Knowing that you maintain a private, close relationship with none other than God.
Thursday, June 22, 2017
The Gospel reading yesterday came from Matthew 6. Jesus pointed out that doing anything to make people think that you are doing it for God is being hypocritical and will not receive any recompense from God. If we do things to win the praise of others, we have received our reward already. So it comes down to choosing to please God or ourselves, to serve God or ourselves, to worship God or ourselves. God not only needs to be No. 1, but the only one in our life.
Since I am traveling, I may not be able to blog daily in the coming week. Anyway, yesterday the entrance antiphon from Psalm 14 read: The clean of hands and pure of heart shall climb the mountain of the Lord and stand in his holy place. To me, keeping the hands clean is not to do any bad deeds and keeping the heart pure is not to have any bad thoughts. Both clean hands and a pure heart assure that you will feel good in God's presence, and what a treasurable feeling that is!
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 5, Jesus asked his disciples to love not just their neighbor, but even their enemies. And he wants them to be perfect, just as their heavenly Father is perfect. The lesson here: (1) Specifically, we are to love everyone as the Father loves us, irrespective of whether the person is good or bad, just or unjust and (2) fundamentally, we are to imitate the Father who is perfect.
Today's entrance antiphon from Psalm 27: O Lord, hear my voice, for I have called to you; be my help. Do not abandon or forsake me, O God, my savior. We can ask, beg, pester, or even argue with God. As long as we treat him as our most loving Father, he wouldn't mind a bit. Sharing everything in your heart with him surely endears yourself to him.
Monday, June 19, 2017
So many people are disconnected from God, for they are deeply immersed in the world and have lost whatever spiritual awareness they had. They say that God is dead, but I say that their own hearts are dead. Here's a human analogy that illustrates the situation. A father raises his children, loves them very much and gives them the best in everything he could. Now the children have grown up and totally forgotten about the father. They are immersed in doing what they want to do and no longer visit or communicate with the father. You don't have to be a parent to know how bad that father would be feeling. Imagine now how our heavenly Father with infinite love for us would be feeling over us.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 5, Jesus said to his disciples, "You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles. Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one what wants to borrow." These are hard sayings, but they completely make sense if you truly love everyone as God loves us, never wishing to judge or hurt anyone. Naturally, vengeance is out of the question. I think this is the point Jesus had wanted to get across. Another example, in Matthew 5.30, Jesus said, "If your right hand causes you to sin, cut if off and throw it away." Here he made the point that we are not to sin. Nevertheless, love the Lord with all your heart and you'll know what to do in each situation.
We are trapped in the middle of an intense spiritual warfare. As a matter of fact, we are involved because our souls are the sole object of this warfare. We'd better open our spiritual eye from sleep to recognized this reality and take a stand. There is a time for everything and there should be one for detaching yourself from the world and choosing to follow Christ to save yourself and the world. That time, more urgent than ever, is now.
Sunday, June 18, 2017
Communion experience. I received profound peace, knowing that I have the truth. Of course, there are still issues unresolved and pieces of work unfinished in this life, but if the Lord wants me to go to him, I just go (no packing needed) because it's his will. This is the peace of belonging to God alone.
Today is Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. In the Gospel reading from John 6, Jesus said the following to the Jewish crowds: "I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world," "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him," "The one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven," and "Whoever eats this bread will live forever." If there are sayings of Jesus that we should listen to and take most seriously, these are the ones. Many non-Catholic Christians gloss over these sayings of Jesus in John 6, for they believe that the bread and drink merely symbolizes his flesh and blood. In other words, they remain ordinary bread and wine. Can you imagine that Jesus had meant "Whoever eats this ordinary bread will live forever"? It's in believing that Christ is truly present in the Holy Eucharist that we receive the power of transformation to be made fit for living forever. (All the early Church fathers agree with me on this.)
Saturday, June 17, 2017
Communion experience. After the priest elevated the Eucharist and said: "Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb." We all responded: "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed." After I received the Lord, I realized that he entered under my roof not only to heal my soul, but also to dwell within me to be one with me forever!
A good friend passed away yesterday after suffering a stroke. Life hangs by a thread. When that thread breaks, you fall either into the safety net you knew Christ had prepared for you or into some abyss unknown to you. You see, if you know Christ, you know where you'll be. Without him, you are simply lost. The difference is huge! Make your own choice now.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 5, Jesus said to his disciples, "Let your 'Yes' mean 'Yes,' and your 'No' mean 'No.' Anything more is from the Evil One." Our pastor correctly pointed out that those who put out fake news today are ignorant of this counsel. A lot of dishonest politicians and new media spread fake stories in pursuing their own agenda for their own gains. This puts their soul in danger, for according to the Lord, they have tuned in to the Evil One.
Friday, June 16, 2017
Communion experience. Jesus said, "I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours." (Mark 11.24). After receiving the Lord, I asked for making me new in prayer and believed that I would receive it.
The Holy Eucharist sets one apart. Believing in and receiving it opens the door to union with God and assures your place in heaven, marking you as a sheep of Christ and a child of the Father heading home. Spiritually, receiving this Most Blessed Sacrament is our greatest consolation on earth.
I feel that we should behave as if Jesus were standing right next to us and we do everything for the love of him. This is possible once you know him intimately, as in union. In fact, you can't help becoming that way after seeing how compellingly beautiful he is.
Thursday, June 15, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 5, Jesus first said to his disciples, "I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Since the scribes and Pharisees were known to be hypocrites, it seemed then that getting into the kingdom of heaven shouldn't be too hard. Then Jesus said things that made me think otherwise, among which were statements such as "I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment" and "Whoever says, 'You fool,' will be liable to fiery Gehenna." To play it safe, of course, we can strive to be as perfect as possible, which is what the Father wishes anyway.
