God is to be praised, worshipped, thanked, and adored; but most of all, he is to be loved.
"Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)
Thursday, June 30, 2016
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
It saddens me to see so many people spending so much time theorizing how they could maximize their profits in investing in, say real estate, what they should look for in shopping for a certain product, how best to grow plants, what to eat to stay healthy and live longer, etc. What good is it if you know all the theories, but not God?
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Monday, June 27, 2016
Never say anything that can possibly hurt another person's feelings, even if your intention is just to tease a little bit. It follows that you should also not yell at anyone in your own family. Then both you and the world will have more peace.
I got back home late yesterday and am happy to have resumed attending morning Mass. I shall predate each post to reflect the day on which I received the insight.
Since your God is my God and your Savior is my Savior, we have communion of saints. United in God as one and we are never alone again ~ such a beautiful thing!
Sunday, June 26, 2016
It's almost 1:30 a.m. The moon shines brightly outside. Normally, I would be sound asleep in bed, but I was awake and speaking to the Lord in the quiet of the early morning. Everything came straight out from my heart ~ petitions, longings, prayers for others, etc. There was this complete openness and trust between us and I sensed a special, beautiful joy. How privileged I am!
Saturday, June 25, 2016
I thought I would stop blogging after my last post, then I attended Vigil Mass because I must leave home early tomorrow, and the Lord fed me with more thoughts. In the Gospel reading from Luke 9, Jesus said to one who would follow him, but wanted to say farewell to his family at home first, "No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God." I immediately saw the formula for attaining freedom, which is following Jesus single-mindedly and single-heartedly, abandoning everything of the past and of the present. When we leave his world, we'll have to do this anyway to be free, so why not start now when you decide to follow Jesus?
Last Wednesday, I posted about a friend who suffered two strokes. She is still found to lose blood somehow, requiring constant blood transfusion. Another friend is receiving stents for his two clogged arteries in his chest. This morning after Mass, I went to get some bread at the local market and met a fellow parishioner there who will undergo surgery on July 13 to get enough blood to circulate to his lower body. We shall all get to some stage like that as we age. I've already found out how one problem joint can prevent me from doing the many things so simple I never gave a thought about doing them before. All of you, young or old, who still have good health, think about how you would handle yourself when you become weakened or disabled in some way in the future. Will you be happy or unhappy? This is the time to prepare for that. Even more importantly, prepare for your transition to the next life now.
[Note: For the next week and a half or so, mostly likely I won't be able to blog. Please check back around July 8 or 9. God be with you always.]
In Luke 12, Jesus said to his disciples, "Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division." Indeed, Jesus is the most compelling controversial figure in the history of mankind. You have to be either for him or against him, precisely because he is true God and because true evil does exist.
Friday, June 24, 2016
A lot of people believe in God, but they do not want to get close to him. This is being illogical. It's like you don't mind going to heaven, but you don't wish to see God. I believe the reason is that they still fear that God would take away their freedom, not realizing that they cannot be truly free without God taking away their sins first. This is the challenge each of us must meet and prevail in our lifetime, for our eternal life is at stake.
I never thought I would end up living where I am living now because I had the idea of settling in certain places. I also thought I'd pursue one career, but ended up with an entirely different one. I didn't know early in my life that later I would almost drown in a lake, fall from a tree, be sent twice to an emergency care unit in an ambulance and get well again. I had not expected that after living beyond the average life expectancy of men, God still called me to spread the message of union with him. I am most happy to end my life on such a high note and know this time that I shall end up being with our Father.
Thursday, June 23, 2016
Communion experience. The presence of the Holy Eucharist in the Church marks the presence of Christ at the center of the Church he had established. I felt so full spiritually after receiving this Most Holy Sacrament this morning that my heart almost wanted to burst ~ there is no more wonderful blessing a mortal can receive!
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 7, Jesus said to his disciples, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?' Then I will declare to them solemnly, 'I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.'" The statement I italicized is what you never want to hear from the Lord. Do the will of God so that you may be known to him.
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
I still remember reading the many great spiritual classics and biographies of the saints and their own writings in the past. So much of what I read inspired and taught me. In many of the volumes, I yellow-highlighted all the lines that spoke to my heart. I also attended many spiritual conferences and retreats. My heart was on fire after each time, getting more excited about the Lord than ever. But things have changed. Ever since I started seeking union with God, got to know the Lord intimately, and came to experience his beauty and holiness, all the spiritual books, conference messages, talks by some of the best speakers, etc., no longer uplift me, for all second-hand information loses its flavor when you now learn directly from the Lord himself. Besides, you already have the Lord to yourself ~ you no longer need anything to help you get there.
