Today is First Sunday of Advent. In the Gospel reading from Mark 13, Jesus told his disciples to be watchful and be alert, for we do not know when the Lord will be coming. What better way is there to be ready for the Second Coming than attaining union with God here and now? Ans. None.
"Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)
Sunday, November 30, 2014
When you are young or in good physical condition, you don't think about death at all. Likewise, when you have plenty of wealth, you would hardly think about leaving this world. As a much older person, but still not frail yet, I already see myself as a flickering candle flame that can go out any time. My advice: Don't let youth, good physical condition, wealth, or anything else in this world make you forget that you are going to die and face God one day, maybe sooner than you'd expect, so that you may start preparing for it now.
Salvation can only come from God, while condemnation is initiated by us. As sinners, we have no power to save ourselves ~ only the Holy One, our creator who is Love, has that power. If we reject his offer of salvation, we go against his will, thus initiating our own condemnation.
Saturday, November 29, 2014
Early today, I felt the need to be understood by someone, then these lines from the hymn "Make Me a Channel of Your Peace" floated into my mind:
Oh, Master grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love with all my soul.
And I felt great calm. Love for God should always override self-love. Otherwise, your ego is still too big.
God can absolutely transform you into a new creature because (1) he is your creator, knowing everything about you, (2) he is holy, perfect, and infinite in power, and (3) he loves you. If you want him to liberate you, all you need to do are (1) believing the above and (2) asking him to do it. And it will be done because it is his will.
Thursday, November 27, 2014
Today is Thanksgiving Day. After receiving Holy Communion at Mass, I heard Jesus telling me never to wish ill of anyone even if the person is completely at fault. This is the mind of the Lord when he wants us to always forgive, not judge, and love even our enemies. If we want God to dwell in our hearts comfortably, we must have nothing but love in our hearts. Be like him is his wish and our calling. Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
There are God's voice, voices from others, and our own. Since we either reject what we hear from others or absorb what they say so that it becomes part of our own voice, we only need to consider God's voice and our own. Naturally, our own voice being closest to us can most easily influence us. Therefore, when God speaks to us, we need to listen and listen to make sure that our own voice does not smother his. If it did, we would not experience complete peace ~ this is the test. [The Lord made me see this during prayer after Mass this morning and I am most grateful for this grace.]
At Mass this morning, both the first reading, Revelation 15.1-4, and the Gospel, Luke 21.12-19, prophesied battles fought for and against God. Jesus himself told his disciples that he would be a cause of division (Matthew 10, Luke 12). Let's recognize that the spiritual war being fought for our souls, now fiercer than ever, is still going on today. Forgetting this fact will put our soul in great jeopardy.
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Reminiscing a bit, I recall my early days when I did not know the Lord that well yet. Nominally, I was already a Christian, but in reality still my own god. I pretty much decided on doing everything without consulting God. Should I go to the party this weekend? No. The new model of this car looks so good ~ I definitely want to check it out! I just did what I wanted to do. I was holding onto myself tight, far and far from abandoning myself to God. And I didn't have much peace. In fact, I felt miserable every time I didn't get to do what I wanted to do. My heart was always agitated, unsettled. Not anymore! All I can say is that God does amazing things if you give him the freedom to do what he wants with you.
Communion experience. Unlike ordinary food which can delight the palate and provide nutrition to the body momentarily, the bread of heaven can heal the soul, make you holy, and link you directly to heaven permanently. It is absolutely something we all need. For me, the Holy Eucharist is also the physical confirmation of what Jesus said in Matthew 28.20: Behold, I am with us always, until the end of the age.
Ferguson, Missouri, is in the news again. The grand jury ruling on the Michael Brown case has sparked new protests. Unfortunately, they turn violent with protesters setting fire to shops and businesses and attacking police vehicles. The ruling may be unfair, but what's sad and wrong is that in trying to eradicate injustice, the protesters have done injustice to the innocent owners of the burnt shops and businesses. Violence and peace are mutually exclusive. Alone, violence will never solve our problems.
Today's Gospel acclamation from Revelation 2.10 at Mass: Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. It came to me that we are either faithful or unfaithful. This dichotomy continues on . . . we choose either good or evil; we obey or disobey God, we be holy or remain sinful, we are heaven-bound or hell-bound ~ all with no middle ground whatsoever.
any or all of the following: measuring others by some standards you have set, not necessarily for yourself; looking down upon others; criticizing someone who has displeased you; feeling no pity for others; condemning them. Viewed broadly, I say that anytime you feel bothered by someone, you have started judging. Judge no one and you'll have peace.
Monday, November 24, 2014
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Today is the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. The Gospel read from Matthew 25 was on the judgment of the nations. He said to his disciples, "Whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me. What you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me." These are the criteria by which we shall be judged on the Day of Judgment. The good policy for us to adopt to make sure that we'll inherit the kingdom prepared for us is to do everything for the love of Christ. To live for Christ means just that.
