Communion experience. I love the Lord because his love for me has made it possible. The Lord has made me for him!
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.
In today's Gospel reading from John 6, the Jewish feast of Passover was near when Jesus saw that a large crowd was coming to him. He said to Philip, "Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?" He said this to test him because he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, "Two hundred days' wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little." Andrew, another disciple, said to him, "There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?" Jesus had all the people recline, about five thousand in number. Then he took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted.
The lesson here is clear. God does test us, knowing well what he is going to do. As a matter of fact, I see every problem we face as a test of our faith. Knowing well that God always knew what he is going to do, we might as well place our trust in him always.
Thursday, April 12, 2018
Communion experience. The Lord fed me the bread from heaven! This is the very bread about which Jesus said, "I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world." – John 6.
When things go bad, you question where God is. But did you believe in him or even seek him when things were going well? God is always there with us. To his disciples, Jesus said, "Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." You ask where God is because you were never with him!
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Today's Gospel reading John 3.16-21, the first part: God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. Comment: The truth John, the Apostle, has spoken to us here should shake us to the core!
The second part: And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God. Comment: Again, John has spoken the truth, the reality then and now. When John wrote the Gospel at an old age, he had fully understood who Jesus was and why he came into the world. We must give these sayings of his most seriously.
I've posted that the best way to fight temptation is to run away from it, but it is easier said than done for these two reasons. First, temptation is enjoyable – normally, we just do not walk away when we are having fun. Secondly, temptation is not a sin. When we sin, we sense the guilt and try to stop it, while temptation comes to us and does not make us feel that it is our fault, so the urge to walk away from it is not strongly present. In any case, it takes discipline to overcome temptation. Turning our attention to the Savior should be effective in getting us out of this trap.
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Godlessness in our world has reached a pinnacle as far as I can see in my lifetime. Do not rule out an imminent World War III. When that happens, you would wish that you knew Christ all along. Do not remain idle. It is time to pray hard with all your heart that the Lord will save all souls and crush all evil. There is never a time we need to cry out for God's mercy more.
Monday, April 9, 2018
Most people who are religious were either raised in their religion or looked for and found one they liked. But the only valid reason for one to believe in a religion should be that it has been found to hold the whole truth, and this is how I feel about Catholicism. I watched a short travel vlog showing an American vlogger in front of a Buddhist temple in Beijing, China. Like the native worshippers, she also took some incense sticks, held them up and bowed to the big statue of Buddha in the temple. She's probably having fun or just did it for sake of the vlog. At that moment I realized how blessed I was. I knew God in person, where I was going, what actions would draw me close to God and what actions wouldn't. Life became completely clear and purposeful. This is the ideal comfortable position to be in – the very opposite of being lost.
Sunday, April 8, 2018
There is the saying, "You only get out of something what you put into it." In the case with God, the more you surrender to him, the more you are free. Moreover, since the Lord is infinitely rich, what you reap from him can be infinitely rewarding, such as being transformed by him into a new creature, holy and beautiful in his eye. Go all the way to get the most out of God.
Saturday, April 7, 2018
It is never wise to live dangerously. You may get the thrill, but you can lose your life and/or everything you have. But to ignore Christ is downright living most dangerously – not only you do not get any thrill, you can lose your soul forever!
The world looks for the most attractive contestant in a beauty pageant or the most impressive physique in a bodybuilding contest. But the Lord God looks at our heart. What is beautiful to him is a heart that's pure, clean, and obedient to his every will. Aim for inner beauty that will shine forever, not for superficial beauty that fades away rapidly.
Friday, April 6, 2018
You cannot be an good swimming teacher if you are not a proficient swimmer. And you cannot be an good driving instructor if you are not an experienced driver. Similarly, you won't be an effective evangelizer if you do not know the Lord well yourself. To know the Lord thoroughly is to surrender yourself to himself completely so that you may feel the zeal and inner fire and speak with passion and conviction. Otherwise, your message will only sound academic, dry, not-coming-from-the-heart, and lack power. To uplift others, let the Lord uplift you first. To inspire others, let him inspire you first. We should not spend so much time feeling sorry about how we fall short of loving God and trying to figure out how you should love him more. Instead, we should spend a lot more time focusing upon God's love and mercy, such great hope he has given us, and that he can actually help us overcome our sins and transform us into saints! The Holy Spirit does not like us to remain lukewarm; he wants to set our hearts on fire! Not letting ourselves go in God is stifling his Spirit.
