There is a final point in life for us to reach. You are there when you completely believe in and rely upon the Lord. Being in union with God will do it. Once you are there, you are fully ready to go to him. Happy is the one who are free to leave this world to enter eternal freedom!
"Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)
Saturday, July 30, 2016
I attended Vigil Mass today. In the Gospel reading from Luke 12, Jesus told the parable of the rich fool. He said, "God said to the rich man, 'You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?' Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God." Jesus wants us to store up treasures in heaven. I think we all know when we do something whether we are becoming rich in what matters to God. If not, then we'll have wasted our time on earth.
God alone is holy and perfect. We can be near-holy with God's help, but never completely holy. We can be saints, but human saints are never perfect. All we need to be concerned about is to love God as much as possible through surrendering ourselves to him.
Friday, July 29, 2016
Today is the Memorial of St. Martha. In the Gospel reading from John 11, Jesus told Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and anyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" Martha said to him, "Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world." How would you have answered? You can answer no, but only if you are convinced that what Jesus had proclaimed here and everything else he did, including his own Resurrection, were all nonsense ~ there's just no way around it.
Thursday, July 28, 2016
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 13.47-53, Jesus again said to his disciples that at the end of age, the angels would go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace ... ~ heaven and hell are real! It is truly amazing that humans have hardened their hearts to the point that they no longer look beyond this life. A heart remains blind and deaf until it has turned to God. A beautiful heart is one that's completely pliable for God to purify, mold, and shape. Union with God is all about giving your heart to God, letting the Lord transform it as he wishes.
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
God loves us. He wants us to turn away from sin and return to him to live forever. The psalmists sing so many good, beautiful things about God. They are all true, yet we do not turn to God. That's because our hearts lack humility. The greatest obstacle to finding God is not God, not Satan, but our own ego. So God remains unknown and we remain in darkness.
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Currently, people show great interest in learning about their ancestors, their genealogy, where they came from . . . much more than where they'll go after death. In general, those who love to look back will not be ready for the future. The past is gone, let it go ~ just don't miss the future.
Lately, I've been posting about God and Satan, heaven and hell, good and evil. On this Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, from Matthew 13 we heard Jesus mention the children of the Kingdom and the children of the Evil One, the Devil, and that at the end of age, all who cause others to sin and all evildoers will be thrown into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth, and the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. This confirms what I have blogged. Why do we still prefer to remain in darkness and not face the inevitable that's going to come? It's as if we were living in a stupor. How sad and stupid!
Monday, July 25, 2016
There is God and there is Satan. We are caught between them and must make a choice to be with one or the other ~ I am presenting this truth bluntly here. If you want to be with God, you must choose him during your lifetime. I don't think there are many who would deliberately choose Satan, but putting off making the decision is risking being snatched up by Satan.
Everyone has his or her own spiritual journey. The Lord knows all about us, so he leads us according to how we respond to him. In Matthew 13 (& 25), Jesus said, "To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away." The perfect journey is to let the Holy Spirit lead you every step of the way. With God in command, the journey becomes a joy. Anyone who has not are those who go their own way. The Lord knows exactly what to give or take away from us.
Today is the Feast of St. James, Apostle. The entrance antiphon from Matthew 4: As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother mending the nets and he called them. When you hear the Lord calling you, rejoice, for your name is written in heaven!
God loves us and wants us to dwell with him in heaven forever. Therefore, if you choose to follow and belong to Jesus, who has promised to be with his disciples always, it has to be the best choice you can ever possibly make in this life ~ to be with him.
Sunday, July 24, 2016
Saturday, July 23, 2016
There are two important moments in one's spiritual journey. The first moment is when you reconcile yourself to God. The next one is when you surrender yourself to him completely. By the grace of God, many reach the first moment and become Christians. Reaching the second moment is not easy, for it involves truly letting God be your Lord. But the reward for those who have reached it is great, for they now have the easiest life, receiving full support from God in all things.
