Looking back on all that had happened to me this year, I see God's hand in everything. How he shaped things might be imperceptible at the time, but became clear afterwards. Lesson: Trust in him and he'll always be there for you.
"Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Communion experience. The Gospel Acclamation was based upon John 1: The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us. To those who accepted him he gave power to become the children of God. I felt completely satisfied in Christ because I was now a child of God who would take care of me for all eternity!
The Gospel John 1:1-18 was read at this morning's Mass. On this last day of the year, it is appropriate and good to hear this greatest revelation. If you believe that John spoke the truth, then this is all you need to know to joyfully accept and love Jesus with your whole heart and soul.
Reading 1 at Mass today came from 1 John 2. The Apostle began, "Children, it is the last hour..." That was written almost 2,000 years ago, but I realized that ever since Jesus ascended into heaven, our last days, the last leg of our journey for mankind as a whole, had begun, before the Lord's Second Coming. When he will come again becomes irrelevant ~ we remain in our last days.
Monday, December 30, 2013
I just watched a 6-minute BBC video online on "Global notable deaths of 2013." The deceased were Hollywood stars, influential writers, world statesmen, and so forth, names most of us would recognize. My thoughts are that when they (and later us) all appear before the holy, mighty, immortal God, all past fame, wealth, and power no longer count except what dwelled in their hearts. All become little, powerless creatures completely at the mercy of our creator, each receiving exactly what he or she deserves.
When Joseph and Mary took the child Jesus to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord in the temple, the righteous and devout Simeon saw the child, took him into his arms and blessed God, saying, "Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, for my eyes have seen your salvation..." (Luke 2). I also recall St. Augustine's well-known line before his conversion: "Please God, make me chaste, but not yet." The important question is how ready we are when God calls us for whatever purpose.
I see God's mercy as a strong cord securely attached to every single one of us to keep us from falling away from him, with us hanging from the cord in perfect balance. Every time we sin, whether we are believers or not, we cut and weaken that cord. When we repent and ask to be forgiven, the cord is healed again. Anyone who chooses to sin continuously and not repent is to sever that cord. To me, rejecting God's mercy is as serious a sin as limiting it, believing that he cannot save you, if not more so.
Sunday, December 29, 2013
I went to Sunday morning Mass. I noticed that I went through a lot of motions ~ making the sign of the cross, standing, kneeling, reciting various prayers, making other verbal responses, singing hymns, receiving Communion, etc. I asked myself if I did all those things in order to boost my faith or because my faith prompted me to do so. The worst of all is, of course, going through all the motions without faith. Anyway, the Lord made me see that the preferable way is have faith first and let it prompt you to do all the things at Mass. Therefore, give your heart to God first and let the rest follow.
Friday, December 27, 2013
Today is the Feast of St. John, Apostle. John was known to be the disciple whom Jesus loved. Since God is love, we must consider whether to accept this love or not. God did create us out of this love and still keeps us alive with it. This is the love that transforms us into holy beings and ultimately carries us into heaven. It alone can bring inner peace to our hearts, restoring peace in our world. Without the love of God, all is empty. With it we are filled with hope. This love Jesus came among us to proclaim. The immensity, intensity, and beauty of this love is beyond our finite comprehension ~ but our faith leads us into it. There is so much, so much for us to look forward to!
Thursday, December 26, 2013
In Reading 1 from Acts 6 today at Mass, we learned that as Stephen was being stoned to death, he called out "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." The Response in Responsorial Psalm came from Psalms 31: Into your hands, I commend my spirit. If we acknowledge that God is our home, we must be willing to commend our spirit to him, preferably now than at the moment of our death.
Today is the Feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr. I pondered upon the mercy of God at Mass. Should the mercy of God be finite, we who are sinners would or could be struck dead right now. The fact that he makes it so easy for us to be saved, giving us the opportunity that lasts a lifetime to repent and reconcile with him before final judgment arrives, shows that his mercy is boundless. Clearly, our survival in this life and the next depends entirely upon this mercy.
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Today's Christmas Vigil Mass was an added one in anticipation of larger-than-normal attendance. Sure enough, the adjacent room had to be opened up to accommodate the overflowing crowd. Those who looked somewhat uneasy and the large number who eagerly left early before Mass ended were probably the ones who only go to Mass at Christmas and Easter time. I feel sorry for them. They tried to ease their conscience by showing up at Mass today, but you could not appease God this way for the focus must be on pleasing the Lord and not on yourself.
Monday, December 23, 2013
Today's Communion antiphon (Revelation 3.20) at Mass: Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if anyone hears my voice and opens the door to me, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me. Christmas is less than two days away. How tender and sweet Christ is, enabling the receptive soul to willingly live and die for him ~ O come, Emanuel!
Saturday, December 21, 2013
On December 16, I blogged about Jesus as soulmate. When he becomes our soulmate, all souls in heaven become our soulmates too because of the Communion of Saints. By the same token any two persons on earth in union with God are soulmates, as their love for God supersedes any difference between them.
Friday, December 20, 2013
In Matthew 5, Jesus told all to love their enemies. He pointed out further: If you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? Jesus came to die for all, not for only those who loved him. Therefore, we must do the same. In this sense, love is to be blind. As Christmas approaches, this is a good time to start loving without discrimination.
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Nothing can prevent us from dying. Living is just the minuscule beginning portion of our continuous journey toward eternity. We tend not to think about this when we are feeling well. Then one day we don't feel too well and death seems possibly imminent ~ this is a blessing because we see the reality of life and our dependence upon God.
I sometimes have certain recurring dreams, indicating that certain people have emotionally affected me in the past. This teaches that we must be responsible for how we treat each other, for what we do can haunt others and ourselves too. May the love of God always reign in us.
Today's Gospel came from Luke 1. The angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah and informed him that his wife Elizabeth would bear him a son, to be named John. Since the couple were already advanced in years, Zechariah did not believe the words of the angel and he was rendered speechless. This got me thinking: we are responsible for my responses to God. In fact, every thought, word, and act coming from us would get an appropriate response from God!
