We are beautiful only if we are beautiful to God. In reality, we are always beautiful to God, our creator and Father; it is sin that make us look filthy and ugly. So just ask him to take away our sins and we'll be beautiful for good and to ourselves too.
Sunday, December 17, 2017
What is more precious than our soul? God our creator! For without God, our soul would be lost forever. With him, he can heal our soul or even create a new soul for us, for nothing is impossible for him! This is the God you can trust with all your soul.
We came into the world penniless and will leave the world and be penniless again. So it would be sensible and appropriate for us to will that all the money we have borrowed from the Lord during our lifetime be given away for his glory after we leave this world.
I recall my favorite saying of St. Bernadette's which I first posted back in 2009: "If we receive Jesus with love and make sure that he dwells happily within us, he is bound to pay us rent." Today the thought came to me that letting Jesus own our heart is even better than having him rent it, for as owner, he will have to do all the maintenance work, while we get his blessings anyway.
Philippians 4.4: Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! We are exhorted to rejoice throughout the Scriptures. To be Christian is to rejoice in God always. It's hard to imagine that one can love Christ and not smile. The thought of God alone should make our hearts bubble with joy. We are so blessed to have a God who loves us to death, who is infinitely merciful, and who has revealed to us his plan of salvation, clearing the whole way for us to enjoy eternal bliss with him in heaven. So let your heart leap for joy! God is not only the source of our joy, he is our great joy!
Saturday, December 16, 2017
If you believe that you do have a soul, that you do not just become nothing after you die, then looking into the afterlife and the existence of heaven and hell becomes absolutely necessary if you do have a sound mind and some common sense. If you ignore it, you should at least understand what your reason is. Gamboling with your money is being foolish. Gamboling with you soul is far beyond being foolish.
Witness Christ who was misunderstood, falsely accused, horribly maltreated, and finally crucified. He did not protest to claim that he was innocent and his enemies wrong; he even asked the Father to forgive them. This is true humility. Now look at ourselves. Anytime someone disagrees or argues with us about something, most often trivial, we so want everyone else to see that we are right and our "opponent" wrong! Where is our humility? We may be considered nice and decent by ourselves and others, but without true humility, we definitely are not holy (nor cool).
In the olden days, emperors of China searched for the elixir of life, hoping to gain longevity or eternal youth. Today we have anti-aging creams and pills widely available on the market. When I last received the Holy Eucharist, it dawned on me that I was receiving the Lord who was to grant me eternal life in heaven! Never mind the elixir of life or those anti-aging stuff.
Friday, December 15, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 11, Jesus said to the crowds about their generation, "John (the Baptist) came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, 'He is possessed by a demon." The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, 'Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.'" Our generation today is no different. People judge you outright and with their mind made up criticize you no matter what you say or do. We have a firmly closed-minded generation that urgently needs God's mercy shutting God out.
Thursday, December 14, 2017
Today is Memorial of Saint John of the Cross. Matthew 16.24 is the Communion antiphon: Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me, says the Lord. It seems that Jesus already knew that he was going to carry the cross on which he was to be hanged before his Crucifixion and he wants us to be like him. As our shepherd, he is also our model.
God loves us so much that any expression from us showing that we care for him, no matter how minute, greatly pleases him. We all know when we make someone happy, we feel happy too. Therefore, when we go all out to love the Lord with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength, we are rewarded with great heavenly joy.
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Communion thoughts. It is an elementary mathematical theorem that if A is a subset of B and B a subset of A, then A = B. So if we wish to dwell in God and we let God enter to dwell in us, then God and we become one. Every time I let the Lord in through receiving the Holy Eucharist and accept his invitation to dwell in him, our union is complete. How so cool it is! (I'm just excited.)
Today's is Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In case you are not familiar with that story that changed Mexico forever, it is a beautiful one. I have visited the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City and saw the miraculous image that appeared on St. Juan Diego's tilma there more than once. Many of us never had a mother's love. Make Mary your mother and she will keep you close to her Son always. And Jesus becomes your bother. If you never had a father's love, we have the best Father in heaven who can heal your soul and fill all the voids of your life. Then the Holy Spirit becomes your protector and teacher. Have the God of Christ and you shall lack nothing for all eternity! God has so made us that our life is incomplete until we find and settle in him.
Monday, December 11, 2017
We do not live in the world alone, for God is ever present. All other fellow humans will pass away, but God is always there. So it is our relationship with him, our Father, that matters the most to us. The secret of getting along with him is to remain absolutely humble before him and then ask for anything we need for a safe trip back to him in heaven. Quite simple.
Communion thoughts. I was looking forward to receiving the Lord into me. Then I thought if I were now offered to attend the greatest Christmas party in the world or take the most fantastic vacation there is, all expenses paid, or get a ticket free for the chance of winning a billion dollars, would I skip Holy Communion? The temptation to say yes is great, but I still would choose to receive Christ, for we must keep our journey back to God on track. [Afterthought. What if I were given a billion dollars outright? In that case, I would skip Communion this time, take the money, and plan on giving it away for good causes and resuming receiving Holy Communion tomorrow.]
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 5, as Jesus was teaching, some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed to him. Not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles into the middle in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he not only forgave his sins, but also healed him. It just shows how faith can produce miracles. If we believe that nothing is impossible with God, we must practice what we believe. That is, we take God's word seriously, abandon ourselves totally in him, and let our faith reap its rewards.
Today's response to Psalm 85 came from Isaiah 35: Our God will come to save us. The Jewish people had been waiting for the promised coming of the Messiah. They mostly likely were expecting to see the appearance of someone like a great king who would deliver them from all their enemies on earth. If Christ had come like that, probably everyone would have cheered and the Crucifixion would not have taken place. The fact is that he came as our Savior beyond all expectations – to deliver us from all enemies, including death, for all eternity! And we, being born after his coming, have the advantage of being able to understand what his mission was all about. All in all, rejoicing is in order!
