There are many people full of pride. They may be Catholics, other Christians, especially those who attack the Catholic Church, or atheists. Anyway, the more pride they have, the harder they'll fall in the end. As for the humble, they don't have this problem because they are already at the bottom and there's no place to go but up and the Lord will see to it that this happens in the end.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
In the overall scheme of things, with God included in the picture, of course, we are to serve the Lord and not rule over anyone. (Leaders are different from rulers as they do not lord it over others. And we need leaders to lead people to God.) We are all equals before God and to serve the only Lord, our God. This is the way God has intended, guaranteeing the salvation of all.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
"God is love" or "God loves us" ~ we hear it so much that it sounds like a cliche. What's critical is whether we are truly aware of this truth. It's undeniably clear that the world desperately needs this love and our awareness can change lives and give hope to the world. Pray to the Holy Spirit that this "cliche" will become a lightning bolt, jolting us into action.
We eat ordinary food to live. It can be satisfying, but eating too much and you lose your appetite and even get uncomfortable. From Scriptures, we learn that "one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” How true it is! This morning at Mass, I particularly sensed that every saying from Jesus was food for the soul, deeply satisfying and forever sweet and fragrant.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Today is the Memorial of St. Vincent de Paul. In the Gospel reading from Luke 9, as Jesus knew that he was to be taken from this world, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem. This made me ask: once we know the will of God clearly, do we resolutely proceed to accomplishing it? To be obedient is to do God's will without delay.
The answer to the brainteaser given in the last post is nothing. What I mean is that the word "nothing" fills the bill. This teaser is like one of those mathematics puzzles and problems that can be very difficult to solve if you don't start out in the right direction, but whose answers are almost obvious if you happen to approach the problem from the right angle. This made me think of our search for God. I know of people who searched for God hard by going through all the religions and came up with nothing. Know that God is not to be revealed by you ~ on the contrary, you are to be open to let him reveal himself to you! The quick and effective approach is to go to Jesus directly with an open mind and you'll find God, your solution.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Can you guess the word? The following are seven clues.
(1) The word has seven letters.
(2) It precedes God.
(3) It is greater than God.
(4) It is more evil than the Devil.
(5) All poor people have it.
(6) Wealthy people need it.
(7) If you eat it, you will die.
As I had stated, the goal of this blog is to draw all to union with God through the Holy Eucharist. After receiving Holy Communion this morning, I thought of the many Catholics who do not take the Holy Eucharist seriously enough. It's like having the most precious pearl in the world in your home and you don't put it in a nice case nor pay much attention to it. Worse yet, you don't even miss it if it got lost.
The Holy Eucharist, the giving of the Lord himself by himself, if received with the greatest possible reverence and gratitude, is exactly what we need for the complete transformation of us into saintly creatures. Take it seriously and God will draw you deep into him, leading to union.
(Way above all the honors and achievements of the world, union with God is the highest possible attainment of the human soul.)
Sunday, September 25, 2011
When we are sick or burdened in any way, either physically or mentally, we are quite natural in turning to God for help and relief. But let's be aware that sins are also sicknesses and burdens ~ sicknesses at the spiritual level and burdens to the soul. Since they endanger the soul, it's even more urgent for us to turn to God for removing them.
If you have fallen in love with the Lord, you'll want him to be present with you at all times. Most activities and events that take place in the world are not intended for God's glory; therefore, as you don't sense his presence, they are no longer attractive or can even be downright boring or nauseating to you. Since you are still in the world and must love all others, this can be quite a cross to bear if your attendance is unavoidable. You should still rejoice though, as you've spiritually advanced. Now, like the Lord, you are no longer of the world.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
In the Gospel today from Luke 9, Jesus informed his disciples that he was to be handed over to men, but they did not understand his saying. I just thought how fortunate we were when the message of salvation had already been laid out clearly in the open. What was once veiled in mystery is now awesomely displayed before our eyes. There's no excuse for us to pretend that it's still unclear anymore.
In Philippians 4, Paul talks about the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. This is a gift from the true God to his disciples. You won't find it from any other source nor receive it if you don't follow the Lord with all your heart. It is interior and does not depend upon exterior factors. God means for us to experience him and his peace. In today's chaotic, disorderly world, we need this peace more than ever.