In our disordered, pitiful world, we do hear good news from time to time. During this Advent season, I realize that the most wondrous news of all has to be the Incarnation, the coming of Christ into the world. It not only is an earthshaking groundbreaker, but also forever rejoices the heart.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
To be good or at least survive in any profession, we must learn all aspects of it and perform our assigned tasks. Christians should see that being a Christian is also a profession. To be good at it, they must learn all about Christ and practice being holy. In fact, this should be their first profession before getting into any other profession.
During fracture of the bread before we receive Holy Communion at Mass, all say, "Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us." This morning I realized that when we ask the Lord to have mercy on us, we should submit ourselves to him, for how can we beg for mercy and not decide on changing ourselves? How can children ask for their father's blessing when they remain disobedient?
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Communion experience. As I received the Lord in the Holy Eucharist at Mass this morning, I was made sharply aware that I was receiving the flesh and blood of the creator of the whole universe, the one who is pure love and who forgives our sins! I felt crushed, but what a liberating crush! I had not seen God, yet he entered to dwell in me. Such intimacy and union readies the soul for complete transformation.
Monday, December 16, 2013
Ideal soulmates are people who think alike, have the same values and tastes, share the same interests, are compatible with each other in every way; therefore, they greatly enjoy each other's company and are most happy together. We all wish that our spouses and friends are all soulmates, but in our imperfect world, finding a soulmate is rare at best. This morning at Mass, I realized that when we are in union with Jesus, we become like him in every respect ~ in thinking, viewing others, doing all things for God, etc. ~ Jesus then is our soulmate! And he is the only soulmate who can take care of our souls!
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Being human, it's natural that we feel some uneasiness when we are ready to surrender ourselves totally to God. There is a little bit of that jumping-off-a-cliff-into-the-unknown feeling. In reality, not only you do not free-fall after jumping, the Lord catches you and lifts you to new heights of freedom! Then you know that God is solidly with you.
In many countries ruled by a dictator or a dictatorial government, there's no freedom of personal expression. People live in constant fear and you could even feel the oppression in the air ~ I know because I visited such a country once. The very opposite of such confinement is the utter freedom we can have in God. Since God is infinite, the space within him is infinite. Since he is also love, we are given complete freedom to live and explore in this immense space. This is why I love and enjoy the Lord so much.
Jesus said, "Whoever has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14). As a Christian, I directly get to know God in person! As a Catholic, I even receive the Savior into me in the Holy Eucharist and achieve intimate union with him. Where else would you find and get so close to God?
Saturday, December 14, 2013
Today is the Memorial of St. John of the Cross. I have posted in the past that you meet a lot of seemingly nice people, but you don't really know them without seeing how they undergo certain tests in life. Does a person have the courage to risk his own life to save another person whose life is in danger? I had "friends" who became "enemies" the moment they saw a chance of making financial gains. Then there were cases in which the wife suffered cancer or some other illness that required a lot of care, and the husband left or divorced her. Tests do reveal the true person. This morning before Mass began, I saw Jesus as the test for all of us. How we deal with him reveals how self-centered or how humble we are to God.
Friday, December 13, 2013
Obesity has become a major problem in many of the more affluent nations. The obvious causes are eating too rich foods and the lack of exercise. Normally, one is aware of his bad habits, but is too lazy to do anything about it. It's so easy and comfortable to continue eating the same junk food, watching a lot of TV, and skipping exercise or even regular walking. Time flies and soon you are middle-aged. It's now even more difficult to change yourself in any way. The risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke rises.
Spiritual unawareness (death) happens in the same way. Normally, you are aware of your sins, but you are too lazy to do anything about it. It's so easy to rationalize away or ignore it ~ you are fooled into believing that you would feel comfortable by not facing the uncomfortable. Of course, you're wrong, for unforgiven sins stick with you forever. Again, time goes by and you become an older person burdened with even more sins. The risk of losing your soul is ever great.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 1, when Mary entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth, the infant (John the Baptist) in Elizabeth's womb leaped for joy. Some people leap for "joy" when they learn that they have won the big lottery, but our hearts can be in constant joy when Jesus dwells in us ~ God is forever our delight.
Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. At the time the Protestant Reformation caused many Catholics to leave the Church, the Lord sent Mary to appear in Mexico and converted the entire nation. I thought of how Jesus died on the cross and then rose from the dead, how his disciples went from almost giving up to being willing to die for the Lord, and how so many of us were in the pit and are now being lifted into heaven. God is at his best in making things happen ~ he is forever our hope.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Today's Gospel reading from Matthew 11 ~ Jesus said to the crowds: "Come to me, all you who labor and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light."
I can vouch for the truth of the Lord's saying. "Easy" living is moving forward in life, relying upon and being powered by God alone. Living outside God is like putting on a mask and costume and going through the motion of living, not knowing where you'll end up.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 18, Jesus said to his disciples, "If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray." Here Jesus was trying to tell us that it's not the will of the heavenly Father that any of us be lost. Then I notice that we behave very much like the Father ~ we too would quit whatever we're doing and go look for something valuable that's lost. After all, we were created in his image! This should inspire us to want to be just like our Father.
Monday, December 9, 2013
To be one with God ~ lofty goal, but simple to reach. Here are the steps to take: (1) Believe in the transforming power of the Holy Eucharist you receive, (2) let God know of your sincere, ardent desire for union, (3) remain passive and submissive to the Lord (no striving on your own), (4) wait with trust.
Today is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In Reading 1 from Genesis 3, how Adam and Eve committed the original sin was recounted. Then, of course, God chose his only Son to come to us through Mary with the good news of salvation. Sin alone sometimes makes us search for God for help, but seeing the overall, complete picture makes us realize that we are meant to return to God in our journey.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
I see people being drawn by the Lord and starting to change, but they still are not seeing things his way yet. One reason we need to seek union with God is that once we get to know him intimately, we will see how off our ways are. Only then shall we learn to see all things through the eyes of the Lord, bringing about a complete change. I could also describe this process as self-understanding leading to freedom.