We will be judged by God after we die or when Jesus comes next, whichever comes first. When the judgment will take place is not important. What is important is whether we are ready to be judged right now, since either can happen at any time.
Sunday, December 10, 2017
Think of God as water and that we are spigots that control the flow of that water into us. How much water we are willing to receive is entirely up to us. This water is living water, powerful enough to give us life everlastingly. On earth, it quenches our thirst, cleanses us, heals our soul, shields us from evil, and keeps us strong to face all trials and tribulations. God's power is all ours for the taking!
Saturday, December 9, 2017
I went to Vigil Mass today. The Gospel reading came from Mark 1. Mark started the Gospel by quoting Isaiah: Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. A voice of one crying out in the desert: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths." And John the Baptist did come as the messenger and Christ followed. Of course, the whole point of the Lord's coming is to enter our hearts, so how are we to prepare his way and make straight his paths? It turns out that we are the only obstacles in his way. Therefore, if you wish to receive him, you must be passive and out of his way for him to enter smoothly without encountering any resistance.
Friday, December 8, 2017
Communion experience. After receiving the Lord, I felt I was close to him more than ever. In those few moments, peace reigned over both my mind and my heart. I knew that once I get to heaven and belong to God completely, peace will reign over me forever.
To live for God alone, one must forget about himself. This is possible only if you let God draw you to him first, for as you are drawn closer to him, you become more aware of his presence and less of your own. Nevertheless, at the beginning when you wish God to draw you, you need to make the conscious effort to get yourself out of his way.
Today is Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blesses Virgin Mary. In the second reading from Ephesians 1, Paul wrote, "Blesses be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him." In Jeremiah 1, the Lord said to the prophet, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you." There are many other verses from Scriptures I can quote. What is obvious is that God does not have to plan in advance – he already knows everything. Therefore, we can trust in him fully, knowing that all things will work out in the end.
Thursday, December 7, 2017
As long as we focus upon how we can love God or what we should do to love him, our spiritual process will be slow and laborious. Forget about ourselves and focus 100% on the Lord instead to let him draw you to him fast. That is, always head straight for the Father to learn everything spiritual firsthand from him! If your heart is ready, you will hear his voice.
We are all being tested by the love of God, which is his love for us. We'll be judged by how we respond to his love. In this way, God's love also acts as a sword that divides us. Those who pass the test will enjoy the beauty and glory of God forever, while those who fail will be sorry and forlorn of comfort for all eternity.
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Jesus said that the truth would set us free. It sets us free by letting us know that God loves us, has redeemed us and cleared our way to eternal happiness in heaven with him, and nothing except ourselves can change that – we are set for eternity.
The Apostles Thomas and Paul are great examples that can help turning unbelievers into believers. Thomas doubted that Jesus had risen, but he got to touch his wounds personally when he appeared to him and Thomas proclaimed "My Lord and my God!" Paul on the other hand was a ruthless persecutor of all those who followed Jesus after his Resurrection, then the Lord called him and he turned 180 degrees around and became his apostle, spreading the good news to the gentiles until he was martyred. To me, these two examples validate the fact that Jesus is God and can change any of us.
God is all powerful and know exactly what's best for us, but we are the weak ones, the guilty ones, full of pride, not willing to connect ourselves to him. It really takes two to tango to make things happen. So, start "dancing" with the Lord so that his power and knowledge may be ours too!
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
How well we know God depends entirely upon how much we surrender ourselves to him. To surrender to God is simply to give him complete freedom to enter your heart to do whatever he wishes. Naturally, he wants to be your most intimate friend the most and you end up knowing him as your most intimate friend as well.
At Mass this morning, I knew that I would see Jesus again, whether at his Second Coming or after I die. Meeting him is unavoidable, since we were created through him and will have our eternal destiny determined by him. He is King of the Universe and rules over all in heaven and on earth. Only in him shall we find life forever.
Yesterday I watched the film "The Case for Christ" on Netflix. It's based upon a true story of an atheist journalist who set out to prove that the Resurrection of Christ never happened. In the end, he found the evidence against him overwhelming and believed. There are still many out there today who do not even believe that Jesus ever existed. In any case, if one cannot prove that he is right, the logical and wise choice for him would be to believe, for Christ must be accepted fully or rejected. When you chooses not to believe, you are gambling with your soul!
Monday, December 4, 2017
We may feel the peace of the Lord most of the time, but the test comes when someone misunderstands you or says something you feel uncalled for about you. Then you lose your cool. To remain objective and admit that we can be wrong is most difficult for mankind to deal with.
We know that God is always present with us, but we need to practice this awareness. If I am aware that he is watching me at all times, I know I would behave a lot better before others. Since Jesus and the Father are in each other, I believe that the even better practice is be aware that God actually dwells in us. Catholics are blessed to have the Lord truly present in the Holy Eucharist and receiving this Blessed Sacrament regularly greatly facilitates or strengthens our union with him. Now we have the Lord sitting on a throne in our heart. Yes, we have been dethroned – the best thing that could possibly happen to us. Now, not only God is with us, we are in each other as one, doing all things together in perfect harmony.
Sunday, December 3, 2017
God is infinite and powerful, and he loves us. We were made in his image and can call him Father. His ardent wish is not to control us, not to force us to be holy, but for us to trust in him so that we may get to heaven to live in everlasting joy with him! Please do understand him correctly! Therefore, we should take maximum advantage of our most privileged and favorable position and ask for and get all the help we need from him – there is no better way to show our trust. This is truly a no-brainer unless your brain is disordered. First thing we need do is to settle our eternal destiny with God. Then we can relax and enjoy serving him the rest of our lives.
