He loves me; he died for me; and he enters and becomes one with me through the Holy Eucharist. I believe in him and receive unbelievable benefits. Praise be to him forever!
Friday, April 28, 2017
Even though our life on earth is relatively brief, it does provide us with many opportunities to increase our faith. When we are receptive to God, he also uses every moment to teach us. It is through living on earth that we receive our faith. Besides, our life is given by God. Thus life is essential and precious too.
Faith in Christ is infinitely more precious than life on earth, for the former guarantees life eternal, while the latter is over in the blink of an eye. If you ever have to choose either faith or life to keep, you should clearly choose faith.
If you have any foresight and courage at all, you should do your best to make sure that you soul will enter eternity happily, for it exists forever. A pointed question: what's the point of living if you future life is going to be ever more miserable?
In today's first reading from Acts 5, the Apostles rejoiced that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name of Jesus. So it's not what others do to you, but how you respond to the Lord that matters. What the world thinks of you is utterly unimportant relative to what God think of you. And always follow the will of God and not be concerned about your success or failure in whatever you do.
Thursday, April 27, 2017
In this morning's first reading from Acts 5, the Apostles were brought before the Sanhedrin and the high priest forbade them to teach in Jesus' name. Peter and the Apostles chose to obey God rather than men and this infuriated the members of the Sanhedrin. In the Gospel reading from John 3, John wrote about Jesus, the one from heaven: "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him." We see the clear division Jesus caused and that we must choose sides. The sign of truth is that it does not override our free will; it only compels us to either accept or reject it.
I got up this morning and realized that it's another day, and of course this has happened to me thousands and thousands of times. But today I realized something extra, that we are all on borrowed time. We don't know exactly how many days we borrowed from God, but that number is limited. When we return all the days to him, we shall be checked for how we "took care of" our days. Did we squander them as the prodigal son did in the parable or listen to and obey what he had taught us through Christ the Son of God? I am citing two extreme examples. Remember that everything that comes from God will return to him.
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
John 3.16-21 was today's Gospel reading at Mass. Here's verse 16: God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. You've probably heard this verse quoted and seen it on billboards so often that you don't think about it much anymore. To think about it, it is a declaration of the most beautiful truth of critical importance to us! We should really know it by heart and think about it often. Here are verses 19-20: And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. Here we have the "sickness" of the world clearly diagnosed by the Apostle John just about two thousand years ago.
Jesus always taught his disciples to be watchful and alert, for they did not know when the Son of Man would come again. Wise is anyone who expects the unexpected. Recently, I heard about the sudden death of two persons, one in the 70s and the other at only 61. Both were seemingly in great physical shape before they died. There are also Christians on the lax side who think that spiritually they are OK, not realizing that God might think differently. For Catholics, frequent confession is a good defense in preparing for the unexpected. *To avoid eternal regret, never neglect the everlasting soul.
I see two breakthroughs of life. The first is most important – it raises you to a new level of existence. You find Christ, discovering and accepting the truth that God is love and can save you from your sins. And you are no longer lost, with you future secured for eternity. This is a huge deal, for you are now separated from the secular world and live in the sphere of God. The second breakthrough is attaining union with God. This is fine-tuning and for the perfectionist, but the reward of experiencing freedom, peace, and joy is tremendous – a foretaste of heaven. Christ makes all the difference we absolutely need.
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Communion experience. As the bread and wine were consecrated, they changed into the body and blood of Christ. That was a momentous moment, deserving our full attention. All my life troubles were overshadowed and for the moment forgotten. Matthew 20.20: "Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age," was fulfilled.
Famous quote from John F. Kennedy's inaugural address: "Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country." When it comes to bringing others to Christ, we should do exactly the opposite. That is, we do not tell others what they can do for God – we tell them what God can do for them.
Catholics venerate relics of various saints. All saints are humble and would want to give glory to God alone. Therefore, they'd rather we go to the Lord directly and not center upon them. There is a fine line to be drawn here. It is perfectly fine to let the saints inspire us to increase our love for God, but we must never grow attached to any saint to the point that we lessen our focus upon the Lord. If you seek to attain union with God, it is best that you go to him directly and let absolutely nothing distract you along the way.
Monday, April 24, 2017
Today's Communion antiphon is based upon John 20.19. The full verse reads: On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." If Jesus could appear anywhere as he wishes, certainly he can be ever present with any of us. It follows that we must stay awake and live as if he is physically present with us.
God is our creator, greater than all his creatures. Naturally, we can only know what he wishes to reveal to us. Therefore, our role is clearly to trust, trust, trust in him. On a more personal level, we are the children of a loving God, our Father ~ all the more we can and should trust in him.
Sunday, April 23, 2017
This is the Sunday of Divine Mercy. God is merciful because he is all love. And his mercy is infinite, which means that he does not condemn us as long as we still have time to repent of our sins. Moreover, it means that no matter how sinful we are, once we repent, we are forgiven and saved. Therefore, to think that God cannot save us is to limit his mercy, a thought offensive to him. Should God's mercy be finite, none will be able to survive. Praised be his divine mercy!
