As the year is ending, I am throwing out a challenge to all. Beginning with the new year, live completely as an unknown to the world. That is, live for God alone in secret and receive joy from him in secret. And never forget to spread the good news and hope of Christ every chance you get. May God bless and reward you all abundantly!
Saturday, December 31, 2016
To me, Einstein is one greatest thinker who has ever existed. He believed in an ordered universe, thought above the ordinary human level and came up with the beautiful and profound general theory of relativity. I wonder if we Christians can possibly reach the height in the spiritual realm comparable to that Einstein had reached in the realm of physics. The answer came in today's Gospel reading from John 1. I'll just quote the first five verses: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." This knowledge is revelation from God to the Apostle John, and it is most beautiful and profound. We can also reach our height by achieving union with God. For in union, God's thoughts become ours and all things begin to make sense to us. We see that the Lord is in control and knows exactly what he is doing. And experiencing God at such an intimate level is definitely also beautiful and profound.
In today's first reading at Mass from 1 John, the Apostle wrote: "Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour." On this last day of 2016, we can also be sure we are in the last days before the Second Coming of Christ. We do not know when it will happen, but we know that it is imminent. This will be the most joyful and saddest day of all time. The true believers do not think about it much because they leave all up to God. The unbelievers do not think about it because of their unbelief. Nevertheless, it's always wise to be ready for any of God's surprises.
John 3.16: God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. In Luke 15, Jesus said that there would be rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents. We see that God's joy lies in loving us and in our acceptance of his love. Therefore, let our joy lie in letting him love us to his heart's content, showing that we love him too. In this way, we and the Lord rejoice together in each other!
Some Catholics do not like to go to confession. There can only be two reasons: (1) They are quite holy and all their sins are minor or (2) they are afraid of facing God with their sins. The right thing to do after you sin is to go immediately to God, repent, and ask for his forgiveness. In this way you keep yourself pure and clean most of the time. If you avoid facing God with your sins, your are being extremely foolish, for your spiritual condition can only worsen. As the year ends, this is the perfect time to go to confession to start the new year with a clean slate.
Friday, December 30, 2016
It's time for making New Year's resolutions. If this is what you traditionally do, may I suggest the best possible resolution for anyone: surrender yourself to Christ 100%. You will find out what God is really like (how beautiful he truly is) after you have fully surrendered to him.
Thursday, December 29, 2016
Any message that focuses upon the listener to tell him to love God is necessarily weak and ineffective, for the listener is a finite being himself. To be powerful and effectual, the message must focus upon the power of the infinite God who can transform us and draws us all the way to union with him! In general, to live the spiritual life par excellence, you also always focus upon the Lord and not yourself, letting him transport and do the work for you.
Today we heard the presentation of the Jesus read from Luke 2. When Joseph and Mary took the child Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem, the righteous and devout Simeon saw them there. He in the Holy Spirit said to Mary, "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." Simeon's prophesy has come true, for those who do not welcome Christ in their hearts will fall and those who do will rise in the end. This is the division Jesus himself said he had come to establish on the earth. It has to be so because the world is in sin and needs salvation. This division exists as long as sin exists among us.
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents. The Communion verse based upon Revelation 14.4: Behold those redeemed as the first fruits of the human race for God and the Lamb, and who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. I love the words "follow the Lamb wherever he goes," for I sense its beauty. It means we shall always be with him, no more parting and no more sorrows.
People thank God for having given them good health, long lives, strong marriage bonds, etc., but poor health, short lives, family problems, etc, can be blessings too. In fact, God blesses us all in drawing us to him. If we let all the things we receive from the Lord draw us closer to him, then they all become blessings.
People, young and old, talk excitedly about making money in this life, but they never mention the need for storing up treasures in heaven lest they be considered nuts. The older folks spend a great deal of time planning their retirement in this life, but rarely think about their inevitable permanent retirement from this life. This is a myopic world afraid of facing reality.
After Thomas saw the mark of the nails in the hands of the resurrected Jesus and the wound in his side, he believed and exclaimed: "My Lord and my God!" I find this to be a most powerful prayer. The combination of "Lord" and "God" acknowledges that Jesus is our God and how much we need him. When we say the prayer, we pledge our definitive allegiance to him.
Ego and inner peace are mutually exclusive. An egocentric person disregards the will of God who alone can bestow inner peace. If you ever wish to grow spiritually, the first thing you should ask God to remove is your ego, for it is fundamentally the biggest obstacle in anyone's journey toward God. Your way to God is only as clear as how much you keep your ego out of the way.
Monday, December 26, 2016
The Lord Spirit can set your heart ablaze; you'll feel the warmth, but his flame does not scorch you in any way. When you completely let the Holy Spirit filtrate and ignite you, he shields you from all evil and guides you in all that you do. He is the most wonderful protector and counselor.
Today is the Feast of Saint Stephen, first martyr. Before Jesus breathes his last on the cross, he cried out in a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit," echoing what David wrote in Psalm 31. As Stephen was being stoned, he called out: "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Most likely none of us is facing death at this moment, but if we wish to die to self and live in Christ, we can call out anytime to the Lord, as Jesus and St. Stephen did. You can do no better than entrusting your spirit to God.
Every day in the news we hear that some famous person has died and/or some tragedy has struck somewhere causing the death of many. The most recent examples are the death of UK pop superstar George Michael at 53 and the crash of a Russian military plane into the Black Sea with 92 on board. This has led me to see how important it is for us to prepare for meeting God when we are still alive. After death, there is absolutely nothing we can do anymore. In sum, reconcile yourself to God while there is still time. This is one wisest piece of advice I have for anyone.
May I add that reconciling yourself to God eliminate many of the inner struggles you face in this life too.
Sunday, December 25, 2016
We celebrate Christmas for the coming of Christ into the world. But this celebration would be meaningless if we stop short of letting him come into our hearts. We should celebrate Christmas for his coming into the world so that he may enter us! If we let him in all the way, becoming one, then both we and God win and heaven rejoices.
Christmas happens to fall on a Sunday this year. I attended Christmas Eve Mass yesterday late at 10 pm to avoid the huge crowds normally attending earlier scheduled Masses or today's Christmas day Masses. My prime joy of attending Mass is to receive the same Lord again. At Christmas time, he is lovelier than ever! Being in love with love is a Christian's great joy.