Saturday, December 2, 2017
On my way home after Mass, I was driving at a decent speed and a speeding car behind me all of a sudden illegally crossed the double solid lines to pass me when we were already nearing a stop sign ahead. Here are some of my reactions: (1) It is alarming that someone would drive in such an unsafe way. (2) He got in front of me and I don't like it (it's the bad pride surfacing). (3) He might get into an accident – should I care? (4) Perhaps he has a good reason for speeding. (5) I hope he realizes that everything we do will have consequences. (6) He cannot be my enemy, for he doesn't even know me. I feel sorry for him and pray that God will illuminate and bless him (as I come to my senses).
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 21, Jesus told his disciples to be vigilant at all times and pray that they have the strength to stand before the Son of Man when he comes, for that day would catch everyone who lives on the face of the earth by surprise like a trap. I belief that before he comes to judge us, to separate the sheep from the goats, he already knew everything about us. And the moment you realize that he is here, your time for reconciliation with him also expires. After not listening to him and not paying attention to his warning your whole lifetime, do you think he still should hear your last confession? God's mercy is ever present and his love, ever wanting to unite us with him. Seek and attain union with him now and you don't ever need to be concerned about his coming anymore.
Jesus said in John 15.13: "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for his friends." He lived up to what he had preached and demonstrated it by going on the cross himself. (We certainly can at the least demonstrate our love for the Lord by living, if not dying, for him.) The diametrical opposite would be to take other human lives for our own benefit or convenience. Then it can be said that there is no greater evil than terminating the lives of innocent, defenseless babies for selfish reasons. I do understand that choosing to abort an unborn child is not easy and can be most agonizing to the mother, so the large blame must be placed upon those who are pro-abortion and have contributed to making the mother choose abortion. If such holocaust does not horrify us, then we have indeed become an ally of the devil.
Friday, December 1, 2017
Only God, being eternal, knows eternity and has the power to determine all things that have to do with eternity. Since our soul lives on forever, we'll have to deal with eternity. In this way, God becomes our agent. Therefore, we must take God seriously, as he'll be determining our eternity.
God has created us in his own image. The difference is that we were created at one time, while God has existed forever. We are the only creatures on earth who can understand good and evil, virtue and sin, and our creator. Thus Jesus asks only us to be perfect as our heavenly Father is (Matthew 5.48). Therefore, we should aim to imitate Jesus to become perfect. First, let him purify us and fill us with his love. Then yield to him with an open heart so that he may teach us his thoughts and his ways for us to follow the Father's will perfectly as he did.
Thursday, November 30, 2017
We easily build walls around us, shutting God out, thinking that we are now secure and free to do whatever we feel like doing. The truth is we have only succeeded in enclosing ourselves in a private prison. True freedom is found by breaking down all barriers between God and us and connect ourselves to him by sharing the same space with him. Then we'll have security as well. In essence, we can never be free until we let God be our God – a truth we must realize.
If you are running away from God but not truly happy, then God is calling you! It's impossible to escape or hide from him, something you should know. And there will be a price to pay in the end for evading him, which basically amounts to rejecting his love for you. There is really no alternative out there, for there is only one creator, one Lord, and one Savior. Stop running away from him, face reality, turn to your Father as the prodigal son, and you'll find hope, joy, and experience the greatest homecoming welcome of your life to boot!
Today is the feast of St. Andrew, Apostle. In the first reading from Romans 10, Paul wrote: If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. So God has truly made it simple for mankind to be saved, but we simply do not wish to yield to him for selfish reasons. This is the plain sad fact! There is nothing more I can say, only plenty to pray about.
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
As I drove to church this morning, I saw that one neighbor had already displayed various, colorful things (I had no chance to see exactly what they were) in their side yard in preparation for the coming holidays. Christmas decorative lights have started showing up on various houses too. I wonder if all these things really cheer people up. Perhaps they do, but the true joy has to be experienced deep within the heart. The world is good at showing faux joys, especially in advertising and show business. All the fun things people do to entertain themselves without involving God are rather empty and it seems that people are just killing time, to be blunt about it. This couldn't be farther from being vigilant and preparing for the Lord's coming at the unexpected time.
In this morning's Gospel reading from Luke 21, Jesus talked to the crowd about the coming persecution because of his name and how they should deal with it. I see that for his followers, every hardship they face is a form of persecution because of his name. The Devil would tell you to hit back, to retaliate, while the Holy Spirit wants you to rejoice in it for the sake of Christ. And you make the choice as to whom you should listen to.
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
One of the Communion antiphons was Matthew 28.20. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age, says the Lord. We must take this saying seriously. For if he did speak the truth, then obviously he knows where we are and what we are doing at all times and is present with us. He has to be God.
Often people judge you harshly, are not grateful for what you've done for them, don't want to listen to you, ignore you, misunderstand you, or even look down on you. That's OK if your conscience is clear, knowing that you have always acted out of love. God understands everything and that's good enough for you, for you aim to serve and please him alone. And always pray for your enemies in all forms.
Monday, November 27, 2017
Before a large ship arrives at a port, the captain must carefully negotiate all the obstacles to steer the ship slowly all the way through docking. By contrast, we can enter God instantly by casting aside all our cares and head straight for his heart. The only question is whether we would do it.
We ought to be in awe of and worship our God, but since he is love, we can also talk to him about anything from our heart freely to develop the most intimate friendship with him. You see, love simply removes all barriers between God and us. This is our extraordinary, wondrous God, our Father, brother, and counselor. So even if you don't know him, start talking to him can lead you to living the most wonderful life on earth.
