Communion thoughts. I have already received the Lord in the Holy Eucharist many thousand times in my life. Looking back, I wish I had been obedient to him sooner in the past. It is unthinkable that we should receive the Most Blessed Sacrament and not let him draw us a little closer to him each time. What we should do is to let the him form us any way he wishes, then we would become holy in no time. Anyhow, I am grateful that as I receive the Lord daily, he is still drawing me closer to him each time (and I am glad that I still have some time left). When your desire to be one with him supersedes all other desires, you are close enough to him.
Today's Gospel reading, the first 18 verses of the Gospel of John, is so profoundly beautiful that anyone who knows Christ would totally understand it, while those who do not know him may not at all. It is fitting that at the end of this year, we read this greatest revelation from God to us. Here are the entire 18 verses:
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.
A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
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, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor my a man's decision but 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.
John testified to him and cried out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.'" From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grade and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only-begotten Son, God, who is at the Father's side, has revealed him.
All I can respond in total submission is "My Lord and my God."
If you are determined to find a lost treasure, you must be willing to take the risk that comes with going about finding it. After you find the treasure, you'll be very happy that you took the initiative. Similarly, if you are determined to become holy, you must be willing to abandon yourself completely to God to make it happen. Once you've made the leap of faith, you'll know that you did exactly the right thing. No pain, no gain. No faith, no growth.
Today I prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. That Jesus came to us and underwent agony, physical beating, ridicule, and finally death on a cross is a huge deal! Think about it. He willingly suffered to the extreme, submitted to his sentencing without protest and even asked the Father to forgive those who put him to death. That was not normal from our point of view. But now we know that he did it to save us for all eternity, so it is a big, big deal and we must be grateful and never forget it!
It is already the last day of 2019. Let's realize that everything in this world is passing. We'll be gone soon one day too. There is no reason to get ourselves attached to anything that passes or perishes. The eternal God who loves us is the only one to whom we need to attach ourselves. This is being truly farsighted and wise.
When we pray to the Lord and wish to get clear, specific responses from him, we need to ask for what we wish for clearly and specifically, and with great confidence. Vague and general prayers do not bring good results. Get to the point and the Lord will get to the point too.
Today's first reading came from 1 John 2. John advised members of the community, "Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world. Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever." We need to listen to this advice more than ever, as our world is becoming more enticing than ever. The spiritual battle has comes down to God vs. the world. We already know who will win in the end, so let us choose sides accordingly.
Jesus challenges us, for we must decide whether he is the Son of God or merely a hoax. If you cannot say that he is a phony, then you have no choice but to believe in him 100%, no middle ground possible here. There has been no one else like him ever. And if you believe that he is the Lord but do not follow him all the way, be warned that everyone who does not acknowledge him before others he will not acknowledge before the heavenly Father (Matthew 10, Luke 12).
There are a million things you can learn in life, but there is one truth that is more important than anything else you need to know—God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life (John 3.16). Ignore it at your own risk.
On this Feast of the Holy Family, let's look at our own families on earth. Some families can be considered happy, but there are a lot more unhappy ones around. Then all families on earth are only temporary, for we are all equally children before God, our eternal Father. I believe that the Lord has made us so that we all feel the need to belong to a perfect family forever and has given us his only Son just to fulfill this need. When we believe in Christ, we'll be with the Holy Family one day. God always thinks of everything ahead for our sake.
Today is the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. In the Gospel reading from Matthew 2, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him." Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. What the Lord had said through the prophet was fulfilled, Out of Egypt I called my son. When Herod had died, the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph again and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead." But when Joseph heard that Herod's son was ruling over Judea, he was afraid to go back there. So he departed for the region of Galilee. He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth. Again what had been spoken through the prophets was fulfilled, He shall be called a Nazorean.
We can see that God had ordained everything, yet Joseph was allowed to discern what right action to take. That's how we should follow the Lord: fully believing that he'll guide us in all things and using our best judgment in carrying out what we are asked to do.
Communion experience. Jesus said in John 6.51: "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." And again in John 6.54: "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day." As I receive the Lord in the Holy Eucharist, I believed and knew that I was heaven-bound, and all fear of death vanished.
We sin, but since we have Christ, we do not need to fear sin anymore. Christ our Savior can remove our sins if we accept him and repent. But let's go even further: Surrender ourselves to the Lord to attain union with him and we can become like him, losing even the tendency to sin! The Lord is powerful. Unquestionably he can make us holy.
