Communion thoughts. God alone is worthy to be loved, for he is love. Because of him, all of us became worthy to be loved.
Saturday, March 25, 2017
Following Jesus is serious business, for we are dealing with God. Too many people speak freely in church without restraint, especially right after Mass. True, we are not in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican where silence is maintained, but a church is a church, a sanctuary of God. Attending Mass may be likened to joining the Lord at the Last Supper where all focus was upon the Lord. God will take us seriously as we take him seriously.
Today is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. In the Gospel reading from Luke 1, after the angel Gabriel came to Mary and announced the birth of Jesus through her, she said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." The surely is a model response to God to all of us.
If you don't want to face God because you know you have offended him, you have the right kind of fear. But if you are afraid that God will lord it over you should you accept him as your Lord, you've got it all wrong, for this fear is baseless and unjustifiable. We address God as Lord out of reverence and awe. If God had wanted to domineer over us, why did he give each of us the free will in the first place? All God desires is to love and serve us. It'd be extremely foolish and unfair to conceive God otherwise.
I felt great joy on my way to Mass this morning, for I was going to unite with Christ, receiving him again into my home, my heart, my whole being. It felt like I was going to see him for the very first time, for he is forever refreshing, wanting to renew us constantly. It is so good to have him and that's an understatement!
Friday, March 24, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 12, Jesus reiterated to one of the scribes the greatest commandment: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength." You wonder how you can possibly do that – it just seems hard. Where is the incentive? What's in it for me? The wonderful thing is that like anything the Lord asks of you, if you say yes and really mean it, he will help you accomplish it without expending much of your own effort and with you being rewarded with peace, joy, and freedom in the process!
Sin is detrimental to our soul as cancer is to our physical body, but it's a lot more serious on a different level. Jesus said, "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna." In a way, all sinners are teetering on the edge of a precipice. Overloaded with sins, they can easily fall off the cliff. What Christ can do is to not only remove the burden of your sins, but also pull you away from the cliff into a safety zone. There you await until the time to be transported to heaven arrives.
After watching how the politicians vote on various issues in Congress, it's easy to see that they mostly vote to win for their party and/or to benefit themselves, not thinking about what's best for the people, let alone what God thinks. This is a tragic situation. Ordinary citizens do the same, planning everything by and for themselves ~ never mind what God thinks. God is just about the remotest thought from their mind. Of course, the reality is that only what God thinks matters; but we have replaced God with ourselves. It's way past wake-up time!
Thursday, March 23, 2017
Being aware that we must change is only the beginning. To effect any change, we must know how to do it. The best, proper, and, as a matter of fact, the only effective way to make things happen is to let God do the work. As our creator he certainly can perfect us, provided that we submit ourselves to him. Again, humility works wonders.
Today's first reading came from Jeremiah 7. The people of those days did not obey God, nor pay heed. They walked in the hardness of their hearts and turned their backs to the Lord. History sure repeats itself to this day. God is always calling us, but we must soften my hearts to hear his voice. The only way to discover, to know, to win over God is to approach him with open humility. To "demand" God to reveal himself to you is the dead wrong approach. Have pride and you are out!
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
We should never look down on other sinners, for we do not know if we were in their shoes, living their lives and facing their problems, we would have done better and been holier than they. We are all sinners before God, so how can I possibly think that I am a better sinner than someone when I can't even read anyone's mind or heart? And who am I to judge anyone whom God loves? Our business is to follow God with full attention on him alone.
We are born sinners. Everyone is 100% responsible for his own sins; blaming others won't get you off the hook. Of course, if your sin causes others to sin also, then it becomes doubly serious. Anyway, since God hates only the sin and not the sinner, you should do so likewise. Therefore, do not debase yourself after you have sinned, but realize that you have offended the Lord and ask him for forgiveness, and he'll make you pristine again.
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Communion thoughts. Before we receive the Holy Eucharist, when we say, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed," we humble ourselves. Then we receive the Holy Sacrament and we are instantly exalted by God!
Since Christ wants us to be perfect as our heavenly Father is, we should seek to be like him. The only means of achieving this is to let God do the work. To receive this help is to be open and submissive to him, which clearly points to attaining union with God as our goal. Imitating him from a distance is not good enough – we must become one with him!