Sunday, November 26, 2017
Today is Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. The Gospel reading from Matthew 25 was on the judgement of the nations. Jesus identified the hungry, the thirsty, strangers, the naked, the ill, and those in prison as the least of his brothers. And he made it clear that whatever we did for one of his least brothers, we did for him, and whatever we did not do for one of his least bothers, we did not do for him. Any of us could very well be one of his least brothers. It follows that any one of us is as important to him as himself. Jesus truly loves us as himself!
Saturday, November 25, 2017
It glorifies God to harvest souls for him, for he loves all of them to death! To perform our mission well behooves us to be holy ourselves. Therefore, seek union with God foremost so that we may become effective channels through which the Lord can draw all to himself. There is nothing more satisfying or fulfilling than serving him faithfully.
We came into the world, not knowing how we got here – it is clear to me that God must have created us. How else would that have been possible? He also gave each of us a free will, a conscience, and a heart, and we were ready to be tested throughout our life. How we make choices ultimately determines our eternal destiny. Fair enough.
If you experience the joy of Christ, let it be seen by all. Sharing it with others can potentially save souls. I am thinking about some of the friends and others I knew who had shockingly committed suicide. If I had shared my joy with them, I possibly could have made a difference. It's a balancing act because we can't always pop up and tell them about Christ if the timing is not right. Still, it's better to err on the bold side than being too cautious. You should not worry about offending your subject if the Lord does provide an opening. And always follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit, never your own inclination.
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 20, some Sadducees questioned Jesus about the resurrection. I am quoting one verse from his answer to them, for it struck me. He said, "God is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive." So we are all alive to him – meaning that he notices and knows each one of us. We are not just nobody; in fact, we are at the apex of his creation, worth sacrificing himself to save us. How can we possibly reject ourselves or reject him? Indeed, we should thank him and love him with all our heart by seeking union with him so that we may experience the only perfect out-of-the-world relationship of our existence on earth!
Friday, November 24, 2017
This is a materialistic world. Children born into it learn to be materialistic fast. On this Black Friday after Thanksgiving, people got up early and headed excitedly for shopping malls to hunt for bargains. God is at a disadvantage. It can be considered a miracle that one would think of God before him- or herself. I watched a short BBC video titled "What do people say before they die?" Interestingly, most of the interviewed did not talk about death, not knowing what would happen afterwards. Instead they looked back and wished they had done certain things or asked for some little thing to be done to fulfill their last wish. Again, God was hardly mentioned. Even though God had come into the world and proclaimed loud and clear the good news of salvation, and we should be full of hope and look forward to returning to him with joy, he has rarely been placed in the forefront of our mind. What we can count on is that the Lord knows that we are weak and that he is infinitely merciful.
Thursday, November 23, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 17 on this Thanksgiving Day, ten lepers met Jesus. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying, "Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!" Jesus saw them and said, "Go show yourselves to the priests." As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned to Jesus, fell at his feet and thanked him. What a beautiful gesture! Jesus then said to him, "Stand up and go; your faith has saved you." That was his reward for thanking God in humility! In Luke 18, we find the Pharisee in the parable speaking to God, "O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity – greedy, dishonest, adulterous. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes ...." Jesus made it clear that this Pharisees went home unjustified, for he had exalted himself. Again, humility makes you genuine and win the heart of God.
After taking a shower, you feel good because your whole body is clean. After you repent and have God take away all your sins, you feel great because now your whole soul is clean. This has to be one of the best feelings you can possibly have, since it comes from the Lord, removing all barriers between you and him.
In our violence-prone society, many people take self-defense lessons to protect themselves. This is all good. But my thoughts are that in our sin-ridden societies, learning how to defend our souls is even more urgent, as our body will perish one day, but the soul lives on forever.
The tactics for fighting temptation I just posted is consistent with how we should approach God. It goes back to always placing our trust in him to let him shield us and do the work on the front line for us. If faith can save our soul, surely it can get us out of any jam. The Lord loves to help the weak. Acknowledge truly that you are helpless without him and he will help you with all his might. It's plain faith-at-work.
Know that the evil one wants you to believe that you are strong enough to fight temptation head-on so that he may lure you even deeper into it. Your soul is at stake! So the smart winning tactics is to run away from temptation straight into your Father's arms without delay, the moment you sense it. We ask the Lord not to lead us into temptation in the prayer he taught us. Now we can switch to asking him to protect us from temptation.
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
The title points to the way to eternal happiness. Since Christ is our God and Savior, it is logical and evident that he is whom we need to focus upon the most and love the most. If we obey and live for him alone, we shall experience freedom and peace now and everlasting joy later. This is my testimony to you. Of course, this presents a test to see if we would choose ourselves over him or not. Face it, we cannot escape the Lord in any way and whatever happens to us hinges entirely upon his mercy! Seek union with him now to smooth your way to eternity.
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
If every move and word of yours are being videotaped, you probably want to make sure that you look good and do everything right. Now, if you realize that God sees better than any of the recorders, for he also perceives what's in your heart and mind, shouldn't you at least try to be holy at all times for him?
To those who are suffering depression, know that there is always hope in the God of Christ. You see, God has made us so that nothing can make us truly happy until we find and possess him! He wants to and can be all yours if you desire him. Then you'll know him by his love as he wipes away all your fears and tears. To despair when Christ the way and the truth and the life is present and had specifically come into the world to give you joy is both tragic and making you look foolish. When you get depressed, the Lord your Father, gets depressed even more, for his love for you is great beyond our comprehension. Why not cheer up to put a smile on his face, eh?
Monday, November 20, 2017
If you wish to worship the Lord, praise him, enjoy him, rest in him, be in union with him . . . you can make all these happen by surrendering yourself to him, for he already knows all your wishes and only needs you to open the door to let him into your heart. This one simple step taken by you will have the whole heaven rejoicing for you and praising God! (You are never alone.)