Communion experience. Concern about the condition of the world and what might happen in my own country after the presidential election placed a heavy burden on my heart and I rejoiced that I could turn to Christ to seek consolation, for he is the only one who can give me hope and joy.
The news came that a dear friend of ours has suffered two strokes in a row, but is now recovering. Life is fragile and hanging by a thread. We know that thread is going to break one day, but somewhat we are not impressed as long as it's not happening to us yet. Meanwhile we hang on to things that are even less dependable than a thread. What gives? If we do not pay close attention to all the obvious indicators about the transitoriness of life, how are we going to prepare ourselves for living the eternal life?
People either accept or reject Jesus and are either good or bad, roughly speaking. So the four possible categories are (1) good people accepting Jesus, (2) bad people accepting Jesus, (3) good people rejecting Jesus, and (4) bad people rejecting Jesus. Obviously, you should want to belong in the first and not the last category. How about the middle two? I see that a bad person accepting Jesus can easily be saved if he would just repent of his sins and ask for God's forgiveness. But a good person rejecting Jesus risks being rejected by him before the Father, as the Gospel tells us. Naturally, the Lord alone knows why he is not being accepted. Nevertheless, knowingly rejecting Christ will definitely have serious consequences.
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
God gave us talent not to serve ourselves, make us rich and famous, or make us feel more important to him. No, he gave us talent so that we might glorify him alone. So many talented artists live for the art they have created instead of serving God, or think that they are above others less talented. In such cases, no blessing would be a blessing.
In this country at this time, godlessness is the root cause of our problems. Political correctness is followed more closely than the teachings of God. In this secular world, if a saint were elected president, he wouldn't last a week. This is how sad the shape this country is in. I hope that Jesus' realistic statement that those who enter through the wide gate with the broad road that leads to destruction are many and those who find the narrow gate with the constricted road that leads to life are few in today's Gospel reading at Mass (see today's earlier post "Best Travel Plan") will at least shock our conscience a bit.
Many of us plan for our security, our retirement, our near future . . . yet do not seem to be concerned about life eternal at all. Isn't here a great imbalance? Don't you also see the ironic contradiction? Have we lost our common sense? Are we asleep or afraid to face death? Jesus' question comes to my mind: "What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?" Basically, I think we are just being fools.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 7, Jesus spoke to his disciples, "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few." We need to stay sober and pay critical attention to these words of life. Our best policy is to find and follow Christ, then we won't need to be concerned about the width of the gate opening nor the condition of the road, nor where we'll end up. Follow Christ and go carefree ~ my slogan.
In this life, we have both good and bad things happening to us. Beware that the good things you receive could be the reward you get for being a hypocrite (read Matthew 6) or for the actual good you've done. Anyway, reward received in this world means nothing if you can not get into heaven later. The bad things that happen to you now can actually be blessings if you accept them as part of your purgatory experience after death. I'd accept the bad now and receive the good later rather than the other way around.
This morning's entrance verse at Mass from Psalm 24: The clean of hands and pure of heart shall climb the mountain of the Lord and stand in his holy place. To have clean hands and a pure heart is to never do anything filthy nor consider any thought sinful. A soul in such a state receives great joy, for its presence is welcomed by the Lord.
I have two joint injuries that have not healed for many months, but I do not feel down nor sorry for myself. I realize it's because I belief that God can still heal me. Whether he is going to heal me or not is another matter; it is keeping that hope alive that has sustained me. To have faith is to have hope. We often console or encourage others in unfortunate circumstances by telling them to keep up the faith or not to give up. These are not exactly empty remarks, because faith and hope in God do give us the strength and courage we need.
Monday, June 20, 2016
Psalm 27.4 of David ~ One thing I ask of the LORD; only this I seek: to dwell in the LORD's house all the days of my life. For me today, this is like asking to remain in union with Christ at all times. Indeed, to remain in such union is "home, sweet home" to those who belong to the Lord, for they would feel painfully uncomfortable the moment they "step outside the house." Only dwelling in heaven could be sweeter.
