups. Today's second video presentation "Who Is Jesus?" is quite powerful. In fact, one participant commented afterwards that it hit him like a ton of bricks! If you are still not convinced about Jesus, watch this video to be challenged intellectually.
In today's reading 1 from 1 Samuel 16, God sent Samuel to Jesse of Bethlehem to find the future king among his sons. The Lord told Samuel that while man judges from the appearance or lofty stature, he looks into the heart. While Samuel was impressed by the appearance of some of the seven sons present, the Lord did not chose any of them. Then Samuel had Jesse send for the youngest son, David, who was tending sheep. When he was brought to them, the Lord said to Samuel, "There – anoint him, for this is he!" Observations. First, God already knew whom to pick for what role. Secondly, God looked into the heart. Therefore, we must (1) trust in God's role for us and (2) make sure that our heart is presentable to him.