Today is the Feast of Innocents, martyrs. When I think about how Herod ordered those baby boys to be slaughtered, I think of how the pro-abortionists today are murdering millions of unborn babies every year. I have difficulty imagining how the Lord must feel when he sees so many of the unborn he has created do not even get a chance to live in the world they are born into. As the innocent unborn will all be following the Lamb, I just pity their murderers.
Today I am amazed that God is so easily accessible to us. When we pray to him, we are instantly linked to him and he hears us instantly. In fact, he already knew what we are going to say to him. Then I receive the Most Blessed Sacrament at Mass and he enters me physically to be one with me. When I say yes to him and we become one spiritually. He now dwells within me! If you wonder where the Lord is, that's because your heart is all shut!
Whenever you feel down or crushed, it is God calling you to turn to him for help. This is better than hearing inspiring messages daily. Being open to God or not makes all the difference. I could say that the Lord is at your service at any time and always! So allow him to come to you to give you all the help you need. Do not struggle on your own. The lower you feel, the more he loves to raise you high. After he helps you, you'll alway feel better than ever. God strengthens our faith through trials and tribulations.
Communion experience. I experienced the joy of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can only give us joy. To me, he is Joy! Pray to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. He can revitalize your spiritual life and make it pure joy.
Today's Communion antiphon began with John 1.14: The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. This is another big deal. God came to us by becoming one of us! I never would have expected that. Learning about it to let it sink in is going to take some time. Perhaps this is so unbelievable that people don't bother to believe in it. Personally, I'd rather have an extraordinary God than a predictable one. Our God needs faith to believe in him, and this faith is born once you realize how great his love is.
Today's Gospel reading, the first eight verses of John 20, tells about the discovery of the empty tomb of Jesus by Mary of Magdala, Peter, and John. You could tell that the narrative was true. How these disciples felt moved me deeply, for they did not yet understand the scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead. Since I already know the outcome, I heard the Gospel and was filled with sweet joy.
Today is the Feast of Saint John, Apostle and evangelist. I feel an affinity for this Apostle for these reasons. (1) He was the younger, if not the youngest, Apostle. I still remember the time I was often the youngest among others. (2) He lived to a ripe old age and I have lived likewise. (3) He referred to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved—this has to be the best title you can possibly give yourself. I also know and feel Jesus' love for me. (4) The Lord revealed to John his glories in a mystical way, resulting in his writing of Revelation. The Lord has revealed to me himself in an entirely different way, most personal and intimate, through a modern blog for all to read.
Saint John, pray for all of us to follow the Lord as you did, each in our personal way.
I was praying for the world, my country, my government, my family, and myself. Then I realized that I must pray for my Church too, with the many scandals still ongoing and the Pope being accused of heresy. Suddenly, I also realized that my Church was established by Christ, so she is truly his Church—of course he is going to straighten all the things out. I felt greatly relieved.
Sin has muddied our conscience, defiled our hearts, caused us pain, wounded our souls, and disfigured our images before the Lord, keeping us away from him. But he, being our creator, can heal and restore us thoroughly, even to the point of transforming us into holy saints. Remember that nothing is impossible for God, if we would only allow him to do the work.
Today is the Feast of Saint Stephen, first martyr. He was filled with wisdom and spirit. As he was stoned to death, he called out "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." David, in Psalm 31, prayed to God: "Into your hands I commend my spirit; you will redeem me, Lord, God of truth." Before Jesus breathed his last on the cross, he cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Can't imagine that we don't want to commend ourselves to God. After all, We were created by God, owing our very existence to him. He is the one to whom we rightfully belong. So let's commend our heart, our mind, our body, our soul, my spirit, and our all to the Lord, our creator and Father.
I am most grateful for God's mercy on us. I am awed and inspired by his holiness. And I admire his humility the most, for he is omnipotent, yet he never looks down on us. We are nothing, so we should never let pride or ego get in our way. He has made us in his image and we can be like him if we remain humble most of all.
It's clear that we are sinners, that we need a savior, and that God loves us (Christ is our living proof). So if we do not believe in God to be our Lord and Savior, it's not because what's been mentioned is false, but because we are afraid to face the truth.
On this Christmas day, I see the mercy of God to be undeniable. He sent his only Son to come into the world to be one among us and died for us so that we might be redeemed from sin. He will come again to judge us, giving us the chance to choose life or death in the meantime.
Jesus our Savior has come to bring us peace, but he has also caused division among us and there won't be peace in this world until we all have accepted him as Lord and Savior. Then where is this peace? For now, it is the inner peace he has brought to all those who follow him. For this, we can rejoice and be grateful. The peace of Christ must first begin in our hearts.
