Since God is love, love is the solution to all our problems. Like Jesus we must love everyone, including our enemies, and love the cross sent our way. Let the love of God set us ablaze so that we may shine brilliantly in the world.
Saturday, February 28, 2015
In suffering, one sees the opportunity to trust in God even more, offering up his suffering and thanking the Lord for his mercy; another gets upset, worrying and complaining to or even cursing the Lord. Suffering brings out the best and the worst in us.
Thursday, February 26, 2015
The Lord told Jeremiah the prophet, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." In Matthew 25, Jesus said that on the day of the Judgment of the Nations, he would say to his chosen sheep, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." How can I not be elated upon hearing that God knew me before I was born and that he had prepared a place for me from the very beginning? Such great comfort!
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 7 at morning Mass, Jesus said to his disciples, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." At the end, he added, "Do to others whatever you would have them do to you." This tells me clearly that I could ask the Lord to shield me from evil, but not to destroy my foes ~ praying for their conversion would be his intention.
http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31604026 ~ this link takes you to a happy, amazing story about the bond formed between a young Seattle girl and a horde of crows. Perhaps, dogs aside, crows are our best friend too. Viewed morally, these grateful crows in the story put a lot of us to shame.
There is just so much time we have on this earth. That time is running out is what we should be aware. When we face God, we will have to account for everything we did in our life. Did we glorify or offend the Lord? Not hurting anyone, just minding your own business, won't do you any good, for the sin of omission can be as serious as the sin of commission. Overall, you reap in this life and/or the next what you sow in this life.
A lot of Catholics are familiar with St. Gertrude's prayer for the souls in purgatory given her by our Lord. According to tradition. the Lord promised her that 1000 souls would be released from purgatory each time it is said devoutly. The prayer was extended to include living sinners as well. Here are the words:
"Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with Masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen."
I am thinking that the reason this prayer is so effective in releasing souls from purgatory is that these souls are already heaven-bound and therefore no free will exists to interfere with our prayer request. In the case of praying for the living, the Lord will have to bring their free will in line for our prayer to be answered.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
The truth is that God is love. The tragedy is that many do not know it through misguidance or misunderstanding. If God is love, then there's nothing for us to fear. The most enlightened life is to open yourself entirely to him, sharing all your feelings, thoughts, intentions, desires . . . everything that's in your heart ~ yes, in total union with him. This liberates your spirit. Using my favorite adjective again, I say, this is ultimate living.
(1) Incarnation ~ God assumed the human form in Jesus Christ to spread the good news of salvation among us.
(2) Transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor ~ Peter, James, and John witnessed this when Jesus' face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. Moses and Elijah appeared to converse with the Lord.
(3) Transubstantiation ~ the elements of bread and wine change into the body and blood of Christ when they are consecrated in the Eucharist during Mass.
(4) Our transformation by the Holy Spirit ~ the Lord wipes away all our sins, transforming us into new creatures holy and pure, fit to enter heaven.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 6, Jesus taught his disciples to pray the Our Father. This is indeed the perfect prayer. It shows us how to approach God and what to ask from him. It teaches and shapes us. It defines our ideal relationship to the Lord. If we would just say this prayer with all our heart with persistence, it should turn us into holy saints in the end.
Today's Gospel Acclamation from Matthew 4.4: One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God. We must regard the words that come from Jesus to be much more important than the bread we eat. The bread only sustains us temporarily, but the words of the Lord lead and guide us to eternal life.
Monday, February 23, 2015
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 25 at morning Mass, Jesus made it clear that whatever we did for one of the least brothers of his, we did for him, and whatever we did not do for one of the lease ones, we did not do for him. Fr. P in his homily pointed out that when Paul was threatening the early disciples of the Lord, Jesus spoke to Paul, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" Obviously, when we hurt anyone, we hurt the Lord! We cannot love the Lord without loving all our brothers and sisters.
Sunday, February 22, 2015
One who is not ready to deal with his own conscience is afraid to look at himself. Essentially, he hides from God. But since the Lord sees and knows everything, that person is both a coward and a fool. Turning to and baring yourself to God is the first step in letting him clear up your conscience to set you free.
