"Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)

Thursday, November 30, 2017

**Truth About Being Free*

        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.

*Coming to Senses

        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!

**Sad Reality*

        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.

*Worthy commitment

        Members of many religious orders take the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. A more general basic commitment we the laity can make is to reserve ourselves for use by God alone. This should bring great joy to both the Lord and ourselves.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Make-Believe Living

        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. 

Responding to Persecution

        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

Only One, Trustworthy

        The only one you can and should trust completely is the one who can save your soul.

Jesus Speaking as God

        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.

**Love Your Enemies

        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.

Be Transformed by God at Mass

        If you go to Mass as a blank canvass for God to paint whatever he wishes on it. You can be sure that he'll end up with a masterpiece at the end of Mass.

Monday, November 27, 2017

*Entering the Lord

        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.

***Talking to God

        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

Communion Joys

        Communion experience. Letting the Lord into my heart is a great joy, so is the chance to prostrate myself before him, completely submitting myself to him.

God for Sinners Only

        We receive the Lord into our heart, not because we are holy enough; we receive him precisely because we are sinners and need him to take away our sins. 

*Jesus Irreplaceable

        If you quit your job, you still have a chance to find another one. But if you quit Jesus, there'll be absolutely nothing left for you to hold onto for eternal security.

**God's Selfless Love

        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!

One Shepherd, Many Foes

        Psalm 23 was today's responsorial psalm at Mass. Its first verse is well-known: The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. We have only one shepherd, our God. And we surely need him, for we have innumerable foes.

Another Good Chance

        Every time you ask God for something, it is a chance to offer him your heart once more.

**Telling Sign

        The more you turn away from Jesus Christ, the more you need him! If he makes you feel uncomfortable, then he matters to you. That's because he is God and has created you.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Our Most Important Mission

       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.

**Life Seen As a Test*

        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.

*Sharing the Joy of Christ

        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.

**Worthy to Be Loved by God!

        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

In a Sorry Spiritual State

        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

Genuine Thanksgiving

        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.

One Great Feeling

        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.

What We Must Mind

        We must mind our business by not judging others, comparing ourselves with others, mentally censoring their behavior, or gossiping about them. The thing we must mind is their salvation.

Critical to Defend

        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.

**Faith at Work

        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. 

Fighting Temptation

        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

*Zeroing in on Christ

        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.

*Silly of Us

        We tightly hold onto things that pass or pass away, yet we forget that we ourselves also last only a brief time on this earth. Putting it mildly, how silly can we be?

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

At the Soul Level

        Communion thought. Jesus our Lord is not just to be consumed physically by us; he is to be absorbed by us into our very soul! 

God More Than Enough

        Never mind that people ignore you, hurt you, sin against you. Feel good that God always watches over you, cares for you, and seeks union with you. (No way you should reject such a friend.)

Behaving Before God

        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? 

If You Feel Depressed ...

        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

**Small Step, Giant Celebration**

        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.)

Beyond Enjoying the Lord

        Communion experience. Before I go to him in person, the Lord and I are already in each other. Another wow!

**Sure Way to Heaven

        We always follow our hearts. So while you are still here on earth, start giving your heart to Christ and your'll end up one day in heaven.

*One Will Better Than Two

        It's so easy to do what we feel like doing, but there is no merit in that. The wise seek union with God first so that God's will and theirs may become one. Then in union, doing what God wants them to do becomes just as easy. 

Amazing Faith and Healing

        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.

*Why I Choose Jesus

        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

Power of Sacraments

        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.

*Union Through God Only

        Union is only possible through God. Union with others is possible only when all involved have attained union with God. Our individual aim is to attain union with God to fulfill his desire first. 

On Bearing Fruit

        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).

*On Judging Christianity

          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.    

**How Heavy Your Heart?*

        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.

***Turning to God?*

 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

**How Important we Are*

        Communion thought. We are God's missing piece. We are the ones who can complete his joy!

**Ideal State of Being

      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.   

Degrees of Sinning

        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

**Exactly What We Need*

        Communion experience. Jesus completes us, our existence, not just for now but for ever!

**Prepare for the Most Unexpected

        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.

Letting God Make You Beautiful

        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.

**Love Makes Things Beautiful

        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. 

*Into the Perfect World

        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

**Greatest Servant*

        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!