This blog began in 2009 and it's in 2010 that the Lord made it clear to me that I was to let the world know that he wants to draw all to union with him through the Holy Eucharist. So this should speak to the Catholics most since they receive this sacrament at every Mass. Has the blog been a success? This is not for me to know or to be concerned about, for I am merely doing that the Lord instructs me to do. All is in his hands. But I can tell you my experience in general. Union with God is something people tend to shy away from; it is not something they want to latch onto right away. I could sense the disconnect in talking about it with others, laypeople or not. You don't get any reaction from them. Perhaps it's the fear that they cannot make it, so don't even think about it. As the pageviews are approaching 166,000, the message must have sown a seed in quite a few souls. Anyway, I am simply plowing along as the Lord leads me, which gives me great joy! My closing advice to all for the year on this Christmas Eve: Follow Christ all the way—yes, seek union with him—then your journey will be an absolutely safe and most exhilarating and uplifting adventure.
"The forgiveness of sins"—we surely have heard that mentioned numerous times; but today, the Lord made me see that it is indeed a big deal. Essentially, we are all born sinners and sins not forgiven will keep us earth-bound. Only God can take away our sins and make us heaven-bound. To deal with our sins, we need God. Otherwise, we'll be stuck with them forever. To have our sins forgiven or not to have our sins forgiven, that is the big question!
As long as we keep sinning, we will not have inner peace. That's how the Lord has made us. He's letting us know that we cannot get along with sin and be happy, and that as long as we carry sins, we cannot get into heaven. We sin because we are self-centered. If we surrender ourselves to God, we become God-centered and our problem with sin will be no more. Not carrying any sin, our inner peace is then restored.
Without God, our mind wanders freely in all directions. We may not have evil intentions, but we seek to fulfill all our temporal desires. We are now in danger zone, may lose all self-control, and become addicted to certain sins. If we have God, he becomes our anchor and guardian, and we don't easily stray away from him anymore. When the Lord makes us feel good, we no longer desire anything that cannot truly make us happy.
Today's Communion antiphon, Revelation 3.20: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me." God is so polite, yet so intimate. If you still turn him down, then you are playing God and definitely have a problem with your heart and need to examine yourself to get it fixed. The Lord will wait for your response as long as you wish, but you have only a limited lifetime to respond to him. Look at this way: he is offering you the opportunity to be happy for all eternity and you couldn't care less. How more lopsided can it be?
In today's continuous reading from Luke 1, we heard the birth of John the Baptist read. When all heard about the amazing signs that accompanied the birth of John the neighbors and relatives witnessed, they were sure that the hand of the Lord was with the child. Of course, we know that John the baptist got beheaded under the orders of King Herod later. How could we see such a brutal ending to be fit for someone whom the Lord greatly blessed? Clearly, God's ways are beyond our ways and his thoughts beyond our thoughts. What we see fit may even be an obstacle Satan wants to place in God's way (Matthew 16.23). What's best for us to focus on is what Jesus said in Matthew 16.25: "Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Amen.
When sometimes we even wonder whether God truly exists, that's because our faith is weak and we do not really know him. Here is the cure. Be courageous! Take a leap of faith to surrender yourself to God to be one with him. Once you attain union with him, he will become more real to you than anyone else you know on earth—I am telling you! This is now real living, being one with the living God.
Communion experience. When you are one with the Lord, you are with him in heaven spiritually. In a sense, you have already completed your spiritual journey. You die and you see immediately the Lord who has been with you all your life!
In today's reading 2 from Romans 1, Paul calls himself a slave of Jesus Christ. For he knew that to be a slave of Jesus Christ made him the freest person on earth. I second that. (It follows that to be your own master is to be enslaved by yourself, and you are not free at all.)
Watching those commercials on TV, you notice the phony joy paid actors display in selling or promoting a product or service. Without Christ, even the joy we seek and experience in this life seems to be empty or shallow. Only the joy of Christ is pure joy because it originates from the Holy Spirit. When we rejoice in Christ, that joy we feel is true joy.
Once you have Christ, you never feel inferior to anyone anymore, for you already have the Lord; and you do not look down on anyone anymore, for you are humble in the Lord. You are now a happy well-balanced person.
Communion experience. I felt that that Jesus was my home, the end of my search, my answer to all my questions, my all, my everything. Perhaps "my ultimate fulfillment" is closest to what I want to say. Then I feel best when I just say "Jesus is mine."
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 1, we read about Mary visiting her cousin Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant (John the Baptist) leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, knew that Mary was the mother of her Lord. When we know that Jesus is our Lord and Savior, it is also the Holy Spirit who has revealed it to us.