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 1 at Mass, Jesus came to Galilee to proclaim the gospel of God: "This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel." This call is for everyone, coming straight from God! Do you hear him? Answer this call and you are on your way to heaven.
I had this image in my mind this morning at church before Mass began. I saw everyone in the world floating in one somewhat rough sea. Those who followed the Lord looked quite calm, knowing that they were safely attached to him by some strong cord and would be pulled out of the water one day. Other followers of weaker faith were attached to the Lord too, but they were not quite aware that the cord could get stronger or weaker, depending upon what they do in the water. The rest who did not follow the Lord seemed to enjoy the water the most ~ they frolicked, splashed water on others, and even tried to drown them. What's sad was that they did not know that if they continued to behave so, they'd be left in the sea struggling to stay afloat for all eternity.
Saturday, February 21, 2015
Have no fear of anything that is false, for God is not with those who propagate falsehood. Fear the truth instead, but this fear is more respect than fear. Nevertheless, one who is one with the Lord becomes fearless because he knows that God is his Father and his soul will always be safe.
As followers of Christ, we need to realize that God is constantly teaching us, shaping us, testing our faith, consoling us . . . with the sole purpose of drawing us into deep union with him. We need also know that God will always defend our soul against evil because we are his.
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 5, Jesus said, "I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners." Since God is holy, before him we are all sinners. To think about whether I am a bigger or lesser sinner than someone else is pointless. That's why God asks us not to judge anyone, and the saints consider themselves to be most wretched before God. What's important is that we realize our own sinfulness and repent to the Lord, then all our sins are forgiven!
Today's Gospel Acclamation at Mass, based upon Ezekiel 33.11: I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, says the Lord, but rather in his conversion, that he may live. Therefore, when we pray for the Lord's protection against attacks from an enemy, we must not judge him, but pray for his conversation.
Friday, February 20, 2015
Today's Communion experience. I felt as if I had heard what Jesus said to one of the two criminals who were crucified along with him, the one who realized that he had been condemned justly for his crime and asked Jesus to remember him when he comes into his kingdom: Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise (Luke 23.43).
We are always going through a process. When we build a house, we get busy with construction. After it's done, we start to maintain or improve it ~ always something. In a way, things in life do not end; they merely change. Today's Gospel acclamation at Mass, Amos 5.14, reads: Seek good and not evil so that you may live, and the Lord will be with you. As we move along in the process, is God with us? This is the key question. Our process will lead us nowhere if we do not have God with us.
Thursday, February 19, 2015
I woke up before 5 a.m. Got out of bed and looked out the bedroom window ~ it's still quite dark, but I could make out the trees and rocks with no problem. I knew that soon it would be daybreak. I saw clearly the passing of time and everything else. I would be gone too. Recently, a huge pine on the north side of my house toppled during a storm and badly damaged three other smaller pines as well on its way down. The scenery keeps changing. The last time I went back to the town where I attended college, I could hardly recognize that it's the same town. With wars and fighting going on in the Mideast and Ukraine, people and buildings are being erased from the surface of the earth daily. Yet so many people still go on behaving and acting as if they are going to live forever. Without realizing how transient everything is, especially the human life, they are far from realizing that they are sinners and need God for salvation.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Of course, it feels good that you and the Lord are on good terms, but God is such a treasure, prize, and joy that you should go way beyond maintaining a good personal relationship with him. Enter his depth, explore to discover his beauty and perfection, and become one with him, then he'll be your most beloved for you to enjoy to your heart's content.
Of course, our conscience needs to be clear and our heart pure, but let's not stop short. We must diligently pray and help those in need and actively love everyone to spread the good news. If you surrender yourself to Christ, he will give you joy and zeal in living for him.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 6, Jesus makes it clear that we are not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them. Otherwise, we would be hypocrites! In other words, we shine as light for Christ, but hide ourselves in him. It is in aiming to please God alone that we please him.
Today Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent. In the first reading from Joel at Mass, we heard the Lord asking us to return to him with our whole heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Then I saw how various government leaders around the world in order to remain in power had made decisions causing the death, injury, and displacement of millions of people. Closer to home, I lament that an old man is suing someone who had helped him much in the past purely out of jealousy. All these poor souls do not know God. We need to fast, weep, and mourn for ourselves, but let's not forget to do the same for all the foolish ones who seem not to know that they do not live forever and will face God after they die.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
God would rather we remain in union with him and be holy so that we'll always know and do his will than expect him to tell us every little thing we need to do. He doesn't want us to be his puppets. He wants to shape and form us so that when we listen to our conscience, we'll hear him speaking.