Sunday, June 19, 2016
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 9, Jesus asked the disciples, "Who do the crowds say that I am?" They gave various answers. Then he asked them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter replied, "The Christ of God." He told them, "The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised." The he said to all, "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it." Peter first recognized that Jesus was the Messiah from God, then Jesus spoke authentically as only God could.
In today's second reading from Galatians 3 at Mass, Paul wrote: Through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. I do not see another God-centered religion other than Christianity in which all members are treated equally as heirs of God ~ another sign that the God of Christ is the true God.
If someone makes another billion dollars, it's not our business. If someone becomes so popular that crowds madly follow him or her everywhere, it's not our business. If someone brings millions of people to Christ, it's not our business. Our business is to follow the will of God in everything we do. This should be something we can easily remember.
Friday, June 17, 2016
Communion experience. My soul experienced the most peaceful rest in Christ. This is the rest you experience when you are completely at peace with God. In this spiritual state, both your mental and physical conditions remain unperturbed, God alone occupying the soul.
Today's Entrance verse from Psalm 27: O Lord, hear my voice, for I have called to you; be my help. Do not abandon or forsake me. O God, my Savior! Here is David, crying out to and begging God, exhibiting an emotion we can all identify with. Of course, God only knows the human soul too well, plus that he will never abandon or forsake us. As a matter of fact, our Father receives great joy when his children ask for his help, telling him they need him, for he gets another chance to exercise his love.
Thursday, June 16, 2016
Communion experience. Here's the merciful Lord ready to forgive all my sins, how could I possibly not forgive anyone who had trespassed against me? Jesus only wants to give us peace. But when we disobey him, we lose our peace. Without peace, we do not hear him speak. Forgiving others, being a hard counsel to follow, makes a great start to regain our peace in God.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 6, Jesus taught his disciples to pray the Our Father, in which we are to ask the Father to forgive our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. The Lord further added, "If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions." The promise and warning can't be any clearer. We know that to forgive our enemies or those we plain do not like is hard, but forgive we must. It helps to know that forgiving them doesn't mean that you are to become fast friends with them or even like them, although that would be nice. To forgive is to wish that God will also save them. If he comes to you and asks you if he should save them, your ready answer should be a resounding yes, since you want to always please him. If God equates whatever we do for one of our least brothers to doing it for him, then surely holding a grudge against anyone would be the same as holding one against him. I've learned that to be at odds with God ever so slightly can deprive us of inner peace ~ thank God for having made us this way. Only complete obedience to God will ensure our own salvation.
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
I pray that every single soul in the world will be saved. Is this praying for the impossible? Not really. To easily see if something is right or wrong, just look at what would happen if everyone does it. In the same way, if everyone would pray for the salvation of all souls, the prayer is clearly answered. So it's not impossible, only improbable. Nevertheless, the faithful should not hesitate to pray for what's not likely to happen, as nothing is impossible (not improbable) for God.
As you will to serve God, he prepares you by teaching you, while revealing how he wants you to serve him in due time. He will always lead you to glorify him, fulfilling your purpose of life. It is in serving God faithfully that we can become great in heaven.
The fact that God gave his only Son to save us so that we might return to him in heaven shows that he desires union with him from us more than anything else, yet we hardly talk about it. In fact, we are neglecting the most important thing God wants to hear about. Know that union with God is within everyone's reach because in seeking union it's God, not you anymore, doing the work! Banish the erroneous thought that union is reserved for the saints only. The wonderful thing is that we all can become saints if we seek union with the Lord. It is not only the fast track to holiness; it also promises to turn living the Catholic life into a most exciting journey.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 6, Jesus teaches all of us not to perform good deeds, pray, or fast for others to see nor to win their praise. Essentially, we are to live secretly in the Father, proclaiming openly only the gospel. Note that the Father always repays us in secret too. You just cannot glorify both God and yourself!
Another wisdom we gain as we age is understanding that only what matters to God matters to us. Once you see it, you start to abandon yourself to God. It is giving in to God, a process of giving yourself up. This should be a joyful prelude to returning to your heavenly Father.
We instinctively do our best to support our families, maintain our health, etc. But when all our efforts fail, especially as we age, it is such a consolation to know that we always have the Lord God as our backup. In fact, this is the only backup that counts and we truly need. When we are young, we don't think about it. But when we get old, it becomes increasingly clear. Blessed are those who realize this when they are still young.
