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

Monday, April 30, 2012

Don't Blemish the Universe

        Do you realize that when we disobey God, we are the only creatures in this universe that become blemishes to God? The Lord wants to reign in our hearts, but we have the power to keep him out, thus becoming a blemish. Know that when we submit ourselves to God, we are making this universe more completely perfect. In the end, all remaining blemishes will be blotted out by the Lord. 

On Praying for Others

        We tend to pray for others not as ardently as we pray for ourselves, especially when the others are people we don't even personally know. Since Jesus wants us to love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves, it dawned on me that we should pray for others just as hard and sincerely as we pray for ourselves.

Essential Questions to Ask

        Before a couple gets married, it'd be good to know how the two answer certain questions to ensure that they are compatible and will be happy to live together. Here are three questions normally not asked, but could prove to be important. (1) Do you like camping? (Imagine that one enjoys camping outdoors and the other much prefer staying at a hotel when they travel together.) (2) Are you a saver or a dumper? (A saver doesn't like to throw away anything, while a dumper doesn't feel good unless everything not needed, not working, or that takes up too much space is disposed of.) (3) Do you like the contemporary or the traditional style? (When it comes to decorating the home, diametric preferences can easily start a war.)
        I brought all this up because we are all going to meet God one day and it would be wise to prepare some questions in advance to make sure that we will be compatible with God and happy to live with him forever. For example, (1) Do I really believe in God? (2) Did I skip Sunday Mass for no good reason? (3) Do I receive the Holy Eucharist with great reverence?...you can think up the rest. We must be very thorough because we are not just marrying and living with someone for a short time, but are going to be considered to live with God for all eternity!    

The Muddy World

        Here are more thoughts on the unattractive world. It's actually a picture I have envisioned. The world is like a really muddy place. We are like pigs that wallow in the mud. We are dirty and filthy, yet we feel good. To enter the realm of Jesus is to get out of the dirty mud and get all cleaned up. Now we feel truly great and know that that's where we should remain.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Unattractive World

        Since the world conscience is different from the Christian conscience, what seems harmless to the world may very well be offensive to God ~ the world is just not concerned about the human soul. I had lost interest in the attractions and entertainment of the world; in fact, they could be downright boring. I wondered why, then the answer came: Jesus was not in them.

A Matter of Knowing

        Reading 2 at Mass from 1 John 3 mentions knowing Jesus. The Gospel read from John 10 is all about Jesus being the good shepherd. Verse 14-15: "I am the good shepherd, and I know my sheep and they know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep." Jesus' love for us is declared here. To know Jesus is to know God and the whole truth!

Belonging to God

        I attended a men's conference yesterday. Over 200 men were present and some of talks were excellent. Of course, the highlight for me was receiving the Lord at the noon Mass said by the local bishop. Right after I received Holy Communion, I heard Jesus say to me, "You are now mine." Joy filled my heart. Today on Good Shepherd Sunday, the same happy message continues. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Abortion Silences Life

        During the liturgy of the Eucharist at Mass this morning, I heard a child's voice a few rows back behind me. It was a beautiful sound and I instantly thought of the countless children that had been aborted ~ their lives were snuffed out before they could make any sound. May God have mercy on this nation whose highest court legalized abortion.

Real Body & Real Blood

        The Gospel reading at Mass are verses 52-59 from John 6. Read them with an open mind and you won't find the slightest hint that Jesus was talking about eating his flesh and drinking his blood symbolically. We who receive Holy Communion and believe in the real presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist will live forever as promised by the Lord here.

God Speaks with Love

        In today's Reading 1 at Mass from Acts 9, the story of Paul's conversion was told. After Paul had already inflicted great harm on the Christians, Jesus still called him lovingly and Paul was converted. The voice of the Lord is sweet, for he only speaks the truth, intent on leading us to eternal life. If you hear him speaking to your heart, welcome his voice and pay attention, for he is loving you.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Duality of God

        Jesus is the king of kings, but he's also the lowest of all servants. He's the most high, yet he's instantly accessible to us. He's the judge of all, but his mercy is equally great. He punishes, but forgives easily. He's the most powerful and at the same time the gentlest. Love explains it all!  