Saturday, December 24, 2016
Thoughts during consecration of the bread and wine. God's love for us remains constant. Whether there are 10 billion or one million or a hundred or just one of us, that love remains the same. He does not love each one of us more for the reason that there are more of us. It follows that God has suffered, died, and done all the good things just for my or your sake alone.
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 1, we heard the canticle of Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist. Zachariah, fill with the Holy Spirit, prophesied that his son would go before the Lord to prepare his ways for him to come to shine on those who sit in darkness and death's row, to guide their feet into the path of peace. Now that Christ has already come, are you in his light or sitting in darkness and death's row? You may be living in a beautiful house in a beautiful neighborhood with friendly neighbors always smiling at you when they see you, and the day and season may happen to be beautiful too, but spiritually are you in Christ's light or in darkness? This is what matters to God and should matter to you! Seek Christ and remain in his light to stay away from death row for good.
Friday, December 23, 2016
As Christmas approaches and the year is coming to a close, we tend to look back and review our past. What comes to my mind is that God knows exactly how to nurture us. As we open up to him, depending upon the stage we are in, he teaches us, tests us, and strengthens us as he sees fit, knowing exactly how much we can bear and how fast we can grow. In other words, he will never do anything to turn us away – there is truly great loving sensitivity on his part. We should never fear when he is grooming us to become saints. Your joy in him can only increase when you trust in him with all your heart.
Thursday, December 22, 2016
Every Christmas many lapsed Catholics show up for Mass and the churches are packed to standing room only for any late arrivers. This is a yearly phenomena. Now, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states this teaching: "The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason." Therefore, deliberately skipping the Sunday Mass is a serious sin. I believe that all priests have the obligation to explain this before giving out Holy Communion at Christmas Masses. Those who are not in a state of grace can always go up to receive a blessing. Paul in 1 Corinthians 11 wrote, "Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drink judgment on himself." In view of the seriousness of receiving Holy Communion, we owe all receivers the explanation for their benefit. It is completely wrong to think that you should not offend any lapsed Catholics in hoping that they would return to the church. Our only concern should be to make sure that the Lord God is not offended!
In one way, we can say that life is all about fighting or conquering sin. We are being tempted all our lives. We sin basically to please or satisfy ourselves, to have things our way. Sin can send us to eternal death, unless you do not believe in God at all, but that would be like gambling when the stake is extremely high. The big consideration is whether sinning is worth it, for any pleasure you get out it is short-lived and any guilt associated with it can remain with and haunt you. Jesus asked, "What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?" Know that every sin you commit puts a filthy stain on your soul, putting you one step closer to forfeiting your life.
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Communion experience. The Holy Eucharist cleanses the heart and heals the soul, exactly the prescription our world needs. Alas, the world in darkness is completely unaware of this, unconscious that it not only cannot cleanse and heal itself, but also sorely needs to be cleansed and healed.
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
This morning's entrance antiphon came from Isaiah: A branch shall sprout from the root of Jesse, and the glory of the Lord will fill the whole earth, and all flesh will see the salvation of God. Christianity is all about the salvation of God! If you recognize this, then the Lord has opened your eyes. If not, then you might as well dismiss it. I do believe that people have difficulty in dismissing Christ outright, so they choose to look sideways, basically out of fear that he could be God speaking the truth. To me, this actually confirms that he is the truth, for anything you can accept or reject with ease cannot possibly be significant.
Monday, December 19, 2016
God made John the Baptist the herald of the Messiah, preparing the way of Christ and making straight his paths – an important role in fulfilling the Scriptures. But God has a role for each of us to assume too, perhaps not as "glamorous," but equally important. We must first be open to God and willing to serve. Then he will reveal his special, individual plan to each of us. Life becomes purposeful and fulfilling only after you know the role God wants you to play.
Jesus is my most important reality. When the Lord communicates with your heart constantly, this just comes about naturally. There is no coercion from him whatsoever, for he is gentle and loving always. In his company, I am living my most meaningful life.
Sunday, December 18, 2016
Jesus said to his disciples, "Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, rather division." This division is no ordinary minor division, for it could result in the eternal separation between those who follow Jesus and those who don't, with a chasm no one can cross. There is no greater distinction than that between those who have Christ and those who don't.
Loving God is unique in the sense that you can never love God enough. He deserves all of our love, but being imperfect, we always fall short. Actually, loving God is best achieved by abandoning ourselves in him, so we can also say that we can never abandon ourselves to God enough. Fortunately, it is our intention that matters to the Lord.
Saturday, December 17, 2016
Communion time thoughts. Miracles can be unseen to be miracles. Christ the Lord himself is to me the biggest miracle, yet he is unseen to me today. During the liturgy of the Eucharist, I knew that a wonderful miracle was taking place when the bread and wine changed into the body and blood of the Lord. Then I was a witness of the unseen miracle.
We as finite beings are only strong and safe in God. Without him, we are in the danger zone, vulnerable to attacks that can easily take down our souls. You can certainly experience this the moment you step away from God. Therefore, the only way to shield yourself from evil is to enter even deeper into God any time you sense any kind of temptation. Let this become your second nature to keep your soul safe at all times.
The conversion of the soul usually takes time, for it's an awakening process that involves much learning by the heart. It shows how tenaciously an individual can isolate himself in the castle he's built around himself, so to speak, attempting to ward off any penetration into his interior. Unfortunately, he also makes himself impervious to God who only wants to illuminate him and save him from the true perils to his soul. Anytime a sinner wakes up, repents, and returns to God, the whole heaven rejoices. A soul who does not repent becomes not only a lost one, but also a great joy killer.
Should we pray to God for something we need just once, believing with great faith that he will answer us? I think not. I believe that the only time you don't need to ask him repeatedly is when you abandon yourself to him and ash him to do whatever he wishes with you. Otherwise, for other things you feel compelled to pray for, such as the conversion of a loved one, you need to pray unceasingly. It's not that you lack trust in God. On the contrary, you want to show how much you need and rely upon him. Suppose you have two children. One comes to you and asks for something s/he needs just once and the other one asks you for what s/he needs day and night nonstop, which child to whom you are more likely to give in? I think the answer is clear. Since God is our loving Father, the more we ask him, the more endearing we are to him. Again, I am thinking common sense here. As a matter of fact, I feel closer to the Lord each time I go to him with the same petition. Another reason, since the world sorely needs our prayers, praying unceasingly to God every chance we get for the world can help fulfill that need.