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
If we die and become absolutely nonexistent, then life has to be the biggest puzzle of all. But there is evidence that the soul lives on forever. Therefore, where you settle after you pass away makes all the difference ~ it'll be either eternally pleasant or eternally miserable.
Monday, June 13, 2016
Today is Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua. This is the Gospel reading from Matthew 5. Jesus said to his disciples: "You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles. Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow." Admittedly, these counsels are most difficult to follow, but the Lord is right. The point: Jesus wants us to use love as our only weapon to win others. Pray that he will not lead us to any test we cannot pass.
I believe that most people do not believe in God because they fear that they won't be able to do freely what they wish, once God becomes their Lord. They would find excuses to appease themselves. This is running away from God. If the fear is there, God must have attracted you. In fact, it's God calling you, challenging you. If you give in and accept him, you fear will turn into joy, for God is love.
It's only natural that we do not reveal ourselves too much to those whom we do not know well, but feel free to be ourselves at home around those close to us. Therefore, if you do share everything in your heart with God, rejoice that you have a most close relationship with him.
The current tragic news is the mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub in Florida. Strict gun control might delay some of these violent attacks, but will not remove their cause. As in fighting the drug war, going after the traffickers will not stop the flow of drugs, since the demand for drugs, the cause, is still intact. What causes all the horrendous acts of violence today is the rejection of Christ ~ I don't have to be a prophet to tell you that. The fact that people are not saying this only substantiates my claim. Mankind has fallen far away from God and become self-important and judgmental. The acceptance of abortion in our societies is a good indication of how much Christ is absent from our lives. We reap what we sow.
Sunday, June 12, 2016
As I was praying this morning in my bedroom, I looked around and saw the face of Jesus on an Albert Gilles copper piece (as seen on the Holy Shroud of Turin) hung over the headboard of my bed, and a crucifix and a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe hung on a side wall. I saw all three and realized that I already knew all about life and God my creator ~ I felt great satisfaction and joy.
In Matthew 20, Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave." Again, in Matthew 23, he spoke to the crowds and to the disciples, "The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted." Here's one greatest teaching from Jesus. Humility and willingness to serve go hand in hand. You can be a great speaker trying to convert others, but if you lack humility, you still remain a hypocrite. We now have the secret of attaining freedom and being exalted by the Lord.
Saturday, June 11, 2016
I attended Vigil Mass today. I saw the beautiful flowers adorning the altar. They reflect the beauty of our creator for a few days and are thrown away, having served their purpose. I started thinking about our own lives. After our sojourn on this earth is over, we'll meet the same creator our God. Will we be empty-handed then with no gifts to offer to him? Will there be treasures in heaven we have stored up while on earth? Under our accounts, will the Lord find fruit that we've borne for him? In sum, have we done anything to make us fit to enter the kingdom of heaven?
If you receive something of this world that makes you happy, you either keep it all to yourself or share it with some good friends when you feel like it. What is so special about the love of Christ is that once you receive it and it makes you happy, you become completely selfless and would want everyone else in the whole world to have it too!
We know that we are all sinners. We know that God is all holy. We know sin and holiness do not mix. Now, know that that gap has been bridged by God through the giving of his only Son, Jesus. Also know that there are no bridges behind us for us to make any kind of retreat to safety.
In union with God, you enjoy his company at all times. You enjoy what Paul talked about, the peace that surpasses all understanding. When you sin ever so slightly, you lose that peace instantly and want to get right back amidst the company of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. You know that you'd never survive outside their company. God does "pamper" his children.
Friday, June 10, 2016
Communion experience. To receive the Holy Eucharist is to accept the Lord's invitation to become holy by being one with him. Unlimited grace will be bestowed upon you via this Most Blessed Sacrament. To be holy is to be free, to shine in God's sight, and to dwell in God,
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 5, Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery. I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better...." The Lord has certainly set high standards for us to be perfect, but we do need standards, and low standards are no standards. Rather than bemoan what we have to follow, let us rejoice that God wants us to be holy just like him. These standards give us hope. If we surrender to God, he will make us meet these standards with no sweat.