Saturday, April 22, 2017
In today's first reading from Acts 4, when the leaders, elders, and scribes ordered Peter and John not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus, Peter and John replied, "Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges. It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard." If you also feel impossible not to speak about the Lord to others, you have also encountered him.
Friday, April 21, 2017
We reap what we sow. To come right to the point, what we do now can help us get into heaven, not do anything in particular, or head us away from heaven. And we have only limited time to build up treasures in heaven for ourselves. The eternal journey starts now. Another awareness we must mind.
This world is in chaos because it has largely rejected Christ. And the Church is weak because Catholics have not focused upon Christ as strongly as they could. It is through Christ our God that we receive power to live right and become blameless. Again, this is an awareness what the world needs.
A virus invasion on my computer yesterday prevented me from posting. Today I am resuming via a browser that was not infected, but I shall post yesterday's thoughts by yesterday's date, April 21.
In today's Gospel reading from John 21, the Resurrected Lord appeared to seven of his disciples who went fishing at the Sea of Tiberias all night and caught nothing. Jesus showed up about a hundred yards away on the shore and asked them to cast the net over the right side of the boat for a catch. They cast it and caught so many fish that they were not able to pull it in. Then, they realized it was the Lord. It is such a beautiful moment to realize "It is the Lord"! I lament that the world is largely not even aware of the existence of our awesome, loving God. Such an awakening is critically important for all of us, believers included, to come alive to live a godly life. There is on other way to salvation!
Thursday, April 20, 2017
Business-minded people invest in good companies and stocks to profit themselves. Great artists invest in their own talents to earn fame and money. What about the Christians? Well, they invest in doing every will of the Lord, known only the him, to accumulate treasures in heaven. The investment is relatively longer-term, but the reward will be out of this world (pun intended)!
We can learn about Christ, hear about him and talk about him, but if we do not know him, we do not receive power from him and remain the same old person. Many who have decided not to accept Christ never did attempt to get to know him. This is like looking for a mate to marry and not trying to get to know the candidate first. God deserves a better chance, if you believe that he exists at all. Again, humility is the key to finding and knowing God.
Today's entrance antiphon from Wisdom 10: They praised in unison your conquering hand, O Lord, for wisdom opened mouths that were mute and gave eloquence to the tongues of infants, alleluia. Look at the wonderful miracles Jesus performed on earth and most of all, his own Resurrection. Yes, God can change us if we give him the OK.
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
If I succeed in drawing someone closer to Christ, it is not me doing the conversion but the Holy Spirit, for all power comes from God. As a servant of the Lord, I experience tremendous freedom in knowing that I am merely an instrument he uses to accomplish his will and that I have nothing to do with what he is doing. Hurrah!
Today's entrance antiphon, Matthews 25.34: Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. So we did not just happen to appear on earth to remain lost; God had actually prepared for our return to him from way, way back. God surely is full of surprises. At the same time, it'd be more surprising if our loving God had not done anything like that.
If God is to be first in your life, turning to him should never be your last resort. In fact, through receiving him in the Holy Eucharist, you can attain union with him. In such great intimacy, no words are needed to share everything with him. How good it is that he sees and cares about all your desires and wishes. This is enjoying the Lord to the fullest.
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
The preachings you hear nowadays in general are on the mild side, lacking fire nor zeal. It seems that the concern is that if you preach the message too strongly or to the point, you might turn the people off, for they are not ready yet. Is there ever a time when we can say that we are ready to hear the good news? I don't think so. The need to hear the Lord is ever present, whether you are ready or not. I can't possibly believe that Jesus ever had this concern when he preached. Truth is to be proclaimed freely without getting watered down or held back. How the people react to you is how they would react to God – not the preacher's concern. The Holy Spirit is gentle, but bold and fearless. To evangelize effectively, we must respond to the Holy Spirit alone and cast aside all our own concerns.
In today's Gospel reading from John 20, Mary of Magdalene stayed outside the empty tomb weeping, thinking that someone had taken Jesus and laid him elsewhere. Then Jesus appeared next to her, but she did not know it was Jesus, for she thought it was the gardener – Mary had a good reason for not recognizing the Lord. But today many do not recognize Jesus because they are blinded by their self-importance. If we do recognize him for who he truly is, we would see that he is absolutely the most critically important person to our existence!
Monday, April 17, 2017
Yesterday, I got the news that a cousin of mine passed away in his sleep. He had always seemed to be in good health, while his younger sister suffered poor health; so it's unexpected that he left first. I had the chance to tell him about Christ for a number of times, but he just couldn't make himself believe. He appeared to be a decent man, always cheerful and fun to be with. I first figured that if I could forgive him, surely the Lord would forgive him. Then I do not really know his heart. Maybe he couldn't be blamed for not believing, for he was not convinced that Christ was the Savior yet, which is not the same as knowingly rejecting him. Then again, if someone truly believes that Christ is God, he wouldn't possibly dare to reject him. Anyway, not knowing where his soul is, I could only trust in God's infinite mercy. But this I know: any believer who does not take his faith seriously can be in worse shape than an unbeliever.
