"Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Reaping What I Didn't Sow

        When we get to go to school, especially college, we must appreciate the fact that all the knowledge and information that have been found and discovered during the prior thousands of years are there for us to acquire and absorb. In a relatively short time, we are able to reap what we really did not sow, in a way.   
        These thoughts made me think of the good news of salvation that had been revealed to us by Jesus Christ. I feel so blessed that when I was born, the good news was already here.  Everything I needed to know for living a good life and securing eternal life afterwards was laid open before me.  In this case, it's truly reaping everything I did not sow because God had done it all!

Called for a Reason

        Today is the Feast of St. Andrew, apostle. He was one of the first disciples called by Jesus to follow him. Jesus then called the others one by one. When the Lord saw Nathanael, he said, “Here is a true Israelite.  There is no duplicity in him.” Jesus knows each one of us inside out.  When he calls us to follow him, it is for a definite reason and we must respond immediately as the early apostles did.  Following Christ is the most exhilarating, fulfilling, and rewarding life you can possibly lead. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Jesus Is Our Joy!

        Jesus is already the way, the truth, and the life for us.  In addition, he is the light of the world.  My heart was filled with great joy after receiving him in the Holy Eucharist this morning.  To me now, he is also the joy of the world, our joy.  In him, joy overcomes all sorrows.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Road to Freedom

        No one can set himself free ~ only God can set us free.  Surrender to God to embark on the road to freedom. 

To Be Truly Classy

        There are many vain people in this world who go for name brands. They wear expensive name-brand watches, name-brand coats, and even name-brand underwear. (Speaking of underwear, I will never buy the Calvin Klein brand only because of the company's indecent, sexy ads featuring young, semi-nude men and women.) These wearers think that they are classy, even though others don't think so, let alone what God thinks.  To be truly classy in a class of its own, be pure and humble before the Lord. One is truly classy only when God thinks so. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sin Can Be a Curse

        Earlier today, I posted "Sin Is a Blessing." This is true only if you realize that sin is bad. Otherwise, it'd be more like a curse.  When I see someone committing a sin, even a small one, I feel sorrowful because nothing we do can escape God; later that person will have to account for that transgression. Today's Gospel message from Mark 13 is relevant: "Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come."

My Greatest Blessing

        No doubt about it ~ it is that God had called me through his Divine Son Jesus.  It is the greatest because there's absolutely nothing else that could possibly benifit me more. It resolved the riddle of my life forever.  Jesus' saying "The truth will set you free" turned out to be true!  

Sin Is a Blessing

        To want to be holy, we must ask the Holy Spirit to sharpen our conscience.  In reality, as you become united with the Lord more and more, the process goes on automatically. With a sharp conscience, a small sin will hurt you a lot, making you lose your peace. This is necessary because a muddy conscience overlooks a lot of sins, making it impossible for you to become holier.  I see sin as a blessing ~ after you remove it through penance, you're holier than ever. The pain of sin spurs us on to new levels of sanctity. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Good Reason for Meeting People

        To see Christ in each person.

The Holiness of God Is...

the most refreshing thing in the whole universe!

The Mystery of God

        I got up early this morning to go to Mass. It was a beautiful day.  The sunlight was filtering through the mist hovering over the fields ~ it was a quite a mystical scene.  I thought of the mystery of God.  There's so much we don't know or understand about God, yet he has revealed enough for us to return to him in good grace through Christ.  This is sufficient for me now because I can always find out more about him later after I see him face-to-face. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

My Thanksgiving

        Today is Thanksgiving Day. I owe everything to God's goodness. In the Parable of the Lost Son, I shall always remember what the father said to the older son who became jealous and angry, seeing how the father celebrated and rejoiced upon the return of his younger brother, the lost son: "My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours." Indeed, everything I have came from the Father in heaven.  Thanks be to God! 

Is Jesus Always Right?

        Jesus is always right.  If you disagree, then show me where he went wrong or why he is not true. When Jesus was brought before the high priest Annas to be interrogated, a temple guard did not like the way Jesus answered the high priest and struck him. And the Lord answered back, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” So, if you find Jesus wrong or false, just don't follow him. But if you can't, then you have no excuse for not accepting and believing in him.    

