Today Friday I prayed the five Sorrowful mysteries of the Holy Rosary. Jesus went through the agony in the garden, got scourged, was mocked by being crowned with thorns, had to carry his own cross, and finally was crucified. These tragic scenes would surely appear most dramatic to any spectator or bystander, but the important thing is to ask why he underwent such excruciating suffering and pain? The answer is that he did it out of love for all of us, you and me, all sinners, so that we might live forever with him!
Thursday, June 21, 2018
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 6, Jesus taught his disciples how to pray by saying the Our Father, the most appropriate and beautiful prayer there is. He emphasized the importance of the forgiving-others part by further adding: "If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions."
We must absolutely take this last saying gravely. Forgiving others is often most difficult for us to do. We could decided not to forgive the person, which amounts to shutting the door in God's face – outright disobedience. Or we could admit to God that it is difficult for us, and so we need his help – this is keeping the door open. These two opposing stands display the fundamental difference! Should you choose not to have the Father forgive your transgressions, you have to be the biggest fool in the whole universe!
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Communion experience. Catholics believe that the consecrated bread and wine are the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, while most Protestants perceive them as only symbolically true. The difference is huge. When I receive the Lord in the Holy Eucharist, I know that it has the power to actually change my soul! If the bread and wine had remained as ordinary bread and wine, I would be merely going through a ritual to help me remember the Lord's death and resurrection.
Today's Gospel reading came from Matthew 6. Jesus taught his disciples not to perform righteous deeds in order that people might see them. We are to keep all our righteousness hidden for the Father to see only, and Jesus promised that the Father would repay us. Again, care only about what God thinks about us. The immediate reward of such selfless living is inner peace.
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
If we want to excel in anything we do in this world, we must work hard. To get better grades in school, to be a better pianist, to make your garden more beautiful . . . all require time, energy, and gumption. But when it comes to becoming holy, it doesn't work that way, even if you're so determined that you grit your teeth and tell yourself a thousand times each day to be holy. In fact, you should do just the opposite. That is, you drop all your guard and relax in the Lord as to let him do all the work for you, for only he can take away your sins and heal your soul to make you holy.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 5, Jesus continued to teach his disciples; this time, about loving their enemies. Yes, he wanted them to be perfect as the heavenly Father is. We all know right from wrong if we are courageous enough to sweep aside our emotions and pride, and examine our conscience objectively. Then we must follow our conscience, not our feelings, to show the Lord that we aim to be perfect as he had commanded.
Monday, June 18, 2018
Since our life began at a certain time in this world, we are all finite beings. It dawned on me that this is why we have trouble perceiving infinity. When scientists searched for how the universe began, they came up with the big bang theory which had a beginning. But what came before that? When I was a little kid, I wondered if I would ever run into a wall if I kept flying into the sky. If I did hit one, then what'd be on the other side? I gave up. You see, our mind is incapable of dealing with things that are infinite. Since God by definition has no beginning and no end, we with the finite mind have trouble in believing in his existence. Naturally, if you were God, infinity would be the norm. I hope I have hit on something that can help you believe in God more readily.
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 5, Jesus said to his disciples: "You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. If anyone wants to go to law with your tunic, hand him your cloak a well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles." If it sounds like Jesus wants us to be less human, that's because he wants us to be like him. Basically, the Lord wants us not to let anyone who bothers us bother us. Losing our peace only shows that we still have not trusted in or surrender ourselves to him completely yet.
Sunday, June 17, 2018
Today's Gospel reading came from Mark 4. Jesus compared the kingdom of God to a mustard seed, the smallest of all the seeds. Once it's sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade. This parable presents a beautiful picture to me. We humans are small like the mustard seed. When we allow God to do all the work through us, we accomplish mighty deeds in his glory.
God does not always answer our prayers right away. As we wait, we tend to get discouraged and lose heart. That's human nature, right? Then I see that God wants us to learn patience and have complete faith in him, that is, to be less human and more like him. The Lord is infinitely patient and never gets anxious or lose peace. Christ always advised his disciples not to be anxious and wished them peace. Therefore, pray hard and let God work all things out. Total abandonment in God is the way to go. No more anxieties nor loss of inner peace!
Today is Father's day. To me, there is only one true father and he is God the Father who created all of us. On earth each of us has his own father and many of us become father ourselves too. But when we go before God, we are all equal as his children. That is why I say that we have only one true father.
Saturday, June 16, 2018
Today's Gospel reading came from Matthew 5. Jesus told his disciples not to swear at all. And that they should let their 'Yes' mean 'Yes' and 'No' mean 'No,' and anything more is from the evil one. It is easy not to be aware of what comes from the evil one and what comes from God. A sharpened conscience is what we need, and we get that as we grow more in union with the Lord.
Life is more battling God than battling Satan. When Satan tempts us, we do not experience any direct threat, for he is tricky. With God, we always feel whether we should obey or go our own way. So you can say that life is all about whether you let God win or not. We become perfect when we let the Lord win each time, and the reward is most satisfying – we receive peace, freedom, and joy, contrary to what we'd expected. When we let God win, we win big too!
Friday, June 15, 2018
Ecclesiastes 3.1: There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. Beginning with "a time to give birth, and a time to die," the author provides 13 more lines of examples. Let's realize that certainly there is an appropriate time for us to detach ourselves from the world and give ourselves completely over to God.
Communion experience. Receiving the Lord in the Holy Eucharist calmed my entire being. During those moments in which the Lord was being absorbed by me, I was completely worry free. And I realized that in heaven, I would be worry free forever.
