Today is The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, a glorious celebration! Although the church I attended just a block away was beautiful, the acoustics were on the reverberant side. As a result, the organ and the solo singer were overpowering and the reader with a foreign accent more difficult to understand. The easy thing is to blame all your negative experiences on the church, that Mass; but the Lord made me see that my focus must be on him alone who would soon enter me to become one with me, and not let anything else disturb me. That is, our heart is to be reserved for God alone and we should absolutely let nothing distract us from our primary focus upon the Lord.
Sunday, May 31, 2015
I always marvel at God's timing of things that happen to me. I'll be heading home the day after tomorrow and have not only recovered from my bad accidental fall, but also almost gotten over my cold. There is security in knowing that God makes things happen at the right time for him and you. And the greatest secure feeling is knowing that your soul is absolutely safe in him. Without Christ, I could enjoy the best health all my life and have things going well at all times, but not knowing where my soul will end up ~ this would be a worst nightmare.
Saturday, May 30, 2015
I have pretty much completely recovered from my recent fall, but am fighting a nasty cold. While taking it easy, I caught part of Dr. Phil, a popular TV show in the States. The doctor, a psychiatrist, attempts to resolve family problems on his show. While his approach might be effective, I can't help thinking that only God can fundamentally change us. Without him, all changes are only superficial. A fundamental change involves the change of the heart and only God, our creator, knows how to reach into that innermost part of us. It is in offering our heart to God that we are healed.
Friday, May 29, 2015
I have pointed out that with Jesus, it is all or nothing. That is, we must believe that he is either our God or no God at all ~ a simple true-or-false case. This is the biggest challenge all of us will ever have to face, for we shall be judged by our response to it.
This is a good question. If Jesus is our God and we absolutely worship and love him the most, then why is it that we never even think or talk about him much? We can go to Mass on Sunday and never say anything about him the rest of the week. If seems that if the Lord is truly real to us, we should be one with him at all times, aware of his holy presence every single moment, and do everything for his sake.
We all need a king, one to lead us, to protect us, to inspire us. There have been human kings, but they do not last and in most cases, people are better off without them. That leaves only one king that is perfect, and that is Jesus the Lord. He is all we need ~ gentle, wise, all-knowing, all-powerful, completely dependable, everlasting, and most of all, loving. You cannot ask for more.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Satan is the false god that draws people to him by deceit. He basically fools people into thinking that there is nothing wrong with what he has to offer. For example, the TV commercials and sitcoms look innocent enough because the commercials are beautifully presented and the sitcoms amusing and entertaining. But those who know the true God can discern the subtle, underlying moral harm they do to the watchers. The recent overwhelming vote for same sex marriage in Ireland, a Catholic country, shows just how far the false god has mislead people around the world. Only those who stick close to the Lord will be able to stay on track and remain safe. The great tragedy is that people are not even aware that they are on the road leading to doomsday. What's coming will be more horrible than ever if people do not wake up and turn to the true God. It is our eternal souls that are at stake!
Monday, May 25, 2015
You do not hear heaven and hell preached from the pulpit much anymore. I believe that hell is not brought up in order not to instill fear in the listeners. Nevertheless, it is a real place and heaven can always be mentioned at the same time for balance. After all, how can we separate God and the Evil One from heaven and hell? The world could certainly use a big dosage of healthy fear right now. I want to go to heaven because I love God, and avoid going to hell because it just goes against the will of God. Let's be realistic by thinking and talking about heaven and hell.
Sunday, May 24, 2015
Once you know the Lord Jesus well, it does not mean that all your troubles will go away; it only means you now know how to deal with them (life) his way. Here is one thing that I truly appreciate: as I follow the Lord faithfully, he makes me see that all his teachings are correct, including those that are difficult for us to follow without him, thus drawing me ever closer to him.