God More than Fair

        At today's Mass, the Communion Song, 2 Corinthians 5.15, goes like this: "Christ died for all, that those who live may live no longer for themselves, but for him who died for them and is risen, alleluia." If Jesus did die for me, then of course, it's only fair that I should live for him. In fact, it's more than fair because I have the easy part, while he took the harder part.   

Opposite Reaction

        The more I read about horrible, sinful acts in the news and see impure, sinful shows on TV, the more I turn to God to ask for his mercy on all, for he is the Lord of salvation. God's power is always there ~ the sole reason why the world is so messed up is because we have ignored or misinterpreted God. Otherwise, Satan would absolutely have no power over us.

Let Only Truth Affect You

        If people say false things about you, do not let them bother you. False things are false, so they do not exist. If someone wants you to panic by spreading the false rumor that the world will end tomorrow, wouldn't you feel rather stupid to let it affect you? So, let only truth affect you. In fact, let only Jesus affect you and you'll always have inner peace. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Perfect Humility

        Jesus is sinless, yet he suffered so much while he was in this world. Is his suffering just or unjust? From the human point of view, it would seem most unjust to punish anyone who's not guilty. But from God's point of view in the overall scheme of things, anything that happens according to his holy will is just. And Jesus our Lord had the perfect humility to regard all his sufferings to be just.  

The Glorious Mysteries

        Before Mass began, I had some time to dwell upon the first three Glorious Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. Here are some brief thoughts.
        (1) Resurrection. The disciples didn't believe that Jesus was alive until they saw him in person. It must have been such a great joy to them, for after disappointment all their expectations were fulfilled again. Knowing that the Lord has risen, we too are filled with joy. In fact, everything associated with the Lord is a cause for our rejoicing. We can proclaim aloud that "Jesus is our joy!"
      (2) Ascension. I am sure that when the disciples saw the Lord ascending into heaven, they felt sad because they were not going to see him for a while. At the same time, it should be obvious to them that there is a heaven where Jesus was ascending to. Overall, the joy wiped out any sadness. We should feel that way right now.
        (3) Descent of the Holy Spirit. That was affirmation that God did not want to leave us alone ~ the Holy Spirit is our greatest consolation on earth. With him, we should be ready to rock and roll!
         These glorious mysteries are truly joyful ones.    

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Catholics Under Attack

        Glenn Beck visited recently the Vatican to observe and be part of the historic ordainment of new cardinals. You may not be one of his fans, but the message of this video report, Catholics Under Attack, by him has everything to do with all Christians, Jews, and other religious groups. Watch it:

 

Deriving Joy

        When one is in union with God, the self exists in God only. All he wishes is to glorify God, who shields him. This is how he derives all his joy.   

Monday, April 23, 2012

Two Beautiful Acts

        When the Lord transforms a heart, it's such a beautiful act, because anything he touches becomes beautiful.
       The lord knows exactly what he is doing, for he is full of wisdom. We are not to question, but to trust. Trusting in the most loving God becomes a most beautiful act. 
         When the Holy Spirit made me see these truths, I was moved to tears. 

The Slow Ones

        The Holy Spirit just made me see this. Jesus came into this world and showed us the power and the truth of God. It has always been us, the finite ones, who are slow to catch on, to understand, and to believe. It takes some a lifetime to see.