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

On Second Coming

        Recently, a Harold Camping predicted more than once that the end of the world was coming. The predicted day came and went right by. There are many others trying hard to figure out when Jesus will come again. You just can't get more foolish than that! Jesus himself told us that only the Father knows when that day will be.  To me, the Lord had already come and is here, for his last promise was that he would be with us always until the end of the age. Every time I receive the Holy Eucharist, he enters me. The right thing to do is to enjoy him and bear fruit while we are still here.  Wasting time predicting and waiting for his coming will not get you into heaven. 

Most Beautiful Journey

        To discover the great inner beauty and inexhaustible riches of God, one must enter deep into him. Staying on the periphery will get you nowhere. You must go deep enough to taste the Lord first. That's why union with God is the most beautiful journey you can possibly embark on.     

Christ Is Everything and All

        In morning before Mass started, I had the desire to be aware of Jesus alone and oblivious to everything else, saints included. Christ is really the only one you need to know and hold onto. He is everything and he is all. He is Lord God.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Miracles not Amazing

        Miracles are not amazing; it is God who makes the miracles happen that's amazing.

No Other Place I'd Rather Be

         This morning after Mass, I and another person were to visit some of the old, homebound folks. I had nine consecrated Hosts on me and was also holding six more for my partner because she temporarily had to leave to get something done. Imagine having fifteen consecrated Hosts in two pyxes hanging around your neck ~ the feeling was overwhelming! I felt that I was actually embracing the Lord and that there's no other place I'd rather be than being with him. He is where I belong!

Back to the Beginning

        At the beginning, God created Adam and Eve and a perfect relationship existed between them and God. Then they sinned and were exiled from paradise. Now, Jesus has come and redeemed us. This is the perfect time to restore that perfect relationship with God (unless you prefer to remain banished forever).

God the Amazing Creator

        I received these thoughts early during morning Mass. I was amazed that God has made us so that we can come up with the desire to look for him and that we can actually find him and even fall in love with him.  It's like playing hide-and-seek and God is the loser.  The Lord impressed me as a most amazing creator.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Be Ready for God Before...

(1) Jesus' second coming, (2) your life ends, (3) you lose your mind while still living.  Only God knows when these things will or might happen. If you are wise, you'll want to be ready for him at any moment for the unexpected in order not to be shocked later.

Appearance That Matters

        After Mass this morning, I looked at the decorated altar in darker colors, the flowers (artificial) in rather drab vases, etc., I felt that personally, I definitely would like to see fresh flowers and more cheerful colors all around to brighten up the interior. Then others may disagree. At  any rate, the Lord made me see that making the church look good is good, but what matters most is how we look on the inside to him.  I got the message. 

We Are Special!

        We are not just anything. On the contrary, we are special to God. First, we were created in the image of God. Then Jesus let it be known that anyone who keeps the word of God is his brother or sister.  Last, Jesus died for our sins so that we might become adopted sons and daughters of the Father. Low self-esteem has absolutely no place in us. Rather, we should rejoice daily for such favors!

God Is Infinite

        I realize that faith in God can range from very faint to strong and firm with total conviction. Between the two extremes, there must be infinite degrees of faith. If God's mercy were limited, probably not many will get into heaven.  The fact is that I can't think of any way in which God is limited.  For me, the definition of God might as well be infinity.  

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Loving the Least Ones

        Today is the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ The King.  In the Gospel from Matthew 25, we read what the Lord said to his disciples, "Whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.  What you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me."  Jesus identified himself with those in need, the poor, the weak, the oppressed, the disadvantaged.  We must care for all those who have less.  How can we not love them who are loved by our King? 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Jesus Can Calm Us

        On the way home from morning Mass, I experienced a great calm in my heart.  I recalled how Jesus rebuked the winds and the waves and a great calm followed (Matthew 8, Mark 4, Luke 8).  If he could do that, then surely he can calm the winds and waves in our hearts.  

Sin and Peace

        The world has no peace because it is in a sinful state. The same holds true for an individual. For someone in the Lord, the conscience could be sharpened to the point that any sin committed against God becomes so distasteful as to be unbearable. The great saints would rather die than sin against God.  This loss of internal peace is proof that sin and peace cannot coexist. Then, at the opposite end, there are those whose conscience has been dulled to the point that they can easily sweep their sins under the carpet. Even though they look away from their sins, the lack of peace remains in their heart. 

