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.
Sunday, April 30, 2017
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.
I got up this morning and realized that it's another day, and of course this has happened to me thousands and thousands of times. But today I realized something extra, that we are all on borrowed time. We don't know exactly how many days we borrowed from God, but that number is limited. When we return all the days to him, we shall be checked for how we "took care of" our days. Did we squander them as the prodigal son did in the parable or listen to and obey what he had taught us through Christ the Son of God? I am citing two extreme examples. Remember that everything that comes from God will return to him.
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
John 3.16-21 was today's Gospel reading at Mass. Here's verse 16: God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. You've probably heard this verse quoted and seen it on billboards so often that you don't think about it much anymore. To think about it, it is a declaration of the most beautiful truth of critical importance to us! We should really know it by heart and think about it often. Here are verses 19-20: And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. Here we have the "sickness" of the world clearly diagnosed by the Apostle John just about two thousand years ago.
Jesus always taught his disciples to be watchful and alert, for they did not know when the Son of Man would come again. Wise is anyone who expects the unexpected. Recently, I heard about the sudden death of two persons, one in the 70s and the other at only 61. Both were seemingly in great physical shape before they died. There are also Christians on the lax side who think that spiritually they are OK, not realizing that God might think differently. For Catholics, frequent confession is a good defense in preparing for the unexpected. *To avoid eternal regret, never neglect the everlasting soul.
I see two breakthroughs of life. The first is most important – it raises you to a new level of existence. You find Christ, discovering and accepting the truth that God is love and can save you from your sins. And you are no longer lost, with you future secured for eternity. This is a huge deal, for you are now separated from the secular world and live in the sphere of God. The second breakthrough is attaining union with God. This is fine-tuning and for the perfectionist, but the reward of experiencing freedom, peace, and joy is tremendous – a foretaste of heaven. Christ makes all the difference we absolutely need.
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Communion experience. As the bread and wine were consecrated, they changed into the body and blood of Christ. That was a momentous moment, deserving our full attention. All my life troubles were overshadowed and for the moment forgotten. Matthew 20.20: "Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age," was fulfilled.
Famous quote from John F. Kennedy's inaugural address: "Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country." When it comes to bringing others to Christ, we should do exactly the opposite. That is, we do not tell others what they can do for God – we tell them what God can do for them.
Catholics venerate relics of various saints. All saints are humble and would want to give glory to God alone. Therefore, they'd rather we go to the Lord directly and not center upon them. There is a fine line to be drawn here. It is perfectly fine to let the saints inspire us to increase our love for God, but we must never grow attached to any saint to the point that we lessen our focus upon the Lord. If you seek to attain union with God, it is best that you go to him directly and let absolutely nothing distract you along the way.
Monday, April 24, 2017
Today's Communion antiphon is based upon John 20.19. The full verse reads: On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." If Jesus could appear anywhere as he wishes, certainly he can be ever present with any of us. It follows that we must stay awake and live as if he is physically present with us.
God is our creator, greater than all his creatures. Naturally, we can only know what he wishes to reveal to us. Therefore, our role is clearly to trust, trust, trust in him. On a more personal level, we are the children of a loving God, our Father ~ all the more we can and should trust in him.
Sunday, April 23, 2017
This is the Sunday of Divine Mercy. God is merciful because he is all love. And his mercy is infinite, which means that he does not condemn us as long as we still have time to repent of our sins. Moreover, it means that no matter how sinful we are, once we repent, we are forgiven and saved. Therefore, to think that God cannot save us is to limit his mercy, a thought offensive to him. Should God's mercy be finite, none will be able to survive. Praised be his divine mercy!
Saturday, April 22, 2017
In today's first reading from Acts 4, when the leaders, elders, and scribes ordered Peter and John not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus, Peter and John replied, "Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges. It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard." If you also feel impossible not to speak about the Lord to others, you have also encountered him.
Friday, April 21, 2017
We reap what we sow. To come right to the point, what we do now can help us get into heaven, not do anything in particular, or head us away from heaven. And we have only limited time to build up treasures in heaven for ourselves. The eternal journey starts now. Another awareness we must mind.
This world is in chaos because it has largely rejected Christ. And the Church is weak because Catholics have not focused upon Christ as strongly as they could. It is through Christ our God that we receive power to live right and become blameless. Again, this is an awareness what the world needs.
A virus invasion on my computer yesterday prevented me from posting. Today I am resuming via a browser that was not infected, but I shall post yesterday's thoughts by yesterday's date, April 21.
In today's Gospel reading from John 21, the Resurrected Lord appeared to seven of his disciples who went fishing at the Sea of Tiberias all night and caught nothing. Jesus showed up about a hundred yards away on the shore and asked them to cast the net over the right side of the boat for a catch. They cast it and caught so many fish that they were not able to pull it in. Then, they realized it was the Lord. It is such a beautiful moment to realize "It is the Lord"! I lament that the world is largely not even aware of the existence of our awesome, loving God. Such an awakening is critically important for all of us, believers included, to come alive to live a godly life. There is on other way to salvation!