All of us who have heard enough about Jesus face the challenge whether to accept him as our Lord and Savior or not. There is no escape from this, for Jesus says in John 14.6, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Putting aside your decision is tantamount to rejecting him.
Today, the Incarnation of Jesus struck me as something quite stunning, that God the Son should descent into the world, assuming human form. This may be familiar news, but the fact that he came down to die for us to save us from sin is a big surprise and should remain fresh in our mind. All I can say is that our Lord is truly amazing. As a result, following him also becomes an exciting journey.
Friday, July 22, 2016
Communion time thoughts. Mary Magdalene was a great sinner, and because of her love for Jesus, she was transformed into a saint. Our business as sinners is to let God transforms us also into saints, not to continue living selfishly for ourselves if we want to be with God for all eternity.
Today's Communion antiphon from 2 Corinthians 5: The love of God impels us, so that those who live may live no longer for themselves, but him who died for them and was raised. So it's "Jesus died for us and we now live for him." This is completely logical and fair. With God helping us to live, we practically get the whole ride free.
Today is the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene. In the Gospel reading from John 20, the Risen Lord, appearing to Mary Magdalene outside the empty tomb, said to her, "I have not yet ascended to the Father, but go to my brothers and tell them, 'I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" It's most endearing, assuring, and such a joy to know that we and Jesus share the same Father and the same God. Heaven is our home-to-be!
We can believe that Jesus was historically a real person through reading about him. Applying logic and reasoning, we may even believe that he is truly divine. But we still don't bother to know him, and we won't know him until we ask God to make us see, hear, and understand. We can never completely know someone in the distant past, but let me witness to you that this is not the case with Jesus. If you sincerely seek him, he will reveal himself to you for you to know him more than anyone else on earth. The fact that time is no barrier to him further confirms that he is God. There is no relationship more perfect and satisfying than knowing the one who created you and knows you the best.
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Communion experience. If the host I had received was just symbolically the body of Christ, then receiving it was nothing more than contemplating the Lord. Since the Holy Eucharist was truly the body and blood of Christ, receiving it became a defining moment, the moment at which God and I were united both physically and spiritually.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 13, Jesus told his disciples that knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven had been granted to them, but not to the crowd, and that he spoke to them in parables because, quoting Isaiah the prophet, they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand. Is there a mystery here? Predestination? Can the Lord make us see, listen, and understand? I believe that our free will plays a big part. If we choose to be interested in the Kingdom of heaven, then God will reveal its mysteries to us. There is always hope for anyone who turns to God.
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
We are always interested in knowing more about well-known personalities. If it happens to be someone of the past, we make conjectures about him or her. I thought of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Here's someone who came 2,000 years ago. While I have not understood any other human being completely, I have come to know him intimately as my most trusted friend ~ no ambiguity here. Not only does he know all about me, he reveals himself to me constantly to bring me closer to him. God is absolutely personal, the only perfect friend you can have and need.
Be holy in every little way ~ this is the key to holiness. Don't miss a single opportunity to show the love you have for Christ. It's doing the thing, not how big or impressive that thing is, that counts. This is the Little Way of St. Therese of Lisieux. If you are not familiar with it, read her autobiography The Story of a Soul. All her writings had drawn me closer to Christ in the past.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 13, Jesus told the crowds around him the parable the sower. A sower went out to sow. As he sowed, some seed fell on the path, some on rocky ground, some among thorns, and nothing grew nor lived. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. When we are receptive to what the Lord wants us to do, we are the rich soil, and great things can be accomplished through us for his glory.
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Today's Gospel Acclamation, what Jesus said in John 14.23: Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. How loving and lovely that God should want to get us so intimately involved with the Father and the Son! It is truly a fantastic promise that we must not forget as long as we live.