In union with God, we see ourself as children of God. The love of God purifies all our emotions and we see the world and its people as God sees them. No more maudlin sentiments and everyone is the same to us. This is not being harsh, only fair, as God loves us equally. Pure love is motivated by obedience to God alone with no meddling by our own emotions or views and carried out with no fanfare. Perhaps that's why God might mistakenly seem to be cold to some.
I am already old and can remember that in the old days, most news was domestic. News about giving aid to some foreign country sounded rather foreign. In those days, various countries were pretty much isolated from each other and as a result, we felt more nationalistic. Later, as communications around the world opened up and we saw that what happened in one country could easily affected the rest of the world, we saw ourselves more as citizens of the world. What I hopefully expect is that we would evolve to the point we see ourselves as children of God and not of the world. This is the highest and correct view, transcending all other views.
Sunday, April 16, 2017
Happy Easter to all who read my blog! I pray that you will always keep your hearts open to God's blessings so that he may enrich you in every way to the fullest. If you are with him, all he has is yours (Luke 15.31) – a mind-boggling promise, so take advantage of God's generosity!
Today's Gospel reading from John 20 is about the empty tomb. The Resurrection of Jesus together with all his words and deeds are most powerful statements, but they won't do you any good if your heart shuts them out. Truth ages, but remains true forever. If the Resurrection changed the lives of the Apostles and numerous others, it can change yours today too. Yet many not only ignore God, they also avoid examining or looking into themselves. This is a generation that is so blind that they don't even see that they are taking part in a tragedy that would end with their own death.
How much you believe in Christ is so much more important than how you believe in him. Once I used an object I mistakenly believed to be authentic to pray for the healing of someone and the Lord still brought about a miracle. I was later puzzled, and then realized that it's how much you believe in him that counts, not so much the way you express your belief. At the fundamental level, it comes down to your faith, which is how your heart is connected to the Lord's heart.
Saturday, April 15, 2017
Once you know Jesus Christ, you'll find that he is the most awesome, most inspiring, and most beautiful Being of all beings. That is why no other person in this world, no matter how awesome, how inspiring, and how beautiful the people of the world think he or she is, no longer attracts me in the least. This is how the Lord frees us from the clutches of the world. Know God and you are free.
Friday, April 14, 2017
I was never very good serving on any kind of committee, for most people on a committee love to spend time talking and not getting to the point. I see things in a simple way and like to get to the point right away if possible. Now, life is brief and will come to an end sooner or later. It doesn't make any difference whether you count your time in years or seconds. So, in this limited span, do you want to remain as is or change in some way? Time is ticking away. If you don't grab Jesus, you'll miss him for all eternity and all the good things and good times you enjoy now will mean absolutely nothing. On the other hand, if you let him capture you now, all your sufferings, pains, and miseries of this life will become nothing and be forgotten once you are with him for all eternity.
It's easy for us to be unhappy about carrying our little crosses in following the Lord, but know that on the way to the Cross Jesus had to carry all of our sins and hardships, including every heartache and pain, every injustice and illness, every oppression and poverty, every human misery; and he did it willingly in obedience to the Father out of love for us. We need to thank God for that unless you already believe that you do not need to be saved.
Thursday, April 13, 2017
You may think that you are basically a good person, but that depends upon how you measure yourself. None of us is qualified to judge anyone, including ourselves. Anyway, even if the whole world thinks that you are a great person, it's no proof that you'll make heaven. As a matter of fact, the world usually get it wrong. Therefore, do not judge or exalt yourself, but remain humble and let God alone be your judge. Only what God thinks of you matters.
In today's Gospel reading from John 13 for this Holy Thursday evening Mass, we shall hear read the washing of the disciples' feet by Jesus at the Last Supper. Jesus gave his disciples a model to follow. If he, the master and teacher, had washed their feet, then they ought to wash one another's feet. When Jesus came to Simon Peter, ready to wash his feet, Peter said, "You will never wash my feet." Jesus answered him, "Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me." I must include Peter's response which is typical Peter: "Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well." The clear lesson for me is that we must accept whatever the Lord wants to do to us without questioning, even if we do not understand. This is perfect trust and perfect obedience, making you his perfect disciple, ready to receive inheritance from God!
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Today's entrance antiphon from Philippians 2: At the name of Jesus, every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on the earth and under the earth, for the Lord became obedient to death, death on a cross: therefore Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. The Communion antiphon from Matthew 20: The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many. These verses give us the complete secret of being exalted by God. All we need to do is to be obedient to the Lord and serve him.
Monday, April 10, 2017
We don't happen to be here on earth somehow and then want to find God somewhere. Do you know that God knew us before we were formed in the womb? that we were created in his image? that we actually belong to him? that we had strayed away from him and he had redeemed us again through Christ? that now we can return to him? and that we is awaiting us?
Saturday, April 8, 2017
I attended the Vigil Palm Sunday Mass. The long Gospel reading came from Matthew 26 and 27, telling about the betrayal by Judas, preparation for the Passover, the betrayer, the Lord's Supper, Peter's denial foretold, the agony in the garden, the betrayal and arrest of Jesus, Jesus before the Sanhedrin, Peter's denial of Jesus, Jesus before Pilate, the death of Judas, Jesus questioned by Pilate, the sentence of death, mockery by the soldiers, the way of the cross, the Crucifixion, the death of Jesus, the burial of Jesus, and the guard at the tomb. The Lord made me see that every sin we commit against him hurt him, and that we must avoid sinning with all our heart, all our mind, and all our soul.