Most teachings we learn from the world are self-centered without consideration of God's will. In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 5, Jesus wants to us to do better by going beyond what we have heard that it was said. In fact, he wants us to be perfect. His ways are based upon love exclusively. Because our love is not great enough, our ways fall short of what he wishes. Now that we know his teachings, we know how we should live to be perfect before God. Since we cannot become perfect by ourselves, here is a calling for us to put our trust in God completely.
In today's first reading from 1 Kings, when Elijah went on the mountain to wait for the Lord to pass by, there was a strong and heavy wind, followed by an earthquake, and then a fire, but Elijah did not find the Lord in any of them. Finally, he heard a light silent sound through which the voice of the Lord came. To hear the Lord speak to us, we must get away from the constant bustle and hustle of the world at times to acquire some quietude for ourselves. Believe me, if you truly want to hear his voice, you will hear it in your heart. Get in touch with him first and eventually, you'll be ready to ask him to come to dwell within you. Life without our loving God is not worth living.
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Today is the memorial of St. Anthony of Padua, venerated as the Patron Saint of lost articles. In my past, I have lost things many times. After praying for his help, I always recover what I've lost, sometimes in an unexpected way. I ask the saint to intercede for my other intentions too.
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Jesus said, "What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?" My similar question: "What profit is there for one to indulge in some temporary sinful pleasures on earth and lose his chance to enjoy eternal peace and joy in heaven?" So be smart.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 5, Jesus wants us to be the light of the world. The world is sick, filled with venom and filth, and only the pure light of Christ shines as a refreshing beacon among us. Let us be pure enough to reflect his light to dispel as much darkness around us as we can.
The Gospels tell about so many miracles Jesus performed, including his own Resurrection and Ascension. If you don't believe in them, is it because you don't believe that they ever happened? Without any solid proof, I don't believe anyone would have the guts to so believe, for it amounts to writing off the person Jesus altogether. Most likely, nonbelievers put off facing the reality of Jesus because of the sinful state they're in – further indicating that he is God who will be our judge.
I am thinking about Christianity again today. Since I believe that it is the truth, I am reluctant to call it a religion. If you do consider it to be a religion, then it is a most remarkable one indeed. God turned out to be love and actually sent his Son to earth to die for our sins so that we might have eternal life. This is pretty incredible and has the power to transform our lives to become holy saints – a most beautiful revelation to us from our loving creator. Things all work out, for that's how God has made us. Be amazed and believe, and be amazed even more. The truth is an immense joy!
Monday, June 11, 2018
Jesus and the Father are in each other. Jesus is the Son of God the Father, and they are one. You know Jesus and you know God. Since God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, why do we dismiss Jesus because he came to us 2,000 years ago? Time does not alter the truth, since the truth remain true forever. Today as in the days of Christ, those who do not believe in him choose not to believe in him, not because he is not our Lord and Savior. By our choice, we set our own destiny. I wish I could say bon voyage to all.
When those in our family lose their faith in God, we feel the heavy burden on our hearts, compelling us to pray for them. If we have deep faith in God, we should realize that they are in God's hands; and therefore, we should detach ourselves from them and focus upon God alone. In Luke 1, Jesus sends 72 disciples in pairs to every town and place he intends to visit – to proclaim that the kingdom of God is at hand. Whatever town they enter that welcomes them, they are to eat and drink what's offered to them. Whatever town they enter that does not receive them, they are to leave and even shake off the dust that clings to their feet. This shows clearly that we are to do our part and leave the outcome to God. Remain meek and humble and trust that God will lighten our burden, and we'll find rest (Matthew 11.29).
Sunday, June 10, 2018
In today's Gospel reading from Mark 3, Jesus spoke to the big crowd that gathered around him. His mother and his brothers arrived. Standing outside they sent word to him and called him. But he replied, "Who are my mother and my brothers?" Looking around at those seated in a circle he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother." That was a radical saying. It's the Lord revealing his ways and his thoughts.
Saturday, June 9, 2018
There has been a number of suicides of well-known personalities in the news. How I wish I had the opportunity to let them know that God loved them so much that he had died for them so that they might live forever! This has to be the best possible news for all of us ever! One cannot truly appreciate and enjoy life until he knows Christ.
June 7. An obituary usually gives a biographical sketch of the deceased. How many people learn how much about the deceased really doesn't make any difference to that departed soul anymore. What matters is whether that soul has gone to God or Not. Never forget that we have the power to chart our course after death before we die.
June 5. Evolution and creation are separate things. It is my personal belief that we could not have evolved from some apelike creatures, since we are the only ones that were made in the image of God. The fact that we can conceive and get to know God is proof for me.
June 5. There are so many magnificent cathedrals, basilicas, and churches built all around the world that draw vast numbers of visitors to admire their history and architecture. But I dare say that there are not many who actually get drawn closer to God afterwards. People built churches to glorify God; unfortunately, they can take the limelight away from him. For those who want to see the splendor of God, you don't even need to go inside a church. Just go to the Lord directly to seek and desire union with him and he'll reveal all his glory to you in person. The focus should always be on the Lord inside or outside any church.
June 3. It was the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. The Gospel reading from Mark 14 tells how Jesus instructed his disciples to prepare for him to eat the Passover. It shows how the Lord could arrange things to happen as he had wished. At the Last Supper, he gave us the most perfect gift, his own Body and Blood, which can make us perfect. When I received Holy Communion, it was the most beautiful feeling to know that by giving in to his love, I become one with him.
June 2. Attended Vigil Mass at a beautiful church, Saints Peter and Paul. The Lord made me feel his great love for the poor. Of course, he loves every single one of us the same, but you feel his love more when you think about the poor, much like light becoming more prominent against darkness. Feeling how the Lord feels is a great joy!