Thursday, April 20, 2017
Business-minded people invest in good companies and stocks to profit themselves. Great artists invest in their own talents to earn fame and money. What about the Christians? Well, they invest in doing every will of the Lord, known only the him, to accumulate treasures in heaven. The investment is relatively longer-term, but the reward will be out of this world (pun intended)!
We can learn about Christ, hear about him and talk about him, but if we do not know him, we do not receive power from him and remain the same old person. Many who have decided not to accept Christ never did attempt to get to know him. This is like looking for a mate to marry and not trying to get to know the candidate first. God deserves a better chance, if you believe that he exists at all. Again, humility is the key to finding and knowing God.
Today's entrance antiphon from Wisdom 10: They praised in unison your conquering hand, O Lord, for wisdom opened mouths that were mute and gave eloquence to the tongues of infants, alleluia. Look at the wonderful miracles Jesus performed on earth and most of all, his own Resurrection. Yes, God can change us if we give him the OK.
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
If I succeed in drawing someone closer to Christ, it is not me doing the conversion but the Holy Spirit, for all power comes from God. As a servant of the Lord, I experience tremendous freedom in knowing that I am merely an instrument he uses to accomplish his will and that I have nothing to do with what he is doing. Hurrah!
Today's entrance antiphon, Matthews 25.34: Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. So we did not just happen to appear on earth to remain lost; God had actually prepared for our return to him from way, way back. God surely is full of surprises. At the same time, it'd be more surprising if our loving God had not done anything like that.
If God is to be first in your life, turning to him should never be your last resort. In fact, through receiving him in the Holy Eucharist, you can attain union with him. In such great intimacy, no words are needed to share everything with him. How good it is that he sees and cares about all your desires and wishes. This is enjoying the Lord to the fullest.
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
The preachings you hear nowadays in general are on the mild side, lacking fire nor zeal. It seems that the concern is that if you preach the message too strongly or to the point, you might turn the people off, for they are not ready yet. Is there ever a time when we can say that we are ready to hear the good news? I don't think so. The need to hear the Lord is ever present, whether you are ready or not. I can't possibly believe that Jesus ever had this concern when he preached. Truth is to be proclaimed freely without getting watered down or held back. How the people react to you is how they would react to God – not the preacher's concern. The Holy Spirit is gentle, but bold and fearless. To evangelize effectively, we must respond to the Holy Spirit alone and cast aside all our own concerns.
In today's Gospel reading from John 20, Mary of Magdalene stayed outside the empty tomb weeping, thinking that someone had taken Jesus and laid him elsewhere. Then Jesus appeared next to her, but she did not know it was Jesus, for she thought it was the gardener – Mary had a good reason for not recognizing the Lord. But today many do not recognize Jesus because they are blinded by their self-importance. If we do recognize him for who he truly is, we would see that he is absolutely the most critically important person to our existence!
Monday, April 17, 2017
Yesterday, I got the news that a cousin of mine passed away in his sleep. He had always seemed to be in good health, while his younger sister suffered poor health; so it's unexpected that he left first. I had the chance to tell him about Christ for a number of times, but he just couldn't make himself believe. He appeared to be a decent man, always cheerful and fun to be with. I first figured that if I could forgive him, surely the Lord would forgive him. Then I do not really know his heart. Maybe he couldn't be blamed for not believing, for he was not convinced that Christ was the Savior yet, which is not the same as knowingly rejecting him. Then again, if someone truly believes that Christ is God, he wouldn't possibly dare to reject him. Anyway, not knowing where his soul is, I could only trust in God's infinite mercy. But this I know: any believer who does not take his faith seriously can be in worse shape than an unbeliever.
In union with God, we see ourself as children of God. The love of God purifies all our emotions and we see the world and its people as God sees them. No more maudlin sentiments and everyone is the same to us. This is not being harsh, only fair, as God loves us equally. Pure love is motivated by obedience to God alone with no meddling by our own emotions or views and carried out with no fanfare. Perhaps that's why God might mistakenly seem to be cold to some.
I am already old and can remember that in the old days, most news was domestic. News about giving aid to some foreign country sounded rather foreign. In those days, various countries were pretty much isolated from each other and as a result, we felt more nationalistic. Later, as communications around the world opened up and we saw that what happened in one country could easily affected the rest of the world, we saw ourselves more as citizens of the world. What I hopefully expect is that we would evolve to the point we see ourselves as children of God and not of the world. This is the highest and correct view, transcending all other views.
Sunday, April 16, 2017
Happy Easter to all who read my blog! I pray that you will always keep your hearts open to God's blessings so that he may enrich you in every way to the fullest. If you are with him, all he has is yours (Luke 15.31) – a mind-boggling promise, so take advantage of God's generosity!
Today's Gospel reading from John 20 is about the empty tomb. The Resurrection of Jesus together with all his words and deeds are most powerful statements, but they won't do you any good if your heart shuts them out. Truth ages, but remains true forever. If the Resurrection changed the lives of the Apostles and numerous others, it can change yours today too. Yet many not only ignore God, they also avoid examining or looking into themselves. This is a generation that is so blind that they don't even see that they are taking part in a tragedy that would end with their own death.