Friday, December 16, 2016
As Christmas draws near, some of my relatives and friends will be coming to my home for a brief stay. This should be a happy occasion, for get-togethers as such do not happen on any regular basis. In a few days, it'll be over. I start to think that we are basically alone in our existence. Even if you have many loved ones living with you all your life, what they can do to help is limited as far as how you stand before God is concerned. Before the Lord, you are definitely alone, alone to account for what you've done, alone to face his judgment. If we prepare ourselves well now, that should be a joyous moment. Otherwise, it could be the most terrible moment of our existence. To prepare ourselves well, again it's something only we alone can do. Yes, mind your own business is right.
Communion time thoughts. When the adults are taking care everything, the children do not have to worry about a thing. Similarly, if we let God the Father take care of everything, we wouldn't need to worry about anything either. This points to submitting ourselves completely to God to achieve inner peace. It seems so common sense.
God wants to have our heart, not our mind. If we speak about Christ with our mind only, then everything merely sounds rational. It's only in speaking with our heart that we can set other hearts on fire too. So keep your mind and give God your heart; the mind will follow. Remember that you can only set the heart on fire, not the mind. (When the mind is on fire, it means you have a big headache.)
A Christian knows that God wants to bestow eternal life upon him and also looks forward to the resurrection of the body when his lowly body will be changed to conform to the glorified body of Christ (Philippians 3.21). Hence, his faith remains lively with hope and joy. If you don't feel so optimistic as a Christian, then you probably have not looked far enough beyond this life yet.
We all need God. Without him, we would cease to exist. Without his assistance, our hearts would instantly stop beating and our lungs stop breathing. And we are at the mercy of God, for without it, we would carry our sins to our grave with no hope of ever enjoying eternal life. God is to be appreciated and latched onto.
Thursday, December 15, 2016
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 7, Jesus gave his testimony to John the Baptist. All the people listened, including the tax collectors, who were baptized with the baptism of John and acknowledged the righteousness of God; but the Pharisees and scholars of the law, who were not baptized by him, rejected the plan of God for themselves. Today, we have the same situation: those who accept the plan of God for us as revealed through Christ and those who do not. Which camp do you belong to? Christians know exactly why they accept Christ. If you are a modern day Pharisee, you'd better know your reason for rejecting him for your own sake. [To dismiss Christ is to dismiss at the least what was recorded about him in the four Gospels, all the other books in the New Testament, and his 2000-year-old Church with all her great saints.]
I worship the Lord God for the reason that he is eternal. I adore him, for he is just. I praise him, for he is holy. I thank him, for he is merciful. I admire him for his perfection. I enjoy him for his beauty. I appreciate him for teaching me wisdom. Last but not least, I love him because he loved me first.
When God transforms us, he reconditions us. We still have the same heart, the same soul; he simply "overhauls" them. Now, with a clean heart and a spotless soul, we experience deep peace in the heart and great freedom of the soul. There is nothing else more refreshing.
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Today is the Memorial of St. John of the Cross. In the Gospel reading from Luke 7, John the Baptist sent two of his disciples to Jesus to ask, "Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?" I am sure that John was aware that he was the one to prepare for the way of the coming Lord and make straight his paths (Isaiah 40.3), so I am a little surprised that at the time he was not sure that Jesus was the one yet. What I learn here is that when God assigns us to do something, we are never given the complete plan, the details, what awaits us next ... not even the reason – we are simply expected to cooperate with him. When Mary was told by the angel Gabriel that she would conceive in her womb and bear a son, she only needed to accept the assignment, not knowing what her future holds. So here's our challenge: When the Lord asks us to do something, we need to do it without questioning, knowing only that it would glorify him. I truly see the beauty in accepting such a challenge.
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
To love like Christ is to be like God. Abandoning yourself in God will make you one with him. To remain humble is to let God exalt you. Be open to God and he will fill you with his grace. Trust in God and you'll have inner peace. Letting God be Lord will set you free. Be weak in God to become strong. Vanish in God and he will surely notice you. Make God the center of your life to make life meaningful. If you want to go to heaven, start following him now.
Monday, December 12, 2016
Communion experience. Here I was receiving the Lord one more time. It had been another day of enjoying him and storing up treasures in heaven, and now, one more opportunity to strengthen my union with him and moving one day closer to meeting him in person.
Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In the Gospel reading from Luke 1, the angle Gabriel came to Mary to announce the birth of Jesus to her. After she understood what God wanted to do with her, she said to the angel, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." Indeed, it is the key to achieving union with God when you can say "May it be done to me according to your word" each time to the Lord.
Without knowing God, death is not a pleasant thought. You realize that life is fragile and that being old and frail can be likened to a candle whose flickering flame can go out anytime. The worst feeling is not knowing what will happen after death. Those who follow Christ know that he has conquered death for them. As they age, they know that they are getting closer to being with him in bliss for all eternity and their longing for their beloved one will finally be fulfilled. There is no greater contrast than that between these two differing views.
Sunday, December 11, 2016
Saturday, December 10, 2016
We first believe that Jesus does exist as a historical person; then we believe that he is God; next, we accept him as Lord and Savior; we come to know his love for us; we fall in love with him; we desire to be one with him; finally, we achieve union with him. This seems like a long process, but the speed of progress and the extent to which you can progress depend entirely upon you. In theory, the moment you abandon yourself completely to God, you are in union with him.
We all basically strive to make enough money to survive in order to satisfy our physical and mental desires. In short, we have been enslaved by self-centered desires. Then Christ enters our life and makes us see that if we live for him for his glory by following his will, we would be free, and on top of that, have eternal life. If you think that this is too good to be true, you can always try it to find out.
Friday, December 9, 2016
I see myself as someone traveling on my journey back to my creator and Father. On earth, I am just passing through, carrying no burdens. If you don't believe that there is a God, then you have no idea where you are going. In other words, you are lost. In this case, you might as well live a completely self-centered life, enjoying life as much as you can and not caring about others, while you are on earth. The fact that atheists are not living like that 100% yet shows that they still have a God-given conscience.
In the Gospel reading from Matthew 11 at morning Mass, Jesus told the crowds what their generation was like. Today's generation is not much different. People are full of biased opinions, readily judging others. Those who run for public offices and their supporters are prime examples. Then there are some people I know personally who are basically good people, but very strong in holding onto their own beliefs. In one case, a man does not want to bother anyone, even though clearly he needs help because of failing health. He turns down any help from others who are genuinely concerned about him. Perhaps it's his pride? a stubborn trait? The point I want to make is that you may have your own ways as long as you are not dealing with God. With the Lord, we must soften our hearts and give in if we expect to be saved, for no one other than the humble will be able to stand the Lord.
