Believe in and love the Lord with all your heart. Worship, adore, and praise him from your heart. Thank him from the bottom of your heart always. Speak to him from your heart and he hears you. Give your heart to him, letting him keep it pure and fill it with his love. Surrender yourself to him with all your heart to be one with him. He now dwells in you and you hear his voice in your heart. The Lord becomes your eternal guide and protector. The heart does it all!
"Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)
Saturday, November 30, 2019
In the Gospel reading from Matthew 4, Jesus called first Peter and his brother Andrew, and then James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John to go after him. There is no higher honor than being called by the Lord to follow him, for you know that you are destined to go to heaven!
Today is the Feast of St. Andrew, Apostle. From the first reading from Romans 10, Paul wrote: For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Believe in the Lord is the first step, then we must call on him from the heart, the key humility we need to be saved. This seems to be the step that many hearts stop short of taking.
Many things make us feel unhappy. We are justified in feeling unhappy when we see how people do bad things to others, whether it affects us or not. Then we can also feel unhappy simply because things do not turn out the way we have wanted through no fault of anyone. This is where we should be concerned, for it reveals that we still have that ugly ego in us. So the next time you feel unhappy, examine yourself to see if your ego is in play. It is always the ego that robs us of inner peace. We cannot serve both God and ego.
Friday, November 29, 2019
We all carry the original sin. The urge to sin is always there and we are vulnerable to all kinds of temptations. I see that the only way to safeguard our soul is to follow Christ singularly. When we are filled or become one with the Lord, there is just no room for anything else anymore. We do not fundamental change, as without him, we easily revert to sinning again. It'll be like this before we enter heaven. So let the Lord "transform" us by letting him occupy us and shield us from all evil. And this calls for our complete surrender to him first.
At the Thanksgiving Day Mass yesterday, the Gospel reading came from Luke 17. Ten lepers asked Jesus to heal them. Jesus sent them to the priests and they were cleansed on their way. One of the ten, realizing that he had been healed, returned to Jesus, fell at his feet and thanked him. Jesus responded, "Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?" He then said to him, "Stand up and go; your faith has saved you." This former leper just believed in the Lord was saved! I also recall that one of the two thieves crucified along with Jesus asked the Lord to remember him when he came into his kingdom. Jesus replied, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." These two instances show how easy it is to be saved! If you close your mind and do not believe that Christ can save you, that's definitely making a big mistake.
Evildoers are the dumbest people around. They want to get their way always, forgetting that they are condemning themselves to hell if they do not turn around. Jesus asked, "What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?" Hypocrites are aplenty today among our elected politicians. They do not perceive the wooden beam in their own eye, but notice the splinter in other's (Matthew 7.3). Worse yet, they even manufacture faults in others, directly violating God's commandment "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." The Lord who is love and the truth detests hypocrisy. So hypocrites are equally dumb.
Wednesday, November 27, 2019
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 21, Jesus told the crowd about the coming persecution, "They will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name." The existence of evil against God could not have been made any clearer. We now see persecutions of Christians and spiritual battles going all around the globe. For the good people, we wish God would come now to put and end to their suffering. On the other hand, for the evildoers, we pity them and hope that God would give them more time to come to repentance. I suppose that if you are with Christ, knowing that you are going to him, you would see that suffering for his sake is truly an honor and a joy and gladly allow more time for those who need salvation the most. In any case, it is the Lord who knows the best time to come again.
Tuesday, November 26, 2019
People do not even consider seeking union with God, not realizing that this is what the Lord desires most ardently. The time for us to start seeking it is right now! You do not become a saint first to be ready for union; you seek union first in order to become a saint. Rejecting seeking union with God is going against his will, for he loves and desires all of you!
We all know that we'll die one day, yet so many of us in this world are intent on gaining wealth, power, and fame by whatever means necessary; they have cast God aside and turned evil. We can only feel sorry for them for not realizing that if they reject God, they will be rejected by him in the end.
Monday, November 25, 2019
Today's Gospel reading, Luke 21.1-4: When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. He said, "I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood. The Lord looks at the heart and values the intention. For most of us who are not free to offer more than we like, consider offering ourselves to God. There is no external restraint here and the Lord will surely be most pleased with this intention.
One is happy with himself when he realizes that God truly loves him; he accepts this love and finally is at peace with himself. Now he is ready to let the Lord make him holy. If you do not like yourself, you still have your ego and are not truly free yet.
Sunday, November 24, 2019
The sun is so familiar to us and we don't think much about it unless you are an astronomer or scientist. I watched History Channel's documentary The Secrets of the Sun and was amazed by its power and its uniqueness in the universe. I learned that it's been burning for billions of years and probably still has billions of more years to go. The distance between the sun and the earth is just right so that we get the right temperature for life to survive. The moon is just smaller and closer to the earth enough for a total eclipse to happen. In the past, solar storms had amazingly reached the earth in about 16 hours, covering 93 millions miles. In one Marian apparition, it was revealed that fire would fall from the sky one day–could it be a severe solar storm hitting the earth? The sun is amazing and powerful, but the Lord is its creator. At Fatima, he made the sun spin and fall from in the sky. Everything in the universe obeys the Lord except us. Let us be amazed by him and become obedient too.
There are many evil people today who are easy for us to hate. Then I remember that Jesus even prayed for those who put him to death: "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do" (Luke 23.34). So I truly feel sorry for all the evildoers too, for they know not what they do and what they would face if they do not change their ways. We must be merciful as our Lord is merciful.