When we pray earnestly for the conversion of those we dearly love because we love God, and nothing seems to happen, our heart becomes burdened. At the same time, we know that we should trust in God and not be disturbed. Hereby a conflict is born. What are we to do? Since we are on God's side, we must choose to trust him even more as no worry, anxiety, uneasiness can possibly improve the outcome. One thing is sure: the Lord hears us and knows exactly what he is doing. Our role is to abandon ourselves to him and live by faith in everything.
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Everything about you or everything that happens to you can be "all good" or "good or bad." I didn't include "all bad" because the living, loving God is always present, offering you hope. As for "Good or bad," it depends entirely upon your point of view. For example, knowing that your have limitations may sadden you a bit, then realizing you just have to rely upon God more now could cheer you up a lot. Romans 8.28 is good to read again: We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.
Friday, November 21, 2014
There are times we feel that we should say or do something to correct someone to set a situation right. But before we rush into action, it's wise to ask oneself: (1) Am I doing it just so I could feel good? (2) Am I being objective? (3) Am I emotionally calm? (4) Am I forgiving enough? (5) Will there be finger-pointing? (6) Would it make the person look bad? (7) How would I feel if I were the target of that action in a reversed situation? (8) Most importantly, am I being motivated by pure love?
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Jesus said, "Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile" (Mark 7.15). Therefore, true change of one must come from within, and only God can uproot all the evils in the heart.
Healthy fear: You fully believe in God and love him. You don't want to offend him and do you best to please him by doing his will.
Unhealthy fear: You faith is weak, know that you don't always do his will, but you are not willing to change yet, so you feel uncomfortable going before God. Or you have left the Church, turned away from God, and feel uncomfortable thinking about submitting yourself to God again.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
We are myopic in the sense that we do not see God's beauty when we stay from afar. The closer we are drawn to him, the more beautiful he appears to us. This beauty becomes overwhelming when we are fully drawn into union with him. Incidentally, God is beautiful because he is holiness and love.
The ego is difficult to eradicate completely. Because of its presence, we are bothered by others for various reasons, we disapprove of them and start judging unknowingly. The solution is to seek refuge in the Lord, letting him be the only one to affect you. This way, you only care about what he thinks of you. It's you and God alone, living in peace. If you can live in peace with God, then nothing in the world shall be able to take that peace away from you.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
In today's Gospel reading at Mass from Luke 19, Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector, was seeking to see Jesus; but he, being short in stature, could not see him because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said, "Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house." And he came down quickly and received him with joy. What's comforting to me is that Jesus knows our intentions and will reward us with every good act. Knowing that he knows all about us is a reward in itself.
Monday, November 17, 2014
At today's Mass, our pastor Fr. P told the story of a man who just passed away four days ago. He had stayed away from the Church for 47 years for various reasons (or excuses). Finally, some family member contacted Fr. P and he was able to make an appointment with him for the following week. It shows once you stop being faithful, it's not easy to go back ~ you become so used to your "freedom" and don't know how to face the guilt anymore. Anyway, the man was actually happy to see Fr. P. He had the chance to be anointed, make his confession, and receive Holy Communion. The next day he passed way. Father learned from the family members that he was a happy, changed person on his last day. The broader lesson: Sin is like quicksand ~ the deeper you sink into it, the firmer it holds you and the more difficult it is for you to free yourself from it.
Today's entrance antiphon at Mass from Matthew 25 includes part of verse 40: Whatever you did for one of the least of my brothers, you did it for me. It is clear that serving the least of our brothers means more to the Lord than serving the unneeded. Similarly, loving our enemies is more meritorious than loving our best friends who never give us any trouble. Love sets no conditions and does not know when to stop.
Sunday, November 16, 2014
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 25 at Mass, we heard the parable of the talents. It made me ask if I am being useful to the Lord, for anyone lazy will lose whatever he has. Fr. M in the homily correctly pointed out that we don't share with others enough about Christ to evangelize. We should not only be good examples, but good Christian examples. Anyone who is ashamed of saying the name of Jesus, the Lord will be ashamed of.
Last Friday, I posted that the best feeling we can possibly have is knowing that we are on good terms with God. It goes without saying that the companion great feeling is knowing that we are heaven bound. With this awareness, our outlook on life is completely changed. We are now content, joyful, detached from the world, and always thankful to God.
Saturday, November 15, 2014
The Holy Eucharist is the body and blood of the Lord Jesus. When we receive the Blessed Sacrament, we receive God our creator and the creator of the universe into us. Believing this enables the Lord to make us anew into saints. It is Jesus who can perfect us. Let God do great things with us and through us. Rejoice!
