Because we are at the complete mercy of God, the most sensible, intelligent, and logical thing for us to do is to abandon ourselves completely to God. The proof is in the peace and freedom you receive.
"Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)
Monday, December 31, 2018
Reviewing what I lack spiritually, I see that I need to see Christ in everyone more. Of course, making any resolution on my own will not amount to anything if I do not let the Lord help me adhere to it. Looking at it this way, the most fundamental resolution is clearly to surrender ourselves to God in all things.
The first 18 verses of the Gospel John were read at today's morning Mass on this last day of the year 2018 of our Lord. The words are earthshaking, soul-shaking. I shall reproduce verses 1-5 and most of verses 10-14 below.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God . . . . And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father's only-begotten Son, full of grace and truth.
As the year ends, it is fitting to review how it all happened at the beginning.
Sunday, December 30, 2018
Saturday, December 29, 2018
I realize that in glorifying the Lord, we mush temper our zeal so as not to interfere with his time table. There is a delicate balance here to achieve. We can sense that by making sure that our ego does not take part and listening quietly to the voice of the Lord in our heart. Seeking union with God is the way to go.
All of us came from God and will have to answer to him alone – not to you, me, or anyone else – in the end. This should teach us not to ever judge others or get over-concerned about their salvation. What is proper for us to do is to pray for each other with all our heart and leave it all to God.
Friday, December 28, 2018
To let God draw us deep into him is the same as letting him enter deep into us, as either way results in union. Since the Lord longs to become one with us, it is inconceivable that he would refuse our invitation for him to enter us. The ball is now in our court.
Communion experience. I trembled upon approaching the Lord to receive him, not because I fear him, for he loves me, nor because I fear the evil one, for he absolutely has no power over me when I am with the Lord; I trembled because the Most Holy One was about to enter me, still a most wretched sinner.
Today is the Feast of Holy Innocents. Evil is real. King Herod, attempting to destroy the child Jesus, the prophesied king of the Jews, ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under. Today's Response from Psalm 124: Our soul has ben rescued like a bird from the fowler's snare. Has your soul already been snared by the evil one? Is it in danger of being snared by him? We must be aware that evil snares are all around us at all times, so that if we do not remain vigilant and watchful, we can easily lose our soul.
Thursday, December 27, 2018
It may be difficult to believe in Christ, but it is practically impossible to prove that he never existed, that he never told the truth, or that he never rose from the dead. To believe in him only requires stopping playing God yourself, but people choose to ignore and not to resolve this issue as long as possible. So we see that Christ has to be our Lord and God. Then he must come again to judge us or our whole existence would be meaningless. Whether his Second Coming will happen in our lifetime or not, we must be ready for it, and this is my final point.
We all have our own shortcomings, but God can heal us spiritually, fill our hearts with joy, and make us whole so that we no longer see them as obstacles. In fact, they now make us even more dependent upon him in all things. The Lord always completes us where we fall short.
Wednesday, December 26, 2018
Communion experience. The Lord is holy and can make us holy. The Lord is perfect and can make us perfect. The Lord is also eternal and can give us eternal life. Desire all these things and they are yours. Desire to be like him and he'll fulfill you desire by becoming one with you.
Today is the Feast of Saint Stephen, first martyr. As he was being stoned to death, he called out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Before Jesus breathed his last on the cross, he cried out in a loud voice, "Father, into your hands, I commend my spirit." As disciples of Christ, we must also be ready and willing to entrust our spirit to God's care, even if we are not under any threat of death.
Tuesday, December 25, 2018
Once you are in union with God, his values are yours and you see the world as he sees it. The people of our generation are now like kids keeping themselves entertained with whatever they can find, not knowing what they are doing nor where they are going. Unavoidably, some of them become badly spoiled and start to bully and beat up on others, creating chaos and disorder throughout the world.
I attended the 4:00 p.m. Christmas Mass yesterday. I never saw my church this packed. The adjacent ministry center had to be used to offer a second Mass for those who could not fit into the main church. The spacious parking lots were full of parked cars overflowing onto unpaved areas and the roads. And there was another Vigil Mass scheduled for 7 p.m. later too. Would that all regular Sunday Masses get flooded like this! I felt sad for those Catholics who only show up at Christmas and Easter times. I was at the ministry center and the crowd there was relatively quiet, not in any celebratory mood. All this somewhat dampened my Christmas spirits. Back to praying hard.
Monday, December 24, 2018
You may cast many things out of your life or treat something lightly in your life, but there is one you must never shut the door on and must, in fact, take most seriously – that is the God of Christ. He has come, is here with us, and will come again. A most blessed Christmas to you all!