Called to Be Holy

         God is all holy. Even if I become a great saint, compared to the Lord, I would still be unholy. I believe that how much we desire to be holy matters a lot. Where we fall short, God's mercy will cover. If you think that being holy is not cool, you've been brainwashed by the world. If you love the Lord and want to follow him, you are called to be holy. If you think that's an unattainable goal, then it's you who are limiting both yourself and God, not God. In Matthew, Jesus said to his disciples, "Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect" ~ would the all-knowing Lord ask for the impossible from us? 
        In any case, holiness is being Christlike. Holiness is knowing that you are in God's good company. Holiness is refreshing, uplifting, and a joy. It is feeling victorious and secure in the Lord. It is experiencing freedom because the world no longer has a hold on you. When you're holy, God smiles. Being holy is the highest state of human existence. It definitely is cool.
       For Catholics to become as holy as possible, seek complete union with the Lord through receiving the Most Holy Sacrament, the Holy Eucharist.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Treat for the Soul

        Listening to some nice music played while working helps time pass, but the serious music lover would play, for example, a Beethoven symphony, and listen to it intently with eyes closed, sitting a comfortable chair, for its entire length. Today as I was praying the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary, I felt that it would be pure joy for me to meditate on the Resurrection, the Ascension, and the Descent of the Holy Spirit. Like the serious music lover, I would contemplate and marvel at these glories of God, with my eyes closed, sitting in a relaxed position. The Lord is always a treat for the soul.  

Accepting Inconveniences

        This morning I was getting ready to go minister to a group. First thing that happened was that a small pouch I needed to use accidentally fell into the toilet bowl. Then I forgot to bring any paper tissues or a handkerchief with me ~ what if I would need to blow my nose in this allergy season? Also, this was the first time for me to use my renewed ID, but the office person who issued it neglected to punch a hole in the card for me to attach a clip to it. Later, I realized that I forgot to bring the list of phone numbers I needed too; but fortunately, I could still recall those numbers. I did my best except that I hurried a little bit and things that can cause inconveniences still happened. The Lord made it clear to me that I should not let any such thing bother me. I got back just fine as if all those things had never happened. If things end well, then nothing really bad has happened. Never dwell on the past.     

What's the Point of Sinning?

         When one applies for a job, his past academic and work records will be examined. When one applies for entrance into heaven, the record of every thought, every word he ever uttered, and every action he ever took will be scrutinized. I mention this because I recall what a friend said a long time ago. We went to the same university and I visited him when he's working in New York. In those days neither of us was a Christian. Naturally, single guys talked about girls. He told me that a lot of guys were picking up girls to have sex with and he could do the same, then he added, "What's the point?"  I still remember that question because after you get some pleasure or fun from doing it, afterwards where does that get you to? It's true with every sin that you get something out of committing it, but you end up falling further away from God. If you ever think of making heaven, you're heading the wrong way.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Day Will Be Here

        Over a month ago, I arranged for a get-together at my home for the group involved in the ministry of visiting the homebound. First a week went by, then another, and another. Finally, the day is here. And I realize that the day we appear before the Lord to be judged will be here too, more certain than that the sun will rise tomorrow ~ it's only a matter of time. The wise would prepare for that day beforehand.   

Friday, April 20, 2012

Resting in Jesus

        Today's thoughts after receiving the Holy Eucharist: I am one with Jesus again. I can now rest perfectly in him.

Thinking About Heaven

        If I believe in God only because I want to go to heaven, I could feel somewhat guilty because it seems that I am being selfish, whereas the right reason should be because I love God. This brought to my mind that in my immature youthful days, I always felt a little uneasy when I went to my bank to withdraw my own money. Of course, I can take out my own money at any time as I wish! We shouldn't feel guilty about wanting to go to heaven either ~ it's where God wants us to go! We are not forgetting God because if he is not there, I don't think we would want to go there. Anyway, it is called heaven because it's where God is. So, I am going to dream about heaven, my destination; but I still yearn for my God, not heaven.

How Souls Look

        Those who attend Mass daily are usually souls with strong faith and devotion. This morning as I watched them returning to their seats after receiving the Holy Eucharist, I saw them reflecting the beauty of Christ. Then I thought of all the unbelievers in the world ~ how did they look to me? And I realized that by not turning to God, they were only hurting themselves and I felt great pity for them.