In general, there are three prevalent attitudes out there. (1) Some just do not believe in Christ at their own risk. (2) Some believe, but not really follow all his teachings. For example, when it comes to forgiving others, they would say "I can't do it" and not even try to do it. These are closed-minded people. (3) And there are those who are open-minded and, despite being weak, ask God to help them follow him in all his teachings. It is clear which one of these attitudes pleases the Lord the most.
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
The beauty of nature and many other things we enjoy seeing all reflect, but not reveal the beauty of God. Then how do we discover the beauty of God? I did not know until I got personal with him. Once I have entered him, what impressed me the most were his perfection, his holiness, and his love for all of us. He amazingly cleansed my heart, healed my soul, and took away my sins, making me anew – these experiences further bowled me over. It's this total awesomeness that makes him truly beautiful.
If I tell you that I am going to enter heaven, it's not because I want to let you know that I am holy or anything like that, for I am a great sinner; I know because Jesus promised that whoever believes in him will have life eternal, and all God's promises must be ironclad and true. I am simply "taking advantage of" his free offer out of his love and mercy. It's really all his doing, working out so nicely for me.
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Everything will be settled between you and God in the end, depending upon how you and God get along in this life. God's love for you is so strong that nothing can change that, so you should stick with him so that nothing can take you away from him. Observe these three rules to secure your soul for all eternity. (1) Follow Christ with all your heart and soul so that no temptation can possibly lure you away from him for even an instant. (2) Never mind what others say or think about you. (3) Don't even think about yourself. God is now your only companion and kindred spirit. Persevere for just a short lifetime and you'll be richly rewarded for all eternity!
Monday, June 12, 2017
It seems that many of us live as if we are going to live forever, since we just plan for this life. When I was young and healthy, that's how I lived. Now I realize that we all know that we are going to die one day, so perhaps it is more accurate to say that many of us live as if there will be no life after death. But, of course, either view is incorrect and we live or have lived wrongly.
God loves us all the way; he wishes us to be one with him completely; he wants us to be happy forever; when he forgives us, he makes us thoroughly clean; when he heals us, he goes straight to our soul; if we keep him away, he waits with infinite patience and will never turn away from us. He first loved and will never stop loving us. There is nothing more we can ask or add.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 5, we heard the declarations of blessedness pronounced by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. We learn that God bless those who are poor in spirit, who mourn, who are meek, who hunger and thirst for righteousness, who are merciful, who are clean of heart, who make peace, who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, who are insulted and persecuted because of Christ. May I also include those who are intent on seeking union with God.
Humility is letting God be God. Therefore, it is correct to say that the lack of humility is the cause of much of the chaos in our world. Since most people have forgotten about God, humility is all but extinct. Any politician or well-know personality nowadays showing any sign of meekness would surely be perceived as being weak and laughed at. As long as we think that we know more than God, we'll never be able to break free from this self-imprisonment. More importantly, we won't be able to get into heaven.
Sunday, June 11, 2017
Losing your soul to Satan is the worst possible thing that could ever happen to a person. Therefore, if you have loved ones in this life, you must do your utmost to make sure that this won't happen to any of them. Otherwise, your love falls way short.
When we ask God not to lead us into temptation (in saying the Lord's Prayer), we really pray that he will not test us to the point that we fail – this is asking for a specific kind of mercy. I do believe that as long as we remain in (union with) him, this mercy is already granted.
Saturday, June 10, 2017
If you want people to get excited about a certain product, you want to tell them how wonderful or great that product is, not how it is made, what you should do with it, how to use it, or where and how you can buy it. The same applies when it comes to getting people excited about Christ the Lord. We must exalt him, praise him, telling others how wonderful and awesome he is. Christianity is all about knowing Christ to take possession of him. Outside the Church, you find many inspiring personal testimonies and conversion stories posted online. The Church could definitely use this means to fire up the faithful.
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 12, we learned that Jesus sat down opposite the treasury in the temple area and observed how many rich people put in large sums and a poor widow came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. He called his disciples to him and said to them, "Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she from her poverty has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood." The big, clear lesson: Jesus cares most about how much we love him, less about how much good we have done. Our Lord is a most personal Lord.
Friday, June 9, 2017
I was watching Fr. Richard Rojas journey home story on EWTN. He was a former Presbyterian pastor and Anglican priest who came home to the Catholic Church. At one point in his journey, someone asked him if God would let him into heaven if he showed up before him and what he would say to God when asked why he should let him in. These are good questions that force you to think. Evangelizers use such techniques to pique your interest. But if you are going to explore on your own anyway, I suggest absolutely the best and most effective way is to go directly to Christ, open yourself up, and tell him what you seek, what you desire, and everything else from your heart. Then you'll get fast answers from him if you remain humble and attentive. Remember that God is accessible and the direct track is always the fast track.
The spiritual warfare going on between God and Satan is in a way one that involves just God and you, for you are the swing vote – if you join God on his side, you are saved and both you and God win; otherwise, Satan wins. Sadly, many are so deeply mired in sin that they do not not see this truth until some unfortunate event befalls them.
Thursday, June 8, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 12, Jesus gave us 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 have to go against logic and common sense to disagree with that. To me, this is saying that we are to focus on the Lord alone with full attention and maximum trust. Therefore, seeking union with him would be the way to go, for to want to be one with him is to show our greatest love for him.
Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Communion experience. Jesus always advises us not to worry, not to be anxious or afraid. It is true that he is my greatest calming force. After I received him, I felt time stopped and it was just he and I communing with each other. His peace is what the world sorely needs.