Safe in Christ

        Living our life is like climbing a cliff ~ we are always hanging on precariously because one slip and we can be lost forever.  For the faithful Christian, Jesus has already tethered a cord around him. A slip may slow down the ascent, but he is ultimately safe.

Friday, November 18, 2011

God Is Accessible

        During contemplation after morning Mass, I looked ahead and saw the lit sanctuary lamp signifying the presence of the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle behind it. This was the Blessed Sacrament I received just a short while ago. I then realized that our God is totally accessible and personal, not at all distant or aloof.  How can a God who is love be otherwise? Certainly something to rejoice about! 

Nothing Is Free?

        People who work hard to get where they want to be lament the fact that nothing is free.  I do know that the beautiful love of God is absolutely free, unless you consider opening your heart to this love is work.  When you receive this love, you get all the other good things you need to help you live a life full of joy and freedom as well. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Jesus Is Ours

        Jesus is the way, the truth and the life ~ he is our way, our truth, and our life.  Jesus is the light of the world ~ he is our light in this world.

Our Real Enemies

        In today's Gospel from Luke 19, Jesus mentioned the enemies of Jerusalem that would destroy the city in the coming days.  I started thinking about enemies. There are people who  don't like us because we hold different political views. There are others who still owe us money they borrowed from us.  Some say nasty things about us.  Are they and similar other examples our enemies? I don't think so. In a way, they are blessings from God to test us to see how Christian we are. Of course, we must still love them.
        The real enemies are those who cause us to sin or lure us away from God, thus endangering our souls.  We should love them too, but must fight them at the same time.    

Keeping the Heart Pure

        When God looks at us, he sees the heart first. To delight the Lord, you must have a pure heart. The "secret" to keeping the heart pure is to have the Lord dwell in it.  Where God is, impurities cannot exist. 

Getting Back into Grace

        Adam and Eve fell from grace through pride and disobedience to God. Jesus the Savior had already come to invite us back. Let's seize this opportunity to get back into grace through humility and obedience to God.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Another Union Advantage

        In union with God, you are totally in the Lord.  Since you are with him, you no longer need to ask him to lead you anymore.  Where he is, you are.  When he wants you go in a certain direction, he will let you know.

An Honest Question

        Can you really manage on your own without God in your life?

Beauty of the Holy Spirit's Mind

        As I was driving to Mass this morning, I sensed the profound beauty and perfection of the mind of the Holy Spirit, which made me want to share it. 

God as Light

        It was a beautiful morning.  As a past photographer, I am very aware of the quality of light. There were a few times when the light was just perfect and made what I saw extraordinarily beautiful. Once I drove along a creek and saw the distant hills with trees on them and clouds overhead to one side of the road, bathed in the late afternoon sunlight after a rain, so beautiful that the image just etched in my mind's eye. I had driven along the same road many times before, but the scene never struck me like this.  So, the presence of the right kind of light is essential to the creation of a great image. All this makes me think of God as light, for the presence of God is absolutely necessary for transforming a human soul into a pure one. As physical light transforms an ordinary scene into one beautiful to the physical eye, God transforms an ordinary soul into one beautiful for him to behold.       

A Golden Thread

        I can recall many pleasant moments in life. For instance, someone was being extra nice to me or I happened upon the best apple strudel in the world. These were all isolated moments. Then there were moments in which the Lord drew me to him, step by step, at different times. Nevertheless, they form a continuous thread, leading to spiritual fulfillment.  If God had already thrown you a thread, hold onto it and let him draw you all the way to his bosom.          

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How Close Are You to Union?

        Do you tell the Father everything that's in your heart?  Are you open to anything he may want to reveal to you? Is there free flow or still some kind of barrier between you and God when it comes to communication?  
        You may specifically want to see him, touch him, to be healed by him, to hear his voice, or to dine with him; but the important goal is to achieve intimate union with him in spirit.   

How Good to House the Lord in Us!

        In today's Gospel reading from Luke 19, Jesus chose to go stay at the house of Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector.  Zacchaeus was overjoyed and promised to give half of his possessions to the poor and not to extort anything from anyone.  I got to thinking that I too should be overjoyed because the Lord had called me, come to me, and is now dwelling in me.  I must promise to give all of myself to him and not to sin against him.   