Today's Gospel reading came from Matthew 3. As John the Baptist was baptizing people from all regions in the Jordan River, many Pharisees and Sadducees came to his baptism. John chided them, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce good fruit as evidence of you repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I tell you, God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones."
Indeed, before God, even if I can trace my lineage to an illustrious king, it would not make any good. It is what we are that's relevant. Where we came from belongs to the past and where we are heading determines our ultimate destination. We only need God to back us!
How do we love others for the sake of Christ? We won't have any problem with those who are already holy, so it comes down to dealing with the unholy in the world. Overcoming evil with love ~ this is the challenge we face. We must accept this approach because it's God's way. Since it may cost us personally, total dependence upon God is called for.
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Today's Gospel reading came from Matthew 9 & 10. Jesus went around to the towns and villages, teaching and proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom. At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. This is still true today when you see people lost and lonely all around. And it is still true that Christ is the perfect antidote for the troubled and abandoned.
Today is the Memorial of St. Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, whose sermons were known to have greatly helped the conversion of St. Augustine. When we seek and get to know God, he fills us with wisdom and understanding far superior than anything we could possibly learn from the world, for he reveals the absolute truth to us as he has done to all the great saints.
Friday, December 6, 2013
Today is a first Friday and we had adoration of the Blesses Sacrament after Mass. I saw that if in his holy presence, we are bold enough to ask God to do whatever he wishes with us, then we'll have stepped into the realm of freedom. This is showing our trust in the Father, abandoning ourselves in him, and inviting him to be one with you. The Lord is now surely free to take care of all our things.
Some people see a half-filled glass as half empty. These are the ones who're usually not happy about their own lot and see others as being more fortunate than they are. Then we have others who see the same glass as half full ~ they are happier, appreciative of what they have and optimistic about the future. Finally, the fulfilled Christians know that their cup is always full to overflowing, as they receive grace upon grace from the Lord.
If everyone in this world is as holy as Jesus, we'll have a peaceful world filled with joy ~ no question about it. Even should tragedy befall us, we'd still be strong, filled with faith and hope, and praise the Father. As I have said before, it is our sin that messes up our own lives and the world, causing continuous, great miseries. We are at fault ~ this is important to realize so that we may look to God for mercy and salvation.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Before Mass began in church this morning, I saw my relationship with God to be a jealous and generous one. Jealous, because I enjoy the Lord so much that I want to possess him totally and not let anyone take him away from me. Generous, because I enjoy the Lord so much that I want everyone to possess him and experience the same joy.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 15, we read that great crowds came to Jesus, having with them the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute, and many others. They placed them at his feet and he cured them all. Today, such miracles are no longer so common, except for the healing of the soul. When we repent of our sin and ask for healing of the soul, the Lord instantly complies. We have his great mercy on our side.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Today's Communion antiphon, Matthew 10.27: What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light, says the Lord, what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. Therefore, we must make Jesus the Truth known, one way of another. We can tell others about him and/or live our lives as faithful disciples. Not to share the truth is like being the servant who dug a hole and buried his master's money in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25). Subsequently, all that he had was taken away from him. Good news is to be shared with all and not kept in secrecy.
Today is the Memorial of St. Francis Xavier. In the Gospel from Luke 10, Jesus praises the Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for having revealed those things hidden from the wise and the learned to the childlike. It is the childlike to whom the Son wishes to reveal the Father. The highest state of our existence is then to be childlike first and seek oneness with the Lord to achieve perfect harmony with his will.
Monday, December 2, 2013
Is life a dream? The answer depends upon whether life is meaningful to you or not. Everything you see, hear, touch, and experience is real enough, but if you do not know where you came from and where you are going, then your life will be like a dream. To those who know Christ to be the eternal truth, life is no longer a puzzle. Everything that happens to them makes sense and they know where they are going more surely than they know that the sun will come up the next morning. The beautiful dream of their life has become a reality. Everything is now real, extended beyond this life.
Sunday, December 1, 2013
The Gospel reading was taken from Matthew 24. Jesus said to his disciples that the coming of the Son of Man would be as it was in the days of Noah. People were eating and drinking, marrying and giving marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark. The flood came and carried them all away. He therefore told his disciples to stay awake and be prepared, for he would come at an hour they did not expect.
It's critical that we be ready always, joyfully anticipating the coming of the Lord.
Today is the First Sunday of Advent. At the beginning of Mass, I trembled because I sensed the awesome holiness of God. I am sure that Peter, James, and John felt it on Mt. Tabor when they witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus. So, how do we dare to do anything without God's approval?
Saturday, November 30, 2013
God is unique, different from any creatures and created things, and he alone is to be worshiped and adored by us. Because of this, our love for him is also unique and not the same as our love for other creatures and things. This unique love we enjoy is to be prized.
Today is the Feast of St. Andrew, Apostle. The Gospel from Matthew 4 read tells that Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw the two brothers Simon and Andrew casting a net into the sea and said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him. Today's Communion antiphon, John 1.41-42 ~ Andrew told his brother Simon: We have found the Messiah, the Christ. Then he brought him to Jesus.
If we hear the Lord calling us personally, we must realize that it's going to be the beginning of a most intimate relationship, a most blessed journey. With God, there's no place for casual relationships.
Yesterday I felt completely satisfied because God had shown me the way to salvation, that he had prepared a place for me in heaven, and that I'd already been chosen to be one of his children. So I am all set for eternity. All this is not fictional as Jesus is not. If you think life is not worth living, banish such thought and turn to Jesus immediately to ask him to illuminate you.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
On this Thanksgiving Day, what do we Christians have to thank for? This is easy to answer. The greatest gift we have received from God is the Lord himself, as he gave himself on the Cross to save us. Again, he instituted the Holy Eucharist as a sacrament so that he might enter us in person to dwell within us! We can and should take full advantage of this divine gift by letting him transform us into new, holy creatures.