When I first started following Jesus, doubts still surfaced in my mind from time to time. As I let myself go deeper and deeper into him, I found the Lord to be more beautiful than I could have imagined and everything I knew about him was absolutely true. I knew then it was I who did not open myself up to God fully earlier on, and never his fault, for he's been the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Do you want to find out what you are really like? To get an accurate picture, we must see ourselves through the eyes of God, for he knows us more than we know ourselves. When we let him show us what we are like, he also reveals how he can transform us to make us perfect to please him. Self-understanding now leads us to new freedom. This is only the beginning. Anyway, with God life is certainly a lot more exciting, and I love it!
Today's entrance antiphon came from Psalm 25: Turn to me and have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am alone and poor. See my lowliness and suffering and take away all my sins, my God. If everyone in the world feels the same way and begs God like this, we'll have instant worldwide peace.
When everything is fine, we tend to think about ourselves and our present life only. But we do get old and things do go wrong, then we start turning to God. If you believe in preventive maintenance so that you'll feel secure no matter what happens, turn to God now, especially if things are going well.
Tuesday, June 6, 2017
If you submit yourself to God, you let him take over and are taken care of by him for all eternity. On the other hand, if you say no to God and decide to strike out on your own, even if you work hard, you'd be extremely lucky to be able to take care of yourself in your brief time on earth. After this life is over, you have no more control. The best comment out of pity I could think of for you is "What a damn 'brave' fool!"
The Do It Anyway poem was found written on the wall of Mother Teresa's home for children in Calcutta, India, and is widely attributed to her. It is always good to read it, whether for the first or umpteenth time. I posted it in 2010 and am posting it again with some thoughts added at the end.
People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind,
people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful,
you will win some false friends and some true enemies.
you will win some false friends and some true enemies.
If you are honest and frank,
people may cheat you.
Be honest and frank anyway.
people may cheat you.
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building,
someone could destroy overnight.
someone could destroy overnight.
If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
they may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
people will often forget tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough.
Give the best you've got sanyway.
and it may never be enough.
Give the best you've got sanyway.
in the final analysis it is between you and God;
it was never between you and them anyway.
in the final analysis it is between you and God;
it was never between you and them anyway.
That last verse remains poignantly with me. Each of us stands alone in the universe, responsible for our every single thought, word, and deed to God alone. Whether we go to or away from him for all eternity, each of us has the final say.
Monday, June 5, 2017
The saying of Thomas à Kempis from his book The Imitation of Christ came to my mind: All is vanity except to love God and serve him alone. We can all agree that this is supreme wisdom, but not something we can easily practice. As usual, God makes the truth simple and we make it hard.
Today's Communion antiphon, Matthew16.24 or 10.39. Both are Jesus' saying to his disciples. First one: "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." Second one: Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Here Jesus spoke as God with authority. He is to be No. 1 and tells you how to find life. He gives you the straight truth and you have your free will to make the choice. (By contrast, Satan never tells it like it is and always uses deception to lure you into his trap.)
Realizing that God is our creator, we should then, of course, thank him, trust in him, submit to him, and know that only he can help us in all things, even remake us. We should want to return to him eagerly. This is all common sense. Yet we, enslaved by sin, do exactly the opposite, keeping him as far away as possible. Now that Christ has revealed to us that God is loving and merciful, we should feel free and confident in approaching him, knowing that he can free us from all our enslavement.
Sunday, June 4, 2017
Jesus taught his disciples to stay awake, for they did not know on which day the Lord would come. So dying in sleep is not recommended, for you did not stay awake (just kidding). Essentially, the Lord wants us to be prepared for his coming or our death. If we are always ready, dying anytime should be fine. If not, dying in sleep could be a disaster!
The best, most appropriate and perfect Mass would be one celebrated with Jesus alone (God alone) being placed in the spotlight, all in attendance – priest, musicians, servers, ushers, the entire congregation – doing nothing to make themselves noticeable. To love God is to focus upon him alone and forget about ourselves.
The Holy Spirit who descended upon the disciples on Pentecost is the same Spirit who wishes to enter to dwell in us today. Yes, the Lord Spirit is to be experienced, but do not expect to see or hear anything entering you externally, but know that he is within you when you welcome him and become aware of his sweet holy presence, speaking to your heart and guiding all your thoughts and your ways.
One Time, as St Teresa was traveling the rugged roads of Spain, her saddle slipped and she fell off the donkey into a muddy stream she was crossing. Complaining to the Lord, she heard him say, "Teresa, whom the Lord loves, he also chastises. This is how I treat all my friends." She responded tartly, "No wonder you have so few!" The saint was being witty, but there is truth in her remark. Today our world is not willing to accept any chastisements, having lost all humility, and the generations have been self-centered ever since. By the way, this is Pentecost Sunday, the day celebrating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Jesus after his Ascension, and the world is pretty much dead to the living Spirit. How foolish can we be without the guidance of the Spirit, not knowing nor caring about where we are heading!
Jesus said at his trial before Pontius Pilate, "My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here." (John 18.36.) As followers of the Lord in this hostile secular world, we can't help feeling that we do not belong here. As it is, this is the bittersweet part of living for Christ, a form of spiritual martyrdom.
Saturday, June 3, 2017
In yesterday's Gospel reading from John 21, Jesus signified to Peter the kind of death by which he would glorify God. In today's reading from the same chapter, Peter asked Jesus what would happen to John, the other disciple, Jesus said to Peter, "What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours? You follow me." Here was given the succinct rule for following the Lord: we must follow him single-mindedly with no concern about the future of anyone or anything.
Friday, June 2, 2017
Trusting in God is meaningful only if we trust him in everything. And trusting him in everything requires that we seek his will in everything first. Then we trust that he will take care of our past wounds, present needs, and future everything through eternity and that all our prayers will be answered in due time. It's an all-embracing trust that our Lord deserves.
In today's Gospel reading from John 21 at Mass, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. I hear Jesus speaking to each of us: "Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were young, you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you grow old, someone will dress you and lead you where you may not want to go." This is true, and I see that "following Jesus" would be the exact wise and appropriate action for us to take. This was exactly what the Lord asked Peter to do afterwards.