June 2. Yesterday I ate lunch at a food court packed with crowds and you could hear the noisy talking filling the whole place to the hilt. I knew all that would pass. Today I was resting in the pew of a magnificent basilica, experiencing quiet and peace. This would pass too, but the soul got refreshed.
May 31. If you have some solitude and time, it can be spiritual beneficial to review your own life as a movie. Acting as the film critic and judge, what do you think of your life? This would be a good time to correct your course if necessary to make sure that your story will end happily!
May 30. As I was traveling, I saw these quotations at one hostel: (1) Keep your seeker spirit alive. (2) Bring your curious self here. (3) Seek the weird, the cool, and the random. (4) Lose yourself, then find your way. And at one public library, a quote from the famous poet, T. S. Eliot: The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man. If these are the best quotes we can come up without involving God, then we are in a pretty sad state.
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
If you are smart, you should realize that if you rebel against God, you will certainly lose in the end. Not believing in him or following his will is, of course, rebelling against him. But if you do acknowledge that God did create you, you are admitting that you belong to him. When you die, you simply return to him, for judgment this time. Then it would be extremely foolish for you to rebel against him during the brief period between your birth and your death. (Note: I shall not be able to blog for the next two and a half weeks, so please check back for new postings on June 10. May God bless each and every one of you abundantly!)
Only as a Christian you get to know God most personally. You know him by name and can even attain union with him, with him dwelling within you and fulfilling all your needs and desires. There is no feeling more beautiful than knowing your God most intimately!
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
John 14.6: I am the way and the truth and the life. No one come to the Father except through me, says the Lord. So Jesus is the only way to God. We might as well do all things through him or for his sake. First of all, let's love through him too, which is loving others with his love. This is the sure way to life everlasting!
Monday, May 21, 2018
Sunday, May 20, 2018
We ask the Lord to send his Spirit to renew the face of the earth. The Lord is ready, but are we? We can go through the ceremony of Confirmation, but if our heart is not in it, nothing dramatic will happen. The key to preparing ourselves properly is to submit ourselves to God first. Without our submission, the hands of the Spirit are tied, so to speak. This is not talked about much probably because yielding to God is the most difficult step for anyone to take in the spiritual life, which is all about how much we let God be God. Anyhow, the Lord is readier than we are, so surrender yourself to him to let him do what you ask of him. This, in fact, is one basic principle of living the successful Christian life.
Today is Pentecost Sunday, celebrating the birthday of the Church. From the second reading of 1 Corinthians, Paul writes: In one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit. The Holy Spirit is indeed the one who can unify all Christians and of whom our spirits need to drink to get sanctified. If your heart is not on fire yet, ask the Holy Spirit to zap you and he'll do just that – I am speaking from personal experience. The Christian life comes alive once you are aware that the Spirit does dwell within you.
Saturday, May 19, 2018
Friday, May 18, 2018
In today's Gospel reading from John 21, the Resurrected Lord revealed himself to his disciples and asked Peter three times "Do you love me?" Peter responded affirmatively each time and Jesus asked him and to feed his lambs, tend his sheep, and feed his sheep. Then Jesus said to him, "Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." The Lord said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.
For those whom God has chosen to follow him, he definitely has a role for each of them. We are to glorify God in the way designated by him. The Lord also knows exactly how we are going to die. I am not saying that everything is predestined to the last detail, for our free will can alter things. But every time things change, the Lord knows how that's going to affect our journey to him. In my own case, I know I am going to him, and only he knows when and how.
Thursday, May 17, 2018
We attempt to do so many things in life and easily lose our peace. Doing the will of God should be our sole goal, for this stores up treasures in heaven for us. If you are always busily doing your own things without considering the will of God, you may regret later. Time is more precious than gold, for every second you serve only yourself is a second lost forever and our time on earth is limited. I read once that when you drive an expensive sports car, you should shift its gears as if you're handling an eggshell. Time is a lot more precious than the gears of any car. Spend it wisely and you'll have eternal life!
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
After hearing today's Gospel reading from John 17, I saw that we either belong to the world or belong to God. Those who belong to the world hates those who belong to God. The distinction or separation between these two classes couldn't be any greater. Again, a mental image surfaced in my mind. I see all those who belong to the world bobbing in an ocean (the world). Many of them are practically totally immersed, while others are still afloat at various depths. Those who belong to God are being held up by him high above the ocean. So it's either you are wet or you are dry.
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Communion experience. It's easy for us to build a wall around us to keep God out partially or completely. Having received the Lord, now he's become my wall. This is not a wall to keep me in, for there is only emptiness outside of it; this is more a wall to keep me safe for me to remain firmly in the Lord.
Today's Communion antiphon, John 14.26: The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of all I have told you, says the Lord. When the Holy Spirit teaches you, you don't need to think hard nor memorize anything – the lesson is right there deposited in your heart. What a delight! And whatever he teaches is always refreshing and uplifting.
God's infinite mercy is ours for the asking. He waits patiently for us to acknowledge his presence or even just a glance in his direction. And he longs to be in union with us! How do we respond? We ignore him most of the time. Some of us couldn't care less and some even claim that he is dead! Sin has blinded our eyes, poisoned our brains, and fouled our hearts. This has to be the ultimate disorder. Alas, any generation that forgets that it is at the mercy of God is indeed a lost one.
Again, I'd like to reiterate that only God has the power to fundamentally transform us by giving us a new heart. To bring about inner changes in ourselves, we can try hard on our own or seek help from fellow humans, but without involving God, any changes effected are necessarily superficial or short-lived. Since it is sin that causes us to lose inner peace and God our creator is the only one who can remove our sins and reach into our hearts, he has to be the only one who can fundamentally transform us. Naturally, it goes without saying that we must invite him to enter our hearts first before he can bring about any changes.