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Today is the Solemnity of Christ the King. The Gospel reading from Luke 23 shows how great the mercy of God is. Two criminals were crucified alongside Jesus. Now one of them reviled Jesus, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us." The other, however, rebuking him said in reply, "Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." He replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
I can't help being greatly impressed by the Lord's mercy. Here a criminal expressed his fear of God, acknowledged that he's justly condemned, and asked Jesus to remember him in the last minute of his life, and Jesus saved him without the slightest hesitation. We are the ones, not God, making it hard for ourselves to be saved.
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Friday, November 22, 2013
I met a billionaire who started out as a dishwasher. He is indeed a business genius greatly admired many in the world, but such achievement does not lift him above the world. On the other hand, union with God is an "achievement" on a higher level, so much higher that one is lifted to the level of the Divine.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Humility calls for hiding even facts. Suppose there are things that can make me look good. If I have ego, I will want to tell them. Without ego, I probably don't have the urge to bring them up. But if I have humility, I would want to make sure that I do not reveal them.
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Friday, November 15, 2013
Life must have its purpose. For life to be meaningful, it has to be loving God. Loving God prepares us for returning to him in heaven, completing our journey. The greatest tragedy is to not complete our journey, leading to eternal separation from God. All the saints saw this clearly. Nothing new is said here, only the same thing said a little differently.
Monday, November 4, 2013
Saturday, October 26, 2013
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 8, Jesus said, "All those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humbled themselves will be exalted." We've all been humbled at one time or another. If we accept those humbling experiences, we should find great consolation in the Lord's saying.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Monday, October 14, 2013
In our consumerist societies today, people buy what they want now and not worry about whether they can afford it or not. Then they run out of money and end up in deep water. With this same mentality, people seek worldly pleasures first without worrying about any possible consequences. This time the soul can end up in deep water.
Travel thought. If I shut God out of my heart, he becomes easily nonexistent. If I treasure him in my heart, then he is with me always no matter where I go in this universe. To not have God is to doom myself for all eternity. To have God is to never be alone again. The difference is tremendous!
Saturday, October 12, 2013
Timeout is over and I am back to blogging. Today is already November 27, but I shall date each entry as of the day the thoughts first came to me.
Communion experience. I wanted the love of God to consume me, Jesus to possessive me, and the Holy Spirit to slay me. I felt that to die in Christ would be pure bliss! He is not taking me yet, but for complete union with my most beloved, what's waiting for a few more days or years?
Friday, October 11, 2013
Within the next month or more, I won't be able to blog much because a life event requires my time and attention. If the Holy Spirit does place thoughts in my heart, I shall write them down first and post them later whenever possible. All is in God's good hands. May he bless us all! And may we praise and adore him forever!
We all remember the carefree days when we were young and dependent entirely upon our parents ~ we played most of the time, not worrying much about anything else. Then we grew older and realized that life was not always easy with its ups and downs, and all kinds of problems. How many of you can truly say that you've had more happy times than rough ones as adults? But this is the perfect time to regain that old (young) joy by realizing that we are and will always be the children of God the Father! He asks us to be childlike in believing and obeying him so that he can again make us worry-free, rejoicing in our existence.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
On driving back from morning Mass, I noticed that the foliage of some of the trees had already changed to the colors of fall. Shortly next, winter will be here. Time marches on and we along with everything else are passing. The important question is "passing to where?" Do we pass into nothingness or arrive at some eternal destination? For those who know Christ, everything is made clear. There are God and Satan, good and evil, love and hatred, salvation and damnation, heaven and hell. Without this dichotomy, life cannot have meaning ~ everything becomes vague, uncertain, unknown, and ultimately empty.
I remember that many years ago when I took a course in using the computer with Windows, I was struck by what the instructor said ~ he told the class that Windows was capable of performing so many more tasks he didn't even know. I suppose you have to talk to the designers to find out all its capabilities. Even though I know so little about the computer, I trust in using it for various purposes, such as blogging I am doing now. By contrast, people are not ready to believe in God until they know everything about him. Naturally, this is impossible even if you have all the time in the world. The fact that Jesus had come and revealed God's love to us by performing miracles, dying on the Cross, and ascending into heaven should be more than sufficient for us to trust in him.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
After Communion. Jesus wants us to be perfect and desires to be one with us; therefore, union with God is the least we can do. To be one with God is the most we can give of ourselves; therefore, union with God is the most we can do. Being both, union with God is what we must do.
When we who live in the world are no longer of the world, we feel uncomfortable among any worldly crowd. This can be a heavy cross to carry. Now, Christ from heaven came down to live in an ungodly world ~ imagine how much he must have had to endure. But because of his great love for us, he completely overcame that cross.
Monday, October 7, 2013
In all three Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it." This is the same as saying that whoever lives for himself will not inherit eternal life, but whoever lives for God will.
Today I realize that when Jesus gave us the greatest commandment: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, he gave us the formula to attain freedom, peace, and deep joy!
Today is the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary. Two thoughts came to my mind during Mass. (1) God chose Mary to bear his Son our Savior, so how could any Christian neglect or even dismiss her? From the Cross, Jesus made her John's mother and John, her son ~ surely she is good enough for all of us. (2) It was the Holy Spirit coming upon Mary who made it possible for her to conceive Jesus. Surely we can call upon this same Holy Spirit to make it possible for us to accommodate Jesus fully in our hearts.
Sunday, October 6, 2013
I only know that I came into the world and am now here. Before, I knew nothing because I was nothing. Realizing that I owe all my existence to God my creator, I must stay close to him for without him I'd be lost, not knowing where I'm going ~ just like not knowing how I came into being previously. Jesus showed up and clarified everything. Now I am on course to where I came from. This has to be the most exciting going home trip I'll ever have!