The more you get to know Christ, the greater your joy; but at the same time, the more you feel his sorrow for the world which does not listen to his voice, and his sorrow becomes yours too. Then, feeling the burden, you turn to the Lord even more for consolation. The cycle continues on. To be one with Christ is to share his joys as well as his sorrows. This is the cross we must bear willingly for and with him in this life. This we know, if we remain in him, all our sorrows will turn into joys in the end.
Thursday, June 1, 2017
On this memorial of St. Justin, Jesus in the Gospel reading from John 17 prayed for all those the Father had given him to be one with him, as he and the Father are one. This is God's desire that we all be in union with him. It is the lack of this union that has fractured the Church in the past and caused chaos throughout the world today. Intimate union with God is our only hope for assured salvation.
The human heart is restless, causing all kinds of thoughts to go through the mind continuously. It seems powerless for us to keep it still, until you come to know and put your trust in God. The Lord our creator is the only one who can put our restless heart to rest, for he has made it that way. By submitting ourselves to him, our journey on earth is complete and we receive his peace, the peace that surpasses all understanding.
The Lord God loves all of us and wants to give us eternal life. Therefore, if you truly love someone, your would want that person to go to heaven. We often try hard to make a person happy in this world, but fail to consider the eternal wellbeing of that person's soul.
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Jesus went through the horrible sufferings and death no human would want to undergo. He did it because it is the will of the Father. It shows that we must let the will of God override all other considerations. This makes discerning God's will all the more important.
Putting things in perspective. If you know that you are going to heaven to remain there forever, whatever pains, sufferings, sorrows, agonies, miseries ... you go through and experience in this short life on earth becomes practically nothing. On the other hand, if you know that your going to be separated from God for all eternity after you die, all the riches, wealth, prestige, power, fame ... you enjoy now becomes absolutely nothing.
Monday, May 29, 2017
Today's Communion antiphon based upon Jesus' words from John14 and 16: I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you again, and your heart will rejoice. To those who know the Lord well or are in union with him, they know that he has not only come, but is dwelling in their very heart.
Today's entrance antiphon based upon the words of Jesus to his disciples in Acts 1: You will receive the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon you, and you will be my witnesses, even to the ends of the earth. I see that the role of the Christian is to let the Holy Spirit empower him to become the best possible effective witness of Christ.
We who believe and trust in God are not to seek human understanding on earth, but to know and follow God's will coming from heaven. Without faith in God, human beings simply learn from and influence each other, and can never rise above themselves. In seeking to do the will of God, we enjoy private communication and spiritual communion with him. All God desires is that we follow his will in peace and he'll understand us perfectly.
Sunday, May 28, 2017
Today's entrance antiphon, Acts 1.11: Men of Galilee, why gaze in wonder at the heavens? This Jesus whom you saw ascending into heaven will return as you saw him go. This was said by two men dressed in white garments who suddenly appeared beside the disciples who were looking intently at the sky after seeing Jesus being lifted up and taken from their sight by a cloud. This account of the Ascension as witnessed by many is undeniable. It's also inevitable that he who has ascended will return again.
Saturday, May 27, 2017
A message is weak if we say what we want to say, even with my best effort. It becomes strong only when we say what the Lord inspires us to say. Ego or self-centeredness has no place in spreading the good news of Christ. In fact, it has no place in anything we do. Only by entering the Lord deeply can we be freed from our ego completely.
When God decided to save us, he gave all of himself. When he gives life, he makes it eternal. His love for us is forever. The joy he gives stays with us too. When he forgives us, we are all clean. Because he loves us, he wants all (not part) of us to be his forever. We are blessed that He is most thorough.
Sad headline news from Egypt: ISIS opened fire on a bus carrying Coptic Christians on their way to a monastery, killing at least 29, including many children. This was only the most recent in a wave of attacks on these Christians and their Church. What are we to think? Jesus' parable of the rich man and Lazarus came to my mind. Lazarus was the poor man, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man's table. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. (The rich man also died, but he went to the netherworld and suffered torment.) I have no doubt that God would take care of the souls of these children of his who were tragically slaughtered, for he knows our hearts, thoughts, words, and deeds. All of us shall be judged by him and receive exactly what we deserve in the end. We need to trust in our God no matter what happens.
Friday, May 26, 2017
God's message for salvation is straight forward and simple to understand – you do not need to explain it like rocket science, yet people do not accept it readily. So it's not the mind, but the heart that gets in the way. To overcome this barrier, we must become like a child as Jesus had indicated. What we need is humility. Without it, we won't find God, let alone know him. The most humble Christ is our example and clue. God has already yielded himself to love. It's time for us to yield to him!
Today's Communion antiphon, John 15: As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. To remain in Jesus' love to to remain in him, for he is love. There is no better place to be. In fact, this is part of the simple surefire formula for getting into heaven: Remain in Jesus and let God take care of the rest.
In today's Gospel reading from John 16, Jesus, with his departure from the world and succeeding Resurrection in mind, said to the disciples, "Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy. When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you." Jesus was right, for we know that once we get to heaven, our joy will make us forget all the pains and anguish we suffered on earth. Start rejoicing now if you know you are heaven bound. Do not forget that the daily Mass is a celebration of the Lord's sacrifice resulting in our salvation. [A footnote. No one will take your joy away from you: the joy God gives is a joy that stays with you forever.]
Thursday, May 25, 2017
When you let God transform you and the transformation takes place, you are amazed and can get quite excited, for something you've tried to change on your own without success God now does it effortlessly. Even though the Lord did the work, you can't help feeling that you have won! Now your relationship with him is more intimate than ever. As you continue to let God perfect you, the same thing happens again and again. You are on your way to union with him.