Saturday, May 23, 2015
As I was praying the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary today, which are The Annunciation, The Visitation, The Nativity, The Presentation, and The Finding of Jesus in the Temple, I realized that all these events are meaningful and significant because they were ordained by God in carrying out his plan. Now, how about the things we do? They may not be as meaningful, but whatever we do or not do does determine our destiny, as they affect our society and most of all God. Therefore, whatever we do, including wasting time by not doing anything, is significant.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
We are puny in the universe as finite and sinful creatures. After God chooses us, we become his adopted sons and daughters and heaven bound to inherit everything the Father has. This is the incredible reality that Christ has revealed to us ~ the power of love!
The world is like an amusement park. This may be an old person's view, but I am old. When one first enters the world, all the rides and fun are found to be exciting because they are new. Seeking to gratify oneself becomes the prime goal. Gradually, fun and enjoyment wear thin, becoming even tiresome. As the time to exit the park approaches, one starts to wonder about the meaning of his whole trip through the park and what awaits him beyond if anything.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
From today's Gospel reading, John 17.11b-19, we learn that (1) we who believe in Christ have been given to him by the Father so that we may be one with him as he and the Father are one, (2) Jesus protects and guards us so that we'll not be lost, (3) he wants us to share his joy completely, (4) the world will hate us for not belonging to it, (5) the Father will keep us from the Evil One, and (6) Jesus consecrates himself for us, so that we may be consecrated in truth. Note that he does not say that we won't suffer or be persecuted by the world.
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Today's Communion verse, John 14.26: The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of all I have told you, says the Lord. The Holy Spirit is not someone you see or hear, but the spirit that moves and shapes your heart almost imperceptibly until you know that he dwells in you. He is the great teacher, our advocate, and our protector.
Today's entrance verse based upon Revelation 1.17-18: I am the first and the last, the one who lives. Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever. Such awe-inspiring statements! What can I say but to believe in the Lord who died for me with my whole heart? (Today's Gospel reading John 17.1-11a, with Jesus praying as the Son of the Father, was also truly awesome.)
Some believe that they are good enough that God is not going to punish them for what they are. This is dangerous thinking, for only God knows how truly good we are ~ we are no judges of anyone, ourselves included. Look at the great saints who considered themselves wretched worms before God. It is Jesus who said, "Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted," and thinking well of oneself is surely exalting oneself. When the humbling takes place, he may be in for a shock, seeing that he is not as good as he thought he was. It would be so much better to humble ourselves now and be exalted later.
Monday, May 18, 2015
After morning Mass at this church I attended as a visitor, I entered the basement chapel to meditate and pray. Afterwards I checked out the Stations of the Cross. At the 7th Station, I read "Jesus exhorts the women to weep not for him but for themselves; weep more for our sins than his sufferings." Jesus really makes a big point here (cf. Luke 23.28). Sin is a big thing ~ it offends God and can destroy us. It is to be avoided at all costs! What we see happening in the world shows clearly what sin can do to us, let alone what it can do to our souls. There is everlasting life and there is everlasting death. The urgency to stop sinning is greater than ever! I am no doomsday prophet, just a present-day realist seeing what Jesus has lead me to see.
Today's entrance verse at morning Mass, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1.8), made me aware that we are to be Jesus' witnesses. The Gospel acclamation, "If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God" (Colossians 3.1), reminded me that we have been raised with Christ. In the Gospel reading from John 16, the disciples said to Jesus, "Now we realize that you know everything and that you do not need to have anyone question you. Because of this we believe that you came from God." So, as followers of Jesus we believe in him, are raised with him, and become his witnesses.
Sunday, May 17, 2015
If I always center upon Jesus, seek him alone, turn to him for all my needs, letting no one affect my steadfastness, and even if the whole world with all Christians turn away from Jesus, I still remain with him, then I am the most secure person in the whole world.