Before you know God, it's all up to you because you play him, controlling your own entire destiny. After you know and surrender to him, it's all up to him as he directs and leads you. It's from "all up to you" to "all up to God." It's all about "who's the boss?"
Friday, April 7, 2017
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
I used to pursue pleasures of the world, but now I feel good that God is my home. We all know that home-sweet-home feeling. But if your home is where God dwells, that has to be the sweetest home-sweet-home feeling. Indeed, there is no place like heaven, being home with God.
Saturday, April 1, 2017
I attended Vigil Mass today. In the Gospel reading from John 11, we heard the raising of Lazarus. When Jesus heard that Lazarus was ill, he did not go to him for two days. Then when he arrived, Lazarus had already been in the tomb for 4 days. Both sisters of Lazarus said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." Nevertheless, Jesus ordered that the stone be taken away from the tomb and cried out in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. Jesus knew all along that the illness of Lazarus was not to end in death, but was for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified through it.
The important lesson here. We do not always know what God is doing, but we only need to know that he always knows what he is doing!
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
For the last 15 days I have not been able to blog. Today I'll try to post all the messages received, but dating each by the day on which it was received.
For me, it was simple and crystal clear: No Christ, no hope. Since I know him, I know my sure way to eternal life. There is no greater difference anyone or anything else can possibly make to our existence.
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
For the imperfect realize that they are not qualified to judge others and that they need God who alone can make them perfect. [A note. For the next two weeks, again I won't be able to do any blogging, so please check back after April 11 for new messages. Meanwhile, pray unceasingly for the salvation of all the souls, both living and deceased. Yes, God hears and needs us ~ we can make a difference! May he bless you all.]
Monday, March 27, 2017
When I watch some of the most talented jazz pianists play, they improvise freely, knowing exactly how they want to express themselves. I could see that they are one with the music. This reminds me that when one is in union with the Lord, he experiences the same kind of freedom, knowing exactly what God's will is and follows it with ease. In both cases, something beautiful results.
Sunday, March 26, 2017
Today it becomes clear to me that we are all individual beings created by God. Each of us is aware of his or her existence. You could say that we were never mass-produced, but made by hand carefully by God, one at a time. Should all billions of us become saints, there would be billions of different saints with each exhibiting his or her individuality. Cherish and be grateful for your unique existence.
Saturday, March 25, 2017
Following Jesus is serious business, for we are dealing with God. Too many people speak freely in church without restraint, especially right after Mass. True, we are not in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican where silence is maintained, but a church is a church, a sanctuary of God. Attending Mass may be likened to joining the Lord at the Last Supper where all focus was upon the Lord. God will take us seriously as we take him seriously.
Today is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. In the Gospel reading from Luke 1, after the angel Gabriel came to Mary and announced the birth of Jesus through her, she said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." The surely is a model response to God to all of us.
If you don't want to face God because you know you have offended him, you have the right kind of fear. But if you are afraid that God will lord it over you should you accept him as your Lord, you've got it all wrong, for this fear is baseless and unjustifiable. We address God as Lord out of reverence and awe. If God had wanted to domineer over us, why did he give each of us the free will in the first place? All God desires is to love and serve us. It'd be extremely foolish and unfair to conceive God otherwise.
I felt great joy on my way to Mass this morning, for I was going to unite with Christ, receiving him again into my home, my heart, my whole being. It felt like I was going to see him for the very first time, for he is forever refreshing, wanting to renew us constantly. It is so good to have him and that's an understatement!
Friday, March 24, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 12, Jesus reiterated to one of the scribes the greatest commandment: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength." You wonder how you can possibly do that – it just seems hard. Where is the incentive? What's in it for me? The wonderful thing is that like anything the Lord asks of you, if you say yes and really mean it, he will help you accomplish it without expending much of your own effort and with you being rewarded with peace, joy, and freedom in the process!
Sin is detrimental to our soul as cancer is to our physical body, but it's a lot more serious on a different level. Jesus said, "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna." In a way, all sinners are teetering on the edge of a precipice. Overloaded with sins, they can easily fall off the cliff. What Christ can do is to not only remove the burden of your sins, but also pull you away from the cliff into a safety zone. There you await until the time to be transported to heaven arrives.
After watching how the politicians vote on various issues in Congress, it's easy to see that they mostly vote to win for their party and/or to benefit themselves, not thinking about what's best for the people, let alone what God thinks. This is a tragic situation. Ordinary citizens do the same, planning everything by and for themselves ~ never mind what God thinks. God is just about the remotest thought from their mind. Of course, the reality is that only what God thinks matters; but we have replaced God with ourselves. It's way past wake-up time!
Thursday, March 23, 2017
Being aware that we must change is only the beginning. To effect any change, we must know how to do it. The best, proper, and, as a matter of fact, the only effective way to make things happen is to let God do the work. As our creator he certainly can perfect us, provided that we submit ourselves to him. Again, humility works wonders.