Today's entrance antiphon from Revelation 1: I am the first and the last, the one who lives. Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever, says the Lord. I have complete confidence in the one who remains alive forever. Again, it's time for rejoicing!
Monday, May 14, 2018
Two more or less related thoughts. (1) Unless you are certain that Jesus is not trustworthy, you'd better pay serious attention to all that he has said. (2) Since you do not know what might happen to you next, you'd better place yourself completely in God's hands.
Sunday, May 13, 2018
I see people with everything and people with nothing in this world. Life can be so different for different people on this earth. Then I realize that all this in such a short span of time really doesn't matter much, for everyone will enter eternity either to be with God forever or to be separated from him forever. It is the forever part that we need to be primarily concerned about.
Today we celebrated The Ascension of the Lord in my parish. Now that we know Christ is God our creator, we see that his Resurrection and Ascension just had to happen. And I have no doubt that his coming again to judge us all will have to take place also in time.
Saturday, May 12, 2018
Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." Today the Lord made me see a couple of new things. First, taking up the cross is clearly carrying a burden, but the Lord wants us to do it willingly, even lovingly, and full of hope! Look at Jesus carrying his own cross on the way to Golgotha, he suffered great agony, but he never complained or became depressed. Secondly, some of the crosses we can actually ask the Lord to take away for his glory. For example, a loved one has not opened up to Christ and you feel the heavy burden. Naturally, you pray hard for him for the glory of God; but indirectly, you are asking him to take away that cross. I now see Jesus both as a cross-bearer and a cross-remover.
Friday, May 11, 2018
In today's Gospel reading from John 16, Jesus, with his impending death and resurrection in mind, said to his disciples: "You will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy. I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. On that day you will not question me about anything." I'd like to testify that once you attain union with the Lord, the joy of his Resurrection overcomes all your sorrows and you experience such contentment that you no longer question him about anything anymore.
Thursday, May 10, 2018
I don't consider myself a political person. But I now sense a movement that has begun among the black Americans which can potentially turn into a tidal wave, even influencing the world globally. As you know, some 95% of black American today support the Democrats, although they were all Republicans the early part of last century. (To learn about what happened, it's worth listening to some of Dinesh D'Souza's talks on YouTube.) The bright young star of this movement is Candace Owens whom you can also watch on YouTube. The goal of the movement is to make the black Americans see that they should not blindly follow what the politicians on the left (who care only about getting their votes) and the liberal media tell them – which is that they are the victims and the government will always help them. The plain fact under the rule of Democrats has been that more black families break up, go on food stamps, become unemployed, abort more babies, and die from gang violence. They are now beginning to wake up, realizing that they needn't choose to be victims, that they should not always do what they're told, and that they can think for themselves and form their own opinions. This is just the beginning, but the trend is already clear.
As Christians, we should likewise cut off listening to the world and place our entire focus upon following Jesus Christ. Let this be our new movement.
Falling in love with someone is great. Falling in love with one who is your soulmate is even better, but chances of finding a perfect soulmate on earth is nigh impossible. Now, when you seek union with God, the Lord lovingly transforms you into his perfect soulmate and you fall in love with him in the process. Therefore, union with God becomes the most fulfilling and satisfying experience you can ever have, on earth or in heaven!
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
God has created us to have him to be our center, and to obey him. Otherwise, we only create disorder and chaos in ourselves and for others. Broadly speaking, we are the ones who can mess up the whole universe. If you see this, then you should run toward him, your Father, without delay, and everything for you will turn out fine and then some. That would certainly be the best possible move of your existence.
People are so concerned about their health that they read and talk about what they should eat, how they should exercise, or even the kind of cookware safest to use. But they often forget that the most serious threat to our health are the stresses we face in life, and overconcern about our health only creates more stress. Christians overlook the fact that by abandoning themselves to God, they can actually become stress-free, thus benefiting their health greatly. God can take care of us in all things – we only need to put our faith in him.
Christians, being human, feel sorrow like anyone else, but their sorrow is always lined with joy. Once the soul has experienced the joy of knowing Christ, no sorrow can ever crush his or her spirit anymore. Sorrow normally burdens the soul, but to the Christian, all sorrows experienced for the sake of Christ are essentially sweet, for they always draw him or her closer to the Lord.
Tuesday, May 8, 2018
Communion thoughts. You watch the news and see everyone talking a mile a minute, nonstop, and you realize how infinitely more beautiful and peaceful it is to remain silent in union with Christ. The world is in total unrest because it does not know him. What came to my mind was what the Lord said to Martha who was anxious and worried about many things, while her sister Mary was sitting at Jesus' feet listening to him speak: "There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her." (Luke 10:42.)
In today's Gospel reading from Acts 16, we heard read that at Philippi, the crowd attacked Paul and Silas, and the magistrates had them stripped and beaten with rods. Afterwards, they threw them into prison. About midnight, there was suddenly a severe earthquake; all the doors flew open and the chains of all were pulled loose. The jailer woke up and was alarmed when he saw the prison doors wide open. He rushed in, saw Paul and Silas, and trembling with fear, fell down before them. He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" And they replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved." God has truly made his plan for our salvation simple, but we often make it as complicated as possible. Instead of making his way straight, we make it crooked or set up roadblocks in our own way. A tragedy in the making!