Power of the Holy Spirit

        The Holy Spirit has unlimited power. Since Jesus' kingdom does not belong to this world, the Holy Spirit exercises his power only in God's kingdom. This means that he can do great things in our spiritual lives.

To Dwell in the House of the Lord

        Psalm 27 is the Responsorial Psalm for Mass today. Verses 1 & 4 are so beautiful that I'll just quote them here without comment.
       "The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The LORD is my life's refuge; of whom should I be afraid? One thing I ask of the LORD; this I seek: To dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, that I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD and contemplate his temple."

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Beautiful Praying

        After Mass was over, the interior lights in the church got turned off, creating two rather dim areas in the back. I was sitting in one praying and someone sitting in a bright spot didn't realize that anyone else was in the church. She started praying aloud in Spanish, which I didn't understand; but obviously, she's talking to the Lord straight from her heart, with nothing held back. Her pleading tone was so sincere and fervent that made me see how beautiful praying can sound to both God and us when it's done with total trust in God. Later on, we talked a little bit, in English, and she told me that she's telling the Lord that she wanted to do his will from now on. So we have beautiful intention, beautiful praying, and beautiful listening.                                                                                                                               

Being Holy, a Good Feeling

        When the body is healthy, we feel good. Likewise, when the soul is healthy in a pure and clean state, we feel uplifted and carefree. St. Augustine said that "God has made us so that our hearts are restless until they rest in him." It follows that I could say that "God has made us so that we feel good when we are holy." This is our reward for remaining close to God.

Awesome God

        The Entrance Song at this morning's Mass taken from Psalm 68 reads: "O God, when you went forth before your people, marching with them and living among them, the earth trembled, heavens poured down rain, alleluia."
        Reading these verses made me realize how awesome God is. Here's a Lord who is infinite in every way, with whom nothing is impossible, and who loves us with the greatest possible love. He is so awesome that if it weren't for his love, I would be prostrating before him with tremors. Then his love draws us to him, removing all fears. In a way, this love has made him even more awesome!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Right Serving Attitude

        In John F. Kennedy's inaugural address half a century ago, he made this notable saying: "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." I brought this up because I am thinking that in performing spiritual tasks, I must not ask how it can benefit me spiritually, but ask how I can glorify God.

The Real No.1 Enemy

        Spiritually, who is our greatest enemy? Is it Satan? Certainly he is our enemy; but the no.1 enemy is actually our own ego, for the ego attracts Satan and Satan manipulates it to keep you away from God! If you have perfect humility, then Satan literally wouldn't have a handle on you anymore. Vanquish enemy no.1 and you will have vanquished all other enemies as well. 

God Loves Everyone

        Back to John 3.16, with which today's Gospel reading at morning Mass started. "God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but have eternal life." Next time I see anyone, I must treat that person as one for whom Jesus died. Reality may be hard to accept, but dodging it would make it harder for me to face the Lord later. 

How to Free the Heart

        In principle, to achieve freedom of the heart, you only need to live every moment for Jesus and not for yourself ~ this actually takes the burden off your heart! In practice, go to the Lord to ask him to fill all of you so that there will be no room left for anything to prevent you from living for him.  

Preserving Inner Peace

        Late yesterday I had no idea as to what I was to post on this blog today; in fact, I didn't know anything today might bring. I was not concerned about it, so I remained at peace. I recalled Jesus' words from Matthew 6: "Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself." The Lord is right. One reason people are restless is because they occupy their minds with wasteful and useless thoughts constantly, while the way to inner peace is to dwell in Jesus, the source of all peace. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My Lord, My God, & My Friend

        I rejoiced during Mass today. What happened? Well, we all have friends or people we know. Some people are proud of the fact that they know someone who's famous. At Communion time, I became aware that among my friends, one is actually God! And I even know his name and a lot more! And he is absolutely the best friend among all my friends! So I couldn't help rejoicing at this fact.  