The most recent terrible tragedy is the terrorist attack in Manchester, England, which killed 22 and injured many more. One lesson we can learn from this is that all the more we need to look beyond this life and make settling our eternal destination our first priority. Most people do not think about it for various reasons. Only the ones who have put themselves completely in God's hands know that they will be fine no matter what happens to them.
A saint is one who loves God. A mystic is one who also loves God, knows him well and communicates directly with the Lord. Do not ever say that you cannot be a saint or a mystic, for nothing is impossible with God. It follows that you can store up treasures in heaven now, get there and inherit what God has for you later. God is your limit who has no limits. Use your brief time on earth for planning and readying yourself for eternity and God will make everything come true.
Since God is our loving creator, Father, and Savior, who can accomplish anything he wants, it would be indeed most foolish of us not to believe in, appreciate, or trust him. Not seeking union with him is falling short of taking full advantage of what he has to offer – a tragic error on our part, relatively speaking. It's like being offered a most precious pearl and you just admire and enjoy looking at it, but stop short of reaching for it to claim that it is all yours.
In today's Gospel reading from John 16, Jesus said to his disciples: "A little while and you will no longer see me, and again a little while later and you will see me." His disciples first did not know what he meant. Of course, Jesus was telling them about his coming death and resurrection. We need not to be concerned about whether we see him or not, for later he promised that he would be with them always, until the end of the age. Every time I receive the Holy Eucharist, he enters me and unites with me in the most intimate way. As long as I am still alive and breathing, I know that he is with me, for my very existence depends upon him.
It's been my experience that as long as I remain in Christ, I have inner peace. The moment I step out of him to be on my own, that peace gets disturbed. We are in the ideal state when we have Jesus at our center with us remaining in total submission to him.
Jesus draws me to him, making me see that he is the absolute indispensable center of my life. He keeps me safe, for nothing can take me away from him! And he feeds me and fills my cup with living water continuously. Remember that he's the one who would turn the left cheek to the one who strikes him on the right one, hand his cloak to someone who wants to go to law with him over his tunic, and go with anyone for two miles when pressed into service for one mile? (Matthew 5.39-41.) In the same manner, even though my faith is limited, he always gives me more than I ask for. How can I possibly not love my most generous Lord?
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Know that if you feel uneasy about abandoning yourself or just turning to God, it is not God who wants to instill fear in you. How can he when all he wishes is to love and be intimate with you as your Father? If you hesitate or feel uneasy, that's because you are resisting him, thereby generating your own fear. May this understanding clear the way for you to approach God.
In my younger days, I pushed myself as hard as I could when working out in a gym. Now, my foremost concern is not to risk any injury when I exercise, walk, or just get out of bed. Aging slows one down, but does make you turn to God more. In this way, you are wiser. At last, a dreamer turns into a realist, and that should be one best thing that ever happens to you.
When I hear the sweet voice of Jesus in my heart, I feel his presence, his love, his mercy, his gentleness, his assurance, deep joy, gratitude, consolation, and my oneness with him. He is all we need, for there is nothing greater or more satisfying than God our creator. It's time for all prodigal sons and daughters to go home.
How do you know that the Holy Spirit dwells in you? In the early days, I wasn't sure. I did not exactly expect to see a white dove or tongues of fire landing on me, but some tangible sign would surely help. Of course, you cannot see the Holy Spirit, for he works within your heart. Now I know that when you sense Christ's presence, hear him speaking to your heart, feel the urge to call on the Father, pity anyone who is suffering, can't help wanting to witness for the Lord, experience joy at the thought of God, yearn to be one with him, or . . . – all these are signs that you have the indwelling Spirit. This is the Jesus who promised that he would be with us till the end of the age.
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
What impresses me about Christ is that even though he is God, he has zero ego, never boasted about his power, and always told straight the truth. We can be like that only with God's help. He is the Lord who never attempts to lord it over us.
Broadly speaking, there are only two. First of all, life is never perfect, for things do not always go right for us. In fact, for some, life can be downright miserable. It is a no-brainer that we should want to live a most happy life forever after we die. Coming right down to it, we can either accept the offer of eternal life from Christ as he promised or turn him down and end up living the most miserable life apart from him for all eternity. It's a choice between "from bad to perfect" and "from bad to worst."
Monday, May 22, 2017
Born with original sin, we can become self-centered and commit sins. On the other hand, we are capable of loving others too. There is another desire we are not always aware of: we want to feel happy. Deep down, there is an emptiness in life we want to fill, so we continually seek fun, pleasures, and security throughout our lifetime. But true happiness is never found this way until we know that we can be happy for all eternity. This is exactly why true Christians feel completely fulfilled and happy.
At Mass this morning, as the priest raised the Holy Eucharist and proclaimed to the people: This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper. Of course, I had heard this thousands of times and it had always sounded fine because I accepted it. Today I heard the Lord challenging us whether we believe that Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world or not. Not thinking about it would be tantamount to rejecting the claim. So we are challenged to either accept it as true with all our heart or reject it resolutely as false. The Lord is never to be ignored.
Sunday, May 21, 2017
The most beautiful and powerful parable of all the parables of Jesus has to be The Prodigal Son. Realize that we are all prodigal sons or daughters to some degree because we all need to turn to the Father, repent, and beg for his forgiveness. Follow the example of the prodigal son and we shall likewise discover the infinite love and mercy of God and arrive at a happy ending.
Saturday, May 20, 2017
Imagine everyone stuck in quicksand. How deep we have sunk depends upon the degree of our sinfulness. And Jesus our Savior can easily lift us out of the sand if only we will to listen to and follow his instructions. I could have imagined a less dire picture, but the reality of truth remains the same.