Monday, February 16, 2015
Journey to the Center of the Earth, the classic science fiction by Jules Vernes had been made into a movie several times. I saw the first 1959 version and remember the film to be quite exciting to watch. For me now, seeking union with God may be considered Journey to the Center of God, exciting in a different way. As we explore God in his infinite depth, the discovery is endless. To be in union with him is to be in paradise. He is the very reason we should live.
God is ever present, so you may speak to him or hear him speak to you at any time. Seeing it this way, we have plenty of time. On the other hand, life is brief and it's easy to go through life without ever thinking about God. Looking at it thus, we don't have much time at all. It comes down to this: those who care about God will find and know him and those who do not, will miss and lose him entirely. As Jesus said, "To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away."
I still remember the time I almost "lost" my wife in Merida, Mexico. It's night time and we were driving around looking for a place to stay for the night. She looked in a travel guide, spotted a recommended hotel, followed the map (no GPS then) and guided me there as I drove. We got there, and since there's no parking allowed on the street, I told her to go check out the place while I drove around the block before returning. Well, driving to make four right turns in a row to get back didn't turn out to be simple, even though the blocks were all rectangular. I saw one-way streets I could not enter and back alleys I should skip. Finally, I right turned onto what appeared to be a decent street. Little did I expect that the street lead me to a huge market square filled with people. By the time I slowly emerged from the square after "plowing" through the crowds, I had no idea how far I had drifted from the hotel site. Now I didn't know how far I should drive after making each right turn and just kept spiraling away in rectangles. A last-ditch plan jumped into my mind ~ I would comb each street one by one horizontally and if necessary, vertically too, to cover the entire downtown area, even if it should take all night. Naturally, I started to pray. Then I saw the map on the vacant passenger seat next to me, picked it up and noticed a tiny pencil dot at one spot ~ could that be the mark my wife had made? I parked the car in front of a store still open even though I wasn't supposed to stop, jumped out the car, ran into the store with my map and kept pointing at that dot on the map in front of a store person, as I did not speak Spanish. After a while he understood my intention. He then located his store on the map and traced out the route on the map for me to take. The next hurdle was that the street signs were all in Spanish and difficult to see at night, so I made a list of symbols for myself. For example, R3 means that I turn right for 3 blocks, L5, left for 5 blocks, and so on. Following the list, driving and counting, the hotel finally came into view. You can imagine the joy I felt seeing my wife again who had been waiting on the dark side of the street for almost an hour! I am sharing this because the joy of finding Christ is even sweeter, for it delights the soul continually day after day.
From Psalm 31.3-4, today's entrance antiphon at Mass: Be my protector, O God, a mighty stronghold to save me. For you are my rock, my stronghold! This is why one in deep union with God always retains peace within the innermost core of the heart, despite ripples caused by any storm on its surface.
Sunday, February 15, 2015
Without God, a person does his best to find happiness on his own and finds none; he has lived an empty life. On the contrary, one who knows God finds joy and peace in the Lord. He understands that life comes with trials and troubles, but he knows that God will see him through all adversities. Here's one living a fulfilled life realistically, with the best yet to come!
Heard on NPR this morning: Voltaire's 1763 manifesto on religious tolerance, Treatise on Tolerance, has become a bestseller in Paris soon after the Charles Hebdo tragedy. Personally, I don't think tolerance is good enough. If you want others to tolerate you on what you have to say, you really should ask yourself first if what you have to say shows tolerance of others or not. Then, do you expect others to tolerate you no matter what you say? We need a guideline here. I believe that the fundamental solution is to love as Jesus has shown us. With his selfless love, forgiveness is implicit. Only God who is love can give us true peace in this world.
Saturday, February 14, 2015
When you undergo suffering and truly realize how much Christ has suffered for your sake, you are drawn into deep union with him. In such a state, you become totally dependent upon him and acutely aware of good and evil. In the depth of God, all impurities are cleansed from your soul. Since these effects are permanent, accepting sufferings for the sake of Christ can definitely lead one to holiness.