More Reason for Seeking Union

        Reading 1 at Mass from Acts 4 tells us that the early community of believers was of one heart and mind. How sad that we cannot say the same thing about the Church today. Not only the laity is not of one heart and mind, the clergy has fallen into the same trap. Since division only pleases Satan, all the more we need to seek union with God so that we can become of one heart and mind.

In Praise of Jesus

        Jesus is what makes life worth living. He's the reason for which I want to live joyfully. He's the sole one who can guide us back to God with certainty, as he staked his life on that. He is everything to us and all we need. Without him, we are lost and life becomes meaningless. With him, I am completely content because I have fulfilled his wish, for he is not happy unless we are happy ~ that's how much he loves us. His love is the greatest possible love capable of transforming the most hardened hearts if we cooperate. To be in union with him is to be in love with love, a dream state.   

Monday, April 16, 2012

Discovery Is Not Revelation

        After that last post, I realize that there is a difference between what we discover and what God chooses to reveal to us. Left on our own, we simply find out more and more, through science mostly, about things that already exist. We would never have known that God is in three Persons, that he is love, that he had planned to save us... for these could only have been revealed by him directly to us. Therefore, we must take all such revealed truths to heart and treasure them. 
        In conclusion, we cannot know God if he does not say anything. But if he does, then we'd better listen and hold onto everything he says, for this is the only way for us to know him.   

We Have All We Need to Know

        Since we are only finite creatures, it's impossible for us to know anything beyond what the infinite God reveals to us. Therefore, let's be content by holding onto what he has revealed to us through his Son Jesus, enough for us to live on for ever. This is all he wants us to know now ~ anything more is unnecessary, out of line, and impossible anyway.

Where to Keep Jesus

        After Mass I remained in church to pray and contemplate as I normally do. I looked at the large crucifix hung above the altar, the statue of Mary on a pedestal in the niche, the picture of St. Joseph and that of Jesus of Divine Mercy hung on the walls. All these external images are beautiful, but Jesus is to be kept in our hearts. To have Jesus is to have him in the heart.

Expect More to Receive More

        At Communion time this morning, I mentally saw the image of the transfigured Lord (his face shining like the sun and his clothes dazzling white) in the Holy Eucharist. This is the very Lord whose body I was about to receive, so I expected that much more would be coming my way and greater things happening too. Open wide your heart to the Lord and expect him to fill your cup to overflowing. 

Living a Boring Life?

        I've known and seen people around who are very sophisticated and consider themselves worldly-wise. To them, those of us who love to pray, appreciate solitude or silence, and have no interest in much of the entertainment and fun most others enjoy may not necessarily be boring, but definitely live a boring life unattractive to them. The fact is that many of us were once worldly-wise too. Having tasted something that's truly refreshing, uplifting, and sweet, we have moved beyond and the ways of the world are now relatively tasteless ~ we are in love with Love! How I wish that all can taste the Lord and experience living a most delightful life.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Love of Christ

        Is there anything you can love more than anything else in the world? Yes. Right after receiving the Holy Eucharist at morning Mass today, I knew, felt clearly, that it's the love of Christ. Basically, the love of Christ is the Lord himself, for he is love. Once I saw it, heavenly joy completely filled my heart. Experience this love from heaven and be lifted right out of this world.

Addressing Jesus

        The Gospel reading at Mass was John 20:19-31. Thomas, after the Risen Lord asked him to see the mark of the nails in his hands and put his finger into the nail-marks and put his hand into his side, believed and answered to Jesus, "My Lord and my God!" What a most beautiful response! Catholics were taught to address the Lord thus right after the consecration of the bread at Mass. If your heart feels like exclaiming it whenever Jesus comes to your mind, you can be sure that it's the Holy Spirit who's prompting you to do so.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Depending on God Only