Saturday, October 5, 2013
God, being infinite, has to be all-knowing. Therefore, he sees, hears, and knows all about us. This realization should help us put all our faith in him. Not doing so is virtually denying his existence or saying that he is not all-knowing, which is impossible and illogical.
Friday, October 4, 2013
This is the first Friday of the month and we had the usual morning exposition of the Blessed Sacrament after Mass. I adored, praised, and petitioned the Lord. I felt that he was there for me, all for me, and the Holy Spirit filled me to overflowing ~ the Lord is just too much, too much.
Two of the many things I've so far learned halfway through reading Garbrielle Bossis' He and I: (1) God wants us to "go higher and higher" because what he can give us is inexhaustible! What is his is all ours for the asking! This is most encouraging. (2) The Lord used the word "at-oneness" with Gabrielle. He wants us to be at one with him so that we don't just do things for him, we do it with him! It's as if when I go buy a gift for him, he goes with me to pick out the gift. I love at-oneness because it greatly simplifies our life.
The law of the country prohibits workplace discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Yet in praying to God, we freely discriminate against people we don't like. Do we ever pray for those we cannot forgive? for all our enemies? How can we not care about anyone whom God loves?" How can we ask the Father to love us while we don't love our brothers and sisters? This is hypocrisy at its worst because we also tried to "limit" the mercy of God.
Two stories hit the headlines today. On this Memorial of St. Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis lays flowers and prays at his namesake's shrine, urging the Church to strip itself of all "vanity, arrogance, and pride" and humbly serve the poor in society. At the other end of the news spectrum, pop icons Miley Cyrus and Sinead O'Connor mock and accuse each other through the media, escalating their ongoing row. Everyday the news shows clearly that both God and the devil exist.
Thursday, October 3, 2013
When we see someone, we instantly get an impression and form certain ideas, often negative without any basis, about the person. In a way, we are judging already. The right way is to see each person through the eyes of Jesus. He would only see a being he deeply loves and wants to save at all costs.
At Communion time, I realized that the closest parts of us are our soul, our heart, our mind and our body, in descending order of importance. Then I remembered Jesus' first commandment for us: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your soul, with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength" ~ he covered it all!
I have quoted Leon Bloy (1846-1917): "The only tragedy in life is not to be a saint," previously on this blog. Interestingly, Gabrielle Bossis' entry on February 11, 1943, in her journal recorded Jesus' saying to her: "The only tragedy in life is not to love God." Since both Bloy and Bossis were French, at first I thought perhaps Bloy had read Bossis' journal. Then the dates clearly showed that it's not possible, for Bloy died before Bossis began recording in 1936. Bloy definitely had said the right thing.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Today is the Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels. In the Gospel reading from Matthew 18, Jesus called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said to the disciples that whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the the kingdom of heaven. I saw that the Lord, being humble and the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, was indirectly talking about himself. Therefore, we are to follow his example.
We love God, but he loves us so much more. We finally decide to seek union with him, but he has always desired to be one with us. While we hardly pay him much attention, he yearns intensely for us. We often get unhappy, but he is so easily pleased even if we just look in his direction. Sometimes we don't feel like seeing anyone, but he welcomes our approaches at anytime. Who always waits for whom patiently? God outperforms whatever you expect of him.
We know God loves us, but with our finite mind it's impossible for us to fully comprehend his great love. Then we get to heaven and finally realize and the infinite magnitude of this love and it will be like being hit by the sweetest tsunami.
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Today is the Memorial of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, the beloved saint.
Every time I brought someone closer to Jesus, I felt great joy. God is the source of this joy. We cannot love others without God wanting to express his love for them through us. We cannot feel joy without God wanting to share his joy with us. We cannot achieve union with him without God desiring union with us. He has given us everything, and when we give it back to him for his glory, he gladly gives us more.
Monday, September 30, 2013
WWJD stands for "What Would Jesus Do?" ~ many Christians ask this question to guide them in their actions. I thought of HTPJ this morning, standing for "How To Please Jesus." This helps me look for ways to please him at any moment of the day. It might be "smile at someone," "refrain from uttering a harsh word," or "turn to Jesus and say 'I love you, Lord.'" Life is made up of many little things and we can make all of them count.
Our desire for union with God comes from God because he desires union with all of us! God being the eternal love, this desire of his is so much stronger and more powerful than any such desire on our part. Knowing this, we can remain passive and confidently let the Lord draw us all the way into him and success is assured.
Jesus told Gabrielle Bossis that the Holy Trinity is in each one of us, more or less according to the room that we allow it. Yes, if we don't allow the Lord any room, we can receive him in the Holy Eucharist everyday and still remain the same old person. But if we give him all the room we have in our heart, we'll be transformed into new, holy creatures in union with Christ.
Sunday, September 29, 2013
Saturday, September 28, 2013
If Jesus were like the perfectionists I mentioned in the last post, he would have chosen to ignore us. But it's precisely our imperfection that attracts him! While we're still imperfect, it's the perfect time for him to come to restore us.
Perfectionists in the world demand perfection of others, seek the most perfect material goods to own, and want things turn out perfectly for their own sake; but they easily overlook their own imperfection. The "perfect" perfectionist is one who is concerned about his own spiritual imperfection first and foremost.
Friday, September 27, 2013
On September 25, I posted about Garielle Bossis' book He and I. I am reading the newly translated and condensed version by Evelyn M. Brown. Let me add that the French author was a single woman and a nurse during World War I and in her later years became a playwright and touring artist. The book documented her "simple talks" with Jesus in her journals. I have only read the first 46 of the 307-page book and already consider it to be one of the most beautiful and uplifting books I've ever read. Every read page has many lines I've highlighted. After finishing reading the book, I definitely will go over the highlighted parts again ~ there is just so much of what Jesus had said to remember and savor. You'd be bowled over to learn how much God loves you. It is hard to imagine how happy we'll feel in heaven when we experience the full impact of his love!