With Satan battling God, the world has been polarized into good and bad camps. Today Judas still abound all around the world or even in your own household. Hopefully, there will be more sheep than goats on Judgment Day. As Jesus has warned, there will be wailing and grinding of teeth among the evildoers. Those who do good are weeping for them right now. But let me end this post with something that's sad but positive. Kayla Mueller, an American humanitarian aid worker who was taken hostage by ISIS in August 2013, has died. Her parents have released a letter she sent them last spring from captivity, showing her great spirit and soul. Here's one source where you can read her letter: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2015/02/10/text-hand-written-letter-isis-hostage-kayla-mueller-wrote-to-family-during/.
Friday, February 13, 2015
Uncertainty about what is going to happen to us always makes us feel uneasy. If you know that some evil might materialize to crush you, you begin to experience what the Lord must have felt when he went through the agony in the garden. This would be the perfect time to get on your knees and abandon yourself entirely to God until you feel the deep union between you and him. So uncertainties are blessings. And, you know what, God always shields and delivers you from evil and restores your peace at the end.
Thursday, February 12, 2015
On January 8, I posted How We Die Matters on the recent mass killing at Charlie Hebdo in Paris. I mentioned that I wouldn't feel comfortable telling the Lord that I got killed for making fun of others. Today I thought I would feel the same if I died of a heart attack because someone made me angry or deliberately hurt me emotionally. Therefore, I would remain forgiving by placing my entire trust in the Lord. Dying as the result of my own sin is not dying for God.
As I was taking a morning walk, praying the Luminous Rosary on a beautiful day, I saw that if I were walking behind Jesus, I would be absolutely fearless knowing that he was right with me. Then I asked myself why shouldn't I feel this way, knowing that he was with me in spirit. His spiritual presence, of course, is independent of his physical appearance.
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 7 at morning Mass, a Greek woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit came to Jesus and fell at his feet. She begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, "Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the fool of the children and throw it to the dogs." She replied and said to him, "Lord, even the dogs under that table eat the children's scraps." Then he said to her, "For saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter." Sometimes the Lord just tests us, and we mustn't get discouraged. In fact, we should never be discouraged, for the Lord holds all our hopes in him.
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 7 at morning Mass, Jesus said, "What comes out of the man, that is what defiles him. From within the man, from his heart, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile." We can say that God deals with the heart. We are daily dealing with the heart too. For our own heart, as long as we keep it clean, we should have no fear of evil. To convert anyone, it is the heart we should aim at.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
With the world abounding with evil, unexpected shocking things can happen to anyone. If you cling to the Lord, you'll come through safe. But there is one shock that's absolutely the worst which you'll never get over, but is preventable if you think ahead: that is the shock of finding yourself in hell.
Monday, February 9, 2015
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 6 at morning Mass, people recognized Jesus and quickly brought in the sick to him. They begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed. What's clear to me here is that those people had faith. When we pray for someone for healing, we often do it out of duty without conviction. I see and believe that the Lord wants us to truly desire what we ask for and ask for it with no reservation. It's going after the Lord intensely. When you have faith, you don't even think about it.
Sunday, February 8, 2015
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 1 at Mass, Jesus healed Simon's mother-in-law who was sick with a fever. Later in the evening, he cured many who were sick with various diseases as well as drove many demons out of those who were possessed. Obviously, the Lord can do anything. Without him, there would be nothing. With him, wonders and amazing happenings abound. The following are all huge events: his coming into the world, revealing his love for us, his Resurrection, Ascension . . . we just can't take them for granted. He is Alpha and Omega. As the center of our universe, and he also wants to be your center. If God does not appear huge in your life, then you must be living a pretty mundane life.
Saturday, February 7, 2015
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 6 at morning Mass, Jesus saw the vast crowd and his heart moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd. Today's world is in the same situation, as vast numbers of its population drift through life not knowing where they are heading. God does not change: he is still moved with pity for us. If there is going to be any hope for our salvation, we must realize that we are the ones stubborn and rebellious, remaining blind and deaf to the Lord.