        There are those who seek security (happiness) in wealth. Some of them after amassing a huge amount of wealth would lose it and become distraught to the point of not wanting to live anymore. And they are those who count much on the love and support of their family. When the family breaks up, their world falls apart too. These are all real cases. So, what are we to do? Dependence upon God only is the answer. This is not merely making a convenient substitution ~ it fundamentally solves your problem. Depending upon God frees you from being attached to all the things and people of the world. You can still enjoy your wealth while you have it or love your family while they are around, then you'll have God always, giving you the true security, love, and support you need. "God is all we need" not only sounds logical, but is also true, for he is real.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Connecting to God, a Picture

        Jesus is the best evidence that God is definitely out there or with us, but you would not know unless you are connected to him. Some people are just not interested in connecting to him, at least not yet. Others do not attempt to make a good connection and get disconnected sooner or later. Some make a partial connection so that the flow of God into them is restricted and as a result, they never really get to know God well. Then we have those who make the full, firm connection, allowing God to flow into them freely, receiving grace after grace to overflowing, attaining spiritual union with God.             

Peter Proclaiming the Truth

        From Reading 1, Acts 4:1-12, at Mass this morning, we hear Peter proclaim bravely to the leaders of the people and elders about Jesus, "He is the stone rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved." What a bold statement (the one I italicized) it is! It's another one of those challenging ones that impel you to accept or reject without compromise. I accept this statement because this Peter is totally out of character with the Peter prior to the Resurrection of Jesus ~ he is now filled with the Holy Spirit. If what he proclaimed is true, then Christianity stands out as the bold truth.     

For Sinners to Know

        The own thing good we can say about our sins is that they can one day make us repentant and turn to God. Once we've returned to God, he then takes away the sins and we may feel so happy and free that we don't even think about that we ever sinned before. Now, be preoccupied at all times with the Lord in whom you exist ~ you no longer exist on your own!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Union Edge

        If you love Jesus, but have not reached full union with him, it's more likely that what you think you should do to glorify God are basically your ideas, and they may even disturb your inner peace. When you are in union with the Lord, he and you will be of one mind and he will show you what to do, and you will experience constant inner peace.

Holy Eucharist Most Intimate

        At Communion time, it was clear to me that receiving the Holy Eucharist is truly the best way to achieve union with Christ. Since we still live in a physical world, I just can't think of a better way of attaining intimacy with the Lord by consuming him truly present in the Holy Eucharist. Both physical and spiritual union take place so that Christ and we become one in each other as Christ and the Father are one. 

Protecting the Lord

        At Mass this morning, I felt the Lord dwelling within me and I wanted to protect him within me. Of course, I am the one who needs his protection, but I could protect him in the sense that I'll do my best to draw others to him so that he would be offended less by sins. This should be the desire and goal for all his disciples. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Faith Necessary for Finding God

        Read about Jesus in all the Gospels. If you believe that he is truly God, then everything you read would make perfect sense to you. But if you start out believing that he is not divine, then all the stories would absolutely make no sense and you end up knowing even less. In a way, this shows that Jesus is the truth and that faith or at least some faith is necessary for finding God. 

Soul over Body

        God can heal our soul and our body. The soul is more important than the body because the soul does not perish, but the body has no life of it own. When we ask the Lord to heal our soul, he readily complies as the soul is what he loves and a healed soul is a saved one. Our request for healing of the body is granted only if it'll help us spiritually toward saving our soul or give God glory in some other way, as the body, whether healed or not, will perish soon one day.

Cause for Joy

        This morning's Entrance Song, Matthew 25:34, at Mass: "Come, you blessed of my Father; receive the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, alleluia." As I read that, my heart leapt for joy. The Response to the Psalm (#105) echoed my feeling later: "Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Keeping the Lord

        As St. Paul points out in Romans 8, neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. To reject this love is indeed to be foolish to the extreme. On the other hand, if we do accept this love, then neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to take our Lord away from us.