Today's entrance antiphon from Isaiah 7 & 8: The Lord and Ruler will be coming soon, and his name will be called Emmanuel, because he will be God-with-us. Jesus is indeed God-with-us. He is also God-in-us, the one to be in union with. He is our ultimate fulfillment!
People are always thinking about acquiring wealth, how to invest their money for good returns; concerned about their health, what to eat and what supplements to take; and worried about getting old, how they can still look young or who's going to take care of them later. They do not know that if they seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness first, all these needs will be provided them besides (Matthew 6.33).
Once you finish school and land a great job, you don't care about all the hard studying you did and the tough exams you took. Once a couple find each other and fall in love, they don't mind their other problems much anymore. Once you have moved into a nice big new house, you no longer think about your small old dingy residence. It's also true that once you have become one with God, you forget all your miseries, sorrows, and sufferings. For no negative feeling can possibly pervade the joy of God.
Today's Gospel reading came from Luke 1, the announcement of the birth of Jesus by the angel Gabriel to Mary in Nazareth. Here are Gabriel's last words to Mary: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called Holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God." Mary's final response to the angel: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." As long as we know and believe that nothing will be impossible for God and abandon ourselves to God as Mary did, our journey home to the Father will be smooth and straight all the way. So let's get going!
Isaiah 40.5: The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. If you pay attention, you'll the see glory of God everywhere: in nature, in everything we see and hear on earth that is beautiful, inspiring, and uplifting. But the greatest glory revealed to us is the Lord himself, in how much he loves us, how he can free us from the bondage of sin, and how we can become like him and reunite with him in heaven.
Last night I dreamt that I was trapped in a dangerous situation and I called to Jesus for help. I woke up and felt his presence. After all, he dwells within me. It's just so good to know that he hears me and is with me always.
Accepting and believing in Christ is the first breakthrough. You realize that God loves you and he has now saved you from sin. Surrendering to God to become one with him is the second breakthrough, often more difficult to achieve than the first. Then, once you have broken through, the experience is so exalted and beautiful that you wish you'd done it a lot sooner.
Only God is perfect. When God asks us to be perfect, he wants us to aim for perfection. But one day, he will make us perfect in heaven. We can be holy though, because a holy person needn't be perfect; he only desires to be perfect. All saints with the exception of our Holy Mother were not perfect. Let God make us holy by letting him enter us to be one with us.
Jesus announced the good news to all and people were free to believe in him or not. Let us do the same. Spread the good news and let whoever hears it make up his or her own mind. Sometimes we worry too much about whether they heard us or not. In the final analysis, it's always between God and each of us.
Give God your heart. Even though the mind will follow the heart, while your are at it, give your mind to him as well. Anyhow, we need to give our whole being, our spirit and soul included, to the Lord.
We have the Walkaway and Blexit movements going on in this country. They both attempt to teach voters to do their own thinking and come to their own decision to vote for the right party instead of being told by one party that they should always vote for them. We Catholics are used to follow spiritual guidance from the clergy. I think it'll be good for us to become more independent by learning what's going on within the Church, the good and the bad, as well as the teachings of the Church on our own. There is so much on the internet out there. Of course, you need be sure that the sources are legitimate and reliable. Then we can become better informed Catholics, more fit to fight the spiritual battle.
It is so good and incredible that we can get to know God, our Father and creator, personally so well that we fall deeply in love with him, become his soulmates, hear his sweet voice speaking to us in our hearts, and long for him so much that we lose all fear of death. Surrender yourself to him completely and you'll know.
Recently, a well-known TV show host had announced that he was leaving the Catholic Church because of "institutionalized corruption." I have a lot to say about this, but here are just a few thoughts. (1) Since he was a cradled Catholic, I see the failure of the Church to teach him what the Church was all about, the significance of the Holy Eucharist, etc. Even today when we are facing major crises within the Church, business goes on as usual within most dioceses as if everything is all right. I understand God wants us to trust in him, but he wants us to go all out to fight the spiritual battle too. (2) The Catholic Church was established by Christ himself and he told us that the gates of hell should not prevail against it. Anyone who quits the Church is not placing his faith entirely in Christ. (3) Those with true faith will remain Catholic even if they are the only Catholics in the world who are not corrupt. Our government is corrupt, but no one gives up his citizenship or leave the country. (4) The Holy Eucharist is God's greatest gift to us. It's unthinkable that any true Catholic would ever want to give that up, literally excommunicating himself. Please pray hard for all Catholics now!
God can accomplish infinitely more than we can. Of course, we need to do our part. We need to pray, trust in him, and follow his will. Then we reach a point we just have to let the Lord take over completely, while we continue providing prayer support. This calls for greater trust and total abandonment in him. It's always exciting to see how God triumphs in the end.