Today's first reading came from Jeremiah 7. The people of those days did not obey God, nor pay heed. They walked in the hardness of their hearts and turned their backs to the Lord. History sure repeats itself to this day. God is always calling us, but we must soften my hearts to hear his voice. The only way to discover, to know, to win over God is to approach him with open humility. To "demand" God to reveal himself to you is the dead wrong approach. Have pride and you are out!
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
We should never look down on other sinners, for we do not know if we were in their shoes, living their lives and facing their problems, we would have done better and been holier than they. We are all sinners before God, so how can I possibly think that I am a better sinner than someone when I can't even read anyone's mind or heart? And who am I to judge anyone whom God loves? Our business is to follow God with full attention on him alone.
We are born sinners. Everyone is 100% responsible for his own sins; blaming others won't get you off the hook. Of course, if your sin causes others to sin also, then it becomes doubly serious. Anyway, since God hates only the sin and not the sinner, you should do so likewise. Therefore, do not debase yourself after you have sinned, but realize that you have offended the Lord and ask him for forgiveness, and he'll make you pristine again.
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Communion thoughts. Before we receive the Holy Eucharist, when we say, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed," we humble ourselves. Then we receive the Holy Sacrament and we are instantly exalted by God!
Since Christ wants us to be perfect as our heavenly Father is, we should seek to be like him. The only means of achieving this is to let God do the work. To receive this help is to be open and submissive to him, which clearly points to attaining union with God as our goal. Imitating him from a distance is not good enough – we must become one with him!
The parable of the unforgiving servant from Matthew 18 was today's Gospel reading at Mass. Jesus' message was that we must always forgive others. We already know that God will forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. From this parable, we learn that once God has forgiven us, we'd better be forgiving like him. That is, if we expect to be forgiven by God, we should stop judging others – it's all about following his example. To not want to be like him is downright rebellion.
Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me." To deny ourselves involves drinking every cup that comes our way. When we can deny ourselves fully, we are ready to accept God fully and follow him.
Monday, March 20, 2017
Communion thoughts on this Solemnity of Saint Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Lord is to be thoroughly enjoyed by us. To fully enjoy him, you must get to know him well and learn to trust in him with all your heart, knowing that he will always love you and never impose anything you are not willing to bear on you nor harm your soul. Then you can enjoy him fully in peace.
Sunday, March 19, 2017
In Matthew 6, Jesus taught: "Do not worry and say, 'What are we to eat?' or 'What are we to drink?' or 'What are we to wear?' Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides." Do you know that if you seek the kingdom of God first and get your eternal destiny settled, all such worries will vanish? It is settling one "worry" to kill all other worries.
When we try to live up to our vision of ourselves, we invariably fail and get discouraged. Do you know that it is much easier for us to live up to God's vision of us? This is because when we desire the latter, the Lord takes over and makes us easily measure up to his vision of us.
Saturday, March 18, 2017
Without Christ, it's not just you miss a little something – you miss everything, including your own life. Not accepting him is equivalent to throwing all you have, yourself included, into the garbage bin. I may sound extreme, but God is to be had all, not discarded one iota. With God, it is all or nothing. A God who does not "demand" this is unworthy of our respect.
Today from Luke 15, we heard the Parable of the Prodigal Son again. I and many others agree that this has to be the most beautiful, moving parable of all the Gospels – it reveals the love and mercy of our Father for us – it is what Christianity is all about. When anyone who has strayed away and decides to return to the Father, the whole heaven rejoices. One whom the Father loves with an infinite love is now home safe ~ how could the Father not feel an infinite joy? For us on earth, there is also no greater joy than that of reuniting with our Father. How I pray and wish that all those who have strayed away from him know this!
(1) We can live for ourselves. This should be instinctual, a no-brainer goal. But we'll never find inner peace in living self-centeredly.
(2) We can live for another human being. This seems unnatural – why should the other person be elevated more than ourselves? This happens when we are mislead into believing that the other person is superior in some way.
(3) Then we can live for Christ, an extraordinary man who is also God. In following him, we are set free! We realize that he's the missing piece we'd needed all along. Now our life is fulfilled and complete, with absolutely the best part still to come.
Friday, March 17, 2017
A nonbeliever of God may have a better excuse for committing a sin than one who is known to be a believer. A believer who commits a sin, thinking that he is OK, commits a double sin. Even if you are heaven bound, every sin committed can only lengthen your time in purgatory.
On this St. Patrick Day, the Gospel reading was taken from Luke 5 on how Jesus called Peter to become a fisher of men. First, Simon Peter and his partners, all fishermen, had worked hard all night and caught no fish. Jesus asked Simon to put out into deep water and lower their nets, and over their unbelief they caught so many fish that their nets were tearing and the catch filled two boats to the point that they were in danger of sinking. Astonishment seized all, and Peter fell at the knees of Jesus and said, "Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man." Letting God astonish us does us good, for we then realize that we are mere mortals compared to the everlasting Lord. A life lived in Christ is full of surprises if you believe that he has a hand in everything that happens to us. Furthermore, not knowing when the next surprise will be is going to add even more excitement to life.