Monday, May 7, 2018
In the news today. A New York doctor who says he's done 40,000 abortions is accused of being negligent in saving the life of a mother who died after he performed an abortion on her. By the way, he charged $6,000 for the procedure. His lawyer says his client has not committed a crime and predicts that he'll end up with only months in jail when he is sentenced next month. In 2013, a Philadelphia doctor Kermit Gosnell was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after a patient got a fatal overdose of sedatives during an abortion. He also was convicted of murder for snipping the spines of several infants born alive during the procedures.
Our justice is warped. Killing the infant within the mother's womb is OK, but not outside of it. That life begins at conception is completely ignored. God created us out of love and loved us before we were born! Without the guidance of God, mankind further strays away from his ways. It is good that we'll all be judged by him in the end.
Sunday, May 6, 2018
Communion experience. When Jesus was offering his own Body and Blood to us during the consecration of the bread and the wine, he was declaring his greatest love for us. And I saw that loving and worshipping the Lord must come before anything else in life.
In today's reading 2 from 1 John 4, the Apostle talks about God's love. God wants us to love one another, because God is love and he loves us so much that he wants us to be just like him. It is this love that makes us selfless, refrains us from judging others, and draws us to him. It is the key to freedom, inner peace, and eternal life.
In today's reading 1 from Acts 10, the gift of the Holy Spirit poured out on the Gentiles while Peter was still speaking to them about God's impartiality. When the Holy Spirit falls upon you, he touches your soul, making you feel your own soul too. This direct connection with God enables you to see that you were indeed made by him, a most memorable and refreshing experience.
Saturday, May 5, 2018
I am most grateful to God for having revealed so clearly his great love for us and his plan of salvation to us so that we might have eternal life in him through his Son. This has made all the difference to my existence like night and day! It has to be one of the greatest blessings.
Friday, May 4, 2018
Thursday, May 3, 2018
Today is the Feast of Saints Philip and James, Apostles. In the Gospel reading from John 14, Jesus said to Thomas, "If you know me, you will also know my Father. Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?" We all remember the time we saw a celebrity or someone special. My wife recalls spotting President Reagan in the distance once, after he had landed at the airport in Washington, D. C. I personally saw Linus Pauling, the Nobel Prize winner in chemistry and peace, also at an airport as we both lined up to board the same plane. These chance sightings we remember. Now, devout Christians know Christ well, who is no ordinary celebrity, but God himself! This is certainly something we can truly feel good and rejoice about!
Wednesday, May 2, 2018
"God is light" makes sense metaphorically. As far as we know, light travels at 186,282 miles per second and in theory nothing can travel faster than light. Well, God being the creator of light can. I am saying that when I pray, he instantly hears me. Basically, he is aware of anything happening exactly when it's happening without delay. This is expected from God who has dominion over everything.
Yes, Jesus is powerful, demanding, and won't be happy until he possesses all of us, for he loves each of us and wishes us to be happy forever. He advises us on how we should live and tells us what he expects of us, yet he respects our free will and never forces anything upon us. This is admirable, but we should also be able to see that basically, we are the ones who can make his wish of making us happy come true. If we are in the way, we should then repent and apologize to the Lord and accept his love. When a God who loves us wins, we become winners too!
In today's Gospel reading reading from John 15, Jesus said to his disciples, "I am the true vine, you are the branches, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit." This is consistent with what Jesus said: "To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away." If you remain in Christ, the Father will prune you so that you might bear even more fruit. This process grooms you for living a healthy and satisfying Christian life.
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Yesterday I posted about the peace of Jesus. The same verse came up in today's Gospel reading from John 14. Jesus said to his disciples, "My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you." I believe that the peace Christ gives is the peace you receive after you realize that your eternally destiny is all set and that your heart is no longer troubled and afraid.
Do you have enemies? If you do, do not see them as your enemies, but realize that if they did sin against you, they have offended God. Therefore, let the Lord handle them, whom, by the way, he loves. As a matter of fact, we should let the Lord handle all our problems. That is, we deal with them according to his will. This way, we see things as he sees them and understand things as he understands them. Union with the will of God is union with God.
Monday, April 30, 2018
Today's Communion antiphon, John 14.27: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you, says the Lord. As sinners, we'll never have peace on our own, for we continue to sin. God has made us so that if we desire to have him take away our sins, he'll do so and we receive peace from him. This is almost common sense and I can testify to you that it is true.
Earlier in John 14, Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Therefore, we should all connect ourselves to Christ first. It all comes down to that each of us is to go and respond to him, learn from him, and become channels of his love for all others. Yes, we love through him too.
Today's Gospel reading today at Mass from John 14 more or less confirms what I said in the last post. Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him. Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him."
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Achieving union with God is our greatest challenge, precisely because it make us saints. Actually, the hard part consists of just one sticky point: surrendering yourself to God. Here is how a fruitful spiritual journey progresses. You struggle along and eventually reach that sticky point. You stop, but you brave yourself and decide to go beyond it. Now God picks you up and carries you all the rest of the way! This is the big surprise.
In today's Gospel reading from John 15, Jesus talks about the vine and the branches. He said to his disciples, "I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned." Matthew 12.21 comes to my mind, in which Jesus says "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven." Those who do not remain firmly in the Lord can easily be targeted by Satan. I have seen this happening time and again. My personal recommendation is to achieve union with God so that you and the Lord might remain in each other firmly.
We must evangelize ourselves first before evangelizing others. It's always between God and us, never between others and us. And only God can convert our hearts. Our sole responsibility should be to evangelize ourselves, then we'll automatically be effective in attracting others to the Lord. Peace on earth starts with the evangelization of ourselves.
Saturday, April 28, 2018
When I thought that if I must give my own life so that the souls of those I love might be saved, I would do so. Then I realized that the Lord surely love them so much more than I, and I felt instantly relieved, knowing that he would take care of their souls. God always does better than we can in anything.