Thursday, December 8, 2016
Communion experience. Jesus cleansed my whole interior and I was ready to go to him. Great Feeling. Nothing in the past is worth dwelling on, for the past is gone forever. Only God is worth looking forward to, for he will always be both my present and our future.
At the wedding at Cana which Jesus and his mother attended, when the wine ran out, Mary asked the servers to do whatever Jesus tells them, and water turned into the finest wine. Obviously, Mary knew who her Son is. It is in obeying Christ that we come to witness his miraculous powers. And it is in obeying him that we become truly Christians and whole beings before God.
We all need a mother. Whether you are male or female, it is natural for us to call upon our mother when we are distressed. Mary is our mother in heaven. She intercedes for all of us who call upon her and leads them to her Son. It was through the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe (whose Feast is coming up on December 13) that Mexico was converted to Catholicism. My love for Christ can't help spilling over to loving his mother and now my mother.
At the Annunciation, the angel Gabriel told Mary that nothing would be impossible for God. Of course, that does not mean that we ask for anything and it is done for us, but it does give us hope always, knowing that we have a God who can do anything and happens to love us.
In the Gospel reading from Luke 1, God sent the angel Gabriel to Mary to announce the birth of Jesus, the Son of God, through her. Mary didn't expect all this and naturally, was troubled and puzzled at first. This is how God calls us too. First, there is an element of surprise, then in time we understand what the Lord wants from us. Our role is to do what Mary said to the angel at the end, "May it be done to me according to your word." Know that God calls us when we have found favor with him.
Today is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the second reading from Ephesians 1, Paul writes: Blesses be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. Wow! This is the way God the Father has blessed and chosen us! It's so much more than what we could have expected. Rejoice that we have a God who surpasses all understanding.
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Communion experience. Today is the Memorial of St. Ambrose. (Bishop Ambrose was the one who influenced Augustine and baptized him into the Church before Augustine became a saint.) The Lord showed me that continuing letting the Holy Spirit make us as perfect as he is until the day we die is what makes our life meaningful, for this is properly responding to his love for us. 😊
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
People create strong bonds among them when they go through some adventure or harrowing experience together, even though they might not have known each other well at the beginning. Therefore, always ask the Lord to go through all the trials and tribulations of life with you for him to become your best and most intimate companion.
Since Jesus totally understands our hearts, he is the only one qualified to judge us. He does not judge us based upon what we do, but upon our motivation, our intention. Once our wife meant to stop at a traffic stop sign, but since there's an obstacle blocking her view on the right, before she came to a complete stop, she decided to coast forward a little bit to get a clear view and then stop. It so happened that a cop parked across the street saw all this. He construed that she did not intend to stop the first time and stopped only after she saw him, so he ticketed her with a traffic fine. Here is a case of not understanding the intention and rushing to the wrong conclusion. Once I actually forgot about the time of Sunday Mass and missed it. This was not good, but I also knew that the Lord completely understood that I did not do it on purpose and so would not judge against me. More recently, in drinking the chalice at Mass with others waiting behind me, I did not take the time to handle the deep cup with enough care so that as a result, some consecrated wine dripped to the floor. I felt so terrible that I asked the Lord to punish me in whatever way he wished. Then I realized that he knew that I would never do such a thing intentionally and that he respected my conscience and would forgive my involuntary carelessness. So what seemed horrible was in a way the very opposite of hypocrisy, which is choosing to look good deliberately before others. I rejoice that we have such an understanding Lord.
Monday, December 5, 2016
Sorrow pierced the heart of the Blessed Mother repeatedly in her earthly life, but do you know that God can also pierce our hearts with his love, giving us great joy? This is the same love that can bring peace to our world and save us from hell. Seek union with God to receive such joy.
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 5, some men brought on a stretcher a paralytic in an attempt to see Jesus. Not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles into the middle in front of Jesus. Jesus saw their faith and not only forgave their sins, but also healed the paralytic. It shows that we need to put our trust in the Lord, be determined, and put in the effort to seek what we want, that is, really go after the Lord, and we will be richly rewarded. God will not help those who sit around with weak faith and no action.
Sunday, December 4, 2016
I just came across the short YouTube video entitled In Memory of Zoltan Kocsis – RIP and realized that he had passed away. He was a Hungarian piano virtuoso some of whose recorded CDs I own. A quick check on Wikipedia revealed that he died last month at the age of 64. I knew he was younger than I and had not expected that he would be gone so soon before me. This got me thinking that we are all marching toward death. It is healthy to be aware of this reality always so that we might plan living our brief lives properly. Of course, any planning for a noneternal period would be inadequate. Jesus has asked us to stay alert and ready for his Second Coming and this information must absolutely be taken into account in our planning so that we can truly be ready for death and everything else.
I see people as they age finally realize that their attachment to material possessions has turned into a burden, so they start to dispossess them one by one. This is moving in the right direction, but getting rid of your things and still feeling attached to them won't entirely free you. It's more important that you feel detached to them even if you still have them ~ this is enjoying everything in the proper free manner. If you can live completely satisfied without your material possessions, then you are truly free in this world. (Letting God replace all your possessions is the secret here, for only he can truly satisfy us.)
We live in this imperfect, sinful world, encountering frustrations, setbacks, unexpected turn of events ... constantly, and it's easy to get stressed out. The realistic outlook is to realize that such happenings will not go away and it's how we deal with them that matters. To me, to remain cool is to not let anything bother you, for life is dealing with a whole series of unfinished businesses until the day you die. How to remain cool? Know that all things that happen to you are allowed by God for a purpose, so there are no accidents. See it this way and you'll see the good that comes out of the experience each time. Let the Lord take up your burden; you are simply following his will, being detached yourself. This is what total abandonment is all about ~ letting God be in charge of all things, for nothing can happen without his knowledge.
Communion experience. When I received Christ in the Holy Eucharist, he entered me to claim me as one of the sheep the Father had chosen to give him, and he was to reside in me. What an honor, blessing, and joy! This is serious business. Sadly, I have seen Catholics no sooner receive the Blessed Sacrament than they walk out the church. One should never receive the Holy Eucharist out of sheer obligation. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11.27: "Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord." Catholics beware.