The parable of the unforgiving servant from Matthew 18 was today's Gospel reading at Mass. Jesus' message was that we must always forgive others. We already know that God will forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. From this parable, we learn that once God has forgiven us, we'd better be forgiving like him. That is, if we expect to be forgiven by God, we should stop judging others – it's all about following his example. To not want to be like him is downright rebellion.
Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me." To deny ourselves involves drinking every cup that comes our way. When we can deny ourselves fully, we are ready to accept God fully and follow him.
Monday, March 20, 2017
Communion thoughts on this Solemnity of Saint Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Lord is to be thoroughly enjoyed by us. To fully enjoy him, you must get to know him well and learn to trust in him with all your heart, knowing that he will always love you and never impose anything you are not willing to bear on you nor harm your soul. Then you can enjoy him fully in peace.
Sunday, March 19, 2017
In Matthew 6, Jesus taught: "Do not worry and say, 'What are we to eat?' or 'What are we to drink?' or 'What are we to wear?' Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides." Do you know that if you seek the kingdom of God first and get your eternal destiny settled, all such worries will vanish? It is settling one "worry" to kill all other worries.
When we try to live up to our vision of ourselves, we invariably fail and get discouraged. Do you know that it is much easier for us to live up to God's vision of us? This is because when we desire the latter, the Lord takes over and makes us easily measure up to his vision of us.
Saturday, March 18, 2017
Without Christ, it's not just you miss a little something – you miss everything, including your own life. Not accepting him is equivalent to throwing all you have, yourself included, into the garbage bin. I may sound extreme, but God is to be had all, not discarded one iota. With God, it is all or nothing. A God who does not "demand" this is unworthy of our respect.
Today from Luke 15, we heard the Parable of the Prodigal Son again. I and many others agree that this has to be the most beautiful, moving parable of all the Gospels – it reveals the love and mercy of our Father for us – it is what Christianity is all about. When anyone who has strayed away and decides to return to the Father, the whole heaven rejoices. One whom the Father loves with an infinite love is now home safe ~ how could the Father not feel an infinite joy? For us on earth, there is also no greater joy than that of reuniting with our Father. How I pray and wish that all those who have strayed away from him know this!
(1) We can live for ourselves. This should be instinctual, a no-brainer goal. But we'll never find inner peace in living self-centeredly.
(2) We can live for another human being. This seems unnatural – why should the other person be elevated more than ourselves? This happens when we are mislead into believing that the other person is superior in some way.
(3) Then we can live for Christ, an extraordinary man who is also God. In following him, we are set free! We realize that he's the missing piece we'd needed all along. Now our life is fulfilled and complete, with absolutely the best part still to come.
Friday, March 17, 2017
A nonbeliever of God may have a better excuse for committing a sin than one who is known to be a believer. A believer who commits a sin, thinking that he is OK, commits a double sin. Even if you are heaven bound, every sin committed can only lengthen your time in purgatory.
On this St. Patrick Day, the Gospel reading was taken from Luke 5 on how Jesus called Peter to become a fisher of men. First, Simon Peter and his partners, all fishermen, had worked hard all night and caught no fish. Jesus asked Simon to put out into deep water and lower their nets, and over their unbelief they caught so many fish that their nets were tearing and the catch filled two boats to the point that they were in danger of sinking. Astonishment seized all, and Peter fell at the knees of Jesus and said, "Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man." Letting God astonish us does us good, for we then realize that we are mere mortals compared to the everlasting Lord. A life lived in Christ is full of surprises if you believe that he has a hand in everything that happens to us. Furthermore, not knowing when the next surprise will be is going to add even more excitement to life.
Today's Entrance comes from Psalm 31: In you, O Lord, I put my trust, let me never be put to shame, release me from the snare they have hidden for me, for you indeed are my refuge. It's the same story today ~ always someone trying to snare you, to put you to shame. Evil exists and is real! The blessing that comes out of this is we are made aware that we need God's help.
