If you wish to worship the Lord, praise him, enjoy him, rest in him, be in union with him . . . you can make all of these things happen by surrendering yourself to him, for he already knows all your wishes and only need 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.)
Monday, November 20, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 18, when a blind beggar heard that Jesus was going to pass by soon, he started shouting repeatedly, "Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!" When Jesus saw him, he asked him, "What do you want me to do for you?" He replied, "Lord, please let me see." Jesus told him, "Have sight; your faith has saved you." He immediately received his sight. My reaction to this incident was "Wow!" Let's all turn to the Lord to ask him to heal us and make us anew.
I choose Jesus above everyone else, for he is the only one who understands me thoroughly and can set me free, fill my heart with joy, and take care of me for all eternity. He is also the only one who could enter to dwell in my heart after I invited him, drawing me ever closer to God.
Sunday, November 19, 2017
Communion experience. God gave us the sacrament of Penance so that when the priest absolves us from our sins, we know we are forgiven. He gave us the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist so that when we received his body and blood, we know that he is ready to be one with us.
Today we heard the parable of the talents from Matthew 25 read at Mass. The lesson is that God expects all his servants to bear fruit with diligence. Jesus came to divide us into those who believe in him and those who don't. Now here is a finer division. Among his servants, there are those who bear fruit and those who don't. The end result is that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away (vs. 29).
Since it is much easier for human beings to sin than to be holy, when you look at what Christianity can do for you, focus more upon the small minority of saints rather than the great majority of lesser holy Christians. Best yet, focus upon Jesus Christ alone and ignore all others, for only he is worthy to believe in, worship, and follow.
A pure heart is like a balloon filled with helium, soaring upwards to God effortlessly, whereas a filthy heart is like one what's weighed down by lead, always falling as low as it can go. Recommendation: See God the top heart specialist as soon as possible for your weight problem.
Warning! The following message might make some of you feel uncomfortable.
If you are not taking God seriously yet, imagine that this is your last hour on earth – what would you do? Would you finally turn to him, tell him you are truly sorry for having offended him all your life, and ask him to forgive you? If your answer is yes, then why not do it now, for you might go unexpectedly leaving you with no chance for repentance? If your answer is no, then there is nothing we can do for you but prayer. I see our lifetime as a golden opportunity to settle our eternal destiny, not a time to squander away. My motto for all: Never carry your sins to your grave! What's the point of looking beautiful in an open casket with a filthy heart within?
Saturday, November 18, 2017
I am going to describe this state in different ways, but they are all interchangeable. Here we go. Complete submission to God; total obedience to God; letting God be your God; union with God; being inseparable from God; in perfect harmony with God; deep in love with God; completely open to his mercy; acceptance of his love; letting him love you freely; taking our proper place before God; resting in his peace; complete abandonment in him; having complete trust in him; living for him alone; God becoming our center and anchor. As you see, we cannot leave God out. Desire him alone and he is yours.
Sexual harassment charges against politicians, Hollywood moguls and stars, and other well-known public figures have been popping up all over this country. Of course, some of them might not be true; nevertheless, we are seeing manifestations of men's impure thoughts. Currently on Facebook, an Ohio supreme court judge openly brags about his sexual conquests with particulars. He believes he's speaking on behalf of all heterosexual males and does not think it improper to divulge such private information. From the Christian point of view, it is one thing that you sin without others (except God) knowing about it and quite another – far more serious – if you do not acknowledge that you have sinned and cause others to follow your example and sin also.
Friday, November 17, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 17, Jesus continued telling his disciples about the day of his coming: "On that day, a person who is on the housetop and whose belongings are in the house must not go down to get them, and likewise a person in the field must not return to what was left behind. I tell you, on that night there will be two people in one bed; one will be taken, the other left. And there will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken, the other left." These scenes described remained vividly in my mind once I had heard them. I thought of the tsunamis, floods, fires, mudslides, earthquakes – all such natural disasters had happened suddenly and many lives were taken. We may die before his coming, but it shouldn't make any difference. If we prepare ourselves now, whether we shall be taken or left becomes a moot point. *Never let there be a moment you wish you had listened to Jesus. Heed his words now.
We see and hear both beautiful things and ugly things, but what's truly beautiful or ugly is what's beautiful or ugly to God and it is what's in and comes out of your heart. Therefore, be in union with the Lord so that he may keep your heart pure, making you beautiful to him always.