To Stop Offending God

          The best way to prevent us from offending God is to be filled with his love, letting this love be our sole motivator. Secondly, develop an utter distaste for sins as a line of defense. The more we unite with the Lord, the more nauseating sins become.  

Monday, November 14, 2011

Total Immersion in Christ

        The one thought I've been having in these last two days in total immersion in Christ. Like the total immersion in water at baptism, we now immerse totally in Christ (and his love).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Jesus, More Real than Ever

        I feel especially close to St. John the Apostle. I just got Stephen Ray's St. John's Gospel, A Bible Study Guide and Commentary. In the introduction, he talks about the Apostle John.  I am just going to put down the instances in which John was a witness according to how Stephen Ray lists them.
        (1) While John was mending nets with his brother James and their father Zebedee in a boat, Jesus called the two brothers and they immediately left their boat and their father and followed him (Mt 4:21-22). 
        (2) He (John) was at the table when Jesus instituted the Eucharist and in fact, was the one who reclined upon the Lord's chest during the meal (Jn 13:23-25).
        (3) He received the Holy Spirit as Jesus breathed on him (Jn 20:21-23).  
       (4) His feet were washed by the Lord himself (Jn 13:5). 
        (5) As one of Jesus' favorite disciples, he was referred to as "the one Jesus loved" (Jn 13:23; 20:2; 21:20).
        (6) Jesus nicknamed him and his brother, James, Boanerges ~ sons of thunder (Mk 3:17).
        (7) He fell asleep as Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mk 14:32-42).
        (8) He was there when Judas betrayed the Lord, and then followed Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest (Jn 18:15).
        (9) He's the only disciple who stayed at the foot of the Cross, while the others had fled earlier (Mk 14:50; Jn 19:26).
        (10) Jesus entrusted his Mother to John's care and John to his Mother's care (Jn 19:26-27).
        (11) He was a witness to the Resurrection (Jn 20:1-10).
        (12) For 40 days he saw the proofs of the Lord's Resurrection and received further instructions on waiting for the Holy Spirit to come, etc. (Mt 28:16-20; Acts 1:1-10)
        (13) While fishing at dawn, he was the first to recognize the Lord standing on the shore of the sea of Tiberias (Jn 21:7).
        (14) He saw the Lord being taken up into heaven (Acts 1:9-11).    
       (15) He also saw the Blessed Virgin crowned in glory in a heavenly vision (Rev 12).
        John testified to the truth of all that he had written down (Jn 21:24).
        Jesus was already real to me, now after reading St. John's personal witnessing, he is more real to me than ever! 

Everything We Do Matters

        Everything we do affects the whole world (or universe).  Sometimes the effect may be minuscule or barely detectable, but it's there. On the contrary, everything we do, no matter how small, has a great impact on our soul! Every move is known to God and contributes to determining our eternal destination.  

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Our Sole Intention Should Be...

to give God glory. All of what we think, speak, and do should be so guided. 

Following the Lord with Trust

        When we follow the Lord, we simply follow and do not know how he is going to lead us and/or how things we prayed about are going to turn out; but we know that he always leads us in the right direction for our best. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Best Prayer for the Heart

        Today something that could trouble the heart came up and I prayed "Thy will be done" and peace reigned. In the final analysis, this is the best prayer for the heart.  Saying it means that we are obedient to God and we trust in his mercy.

Serving God Today

        Jesus said that we could not serve God and mammon at the time.  It's sad that today, no matter what government system you live under, whether we are in good economic times or bad, money and material wealth are what the world is after. Look at the troubles of the world ~ it's safe to guess that the majority of them are mammon-caused. To chase after God is to be like a sheep among all the wolves, then we have an invincible shepherd guarding and guiding us. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Being "In"

        Thoughts this morning during Mass.  I know that God is everywhere around me.  Then when I receive the Holy Eucharist, he fills me as well.  So I become totally immersed in him and he in me.  The two merge into one and are in each other.  God and I belong together.  No matter how you look at it, it's a great, satisfied feeling.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Union Advantage

        Normally, when we try to be more Christlike, we do our best to become holier; but sometimes old sins just don't go away easily, so we continue to struggle.  Without genuine repentance, determination, and persistent prayer, progress can be slow. It could even go on like this the rest of our lives.
        The quick and effective way is to aim for union with God. I remember once my insurance company unfairly increased my premium for an accident not due to my fault. I wrote to the chairman of the board and got the action reversed.  To solve the problem, go to the top. For spiritual progress, aim for union with God. Once you surrender to God, your struggle is gone as he takes over. God now is free to transform you.
        By comparison, the first approach is hard work and not always effective, while the second way is quick and certain for both you and God. This is the union advantage.   