Photography, music, and mathematics have been my favorite subjects. I enjoy talking about them, but you do not often meet people who share the same interest. Now, my greatest joy is to talk about Jesus, for he has given me the greatest joy in my life, but meeting people who are excited about him is even rarer.
Saturday, December 22, 2018
Being human, our thoughts dart around involuntarily, even in our dream. But as long as our intention remains pure, we commit no sin. Therefore, be rooted in the Lord, be one with him, so that no evil, impure, or inappropriate thought will ever cross your mind, then you'll be OK with the Lord, for he is most understanding.
Time belongs absolutely to God too. Our time on earth is simply borrowed time from God. We sense only the present instant, but for the eternal God, time stands still with the past, the present, and the future all rolled into one. Therefore, it would be utter folly to think that we can escape from God for a single moment.
Everything comes from the Lord God our creator. When we create something, we simply make something out of what has already been created. And we do not own anything either. It is important to realize that everything belongs to God, including ourselves. So it is outrageous and even outlandish to think that we do not need God anymore. In today's 1st reading from 1 Samuel 1, Hannah, the mother of Samson, dedicated her son to the Lord. It would be entirely proper for us to consecrate ourselves, our families, and all that we have to God, acknowledging that he is the creator to whom we belong. Then order will be restored in the universe.
Thursday, December 20, 2018
Probably John 3.16 is the best known verse of the New Testament: "God so loved the world that he gave his own Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but have eternal life." God is infinitely deep and profound, yet he reveals his love for us in such a simple straight way. Are we so dense that we don't even get it? I think it's more that we do not really want to get it.
Let God initiate all your thoughts, words, and actions, and you'll experience great peace. As long as we still rebel against the Lord, there will be no peace within our hearts. This is how he has made us! It only shows how much he loves us and wants us to return to him to enjoy his holy presence for ever.
Wednesday, December 19, 2018
It is critical that we realize God and Evil are engaged in a spiritual warfare fighting for our very soul. Without this awareness, we are likely to make many wrong life decisions at the risk of losing our soul. We simply cannot remain as bystanders. This is another wakeup call for all.
Tuesday, December 18, 2018
I have said we Christians do too much talking and not enough listening to God. So I also see that we tend to start a lot of things before we get any clear signal from God. Our intention may be good, but we can get ahead of the Holy Spirit and end up wasting much of our valuable time. Unless we face some urgent issue, the Lord does not rush us; he will let us know what to do at the right time. To be patient and to trust in him are what we need to learn.
I watched Ben Shapiro interviewing Bishop Robert Barron on his show and realized that many intellectuals came to know God through studying philosophy, theology, and writings of saints who happened to be great intellectuals. I know each of us Gods leads to him via an individual path. In my own case, the spiritual growth of the past decade or so began after I opened myself up to God, asking no questions, but trusting. And he responded by speaking to me directly from my heart, revealing himself to me in the most intimate way. I really think I have discovered the best way to know God – the childlike approach.
Monday, December 17, 2018
Communion experience. Jesus is the light of the world. When I open myself up to him, he makes me see everything in and about me, and at the same time I come to understand and know him intimately. This experience is eyeopening, exhilarating, and endearing. Once you have tasted him, you would want to become one with him for ever. The Lord is that beautiful!
At every Mass, we ask God to have mercy on us and to grant us peace. Of both mercy and peace, the Lord, being love, has an infinite supply to deliver to us. As Christians, we are sustained by his mercy and peace. Knowing this keeps us humble. Without his mercy, we would be doomed. And peace is what he wishes us the most to have. Seek union with him and all his peace will be yours.
As surely as the righteous will be rewarded, those who are evil will be punished. Our conscience tells us that if good and evil are the same or if there is no heaven or hell, life would be completely meaningless. You may not see the purpose of life yet, but to see without a doubt that life is meaningless when you mind is clear and are not under emotional stress is not possible.
Today's Gospel reading from Matthew gave us the genealogy of Jesus. The total number of generations from Abraham to David is 14; from David to the Babylonian exile, 14; from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah, 14. All of us can be traced back to Adam and Eve, but what is amazing is that through Christ we are now directly the adopted sons and daughters of the heavenly Father.
John 18.36: Jesus answered (to Pontius Pilate), "My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here." We who follow the Lord must also realize that we belong to his kingdom and not to this world. Therefore, we won't be troubled when things go against us in this world, knowing that we'll be dwelling in the Father's kingdom later for all eternity.