Being Cut to the Heart

        Today's Reading 1 comes from Acts 2. On the day of Pentecost, Peter said to the Jewish people, "Let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified." Now when they heard this, there were cut to the heart. I think that every Christian should feel at least once in his lifetime cut to the heart. Let the Holy Spirit do the cutting, causing a sweet pain most beneficial to the soul.   

Monday, April 9, 2012

Jesus' Promise Confirmed

        Jesus told his disciples that he is with them always, until the end of the age. As I received the Lord in the Holy Eucharist today, once again his promise was confirmed.

Honesty Is Best

        Today's Gospel reading comes from Matthew 28. To cover up the fact that Jesus had risen, the chief priests gave a large sum of money to the soldiers guarding the tomb to spread the rumor that the disciples came and stole the body while they were asleep. This was to satisfy the governor in case he hears about the news and to keep themselves out of trouble. And the false story was circulated among the Jews. So there were a cover-up, bribery, deceitfulness, self-preservation above all else, and the misleading of others ~ hypocrisy all around. By contrast, when Jesus saw Nathanael (Bartholomew), the soon-to-be Apostle, coming toward him, he said, "Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him." How blessed it is to be as honest and straightforward as Nathanael was to the Lord!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Prayer for Loving God

        To answer my own question posed in the preceding post, I propose that at the start of performing anything, we pray humbly to the Father: "All for you; all in your hands."

Easter Joy

        When Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, God made the definitive statement that we have hope in him and that hope is Christ. So, Lord, filled with Easter joy how can we love you even more?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

God Calling Us by Name

        It's Holy Saturday. I had some time and watched The Redeemer, a film I prerecorded on EWTN earlier. It's an old production filmed in Spain. Throughout the film, you only see the back of Jesus. I didn't care for the voice of Jesus used ~ it was too husky and sounded Hollywoodish. Nevertheless, the film does have some poignant moments. I was moved watching Peter's face right after he denied Christ for the third time and the cock crowed. I shed the most tears when Jesus cried out aloud on the cross "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit" just before he breathed his last. Then Thomas didn't believe that Jesus had risen and the Lord showed up and called Thomas to him to check out his wounds. That's when I knew that the Lord calls us too ~ how good it is to hear him calling us by name!   

Friday, April 6, 2012

Sweet Sorrow

        I attended the Good Friday service, the Passion of the Lord, at my church. This was a solemn service for the fact that Jesus underwent so much agony, suffering, and unimaginable pain for our sake. Yet, the sorrow he experienced and that we feel for him are both tinged with sweetness, for in his sorrow Jesus accomplished his work of salvation and in ours, we receive faith and hope. For the Christians, joy is ever present, on or beneath the surface.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Love of Christ

        I attended the Holy Thursday evening Mass at which the washing of the feet was performed after the homily to represent the service and charity of Christ. I strongly felt the love of the Lord for us. It's indescribably sweet and powerful. This love emanating from his Most Sacred Heart can melt our heart, effecting a union of the two hearts. Taste this love, absorb it, and be intoxicated by it. The love of Christ is what makes life beautiful.

Responding to God's Love

        God loves us. Let's look at this from his point of view. We needed to be saved, so he sacrificed his only Son to redeem us. This was a tremendous price to pay, showing that he had loved us with the greatest possible love. He created us and knew each one of us intimately. All he wanted was to bring us back to his bosom; not for a single instant did he ever think of letting us go. So, how would you advise someone to respond to this much love? I think the answer is clear just by logic or reason alone. Then advise yourself the same.        

Me First?

        We hear said "Faith is a gift from God." Does this imply that God gives this gift only to selected ones? I think the word "gift" simply means that this faith is ours if we are open and receptive to it. The fact is that so many people do not possess faith or have only a weak faith. I believe that it's because they, out of pride, put themselves ahead of God, and will probably remain so until their dying moment. Jesus said it so clearly: "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." "Me first" has no place before God. Perhaps the saying of Jesus "The last will be first, and the first will be last" applies here too.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Salvation for All!