Father Knows Best

        This was the title of a TV series starring Robert Young back in the 50's.  Here "Father" in my title refers to the Heavenly Father.  Many things happen in our lives.   At one time of another, I think we all have imagined living a happy life with all our fond wishes and dreams coming true.  Life never turns out this way and you wonder why God doesn't help.  You look back and see that many things could have turned out differently to keep you happy.  Now I see that God is in control and always knows what's best for you spiritually.  If things had always gone my way, I might even be a lost soul today. We must trust in the Father. Eternal life with him, not self-centered happiness in this world, must be our goal.  Wisdom, obedience, and perseverance will pay off in the end.             

As Temples of God

        Today is the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome.  In Reading 2 from 1 Corinthians 3, Paul wrote, " Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?"  We need to remember this.  As temples of God, we are consecrated. We must make sure that the temple stays clean on the inside for God's holy presence and that he is to have full reign in his place. Then we shall be in full union with him.   

Holy Eucharist Most Awesome

        Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper.  When he said, "This is my body" and "This is the chalice of my blood," he meant exactly that ~ "is" means "is" and we are to believe and not try to figure out how it possibly could be.  This is a mystery as all the other mysteries about God.  The Holy Eucharist is the bread from heaven, in which the Lord is truly present.  What you receive at Mass is exactly what the Apostles received at the Last Supper.  In receiving this sacrament, you welcome God into you, acknowledging yourself as his child, and the love between you and him is sealed, so to speak.  Appreciating this physical union will take you all the way to full spiritual union with the Lord. No wonder this great gift is the center of worship in his Church from the very beginning.  Loving the Holy Eucharist is loving Christ and his Church.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

God's Final Mercy

        The aging process comes to my mind.  I see it as mercy from the the Lord.  As we age, we get weaker and develop various physical problems and ailments.  It's as if the Lord is preparing us to face our final days.  We have to accept reality now and see death more as relief than something terrible.  The shock is gone.  Of course, to those with strong faith in the Lord all along, they already see the mercy of God in all things.  

How to Be Born Again

        Protestants believe that once you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you are born again.  It sounds so easy.  To me, this is only the beginning.  To be truly born again, you must die to sin first and then relive in Christ ~ there can be no new life without death first.

Jesus Is like a Cave

        When you stand at the entrance of a deep cave, you first notice the darkness and are not sure what might be hidden inside, but it does arouse your curiosity. You decide to explore it, with uneasiness at first. As you penetrate deeper and deeper, you discover more and more beauty ~ the colorful rock formation, a clear stream and crystal pools... At the end you find the most magnificent chamber with brilliant sunlight flooding in overhead.

How Jesus Draws Us

        Suppose that you go to a school, take a course, and find it interesting.  Your teacher also happens to be good and you earn a top grade in the course at the end.  You are happy about your success and want to continue taking more courses. 
        This is how we feel good about Jesus too.  Let me use an example. Assume that you have the problem of losing patience easily and you pray sincerely to Jesus to correct this problem.  Before you know, you realize that you have become a more patient person. You are then amazed and excited  that Jesus can actually change you in a fundamental way and look forward to being transformed more by the Lord.  This is how Jesus draws us.             

Monday, November 7, 2011

Just You and God

        I've posted more than once that in the final analysis, it's always between you and God.  Today the Lord showed me something more.  Normally, we all struggle to solve our own problems.  I've found that when I maintain the best possible relationship with God, he just takes away all my struggles by handling the problems for me.  Satan is still out there, but God takes care of him too.  As long as you stay in union with God, you are safe to ignore Satan.  It's just between you and God, with Satan kept away.  As the saying goes, two's company and three's a crowd. 