Today's Entrance comes from Psalm 31: In you, O Lord, I put my trust, let me never be put to shame, release me from the snare they have hidden for me, for you indeed are my refuge. It's the same story today ~ always someone trying to snare you, to put you to shame. Evil exists and is real! The blessing that comes out of this is we are made aware that we need God's help.
Faith is believing in something not yet visible. Believing that the sun rises every morning is no faith – it's kinda like loving someone who loves you does not really prove that you love your neighbor as yourself. Faith in God is believing that he loves you and has done the work of salvation for you. The sun may not rise tomorrow, but you can keep your faith in the loving God rock solid, unwavering. You know that God has given you the free will. By choosing to believe in him, your faith comes alive and meaningful. Now, your faith is the most beautiful possession of your soul.
Thursday, March 16, 2017
The Lord only gave me this thought this morning, but it's a fitting final thought for the day. At Mass we heard the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus read from Luke 16. After Lazarus the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and went to the netherworld, where he suffered torment in flames. He saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out to Abraham, begging him to send Lazarus to his father's house to warn his five brothers lest they too should come the place of torment. Abraham replied, "They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them. If they will not, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead." Now, Jesus, the Son of God who is God and greater than Moses and all the prophets had already come to us himself. If you do not listen to him, you've got to be the ultimate disbeliever.
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Today's Gospel reading at Mass came from Matthew 20. Jesus said to his disciples, "The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Imagine any other human being saying that he is going to give his life as a ransom for many – that person would have to be either not understanding what he meant or out of his mind. Here I see Jesus speaking as God and our Savior. His later Resurrection is plenty sufficient to back him up on all he had ever said.
We need God, and God needs us, for he loves us. So there is going to be a relationship developed between God and us. It is clear that the best relationship we could possibly have with God is to be in intimate union with him as one. With God, always aim for the best.
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
simply breaking free from Satan. We have only two choices: living with our sins or living with our sins removed, being enslaved by Satan or being free in God, to be doomed forever or to be saved for all eternity. Choosing God is making all the right choices.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 23, Jesus, in denouncing the scribes and Pharisees as hypocrites, taught that "Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted." If your humility increasingly vanquishes your ego, you are on the right path spiritually. For fast progress, ask the Lord to take away your ego completely by surrendering yourself to him.
Today's Entrance contains the verse from Psalm 13: Give light to my eyes lest I fall asleep in death. It struck me that for those who do not know Christ, they are in no better shape than those who did not know him and had died, unless they seek his light now. If we do not see the light of Christ in this life, we may not see him for all eternity!
Monday, March 13, 2017
Communion thoughts. If we live and die for Christ, we shall have secured my eternal life. It's so simple, but we can make it as easy or as hard as we wish. I am happy that the Lord has given us sinners the free will (power) to choose our destiny, making our existence meaningful. It seems that if we have no say, God would have to save or punish us all, or choose us arbitrarily or by some means we don't understand, thus rendering his mercy pointless.
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 6, Jesus said to his disciples, "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you." There is a principle here. Today if we show mercy to others, they may not reciprocate. Anyway, we are to be merciful for God's sake, then God will be merciful to us. This is beautiful living that can be summed up as "God and us doing everything for each other."
Granted, not all consciences are equally sharp with some muddier than others, but we all know that we have sinned when we have sinned. The next question is what we are to do about our sins. Putting off facing God is putting off our chance to repent and beg for forgiveness, while severe consequences still await us as sinners with unremoved sins.
Sunday, March 12, 2017
As I have said, the conflict between God and us stems from our desire to play God. Even when people look for God, they look for someone to their liking. It's like they are on the selection committee, playing the same old self-serving game. No wonder that they do not find God.
Saturday, March 11, 2017
Today's Gospel reading from Matthew 5 is where Jesus asked his disciples to be perfect, just as their heavenly Father is perfect. We cannot accomplish this on our own, but with the help of God it becomes possible. Therefore, we must seek union with God in order that the Lord may have complete freedom in helping us. Yes, by giving our freedom to God, we actually become free – another one of those beautiful paradoxes.
Unlike any of us, Jesus was a most extraordinary man. Like us he did experience sorrow, agony, and physical pains, but he was always fearless, never showed anxiety, and knew exactly what to do in each situation. Hence his advice to us was to trust in him and not be afraid of or to worry about anything.
Friday, March 10, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 5, Jesus set high standards in what we should or should not do. For example, he said, "Whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment," "Whoever says, 'You fool,' will be liable to fiery Gehenna," and "If you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, go first and be reconciled with your brother, then come and offer your gift." Since the mercy of God is infinite (also set at the highest standard), he has the perfect right to ask us to be perfect to match his mercy.
Today's Responsorial Psalm from Psalm 130: If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand? If the Lord, who alone can take away our sins, proclaims that we are guilty, then we are guilty indeed. The Communion antiphon that came later from Ezekiel 33.11: As I live, says the Lord, I do not desire the death of the sinner, but rather that he turn back and live. We see that all we need to do is to turn back to the Lord and we shall live. We can choose to remain in our sinful state or have God take away our sins.