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Do I have any idea how I came into the world? No. Did I know earlier that I was going to end up where I am now? No. Do I know what might happen next in my life? No. Can I be sure that nothing bad will befall me? No. Will I always be able to help myself as I age? No. Am I really in control of my life? No. Do I want to continue to be unrealistic? No. Then the only sensible and logical way out is to put all my trust in Almighty God and not worry about a thing on my own.
Since I am not doing anything big or prominent in bringing others to Christ, I asked the Lord how I could do better. The clear answer I got back was that he only wanted me to do every little thing for him alone. This means doing what I normally do with love, patience, and even joy. Complaining, getting upset, procrastination... ~ all have no place in serving God. This is not really asking much from us, especially with his help available. I can't say that the Lord is demanding since he only wants the best for us. He is our loving Father!
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
The mouth can pray to God, but if the heart is not involved, its prayer will be in vain. The mind can unlock the secrets of the universe, but it cannot pray to God. With mind alone, no matter how brilliant it may be, you won't find or know God. Only the heart steers the soul and can pray and unlock the heart of God, making prayer truly heart-to-heart with God.
I have finished reading The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur and started on He and I by Gabrielle Bossis (1874-1950), also French. Their life spans overlapped 1874-1914. While Leseur wrote her own thoughts in the diary, Bossis recorded her interior conversations with Jesus in her journal. What Jesus said to Gabrielle was remarkably succinct and to the point and that suits me fine. One day when she was talking to the tabernacle on the altar in church, Jesus reminded her that he was in her heart. This morning I pray to God dwelling in my heart after Mass and experienced greater intimacy.
I just talked to one contractor who came out to look at some repair work that needs to be done on my house. He was a smooth talker, trying to impress me with his knowledge and experience ~ I knew that he was prepping me for receiving a high bid. As he started to turn me off, I sensed Jesus' love for him and instantly, I felt sorry for the man. I was saved from turning him off by the Lord! As most of us meet so many people in our lives, all the more we need to practice viewing others with compassion as Jesus does until it becomes our second nature.
It's common that after someone has died, some family member would be remorseful that he or she hasn't cared enough about the deceased. If I were dying now, I would certainly hope that I have already straightened out all my relationships with others. Therefore, when we are still alive, it's good to go over the list of people whom we have not forgiven, have not gotten along well with, have not loved enough. Then with God's help we can set all those relationships right, so that when the time comes, we may leave this earth in peace and with freedom. All for the glory of God.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Our soul is the most precious part of us. To safeguard it, we must give it to God because whatever belongs to him will be safe. If you do not belong to God, you probably have already sold part, if not all, of your soul to the devil. I do not mean to sound harsh, but God and the devil are really the only ones trying to capture your soul.
Monday, September 23, 2013
Sunday, September 22, 2013
Sad news today: A twin-suicide bombing outside a church in Peshawar in Pakistan has killed at least 75 people, in one of the worst attacks on Christians in the country. Two bombers blew themselves up as worshipers were coming out of the city's historic All Saints church after attending Sunday Mass. Militants linked to Pakistani Taliban have said they carried out the bombing in retaliation to US drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal northwest.
We all worship the same God. Through Christ we know that God is love and he showed that by laying down his own life for all of us. Then how can believers in the same God do the exact opposite? The true victims in this tragedy are those who do not really know Christ yet. If you don't know him, you don't know what God is truly like. Lord, have mercy on all the victims. Christ, have mercy on all the victims.
When someone offends us, we easily get upset, feel angry, become hateful and unforgiving, and even want to retaliate. Then over seven billions of us offend God every day nonstop, so how does that make him feel? It dawned on me that since he is infinite love, he does not and cannot react the way we do: even though most grievously hurt, he remains pitying and compassionate toward us. How fortunate we have such a loving and merciful Father!
Saturday, September 21, 2013
It's easier to be aware that I have sinned in what I have done than in what I have failed to do. I am talking about the sin of omission. For example, I do not offend my guest, but I fail to treat him as a friend. What we should do is just as important as what we should not do. If we truly want to imitate Jesus, we must not omit the sin of omission.
Today is the Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and evangelist. In the Gospel reading from Matthew 9, Jesus declared that he did not come to call the righteous but sinners. Since we are all sinners, he is for all of us. Therefore, we are all to respond to him. God and us are perfectly made for each other.
It's so easy to say anything that comes to our mind. Often what comes out of our mouth is sensitive to how others feel. We don't mean to hurt anyone, but we end up doing just that. Of course, sometimes we get misinterpreted too. This can happen easily at home with your own family. I see this as a form of self-indulgence. What can help is to see Christ in every person. Such an awareness keeps us from saying anything that might provoke or offend others.
As I was taking an early morning walk, I saw how small I was in this immense, perhaps even infinite, universe, yet God loves me and wants me to spend eternity with him after this brief life ~ how special we must be to him! It's impossible not to feel elated when you realize this truth.
Friday, September 20, 2013
Today I see Jesus as the key. We have all become my own slaves, trapped in the prison we've built for ourselves. Jesus, being true God, is the only one who can enter my hearts and unlock the door of our prison to free us. There is not another guru, master, teacher, or prophet who can possibly do this!
Thursday, September 19, 2013
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24131917 ~ go to this link to see some of the best astronomy images of the past year, then wonder why we think we are the center of the universe and why we still don't get along with each other.
Continuing reading Elisabeth Leseur's diary lead me to review how I should approach others who do not believe in God or whose faith is still weak. Here's what God had made me see.
Never assume a holier-than-thou attitude. Love and a desire to understand must always prevail. Approach all with humility (Mother Teresa of Calcutta comes to mind). You are dealing with God's other children, so trust in him to change their hearts.