Saturday, December 3, 2016
Today is the Memorial of St. Francis Xavier. In today's Gospel from Matthew 9, at the sight of the crowds, Jesus' heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest." How can we help with harvesting? First, to make your task easy, get to know the Lord like the disciples of his time who followed him everywhere. Then spread the good news every chance you get. It could be just making a phone call or performing some small chore to show the love of God for us. The task doesn't need to be taxing; only diligence is required. You'll fine laboring for the Lord to be a great joy.
If you feel inclined to do something that shows off your ego, that prompting can only have come from the evil one and not the Holy Spirit. Let only God bestow any glory on you. All glories that affect you ego are false ones, for they are bestowed on you by Satan. Do not contradict the Lord and you'll have peace. Safeguard the sanctity of your soul and dismiss your ego entirely.
Friday, December 2, 2016
I am artistic in nature and have found myself to be able to express myself through taking photographs. The images I capture identify me as the photographer well; as a matter of fact, you could say that they are me. So I feel good about that and am satisfied with my work. There is somewhat a parallel in following Christ. Abandon yourself in the Holy Spirit and you come to know and understand yourself well. As you become one with God, what you do is exactly what God wants you to do. And you are joyful and happy that you fulfill the will of God always.
Do you know that through Christ, God wants to bestow eternal life on us? How foolish would it be for us to ignore this offer! Let us prepare ourselves for receiving this fantastic, most precious and desirable, and once-in-a-lifetime offer in the remaining time of our fleeting life. Better late than never. In this case, better would be infinitely better and never would be infinitely worse.
Thursday, December 1, 2016
Communion experience. I was in complete harmony with my beloved Lord and my heart felt a great stillness. St. Augustine's saying came to my mind again: "Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee."
The speakers you hear in church, on TV, at conferences, during retreats, and contemporary writers on spirituality advise, encourage, or inspire you to grow holier, to love God more, but none exactly tells you how to do it. Good intention, but ineffective messaging. The secret is to let God do the work for you. This means that you open up to God to let him in first. Then you ask him directly to transform you. In short, the formula for success: Surrender to God, attain union with him, and all you desire is yours.
The Cuban leader passed away recently and Cuban Americans continue to celebrate his death. It is understandable that they are happy that the one who had oppressed them is now gone. But we also need to realize that God hates only the sin, never the sinner. If we acknowledge that God is the judge of all, we must also mourn the death of anyone sinful whoever he might be. After all, praying for the salvation of all souls, living or deceased, is the duty of all Christians.
When we say we love someone or something in the world, that love is not selfless, as it always involves our receiving some form of gratification. Whereas the love of God for us is pure because it is unconditional ~ the Lord just wants to help and save us. Our love for God can be pure too, for when we truly love him, we happily let him do whatever he wants with us.
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
We are all different beings, each living in his own unique life situation. When we all become one with God, we shall all experience the intimacy of God, but continue to lead our lives differently. Each of us is called to serve God in a unique role. Let us trust in the same Lord and let him shape and lead each of us the way he knows best. All in God and all for God.
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 10, Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit that the Father had hidden things from the wise and the learned and had revealed them to the childlike. I still remember that more than once as a child, I felt carefree and happy because I realized that the adult members of my family were taking care of everything for me. We would feel carefree and happy too if we know that God is taking care of us. To reach this realization, you must start trusting in God first. Then the more you experience the wonders of God, the more you become carefree. When you become completely childlike in your trust, he will have revealed all you need to know to you.
In today's first reading from Isaiah 11, the Spirit of the LORD is referred to as a Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a Spirit of counsel and of strength, a Spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD. When you are in union with God, his Spirit imparts wisdom and reveals himself to you, guides and strengthens you, and speaks to your heart continuously. I concur with Prophet Isaiah completely.
Monday, November 28, 2016
As believers in Christ, it's still so easy to get distracted by or be attracted to what we immediately experience in our environment. Ideally, no matter where we are, what we see, when it is, we should be aware that the Lord is in us, at our center, experiencing everything with us. To be tethered to the Lord thus is to always enjoy his company, be free from all evil, and see things through his eyes. It is to be with him with all our mind, with all your heart, and with all your soul, creating the best moment of our life at any time.
Many people enjoy pleasures of the world, but many pleasures are illicit or immoral. Even if they are kosher, you risk being enslaved by them. Once enslaved by a pleasure, enjoying it becomes a sin. Also, too much of a pleasure often turn it into a displeasure. The joys of God are the opposite, for they are always uplifting and refreshing. Once in heaven, you will want to remain there for ever; and that's just fine, for heaven does happen to last forever.
You see above the football stadium at the University of Michigan, my alma mater. It is the largest such stadium of all the colleges in the US, with a seating capacity of 107,601.
Based upon the number of abortions reported to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US, it is projected that the total number of known abortions from 1970 through 2016 will exceed 46 millions. (Abortion was legalized in this country in January, 1973.) So if you replace all the football fans in the Michigan stadium with an equal number of aborted babies, you'll need at least 460 stadiums, that's right, 460, to accommodate all of them! ~ truly mind-blowing. Anyone who knows the love of God can see that abortion is a horrendous evil. May God have mercy on us all.
Sunday, November 27, 2016
Saturday, November 26, 2016
No one other than Christ can send the Holy spirit to fire up your heart. With a cold heart, God can become instantly forgettable. Therefore, go to him directly with an open heart and ask him to set it ablaze and you'll be transformed. The perfect time to do the asking is when you receive him in the Holy Eucharist at Mass.
I don't believe human beings can truly be happy if what they seek is not eternal. Suppose you are given a thousand or even a million years to live happily, but knowing that those years will end ~ would you be completely satisfied? I don't think so. That's why I believe that we can find true happiness only in the Lord God whose kingdom lasts for ever.
God is always calling us, but we do not pay him enough attention until we are much older and begin to realize our own frailties, limitations, and mortality. How many of us die happily with nothing more to confess and without any regret? Wouldn't it be nice to believe and follow God the moment you first hear him calling, get to know him most intimately, and look forward joyfully to meeting him at the end of your life?
Friday, November 25, 2016
When Jesus said "You will have life," he meant we should have life in heaven for all eternity. In today's first reading from Revelation 20 at morning Mass, eternal punishment for the dead was referred to as the second death. So if we live right this time, we die only once and shall live again. But if we do not get it right this time, we live only once and shall die again.