Today Friday I prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. They are Agony in the Garden, Scourging at the Pillar, Crowning with Thorns, Carrying of the Cross, and Crucifixion – all most horrific events. Then I saw that because it was love that prompted the Lord to bear such sufferings willingly, all these events became most beautiful.
Right now, cracks had appeared in my stucco houses walls and rains have started, so water might get inside the house as it did last year. One toilet is not flushing right. Last night one of the outdoor motion sensor lights no longer shuts itself off. At any rate, in this world things go wrong constantly, and we ourselves go wrong too, as we sin continuously. It is an imperfect world to say the least that can never make us truly happy here. If you want to find the perfect world, seek the God of Christ who alone can satisfy us now and make us happy for all eternity later. Again, this is how he has made us.
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Communion experience. In receiving Christ, I realized that God is our greatest servant, as he gave himself out of sheer love for our salvation. "My Lord and my servant" – absolutely amazing, all made possible by love. Now he is more my Lord than ever!
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 17, Jesus told his disciples about the coming day of the Son of Man, but said that first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation. For me, this speaks loudly that evil is real and the spiritual warfare is always ongoing. Therefore, we must choose sides. It may be chilling to say that hell is not vacant, but not thinking about it wouldn't do you any good. Instead, the best thing we should do is to focus upon the love of God, our Father, who can eradicate all our fears and fill our hearts with joy and hope.
We either follow our own nature or follow God. When we follow ourselves, we can do good or easily sin. And it's in our sinful state that we experience the loss of inner peace. When we follow God, we are no longer concerned about whether we do good or sin – we simply do his will and bear fruit. This is why and how we experience both freedom and peace.
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 17, Jesus cleansed ten lepers and only one gave thanks to God. We must be aware of what God has done for us and be grateful for it. Without him, we wouldn't be existing or now breathing. Without him, we wouldn't have all that we have. Without him, we'd be lost forever!
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
At Mass this morning, I noticed that the shadow of some palm branches on a wall were absolutely still and I realized that none of us on earth could sense that we are moving through space. How fast are we actually moving? We know that the earth rotates about its own axis once every 24 hours or so and is approximately 8,000 miles in diameter. About the axis, those who live on the equator whirl through space at roughly 1,000 miles an hour. Then the earth itself revolves around the sun once a year. Knowing how far we are from the sun, we can calculate that the earth is whirling through space at, get this, 67,000 miles per hour. Plus the fact that our solar system itself is whirling around the center of its galaxy at 490,000 miles per hour! I'll stop right here, ignoring any motion of the galaxy. This is like the fact that we do not physically sense the presence of God, yet he is all around us, watches over us, and knows what's in our hearts.
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 17, Jesus taught the proper attitude of a servant. He said to his disciples, " When you have done all you have been commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.'" This is what Jesus meant by "deny yourself." This is living for God alone. There is certainly no glamour associated with the role of being a disciple, but your reward will be freedom in this life and exaltation by God in the next.
This morning I arrived at church and realized that it's another day. It could be another day to live for myself, to pursue what I want to accomplish. But it's so much better to make it another day to grow closer to God. Here I got to receive him in the Holy Eucharist once more, gained more time to pray for the salvation of all mankind, and now would meet my Lord one day sooner.
Monday, November 13, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 17, Jesus said to his disciples, "Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the one through whom they occur." Two observations. First, sin separates us from God, so anything that tends to distance us from God cannot have come from him. We must do our utmost to remain in union with God. Secondly, we must never cause anyone to sin. Therefore, our example as a disciple of the Lord must be perfect. Again, union with him should take care of that.
I watched online an interview with a world famous pianist already in his 80s, reminiscing about his old teacher, the various conductors he worked with, his landmark recordings, and other experiences. To anyone interested in classical music, it was quite interesting. Then I thought of the Gospel stories about Jesus. By contrast, they are unforgettable, evergreen, forever refreshing, powerful, and most significant as they are relevant to our eternal existence. They are so because they are more than mere facts – they are the truth.
Sunday, November 12, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 25, Jesus tells the parable of the ten virgins. The message is again that if we remain foolish, do not stay vigilant and prepare ourselves fully for his coming, we shall be shut out of the kingdom of heaven. Since this is the very Lord who revealed early in his ministry that he would be killed and rise in three days and all that came true, we'd better give serious attention to everything he has said.
Saturday, November 11, 2017
When you live only for yourself, you grow proud. Things go well and your become even more self-centered. Things go badly and you can be devastated. By contrast, living for God is wonderful because you don't take everything so personally anymore. When things go well, you rejoice in the Lord. And when they don't, you feel fine too, as he has willed that. Living for God is the perfect way to remain humbly in communion with him.