Friday, September 23, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Since I felt that my cup overflowed this morning, I thought of any of you out there who are still unhappy. Perhaps you feel that your life is empty, meaningless, with no joy in it. Of course, it needn't be so. This was precisely why Jesus came among us ~ to seek and to save the lost! The good news has been around for 2,000 years, so where have you been?
If you really don't know about the good news, my advice is to find out all about Jesus. Read the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) in the Bible. If you find Jesus to be the truth, your life can get completely turned around as has happened to countless others, myself included. Then you can read about the early Church and the Catholic faith. Should you not find the truth here, you're no worse than before.
If you've already heard about the good news, then why haven't you made any move? Are you playing deaf? Are you being stubborn? Is it because you have a lot of pride? So much so that you wouldn't even yield before God? My urgent but loving advice to you is: Don't miss the chance of not only turning this life around, but also gaining eternal life afterwards!
As I received the Lord in Holy Communion this morning, I knew that it was no empty gesture ~ I was actually receiving the living bread of heaven, the Lord Jesus himself, who has the power of transforming a pebble into a living saint! My cup overflowed.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
In the Gospel today from Matthew 9, Jesus saw Matthew sitting at the custom post. He said to him "Follow me." And he got up and followed him.
First of all, how good it is to hear the voice of the Lord calling us! He calls because he loves us and needs us.
Secondly, he still calls us today. We may not actually hear him audibly, but he does speak to our hearts.
Any call from the Lord is to be welcomed, embraced, and treasured, for it's the highest of all calls, intended for his glory and our spiritual good. "If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts."
Today is the Feast of St. Matthew. In Reading 1 from Ephesians 4, Paul points out the bond of peace: one Body and one Spirit; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. It's clear to me that the Lord wants one Church, not myriad denominations. Most of all, he wants one union with him, not setting ourselves up separately as individual, little gods.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 8, Jesus temporarily ignored his mother and brothers and told the crowd, "My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it." This is consistent with what he proclaimed later, "If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." He made it so clear that following him wholeheartedly is required of us. Again, this is consistent with the fact that he is Lord!
Before Mass started this morning, I became aware that I was on my journey home to my God. Before Jesus came on the scene, John the Baptist first appeared to proclaim to all to make straight the way of the Lord. So I asked Jesus to make my journey back to him also straight by keeping me on my path, always following his will. The Holy Eucharist would be my guide and protector. Today's Responsorial line "Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord" echoed my sentiment.
Monday, September 19, 2011
As I was receiving Holy Communion today, I had the following thoughts. People are interested in genealogy and they get excited when they discover that one of their ancestors was someone illustrious. I don't care if I am a descendant of a king or even a saint, I am now directly entering union with the Almighty God ~ you can't possibly beat that connection (if you can consider union a connection)!
Today's Gospel reading is from Luke 8. Jesus wants us to display his light for all to see. Let this wonderful light shine upon us first to dispel all darkness so that we become pure and beautiful before God, and we'll experience the most wonderful feeling only God can bestow. (Life is definitely worth living!)
Before Mass started this morning, I thought that I must always be ready for the Lord to participate in Mass, to pray to him, or to serve him in whatever way. In today's Entrance, we read, "I am the Savior of all people, say the Lord. Whatever their troubles, I will answer their cry, and I will always be their Lord." So the Lord is always ready for us. It behooves us to be ready for him for things to happen. (Note: To be ready is to be willing to approach the Lord.)
I don't think that most people are happy as they age. They are not sure where they are headed ~ perhaps they are uneasy about death. One common desire is to enjoy life as much as possible while there's still time. This seems like a form of escape. For believers of Christ, growing old should be cause for joy. For sure, you'll be leaving behind all the miseries of the world, but this shouldn't be any consolation because the miseries still remain after your departure. The prime joy of growing old is knowing that you'll soon be seeing the loving Lord face to face, who is good at wiping away every tear from your eyes.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Jesus said (John 10.9): "I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture." In a way we are a bunch of gates too. Through our gate God can enter to save us, or we can choose to close our gate to keep God out and remain in the desert.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
I went to vigil Mass earlier today. During the homily, I was overcome by the tremendous power of God. I realized that his power was so overwhelming because it is love, which is the Lord himself. Love is indeed the most powerful force in the entire universe. If everyone will just accept it, the world can be transformed in an instant. Believe me, God is that powerful force. May he be praised forever!