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 18, when a blind beggar heard that Jesus was going to pass by soon, he started shouting repeatedly, "Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!" When Jesus saw him, he asked him, "What do you want me to do for you?" He replied, "Lord, please let me see." Jesus told him, "Have sight; your faith has saved you." He immediately received his sight. My reaction to this incident was "Wow!" Let's all turn to the Lord to ask him to heal us and make us anew.
I choose Jesus above everyone else, for he is the only one who understands me thoroughly and can set me free, fill my heart with joy, and take care of me for all eternity. He is also the only one who could enter to dwell in my heart after I invited him, drawing me ever closer to God.
Sunday, November 19, 2017
Communion experience. God gave us the sacrament of Penance so that when the priest absolves us from our sins, we know we are forgiven. He gave us the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist so that when we received his body and blood, we know that he is ready to be one with us.
Today we heard the parable of the talents from Matthew 25 read at Mass. The lesson is that God expects all his servants to bear fruit with diligence. Jesus came to divide us into those who believe in him and those who don't. Now here is a finer division. Among his servants, there are those who bear fruit and those who don't. The end result is that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away (vs. 29).
Since it is much easier for human beings to sin than to be holy, when you look at what Christianity can do for you, focus more upon the small minority of saints rather than the great majority of lesser holy Christians. Best yet, focus upon Jesus Christ alone and ignore all others, for only he is worthy to believe in, worship, and follow.
A pure heart is like a balloon filled with helium, soaring upwards to God effortlessly, whereas a filthy heart is like one what's weighed down by lead, always falling as low as it can go. Recommendation: See God the top heart specialist as soon as possible for your weight problem.
Warning! The following message might make some of you feel uncomfortable.
If you are not taking God seriously yet, imagine that this is your last hour on earth – what would you do? Would you finally turn to him, tell him you are truly sorry for having offended him all your life, and ask him to forgive you? If your answer is yes, then why not do it now, for you might go unexpectedly leaving you with no chance for repentance? If your answer is no, then there is nothing we can do for you but prayer. I see our lifetime as a golden opportunity to settle our eternal destiny, not a time to squander away. My motto for all: Never carry your sins to your grave! What's the point of looking beautiful in an open casket with a filthy heart within?
Saturday, November 18, 2017
I am going to describe this state in different ways, but they are all interchangeable. Here we go. Complete submission to God; total obedience to God; letting God be your God; union with God; being inseparable from God; in perfect harmony with God; deep in love with God; completely open to his mercy; acceptance of his love; letting him love you freely; taking our proper place before God; resting in his peace; complete abandonment in him; having complete trust in him; living for him alone; God becoming our center and anchor. As you see, we cannot leave God out. Desire him alone and he is yours.
Sexual harassment charges against politicians, Hollywood moguls and stars, and other well-known public figures have been popping up all over this country. Of course, some of them might not be true; nevertheless, we are seeing manifestations of men's impure thoughts. Currently on Facebook, an Ohio supreme court judge openly brags about his sexual conquests with particulars. He believes he's speaking on behalf of all heterosexual males and does not think it improper to divulge such private information. From the Christian point of view, it is one thing that you sin without others (except God) knowing about it and quite another – far more serious – if you do not acknowledge that you have sinned and cause others to follow your example and sin also.
Friday, November 17, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 17, Jesus continued telling his disciples about the day of his coming: "On that day, a person who is on the housetop and whose belongings are in the house must not go down to get them, and likewise a person in the field must not return to what was left behind. I tell you, on that night there will be two people in one bed; one will be taken, the other left. And there will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken, the other left." These scenes described remained vividly in my mind once I had heard them. I thought of the tsunamis, floods, fires, mudslides, earthquakes – all such natural disasters had happened suddenly and many lives were taken. We may die before his coming, but it shouldn't make any difference. If we prepare ourselves now, whether we shall be taken or left becomes a moot point. *Never let there be a moment you wish you had listened to Jesus. Heed his words now.
We see and hear both beautiful things and ugly things, but what's truly beautiful or ugly is what's beautiful or ugly to God and it is what's in and comes out of your heart. Therefore, be in union with the Lord so that he may keep your heart pure, making you beautiful to him always.
Today Friday I prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. They are Agony in the Garden, Scourging at the Pillar, Crowning with Thorns, Carrying of the Cross, and Crucifixion – all most horrific events. Then I saw that because it was love that prompted the Lord to bear such sufferings willingly, all these events became most beautiful.
Right now, cracks had appeared in my stucco houses walls and rains have started, so water might get inside the house as it did last year. One toilet is not flushing right. Last night one of the outdoor motion sensor lights no longer shuts itself off. At any rate, in this world things go wrong constantly, and we ourselves go wrong too, as we sin continuously. It is an imperfect world to say the least that can never make us truly happy here. If you want to find the perfect world, seek the God of Christ who alone can satisfy us now and make us happy for all eternity later. Again, this is how he has made us.
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Communion experience. In receiving Christ, I realized that God is our greatest servant, as he gave himself out of sheer love for our salvation. "My Lord and my servant" – absolutely amazing, all made possible by love. Now he is more my Lord than ever!
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 17, Jesus told his disciples about the coming day of the Son of Man, but said that first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation. For me, this speaks loudly that evil is real and the spiritual warfare is always ongoing. Therefore, we must choose sides. It may be chilling to say that hell is not vacant, but not thinking about it wouldn't do you any good. Instead, the best thing we should do is to focus upon the love of God, our Father, who can eradicate all our fears and fill our hearts with joy and hope.