I know many fellow beings, including my own family members who know me the best, yet no one knows all about me nor the true me. But God our Father and creator knows all about me, inside and out. At judgment time, we'll be totally exposed before all. But know that even now, we are totally exposed to God alone every moment. So only God truly knows us and we can now choose to be either his friends or his enemies.
It's just eight days from Christmas. Today I see that we are all sinners, so we don't have the right to judge anyone. Before the Lord, we are all unclean, but he loves us all. We need to pray for ourselves first, then the others.
Jesus came and preached the best possible news to us. Those who were evil felt threatened and became hostile to him, but those who were good and open-hearted accepted him. It is the same today. Christ has made both enemies and friends, so he has brought us division. The people who wish to remain in darkness do not like to be exposed, while those wish to get out of darkness welcome his light. Jesus Christ is truly our God and judge.
Today's entrance antiphon started with Philippians 4.5: Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say rejoice. Jesus has come and saved us from our sins so that we can get to heaven to enjoy eternal life—how can we possibly not rejoice? Can you possibly think of any better news than this?
Don't put off repenting your sins and think that you'll have time to do it later. True, some people get to repent just before they die, but you might not get that moment. Besides, if you plan that way, the Lord would see your insincerity and it may not work for you. My wise advice: Repent now while you are still alive and your mind still clear.
The soul lives on forever and life is continuous. We can make our transition into our next life smooth, easy, and joyful or rough, difficult, and horrible. It all depends upon how much we let Christ into our life.
Look at one of your good friends. You see him, you hear him, and he sees you and hears you. You ask him for help and he often complies. But he cannot always be with you. Now look at God. Even if you don't see him, he sees you and knows all about you. He hears you instantly and you can hear from him too if you are open to him. You ask for his help and he always complies in the best way possible for you. The Lord God is our superior and most trustworthy friend. And he is with us always!
I have not gone through the Gospels to see how many times Jesus had promised that we would never die or have life forever if we believed in him, kept his words, did the will of the Father, or ate the heavenly bread he gave us. He'd done it time and again. Can we possibly dismiss all these promises? I think not. You'll have to be so foolish as to think that are greater than he. The only sensible choice is to yield and believe in them.
On December 6th, I posted "Is Life Fair?" after I learned that one sister in Christ had passed away unexpectedly. She was only 53. Today I attended the funeral Mass at her church. Life is short. This saying of Thomas à Kempis in his spiritual classic Imitation of Christ came to my mind: "All is vanity, except to love God and serve him alone." To make it possible to love and serve God alone in our short life, seek and attain union with him, for we cannot succeed on our own.
Today's is the memorial of St. John of the Cross. Galatians 6.14, the entrance antopjon: May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. We boast in Christ, in his death and Resurrection, in his love for us, in that he has made us anew, freed us from sin, saved us and given us life everlasting . . . not out of self-pride, but out of gratitude. Eternal love deserves eternal appreciation.
Before Jesus came on the scene, John the Baptist prepared the way for the Lord, proclaiming "I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, 'Make straight the way of the Lord,' as Isaiah the prophet said." Are you aware that now that Jesus has already come, he has made our way to him perfectly straight?
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 11, Jesus said to the crowds: "To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another, 'We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.' For 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.'" Today's generation is just like this. They busily engage in activities in their own interest, not truly knowing what's best for them to do. They are deaf to the gospel of Christ, but always criticizing and judging others.
I just listened to KingFace, a popular black conservative, giving a talk at the recent Blexit meeting held in Atlanta, GA. He told the audience that he recently accepted Jesus into his heart and got a big cheer from them. He asked himself "why not let Jesus into my life?" I think that this is a good question for unbelievers to consider. Instead of wondering why they should accept Jesus, why not think about why they shouldn't let him into their lives? Asking this way, they might see the light.
If we pray to God "May we love you more," "May we trust in you," "May we serve you faithfully," or for anything else this way, we are being timid as we still center upon ourselves. The right approach is to open up boldly to God—abandoning or surrendering ourselves to him. Then what we pray for will come to fruition, as we now rely upon God entirely.
Communion experience. As I went up the aisle to received Holy Communion, I knew I was going to receive my most beloved, my loving creator, the Holy One who died for my sins, is now dwelling within me, and will take me to him in a little while.
Our intellect can help us understand God, but only our heart can capture God. Offer your heart to the Lord and he is yours. The heart is our direct link to God. Be one with him and you'll hear him speaking to your heart.
At the Last Supper, Jesus said to his disciples, "If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him." We can know God! He has revealed himself to us completely, so it's our move now! I'd like to say this again and again so that the whole world might hear me and know.