Jesus is the only shining beacon in our dark world because he is the supreme example of selfless love. He said, "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends" and he did just that to show that we are his beloved. He has set the highest standard so that the world may not be lost. If you do not see this, you won't find hope anywhere else.
Our world is dangerous because it is where we can lose our soul forever if we do not watch out carefully. If you love the way of the world, you've already fallen into its trap. In today's Gospel reading at Mass from John 15, Jesus said to his disciples, "If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you." So if the world loves you, watch out. But if it hates you on account of the name of Jesus, rejoice.
Friday, May 19, 2017
You encounter Christ, get to know him, decide to follow him, fall in love with him, abandon yourself to him to let him into your life, and now you belong to him completely. After experiencing freedom, peace, joy, and other amazing happenings, you know that you have tasted and possess the very best in the whole universe and there is nothing you lack. At this point, you learn that you have won the lottery for ten billion dollars, tax free too. And you are cool, looking and feeling just the same, for you already have the best.
In quiet solitude, it's easier for us to turn to God and sense his presence. But to be in tune with God, you need to be in a state of total abandonment in him, for a single disturbing thought coming from you, can block you from hearing his voice, thus stopping the flow of any grace coming your way.
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Communion experience. I live among a lot of trees and the weather can get very hot and dry in summertime. One common concern around here is forest fire. So it did go through my mind what I should grab if I ever had to evacuate this area in a hurry. I really wouldn't know. However, during Communion today, if I had to choose one person to hold onto, that person would be Christ without the slightest doubt. Again, Jesus makes it easy for me.
We are being told to love God, to love God, to love God; but it's hard to love him if you do not really know him that well yet. Once you know him well, you wouldn't need anyone to remind you anymore. So how do we get to know God well? Simple, we do what we can and have God do the rest. Which is: we surrender ourselves to him and let him reveal himself to us or accomplish whatever we desire of him. Super neat!
In today's Gospel reading from John 15, Jesus said to his disciples, "As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete." Basically, Jesus is taking about union with him, what he desires.
In these weeks after Easter, the first readings at Mass have been taken from Acts. We hear how the Apostles and disciples preached the good news fearlessly and with joy. It is obvious that they had personally encountered God. So why can't we be like them, for we have the same God, the same Spirit, the same access to the Lord? We should be able to spread the gospel with the same zeal, fire, and boldness. God surely knows us and can use us effectively in the best way he sees fit.
I wake up this morning and realize that it's another day of my life. I also see that we are all walking along the road of life which will end one day and that each passing day is a step closer to the end. We may gradually see the end coming or not at all. If you already know Christ well and, in fact, long to meet him, it is a sure sign that you are on the right road. If you have no idea what awaits you or do not even look ahead, you are surely on the wrong road. Yes, there are many signs along the way and you should read them to discern which ones are trustworthy and which ones deceptive. Whether you agree with me or not, I am just sharing this personal insight.
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
As I watched the priest consecrating the bread and wine during the liturgy of the Eucharist, I marveled at the selflessness and ingenuity of God. For bonding, some societies devise secret handshakes or conduct initiation, while other organizations go to the extreme of making blood pacts. But our Lord just simply gives us himself to consume under the guise of bread and wine so that we may become one with him. It has to be the most beautiful and intimate bonding on this earth.
The Lord's words in today's Gospel reading from John 15 are powerful. Jesus said to his disciples, "I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned." Jesus was not talking about doing things for your own sake; to be fruitful is to do what glorifies God. How to be sure that you are one of his branches? Seek to attain union with him is the assured way to go.
Aging gives us no choice but to become more and more dependent upon others. Disregard your pride and you'll see that it is a blessing. True, physically, you'll need others to help you; but spiritually, here's finally your chance to abandon yourself totally in God's hands. A great time to enjoy God to the fullest!
When we are young, we live as if we're going to live forever and God is seldom on our radar. As we age and our physical condition starts to weaken, we finally realize that death is imminent and begin to turn to God. I see this as God's mercy at work, preparing us to meet him. Would that we realize this earlier in life so that we could have lived a cleaner and more fruitful life. Anyway, happy ending is what matters now.
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Many who seek God take the wrong approach. They more or less challenge God to reveal himself to them. Suppose that God is real, the proper attitude would be to humble yourself and pray that he would take pity on you and let you know of his existence and/or presence. I believe this approach will get you quick results. Of course, when you start out without faith, you're likely to do the opposite. The smart approach is definitely the humble approach, for God loves to exalt those who humble themselves.
I am aware of my own existence and you are, of yours. Each one of us is a unique creature. Without God, we are all lost souls, drifting around and not knowing where we came from and where we are going. Then we find God and realized that he is our very creator, knowing every one of us through and through, loves us and awaits our return to him. Now we are no longer lost, but living with hope and purpose. We come to know who we truly are – this is the moment of great glory for us.
In today's first reading from Acts 14, Paul and Barnabas, to strengthen the spirits of their disciples and exhort them to persevere in the faith, reminded them that it would be necessary for them to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God. In reality, we undergo hardships in life whether we follow Christ or not. The difference is that when we do it for the sake of Christ, it becomes a source of joy. Being intent on glorifying God makes us forget all the hardships.
There are still people today who deny that Christ ever existed and claim that Christianity is a big religious hoax made up by a bunch of people. This is not just telling others that you ran into a Big Foot in the woods, it is saying that billions of people have been duped for two thousand years. If you have any common sense at all, you would see that deception on such a massive scale is well nigh impossible. My genuine personal experience is that when I follow Christ, he removes all my intentions to sin, including that of deceiving others. It follows that the Apostles, excluding Judas the betrayer, sincerely wanted to spread the good news of salvation with no deception. Those who make absurd claims about Christianity are clueless about the transformative power of God.