Friday, February 6, 2015
If you agree that how good a friend you have is measured by how well you and your friend know each other, then God absolutely has to be the best possible friend you can ever have, for he knows you through and through and you know that he is forever trustworthy and unchanging in loving you.
We do not feel the need for God because we live in a busy world ~ there are the numerous, necessary chores to perform just to stay alive and the myriad material, secular distractions surrounding us, vying for our attention. We even forget that everything is passing. Now, when you have a chance to be in solitude, forget all about the things that keep you busy and distracted and see yourself alone, existing in the vast space of the universe for the time being, which is reality. If you feel that life as such is empty, then you need God, who is ready to house you in a heavenly place for all eternity!
Thursday, February 5, 2015
While kneeing before the Lord in the Holy Eucharist during the Holy Hour, I saw the perfect time to carry on an exchange with the Lord ~ I told him anything in my heart I felt like sharing and knew that he would tell me anything he would want me to know. We were like equals: I gave all of myself to the Lord while he gave all of himself to me ~ the intimacy wiped out all barriers between us. It was one of the most worthwhile hours you could possibly spend on earth.
Today is the Memorial of St. Agatha. The optional Memorial Psalm Response was: Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit from Psalms 31. Before Jesus breathed his last on the cross, he cried out, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit." After receiving Holy Communion, I felt that this utterance was also most appropriate for us to express our readiness to abandon ourselves to God.
Christians are currently being persecuted in various countries around the world. Read this report http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-31124837 about the young Christian girl Asia Bibi facing the death sentence in Pakistan. Even though an earlier report (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-31124837) had shown that the charge of blasphemy against her was framed, she is still not out of the woods yet. So I ask you to pray for the victim and her family. Moreover, pray also for the persecutors who usually need God's mercy even more. We include all because God loves us all.
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
I went to morning Mass and heard today's Gospel reading from Mark 6. Jesus was not appreciated in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house. In fact, many who heard him teach in the synagogue took offense at him. Because of their lack of faith, Jesus wasn't able to perform any mighty deed. Despite the rejection he received, he did not force anyone to believe in him. This confirms what I said in the previous post about not forcing anyone's free will. Naturally, God does create circumstances in which we willingly change our hearts to follow him.
There are some religions in the world that force others to believe in what they believe in. If you don't go along, you are in danger of being charged with blasphemy and put to death. This made me think why God gave us the free will in the first place. With free will, faith becomes meaningful. If we are forced to believe, then there is no real faith. When Jesus preached his good news, whether we believe in him or not is our choice ~ he never browbeat us. So I see free will as a God-given gift we should leave each individual to exercise freely. To control it is to go against what God has intended. This means that we are to evangelize by example and not by force.
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 5 at Mass, a woman afflicted with hemorrhages came up behind Jesus in the crowd and touched his cloak, and was immediately cured. Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who has touched my cloths?" But his disciples said to him, "You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, Who touched me?" What's clear to me is that God is aware of everything we do. Darkness is no place to hide ~ in the light of Christ, all is exposed. This is of great consolation to me, knowing that all wrongs will be corrected in the end, since God sees everything.
In John 10.10, Jesus said, "I came so that they [his sheep] might have life and have it more abundantly." God is the source of life ~ he creates new life or makes old life new. Therefore, we can always begin afresh in God ~ this is the hope we possess, a hope his sheep greatly appreciate and rejoice in.
We live in a real world. Not facing reality can only be considered cowardly or foolish. We all are going to die one day; our sins rob us of peace; we question the meaning of life . . . these are just some of the realities we all share. But the most important reality is that God our creator is love as revealed through Jesus the Son. Upon our return to him, we'll have to give an account of how we dealt with realities in this life. Acknowledging the reality of God sheds light on all other realities, enabling us to face them with courage and understanding.
Sunday, February 1, 2015
After posting over 4,000 times, there are not many new things for me to say. I now either say the same thing in a new way or see the same thing more clearly. This morning at Mass I saw most clearly that total abandonment in God (total immersion in his love) is the ideal, only perfect way to go. Anything falling short of that may not be good enough, for God deserves absolutely our best, our all. Whatever we do or wish for should be done or asked in total abandonment to him without anxieties. We are meant to surrender ourselves to God for him to accomplish all things through us.