Sunday, December 16, 2018
On November 8, I posted the story of Roy Schoeman to whom the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared. At one point, he asked her what her favorite prayer was. Her answer: "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee." This is one of the short prayers we recite right after daily Mass at my church. Today I also realize that these are the exact words inscribed on the front side of the Miraculous Medal, a medal I've been wearing around my neck for decades. If you do not know anything about this medal, you can find its extraordinary story online. Briefly, the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Catherine Labouré, at the time a novice in the community of the Daughters of Charity, Paris, in 1830. She instructed Catherine to have the medal struck, paving the way for the Church to declare officially the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary 24 years later. The Blessed Mother told Catherine that those who wear the medal would receive great graces. I believed and still believe in that. The fact that I can know our Lord so intimately today is certainly one of those great graces. I love my Holy Mother, the most beautiful human being God has ever created. (A footnote. You can still see the chair Mary sat in while conversing with Catherine at the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, 140 Rue du Bac, Paris. St. Catherine's incorrupt body can be seen displayed there as well.)
Saturday, December 15, 2018
We cannot be happy if we only get to be happy for a short time. All things of the world pass, so there is no point in attaching yourself to any of them. I think of the tsunami that hit Japan suddenly 7 years ago which destroyed so many lives, homes, and buildings. Recently, the whole town of Paradise just 80 miles north of here burned to the ground and practically all the residents became homeless in no time. If we ever have another world war, the extent of destruction of lives and properties would be impossible to estimate. Therefore, get yourself detached from all things of the world and seek eternal security and happiness in heaven, then you'll be truly happy now and forever. No "here today, gone tomorrow"; we demand "here today and here forever"!
Friday, December 14, 2018
When you are in union with Christ, you and the Lord share the same joys and sorrows. So carrying a burden in your heart for his sake is simply being with him carrying that burden. This is why for us, his yoke is easy and his burden light (Matthew 11.30). What a blessing it is to experience the same joys and sorrows with the Lord!
How often do you think of God? Do you ever think about him? How often do you think of yourself? Do you care a lot more about yourself than about God? These questions help us realize how much we know God. The quickest way to know God is to surrender ourselves to him to let him be the center of our life. And he will set us free to enjoy fully our new freedom in him.
Today is the Memorial of St. John of the Cross. In the Gospel reading from Matthew 11, in speaking to the crowds about John the Baptist, Jesus said, "John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, 'He is possessed by a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, 'Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.'" This reminds me of the fake news media in this country. They no longer report news objectively; they would twist facts, accentuate the negative, or spread outright lies to spin the public to hate someone they dislike, such as President Donald Trump right now. In general, double standard and hypocrisy exist in many of our nation's places. You have to be totally ignorant of God to not sense the fierce ongoing war between good and evil.
We must never remain complacent when our soul is Satan's target in his war waged against God. This is why the Lord wants us to remain alert and be vigilant at all times. Not doing anything bad is not good enough – we must do every little bit we can to help our Lord. Don't commit any sin of omission. And our reward will be great in heaven.
Thursday, December 13, 2018
This is our God, the God of Christ. He is universal because he loves every single one of us and wishes that all of us would enter heaven to live happily forever with him. He is personal because he would have died to redeem you even if you were the only one existing. He is so personal that he wishes to be your soulmate even now while you are on earth.
Today is the Memorial of St. Lucy. In the Gospel reading from Matthew 11, Jesus said to the crowds: "Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he." So we can say that the least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than the greatest on earth. 1 Corinthians 1.25: The foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. We humans forget that God who created us is infinitely greater, wiser, and stronger than us finite creatures. Any finite number compared to infinity is essentially zero. Unfortunately, there are many of us who think that they are smart enough not to need God anymore, unaware that they are exhibiting utter foolishness. Know that the smartness of the world is dumbness in the eyes of God.
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Be clear about it, we are all engaged in the spiritual warfare between God and Satan. As a matter of fact, this warfare is all about battling for our souls. Unknowingly, you may already have been held hostage by Satan, but those who are fighting evil know that they are fighting for God. The polarization between good and evil has never been so clear. From here on, I can only see that the battle intensifies, as our last days diminish. Rampant sins are causing so much misery around the world. I won't be surprised that major disasters will hit and civil wars break out in the various prosperous countries. It was the Middle East first, possibly Europe next and America soon. If Christians are no longer listening to their God, it is a bad sign. The great joy I feel in the Lord is mixed with the great sorrow I feel for the world, but God is my refuge from whom I seek help and consolation.
Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Gospel reading from Luke 1 tells us that Mary, pregnant with Jesus, went to visit her cousin Elizabeth, and when she greeted Elizabeth, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and the infant in her womb (John the Baptist) leaped for joy. If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we would also feel great joy upon hearing the Lord speaking to us or merely at the thought of him. Therefore, rejoice if you have such joy, for the Holy Spirit dwells within you.
Tuesday, December 11, 2018
I lament that so many people worship so many false gods nowadays: glamor of the celebrities, name-brand merchandise, luxury cars, smart technology, etc. – summarily, vanity and mammon. But they cannot save you. In fact, they will ruin your soul. How blind and foolish today's generation is!
Sinning is a complete waste of time. So you get your way, do you really feel good about it? Even if you get some pleasure out of it, how long will that last? Anything you contemplate that will make you feel guilty or regret later is not worth doing. If you sin and hurt others, your sin can be serious. And if you sin and cause others to leave God, your sin is now deadly serious. Above all, know that however you sin, you hurt and sadden your heavenly Father the most.
I used to sleep late and get up late every morning for many years. Then I was able to change all that by going to bed early and rising early the next morning everyday. I used to sit with my legs crossed most of the time. Then I realized that I really shouldn't do that sitting in a church pew during Mass, and I was able to change that too. Now I actually feel better sitting anywhere without crossing my legs. The point I am getting at is that many of our sins are also habitual and you can change your habit to stop committing them again.
Monday, December 10, 2018
Christ our Savior has already come, making it clear that we can have life in him forever. Once we know that our soul is safe in him and our body will pass away anyway, there is truly nothing left for us to fear. Let the Lord remove all your sins first and then all your fears.
It strikes me that the fact that God can forgive our sins is a big deal. Because if you are stuck with sins, you simply won't be able to get into heaven! In today's Gospel reading from Luke 5, Jesus forgives the sins of a paralytic for having faith in him. Anyhow, the sure way is to repent of your sins and ask the Lord to forgive you. Having God cleanse you spiritually is more amazing than having him heal you physically. For only he can do this, and it's a request with which he'll always gladly comply.
Saturday, December 8, 2018
Communion experience. I received the greatest possible gift on earth, the Lord himself. By the way, a Eucharistic miracle just occurred in Buffalo, NY. This is not the first miracle of it kind. I personally saw one Host which once bled and is now preserved in Betania, Venezuela. You can google and find others preserved around the world. Unfortunately, the bishops in Buffalo for inexplicable reasons to me, instead of investigating the phenomenon and preserving it for the faithful to witness, ordered the Host to be disposed of. Fortunately, you can still see some of the images caught before it was disposed of on this part of Raymond Arroyo's latest World Over report.
Today is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the Gospel reading from Luke 1, the angel Gabriel came to Nazareth to announce the birth of Jesus to Mary, informing her that the child would be conceived by the Holy Spirit and born through her. Mary's final response was: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." That last line shows Mary's perfect obedience to God. In fact, it begs for God's will be done. This is a prayer we can learn quickly to say at any time to get ourselves ready to do God's will.
In Matthew 7.21, Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven." How can you be sure that your name is written in heaven? If you are not quite sure, then it's probably not written there. If you truly love the Lord and are trying to do God's will in all things and not even concerned about whether your name is written in heaven or not, you certainly will enter the kingdom of heaven. How many of us belong to this group? Perhaps not the majority. The word "remnant church" comes to my mind. It is made up of "leftovers," those who remain within the Body of Christ after all the others have left or are only loosely tied to it now.
Friday, December 7, 2018
Have you really thought about that Jesus can set us free? Well, he can free us from being self-centered and from our own ego; he can free us from feeling anxious and worrying; he can lighten all our burdens for us to carry easily and turn our sufferings into joy; he can remove all shackles that keep us from approaching him; he can remove all our sins and even our desire to sin; he can fill our heart with peace and joy; he removes our fear of death and makes us look forward to meeting him in heaven; and he can makes us live in bliss for all eternity. That last freedom alone is good enough for me.
"The love of money is the root of all evils" – 1 Timothy 6.10. More fundamentally, it's our rebelliousness against God that has made our world so chaotic and disordered. On this tiny planet in this vast universe, billions of us all try to play God, concerned only about our own happiness on earth and not realizing that we'll soon pass away and face judgment. It's quite a pitiful sight. Perhaps it's not a bad idea to play God here so as to see that we are the only creatures who are capable of sinning and are messing up things in the universe.