In today's Gospel reading from John 21, the Risen Christ revealed himself to seven of his disciples yet one more time at the Sea of Tiberias. Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, James and John the Zebedee's sons, and two others went fishing and caught nothing throughout the night. When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He said to them, "Children, have you caught anything to eat?" They answered him, "No." So he said to them, "Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something." So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish. Then John said to Peter, "It is the Lord." When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea.
First, John had that great it-is-the-Lord moment, followed by Peter so eager to get to his Lord. Would that everyone of us will recognize the Lord and run toward him with all his heart, casting everything else aside!
You may not pay much attention to the good news of salvation brought to you by Christ, but realize the dire consequences of rejecting it and you might just want to take it most seriously. It's like realizing the horror of hell makes one want to seek heaven. The negative can surely make the positive look attractive.
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
When you look at a scene with your eyes, you see depth and everything else in 3D. But when you look at a photo of the scene, you see it in 2D only, even though you can perceive the 3rd dimension hidden in the image. If we look at Jesus merely as a historical figure, it would be like looking at him in 2D. But he is the same yesterday, today, and forever! Now see him in 3D to watch him come alive with depth.
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 24, the Risen Lord appeared to two disciples on the road to Emmaus, a village seven miles from Jerusalem. He walked with them and conversed with them, even interpreting the Scriptures to them. Arriving at Emmaus, he agreed to stay with them. The whole time the two were prevented from recognizing him. Then when he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him. Every time we witness the breaking of the Bread at Mass, we have this it's-the-Lord moment. The apostle John recognized that it was the Lord about a hundred yards away from him at the Sea of Tiberias (John 21). It certainly is a blessed, joyous moment every Christian should experience.
In today's first reading from Acts 3, Peter cured a crippled beggar in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean. I believe that if we consciously do everything in the name of Jesus, we'll be walking with the Lord and make great spiritual progress.
Why some Christians do not feel anything about God, while others have their hearts set on fire by the Holy Spirit? It all has to do with how much you let God have your heart. When you give your heart completely to the Father, you belong to him and you are home!
Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Do we have life after death? If there were no God, it would be impossible for us to know. In fact, we might not even come up with this question, if God hadn't created us in his image. It is through spiritual experiences that we come to realize that there must be life after death, that life is worth living, and that God has made us this way. Witness the Resurrection of Christ! The atheists would disagree with me because they simply block out anything spiritual. Those who remain open to God can confirm without a doubt that there is life after death because God has made them see.
In today's Gospel reading from John 20, the Risen Christ appeared to Mary of Magdala. After she recognized that it was the Lord, he said to her, "Go to my brothers and tell them, 'I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God." These words reveal that Christ is our brother, and he and we share the same Father and the same God – awesome news that should make our hearts leap for joy!
Monday, April 2, 2018
Do you realize that not wishing to face Christ, not wanting to consider surrendering to him, and not being interested in seeking union with him are all forms of keeping the Lord at a distance? Do you also realize that the Father is patiently waiting for you to run toward him to be embraced by him!
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 28, we heard read that after the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning and his clothing was white as snow. The guards were shaken with fear of him and became like dead men. Then the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, 'He has been raised from the dead, and he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him.'" Some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had happened. The chief priests assembled with the elders and took counsel; then they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, "You are to say, 'His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep.' And if this gets to the ears of the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you our of trouble."
Instead of showing any interest in finding out exactly what had happened to Jesus, the chief priests and the elders were solely concerned about saving their own neck. They are being extremely foolish. Today news media spread fake news instead of reporting truth, and liars propagate falsehood on social media. As long as we have sinners, fools will abound.
Sunday, April 1, 2018
I've mentioned numerous times that when you are in union with God, he does all the hard work for you, and this is a huge advantage that makes your life exciting. Specifically, let him love all others through you for you. Essentially, if you obey the Lord, he honors your wishes. Thus, union is the greatest possible relationship with God our Father.
Christ is risen! Happy Easter to all! Without the Resurrection, we wouldn't be here today to pay much attention to him, let alone eagerly want to tell others about him. Honestly, Christ has absolutely made my life exciting and worth living. Without him, I'd rather die and become nothing. But this is not possible anymore, for I now belong to him forever! He is our Savior, the Savior for every one of us if you'll just let him. A simply yes from your heart will start your journey to heaven. Choose to trust and follow Christ; let him lead you every step of the way and you don't ever need to use your free will again. The more you abandon yourself to him, the smoother your journey becomes. He is our freedom, our peace, and our joy!