Faith is believing in something not yet visible. Believing that the sun rises every morning is no faith – it's kinda like loving someone who loves you does not really prove that you love your neighbor as yourself. Faith in God is believing that he loves you and has done the work of salvation for you. The sun may not rise tomorrow, but you can keep your faith in the loving God rock solid, unwavering. You know that God has given you the free will. By choosing to believe in him, your faith comes alive and meaningful. Now, your faith is the most beautiful possession of your soul.
Thursday, March 16, 2017
The Lord only gave me this thought this morning, but it's a fitting final thought for the day. At Mass we heard the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus read from Luke 16. After Lazarus the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and went to the netherworld, where he suffered torment in flames. He saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out to Abraham, begging him to send Lazarus to his father's house to warn his five brothers lest they too should come the place of torment. Abraham replied, "They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them. If they will not, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead." Now, Jesus, the Son of God who is God and greater than Moses and all the prophets had already come to us himself. If you do not listen to him, you've got to be the ultimate disbeliever.
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Today's Gospel reading at Mass came from Matthew 20. Jesus said to his disciples, "The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Imagine any other human being saying that he is going to give his life as a ransom for many – that person would have to be either not understanding what he meant or out of his mind. Here I see Jesus speaking as God and our Savior. His later Resurrection is plenty sufficient to back him up on all he had ever said.
We need God, and God needs us, for he loves us. So there is going to be a relationship developed between God and us. It is clear that the best relationship we could possibly have with God is to be in intimate union with him as one. With God, always aim for the best.
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
simply breaking free from Satan. We have only two choices: living with our sins or living with our sins removed, being enslaved by Satan or being free in God, to be doomed forever or to be saved for all eternity. Choosing God is making all the right choices.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 23, Jesus, in denouncing the scribes and Pharisees as hypocrites, taught that "Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted." If your humility increasingly vanquishes your ego, you are on the right path spiritually. For fast progress, ask the Lord to take away your ego completely by surrendering yourself to him.
Today's Entrance contains the verse from Psalm 13: Give light to my eyes lest I fall asleep in death. It struck me that for those who do not know Christ, they are in no better shape than those who did not know him and had died, unless they seek his light now. If we do not see the light of Christ in this life, we may not see him for all eternity!
Monday, March 13, 2017
Communion thoughts. If we live and die for Christ, we shall have secured my eternal life. It's so simple, but we can make it as easy or as hard as we wish. I am happy that the Lord has given us sinners the free will (power) to choose our destiny, making our existence meaningful. It seems that if we have no say, God would have to save or punish us all, or choose us arbitrarily or by some means we don't understand, thus rendering his mercy pointless.
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 6, Jesus said to his disciples, "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you." There is a principle here. Today if we show mercy to others, they may not reciprocate. Anyway, we are to be merciful for God's sake, then God will be merciful to us. This is beautiful living that can be summed up as "God and us doing everything for each other."
Granted, not all consciences are equally sharp with some muddier than others, but we all know that we have sinned when we have sinned. The next question is what we are to do about our sins. Putting off facing God is putting off our chance to repent and beg for forgiveness, while severe consequences still await us as sinners with unremoved sins.
Sunday, March 12, 2017
As I have said, the conflict between God and us stems from our desire to play God. Even when people look for God, they look for someone to their liking. It's like they are on the selection committee, playing the same old self-serving game. No wonder that they do not find God.
Saturday, March 11, 2017
Today's Gospel reading from Matthew 5 is where Jesus asked his disciples to be perfect, just as their heavenly Father is perfect. We cannot accomplish this on our own, but with the help of God it becomes possible. Therefore, we must seek union with God in order that the Lord may have complete freedom in helping us. Yes, by giving our freedom to God, we actually become free – another one of those beautiful paradoxes.
Unlike any of us, Jesus was a most extraordinary man. Like us he did experience sorrow, agony, and physical pains, but he was always fearless, never showed anxiety, and knew exactly what to do in each situation. Hence his advice to us was to trust in him and not be afraid of or to worry about anything.
Friday, March 10, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 5, Jesus set high standards in what we should or should not do. For example, he said, "Whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment," "Whoever says, 'You fool,' will be liable to fiery Gehenna," and "If you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, go first and be reconciled with your brother, then come and offer your gift." Since the mercy of God is infinite (also set at the highest standard), he has the perfect right to ask us to be perfect to match his mercy.