Monday, May 15, 2017
At this point, I am looking at my own faith in Christ. I felt the void in life, searched for God, found Christ, decided to put my faith in him and have lived with it ever since. It's not just Christ fulfilling my spiritual needs and I am all right now; it's so much more, as I get to know him more and more. Indeed, what I have received from him far exceeds my expections. The Lord turned out to be so beautiful that you couldn't help falling in love with him. His Holy Spirit made me realize without a doubt that he is God and made me want to become one with him. And you see clearly that the way to heaven is through him. I advise all to get to know him well to receive a most exciting life that leads to eternal happiness.
Sunday, May 14, 2017
In my charismatic renewal days, I heard and learned the song "For You Are My God" by John Foley, SJ. For me, it is one of the most beautiful soul-stirring songs. The text based upon Psalm 16 of David accurately portrays my feeling toward God. It would be the perfect joyful song to play at my funeral. Here it is.
Communion experience. To submit to Jesus is to simply rest in him, and you become one with the Lord when you have fully rested yourself in him. As one, whatever one feels, the other feels too. This most beautiful relationship is only possible with God.
Jesus died on the cross for all of us to save us, but he would have done the same, regardless of how many of us there were, are, or will be. So it is correct to say he died personally just for you or me. At Mass today, I saw that he personally instituted the Eucharist just so that I might have the opportunity to consume his flesh and blood. This Lord is our personal God, Father, Brother, consoler, redeemer, friend, servant, teacher, life guide, guardian, healer, soul purifier, deliverer of evil and many more – how blessed we are indeed!
In today's Gospel reading from John 14, Jesus said to his disciples, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be." How comforting are the words of Jesus! How comforting it is to know that he shall take us to him to be with him! If we believe in him, how can we ever let our hearts be troubled? Jesus has a big point here.
Saturday, May 13, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from John 14, Jesus said to his disciples at the Last Supper, "If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him. Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. I am in the Father and the Father is in me. The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me." These are startling statements. Since I know Jesus and am in him, I now also know the Father and am in him. Know Jesus and you know God – there is absolutely no need to know God via another human being, especially if he or she claims to be a prophet.
In Acts, we learned that the apostles rejoiced that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name Jesus. In today's reading from Acts 13, the Jews stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas and expelled them from their territory. So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and left, but were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit. True followers of Christ do everything for his sake. They put their trust in him entirely and rejoice, no matter what the outcome may be. There is freedom and joy in serving God, following the Holy Spirit. In complete contrast are those who want things to turn out their way, experiencing neither freedom nor joy.
Friday, May 12, 2017
Jesus went through his Passion. He endured agony, was scorned and scourged, had to carry his own cross on which he was to be nailed, and finally got crucified so that we might be saved. Naturally, all those who are fully aware that they are sinners are grateful for God's love and mercy. Since everyone basically knows that he or she is a sinner, the only reason people put off believing in Jesus has to be that they are not ready to deal with their sins yet.
Thursday, May 11, 2017
To know about Jesus is good, to read the Gospels is good, to study his teachings is good, to learn what the saints have learned from Jesus is good . . . but the best of all is to go directly to the Lord himself to get to know him (as in seeking union).
God is great because God is love, the greatest force there is. Love is the answer to world peace, inner peace, and our salvation. To seek union with God is to seek to be like him so that we might love as he loves. We must let love dominate our lives, motivating all we do. This is the way to let God exalt us to the highest level of our existence. Be with him now to be with him forever!
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Today's Communion antiphon based upon John 15.16: I have chosen you from the world and have appointed you to go out and bear fruit, fruit that will last, says the Lord. So Christians must know that they have been chosen and appointed by God (no small honor), then go out and bear fruit. Now their life becomes purposeful and their reward will be nothing short of eternal life.
In today's Gospel reading from John 12, as the feast of Passover approached, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He recapitulated about himself: "Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me. I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness. And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day, because I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. So what I say, I say as the Father told me." I highlighted his words in red because their meaning is clear and are critically important for us to hear. Ignoring them is not a workable option. We must read them and make up our mind.
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
It is easy to ignore or at least take less seriously events that happened a long time ago. But that would be a big mistake when considering Jesus. As the Son of God, he is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13.8); therefore, passing time does not invalidate or affect in the least his authenticity and truth – he is present today just as he was in the days of the Apostles.
Union is what God desires the most from us, for he loves us so much. When we attain union with God, we come to understand his ways and thoughts. Nothing can make us feel more secure and consoling than knowing that we now belong to him. And it's in intimate union with God that we become totally free. What Jesus said in today's Gospel reading from John 10 at morning Mass describes the beautiful state of belonging to God: "My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father's hand. The Father and I are one."
Old age creeps up on you. You may still feel fit in your 60's, but when you get to the 70's, you can definitely feel it in your bones, joints, and movement. After that, the decline accelerates. The other thing far more dangerous that creeps up on you is sin. With the advance of science and technology, people falsely believe that mankind can do anything. The convenience and ease science and technology have brought to life make it easy for us to forget about God. Self-glorification results in godlessness. I have lived long enough to see the rapid decline of morality and indulgence in self-gratification. What creeps up unnoticed can surely sink us.
Monday, May 8, 2017
The spiritual joy one receives from the Holy Spirit is unlike any of the joys that the world gives. In fact, I would consider the latter to be only temporary happy feelings, for they do not touch the soul, while the joy of the Holy Spirit can be overwhelming in transforming it. In my charismatic renewal days 4 decades ago, all who prayed to be baptized in the Holy Spirit experienced amazing spiritual renewal and joy – we were on cloud 9! To repeat my own experiences, all unexpected, I received the gift of tears (pure joy), the yearning to know Christ which made the Gospels come alive, the urge to pray constantly, and an exuberant bubbling feeling throughout my upper body that lasted nonstop for several months. Overall, the spiritual progress was rapid as the Holy Spirit took over and made it easy. Finally, ever though I did not see the Holy Spirit, I knew (and know now) that he is God and he is real. Praise be to him forever!