Today is Friday and I prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. Realizing how much Jesus suffered for loving us made me love him even more. Once you realize that God is love, you won't be able to help but fall in love with him. There is nothing more lovable than love itself.
Thursday, March 9, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 7, Jesus said to his disciples: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." May I suggest that if you look for God, by assuming that he is real and exists, ask, seek, and knock will help you find him a lot quicker.
Those who have come to know the living Christ have found him most loving and could not possibly live without him. I believe those who are afraid of facing Christ are basically afraid of facing themselves for what they would look to him. All fears of God are instilled in us by ourselves, not by God. The Lord has to be the most misunderstood person of all.
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Life is short, so some people would cram in as many enjoyable activities as possible, while others might turn to God exclusively in their remaining time. I think the sensible, balanced plan is to establish priorities. Serving God must not be put off, while all other things can be attended to at the proper, appointed time.
This morning as I drove to my church for Mass on a countryish road, a surprise awaited me. Right as I was about to hit a peak in the road, I saw on the other side three wild turkeys in my lane. If I had driven a bit faster and/or the birds were just a few yards closer, I would not have been able to stop in time to avoid a collision. Both the turkeys and my car would have been damaged for sure. And I would have missed Mass too. By the way, these three were just separated from the rest of the flock which I spotted in the front yard of the house to the left. What I learned was that life is full of surprises which could turn nasty, and I must expect and not be surprised by them. (These turkeys with spread tails were quite beautiful – I was glad that none of them got hurt this morning.)
Do you know that you are not perfect and have sinned in words, thoughts, and deeds? Do you know that you would have trouble entering heaven as you are? Do you want to go to heaven? If your answer is yes to all three questions, then you must turn to Christ for salvation, for there are no clear alternatives out there. Dismissing Christ is equivalent to believing that he had come and died for nothing and that he was basically a phony.
Monday, March 6, 2017
Communion experience. Even if you have attained union with God, you still won't be content until you get to heaven and attain complete spiritual union with him. This is how God has made us. Attaining union with him on earth is just the first stage. Because God is so beautiful, you won't be satisfied until he is completely yours. In the same way, God loves us so much that he won't be satisfied until we are completely his. In heaven, both God and you will be completely happy together.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 25, Jesus foretold the judgment of the nations to his disciples. On that day, those who showed love for others in need are blessed by the Father and will inherit the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world (wow!), while those who didn't will be sent off into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angles (ouch!). Of course, since none of us can love perfectly in this world, how do we know that we'll pass the test? It won't be like taking a test to make sure that we score higher than some preset passing mark. I believe here's where our intention plays the big part. Our intention should always be to love for the sake of God. Just follow it and not be concerned about how well we'll succeed.
In today's first reading from Leviticus 19, the Lord instructed Moses to tell the whole Israelite community that they should love their neighbor as themselves. God was, is, and will always be love. Christ came and confirmed that for us. It is love that can overcome all problems, achieve peace in our world as well as in our hearts, and lead us back to our creator in heaven. Love is our weapon to vanquish evil and the secret to eternal life. All because love is the true God.
Sunday, March 5, 2017
In resisting the devil during his temptation, Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8.3: "It is written: 'One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.'" This is also today's Gospel acclamation. We are to hang on to every word Jesus says, then we'll not only live, but live forever with God.
In today's first reading at Mass from Genesis 2, the LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being. God is the great creator. He is love and also has the power to transform us. I've been spreading the message that the Lord wants to draw all to union with him through the Holy Eucharist ever since he made it clear to me more than 6 years ago. Looking at the pageviews number on my blog, I can't really claim that I have been very successful, but what's successful in God's eyes is different from how we see it. It does appear that many among Catholics are just not ready to respond to such a call yet. After all, facing up to God is never easy for anyone, and seeking union requires presenting yourself to him squarely. Nevertheless, this is what the Lord desires the most from us, for out of love he longs for the greatest possible intimacy with us! Therefore, any fear or hesitation you feel is unhealthy and should not be justified. In fact, in seeking union with him, you'll experience amazing progress in spiritual growth with increasing peace, freedom, and joy. His transforming power will displace any struggle on your part! It'll truly make living your Christian life exhilarating and exciting!
Saturday, March 4, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 5, Jesus said in reply to the Pharisees and their scribes who complained about Jesus eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners, "Those who are healthy do no need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners." Hearing this from Jesus makes me see the beauty of loving the unlovely, those who normally turn us off. It teaches us never to judge to anyone. It saddens me to see that politicians lie about and condemn their opponents in any way they can. Even their so-called Christian supporters picture whomever they do not like already doomed to hell. God being love is such a simple truth, yet so difficult for so many to grasp! What gives?
Since I made it clear in my last post that our soul is our most precious possession, we should take the best care of it by keeping it pure, as sin defiles and rots the soul. Happy is the one who lets the Lord take away his sins and make his soul whole and clean! Everyone should try this at least once, then you will never want to return to your old filthy state again. Anyone who neglects his soul is in my book being foolish to the extreme.