*Most Critical Realization

        Jesus gave himself up for us. (John 3.16.)

*Looking the Right Way

        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.

**Two Ways of Living*

        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

Opposite Effect

        God humbles us to exalt us!

Biggest Blessing

        Communion experience. The one who loves me the most and whom I love the most entered me to be one with me – it was the biggest blessing of my life!

Critical Realization 3

        Once you realize that you are so blessed to have Christ and how God loves all of us so much, you wouldn't ever want to judge others again.

Critical Realization 2

        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!

Critical Realization

        Once you realize that God is the only who can save you from you sins, you'll want to accept and believe in him with all your heart.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

**Analogy of God's Presence*

         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.   

No Glamour, but Freedom

        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.

A Day's Plan

        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

*Our Part to Be Freed From Sin

        Jesus can take away any of your sins, no matter how crushing or devastating it might be, but you must want to give up you sin, turn to him, and sincerely ask for his forgiveness and help. 

Union via God's Love

        Communion experience. As I walked up the center aisle to receive the Lord in the Holy Eucharist, I was going to be completely open to God's love, accepting it with all my heart. After all, union with God is letting his love in to work on you

Union With God Urged

        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. 

**Power of Truth

        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

Wise Preparation for Next Life

        In heaven, we'll be in full union with God, but we can start seeking union with him now. Once we have attained union with him on earth, our transition into the next life will be absolutely smooth and a joy.

**Condition of Spiritual Progress

        While meditating on the Lord and his life is good, to make rapid spiritual progress, you must desire him first. This is the necessary movement of the heart for you to know him.

***Taking Jesus Seriously

        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

Critical Recognition

        Luke 24.35: The disciples recognized Jesus in the breaking of bread. We all need that moment at which we recognize that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. Pray for that moment if you haven't had it yet.

*Superior Living

        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. 

**Love Most Beautiful

        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!

Redirecting Negative Feelings

        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

*Time to Abandon Ourselves

        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 or Dumb

        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? 

*Key Step to Heaven

        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.  

Unique Inner Peace

        You experience the ultimate inner peace after God has made you clean and you and God become one in total harmony. There is no other peace greater or more profound. This is how God has made us.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

*Better Way of Doing Good

        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.

Only God Can Do It!

        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.

Perfect State of Existence

        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. 

**Quick Reminder

         We can only get rid of our sins during our brief time on earth.        

**Glory and Humility

        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

All Will Be Fair

        Life seems unfair until you realize that there's our God who is always just and there is also life after death. Then you know that all will be fair at the end.

Appreciation Through Loss

        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.

Christ Speaking as God

        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

**Fundamental Focus for All Christians*

        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.

Most Beautiful & Pleasing to God!

        Communion thoughts. Jesus listens to us! He makes us see our sins; we ask him to take them away and we are clean. There is nothing more beautiful and pleasing to the Lord than a pure heart filled with his love.

Feeding on Jesus

        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.   

**Fooling the Lord

        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

Easily Overlooked Sin

         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.

Truth Prevailing

        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."

All About Life

        To be deep in Christ is to have life, life eternal, for he is the source of all life and is our life.

Resting in Christ

        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

Action and Reaction

         Communion experience. Humble yourself before Christ to the max and he will exalt you to the max.        

*Always Merciful

        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.

**God Alone

        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

*No Longer Smart

        Smart persons tend to think that they know more than God. When that happens, they are no longer smart. 

*Division on Earth

        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.

*Letting God Initiate All Things

        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

Heal All of Us, Lord!

        Communion experience. The Lord forgave all my sins and healed my wounds, but I thought of those I might have harmed in the past through my fault. So I asked the Lord to heal them as well, for this was important to me.

Christ My Guiding Light

        The world is so dark that Christ our light appears more beautiful than ever. I rejoice that I have him as my shining beacon.

God Our Last Resort

        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

Special Love for God

        Communion experience. I felt a great love for the Lord for being able to change me and making me holier. 

**Challenging Message

        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

God Perfecting Us

        Communion experience. This was receiving the Lord who can make you perfect! He'd make you to be like him to see things his way! It should be most exciting!

Our Ultimate Concern

        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.

Living With God

        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. 

To Be Like God!

        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.

***Christ Can Save Us!

        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?