Today's Responsorial Psalm from Psalm 130: If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand? If the Lord, who alone can take away our sins, proclaims that we are guilty, then we are guilty indeed. The Communion antiphon that came later from Ezekiel 33.11: As I live, says the Lord, I do not desire the death of the sinner, but rather that he turn back and live. We see that all we need to do is to turn back to the Lord and we shall live. We can choose to remain in our sinful state or have God take away our sins.
Today is Friday and I prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. Realizing how much Jesus suffered for loving us made me love him even more. Once you realize that God is love, you won't be able to help but fall in love with him. There is nothing more lovable than love itself.
Thursday, March 9, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 7, Jesus said to his disciples: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." May I suggest that if you look for God, by assuming that he is real and exists, ask, seek, and knock will help you find him a lot quicker.
Those who have come to know the living Christ have found him most loving and could not possibly live without him. I believe those who are afraid of facing Christ are basically afraid of facing themselves for what they would look to him. All fears of God are instilled in us by ourselves, not by God. The Lord has to be the most misunderstood person of all.
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Life is short, so some people would cram in as many enjoyable activities as possible, while others might turn to God exclusively in their remaining time. I think the sensible, balanced plan is to establish priorities. Serving God must not be put off, while all other things can be attended to at the proper, appointed time.
This morning as I drove to my church for Mass on a countryish road, a surprise awaited me. Right as I was about to hit a peak in the road, I saw on the other side three wild turkeys in my lane. If I had driven a bit faster and/or the birds were just a few yards closer, I would not have been able to stop in time to avoid a collision. Both the turkeys and my car would have been damaged for sure. And I would have missed Mass too. By the way, these three were just separated from the rest of the flock which I spotted in the front yard of the house to the left. What I learned was that life is full of surprises which could turn nasty, and I must expect and not be surprised by them. (These turkeys with spread tails were quite beautiful – I was glad that none of them got hurt this morning.)
Do you know that you are not perfect and have sinned in words, thoughts, and deeds? Do you know that you would have trouble entering heaven as you are? Do you want to go to heaven? If your answer is yes to all three questions, then you must turn to Christ for salvation, for there are no clear alternatives out there. Dismissing Christ is equivalent to believing that he had come and died for nothing and that he was basically a phony.
Monday, March 6, 2017
Communion experience. Even if you have attained union with God, you still won't be content until you get to heaven and attain complete spiritual union with him. This is how God has made us. Attaining union with him on earth is just the first stage. Because God is so beautiful, you won't be satisfied until he is completely yours. In the same way, God loves us so much that he won't be satisfied until we are completely his. In heaven, both God and you will be completely happy together.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 25, Jesus foretold the judgment of the nations to his disciples. On that day, those who showed love for others in need are blessed by the Father and will inherit the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world (wow!), while those who didn't will be sent off into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angles (ouch!). Of course, since none of us can love perfectly in this world, how do we know that we'll pass the test? It won't be like taking a test to make sure that we score higher than some preset passing mark. I believe here's where our intention plays the big part. Our intention should always be to love for the sake of God. Just follow it and not be concerned about how well we'll succeed.
In today's first reading from Leviticus 19, the Lord instructed Moses to tell the whole Israelite community that they should love their neighbor as themselves. God was, is, and will always be love. Christ came and confirmed that for us. It is love that can overcome all problems, achieve peace in our world as well as in our hearts, and lead us back to our creator in heaven. Love is our weapon to vanquish evil and the secret to eternal life. All because love is the true God.
Sunday, March 5, 2017
In resisting the devil during his temptation, Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8.3: "It is written: 'One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.'" This is also today's Gospel acclamation. We are to hang on to every word Jesus says, then we'll not only live, but live forever with God.