We fall short of loving God as much as we should, but focusing upon our sinfulness and asking ourselves how we can do better is not the way to go. To progress, we need to focus upon God's love, mercy, holiness, and greater power to inspire us to seek union with him. We can never become saints on our own. We become saints only when we let God do it all for us!
Today's Gospel reading came from John 14. At the Last Supper, Jesus said to his disciples, "From now on you do know my Father and have seen him. Whoever has seen me has seen he Father. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me." You ask, "Where is God?" Find Jesus and you find him. Know Jesus and you know him. How you feel about Jesus is exactly how you feel about God the Father. God is completely within your grasp. In fact, attain union with him and he is all yours!
Today's entrance antiphon, 1 Peter 2.9: O chosen people, proclaim the mighty works of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. Indeed, once you've been called to know Christ, in his light everything becomes crystal clear (no more questions) and you are fully content.
Friday, April 27, 2018
In today's Gospel reading from John 14: Jesus said to his disciples, "In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
All I can say is that Jesus knew exactly what he's talking about. We'd better believe.
Once I met someone promoting a certain product, telling how wonderful and useful it was. I asked him if he owned and used one himself. He admitted that he did not, but knew about the product well. Right there and then, he lost much of his credibility. This makes me realize that if we only tell others how great God is, but not mention how he has changed our lives in any way, we can't be very convincing. Giving personal testimonies is an effective way of backing up what you preach. To spread what God has done to and for you is to glorify God, something to boast about. Catholics can learn much from their Protestant brothers and sisters.
Thursday, April 26, 2018
Communion experience. I feel I am basking in the light of Christ. In this light, I know that he knows all about me, and that he loves me, watches over me, and takes care of me. In this light, I feel good because I am completely content and comfortable with him. Basking in the light of your most beloved and enjoying him, there's nothing more I can ask for.
The Church is a living church, but it needs to be on fire, especially in these dark days now. When the Catholic Charismatic Renewal originated in 1967, a flame started. Sadly, it never received the solid guidance and sustained support it needed from the Church, and after some decades it eventually died down. I see seeking union with God taking the Church to the next level, setting it aflame, God willing. It's in union with God that one comes to meet and know the Resurrected Lord, find out that he is alive, hear him speak directly to the heart, and fall deeply in love with him. May the Holy Spirit soften the hearts of all faithful to permit him to enkindle them.
It is all about how much you let God be God. Vast many never give God a chance and a few like the greats saints open themselves up completely to God. Between these two extremes, the rest just remain stagnant or vacillate back and forth. Overall, not an exciting or pretty picture.
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
By nature, we treasure ourselves more than all else. In this way, we become our own slaves. Therefore, if we can give ourselves totally to God, we become free! Then we become detached to everything else too. (Again, this is how God has made us.)
Today is the Feast of St. Mark, evangelist. Here are the first two verses, 15 and 16, of the Gospel reading from Mark 16: Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them: "Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned." Proclaiming the Gospel to the whole world really should be one of our foremost obligations or missions if we consider ourselves to be disciples of Christ. The Gospel remains fresh and the world needs to hear it as longer as we are still sinners. We don't have to proclaim Christ like those street corner preachers, but we certainly can share about Christ with anyone when we get a chance. Then how many of us even mention his name as if he is real outside of church? This is the one who created us, loves us, and died for us! We cannot exist or survive without him! This is the one we should love with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our strength! In general, Catholics are too timid and not used to testifying for Christ. All the more we need to seek union with the Lord to let the Holy Spirit set our heart on fire, so that we may be emboldened to proclaim the Gospel as the Apostles did.
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Fear of God can be healthy or unhealthy. The healthy fear makes you afraid of being lost if you do not believe in God, while the unhealthy fear makes you afraid that God is going to take over if you surrender yourself to him. The healthy fear normally leads one to reconciliation with God, so it's the one to keep. And the unhealthy fear keeps you from growing closer to God, the fear you should not have. How intimate you are with the Lord is gauged by how comfortable you feel about him. Ideally, we should feel completely comfortable about our Lord, thus ready for whatever he wishes to do with us. This is perfect obedience.
We feel good if a university accepts us as a student, a company decides to hire us for a position, some well-known club invites us to be a member, etc. In other words, we feel good that we can belong to an organization or group. Of course, our application can get rejected too. Now, there is the very best we can belong to and will always accept us if we apply properly, and that is God's Family! It's the very best because in this family, you'll be loved, blessed, and protected forever!
I think we've all heard the saying "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." The horse has his own will too. This also holds true is evangelization. You can lead a person to Christ, but accepting the Lord now depends upon that person. Since nothing is impossible with God, we must always persevere in believing that the Lord will bring about the conversion.
Communion experience. Jesus and the Father are one. Receiving the Holy Eucharist unites me to Jesus and the Father. Now, there are three! The Lord desires to invite all of us to be one with him. (To find out about how God longs to be one with us, I again recommend reading the amazing book "He and I" by Gabrielle Bossis.) Rejecting any of God's invitations is a big deal (read the parable of the wedding feast in Matthew 22)! If you do feel invited to do whatever for the Lord, you may ask why, but "no" can never be the right answer.
In today's Gospel reading from John 10, Jesus said to the Jews, "My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father's hand. The Father and I are one." This message comes to us positively without ambiguity. It needs no clarification, amplification, or interpretation. If you do not accept it, you must declare that it's all rubbish first.
If we are spiritually perfect and do not sin, there would be no need for God to come to save us. The fact that many of us have found out that we need Christ and are even willing to die for him proves that we know we are sinners who need salvation. Of course, there are others who have not woken to this reality yet.