Monday, July 18, 2016
Our life hangs precariously by a thread, but faith in Jesus makes that thread unbreakable and we get pulled up to him in heaven when our time is up. Without Jesus, we could drop deep into the unfathomable darkness below when the thread snaps.
Sunday, July 17, 2016
Matthew 10.34: "Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword." Jesus is the cause of division, as there is a chasm between those who follow him and those who do not. Only the unbeliever can eliminate that separation by turning himself to God.
Speaking of changing oneself, fundamental change must come from within the heart. We have no power to change anyone fundamentally except through God. To initiate the change, the person involved must again turn to God to ask for it himself.
We normally think about what legacy we are going to leave behind after we are gone. I thought of all the material things I possess, some of which important to me at one time or another. For example, I was interested in piano music and had acquired a sizable collection of CDs. I am still interested in taking photographs and have now accumulated many quite beautiful personal prints of my works. So what am I going to do with them? I quickly realized that I should not be concerned about what's going to happen to them at all. Knowing that I am returning to the Father who will make me happier than ever, there is no point in ever wanting to look back on anything that's not mine in the first place and will surely pass in time? You know well that eternal joy will easily make one forget all his past.
Saturday, July 16, 2016
I attended Vigil Mass at my church today. Communion experience. I knew that Jesus was going to take away my sins and be one with me, thus exalting me to the highest possible status as a human being. There's no more desire to be fulfilled. How I wish that everyone would experience peace this way. But whenever I tell others about it, they are happy for me and would congratulate me. It's thanks, but no thanks. They still go their own way, preferring to find peace their way.
Friday, July 15, 2016
Again, horrific, terroristic tragedy struck the French people, this time in Nice. Whom should we blame? The Lord showed me that all of us who had not loved him and our neighbors perfectly bore some responsibility in allowing such an evil event to happen. For the salvation of all of us, victims and enemies included, let's beg Christ for his mercy as we are all sinners.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 12, Jesus points out to the Pharisees that God desires mercy, not sacrifice. Temple sacrifices are easy to perform. Even if you sacrifice yourself in some way for the sake of pleasing God, it is negative and inferior to loving others for his glory. One who loves exclusively for God's sake can forget about suffering for him. Mercy covers it all.
Not many people appreciate classical music. It actually turns many people off. To understand it, you must first show an interest in and then listen to it attentively, letting it sink in. In time you will sense its beauty, be moved by it and become a classical music lover. The best, more abstract classical music can deeply touch one's soul. I bring this up because I see that people pretty much treat Christ like classical music.
I have mentioned that while in Los Angeles recently, I attended Sunday Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angles, on July 3 precisely. There I saw many wall tapestries designed by the renowned California artist John Nava. The one titled Baptism of the Lord moved me very much. Here's God incarnated, humble and meek, still asking John the Baptist to baptize him, even though he didn't need it. How can we not adore such a magnificent, magnanimous Lord? You may see the image on this page: http://www.johnnava.com/COLA/bap3.html.
Thursday, July 14, 2016
To be humble is to regard yourself as (not believe that you are) the least of all your brothers and sisters before the Lord. This is not only most pleasing to him, but also enables you, stripped of ego, to get in touch with your true self. You now remain freely in God, being completely selfless and filled with the Holy Spirit.
Union with God is a calling for everyone. To think that you must be a saint first to attain union is placing the cart before the horse, for sainthood is the result of being in union with God. It is unthinkable that the Lord would say to anyone that he or she can never be a saint, for he can turn a stone into a saint if he so wishes. Since to be one with him is precisely his most ardent desire for us, he shall answer our prayer to achieve that without delay!
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 11, Jesus said: "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me . . . and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light." Jesus was speaking the truth. His yoke becomes easy and your burden, light, that's because when you go to him for rest, he will make everything easy for you. Seeking union with him is the ultimate route. It's a choice between letting the Lord lighten your burden or carrying it all by yourself.