Saturday, May 16, 2015
I attended a local church nearby for morning Mass. The Gospel acclamation, John 16.28, read: I came from the Father and have come into the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father. The Communion verse, John 17.24, read: Father, I wish that where I am, those you gave me may also be with me, that they may also see the glory that you gave me. I found these two sayings of Jesus impossible to dismiss; we must believe that Jesus knew absolutely what he was saying or not at all. I love the Lord for speaking definitively always, not allowing us to take the middle ground.
Friday, May 15, 2015
Due to the inferior vision in my left eye, if I do not watch my steps, I am liable to trip over some obstacle and fall. This has happened on the average about once a year in the last five years or so. Once my chest landed on the armrest of a sofa after I missed a step upon entering a darkened living room in someone's house. It took eight weeks to recover from the fall. The day before yesterday again I tripped on the street unexpectedly, bruising and/or scraping both knees, my left wrist and my chin. The concussion caused a momentary loss of the memory, but examination showed that there's no internal bleeding in the brain; so I know I should be all right in a few weeks. Yesterday I got the news that a friend was informed by her doctor that she now has an inoperable brain tumor just weeks after learning that her lung cancer had been brought under control. My stark realization is that everything that happens to us is at the mercy of God. The important thing is when some misfortune or mishap happens whether we will have God with us or not. Without God, we would feel depressed or even devastated; but with God, we can offer up my sufferings and be relieved, consoled or even healed.
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
For the next three weeks or so, I'll be on the road quite a bit, so I might not be able to blog daily. Anyway, on a flight yesterday, the plane encountered turbulence during its descent that I got airsick. It struck me that our earth rotates around its axis once a day so that anyone on the equator would be traveling through space at over 10,000 miles per hour, plus the earth also revolves around the sun once a year in an elliptical orbit; yet the combined motion is so smooth that we do not even feel it. And this probably has been going on for billions of years. I couldn't help but marvel at God's omnipotence.
If you make Jesus #1 in your life, you will have eternal life ~ can you do it? Imagine that you are standing on the edge of a cliff and God asks you to jump off. You obey and try to jump off, and find your feet stuck to the ground ~ you are completely safe. This is exactly what happened to Abraham when God commanded him to offer his son Isaac up as a burnt offering (Genesis 22). As Abraham was about to slaughter Isaac, the angel of the Lord stopped him, for he passed the test. Likewise, when you go ahead to make Jesus #1 in your life, you will be completely safe.
Monday, May 11, 2015
Romans 6.9, today's entrance antiphon at Mass: Christ, having risen from the dead, dies now no more; death will no longer have dominion over him, alleluia. Jesus died once and took care of our sins. When God does something, it's final. We can count on all the promises Jesus has given us in the Gospels, for he is trustworthy.
Jesus is meek and humble, selfless, gentle, inspiring, most loving. At the same time, since he holds all the keys to the kingdom of heaven and will judge every one of us, he commands our greatest respect. He is our creator, our Lord and also our brother and our servant. What stands out the most is his love, so overwhelming as to make us fall in love with him. We have a most amazing multifaceted God ~ praise be to him forever!
I am sure that we all know that terrible guilty feeling we get after we did something wrong, which can be crushing, depending upon how serious the sin was. Rejecting God in one form or another is, of course, a most serious sin. I can (can't) imagine how terrible it would be for a soul in hell to feel its guilt intensely for all eternity! May all souls be saved for the glory of God.
This is living without God. When you don't have God, everything that happens to you affects you, often disturbingly so. But if you have God with you, you'll be able to remain calm and composed through all things. Shall we say that you now have "relaxed living"?
Sunday, May 10, 2015
God has loved us with the greatest possible love. It's up to us to love him back as much as possible. This becomes possible with the help of his love and we get maximum help when we are in union with him. Therefore, seeking union with God is expressing our greatest desire to love him.