We either follow our own nature or follow God. When we follow ourselves, we can do good or easily sin. And it's in our sinful state that we experience the loss of inner peace. When we follow God, we are no longer concerned about whether we do good or sin – we simply do his will and bear fruit. This is why and how we experience both freedom and peace.
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 17, Jesus cleansed ten lepers and only one gave thanks to God. We must be aware of what God has done for us and be grateful for it. Without him, we wouldn't be existing or now breathing. Without him, we wouldn't have all that we have. Without him, we'd be lost forever!
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
At Mass this morning, I noticed that the shadows of some palm branches cast on a wall by a ceiling spotlight were absolutely still and I realized that none of us on earth could sense that we are moving through space. How fast are we actually moving? We know that the earth rotates about its own axis once every 24 hours or so and is approximately 8,000 miles in diameter. About the axis, those who live on the equator whirl through space at roughly 1,000 miles an hour. Then the earth itself revolves around the sun once a year. Knowing how far we are from the sun, we can calculate that the earth is whirling through space at, get this, 67,000 miles per hour. Plus the fact that our solar system itself is whirling around the center of its galaxy at 490,000 miles per hour! I'll stop right here, ignoring any motion of the galaxy. This is like the fact that we do not physically sense the presence of God, yet he is all around us, watches over us, and knows what's in our hearts.
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 17, Jesus taught the proper attitude of a servant. He said to his disciples, " When you have done all you have been commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.'" This is what Jesus meant by "deny yourself." This is living for God alone. There is certainly no glamour associated with the role of being a disciple, but your reward will be freedom in this life and exaltation by God in the next.
This morning I arrived at church and realized that it's another day. It could be another day to live for myself, to pursue what I want to accomplish. But it's so much better to make it another day to grow closer to God. Here I got to receive him in the Holy Eucharist once more, gained more time to pray for the salvation of all mankind, and now would meet my Lord one day sooner.
Monday, November 13, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 17, Jesus said to his disciples, "Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the one through whom they occur." Two observations. First, sin separates us from God, so anything that tends to distance us from God cannot have come from him. We must do our utmost to remain in union with God. Secondly, we must never cause anyone to sin. Therefore, our example as a disciple of the Lord must be perfect. Again, union with him should take care of that.
I watched online an interview with a world famous pianist already in his 80s, reminiscing about his old teacher, the various conductors he worked with, his landmark recordings, and other experiences. To anyone interested in classical music, it was quite interesting. Then I thought of the Gospel stories about Jesus. By contrast, they are unforgettable, evergreen, forever refreshing, powerful, and most significant as they are relevant to our eternal existence. They are so because they are more than mere facts – they are the truth.
Sunday, November 12, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 25, Jesus tells the parable of the ten virgins. The message is again that if we remain foolish, do not stay vigilant and prepare ourselves fully for his coming, we shall be shut out of the kingdom of heaven. Since this is the very Lord who revealed early in his ministry that he would be killed and rise in three days and all that came true, we'd better give serious attention to everything he has said.
Saturday, November 11, 2017
When you live only for yourself, you grow proud. Things go well and your become even more self-centered. Things go badly and you can be devastated. By contrast, living for God is wonderful because you don't take everything so personally anymore. When things go well, you rejoice in the Lord. And when they don't, you feel fine too, as he has willed that. Living for God is the perfect way to remain humbly in communion with him.
I love the Blessed Mother and many other saints. Why? It's because they are so beautiful and lovely, made possible by their love for Christ. Christ is the one who has shown us how beautiful love can be and that he can make all of us beautiful!
Since I am familiar with piano playing, I know that many performing pianists when they experience nervousness on the stage channel that wasted energy into concentrating upon playing the music even better. In the same way, when we pray to God and nothing seems to happen, we can channel our anticipation into placing our trust in God even more.
Friday, November 10, 2017
Everything we need and enjoy comes from God. He always gives. Instead of feeling grateful or responding to his love, we who are powerless to save ourselves hold tightly onto ourselves and won't let ourselves go. How foolish we are, not to abandon a sinking ship! It's time to get on God's rescue boat and sail with him to eternal security.
To be smart is to know that God is greater than you, that he is your Father and loves you, that you should obey him and he'll bring you eternal happiness. To be utterly dumb is to rebel against God and believe that you can survive without him – do you really think that when you pit yourself against God in any game you play, you can come out on top?
In Matthew 16, Jesus asked his disciples, "Who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter responded, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the the living God." Jesus said to him, "Blesses are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father." Here is the first truth we must come to acknowledge to be saved. The journey to heaven begins with this little giant step.
Thursday, November 9, 2017
My thoughts following might very well upset some people, but please hear me out. I do believe that the Holy Spirit made me see it. Parish churches have been raising money by many ways. Some common examples are holding bingo nights or auctions, selling raffle tickets or tickets for feeds. Everyone has a good time and helps a good cause. But does the end justify the means? For the means play on your gambling instinct, your desire for material goods or your indulgent appetite. Wouldn't it be far better to do good without the need to be lured into doing it. What the Lord wants from us is doing good in secret without expecting to receive any gratification or reward.
Today is Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome. In the Gospel reading from John 2, Jesus at the beginning of his ministry already knew of his Resurrection when he said to the Jews, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up." He was speaking about the temple of his Body. For me, anyone who can destroy death has to be the creator of life, our God.
Revelation 21.3: I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, God's dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them as their God. When we belong to God and he becomes our God, we and God become one and he is all ours. God and his people in perfect harmony – this is our perfect state of existence.
I blogged not too long ago that the transformation of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ on the altar during Mass is as great and wonderful a miracle as his transfiguration on Mt. Tabor. During the transfiguration, when his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light, he displayed his dazzling glory. Then when he quietly comes in the form bread and wine for us to consume, he shows his utter humility. Glory and humility in one person – what an awe-inspiring combination!