I love the Blessed Mother and many other saints. Why? It's because they are so beautiful and lovely, made possible by their love for Christ. Christ is the one who has shown us how beautiful love can be and that he can make all of us beautiful!
Since I am familiar with piano playing, I know that many performing pianists when they experience nervousness on the stage channel that wasted energy into concentrating upon playing the music even better. In the same way, when we pray to God and nothing seems to happen, we can channel our anticipation into placing our trust in God even more.
Friday, November 10, 2017
Everything we need and enjoy comes from God. He always gives. Instead of feeling grateful or responding to his love, we who are powerless to save ourselves hold tightly onto ourselves and won't let ourselves go. How foolish we are, not to abandon a sinking ship! It's time to get on God's rescue boat and sail with him to eternal security.
To be smart is to know that God is greater than you, that he is your Father and loves you, that you should obey him and he'll bring you eternal happiness. To be utterly dumb is to rebel against God and believe that you can survive without him – do you really think that when you pit yourself against God in any game you play, you can come out on top?
In Matthew 16, Jesus asked his disciples, "Who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter responded, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the the living God." Jesus said to him, "Blesses are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father." Here is the first truth we must come to acknowledge to be saved. The journey to heaven begins with this little giant step.
Thursday, November 9, 2017
My thoughts following might very well upset some people, but please hear me out. I do believe that the Holy Spirit made me see it. Parish churches have been raising money by many ways. Some common examples are holding bingo nights or auctions, selling raffle tickets or tickets for feeds. Everyone has a good time and helps a good cause. But does the end justify the means? For the means play on your gambling instinct, your desire for material goods or your indulgent appetite. Wouldn't it be far better to do good without the need to be lured into doing it. What the Lord wants from us is doing good in secret without expecting to receive any gratification or reward.
Today is Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome. In the Gospel reading from John 2, Jesus at the beginning of his ministry already knew of his Resurrection when he said to the Jews, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up." He was speaking about the temple of his Body. For me, anyone who can destroy death has to be the creator of life, our God.
Revelation 21.3: I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, God's dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them as their God. When we belong to God and he becomes our God, we and God become one and he is all ours. God and his people in perfect harmony – this is our perfect state of existence.
I blogged not too long ago that the transformation of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ on the altar during Mass is as great and wonderful a miracle as his transfiguration on Mt. Tabor. During the transfiguration, when his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light, he displayed his dazzling glory. Then when he quietly comes in the form bread and wine for us to consume, he shows his utter humility. Glory and humility in one person – what an awe-inspiring combination!
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
We often don't appreciate something until after we lose it. Years ago, I left my wife in front of a hotel in Merida, Mexico, to check if there was any vacancy. Since I couldn't stop my car there for long, I told her I would drive around the block and back, not realizing that it's much easily said than done. It's also late evening and hard to look for street signs plus the fact that I did not read Spanish. Soon I went around and around and lost my way. To make a long story short, I found my way back almost an hour later. Of course, the overwhelming joy of finding my wife waiting out there made me appreciate her even more. Today's example. I enjoy the peace of the Lord until I commit a sin. It only needs to be a minor offense to make me lose my peace. This makes me treasure his peace even more.
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 14, Jesus laid down some conditions for discipleship. He said, "If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Everyone who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple." Was he mad and being irrational? Not if he spoke as God.
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
In the older days, many youngsters attending Catholic schools experienced harsh treatment that would affect their whole life. Tragically, his had caused many to leave the Church. Of course, there were truly loving and understanding nuns and teachers too, but the "horror" stories you hear a lot more. I believe that the major cause was not knowing the Lord personally well enough, for you can know all the teachings of the Church, say all the prescribed prayers, be active in ministries and still remain a cold person. One other thing I see is that children can go through religious classes for years and lose their faith in college or later. Again, the focus of the classes might not have been proper. Once I suggested sharing personal spiritual experiences with the children and the person in charge of the program didn't seem to know what I was talking about. The goal of all programs and activities should be to bring the participants closer to Christ. Even Bible studies can become so focused on history and other peripheral facts that you feel you are taking an academic course. As for preparation for confirmation and other similar programs, the ceremonial aspect gets top attention, whereas the focus should be 99% on the Lord. The strength and vitality of the Church depends foremost upon how well her people know the Lord.