        I believe that we all have a part of us that makes us want to do good. It's impressive that when a natural disaster strikes, many volunteers show up to help, even at the risk of losing their own lives. Today I thought of the disaster of hell fires. The thought of eternal separation from God is so horrifying that anyone with a little heart should want every single soul to be saved. Therefore, no more enemies, no more judging of others, and no one we cannot forgive. Let God's love reign in all hearts. All this is in accordance with his will, as Mary requested us to add this prayer to the Rosary: "Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy. Amen."   

The Extreme God

        God is extreme in many ways because he is infinite. His love for us is extreme, sacrificing even his own Son to redeem us. Then the Resurrection is extreme too, a complete reversal from death to Ascension into heaven. And we who have been called will be yanked from this burdensome world to dwell with him, not for a limited period of time, but for all eternity in heaven. I love my extreme God!

Afraid of Jesus?

        How can one not love Jesus the Savior, unless he is afraid of him? Anyone who is afraid of him is basically afraid of himself, afraid of examining himself. Only one who is in darkness wants to hide or run away from Jesus, the most loving Lord. The more afraid one is, the greater the urgency for him to reconcile with God. Know that God's peace displaces all fear.

Power of the Holy Eucharist

        As I went up to receive the Eucharist at Mass this morning, I noticed the perfectly round shape of the Host held before me. It signified to me that this Holy Sacrament can make us perfect spiritually.

The Christian Example

        At the Last Supper, Jesus asked us to take Holy Communion in memory of him. Besides this, we should do every other thing in his name. This is the Christian example.

Overruling God

        We so often do what we want to do, even when it goes against our conscience. This happens most likely when the action we plan to take does not seem to hurt anyone, at least not right away or directly. We feel the guilt, but we sweep it aside and go ahead anyway. Splurging on something expensive but not really needed or beneficial to us spiritually is one example. I consider this a case of overruling God, strictly speaking, a sin. If the number of times we overrule God exceeds the number of times we listen to him, then we'd better make amendment, for God is to be welcomed, not ignored. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Way to Know God

          First Reading at today's Mass was from Isaiah. I started thinking about how amazing it was that the Old Testament prophets and the psalmists consistently believed in one God and spoke and prayed to him with such intimacy ~ God must have communicated with them. Then Jesus showed up and fulfilled all their prophecies, so Jesus must have been sent by God. 
        I am just applying my common sense, not trying to prove that the one God exists. First of all, admitting that I am a creature by God, I am already acknowledging his existence. Besides, I know that a lesser being is in no position to prove anything about a greater being. Just wanting to seek such proofs is being arrogant and would render faith meaningless. God is to be believed in and trusted! Any other way will not gain me entrance.

Monday, April 2, 2012

On Following Jesus

        First thoughts at mass. As long as I follow Jesus through the teachings of the one and only Church built on Peter by Christ and not pay any attention to any other teachings given by another human being who heads his own church or denomination or sect, I am safe in following the Lord as the Apostles were.      

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Only God Is Forever

        My wife is temporarily away for a few days, so my life feels somewhat different. I know that one day either I'll be gone first or she'll be the one, then life will be different again. This teaches me to never hold onto anything in this world. The best, proper, and healthiest thing for us to do is to hold onto God alone so that we'll have him with us forever. This is basically the gospel Christ brought to us.

God Delivers Through Union

        Just got back from the retreat. In small groups sharing, I learned that many had personal imperfections they wanted to overcome in order to love Jesus more. That was admirable, but they found it hard to succeed in practice. Since the goal of this blog is to lead all to union with Christ through the Holy Eucharist, here's my chance to give it another plug. The most effective way to overcome sins, imperfections, and hang-ups is to go straight to the Lord to seek union with him first through receiving him in the Holy Eucharist. Once he's united with you, he will transform you effortlessly and you needn't struggle hard on your own anymore. Ask and he delivers.