How much you believe in Christ is so much more important than how you believe in him. Once I used an object I mistakenly believed to be authentic to pray for the healing of someone and the Lord still brought about a miracle. I was later puzzled, and then realized that it's how much you believe in him that counts, not so much the way you express your belief. At the fundamental level, it comes down to your faith, which is how your heart is connected to the Lord's heart.
Saturday, April 15, 2017
Once you know Jesus Christ, you'll find that he is the most awesome, most inspiring, and most beautiful Being of all beings. That is why no other person in this world, no matter how awesome, how inspiring, and how beautiful the people of the world think he or she is, no longer attracts me in the least. This is how the Lord frees us from the clutches of the world. Know God and you are free.
Friday, April 14, 2017
I was never very good serving on any kind of committee, for most people on a committee love to spend time talking and not getting to the point. I see things in a simple way and like to get to the point right away if possible. Now, life is brief and will come to an end sooner or later. It doesn't make any difference whether you count your time in years or seconds. So, in this limited span, do you want to remain as is or change in some way? Time is ticking away. If you don't grab Jesus, you'll miss him for all eternity and all the good things and good times you enjoy now will mean absolutely nothing. On the other hand, if you let him capture you now, all your sufferings, pains, and miseries of this life will become nothing and be forgotten once you are with him for all eternity.
It's easy for us to be unhappy about carrying our little crosses in following the Lord, but know that on the way to the Cross Jesus had to carry all of our sins and hardships, including every heartache and pain, every injustice and illness, every oppression and poverty, every human misery; and he did it willingly in obedience to the Father out of love for us. We need to thank God for that unless you already believe that you do not need to be saved.
Thursday, April 13, 2017
You may think that you are basically a good person, but that depends upon how you measure yourself. None of us is qualified to judge anyone, including ourselves. Anyway, even if the whole world thinks that you are a great person, it's no proof that you'll make heaven. As a matter of fact, the world usually get it wrong. Therefore, do not judge or exalt yourself, but remain humble and let God alone be your judge. Only what God thinks of you matters.
In today's Gospel reading from John 13 for this Holy Thursday evening Mass, we shall hear read the washing of the disciples' feet by Jesus at the Last Supper. Jesus gave his disciples a model to follow. If he, the master and teacher, had washed their feet, then they ought to wash one another's feet. When Jesus came to Simon Peter, ready to wash his feet, Peter said, "You will never wash my feet." Jesus answered him, "Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me." I must include Peter's response which is typical Peter: "Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well." The clear lesson for me is that we must accept whatever the Lord wants to do to us without questioning, even if we do not understand. This is perfect trust and perfect obedience, making you his perfect disciple, ready to receive inheritance from God!
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Today's entrance antiphon from Philippians 2: At the name of Jesus, every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on the earth and under the earth, for the Lord became obedient to death, death on a cross: therefore Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. The Communion antiphon from Matthew 20: The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many. These verses give us the complete secret of being exalted by God. All we need to do is to be obedient to the Lord and serve him.
Monday, April 10, 2017
We don't happen to be here on earth somehow and then want to find God somewhere. Do you know that God knew us before we were formed in the womb? that we were created in his image? that we actually belong to him? that we had strayed away from him and he had redeemed us again through Christ? that now we can return to him? and that we is awaiting us?
Saturday, April 8, 2017
I attended the Vigil Palm Sunday Mass. The long Gospel reading came from Matthew 26 and 27, telling about the betrayal by Judas, preparation for the Passover, the betrayer, the Lord's Supper, Peter's denial foretold, the agony in the garden, the betrayal and arrest of Jesus, Jesus before the Sanhedrin, Peter's denial of Jesus, Jesus before Pilate, the death of Judas, Jesus questioned by Pilate, the sentence of death, mockery by the soldiers, the way of the cross, the Crucifixion, the death of Jesus, the burial of Jesus, and the guard at the tomb. The Lord made me see that every sin we commit against him hurt him, and that we must avoid sinning with all our heart, all our mind, and all our soul.
Before you know God, it's all up to you because you play him, controlling your own entire destiny. After you know and surrender to him, it's all up to him as he directs and leads you. It's from "all up to you" to "all up to God." It's all about "who's the boss?"
Friday, April 7, 2017
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
I used to pursue pleasures of the world, but now I feel good that God is my home. We all know that home-sweet-home feeling. But if your home is where God dwells, that has to be the sweetest home-sweet-home feeling. Indeed, there is no place like heaven, being home with God.
Saturday, April 1, 2017
I attended Vigil Mass today. In the Gospel reading from John 11, we heard the raising of Lazarus. When Jesus heard that Lazarus was ill, he did not go to him for two days. Then when he arrived, Lazarus had already been in the tomb for 4 days. Both sisters of Lazarus said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." Nevertheless, Jesus ordered that the stone be taken away from the tomb and cried out in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. Jesus knew all along that the illness of Lazarus was not to end in death, but was for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified through it.
The important lesson here. We do not always know what God is doing, but we only need to know that he always knows what he is doing!