There are many mail-order catalogs as well as TV commercials selling clever, useful products that you normally don't really need. I had bought some in the past and they always got tucked away in the end and I never missed them. Our worldly attachments are somewhat like those products, so start detaching yourself from them. A recent example for me was the termination of one magazine subscription. Reading the publication did provide enjoyment, but the information was definitely not something needed for me to live on. One more detachment and life gets uncluttered a bit more. Our goal should be to drop all things that can possibly encroach upon our intimacy with God.
Friday, September 16, 2011
As St. Augustine pointed out, our hearts are restless until they find their rest in God. It's also true that we are not content until we achieve full union with God. As I receive the Lord in the Holy Eucharist this morning at Mass, it was a most intimate moment, giving me a foretaste of full union.
Life is all about fighting a spiritual battle. As in any battle, casualties and sufferings are unavoidable. How you want to suffer depends upon which side you're on. If you're on the side of the enemy of God, your suffering may not be great, but you risk eternal separation from God after this life. If you are on the side of God fighting for his glory, you may suffer a lot, but all sufferings will be short-lived and your joy will be great in heaven. Make your choice.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
We usually just pray for ourselves, our nation and government, our soldiers, our families and friends, our own church, etc. But let's not "limit God's mercy"! The Lord made it clear that we should always forgive others and love our enemies, so let's also pray for everyone else in the world: the hungry, the starving, the poor, and also the terrorists, the suicide bombers, all enemies fighting against us, those who have committed horrendous crimes, not just their innocent victims. Note that the ones we normally neglect to pray for are those who need God's mercy the most. So pray for all the souls indiscriminately, both living and deceased. Then ask all the angels and saints to intercede for us too. We need to storm heaven to convert the whole world for Christ!
Today is the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. We know how Mary must have suffered when she witnessed the Passion of her own Son. As Simeon predicted, she should be pierced by a sword (Luke 2:35). This was indeed her martyrdom.
For those of us who do not know the love of God yet, intense sufferings can be crushing, bringing on despair ~ this is sad. But for those who gladly offer up their sufferings to God for his glory, there is always a sweetness to it. The joy of Christ's Resurrection fills us with hope, capable of overriding all our sorrows.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
In today's second reading from Philippians 2, Paul talks about how Jesus humbled himself, becoming obedient to death. This is a model for us. Obeying the Lord for us should be nonnegotiable. Whether we succeed or not due to human frailty, obedience to death nevertheless should be our aim.
Today is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. A dead person hanging from a cross is normally a scary, macabre sight. The priest mentioned this morning at Mass that he and a Jewish friend attended a Catholic wedding and it's the first time for his friend to be inside a Catholic church. When the friend saw the big crucifix hung over the altar, he became quite uncomfortable. Of course, we Catholics see the crucifix as something beautiful to behold, for it reminds us of God's love for us. The Holy Cross is to be exalted because through it God manifested his glory.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
This is post #1,000. If someone had told me a year ago that I would hit this number, I would have responded with a loud "No Way!" Mind you, it's not writing about anything; it's writing about God's love only! It seemed that the line "God's love is infinite" would have said it all.
Here's what I have learned:
(1) God alone knows how things will work out. We are to live faithfully one moment at a time. All useless projections are a waste of time.
(2) I don't know what I'll post next. God can keep me going or stop giving me any more thoughts ~ this should not concern me. I am to let go in all things.
(3) What good does this blog do is also up to the Lord. I only do what he wants me to do at this point.
(4) Blogging has benefited me personally; it has brought me a lot closer to God.
Today's Communion verse is John 15:16. "You have not chosen me; I have chosen you. Go and bear fruit that will last." Looking back, even though I searched for God, I see that it's still God who initiated the search. He had his eyes on me all along. He chooses us so that we can bear fruit for his glory. This is the purpose, the goal, and the fulfillment of our life.
Monday, September 12, 2011
Another beautiful paradox. The more we humble ourselves, the more we get exalted by God. To be humble is to hide in God. Then, of course, the more we remain hidden, the more he notices our presence in him. To get his loving attention this way is to be exalted by him.