Sunday, May 7, 2017
We and God are meant to come together. The Father loves us and have so much to give us. (How can one possibly turn down the offer of eternal life?) He is ever ready, waiting for our move. There will be no coming together without us. Our present life provides the great opportunity for us to stop playing God ourselves, turn to Christ, claim his promises, and start living unselfishly and wisely for him. Then after this brief life is over, we'll enjoy living in heaven for all eternity.
Saturday, May 6, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from John 6, many of the disciples of Jesus thought that his saying was too hard and left him. Is following Christ hard? It all depends upon your approach. On your own, you'll definitely find it hard or even impossible. But if you believe that nothing is impossible with God and let him do the work for you, it becomes super easy. Therefore, submit yourself to him, let him know of your desire, and it shall be done.
If only everyone realizes that we are all sinners before God, we would get along with each other a lot better. We would see that all sins offend God and that we are equally unclean before him. Acknowledging and repenting our sins is not only the key to salvation, but also to peace in the world.
Friday, May 5, 2017
Today being the first Friday of May, we had perhaps 60 people attending morning Mass at church. After Mass, we had Eucharistic adoration. I saw that God looked down upon us and knew every single heart there intimately. For me, that was reason enough for me to believe in him.
As finite beings, we can never fully comprehend the greatness of our infinite God. It is a given that no creature can be greater than its creator. God's beauty and perfection are all beyond our comprehension. Our only role is to believe, trust, and obey our creator who has already revealed to us that he is love.
Thursday, May 4, 2017
Jesus said, "Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted." In our world, the opposites happen. Christ, the most humble of all men, got crucified, and today's pop stars with humongous egos are worshipped by the general public. It just shows that the world hasn't changed much fundamentally. Jesus came because mankind needs salvation. He foresaw that not all would listen to him, "forcing" God to schedule a second coming of his Son to judge all of us.
Among all the prayers, I've found praying for the loved ones who are close to you most challenging, for you know them well and must make sure that your private emotions do not get in the way you place your trust in the Lord. Persistence in prayer is needed as your faith gets tested. As in all things we do, we must remember that God must come first. In fact, pleasing him alone matters.
Any appliance or machine will not work if it is not connected to a power source. For us, Christ is our power source and he is ready for us to be connected to him. Living without Christ is living with no true life in us. To get started, we must believe in him first. Then we shall receive life from him and be truly living.
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
If you can not love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all you mind, with all you soul, and with all your strength, the least you could (should) do is to believe that Christ has died for you so that you might live, for he is our only lifeline.
I play the piano and find that becoming holy is a lot easier than learning to play the piano well. In fact, it is easier than learning most other things. Let me explain. To learn to play the piano well, you must understand the piece you are playing, analyze its composition, and know how you wish to interpret it. Then it takes a lot of practice to learn all the notes. Even talented pianists spend up to 6 hours a day on practice. Some won't even play any work in public until they've mastered it for at least a year. You want to reach the point to be able to play the piece exactly the way you'd like to hear it played without any concern about the notes. As to becoming holy, you simply submit yourself to God. He then takes over and you place all your trust in him. The rest is up to the him, with no analyzing, no figuring out what to do, no memorization or any drudgery on your part.
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
It is the coupling of authority and 'love and mercy' that distinguishes Christianity as the truth and not just another religion. No other religion can come close. (And please do not judge Christianity by the acts of some of its members, for all sinners fall short of being perfect or they wouldn't need Christ anymore.)
In today's Gospel reading from John 6, Jesus said to the crowd, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst." I am here to testify to you that Jesus had spoken the truth, for all my spiritual hunger and thirst have been completely fulfilled. It's only after this happens that one can start living a happy and meaningful life.
Today's response to Psalm 31 of David (verse 6a): Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. It was what Jesus cried out to the Father before he breathed his last on the cross. And this is exactly what we should be able to say to Christ as our shepherd and our God.
Monday, May 1, 2017
Do you realize that God cannot be a burden to us? If you think that he wants to control or enslave you, you've got it all wrong. The fact he has given you the free will shows that this fear is all conjured up by you in your heart and mind. In truth, God is our doorway to freedom. Once you submit yourself to him, you enter his infinite space and are free to do anything you want. The fear of God is basically caused by your rebellion against him and not by him.
Today's entrance antiphon at Mass: The Good Shepherd has risen, who laid down his life for his sheep and willingly died for his flock. Here is the supreme example of God showing his love for his children. Hampered by the original sin we carry, we need his help to respond to this love and return to him. It all comes down to straightening out our relationship with God.
Sunday, April 30, 2017
Communion experience. After receiving the Lord, time froze and I clearly saw all the sins I committed before I knew him and the restless state my soul was in. Now, I am in him, with him, and could ask him to keep me clean to my heart's content. What a difference God can make! He does want to give us joy that can wipe out all sorrows.
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 24, Jesus, after his Resurrection, appeared to two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Even though they were prevented from recognizing the Lord at first, their hearts burned within them when he spoke to them and opened the scriptures to them. If you experience the burning of the heart at the thought of him, it is the Holy Spirit, for you cannot induce this feeling yourself. Paul wrote that it is the Holy Spirit in us who prompts us to cry out, "Abba, Father!" Naturally, this has to come from the heart and not just saying it without feeling. Tears of joy is another gift of the Spirit. God is not cold; he is to be experienced.
There are guys who want to be tough, believe that they are tough, and act tough. But if they are afraid to look into themselves to see what they are made of and are afraid to face God, then they are in truth timid souls. On the other hand, those who remain humble and willingly submit themselves to God are the courageous (and wise) ones whom God will happily exalt.
Saturday, April 29, 2017
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 even 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.