Father M gave a beautiful homily at Mass. He talked about love, suffering, and joy. Naturally, I cannot express what he had presented as well. Basically, he showed that love cannot be separated from suffering or pain, and it's for love that we become willing to suffer. Clearly, Jesus is our supreme example. And at the end of our experience, joy is born. This message makes life worth living.
Saturday, May 9, 2015
I have advocated doing everything for Jesus, that is, in his name. Everything means everything. It could be large or small, significant or trivial, noble or lowly, pleasant or nauseating, enjoyable or painful, asked or unasked, for yourself or for others. This is following the Spirit of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, freely, with yourself no longer in the way. I've found it especially helpful in going through trials and tribulations.
I no longer envy anyone who drives a fancy, fast sports car. If my next door neighbor wins the billion-dollar lottery (assuming that there is such a one), I would be happy for him and hope that he would put the money to good use. Since I already have Jesus, all other attractions have paled. He has replaced envy with pity in me. Feeling how peaceful it is to know Jesus, it's now easy for me to feel sorry for those who do not know him yet. Jesus does make the difference.
When we were young, it's easy to think that we were going to live a beautiful life. As we age, we begin to realize that surviving is not always easy and can at times feel like struggling to stay afloat while sinking. Without God, we cope with problems on our own and seek escapes whenever possible. With God, it's not so much that bad things do longer happen as that God actually changes our attitude and outlook. Trust in the Lord now replaces our struggle and his support removes all that sinking feeling. So it's either sinking on our own or rising with God.
Friday, May 8, 2015
Since God knows everything about us, the stupid thing to do is live as if he does not even exist. The smart thing is to open up to him to let him help you see everything about you and in you for him to make you clean and holy. Open communication is always a good thing, but communicating with the Lord is essential for living the eternal life.
John 15.12-17 was today's Gospel reading at Mass. Jesus told his disciples that no one has greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends and they were his friends because he had told them everything he had heard from his Father, and that it was he who chose them and appointed them to go bear fruit so that whatever they ask the Father in his name he may give them.
As Jesus' disciples, we now know that he has shown the greatest love for us by dying on the cross for us. Also, we are his friends knowing all we need to know from the Father and his chosen ones who will bear fruit so that we'll receive whatever we ask the Father in Jesus' name. This is fantastic to say the least! Truly, "there is nothing I lack" and "my cup overflows" (Psalm 23).
Thursday, May 7, 2015
In today's Gospel reading from John 15, Jesus said to his disciples, "As the Father loves me, so I love you. Remain in my love. I have told you this so that your joy might be complete." Jesus actually telling us that he loves us! ~ this should bring us great joy. When other humans tell me that they love me, I would feel that I am in demand and get a big boost in my self-esteem. But when the Lord tells me that he loves me, I actually feel humbled because we have the Mighty One loving a weakling or the Holy One loving a sinner.
God has offered us salvation. Christ came and died in our place, so the work had been done. The next move is ours. We must be willing to accept the good news and believe in it. And the Lord is waiting. The correct use of our free will is to choose eternal life for the glory of our creator. It's that simple.
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Two verses of the Gospel reading from John 15 formed today's Gospel acclamation: Remain in me, as I remain in you, says the Lord, whoever remains in me will bear much fruit. Jesus invites us to remain in him. As if this is not beautiful enough, he wants to remain in us! To be in each other is to be one, so the Lord is seeking union with us here. Naturally, in union much fruit will be produced.
Look around the world. In the Mideast, it's more like everyone fighting for everyone else, with almost all the Arab nations getting into action. Europe and America will certainly get themselves more involved, once terrorists step up their attack within those countries. And there are a host of African and Asian nations, Mexico, Ukraine . . . each engaging in its own war. Already millions of homeless refugees have been created worldwide, not to mention the vast number of casualties. We are truly facing a monumental humanitarian crisis, while committing moral suicide! The present chaos is in a way messier that the World Wars of the past, for it can potentially spread across the entire globe. At a time like this, Jesus messages stand out: "Do not judge," "Love your enemies," "Be humble" ~ these are just the few that came first to my mind. It's absolutely clear that following his words will bring us peace, but what are the chances that people will listen? Evil is real and judgment, unavoidable. I hope that the worst in some will bring out the best in others. It's time to pray, pray, and pray hard.