Seek and You Will Find

        We heard about Mt. Everest, the highest mountain on planet earth.  You may not have seen it, but it's there in Nepal.  You will see it if you travel there.  The same with God.  The fact that you don't see him does not mean that he does not exist.  In fact, the existence of God is more certain than that of Mt. Everest.  Without God, there wouldn't be Everest.  The reason people don't believe is because they have not gone looking for God. By learning about Jesus, studying the Scriptures, praying for guidance and enlightenment...they will begin to find him.  And then they'll see that he has been there all along.    

Best Hiding Place

        As I was consuming the Holy Eucharist during Communion, I asked the Lord to consume me for me to become totally dissolved in him.  Let's look at it from a practical point of view ~ God is everywhere and there is absolutely no place to hide from him.  In other words, there is no place to go except the Lord himself.  Besides, in him you'll find maximum security, love and kindness, consolation and comfort... everything your heart desires. There's no better hiding place!

God Is for Forgiving

        In today's Gospel reading, Jesus also asked his disciples to forgive their brothers.  To always forgive others (or love your enemies) is the hallmark and a unique feature of Christianity (to me the mark of truth).  God forbid that any Christian will ever contemplate launching terror attacks on others in His name!

Don't Cause Sin!

        In today's Gospel reading from Luke 17, Jesus said to his disciples, "Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the one through whom they occur.  It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin."  Sin indeed has no place before God.  Sinning on your own is one thing; causing others to sin is so much worse!  Let's ask the Lord to help us be pure and holy.    

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Living in God's Love

        God's love is like a torrent, ready to engulf us; our heart is the gate and our mind the key that controls the gate. Once we decide to open the gate, the tremendous flow of this love will sweep us off our feet, lifting us to a new high. We now live in his love.

Great Feelings at Mass

        I attended the early Sunday morning Mass and received the following.
        (1) The Mass opened with an Amy Grant song: "The Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path..."  What I felt was the absolute clarity of the Lord's message.  Jesus had shown me the clear path to follow to salvation in him.
      (2) Reading 2 was taken from 1 Thessalonians 4.  I felt the bright hope in life which is the Lord and this had made all the difference to me.  Living with hope leads to eternal life, whereas living without, to eternal separation from God.
        (3) During Communion, I felt that the giving from the Lord and the receiving on my part was 100% one-way.  I truly owe gratitude to him.  I survive by his mercy alone.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sin Offends God!

        After I heard on the radio the story of Steve Rossi of Schenectady, someone who would do all he could to hold onto power and control others, I became extra aware of how terrible it is to be selfish and have no regard for others.  We all know in conscience that hurting others is bad, but do we also realize that all sins offend the loving, blameless, holy God?  Now, this is serious!  Since God equates loving our neighbors to loving him; so, to not love others is to not love God.

No Fooling the Lord

        In the Gospel reading from Luke 16 for today's Mass, these sayings of Jesus stand out. 
        To his disciples:
        (1) "The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones."  [It's wrong to justify cheating a little bit in small matters by saying that I'll be honest in more important, big matters.  Not being 100% honest is being dishonest.  With the Lord, we must be good all the way through.]
        (2) "No servant can serve two masters.  You cannot serve God and mammon."  [Again, honesty matters.]
        To the Pharisees:
        (3) "You justify yourselves in the sight of others, but God knows your hearts; for what is of human esteem is an abomination in the sight of God."  [Pretty strong language.  The Lord loves humility.]  

To Be in Christ

        I did not get to attend today's morning Mass, so I just read the readings online (http://www.usccb.org/bible/).  The first reading is taken from Romans 16.  Paul uses the expressions "in Christ" and "obedience of faith."  They generated these thoughts in me.  Can you say that you are in Christ?  Just knowing about him is certainly not in him.  Even knowing him may not quite be in him yet.  To be truly in Christ is to have total obedience in him.  To be truly in Christ is to be willingly transformed by him.  To be ultimately in Christ is to be in union with him.

Friday, November 4, 2011

True Joy from Within

        During Communion, the Lord gave me these thoughts.  True good feelings and happiness do not come from without; they come from within.  I may feel momentarily pleased when someone compliments me or be exhilarated by driving a fast car; but true, lasting joy comes only from the Holy Spirit dwelling within. 