A European robot probe launched into space by scientists ten years ago has successfully landed on a small comet 500 million km away from Earth. This is certainly a great feat. Yesterday I watched the documentary Design Is One on the renowned couple Massimo and Lella Vignelli. They are indeed accomplished designers in many areas. These are just two examples of what mankind can achieve. Then I thought of how any one of us can perform a simple act to please God. Would that be considered an achievement? I say yes because it is appreciated by God. In fact, any act expressly expressing one's love for God is greater than building the Great Wall or the Great Pyramid, or any achievement not expressly aimed at pleasing God.
Friday, November 14, 2014
Communion experience. I felt I was totally unworthy for the Lord to enter me. It was the encounter of the infinite and zero. Who am I to receive such grace, such love! Then I realized that no one is worthy before the Lord and he came to lift us up precisely because we were unworthy.
I had mentioned in the past that you cannot possibly beat the feeling knowing that you are on good terms with God. In today's first reading from 2 John at Mass, John mentioned "walking in the truth" and "to remain in the teaching of the Christ" ~ these are ways to achieve that. In the Gospel acclamation from Luke 21.28, Jesus told us to stand erect and raise our heads at his Second Coming when our redemption is at hand. How good it is to welcome him with no fear at judgment time! Be in union with the Lord now and you'll be ready for that. When you give yourself over to God, you gain everything, including the Lord! The best feeling in the world is then knowing that you are getting along perfectly with your most beloved.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
A quick survey of the types of movies on Netflix shows clearly that the world mostly does not know God and is lost. With no guidance, films are made to entertain with no consideration of moral consequences ~ reflecting messed-up lives, empty existence. We have the sad state of the blind leading the blind.
Today is the Memorial of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini. Inspired by Mother Cabrini's love, my two thoughts are (1) we are God's treasure and (2) Christ is in each one of us. Christ loves us because we are his treasure ~ there's no greater love than his love for us! How can we not rejoice? How can we not rejoice? Because of this great love, we need to love others as he loves them. Seeing Christ in each person is the best way to help us love them. It's all about love. To be in the circle of God is to be transformed by his love. It's the most perfect circle you can possibly belong to. How fortunate we are!
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Reading from Luke 17 continued at morning Mass. Today Jesus healed ten lepers and only one returned, fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. Jesus said to him, "Stand up and go; your faith has saved you." Elsewhere in the Gospels, many were healed because of their faith. Faith is the conduit needed for transmitting God's power. When you have difficulty believing and still believe, that faith is even more valuable.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Today is the Memorial of St. Martin of Tours, the first saint who was not a martyr. In the Gospel reading Luke 17.7-10, Jesus said to the Apostles, "When you have done all you have been commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.'" It's clear that the correct attitude for us is to concentrate solely upon serving the Lord ~ the reward will only come after we've done what we've been asked. In other words, God first always.
Someone I knew just died of a heart attack unexpectedly at age 40 ~ a big shock to all who knew him. When I was young, I learned to expect the unexpected by regularly setting money aside for unforeseen emergencies ~ a practice which I believe is obsolete with most of today's young people. Adults buying life insurance, saving enough money for retirement, etc., are all good planning, but the truly wise would get ready for the next life by putting themselves in God's hands now. This is having common sense plus foresight, what the Lord kept reminding us when he was on earth.
Monday, November 10, 2014
It's good to be back to attending daily Mass again. Today is the Memorial of St. Leo the Great. In the Gospel reading from Luke 17, Jesus said to his disciples, "If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, 'I am sorry,' you should forgive him." To rebuke and to forgive are two sides of the same coin, both done out of love. If a brother sins, it's better to say something to him and be disliked than not to say anything. In the latter case, you'd be committing a sin of omission. To be ready to forgive always shows that you do not judge and are not annoyed by the sinner. Love knows no bounds.
Saturday, November 8, 2014
How many blessings you'll get through receiving the Holy Eucharist depends upon how much you believe in the sacrament and how much you desire from the Lord. To those who believe and ask for much, much will be given. The Holy Eucharist has the power to heal our soul, making us whole.
In Genesis 22, God tested Abraham by asking him to offer up his only son Isaac as a burnt offering, and Abraham willingly complied. Since he passed the test, the angel of the Lord prevented him from laying his hand on the boy. Here's a great lesson for us who pray for our children that have lost the faith in which they were brought up. Like Abraham, we must put our trust entirely in God.
Friday, November 7, 2014
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Sunday, November 2, 2014
We cannot live alone ~ human beings need to attach themselves to something that can provide them with rest. Obviously, attaching ourselves to another human being just like us is no solution. Attaching ourselves to material things or abstract ideas cannot be a permanent fix either. That leaves God the only one for us to attach to for good.