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Communion thoughts. When we received the Holy Eucharist and abandon ourselves to God, we feel free. That's because abandonment gets us off the hook, you might say, as we now simply follow God, not having to decide where to go anymore. We must know that God is trustworthy and wants to make things easy for us always.
The human fear we should fear the most has to be that of losing our soul. The good news is that our soul is most precious to God our Father. So when we surrender to him, we become his children and no evil can possibly take our souls away from him anymore. The best deals we can only get from God.
In today's first reading from Acts 14, Paul and Barnabas proclaimed the good news to the city of Derbe. This good news has to be the best news we can ever have: that we can get our sins forgiven and enjoy eternal life with our Father in heaven! It remains fresh, for truth does not change ~ but we must also be aware that we have only this lifetime to make the good news good for us.
This morning on BBC News, it was somewhat of a shock to read this report on the Syria conflict: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32581007. Next I saw and read this news story on the Met Ball and got almost another shock because it contrasted so sharply to the first report: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-32586993.
Monday, May 4, 2015
Jesus has commanded us to love even our enemies, showing God's greatest love by dying on the cross himself for all of us. Therefore, any religion that teaches otherwise or falls short of this standard could not have been originated by God.
Sunday, May 3, 2015
Before attempting to convert he world, convert yourself first. That is, be holy yourself first. Then let your own family or community be your testing ground. If you are a saint to them, you are ready to convert the world for the Lord. Take care of yourself and you take care of the world.
When I was young, I had many dreams I wanted to realize. I was full of hope, believing that I could make everything happen. At an advanced age, I can now look back and get a good look at the past. There had been happy times and sad times, but the best thing that has ever happened to me is without a doubt knowing Christ. Whether my past was happy or not becomes irrelevant, since I already have the very best of all things. Living for anything else is only a temporary crutch, useful for those who do not know the true God. If you have not begun with Christ yet, you must consider ending with him.
Saturday, May 2, 2015
Communion experience. After receiving the Lord, I asked him what he wanted me to do ~ he asked me to love him. I now realize that this is all I need to do ~ this should be my sole concern and only goal. Loving Jesus is the purpose and fulfillment of life. It is central, while everything else is at best peripheral. We are made for it so that we might live forever.
President John F. Kennedy's most famous quote came from his 1961 inaugural address: "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." Christians could easily challenge themselves by replacing "your country" with "God" in Kennedy's words. Sadly, as we get older we are more concerned about what we can do to enjoy life more before we die. Taking vacation trips and finding a good retirement home in advance are commonly expressed. It seems that in the increasingly shorter time we have left in life, we should be concerned about how we can love and serve God more, for getting ready to enter heaven to meet God is no casual affair.
Friday, May 1, 2015
In today's Gospel reading from John 14, Jesus said to his disciples: "In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way." Thomas said to him, "Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." If these grandiose words were spoken by someone else, I would've instantly dismissed them as coming from someone who didn't know what he's talking about. Then if God had spoken them, every word makes sense and is trustworthy. Again, Jesus is all God or no God.
In today's first reading from Acts 13 at morning Mass, Paul came to Antioch and spoke to all in the synagogue: "To us this word of salvation has been sent. The inhabitants of Jerusalem and their leaders failed to recognize him, and by condemning him they fulfilled the oracles of the prophets that are read sabbath after sabbath. For even though they found no grounds for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him put to death...." The people of today are exactly the same ~ they hear Jesus mentioned again and again, but they just tune him out. To be open-minded does not mean that you should accept him ~ it merely gives him a chance. And giving him this chance may very well be giving yourself the chance to discover how you can live happily forever!