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
We often don't appreciate something until after we lose it. Years ago, I left my wife in front of a hotel in Merida, Mexico, to check if there was any vacancy. Since I couldn't stop my car there for long, I told her I would drive around the block and back, not realizing that it's much easily said than done. It's also late evening and hard to look for street signs plus the fact that I did not read Spanish. Soon I went around and around and lost my way. To make a long story short, I found my way back almost an hour later. Of course, the overwhelming joy of finding my wife waiting out there made me appreciate her even more. Today's example. I enjoy the peace of the Lord until I commit a sin. It only needs to be a minor offense to make me lose my peace. This makes me treasure his peace even more.
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 14, Jesus laid down some conditions for discipleship. He said, "If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Everyone who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple." Was he mad and being irrational? Not if he spoke as God.
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
In the older days, many youngsters attending Catholic schools experienced harsh treatment that would affect their whole life. Tragically, his had caused many to leave the Church. Of course, there were truly loving and understanding nuns and teachers too, but the "horror" stories you hear a lot more. I believe that the major cause was not knowing the Lord personally well enough, for you can know all the teachings of the Church, say all the prescribed prayers, be active in ministries and still remain a cold person. One other thing I see is that children can go through religious classes for years and lose their faith in college or later. Again, the focus of the classes might not have been proper. Once I suggested sharing personal spiritual experiences with the children and the person in charge of the program didn't seem to know what I was talking about. The goal of all programs and activities should be to bring the participants closer to Christ. Even Bible studies can become so focused on history and other peripheral facts that you feel you are taking an academic course. As for preparation for confirmation and other similar programs, the ceremonial aspect gets top attention, whereas the focus should be 99% on the Lord. The strength and vitality of the Church depends foremost upon how well her people know the Lord.
One of the Communion antiphons today was what Jesus said in John 6.57: Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. What struck me was that anyone who feeds on Jesus will have life. So how do we feed on Jesus? To me, to feed on Jesus is to depend upon him for everything, not just for spiritual sustenance and growth. To feed on the Lord successfully, we must become branches of his vine. That is, we become part of him, inseparably in union with him.
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 14, Jesus tells the parable of the great feast. It illustrates the point that God invites many to dine in his kingdom, but one by one they excuse themselves, giving some reason for not being able to attend the feast. It is absolutely true that many are called, but few pay attention. If you turn Christ down for some reason, are you being truthful? If not, then you are merely trying to fool the Lord, which only a fool would do.
Monday, November 6, 2017
Here's today's Gospel reading from Luke 14:
On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees. He said to the host who invited him, "When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or sisters or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
The clear lesson here is that when we are being kind to others, we should do it for the Lord's sake and not expect to receive repayment. This would be true charity. Do anything to get ourselves recognized or appreciated is a sin that is often easily overlooked.
Jesus said in John 8, "If you remain in my word, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." My testimony is that when you get to know the Lord intimately, you just know that he is the truth because he reveals it to you "automatically."
Matthew 11.28: Jesus says, Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. This is one of his well-known sayings familiar to many. I am quoting it now because his promise is true, for when I rest (let go) in him, he does the work for me and I experience rest (peace).
Sunday, November 5, 2017
Witness the Christians who have lost their lives throughout history because of their faith. We get rejected by others often in this world for various reasons, but God who loves us will never reject us. When we reject him, we reject ourselves, but he remains open to us as long as we are still living on earth.
Today's Gospel acclamation from Matthew 23: You have but one Father in heaven and one master, the Christ. Therefore, obey God alone in this life (and everything should turn out fine). In fact, we should live for him, die for him, serve him, glorify him, please him, and care only about what he thinks about us alone.
Saturday, November 4, 2017
In Luke 12, Jesus says, Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three.... This is reality as I notice that among all the families of my parish, few of them still have their grown-up children remaining faithful within the Church. If Christ were just a man, this wouldn't have mattered much. But since he is also God, the division makes all the difference, for it comes down to a clear separation between believers and nonbelievers. Believers must expect to be rejected, ridiculed, or accused in such a divided world. Nevertheless, they should continue rejoicing, for they are being persecuted on account of Christ.
Today's Communion antiphon, John 15.16: It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last. It seems to me that when we pray for the conversion of someone, we should pray that God would chose that person. That is, we ask the Lord to initiate things. The dramatic conversion of St. Paul was a great example.
Friday, November 3, 2017
Today's entrance antiphon from Psalm 105: Let the hearts that seek the Lord rejoice; turn to the Lord and his strength; constantly seek his face. These verses were timely for me to read, for I had a burden that only the Lord could remove from my heart. This is the God with whom nothing is impossible. It is good that when I feel hopeless in solving a problem, I can turn to the Father who can and will take care of it one way or another. I truly felt today that was what God was for. Praise him!
Thursday, November 2, 2017
Today is All Souls Day. From the Gospel reading from John 6: Jesus said to the crowds, "This is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day." The message is plain and clear. If you have no proof that he is lying to you, then you have no choice but to believe in him with all your heart.
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
The latest shocking news is the terror attack that took place in New York City in which a suspect drove a truck through people, killing 8 and injuring 11. It's easy not to expect something like that to happen to you, since you are in an entirely different location. But all these things happen unexpectedly. The victims this time didn't expect that they would be struck either. May I mention that the coming of Christ will also happen at an unexpected time. The best policy and wise plan is to be prepared always: when you are ready to meet God, you may ease your mind over all other concerns.
See everything, large or small, difficult or easy, unpleasant or pleasant, that happens to us as giving us an opportunity to grow holier, learn from the Lord, and trust in him even more. After all, he is our God, Father, teacher, guide, and friend who loves us greatly. Besides, with him we get to respond properly in all situations. Let him live with you and he'll protect and guide you always.