During prayer before morning Mass today, I asked Jesus if I was being selfish when I trusted in him, dumped all my problems on him, and just sat back to enjoy his peace. Then I realized that my trusting in God does not mean that I am no longer concerned about others with their problems and sufferings; it's that I no longer worry or get depressed over them because God has stepped in to unburden me. So to trust is to let God take over, freeing me from holding the problems in my own hands. Peace is merely the result of that trust and there is nothing selfish about enjoying that peace.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Light is a substance we can sense and measure, whereas darkness is a void, a concept. We are aware of darkness only when light is absent. In the same way, we are aware of evil only when God, being our light, is absent. Therefore, immerse yourself in God the Light and no evil will "materialize" in you.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
In an online interview, one classical pianist pointed out that music is part of his life. Of course, this is true in every serious musician's case. Then I thought of us who are Christians that God should be a part of our life. And it's even better to be aware that we are part of God and then live that part.
Today's Gospel reading from Luke 6 prompts me to ask how serious we are in following the Lord. Jesus asked his disciples, "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' but not do what I command?" He wanted them to listen to his words and act on them ~ this is likened to building a house with a solid foundation laid on rock. Otherwise, it's like building a house without a foundation, which can easily collapse and be destroyed. It's being either a serious Christian or a hypocritical one?
Anxiety has no place in the life of a Christian, for a Christian is not to do what he wants to do, but to do God's will. He is not even supposed to be anxious about doing God's will, for he must wait until it's clear to him. That's why patience is regarded as a sign of holiness.
Friday, September 9, 2011
We're born into this world, live an unknown number of years, and then leave the world. We didn't bring anything with us when we came and won't be able to take anything with us when we leave; we're just passing through. While we are in the world, we depend upon everything that comes from God to survive ~ we are basically "nothing." But we can become something, in fact, something truly beautiful, if we'll just let God come into our lives to transform us. All we need to do is to remain open and God will do the work. It just seems such a natural thing for us to do.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Today is the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The more I read about Mary, the more I realize her special sanctity and the important role she assumed in the history of salvation. She is the greatest among all saints. Her sorrow at the death of Jesus exceeded what any of us could ever possibly experience. Because of her supreme humility, God exalted her to be Queen of Heaven. I am so blessed to have her as my ally, mother, intercessor and partner in doing God's will. Praised be to the glorious Holy Trinity.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Today I am again thinking about some of the unique, outstanding features of Catholicism, my faith. The whole truth was directly revealed to us by God from above through Christ, not founded by anyone from down below. It's been handed down through unbroken apostolic succession, not to be modified, changed, or corrected by anyone outside the Church afterwards.
I've talked about surrender to God a lot. Here are some more thoughts. The word "surrender" is not a pleasant one, especially to most men. Of course, you don't want to surrender to an evil dictator or a mean boss, but surrendering to God is entirely different. It is basically going home, returning to the one who made you, reconciling with the Father who has always loved you, receiving his love and achieving freedom. It is what we should for do for eternal happiness. Nothing can ever be more fulfilling than union with God, initiated by surrender to God.
I've known Catholics who left the Church because a priest was not sensitive to a parishioner's needs or advised without showing sufficient love. This is most fortunate. We should concentrate on Jesus alone. Do not be disturbed by anyone, priest or lay Catholic, who does not reflect the light of the Lord. We should never loosen our hold on Christ. Bad Catholics do not equate bad Jesus. It's unfair to "punish" the Lord for the sins of his followers. When you are no longer bothered by others' misdeeds and have learned to forgive, you'll have peace, still keeping your faith in and love for Christ intact.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Jesus asked Peter, "Do you love me?" and Peter answered "Yes." And Jesus said, "Feed my lambs." He asked Peter a second time and Peter said yes again. And Jesus said, "Tend my sheep." After the third time with the same question and answer, Jesus said, "Feed my sheep." I am sure that the Lord asks each of us the same question at one time or another, even though we might not be attentive at the time. If our answer is also "Yes," I could just hear the Lord follow with the natural request "Surrender to me."
Communion verses from Psalm 41 today: "Like a deer that longs for running stream, my soul longs for you, my God. My soul is thirsting for the living God." God is so sweet and beautiful that he becomes the love of our soul. This is both a comment and stating a reality.
The word that came to my mind just before Mass was "inevitability." All of us will inevitably die one day. There will inevitably be judgement for each of us. God will inevitably triumph at the end. If you believe likewise, then there is no point in delaying your surrender to God. Doing it now to get the most out of your life.