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Most parents love their children very much. They normally give them more attention than to their own parents. But it's "Honor your father and mother" that's one of the Ten Commandments. Without parents, no one would exist. Without our Father in heaven, none of us would be here. Therefore, "Honor our Father in heaven" should be our #1 priority.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 11, Jesus praised the Father for having hidden things from the wise and the learned and revealed them to the childlike. In general, it is harder for a Ph.D. to believe in God than a less educated person. The Ph.D. would think that he has the knowledge, the analytic power, and the know-how to find answers on his own, while the not-so-learned one is ready to trust in anyone who promises to help him. The wise and learned will do fine in research or finding facts, but their approach will not work in looking for God. The childlike are no doubt the better believers. We can and should learn from them.
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Today's Gospel reading came from Matthew 11. Jesus reproached the towns Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, for he had done mighty deeds in the midst of the their townspeople and they had not repented. Thus, they would be judged severely on the day of judgment. Eternal punishment is real as eternal life is. If you live casually, believing that somehow everything will end OK, you are living in fantasy. If Jesus does not shake you up, you are pretty much a goner. Not all religions are the same, for there can be only one whole truth. Is there no point in Jesus' Incarnation? He was quite specific about how we should follow him to gain eternal life. The time to be realistic is now, before our span on earth expires. Not knowing how brief that span is only adds to the urgency.
Monday, July 11, 2016
Communion experience. I was joyous and thankful that I have a God who thoroughly understands my heart and all my deeds. He cannot possibly ever misunderstand me, for he knows me better than I know myself. Such a privilege! For this, I greatly feel secure in the Lord.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 10, Jesus said to his Apostles: "Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and...." Division results because of the fact that we are sinners who need salvation. The sword sharpens the contrast between good and evil.
Jesus also said: "Whoever loves father or mother than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." We need to pay close attention here, for the Lord clearly speaks as God.
Today is the Memorial of St. Benedict. From the 1st reading from Isaiah 1, we learn how the Lord detested the wickedness of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Their misdeeds and evil doings became loathsome and unbearable to him. They simply weighed him down. In other words, the people of Sodom and Gomorrah completely turned him off. Do we also want God close his eyes and not listen to us? Christ has already redeemed us ~ it is now our choice to turn God on or off.
Saturday, July 9, 2016
I attended Vigil Mass today. Communion experience. The Holy Spirit made it absolutely clear to me that to gain eternal life, all we need to do is to live for Christ only and forget about ourselves completely. Such a simple formula that we can all understand.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 10, Jesus said to his Apostles, "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." In these two sentences, Jesus simply delineated the condition for us to be accepted or denied by God the Father. They are terribly important, compelling us to choose sides while we are still able to. To dismiss the words of Jesus is to dismiss Jesus the person, for in both Matthew 24 and Luke 21, Jesus said, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away." I am putting an asterisk next to the post title, not because my message is insightful in any way, but because it's critically important for all, believers and nonbelievers alike, to be aware of.
Friday, July 8, 2016
When I was involved in the charismatic renewal several decades ago, the Holy Spirit did the work for me as a favor and my spiritual progress was rapid. Today God is doing the work for me even more, that's because now he's got my full cooperation.
Thursday, July 7, 2016
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
I drove almost 500 miles home yesterday. The highway was straight and cars clipped along between 80 and 90 mph. Some drivers drove even faster, trying to pass everyone, and then we would run into a big truck trying to pass another even slower one and everyone had to slow down and patiently wait for the passing to pass. Of course, my goal was to get home safely, not to let any faster or slower vehicles affect my inner peace. I was reminded of the similar process of seeking God. Our goal is to attain union with God and we must not let any distractions along the journey to distract or upset us.
Sunday, July 3, 2016
Saturday, July 2, 2016
God is a relationship builder. All bonds formed without him will fall apart in time, but all bonds formed by him will last forever. Union with God is the strongest possible bond, making all saints one in the Lord. It is in this relationship that we become super-strong.