In today's Reading 1 from 1 Kings 19, it was read that at the mountain of God, Horeb, Elijah came to a cave, where he took shelter. But the word of the Lord came to him, "Go outside and stand on the mountain before the Lord; the Lord will be passing by." A strong and heavy wind came by, followed by an earthquake, and fire, but the Lord was not in any of them. Finally, there was a tiny whispering sound and Elijah heard the Lord speak to him. God truly speaks to us in a whisper. In fact, he usually speaks silently to our heart, not through our ears, for he wants to reach our innermost. Therefore, we will not hear God speak if we are not used to opening up our inner heart and examine our conscience before the Lord. If you make your heart completely transparent and accessible to the Lord, you are ready to hear his sweet voice speaking to you at any time.
Thursday, June 9, 2016
Also in today's Gospel reading, Jesus said, "If you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift." So don't expect that you can get along with God if you cannot even get along with your brother or sister. It follows that thinking you alone are favored by God and all others are despicable has to be most abhorrent to the Lord.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 5, Jesus warns that whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, whoever says, "You fool," will be liable to fiery Gehenna, etc. Then how can we possibly avoid punishment? Recall that after Jesus said to his disciples, "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God," they asked him who then can be saved. And Jesus looked to them and said, "For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible." So the Lord's rigorous demand for our perfection above must be balanced by his infinite mercy.
First thought at Mass this morning was that God uplifts our heart, drawing us heavenward. The feeling was absolutely refreshing! The Lord has "spoiled" his children, for without him, nothing else uplifts their spirit. When sin disturbs them, they run straight to him to have their peace restored.
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Communion experience. I, still a sinner, was going to receive the holy body of Christ. My first quick thought was that I don't wish to contaminate the Lord. Then I realized that God is impervious to sin. We are sinners only because we shield our sins from God. If we expose them to him, they lose their hold on us. I received the Lord with gratitude and joy.
Jesus told his disciples not to worry or be anxious about tomorrow, life, or anything else. In fact, he wants to simplify our lives by letting love alone guide us in all that we do. While sin complicates and destroys lives, love simplifies them and builds them up. Simply love all others as Christ loves us and we are heaven bound!
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 5 at Mass, Jesus says, "Whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven." We probably have totally different ideas about how to be least or greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Indeed, God's thoughts are not our thoughts, nor are our ways his ways (Isaiah 55.8). We and God hold different views simply because God is holy and we are sinners. But we can submit ourselves to God and have him take away our tendencies to sin so that we and God might think the same thoughts and hold identical ways. This will be perfect reconciliation, us becoming one in perfect harmony with God.
Tuesday, June 7, 2016
St. Augustine said that "God has made us so that our heart is restless until it finds its rest in him." The following are all corollaries.
(1) We have no inner peace until we reconcile ourselves to God.
(2) Our heart is not free until it surrenders to God.
(3) Our joy is not complete until the joy of Christ is in us.
(4) Life is empty until Christ enters to fill the void.
(5) You feel lost until Christ shows you the way.
(6) You feel unloved or dislike yourself until you find out that God died for you.
(5) You feel lost until Christ shows you the way.
(6) You feel unloved or dislike yourself until you find out that God died for you.
We learn from mistakes continuously throughout life, but this is helpful only if we face the same situation again. Normally, once the mistake is made, the damage is done and irreversible. Looking back, I can trace the cause of my many past mistakes to my pride. What I have learned is that we should consult the Lord who knows all things, in all things we contemplate doing. This may not be easy, depending upon your relationship with him. For example, if it's clear that you would need a new car, then you ask him to reveal to your heart what kind of car you should get, putting aside all your own preferences which he already knows. The Lord always help us choose wisely and sensibly, for he wants us to preserve our peace.
Monday, June 6, 2016
As you know, I love piano music, but it no longer obsesses me. All beautiful things come from God, and it's him alone that we should be obsessed with. Yesterday I watched Arie Vardi's TV show Intermezzo with Arik on YouTube. This time, Arie, the renowned Israel conductor, pianist, and teacher, interviews Yeol Eum Son, the South Korea pianist who has won many prestigious prizes. Yeol Eum's prodigious talent is most impressive. When she plays, her entire concentration is upon making the music sing. The expressive result for the listener and, I am sure, herself too, touches almost the human soul.
For most of us, we are not that talented in any way, but I realize that we can reach the level of touching the human soul too. Indeed, we don't even need to practice hard as most pianists have to; we only need to abandon ourselves in God for him to make everything beautiful for us. The resulting union not only touches our soul, but also moves God's heart. This state is infinitely more satisfying than being able to play music beautifully, as your own soul is also liberated!