Monday, April 23, 2018
In John 10, Jesus declared to all, "A good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know my sheep and they know me." It strikes me that our God, the God of Christ, is most personal. You won't find another god like that anywhere else. Since there is only one true God, perhaps I should have stated that our God is more personal and caring than any other being. This is logical and as it should be, and I rejoice in it.
Today's Psalm 42 response: Athirst is my soul for the living God. Looking back, I see that I first thirsted for God because I felt the emptiness of life. Now that I have found him, I thirst for him still as he draws me. So it is that you would want even more of the one who can completely satisfy you. Such is the unique power or charm, if I may use the word, of God.
Today's entrance antiphon, Romans 6.9: Christ, having risen from the dead, dies now no more; death will no longer have dominion over him. Of course, being God and the creator of all life, Christ cannot possibly die. His let himself be killed on earth only because he was carrying out the Father's plan of salvation for us. As for us, we'll all die. After death, we'll either remain dead forever or be raised by Christ – the choice is ours to make here and now!
Sunday, April 22, 2018
Every sin we commit provides the opportunity for us to grow holier. Loss of inner peace is our first reminder. The worst thing you can possibly do is to ignore your past sins and continue on sinning. Thus your soul gets defiled more and more. This is evading God, a game in which you'll lose for sure. This is also playing Russian roulette with your own soul – what if you die expectedly? Of course, the right thing to do is to repent as soon as possible your sin and have the Lord make you clean again. Don't stop, for it is also the time to surrender to God more to reduce your chance of sinning again. With practice, each sin you commit will lead you to greater holiness. By the way, with more inner peace, your physical health will benefit too.
In today's first reading from Acts 4, Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to leaders of the people and elders, "There is no salvation through anyone other than Jesus Christ the Nazorean whom you crucified and God raised from the dead." In the Gospel reading from John 10, Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd and I will lay down my life for my sheep." If Jesus was good enough for Peter and John, he is certainly good enough for me.
Saturday, April 21, 2018
Who wouldn't want to be set for life? Perhaps you think that the billionaires are set for life. If so, then you are being quite short-sighted. What is infinitely superior is to be set for life for all eternity, and you can be in that position by simply following Christ! Now, this has to be the best possible news of your life on earth.
Jesus prayed to the Father that those who follow him may always be one in him and the Father. In Matthew 16, Jesus said to Peter, "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Sadly, the Reformation headed by Martin Luther in the 16th century led to the establishment of many Protestant churches, breaking up the Church Christ had established. Since Jesus said that the gates of the netherworld should not prevail against his church, the Catholic Church still standing today has to be that church. Unfortunately, there is still a sizable number of Protestants continually attacking the Catholic Church, believing that the Pope is the Antichrist. My question is, if that's true, when did it happen? Did it start with the Apostle Peter, the first Pope, or later? They also claim that the Catholic Church has gone stray, yet no one can tell me when and how that happened. Study the early fathers of the Church and you'll see that they believed in what Catholics believe in today. One foremost example is the belief that the Holy Eucharist is truly the Flesh and Blood of Christ. So, please find out what we truly believe in before drawing any conclusion. By the way, we do not worship Mary. Do not judge us, for we were Christians first before you split off 1,500 years later. If you believe that we are lost, then lovingly pray for us. If you judge us, then pray for yourself too. I pray that we'll always follow the Holy Spirit who wishes all Christians to be one. Last, to set your mind at ease, we Catholics are not going to hell, so don't worry about us.
What does the world teach us? The world is good at teaching us how to succeed by making more money to get rich so that we may achieve financial security, and that we can realize such dreams on our own if we try hard enough. The focus is entirely on ourselves. In other words, the world is out of touch with God. To be blunt, we live in godless societies. Where God counts, he is more or less worshipped in private and in churches only. The separation of church and state in this country succeeded in keeping God where he belongs, so to speak. This is the sad reality today.
Friday, April 20, 2018
Excerpts from today's Gospel reading from 6: Jesus said to the Jews while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my Flesh is true food, and my Blood is true drink. Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood remains in me and I in him. The one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever." After hearing all these sayings, can you still presume that the consecrated bread and wine Jesus gave to his disciples at the Last Supper and we receive at Mass are just ordinary bread and wine the whole time, symbolizing the Flesh and Blood of the Lord? Not a chance! (John 6 is the chapter many Protestants avoid scrutinizing.)
To get your sins forgiven, you need to accept and believe in Christ as your Savior. You might think that you are a pretty good person, and maybe you are, but that is no guarantee that you'll make heaven. Matthew 10.33: Whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father – says the Lord to the Twelve. Yes, accepting Christ does take precedence over getting your sins forgiven.
John 14.6: Jesus said to Thomas, "I am the way and the the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." This makes perfect sense, for he is to be our sole judge and the only one who can take away our sins! It follows that there is no way we can bypass him, right?
Thursday, April 19, 2018
Peace on earth begins when you realize that in the God of Christ you can have your future secured for all eternity! No one else in history can promise you that as Christ has with such authority, backed up at the same time by mighty deeds, culminating in his own death and Resurrection. Only in him, the Prince of Peace, will one find ultimate peace.
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
We know we should love God more, but we cannot accomplish this on our own, for we are finite beings. To go beyond what we can achieve, we must open ourselves to God more to let him power us. Know that the Lord wants to enter totally into our heart to help and we are at the helm of how wide to open the gate of our heart.