God Wants the Best for Us

        Today's Entrance Song, 1 Samuel 2.35: "I will raise up for myself a faithful priest; he will do what is in my heart and in my mind, says the Lord."  [How beautiful to be of one heart and one mind with the Lord!]  
        Gospel Acclamation, 1 John 2.5: "Whoever keeps the word of Christ, the love of God is truly perfected in him."  [The pathway to perfection!] 
        Communion Song, John 10.10: "I came that men may have life, and have it to the full, says the Lord."  [God wants to give us life to the full ~ truly overwhelming!]
        All my comments in brackets end with an exclamation mark, because God loves us so much that he only wants to give us the very best. 

How Good to Be Penitent!

         Today we celebrate the Memorial of St. Charles Borromeo.  I felt particularly good when we were doing the Penitential Rite, confessing to God that "I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do..." ~ it just seemed so fitting for us to confess to the Lord.  He has the power and is ever ready to free us by making us pure.  It's as if we have a safety net ready to catch us at any moment.  Let us be prodigal sons or daughters returning to the Father.  We can only go wrong if we stay away from him.    

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Proof of Truth

        The more you believe in Jesus, the more you find him beautiful.  To me, this is the proof of truth.

How to Live Today

        From today's Reading 1 from Romans 14 at Mass: "We shall all stand before the judgment seat of God . . . each of us shall give an account of himself to God."  Like death, this is unavoidable and is as it should be. You've heard that we should live as if today is the last day of our life ~ it's equally valid or even more immediate to say that we should live as if today is the day of our judgment before God.

Sin Has No Place

        As a Eucharistic minister, I sometimes have to get consecrated hosts from the tabernacle to visit those who are not able to attend Mass at church.  When kneeling before the open tabernacle, I really feel the presence of the Lord.  If I am sitting in the very back of the church, far away from the tabernacle, I just do not get that same intense feeling.  This morning at Mass, the Lord made me see that this was merely psychological and that it's erroneous to think that his Holy Presence is only limited to the tabernacle area or the interior of the church; in fact, he is present everywhere, transcending space.  Therefore, sin has no place anywhere.      

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Clear-Cut Message

        Today is All Soul's Day.  In the Gospel reading from John 6, Jesus spoke to the crowds, "For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day."  The message just can't get any more clear-cut!

An Exclusive Relationship

        When we pray to God, don't expect things to change, but expect God to change them.  Trust God alone, not people.  Do God's will only and not follow anyone else.  Praise only God.  Do everything through him, for he is our agent.
Live and die for God.  Remember that it's always between you and him.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Salvation Most Beautiful

        This is the first day of September, appropriately the Solemnity of All Saints.  The readings of the Mass were extraordinarily beautiful:
        (1) Reading 1 from Revelation 7.  
        A great multitude from every nation, race, people, and tongue stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.  They cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb."  [We need salvation, yes, and God provides just that!]
        One of the elders spoke up, "These wearing white robes are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb."  [The precious Blood of Jesus has made our robes snow white!]
        (2) Reading 2 from 1 John 3.
        Beloved, we are God's children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed.  We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.  Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure.  [Pure souls in all white robes!]
        (3) Gospel reading from Matthew 5.
        On the mountain the Lord taught the Beatitudes.  [What beautiful teaching!  Let's live these sayings and we'll be amply blessed.]
        Last, the pastor reminded us that we are eternal!  We don't just die and become nothing.  Do we want to live afterward eternally with God or not?  This is to be settled while there's still earthly life in us. 

Two Beautiful Situations to Be In!

        (1) Praying to the Lord with all your heart and then trusting in him with all your heart.
        (2) Letting the Holy Spirit move you before you take each step.

The Coming-Home Process

        When I first accept Christ into my life, I searched for a Christian church to join.  I knew there's the Catholic Church, but since there were just so many more Protestant churches around, it seemed that the Catholic Church was an oddball among the many Christian churches. As a brand new convert, I just didn't know much ~ a Christian church is a Christian church. I even looked into Christian Science. Once I found a friendly church with a pastor that gave good sermons, I joined and became a member.  I was happy, so I just never wondered why the various Protestant churches belonged to different denominations or if there was an original church that started from the time of Christ.  Happy people are content where they are and don't search or look elsewhere. It's only after I noticed some of the questionable practices and disunity among the Protestant denominations that I began looking outside Protestantism.  I believe that's how it happens to most Protestants who have come home to the Catholic (meaning all-embracing) Church.  The oddball church, usually the last choice on the would-be convert's list, turns out to be the one and only choice.