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
In today's Gospel reading at Mass from Luke 7, Jesus pointed out to the crowds that when John the Baptist came neither eating food nor drinking wine and they said that he was possessed by a demon; then the Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said that he was a glutton and a drunkard. It just shows that people were quick to criticize others ~ still true to this day. I am dismayed to read so many negative comments on many websites that are self-righteous, unkind, derisive, even cruel or vicious. Freedom of speech doesn't mean we are to disregard decency, courtesy, civility, and freely say things to hurt others. This lack of self-control among present-day politicians, the news media, and people in general exposes the big ego problem we have, for speaking out makes us feel important. St. James calls the tongue a restless evil full of deadly poison that needs to be tamed. We need to listen to God more and not to criticize so readily.
Everything about God is beautiful, most of all his love. He makes us all beautiful. He has so made us that we appreciate beauty. We sense the beauty of our faith in him. We discover greater beauty as we enter deeper into him. There can be no beauty without God!
The union of two souls in harmony is a beautiful thing, but there are just no perfect soul mates on earth as no two people are identical. Union with God is not only beautiful, but also perfect because one can surrender to God and there will be only one will, effecting perfect harmony. Next best would be the union of two souls both already in union with God, such as exists between two saints.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Continually reading the diary of Elisabeth Leseur, I am further impressed by her special love for those who needs God's love the most. She also writes that he who has ceased to love is not a Christian, is not a disciple of Christ, and that there is no exception to this rule. A strong statement, but she's right. If I do not serve the Lord with any zeal, I am not really a true Christian. We need to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. Then we'll die happy and ready to receive our reward in heaven.
We normally read what Jesus says in the Gospels as something said by someone in a remote land some two thousand years ago. But if you picture yourself at the scene, watching him and hearing his every word, you'll get the impact as his disciples did then. Now you easily see that he is speaking as our Lord and Savior.
Went to morning Mass. I started with complete emptiness because I wanted Jesus to fill all of me. When I received him in the Holy Eucharist, I was so filled and fulfilled that I had this "holy" feeling, a feeling the world cannot give and to which all other good feelings pale into insignificance in comparison. God is truly our enjoyment!
I have started reading The Diary of Elisabeth Leseur, subtitled The Woman Whose Goodness Changed Her Husband from Atheist to Priest. Elisabeth (1861-1914), a holy, French woman, used her husband Felix's efforts to destroy her faith as means to grow in love for him and for God. When she died prematurely, Felix was still an unbeliever. Then he found her diary and was transformed after reading it. In 1915, he reconciled to the Catholic faith and became, later, a priest. I expect to be inspired by reading her beautiful writing myself. So far I've been impressed by her special love for those whose birth or religion or ideas separate them from her. We Christians must let love reign over all other considerations because God is love.
Monday, September 16, 2013
Today's Gospel reading, Luke 7.1-10, tells the story of the healing of the centurion's slave. Based upon what the centurion essentially said to Jesus, we now say at Mass before receiving Holy Communion, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed." I see the greatest and perfect relationship to be the ideal relationship between God and man: we no longer question God, and feeling unworthy, we trust in God and he takes care of us.
In both Matthew 9 and Mark 5, a woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind Jesus, saying to herself, "If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured." She touched the tassel on his cloak and was immediately cured. We need to be open and desire to touch the Lord. Once that contact is made, we are on our way to healing and freedom.
Saturday, September 14, 2013
Today is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The second reading came from Philippians 2. Excerpts: "Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God .... Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness ... he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord ...." You see how God loves humility. We now know how to be exalted by God.
Anyone who does not know God knows of only one god, himself. The reason people do not easily accept or surrender to Jesus after learning about him is not that he is false, but that he is or could very well turn out to be the true God, thereby posing a threat to anyone who has all along considered himself to be the only god.
Friday, September 13, 2013
The "danger" of prayer is that we are tempted to take it as an easy way out, thinking that we've done our part. Jesus, to show that he has the authority to forgive the sins of the paralytic lying on a stretcher, healed the man by ordering him to rise, pick up the stretcher, and go home. To show that we mean what we pray for, we also need to back up our intention with action if possible. If I pray for the sick around me and have the time, but do not make an effort to visit any of them, then I am a hypocrite. If I say I am pro-life but do not try to participate in any activities, then again, I am being hypocritical. In Matthew 5.41, Jesus taught, "Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles." We need to go that extra mile beyond our prayer.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
We are the only creatures who are capable of conceiving God, visualizing his beauty, admiring his perfection, sensing his holiness, feeling his love, and being in awe of him. We are special in God's creation because we were made in his image to be loved by him.
Today's Gospel reading at Mass came from Luke 6. Jesus said to his disciples, "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic. Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you."
All this is not easy for us to follow. Then it struck me that the Lord would not teach us what he is not ~ so he really was telling us about himself. Therefore, to follow him is to imitate him.
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
God could be just a powerful being, creating the universe and all sorts of inanimate things. Then he also created things that have life, plants and animals ~ this shows that he has another aspect. Since we were created in the image of God, we were able to relate to God to some extent until Jesus came and made it clear that God is pure love. Now we have the ideal God, a God who has unlimited power of creation and an infinite love for us, his creature. What a blessing!
One can believe that we evolved from monkeys (not my belief) or we might not be alone because there is likely life on other planets, but nothing should distract us from the fact that God loves us, here and now, and that nothing can ever separate us from his love in Christ (Romans 8). As long as God exists, we'll be loved since God is love.
Jesus said the following on discipleship: "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me" (Matthew 16.24), "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" (Luke 14.26). Surrendering to Jesus is meeting these conditions and entering the narrow gate and embarking on the road that leads to life. It's a spiritual breakthrough, the beginning of living a new life in union with Christ.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Evil spirits do not respect your free will. When one of them invades a soul, it wants to take over and dominate that soul completely. While God calls us, teaches us, consoles us, he never forces himself upon us for love does not intrude. In other words, evil spirits are oppressive and God always liberative.
God is our greatest friend; in fact, the only friend we need. With him, you are never alone. As you do his will, he supports you all the way. Therefore, we should focus on him alone, not on anyone else or ourselves. Just you and God, together, forming the greatest partnership in the whole universe.