In today's first reading at Mass from Genesis 2, the LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being. God is the great creator. He is love and also has the power to transform us. I've been spreading the message that the Lord wants to draw all to union with him through the Holy Eucharist ever since he made it clear to me more than 6 years ago. Looking at the pageviews number on my blog, I can't really claim that I have been very successful, but what's successful in God's eyes is different from how we see it. It does appear that many among Catholics are just not ready to respond to such a call yet. After all, facing up to God is never easy for anyone, and seeking union requires presenting yourself to him squarely. Nevertheless, this is what the Lord desires the most from us, for out of love he longs for the greatest possible intimacy with us! Therefore, any fear or hesitation you feel is unhealthy and should not be justified. In fact, in seeking union with him, you'll experience amazing progress in spiritual growth with increasing peace, freedom, and joy. His transforming power will displace any struggle on your part! It'll truly make living your Christian life exhilarating and exciting!
Saturday, March 4, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 5, Jesus said in reply to the Pharisees and their scribes who complained about Jesus eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners, "Those who are healthy do no need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners." Hearing this from Jesus makes me see the beauty of loving the unlovely, those who normally turn us off. It teaches us never to judge to anyone. It saddens me to see that politicians lie about and condemn their opponents in any way they can. Even their so-called Christian supporters picture whomever they do not like already doomed to hell. God being love is such a simple truth, yet so difficult for so many to grasp! What gives?
Since I made it clear in my last post that our soul is our most precious possession, we should take the best care of it by keeping it pure, as sin defiles and rots the soul. Happy is the one who lets the Lord take away his sins and make his soul whole and clean! Everyone should try this at least once, then you will never want to return to your old filthy state again. Anyone who neglects his soul is in my book being foolish to the extreme.
The wisest always prepare for the worst, and the worst that could possibly happen to us is losing our soul. Properties, material possessions, fame, health, friendship, etc., are nothing compared to the soul, for they all pass, while the soul lasts for eternity. If you know your are dying and repent to God in the last second, you may still be saved, but what about losing your life suddenly and unexpectedly, which happens often enough to many? The Lord wants us to settle our eternal destiny first and not worry about living the earthly life, and we should wise up to this most beneficial, loving piece of counsel.
Friday, March 3, 2017
God is to be worshipped, for he is holy. God is to be adored, for he is gorgeous. God is to be praised, for he is perfect. To worship, adore, and praise him, we need to submit ourselves to him without reservation with all our heart, with all our mind, and with all our soul.
Nowadays, people of all ages spend so much time texting each other and using social media to communicate with others. If only we would spend just much time sharing our thoughts with our Lord and our God, then we'll surely have a drastically better and more peaceful world to live in!
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 9, when the disciples of John the Baptist asked Jesus why his disciples did not fast as they and the Pharisees fasted much, Jesus answered them, "Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast." Since the Risen Christ did promise his disciples that he would be with them always, and those in union with him do sense his invisible presence in their heart, anyone who is one with Christ can only experience unadulterated joy with no mourning.
I think we are all familiar with the story of the woman caught in adultery from John 8. When the scribes and the Pharisees thought she should be stoned according to the law of Moses, Jesus said to them, "Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." Jesus was being completely logical! If any of you do not believe that Jesus is your Lord and your God and are as holy as he is, then maybe you have the right not to believe in him – I am being logical too. Of course, you still have to deal with all the miracles he performed and the Passion he went through, which I did not bring up.
Thursday, March 2, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 9, Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?" These sayings of Christ show clearly that he spoke as God or you must dismiss them as nonsense. The last question he asked was so sensible and to the point that anyone with a sane mind should remember it as long as he or she is still living. To read them all and put them aside would surely be a mistake that can make you regret for all eternity! God is so compelling that we are forced to choose to listen to him or not at all.
We are made by God to be needy for love. People are lonely because love is lacking in our self-centered world. But human love is never pure enough to fulfill our need for love in the first place; only the love of God is pure and great enough to transform us spiritually. Once you know that you are loved by God, you are never lonely again.
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 6 on this Ash Wednesday, Jesus teaches that we must live for God alone with zero ego. Let's remember that we are dust and unto dust we shall return. Yet the most amazing thing is that God can turn us into glorious saints if we let him. His teaching of today actually gives us the recipe. If we do everything for God with great humility and love, then we become saints. This is exactly what both Saint Therese of Lisieux and Saint Joseph Marello have learned from the Lord.