Monday, September 5, 2011
It's so sad to read in the news that as many as 750,000 people could die in Somalia as the drought worsens in the coming months. This makes me feel that all the comfort we have really doesn't mean much anymore ~ it's not to be attached to. Only serving God matters. Please pray urgently for these children of God's.
I was shocked to read recently the news that the our own government conducted experiments in Guatemala of STD (sexually transmitted disease) during the 1940s. The number of infected people could be as high as 2,500. One US report released showed that 1.300 Guatemalans were infected without their knowledge to study the effects of penicillin, with a view to applying the results on US troops stationed around the world. There's enough evidence to conclude that Guatemalan authorities collaborated at the time of the tests. Can you believe that some 1,300 prisoners, psychiatric, and sex workers were deliberately injected with syphilis, gonorrhea, or chancroid bacteria into the eyes, the central nervous system, and male genitals? The Nazis experimented with typhus and malaria on prisoners of war, using Poles, Russians, and Jews. Were we any better? At least since these experiments came to light last year, President Obama had apologized to his Guatemalan counterpart. Nations, like us individuals, must also be holy to avoid condemnation by God.
I stumbled upon a blogsite of an internationally known artist. He's not a Catholic and he criticized the Holy Father for beatifying Pope John Paul II too soon. And many of his followers chimed in, with less kind opinions ~ one didn't think that John Paul II was a good enough man. Another said that he finally realized that God gave him a brain and he's going to use it and went on expressing his negative view. I am glad that he had such a revelation, but I don't recall Jesus telling us to use the brain to think freely of whatever we want to say ~ I just remember that Jesus wanted us to believe in him like a little child.
My thoughts are that there are many out there who are intelligent, intellectual, and eloquent. And they see themselves as the norm and are quick to express their unfavorable opinions on others. To put it bluntly, they lack humility. Jesus wants us to examine ourselves first before finding fault with others. It's the humble who get to know God. Once you know him, you feel free in his presence and become free yourself. The wise and the proud of the world just don't understand something this simple.
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Since Jesus is the way and the truth and the light, we who belong to him are then children of the way and the truth and the light. We know our way to the Lord, we know how he loves us and has worked out the plan of salvation for us, and we now live in his light, being guided and kept safe from all evil. Without Jesus, mankind would be lost and living in darkness.
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Today's Alleluia verse is John 14.6: "I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord; no one comes to the Father except through me." (In the Gospel reading from Luke 6 that follows, Jesus makes it clear to the Pharisees that he is also the lord of the sabbath.) You don't have to read that statement a second time to realize that it's a huge claim ~ you either have to take it or leave it, no middle ground possible. To me, this is the Lord of all speaking the truth with love without the slightest arrogance, as is consistent with all he'd said and done his whole life.
Friday, September 2, 2011
To me this morning's Gospel reading from Luke 5 was all about "fitting." When Jesus (the bridegroom) was still with his disciples, it's fitting for them to eat and drink. New wine must be poured into fresh wineskins, not old ones. Likewise, to receive the Lord in the Holy Eucharist, we must be sufficiently clean and pure on the inside.
Today's first reading at Mass was taken from Colossians. Some excerpts: "All things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead. For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the Blood of his cross through him." The Holy Spirit must have revealed all this to Paul.
We can either accept or reject Paul's claim, but must not ignore it. If we accept it, then we must follow up by preparing ourselves for it.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 5, Jesus instructed Peter to lower the fishing nets after Peter and his partners had worked hard all night and caught nothing. Peter obeyed and they caught enough fish to fully fill two boats. So astonished, Peter fell at the knees of Jesus and said, "Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man." Peter was awed by the superiority of Jesus. What he said deeply moves me. If we also have such a realization, then know that God is calling you to him. The proper thing to say now would be "Come to me, Lord, for I am a sinful man who needs you."
By the way, after the big catch, Jesus said to Peter, "Do not be afraid; from now on, you will be catching men." Then Peter and his partners brought the boats to the shore, left everything (I suppose that included the fish too) and followed Jesus. What a beautiful lesson and story!
The most joyful thing you can ever hear is the Lord calling you. It's not just hearing his sweet voice; it's knowing that this is Love letting you know that he loves you!