I've advised "Never compare yourself to anyone." It should always be between you and God, not between you and anyone else. This means that you don't compare holiness with others either. A true holy person loves God. If someone is holier, he rejoices for the Lord. If someone is not as holy as he, he remains humble and would pray for that person. It's always charity, never judgment.
As disciples of Christ, you don't want to become robotic. I love St. Thérèse's Little Way. Following it, we should do every little thing with love for God. Today I realize that prayer is one of these things. You hear so many written prayers and readings said robotically, even at Mass. What we need to do is to not rush, but to mean truly what we say. I confess that I have rushed through prayers to save time myself. I think if we show great reverence, everything will come out right.
Thinking back many decades, I see that I used to be a very different person. I was a spoiled child and a shy, moody adult. I wanted to excel in many things, but felt inadequate and inferior to others. The ego was big, for I wanted to be somebody. Trying to "improve" myself always became a struggle. I never felt free, peaceful, or any joy. Life was empty and meaningless. But Christ changed all that. The journey took a while, as the Lord lead me through the various stages; but there were breakthroughs as well. To make a long story short, I am now free, peaceful, and feel great joy. There is nothing I shall want, and the Lord is more than sufficient for me. I can't be happier. Yes, God is more precious to me than myself and everything else.
If you want to know the Lord, then go directly to him. He is forever present and instantly accessible. In fact, he is ready to embrace you as his beloved child at anytime! Do not waste precious time by going through other human beings, even if they are saints. They can help, but it's not the same as getting help directly from the Lord himself. All it takes is an open, humble heart. God is accessible to all. He is as close to you as he was to the Apostles and the saints, and as he was to Adam and Eve. To not go to him directly and share everything with him is to avoid him.
Communion experience. The Lord made me see clearly that he is truly present in the Holy Eucharist. Let's just say that consuming this Most Blessed Sacrament is the same as eating his flesh and drinking his blood. This may sound uncomfortable to some or many, but it completely fulfills my longing for intimacy with him. God understands our nature thoroughly. In fact, it's out of longing to be one with us that he instituted this sacrament in the first place!
Today's Communion antiphon, 2 Timothy 4.8: The Just Judge will bestow a crown of righteousness on those who eagerly await his coming. If you believe that Christ will come again and long for his appearance, it's a sign that you've been saved.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 18, Jesus said to his disciples, "If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost." Although we are not quite sure whom Jesus was referring to as "these little ones," we see how precious each soul is to the Father. What's important to him must be important to us. Therefore, we must make saving souls our top priority. The greatest tragedy for all is to run away from the Lord and end up being lost forever.
Do you know that if you are not happy, it's because God is not happy with you for being in his way? You are not allowing him to do what he enjoys doing with you: to make you perfect! Get out of his way and you'll feel this great joy of freedom.
We are sinners and should not remain so. To rise above ourselves, we need God. Let Christ remove your sins and lift you up to where he is. How can we possibly not take advantage of this marvelous, incredible, and most beautiful opportunity? This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Whether you realize it or not, we are all spiritually thirsty and hungry and if that thirst and hunger are not satisfied, we become unhappy. Unfortunately, in our world full of attractions and distractions, we are prevented from seeing this truth clearly. If you realize this truth, it's God calling. Search for him with an open heart and you'll find him. Once your thirst is quenched and your hunger filled, you will be a joyful person.
Today is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Isaiah 61.10 is the entrance antiphon: I rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul; for he has clothed me with a robe of salvation, and wrapped me in a mantle of justice, like a bride adorned with her jewels. Isaiah describes perfectly how a Christian feels (or should feel).
We seek union with God because by becoming one with the Lord, we come to know his will and become obedient to him. And we eagerly let him purify our heart. Once the heart is clean, the mind becomes clean too. With a clean heart and a clean mind, our soul now remains pure. What a glorious and joyous attainment!
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 3, John the Baptist was preaching and baptizing his followers in the Jordan river as they acknowledged their sins. Even many of the Pharisees and Sadducees showed up. John announced to all, "I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." Of course, John was referring to Jesus. If you do not feel any zeal or fire in your faith, may I seriously suggest that you ask Jesus to come and baptize you with the Holy Spirit? For me, the Holy Spirit became real after I asked a whole prayer group to pray over me to be baptized in him. This happened over four decades ago and the effect has remained with me to this day!
In this season of Advent, we commemorate the coming of Christ into the world. The reality is that Christ has already come and can now even dwell within us when we open up to him. For the Catholics, receiving the Eucharist is having the Lord entering you physically to be one with you completely. What we should truly look forward to now is his Second Coming or meeting him after we depart from this world, whichever comes first.