In the second reading from 1 John, the Apostle wrote: "Beloved, we are God's children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." We shall not only see the Lord, but shall be like him! Rejoicing is in order. Better yet, start to be like him by seeking union with him now.
Today is Solemnity of All Saints. In he first reading from Revelation 7, in a vision the writer saw a great multitude from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb." I want to cry out aloud in unison with the multitude to proclaim that Christ, the Lamb, can save us! Later in the vision, an elder revealed to the writer that those wearing white robes were the ones who had survived the time of great distress, washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb. Again, I want to cry out to let all know that Christ can make us clean! Don't you know all this good news yet?
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
The world in deeply divided into those who follow the God of Christ, those who neither follow nor reject him, and those who outright reject him. Since we will all be judged by Christ, it comes down to whether you believe in him or not. He is our center and reference point. There will never be another one coming who is God and loves you so much that he would save you from sin by sacrificing himself.
Monday, October 30, 2017
Communion experience. When the transfiguration of the Lord took place on Mount Tabor, we witnessed the dazzling glory of God. When we took the consecrated bread and wine that had change into the body and blood of the Lord through transubstantiation, we experienced the amazing love of God.
There are so many interesting things in this world for us to explore, discover, pursue, and learn, and most of us are doing just that. This is fine, but all this knowledge is only useful to us in our time on earth. Our priority should be as Jesus has advised his disciples to seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness first. The Lord asked his disciples, "What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?" Here we may ask: "What profit is there for one to gain all the knowledge of he world and not know God at all?"
Sunday, October 29, 2017
If anyone should knowingly reject God, salvation for him would be difficult; but again, nothing is impossible with God. Most people who believe but not seriously might be unknowingly teetering on the brink of becoming lost forever. An any rate, we must pray for everyone. Keenly aware of the horror of being separated from God forever, I must cast aside all personal feelings and wish everyone to enter heaven. Of course, the Lord is infinitely more merciful than I, so it's logical to believe that he would want everyone saved even more! This is what all of us should realize, that God so wants us to return to him to be free and happy. If you still turn away from him, then you truly become a helpless soul.
We are unhappy because we want things turn out the way we want. So if we let things turn out the way God wants, we are off the hook and become free. Then however things turn out, we are Ok with it. In other words, the secret to freedom and peace is to let God be God, nothing more. Yes, it does go against your human nature, but your human nature tends to sin, so let God change it!
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 22, Jesus gave the greatest commandment: "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." How can we possibly do so? Well, since his love is the greatest, we can ask him to let us use his love. But how are we to receive it? Answer: we be wide open to let him love us. Then his love will pour in and fill our hearts. Now we are ready to love him back.
In today's Gospel acclamation, John 14.23, Jesus said, "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." This is the Lord making his promise with these endearing words to every single one of us, since he loves every single one of us. You must hear him speaking personally to you. He is our God, but specifically, he is personally your God.
Saturday, October 28, 2017
The path that leads to Christ may be steep, but it's straight, for God does not throw curves at us (pun not intended). So the straight approach becomes the best way to get to know Jesus, which is you go straight to him, open up yourself and start talking to him heart to heart. Yes, follow him like the Apostles. Any other less direct approach is beating around the bush. Do it the right way and you are with him instantly.
Today is the feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles. The Gospel reading from Luke 6 tells us that the day before Jesus chose Twelve from his disciples to be named Apostles, he spent the night in prayer to God on the mountain. To me, Jesus fully showed his human nature. We did have God becoming man.
Friday, October 27, 2017
Once you know God intimately, you feel as if you already know everything. No, you do not feel superior to others, you only know that you now have sufficient knowledge that nothing else can be more essential or so exciting. Knowing God alone is sufficient for any of us. If not, you do not know him well yet.
Jesus asks us to trust in him – he is only asking for what we should do and would be good for us. Everything he tells us is for our benefit. He wants to save us so that we might live with him for all eternity in heaven, so it's unthinkable that he should ever intend to harm us. If you do not believe in him, it's because you never really understood him correctly, for your sins kept you away from him. It's time we correct our wrongs and look at the Lord with contrite hearts.
Everything we do affects God and he is just, but also most thorough. We forget things; he doesn't. Our relationship with him will be exposed, examined, and judged and we'll be put in the right place where we belong – the final settlement of our existence.
Spiritually, we must not remain stagnant, for God and his sheep are being relentless assaulted by the evil one and his followers. Science is advancing. Technology is advancing. Materialism is advancing. Atheism, immorality, godlessness, all advancing. It behooves us to grow closer and be more faithful to the Lord every day. The call to seek union with him is more urgent than ever.
God has made our way to salvation extremely simple, yet we "remake" it so complicated as to lose our way completely. This is a great tragedy we've created for ourselves. Jesus said in Matthew 18.3: Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. If you are childlike in nature, rejoice, for you are a great candidate for entering God's kingdom. Know that to not be childlike in trusting God is to not accept God as your Father.
I went to morning Mass today, parked my car, and noticed that almost all the other parishioners walking toward the church walked rather slowly, for they were older folks. Surely they were going in the right direction toward heaven. Then I thought of those who were still young, could run fast, and loved to drive fast, but were not heading the right way, at least not yet. Here's a great contrast. Shall we say that old age can be a blessing to us?
Thursday, October 26, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 12, Jesus said to his disciples that he had come not to establish peace on the earth, but rather division, even among the households. The Lord was letting us know that it was going to be spiritual warfare and people would either accept or reject the truth. We have the same situation today. Truth does not bend, so the only hope for peace is that we bend and accept the truth.