Thursday, November 24, 2016
How do you get to know God intimately to be effectively transformed by him? Or, going one step beyond, how do you attain union with God? It does not work if you just read an author or listen to a speaker who tells you how to do it without involving your own heart. To succeed, start with your heart and go straight to God, bypassing all that's in-between. Seek him directly from your heart and he will guide you directly. This is the fast track.
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
I've been praying for someone who can be considered an enemy to me. What motivates me to pray for him? Perhaps his conversion or change of heart would stop him from giving me more trouble? Perhaps I am afraid of him? Perhaps I want the Lord to teach and crush him? The answer could be yes to any of these questions. Then I can pray for him because I feel sorry for him and want him to be saved for the glory of God. And the Lord shows me that this is the only motive that pleases him.
It's the day before Thanksgiving. I am so many things to be thankful for because of God, my loving creator and Father. Of course, I thank him first of all for his unconditional love and mercy. And I thank him for being my shining hope always. I thank him for sustaining my life not only physically, but most of all spiritually. I thank him especially for taking away all my sins, making me feel refreshingly clean, a feeling only he can give. I also want to thank him for helping me transcend the sufferings of life. I must not forget his important call for me to let all know that he desires intimate union with all of us through the Holy Eucharist. I owe all I am and have to the Lord. 😊
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Communion experience. The infinite God is beyond my comprehension in every aspect. He is infinite in knowledge, wisdom, and creativity as well as in mercy, love, and understanding. I can spend eternity exploring his ways and learning from him. God is absolutely exciting to know!
Of course, we should love God with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength, and all our mind. By giving our all to God, we are saved and become free. This is correct in theory and putting it into practice is completely possible. As always, we only need to remain passive and open, revealing our desire from the heart, and the Lord will take over from here. Now, after giving our all to him, all things become possible for us.
Monday, November 21, 2016
You can believe if God exists or not. You can believe if Christ is your Savior or not. You can believe if heaven and hell are real or not. You can even believe if there is life after death or not. This I know: what you believe now shall shape your eternity.
When we think thoughts, we automatically know that the brain in our head is working and when we feel emotions, we feel it in our heart. I marvel at how God has made us thus. Of the two, the heart occupies a more central spot, for it is the heart that communes with God. Giving the heart to God is the ultimate giving of oneself. Our first priority, more than to keep the heart healthy, is to keep it pure and undefiled for the glory of God.
Sunday, November 20, 2016
After Communion, I heard the priest in prayer referring to the Holy Eucharist as the food of immortality. In John 6, Jesus referred to himself as the living bread that came down from heaven and that whoever eats it will live forever. In the old days, kings and emperors searched for the fountain of youth or tried to come up with the formula for making the elixir of life to prolong living in this world. Here we have Christ himself for us to partake so that we might live forever! How can we be so foolish as not to appreciate such a gift?
Yesterday I posted about how we can belong to the greatest family of God. Today on this Solemnity of Christ the King, again I am deeply impressed that through Christ, we can all become one with each other, with God, and with all the saints and angels in heaven. We will surely feel at home in heaven! Let us rejoice unceasingly.
If God chooses to rule us with fear (which is impossible, of course), clearly, he won't gain any true believers. The truth is that the Lord "rules" us with the greatest possible love. Now, all believers have genuine faith and become true believers, and nonbelievers by their own choice separate themselves from the rest. This is a most logical reality that makes perfect sense.
Today is Solemnity of Christ the King. The Gospel reading from Luke 23 tells us that Jesus and two criminals were crucified, with one on his right and the other on his left. One criminal hanging there reviled Jesus, but the other rebuked him, saying, "Have you no fear of God? We have been condemned justly, but this man has done nothing criminal." Then he turned to Jesus and said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." And Jesus replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." Here Jesus struck me as one with infinite mercy and saving power. All the sinner did was to beg for his mercy and he was saved. Jesus is our Savior par excellence!
Saturday, November 19, 2016
At the beginning, I experienced joy when I first received Jesus as my Lord and Savior. This joy stemmed from believing that I had been washed clean of sin and was now heaven bound, so it' was centered on me. Now finally, my joy is centered on God, for I experienced great joy in him alone.
There are many truths, but only one that's absolutely and forever true ~ this is the God of Holy Trinity as revealed to us through Jesus the Christ. I am stating what I have come to know with no intention of getting anyone to agree with me. I have no proof in my head, only knowledge deposited in my heart by God. All I can say is "I know." No one can find God for anyone else, for one must search with his heart on his own.
Without humility, God becomes unknowable. In our nation today, too many people play God and blame those who disagree with them. For one example, look at the politicians and their protestors. Remember what Jesus said to the scribes and the Pharisees who were ready to stone the woman caught in the act of committing adultery: "Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her" (John 8.7). Jesus is the Lamb of God and we have turned into wolves! Without humility, we have created a tragic situation for humanity ~ the ignorance of our creator.
It feels great to belong to a loving family on earth, but even if you don't have that, you can belong to the loving family of God in heaven, including the Father, Jesus your brother, the Holy Spirit your teacher, the Holy Mother, and all the angles and saints ~ an infinitely greater family than any family on earth and for all eternity too.
Friday, November 18, 2016
I've met so many people whose lives are "messed up" with personal problems, bad relationships with others ~ not always their fault, etc. They definitely need help. I am thinking of the Lord God awaiting, eager to lend help, only if they would turn to him and cry out for his help. It comes down to "God is ready, but are you willing?" By the way, God's help is always permanent, never a temporary patch-up.
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
I still remember when I first believed in Christ a long time ago, I was somewhat intellectually convinced that he is God. Once in a long while for a very brief moment, I did sense God's presence. But now he is as real to me as my own existence! The sun may not rise tomorrow, but Christ will be there. How did I get to this stage? Ask God, for all I know is that he knows.
When we see others, we only see their outward appearance and if they move away from us, we lose sight of them eventually altogether. Besides, we can never know everything about those we see. But God sees us no matter where we are and he knows us inside out.
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 19, Jesus told the parable of the ten gold coins. His message was that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This sounds like a law. It's true in the case that the one who has faith will continue to grow stronger in faith and the one who has little faith will lose it altogether. Seek union with God to continually receive more and more from him.
In today's first reading from Revelation 4, John saw that day and night the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to the Lord our God who sits on the throne. To an ordinary human, it might seem boring to do such a thing, but do you know that it is the great joy they experience that makes them worship God?