God knows everything! So Anyone who tries to hide what he has done from others is making himself look bad and foolish before God. We are transparent to the Lord and we should act accordingly. Having nothing to hide is what he looks for (if that makes sense to you).
Before handing out Holy Communion, the priest says, "This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper." Do you believe that Jesus can take away your sins? This is a key question. If you answer no, then you have to disbelieve that he is God and that he rose from the dead. Furthermore, you also have to declare that all the Gospels are a big hoax and that Christ was entirely false. If you are not prepared to or cannot say so and still do not believe in him, then you can only be considered a major dishonest coward!
If you never knew Jesus, when you meet the Lord, he will see how selfless (or self-centered) a life you have lived. If you knew the Lord, he will see how much you have devoted yourself to serving him. In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 9, Jesus said to his disciples, "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest." If you are his disciple, are you laboring to help his harvest?
Just received notice that a sister in Christ who lived a hard life and was a brave pro-life warrior has suddenly passed away. Is life fair? If you look at just our brief life on earth, then it seems most unfair is some cases. But if you look at our overall life from birth through eternity, then life is absolutely fair, for God is absolutely just and knows exactly how to reward or punish each one of us. So trust in God totally and forget about this question.
Surviving to safeguard our soul is not easy in our secular, godless world. There are so many carnal desires we want to satisfy and we can easily become insatiable. We experience sensual pleasures but never truly feel uplifted in any way. This is vey much like wallowing in the mud; it's fun, but afterwards you know you are all filthy. On the other hand, we can come to know God well enough to enjoy him. We then experience peace and contentment and get that exhilarating clean feeling. The is like taking a nice long hot shower and afterwards you feel relaxed and comfortable. But there is nothing in the world you can truly compare to the freedom and joy you also experience.
Those of the world are trapped. They continue to seek the very pleasures that cannot satisfy them for satisfaction and become enslaved. The only way to break out of this vicious cycle is to go to God, for he is the only one who can free us from sins.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 9, two blind men followed Jesus, crying out, "Son of David, have pity on us!" Jesus said to them, "Do you believe that I can do this?" "Yes, Lord, they said to him. Then he touched their eyes and said, "Let it be done for you according to your faith." And their eyes were opened. Faith is what enables miracles to happen. Without it, you don't see God as you remain in darkness. In today's world, I am afraid that when the Lord comes, he'll find little faith. Even believers place him pretty much on the periphery. God's mercy is infinite, but it cannot help you if you lack faith. Faith is our essential link to God and a strong faith makes us one with him, forming the most beautiful union this side of heaven.
We've been listening to readings from Isaiah at Mass. If the Lord had foretold that peace would reign in the end, I can tell you that we can already experience this peace in our hearts when we have Christ the Lord dwelling within us. It is his presence that produces inner peace. When we have inner peace, external peace follows.
We love to play hide-and-seek with God, even when we know we are lost. God is always trying to find us in order to bring us home. Those who give up playing and show themselves to God will be homebound, but those who keep on hiding all their life will be dead when God finds them. this is a game you want to lose if you play. As Jesus said: Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Do you take your heart out and throw it to God? No. You simply open up to the Lord completely and remain passive, and he will delightfully take possession of your heart (and you will be filled with great joy, the joy of freedom!).
We forget that God is all-powerful and we are weak, so we still hold onto ourselves tightly, even in loving God, instead of seeking power from the Lord to help us accomplish all things. Letting go of ourselves can be so tough!
The Gospel reading came from Matthew 7. In it, Jesus said to his disciples: "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." So the "secret" to getting into heaven is to do the will of the Father–so simple. Attain union with God and you'll know and want to do his will.
Today's Gospel reading from Matthew 15. Jesus miraculously multiplied seven loaves of bread and a few fish to feed the hungry crowd of four thousand that had followed him for three days. After they all ate, they picked up the fragments left over—seven baskets full. Here Jesus produced bread and fish out of nowhere—it was an act of creation by God!
Today's entrance antiphon, based upon 1 Corinthians 4.5: The Lord will illumine what is hidden in darkness and reveal himself to all the nations. I feel so blessed that Christ had already come and revealed himself to us. Now we know how much the Lord loves us and wants to save us from sin. This has to be the greatest revelation from God to mankind.
I started watching a Netflix film on human creativity. The creative people seek new ideas, break new grounds, explore new areas, and come up with new creations or new ways of doing old things. During the process, they experience transformation as they discover themselves and realize their own potential. Basically, I see them having a number of breakthroughs. Then I realized that I had the biggest out-of-the-world breakthrough—that was becoming one with the living God and my creator! This is the only breakthrough that enables us to break out of our earthly prison, while all other breakthroughs still keep us earthbound.