The wisest always prepare for the worst, and the worst that could possibly happen to us is losing our soul. Properties, material possessions, fame, health, friendship, etc., are nothing compared to the soul, for they all pass, while the soul lasts for eternity. If you know your are dying and repent to God in the last second, you may still be saved, but what about losing your life suddenly and unexpectedly, which happens often enough to many? The Lord wants us to settle our eternal destiny first and not worry about living the earthly life, and we should wise up to this most beneficial, loving piece of counsel.
Friday, March 3, 2017
God is to be worshipped, for he is holy. God is to be adored, for he is gorgeous. God is to be praised, for he is perfect. To worship, adore, and praise him, we need to submit ourselves to him without reservation with all our heart, with all our mind, and with all our soul.
Nowadays, people of all ages spend so much time texting each other and using social media to communicate with others. If only we would spend just much time sharing our thoughts with our Lord and our God, then we'll surely have a drastically better and more peaceful world to live in!
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 9, when the disciples of John the Baptist asked Jesus why his disciples did not fast as they and the Pharisees fasted much, Jesus answered them, "Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast." Since the Risen Christ did promise his disciples that he would be with them always, and those in union with him do sense his invisible presence in their heart, anyone who is one with Christ can only experience unadulterated joy with no mourning.
I think we are all familiar with the story of the woman caught in adultery from John 8. When the scribes and the Pharisees thought she should be stoned according to the law of Moses, Jesus said to them, "Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." Jesus was being completely logical! If any of you do not believe that Jesus is your Lord and your God and are as holy as he is, then maybe you have the right not to believe in him – I am being logical too. Of course, you still have to deal with all the miracles he performed and the Passion he went through, which I did not bring up.
Thursday, March 2, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 9, Jesus said to his disciples, "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 will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?" These sayings of Christ show clearly that he spoke as God or you must dismiss them as nonsense. The last question he asked was so sensible and to the point that anyone with a sane mind should remember it as long as he or she is still living. To read them all and put them aside would surely be a mistake that can make you regret for all eternity! God is so compelling that we are forced to choose to listen to him or not at all.
We are made by God to be needy for love. People are lonely because love is lacking in our self-centered world. But human love is never pure enough to fulfill our need for love in the first place; only the love of God is pure and great enough to transform us spiritually. Once you know that you are loved by God, you are never lonely again.
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 6 on this Ash Wednesday, Jesus teaches that we must live for God alone with zero ego. Let's remember that we are dust and unto dust we shall return. Yet the most amazing thing is that God can turn us into glorious saints if we let him. His teaching of today actually gives us the recipe. If we do everything for God with great humility and love, then we become saints. This is exactly what both Saint Therese of Lisieux and Saint Joseph Marello have learned from the Lord.
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Even though God is our Savior, salvation of the world absolutely depends upon us! Jesus said to his disciples, "The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few." As God's instruments, we must work hard to spread the good news, as the time is more urgent than ever! There is no time for snoozing, none to waste. Not harvesting for God is committing a serious sin of omission. The least one could do is to pray daily for the salvation of the world.
Friday, February 24, 2017
I was at a shopping mall. You could hear the loud music playing through the sound system and see the crowd busily shopping or eating at the food court. I was also aware that God was lovingly watching over us and hoping to get some attention from us. Yet how many shoppers even turn their thoughts to him for an instant? Probably very few. This is an unfair world.
It's common to find people getting bored after retiring from work. I am retired and sometimes people ask me what I do with all my time. Besides attending Mass daily and blogging, I do not have enough time to do all the various other things I need to do. Anyhow, if you live for Christ, it's impossible to ever get bored. On the contrary, life becomes more exciting than ever – God had filled all the voids of life and made living purposeful. You are now on call, ready to serve the Lord when he calls you, and he does need as many servants as possible to help him save the world! It's a big task that comes with a big reward.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Sunday, February 19, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 5.38-48, Jesus certainly raised the bar high in teaching his disciples about retaliation and love of enemies. He concluded by asking them to be perfect as their heavenly Father is perfect ~ it had to be a great honor to receive such a classy calling from the Lord. And certainly he wishes to honor each one of us thus too.
Saturday, February 18, 2017
I woke up early in the morning and it was still dark outside. Again, I felt that I was not alone and it was the existence of my creator that matters most and only to my existence. Therefore, my relationship with my creator becomes the crux of my existence.
Friday, February 17, 2017
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Monday, February 13, 2017
Communion experience. The famous fresco painting The Creation of Adam done by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel shows God about to touch Adam to give him life. Anyhow, as I received the Lord in the Holy Eucharist, it was also a moment of creation when God imparted a new spiritual life on me. Such is the power of the Blessed Sacrament.
[Dear readers, as I'll be on the road for the next two weeks, please check back next month for new postings. God be with you all!]
Sunday, February 12, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 5, Jesus taught his disciples about the law and a host of other subjects, and he was demanding. I love the Lord for being merciful and demanding at the same time. If he is only merciful, then we don't even need to be good to be saved. On the other hand, if he is only demanding, then who can possibly be good enough to be saved? Being both gives the perfect balance and I rejoice in that.