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Today one of the Communion antiphon was based upon Mark 11.24, in which Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours." This is the key to having your prayer answered. Of course, what you ask for must be something you truly need or what your heart desires and not unreasonable or offensive to God. For example, I would not ask God to heal me instantly if I accidentally cut my finger a little bit. He handles cases that are too tough for us! Also, God may not answer you right away. If I pray for a loved one to return to the Catholic faith, it may not happen in my lifetime, but happen it shall.
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 19, Zacchaeus the tax collector sought to see Jesus, but he could not see him because he was short in stature among the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a tree to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When Jesus reached the place, he 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. The lesson for me here is this: The Lord knows everything we perform out of love for him and he will reward us for it.
It's easy not to pay much attention to all the sayings of Jesus you read in the Gospels ~ after all, they are 2,000 years old. But it would be most difficult ~ impossible, I'd say ~ to say that they are all false. If you agree with me, then you have no choice but to believe in Christ.
We are all familiar with the saying: "Money is the root of all evil." To be more accurate, we must read 1 Timothy 6.10 in which Paul wrote "The Love of money is the root of all evils." Of course, the love of money is greed, a cardinal sin; so it comes down to "Sin is the root of all evil."
When Jesus began to show his disciples that he must suffer greatly, be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise on the third day, Peter rebuked him, "God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you." Jesus said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan. You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do." This shows that we must absolutely get out of God's way and follow his will, no matter what we think might happen under all circumstances.
Monday, November 14, 2016
Letting go in God is to trust God in all things. That means you no longer attach yourself to anything but God. That means you keep the word of Christ to the letter. That means you are no longer influenced by what others think of you. Letting go goes beyond repentance, made possible by God.
Saturday, November 12, 2016
The way the Holy Spirit teaches us is unique. It's not an intellectual illumination because it doesn't require any harding thinking or reasoning on our part. It is a spiritual illumination, as God speaks directly to the heart, bypassing the brain. Truly original and most refreshing.
Today's Communion antiphon is based upon Jesus saying in Matthew 10.39: Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. It is clear that whether we lose or find our life involves Jesus explicitly, which brings to mind Jesus' proclamation in John 14.6: I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Therefore, Jesus is in our way, but the good thing is that he is our way.
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 18, Jesus, via a parable, teaches his disciples the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. Foremost, prayer needs to come from the depth of the heart. Sometimes God tests your persistence, so do not stop communicating with him if you love him.
When people find out that I am truly happy in the Lord, they congratulate me and are happy that I have found happiness. What I want to make it known to all is that what I have found is not something by luck I happen to stumble upon and happen to work for me. No, this is God's familiar, universal call to every one of his beloved children. There is no secret, and only your response matters.
When God looks at us as our creator and Father, he sees the beauty of each soul, but is grieved by the sins that have stained us. Say you have a favorite vase and it falls into mud and gets dirty all over, would you throw it away? Of course not, and this is how God sees us, for the sin is not the sinner. Mary asked us to recite the Fatima Prayer at the end of each Rosary decade: Oh My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy. We are not to judge anyone, but pray for everyone.
As I headed for morning Mass today, I saw the blue skies, white clouds, and the colorful fall foliage in hues of yellow, amber, and red. Why weren't they in some other colors? I immediately knew that God was real, for he had made them beautiful for us to behold. We also understand what good and evil mean, and can feel joy or sadness ~ again pointing to his existence. All I can say is that God has made us this way. Don't forget that he has made us in his image so that we can choose to believe in him too!
Friday, November 11, 2016
Jesus said in John 8: "Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin" and "If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." So the fact about us is that, first, as sinners we easily become our own slaves. Then we hear Christ calling us, we believe and follow him, and we are set free.
Thursday, November 10, 2016
When God and you are in each other, he and you become one. But since he is infinite and you are finite, it's difficult to see that you can possibly contain him. So, why not picture that you are in him, totally containing you? Surely, you are now one with him, since you now dwell in and belong to him wholly.
The Holy Eucharist, being the true body and blood of our Lord, is packed with grace to make you holy, new, and beautiful for God to behold. Therefore, consume it with complete submission to his holy will and wonderful transformation will take place in your heart and soul. In Matthew 8, when Jesus was ready to go to the house of a centurion to cure his paralyzed servant, the centurion said, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed." This is the kind of attitude and faith we should hold.
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
The morals of any country or society that has cast God aside will inevitably degenerate, and that downslide in these last few decades of this nation has been rapid. If liberal Hillary Clinton had won the presidential election, the degeneration would surly continue. Talking about taking care of the people while giving no protection to the unborn is no true compassion, only hypocrisy. True compassion is selfless. With Donald Trump just elected to be the next president, there is at least hope that things can begin to turn around, for he is pro-life and promises to protect religious liberty.
This morning's entrance antiphon, Revelation 21.2, at Mass: I saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. How beautiful it would be to have a holy nation, a new America!
This morning's entrance antiphon, Revelation 21.2, at Mass: I saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. How beautiful it would be to have a holy nation, a new America!
Tuesday, November 8, 2016
When Jesus promised that he and the Father would come to those who loved him and kept his word, do you think that he would just come to be next to us? Did he have distance in his mind? Of course not! When he spoke of coming to us, he's talking about coming to enter us to dwell in us as one.
Today's Gospel passage was Luke 17.7-10 in which Jesus describes the attitude of a servant. In the last verse, he says, "When you have done all you have been commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.'" Yes, with God, we do not question or reason but only believe and trust. Without humility, God becomes unapproachable.
Yesterday I watched Dr. Paul Schenck being interviewed by Marcus Grodi on The Journey Home TV program. He was intellectually articulate and worth listening to. Telling how he became truly pro-life was a memorable experience for me. It should wake us up to the horror of abortion, the killing of innocent human babies.
Monday, November 7, 2016
It's common that we obtain at least a second opinion when we are unsure about what we are supposed to do. Recently, some doctors advised a friend of mine to undergo surgery to solve her back problem, while other doctors advised against that. Our opinions are just opinions; they can be helpful or not. Then I thought of God. If we listen to him, we don't ever need any second opinion. Personally, I see the Lord God simplifying our lives.
Communion experience. The Holy Spirit made me see that before attempting to change anything around us, our first priority should be to change ourselves first. This completely made sense to me. Then he also showed me that as sinners, we have no right to judge other sinners.