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Anyone who focuses their attention on things of this world only is myopic. Then there are those who search for spiritual truths in the wrong places and end up with nebulous beliefs. Ram Dass is a case in point. You can find out more about him on Wikipedia. I watched the short Netflix documentary "Ram Dass, Going Home" – what he says about life, death, soul, reincarnation, etc., might be attractive to many spiritual seekers, but obviously he doesn't know what he's talking about. Only Christ has provided clear and positive answers to living our spiritual life now and forever. Start or end your search with him.
At the Last Supper, the Lord Jesus held the First Mass and instituted the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Therefore, we should take Mass most seriously. The focus of Mass should be on adoring and glorifying the Lord alone; distraction in any form, no matter how good its intention, should be considered out of place. And worshippers must realize that they are in the house of the Lord and observe silence. Can all this happen in an ordinary parish? I believe that if you do take things seriously, people will come to respect that. It's precisely because you are casual about it that people lose their seriousness too.
In Psalm 31, David writes "Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit." Jesus on the cross cried out "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit" before breathing his last. To me, the spirit is more encompassing than either the heart or the soul. When we commend our spirit into God's hands, we entrust our totality to him. Therefore, making this commitment often should condition us for union with God.
Monday, April 16, 2018
Normally, we don't try to "bother" God with little things we can easily do on our own and only ask for his help when we feel that we need it. Today I ask myself why not ask the Lord to get involved with everything I do, big or little. It would be an excellent way of acknowledging his constant presence and showing my utter need for his companionship. It should strengthen our union of dwelling in each other. So it's doing everything for him and with him. You can never do enough for him who has given all of himself to us.
People remain in darkness because it is easier for them to keep their sins hidden than to face light and have them all exposed. They forget that God sees everything in their hearts. Sometimes avoiding facing God can be a sin too, depending upon the circumstances. Again, only God can judge that. Living in darkness is not living at all. Happy, blessed, and free is the one lives completely in the light of Christ, with nothing to hide from the Lord!
Today's Communion antiphon, John 14.27: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you, says the Lord. The peace God gives us is indeed different because it affects the very soul. Since the world has no power to touch the soul, whatever it gives cannot truly be peace.
Doing good per se is good, but to make it meaningful, you must have a higher purpose. When we treat our own family members kindly, it's only natural. When we do good to strangers, it only makes us feel good. The higher purpose I am talking about is to do good for the sole purpose of pleasing God, not ourselves. This is the way to be set free and to build up lasting treasures in heaven. What Jesus has done to us is most meaningful because he died for us willingly in complete obedience to the Father. No act can be meaningful should God be kept out of the picture.
Sunday, April 15, 2018
At the end of Mass this morning, Fr. P held up a baby high to show us the one he just baptized yesterday, and the little one grinned. The whole congregation rejoiced and applauded. At that moment, I thought of those babies who did not get baptized because the parents either did not know Christ or had fallen away from their faith before their child was born. It saddened me to see this division among the children through no fault of theirs.
Again, in the Gospel reading from Luke, Jesus says to his disciples, "Everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled. Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem." Somehow, at that point, the Lord made me see that there was no reason for us to be terrified of anything anymore, as everything would unfold according to his plan.
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 24, the disciples recognized the Lord Jesus in the breaking of the bread. Each time at Mass, when I see the priest breaking the host, I know the Lord is letting himself be broken and distributed to each one of us, inviting us to join him in union with him.
In today's 1st reading from Acts 3, we heard Peter say to the people, "The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses." It dawned on me that since Christ was our creator, the author of life, then, of course, he cannot possibly ever remain dead! The Resurrection was unavoidable!
The Church has always held fast to and taught the Sacred Traditions rooted in Scripture, handed down by the Apostles from the very beginning. The New Testament was not comprised by the Church until almost 400 years later. Therefore, it is false to believe that the Bible is the only teaching authority you need. Just witness the the disunity and disorder among the countless Protestant denominations without the teaching magisterium of the Church. In Thessalonians 2.15, Paul writes "Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by letter of ours." The Bible came out of the Church, not the other way around.
If you don't believe in Jesus, then are you prepared to say that the fact that he performed many miracles, died on the cross and rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and the Apostles and many early disciples willingly followed him only to meet death is all a big hoax? Are you also prepared to say that the over two billion Christians in the world and the great saints throughout history have all been deceived into believing in a falsehood that has been perpetuated for two millenniums?
Saturday, April 14, 2018
When the Holy Spirit fills your heart with joy to overflowing, it becomes impossible to keep it to yourself. I love the Holy Spirit, sweet and gentle, yet powerful and insuppressible. The experience of being slain in the Holy Spirit is most peaceful, yet intoxicating. The Holy Spirit is a delight!
The Son of God had come to us, revealing God's love for us to the point of dying himself on the cross for our sins so that we might be saved. And he made it clear that whoever believes in him will have eternal life. Yet so many of the world ignore him – how foolish can you be? They do not come forward to say that the good news is untrue either – how cowardly can you be? If I sounded harsh, that's because I am concerned about their souls. Jesus prayed even for those who crucified him from the cross, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." I pray that every single one of us on earth will enjoy heaven after death. What is so great about our God is that no matter how sinful you are, if you repent and ask for his forgiveness, you are right back in his bosom. Now, you are no longer a foolish coward or cowardly fool.
Friday, April 13, 2018
According to Jesus, the greatest commandment for us is to love God the Lord with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind. How do we measure up? To say that we fall short miserably is not far off the mark. It shows how weak we are and how we deeply we have become entangled in the snares of the evil one. Against this, our hope rests in the infinite mercy of God. Even though we can never love God as perfectly as we should, we must try our very best. Again, I recommend seeking union with God to make everything easy. Yes, yielding ourselves to the Lord is the breakthrough we need to ensure our salvation.
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