Monday, September 9, 2013
It turns out that my last post did not express my last thought of the day. I am thinking about what constitutes consolation. Suppose I am terminally ill or in some other distressful situation and my family and friends come to show their concern and sympathy, I would appreciate that, but whatever consolation I receive would only be momentary. I feel that true consolation is received only when God is also consoled. This means that his will is being followed. The Lord is the only one who can truly console us in this life and unquestionably the next.
Last thought today. The quick way to achieve peace both within and without us is to believe in Jesus and listen to him, but most people will have none of that. Eventually, some of them do learn the truth the hard way when they are down and out or in their last hour. This is why the world is so unhappy, being lost for not following the truth.
I'll always remember the time before I knew the Lord how spooky I felt every time I saw a dead body or thought about death. But God changed all that. The Crucifixion of Christ followed by his Resurrection is so glorious that it took away my fear of death. The faces of deceased saints now look just beautiful as when they were alive. The fact is that God banishes all fears, not just the fear of death. The only justified fear should be that of losing God (if you can call this concern a fear).
Communion time thoughts. God is an all kind of Being ~ he wants to give us all his love, he wants to possess all of us, and he wants to save us all! Union with us is his most ardent desire. This is why when we desire union, we experience the most beautiful transformation of our lives. Let us give the Lord our all.
Sunday, September 8, 2013
On YouTube, you get to watch many excellent music videos. On one video Andras Schiff talks about Beethoven's last piano sonata, Op. 111, which is abstract and spiritual to me and described as transcendental by Schiff. On another, he talks about Schubert, his favorite composer, and considers his songs transcendental too. Schubert indeed wrote some 600 beautiful songs. What I see is that we can be transcendental too by loving God, for performing a good deed for the Lord is as transcendental as creating a beautiful work, if not more so.
http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/tags/pope-francis/: This is the site "Pope Francis ~ Latest News" listed under my Good Sites, Blogs, Web Pages.... I am very much impressed and inspired by what the Holy Father has said ~ so many gems of wisdom spoken simply from his heart directly to ours. Then I think of all the saints of the Church. They range from great intellectual minds, theologians, popes, mystics, high ranking officials at one end to the simple religious, hidden or in the world, and ordinary hardworking folks in the middle, and to uneducated peasants and youngsters at the other end. Their common denominator is the love of God. This shows that no matter who you are and what your background is, you can be a saint too if you love God enough.
I went to vigil Mass yesterday. After receiving Holy Communion, I saw that the more we are in spiritual union with God in this life, the better are we prepared for entering heaven. A perfect transition happens when you bypass purgatory altogether. This should be what we all aim for for the love of God.
Saturday, September 7, 2013
In today's Gospel reading at Mass from Luke 6, Jesus let the Pharisees know that he is the Lord of the sabbath. Of course, Jesus is the Lord of us all and everything else. In Matthew 7, Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my father in heaven." Therefore, to make Jesus truly our Lord, we need to surrender to him, achieving our goal of union with him.
I had the home-sweet-home feeling this morning at church for Mass. We all feel good at our home, but this feeling was even sweeter. Our home on earth provides only temporary, physical comfort with no permanent, absolute protection ~ this is the difference. What I felt this morning in church was that God is my home!
Today Pope Francis leads the world in fasting and praying for peace in Syria. War and violence will not bring us peace as long as the human heart does not have love. And this love must be unlimited or it cannot be love. Jesus has revealed to us that the love of our heavenly Father is truly infinite ~ he is the only one who commands us to love our enemies and love our neighbor as ourselves. The bombings, killings, and fighting going on daily around the world only show how so far the world is from knowing the true God. Pray hard for peace and conversion.
Friday, September 6, 2013
Quoting Leon Bloy again: "The only tragedy of life is not to become a saint." Sometimes I feel that I have not done enough for the Lord. Then the Lord makes me see that my sole concern should be to follow him faithfully every step of the way ~ the rest is all up to him. Again, it's how we do it, not how much we do (back to St. Therese's Little Way).
Pope Francis during his inaugural address to the cardinal electors said, "When one does not confess Jesus Christ, I am reminded of the expression of Leon Bloy: 'He who does not pray to the Lord prays to the devil.' When one does not confess Jesus Christ, one confesses the worldliness of the devil." [Leon Bloy (1846-1917) was a French novelist, critic, polemicist who became a fervent Roman Catholic convert.] In the same address Pope Francis also said, "When we walk without the cross, when we build without the cross, and when we confess Christ without the cross, we are not disciples of the Lord: we are worldly, we are bishops, priests, cardinals, popes, but not disciples of the Lord."
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Today's Gospel reading was Luke 5:1-11. After Jesus had finished teaching the crowds from a boat that belonged to Simon (Peter), he asked Simon to put the boat out into deep water and lower his nets for a catch. Simon and his partners had worked hard all night and caught nothing. Nevertheless, he lower the nets at Jesus' command. They caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to the partners in a second boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that the boats were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, "Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man." For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, including James and John, the sons of Zebedee. Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men." When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.
First they were astonished by Jesus, then they realized their own sinfulness. Finally, they left everything and followed him. What a glorious awakening, a glorious breakthrough! We all need such an occasion in our lives.
In last Sunday's Gospel reading from Luke 14 at Mass, Jesus tells a parable to teach people humility. He says that when you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, "My friend, move up to a higher position." Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table. Jesus is right because if everyone in the world humbles himself, we'll have peace in the world. This teaching is in line with his teachings on not judging others, forgiving your brothers, loving your enemies, turning the other cheek. In life, things continuously do not turn out the way we have expected due to unforeseen circumstances, unreliable people, etc. Our choice is to accept our "lowest place at the table" so that things may get better or continuously fight for "the place of honor at the table" and remain in turmoil. To be humble is hard but the right thing to do. And with the Lord's example and help, it's definitely possible.