The world seems so unfair when the evil ones get away with whatever they do and the good people get beaten down and suffer. That's because we live in a sinful world. But this is just the beginning, for in the end, all will be settled. It will be either eternal dwelling with God or eternal separation from him, and this is what matters.
Sunday, November 6, 2016
You go to God not just to get your sins forgiven, but also to get your heart purified and your soul liberated! Let him fill you with hope, courage, peace, and joy. If you belong to him, all he has is yours. This is what a good Father is for. (These were my first thoughts before Mass this morning.)
Saturday, November 5, 2016
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 16, Jesus said to his disciples, "The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones." This says that a trustworthy person is one who is trustworthy in all matters, that is, he has consistency. Similarly, a faithful Catholic is one who follows all teachings of the Catholic Church with consistency. Sadly, there are many Catholics who follow only those teachings that are palatable to them and veer away from others they think they can ignore. With God, we must go along 100%, giving our all and never overriding his will. Loving God not with all our heart is not an option ~ either we are with him all the way or not. Complete surrender to God is our only way out, but it's the logical, realistic, and most glorious way. Once in union with God, you will never ever want to leave him again ~ it's that beautiful!
If you know exactly where you are going after you die, that is, you are certain that you are going to live forever with God, your entire outlook on life will change and you will experience peace and freedom. Should you wait until the last moments of your life and wake up to reality, you might still make heaven, but then you've already squandered away much of your lifetime ~ not a pleasant thing. Be a visionary and secure your real future for all eternity first.
Friday, November 4, 2016
Today being a first Friday, I attended Eucharistic Adoration after Mass. With the Holy Eucharist displayed in the monstrance on the altar, the sanctuary became the holy of holies. It is hard to imagine that this same bread of heaven entered me personally a while ago during Mass. I could only tremble in awe. Being one with the One you are in love with ~ what more could one possibly ask for?
In today's first reading at Mass from Philippians 3, Paul spoke of all followers of Christ as having their citizenship in heaven. We become citizens of a country because we love the country and the country welcomes and accepts us. As citizens of heaven, we love God and God welcomes and accepts us. To link ourselves to God, to heaven, is the most important single thing we need to do in this life. It may sound selfish, but it's exactly what God wishes.
Thursday, November 3, 2016
Memories exist in our mind, but they are like virtual images we see in a mirror ~ they do not exist in substance. Memories are always about the past. Lingering over memories is a waste of time, a fruitless activity. The Christian is untethered from all past memories, be they pleasant or bitter. He or she lives forth with faith, hope, and charity ~ Christ now is the only draw. Such healthy living leads to eternal life.
Everything we do in thought, word, and deed is known to God and thus consequential to our eternity destiny. If you had started out badly, only repentance and asking for God's forgiveness can reverse your course, giving you a second chance ~ there are no other means.
My heart was heavy when I went to Mass this morning because of the many pressing issues on my mind. The entrance antiphon from Psalm 38 read: Forsake me not, O Lord my God; be not far from me! Make haste and come to my help, O Lord, my strong salvation! This perfectly mirrored my feelings. Then at the same time I did not want to hear the Lord say "O you of little faith," which he had used on his disciples on different occasions. Later, the response to Psalm 105 read: Let hearts rejoice who search for the Lord! And that was the answer I needed to hear.
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Today is All Souls Day. The entrance antiphon from 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15 reads: Just as Jesus died and has risen again, so through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep; and as in Adam all die, so also in Christ will all be brought to life. I believe in what Paul believed in. Our life does not end with death, for the soul is everlasting. Through Christ, we shall rise again. With Christ, we always have hope, for he is our hope. All who believe in him will live with him for ever.
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
The line separating believers and nonbelievers in Christ is clear, but the thickness of that line varies for each individual. Take the extreme cases. If you are ready to believe and follow Christ, the line vanishes completely. But if you decide to reject him, that line becomes like a wide chasm. Again, you choose to unite yourself to or separate yourself from God.
As I have said more than once that the spiritual battle we fight is basically between us and God. We don't even need to factor in Satan. We let God be our God and we are free! But if we let ourselves be our gods, then we remain slaves to ourselves. It is clear, precise, and simple. Experience God and you'll know. How close to or far away from you freedom is ~ that all depends upon you.
Today is Solemnity of All Saints. The Mass was a joy for all its beautiful readings.
- In Reading 1 from Revelation 7, John saw that God would put his seal on the foreheads of his servants to protect them, and that those who had survived the time of great distress had washed their robes in the Blood of the Lamb and made them white.
- In Reading 2 from 1 John 3, John tells us that the children of God shall be like God when they see him as he is.
- Gospel acclamation, Matthew 11.28: Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened and I will give your rest, says the Lord.
- The Gospel reading from Matthew 5 was on the Sermon on the Mount, the beautiful Beatitudes.
- During the Liturgy of the Eucharist, I was greatly moved when the words and actions of Jesus at the Last Supper were recalled.
- These three Beatitudes made up the Communion antiphon: Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
It's just so beautiful to be a saint for God!
Monday, October 31, 2016
Communion experience. God is the one to whom I can safely bare my inner self completely. I can go to him to empty any junk, trash, and filth in me, spill forth all my emotions and feelings, and get myself cleansed, healed, and revitalized. Accepting the fact that there is nothing I can possibly hide without his knowledge is greatly therapeutic. Shall we say that being totally honest with God is the best policy?
Jesus said all the following:
Matthew 6.14-15: "If you forgive others their transgressions, you heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do no forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions."
Matthew 10.12-13: "Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father."
Luke 6.37: "Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven."
Luke 6.38: "Give and gifts will be given to you . . . the measure with you measure will be in return be measured out to you."
Matthew 7.12: "Do to others whatever you would have them do to you." This pretty much sums things up with God taking part also.
Lesson from today's Gospel reading from Luke 14. Jesus went to dine at the home of a leading Pharisees. He said to the host who invited him, "When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or sisters or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous." Indeed, before we invite someone to eat with us, we even consider if that person has ever invited us or if he has, how many times, how good the food was, etc. The same consideration is given when giving a gift. (This reminds me of the "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" saying.) Where is genuine generosity? What Jesus has taught is that we must do good from the heart and not for the sake of repayment. Love must be unconditional. To summarize it further: we must be completely selfless and do good for the sake of pleasing God alone. As a matter of fact, this is the secret of inner peace, when we exclude ourselves (our own egos) from the equation.