Jesus wants us to be prepared always, for he will come at an hour we do not expect. Just in case he does not appear in our lifetime, we must also be ready for our own death. And since many today suffer dementia as they age, we ought be watchful for that too. If all this is too much, just trust and follow the Lord faithfully and he shall take care of you.
Saturday, November 23, 2019
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 20, Jesus made it clear to the Sadducees that once we are in heaven, the family relationships we had on earth will no longer exist. We all become God's children, and like the angels we cannot die. It indicates to me that in heaven we'll experience a new freedom, becoming attached to God the Father alone. I surely look forward to that day.
Hearing the phrase "forever and ever" can bring great joy to those who will be with the Lord or cause great fear in those who will be separated from him after they die. In today's reading from Psalm 9, verse 6 reads: You rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked; their name you blotted out forever and ever. With God, everything will be settled once and all for good.
Most people seek happiness in this life first and fail to find true peace and joy in the end. The smart ones secure their eternity through Christ first and experience freedom, peace, and joy in this life as well. The contrarian wins here. I am one who can testify to you that this is true.
Friday, November 22, 2019
To get the most out of receiving the Lord in the Holy Eucharist, we must (1) be in a state of grace, (2) be open to him, and (3) desire union with him. This is the way to holiness. Missing (1), you would be offending the Lord. Missing (2), you would receive no benefit, wasting your and God's time. Missing (3), you would not become a saint.
As I age, I realize many things I never thought about before. I can say that I am now much wiser, thanks to God. When we were young, we dreamed about our future on earth. Since we were in good shape physically, we pretty much thought that we could try anything we wanted. As we age, we start to see things differently. Of course, there are always some who die young unexpectedly, but most of us live to an older age. Then one day we realize that we are getting weaker physically. Our joints are now stiffer and even getting out of bed becomes hard. Any bruise mark we get doesn't go away for weeks or months and recovering from a serious injury seems to take forever. When an old person suffers a bad fall, it could end his or her life. Recently, a number of my old (age-wise) friends lost their driver's license. In this country, if you can't drive, you have to depend much on others. And we know that no one on earth can help our deteriorating condition and all of us will be left with God alone. This has been the reality ever since our birth, but we are only now aware of it. Yes, only God is always with us.
Thursday, November 21, 2019
Today is Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In today's Gospel reading from Luke 19, Jesus drew near Jerusalem, saw the city and wept, for he foresaw the coming onslaught on and destruction of the city. We do not take God seriously enough to realize that if we do not turn to God, our day of chastisement will surely arrive. Any cause will produce its effect. May we wake up to this fact before it's too late.
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Communion experience. It's the Lord completing my joy. Mass is the most profound celebration of all celebrations. We celebrate the Lord coming to us, giving us himself to consume in the Holy Eucharist so that we might have eternal life.
Serving the Lord without an ego is not easy. There are times we have an amusing thought and want to share it. It's OK if the motive is not to want others to notice you. But sharing it while serving Mass is usually never appropriate. It boils down to whatever you do, it must not be centered on yourself. And believe me, it's easily said than done.
At my church, I see many of my brothers and sisters in Christ who serve the Lord faithfully. They form the core of the parish, for they perform many duties faithfully, including cleaning the church every Friday, despite facing severe family and/or health problems in some cases. I praise our Lord for them and know that he will reward them greatly.
Today's Gospel reading came from Luke 19.11-28. Jesus told the parable of the ten gold coins. Two things we can learn here. (1) The Lord rewards those who are faithful in small matters. We may never be called to do anything big, but we are to remain faithful in every matter we are called to take care of. I might add that we must not neglect to do anything that glorifies the Lord either. If there is an opportunity to draw someone close to him, seize it! (2) The Lord is merciful, but he is also demanding. We cannot afford to be lazy in serving him. The bottom line was given in verse 26: I tell you, to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. Amen.
I often have difficulty understanding others. At Mass, the lector is often not well-prepared or speaking too softly or enunciating poorly – that's understandable. Sometimes I also have difficulty in following those who speak using a lot of big words or nonstop – that could be my problem. That is why I feel great joy in hearing the Lord speaking to my heart because he always is clear and goes straight to the point.
Monday, November 18, 2019
Nowadays, there is a great lack of reverence in many parishes. While waiting for Mass to begin, you could hear the congregation chattering and chuckling incessantly. You would have no idea that they are there to receive the flesh and blood of our Lord in person. Basically, we can listen to the most inspiring messages, read all about saints, or even witness miracles, if we do not open our hearts to God, we remain the same. But if we go to the Lord directly and open ourselves up completely, he can transform us in an instant! As Mother Teresa's poem "Do It Anyway" states, in the final analysis, it's between you and God.
Saturday, November 16, 2019
Yesterday I could have attended morning Mass after returning home the day before, but I was too tired physically. So I attended Saturday morning Mass today. I experienced the beauty of remaining faithful to Christ. There is beauty in remaining faithful to anything that's good, but this was remaining faithful to the most holy, perfect, and loving Lord! You can't get more beautiful than that.
Friday, November 15, 2019
If people say good things about you, you do not become a better person. If they say bad things about you, you do not become a worse person. Ignore what people say about you and respond to the Lord God alone. Live to please only him and you'll have peace.