I am sure you know the difference between knowing Christ and knowing about Christ. I had a tour guide in Holy Land once. He knew all about the Gospels and Jesus, but he was and remained a Moroccan Jew. I thought about preaching Christ and preaching about Christ—here's a difference too. It's easy to preach about him without knowing him. But if you know him, you can't help but want to preach him!
Today's Communion antiphon, Matthew 10.27: What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light, says the Lord, what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. The Lord now speaks to my heart in the darkness or the light. Even in the early days when I did not hear from him as much as now, he blessed me with the desire to proclaim him by giving testimonies to others. At one time, I was traveling and reached a high point among the hills. I stopped, got out of my car, and saw a whole range of hilltops in front of me. I had the desire to get on top of the tallest one and proclaim Christ as loud as I possibly could, for the hills would surely echo my message around the whole world. This desire has been a great joy and sustained me all these years, even though I feel the pain whenever I am not able to talk about the Lord or share him with others. That he has called me is beyond doubt.
Someone I know, a non-Christian, just suffered a stroke. Naturally, her family showed up to support and console her at the hospital. They prepared special food items she liked and did other things to make her happy. Many of her friends also visited her to talk to her or just to keep her company. All this outpouring of love is laudable, but I just can't help thinking that doing all this is limited if no one, not even any of her Christian friends, mentions Christ or prays with her. We can do everything to make someone happy in this life, but not try to bring the person to Christ to receive true joy now and for all eternity. Is this really doing the person a favor? True love behooves us to be concerned about the others' soul!
Whether we believe in the God or not, we tend to keep our distance from him. It is true that God is to be feared, but not for the wrong reason. Nonbelievers keep their distance from God because they do not want to be exposed to him, understandable. But those who believe and still keep some distance from God are surprisingly doing it for the same reason! As believers, they are still afraid to give themselves up completely to God. Know that with God, being lukewarm is worse than being out. Abandon yourself totally to him is the way to go.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 8, we heard the story of the healing of a centurion's servant. A centurion approached Jesus and appealed to him, saying, "Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully." Jesus said to him, "I will come and cure him." The centurion replied, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed." When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, "Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith." Today, we all say these words of this centurion for our soul before receiving the Lord in Holy Communion. If we say them sincerely from the heart, we can amaze the Lord too!
From Isaiah 35, part of today's entrance antiphon: Behold, our Savior will come; you need no longer fear. Jesus did come, fulfilling Isaiah's prophecy. Now what he had said is valid for us today, for Jesus will come again. And it is a good reason for us to remain fearless, for he will come to fulfill all our hopes.
Since God loves us infinitely more than we can possibly realize, the pain he feels when we reject him and the joy he feels when we accept him are also infinitely greater than we can possibly realize. Understanding this should help us appreciate his love for us more.
Two huge crises the Church faces today. (1) The slaughter of the unborn goes on worldwide nonstop. (2) 70% of U.S. Catholics do not know that the Lord is truly present in the Holy Eucharist. They claim that no one ever told them. The Church has failed miserably in teaching her flock and in saving souls, yet we do not hear from the hierarchy addressing these urgent issues. Why can't the bishops say or do something if the Pope remains silent? Why can't the priests say or do something if the bishops remain quiet? It is bewildering and frustrating to many of the faithful who are crying out aloud to the Lord for mercy.
As I have pointed out many times in the past, telling someone to do this or to do that to become a holier person never works. It is a waste of time. We must get Christ involved! Let all know that he can make us holy; he can completely change us; easy, if we'll let him do it for us! This is so common sense, yet many do not see it, so they so not preach it. No Christ, no power, as simple as that. The Lord is ready, we are the ones who do not hear him or go after him.
I thought of Mary our Holy Mother today. How could we not love her if we love Jesus? Jesus loves and honors her and she surely loves him more than any of us. Besides, conceived without sin, she is the holiest of all saints. I want my Protestant brothers and sisters to know that we Catholics do not worship her, but we surely venerate and love her as our dearest mother.
While I was exercising on a treadmill at the gym this morning, the mundane background music played on. It was the aimless singing of some group. My thought was that most people are doing something to pass the time, not aiming at glorifying God in particular. Perhaps they will turn to God in the last moments of their life, which is a blessing. The tragedy is that by then they will have wasted almost all of their lifetime.
God is amazing in that he not only created our physical universe and all the living beings, he is also love, fighting evil and trying to save us. It is like he is the master in two entirely different domains. The fact of the matter is that he is the Lord of all.