One of the Communion antiphons today was what Jesus said in John 6.57: Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. What struck me was that anyone who feeds on Jesus will have life. So how do we feed on Jesus? To me, to feed on Jesus is to depend upon him for everything, not just for spiritual sustenance and growth. To feed on the Lord successfully, we must become branches of his vine. That is, we become part of him, inseparably in union with him.
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 14, Jesus tells the parable of the great feast. It illustrates the point that God invites many to dine in his kingdom, but one by one they excuse themselves, giving some reason for not being able to attend the feast. It is absolutely true that many are called, but few pay attention. If you turn Christ down for some reason, are you being truthful? If not, then you are merely trying to fool the Lord, which only a fool would do.
Monday, November 6, 2017
Here's today's Gospel reading from Luke 14:
On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees. He said to the host who invited him, "When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or sisters or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
The clear lesson here is that when we are being kind to others, we should do it for the Lord's sake and not expect to receive repayment. This would be true charity. Do anything to get ourselves recognized or appreciated is a sin that is often easily overlooked.
Jesus said in John 8, "If you remain in my word, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." My testimony is that when you get to know the Lord intimately, you just know that he is the truth because he reveals it to you "automatically."
Matthew 11.28: Jesus says, Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. This is one of his well-known sayings familiar to many. I am quoting it now because his promise is true, for when I rest (let go) in him, he does the work for me and I experience rest (peace).
Sunday, November 5, 2017
Witness the Christians who have lost their lives throughout history because of their faith. We get rejected by others often in this world for various reasons, but God who loves us will never reject us. When we reject him, we reject ourselves, but he remains open to us as long as we are still living on earth.
Today's Gospel acclamation from Matthew 23: You have but one Father in heaven and one master, the Christ. Therefore, obey God alone in this life (and everything should turn out fine). In fact, we should live for him, die for him, serve him, glorify him, please him, and care only about what he thinks about us alone.
Saturday, November 4, 2017
In Luke 12, Jesus says, Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three.... This is reality as I notice that among all the families of my parish, few of them still have their grown-up children remaining faithful within the Church. If Christ were just a man, this wouldn't have mattered much. But since he is also God, the division makes all the difference, for it comes down to a clear separation between believers and nonbelievers. Believers must expect to be rejected, ridiculed, or accused in such a divided world. Nevertheless, they should continue rejoicing, for they are being persecuted on account of Christ.
Today's Communion antiphon, John 15.16: It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last. It seems to me that when we pray for the conversion of someone, we should pray that God would chose that person. That is, we ask the Lord to initiate things. The dramatic conversion of St. Paul was a great example.
Friday, November 3, 2017
Today's entrance antiphon from Psalm 105: Let the hearts that seek the Lord rejoice; turn to the Lord and his strength; constantly seek his face. These verses were timely for me to read, for I had a burden that only the Lord could remove from my heart. This is the God with whom nothing is impossible. It is good that when I feel hopeless in solving a problem, I can turn to the Father who can and will take care of it one way or another. I truly felt today that was what God was for. Praise him!
Thursday, November 2, 2017
Today is All Souls Day. From the Gospel reading from John 6: Jesus said to the crowds, "This is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day." The message is plain and clear. If you have no proof that he is lying to you, then you have no choice but to believe in him with all your heart.
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
The latest shocking news is the terror attack that took place in New York City in which a suspect drove a truck through people, killing 8 and injuring 11. It's easy not to expect something like that to happen to you, since you are in an entirely different location. But all these things happen unexpectedly. The victims this time didn't expect that they would be struck either. May I mention that the coming of Christ will also happen at an unexpected time. The best policy and wise plan is to be prepared always: when you are ready to meet God, you may ease your mind over all other concerns.
See everything, large or small, difficult or easy, unpleasant or pleasant, that happens to us as giving us an opportunity to grow holier, learn from the Lord, and trust in him even more. After all, he is our God, Father, teacher, guide, and friend who loves us greatly. Besides, with him we get to respond properly in all situations. Let him live with you and he'll protect and guide you always.
In the second reading from 1 John, the Apostle wrote: "Beloved, we are God's children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." We shall not only see the Lord, but shall be like him! Rejoicing is in order. Better yet, start to be like him by seeking union with him now.
Today is Solemnity of All Saints. In he first reading from Revelation 7, in a vision the writer saw a great multitude from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb." I want to cry out aloud in unison with the multitude to proclaim that Christ, the Lamb, can save us! Later in the vision, an elder revealed to the writer that those wearing white robes were the ones who had survived the time of great distress, washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb. Again, I want to cry out to let all know that Christ can make us clean! Don't you know all this good news yet?