Faith is a gift from God. You can receive this most precious divine gift by opening up your heart to the Lord. How strong a faith you receive depends upon how much you open up your heart. Do you know that as you open wide your heart to God, the narrow entrance gate to heaven also opens wide for you?
God is love, so he loves us. Because of this tremendous love, he is most lovely and we fall in love with him. It is this love that can bring us inner peace and unite us to him as one. Surrender to God to let this love engulf you and you'll be lovely to him.
If we acknowledge Jesus before others, he will acknowledge us before the heavenly Father. If we deny him before others, he will deny us before the heavenly Father. (Matthew 10.32-33.) If we trust in the Lord, he will trust in us. If we glorify him, he will glorify us.
Thursday, December 6, 2018
I watched about 3/4 of Fr. Mark Goring's testimony on how he came to know God on YouTube. Some of his experiences were similar to mine, so I am prompted to reiterate what I have said in the past again, for I think the message is important. Knowing God is simple to understand. God has done all the preparatory work and is waiting for your move. He has even knocked on your door before, but you did not hear him. What is essential is that you must leave your heart open – the wider the better. If you seek God and expect him to hear from him, but if your heart is closed, he's not going to barge in. Of course, there are exceptions. In the case of St. Paul, even when was persecuting Christians, Jesus called him directly to be his Apostle to the Gentiles. Roy Schoeman whose testimony I recently posted is another case. But for most of us, the fast and sure way to know God is to open your heart and invite God to enter. The wider you open yourself, the sooner you'll experience him. This is to show that you are humble and sincere in seeking him. If you keep God out, he's going to keep you out, or said perhaps more accurately, you'll keep yourself out by your own choice.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 7, Jesus tells us how we must build our house on a solid foundation so that it will not collapse when the rain falls, the floods come, and the winds blow and buffet it, by listening to his words and acting on them. Of all the battles, the battle for the soul is the one that matters the most to us. And Christ is the only rock we can set our house on to safeguard our souls – there is no alternative.
Wednesday, December 5, 2018
In today's Gospel's reading from Matthew 15, Jesus healed many people: he made the lame walk, the blind see, the deformed whole, and the mute speak. Then he multiplied seven loaves of bread and a few fish more than enough to feed over four thousand people. For me, this is certainly the Lord who can also take away all my sins just as easily.
Today's entrance antiphon from Habakkuk 2: The Lord will come and he will not delay. He will illumine what is hidden in darkness and reveal himself to all the nations. I personally am completely satisfied with what Jesus has revealed to us that to know him is to know God the Father and that we can have eternal life if we believe and follow him.
Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." Naturally, anyone who does not go after Jesus is not obligated to deny himself. Nevertheless, he still has crosses created by other sinners and himself. But for those who are in union with the Lord, they only need to deal with the crosses created by others because they no longer go against God's will, and all crosses become light and even joyous to carry.
Tuesday, December 4, 2018
I feel the weight in my heart when I see how evil has infiltrated governments, societies, companies, organizations, businesses, news media, entertainment industry, academic institutions, and yes, even churches, all around the world. Corruption is widespread. I lament the fact that the public is generally not aware of the fierce spiritual warfare the evil one is waging against God to snatch souls away from him, and that many Christians no longer show zeal in following Christ. So I am happy to have found Fr. Mark Goring's short video "Demon Over Patient's Bed." He puts the points across better than I ever can. There are many other good talks by Fr. Mark online you can check out.
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 10, Jesus said, "All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him." So the Father and the Son know each other, and the Son reveals the Father to his chosen ones. As a result, we also get to know the Son. It is through Jesus that we get to know both God the Father and God the Son.
Monday, December 3, 2018
Today is the Memorial of St. Francis Xavier. The Communion antiphon (Matthew 10.27) reads: What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the rooftops, says the Lord. I feel particularly the intimacy with the Lord – he speaks to our hearts quietly in private and what we hear is so endearing and compelling that it would be impossible for us not to want to proclaim what we hear aloud to the world. This is the fire the Holy Spirit ignites in us. The Lord now live within us.
Saturday, December 1, 2018
Most people are not ready to die yet. If you are a Christian and do not wish to die yet because you still want to take care some unfinished business or see some event happen in your lifetime, you don't have a good reason. For death is God calling you. If you do not wish to die yet because you are afraid, that is an honest good reason. Now is the time to make amends for all the sins you have committed against God and get ready to face the Lord in peace.
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 21, Jesus said to his disciples, "Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man." Like death, facing the Lord is unavoidable, but most of the people in the world are still not fully awake. Sadly, many would wish that they had not been born when that day arrives.