In case you are interested in watching the video, I am posting it below. Two recorded clips of her playing on this video aside, Yeol Eum plays three pieces. In Bach's Sheep May Safely Graze, starting around 6:45, the playing was most introspective. Later in the performance of Feinberg's transcription of the scherzo from Tchaikovsky's Pathétique symphony, at around 14:55, her technique takes flight. (The last piece, around 26:45, is just a fun piece.)
Saturday, June 4, 2016
Today is Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. From Luke 2, we heard read the finding of the boy Jesus in the temple. The Holy Family went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover when Jesus was twelve years old. As they were returning, Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents thought that he was in the caravan. Later, not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him and found him in the temple in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him being astounded at his understanding and his answers. When his mother saw and asked him why he had done this to them, Jesus answered, "Did you know that I must be in my Father's house?" I found Jesus' answer astounding for knowing that God is his Father. Likewise, we who have been called by Christ must also know that he is our shepherd.
Friday, June 3, 2016
We get perturbed so often, unhappy each time when things don't go our way. God is not perturbed by anything except when we sin against him. Then he deals with his sadness with love. We should be just like that too, remaining unperturbed and dealing with sadness with love. Seeking union with him will get us there. Then we can be like him.
You can love the Lord with your head or with your heart. Using studying the Bible as an example, let me illustrate the difference between the two approaches. (1) With you head first. You pick up a study guide with or without a video. There are guides out there on a single Gospel hundreds of pages thick, giving commentary on virtually every single verse. You learn a lot about history, pick up much background information . . . the amount of knowledge you can gain is most impressive. But after you learn all that, can you say that you have come to appreciate the Lord more personally? I am not sure. (2) Now with the heart. You go straight to a Gospel. Read the verses and place yourself in the scene with Jesus. Observe and listen. How does it affect your heart? Is Jesus speaking to you? The whole approach is contemplative in nature. You open your heart to let the Lord speak to it. This is the approach I prefer because it's getting to know him intimately. So use the heart always to know the Lord, but use the head only if you want to know more about him. I want Jesus to be my most intimate friend, not just a casual acquaintance.
Today is Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. From reading 2 from Romans 5, verse 6 struck me: For Christ, while we were still helpless, died at the appointed time for the ungodly. How incredible that God would die for the ungodly! Of course, that's because God is love.
Once on a trip to Medjugorje, a young man in my group confided in me the relationship he was having with a woman. Apparently, his conscience bothered him and wanted me to hear about it. He was getting so much pleasure out of this improper relationship that he felt helpless to sever it. I understand how one can fall into such a situation and feel the tug of war between God and Satan. As long as you hope in God, you will be freed by him, but it can take time and a lot of your resolve to turn around. Always hold onto what you know is right, as Satan loves to sow confusion in us. Once your burden is lifted, you'll experience peace and freedom as never before.
Thursday, June 2, 2016
When your heart is pure and clean, you have inner peace. Therefore, give your heart to God, the only one who can make your heart pure and clean. This is the best gift you can possibly give to God. Now, follow your heart and you'll find your Father there ~ a most beautiful relationship!
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 12, Jesus gave us the two greatest commandments, on the basis of which all other commandments rest. The first one: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. We all carry the original sin. Having difficulty in following the second commandment is proof that we are sinners. But God so loved us that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish and might have eternal life (John 3.16). The way is now clear for us to return to God our Father; all we need to do to complete our heaven bound journey is to believe in Christ.
Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Sins of omission are easy to commit. Not doing anything bad is not good enough because we are not doing anything good. God wishes us to be either cold or hot, not lukewarm (Revelation 3.15). When Jesus asked Peter repeatedly if he loved him, Peter responded affirmatively each time and Jesus asked him to feed my lambs, tend my sheep, or feed my sheep. If we love the Lord, we must work diligently and bear fruit.
Increasingly you read about in the news children murdering their own parents, and vice versa ~ this is evil at its best (worst). I envision a picture of billions of souls immersed in a vast sea, many of them still frolicking and having fun, not realizing that one day the sea will rage and take their life forever. Jesus is right there above them, but they don't see him. How I wish that they would know that all it takes is to raise an arm, signaling to the Lord for help and he will pull them right out of the treacherous sea to safety!