"Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)

Thursday, April 30, 2020

**Last Thought of This Month**

        Before this month of April ends in about 30 minutes, I want to end on a high note. There is not a thing in this world we can hold onto, ourselves included, but there is the God of Christ we can hold onto forever. This alone is enough to make life worth living and us rejoice!

***Going to Heaven Made Easy

        If you follow God's will, it will be done. To wish to go to heaven is precisely what God wills for you, so keeping his word and you'll be there for sure. The gate that leads to life may be narrow, but the more you yield to God, the wider it opens up for you. And when you submit yourself to him completely, it vanishes altogether. In sum, how easy your journey to God is depends entirely upon how willing you are to let him carry you.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

**Simple and Beautiful Truths

        In today's Gospel reading from John 6, Jesus said, "Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me, because I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the the one who sent me. And this is the will of he one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day." 
      These sayings reveal some important truths. (1) Jesus did come down from heaven and is the Son of God. (2) When God calls us, we cannot possibly be rejected by him. God calls you only because he wants to save you! If you hear his call and go to him, you are "in." (3) "Everyone who believes in the Son has eternal life"—these nine words are all one needs to know to live on forever in paradise!

**World in Chaos

        Today is the memorial of St. Catherine of Sienna. Reading 1 from Acts 8 tells about the persecution of the Church, scattering all followers except the Apostles throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria. Our world is in chaos today too. In this country alone, so many voices are out there attacking others nonstop. You can't even get everyone together to agree on loving our own country, let alone believing in one God. Without faith in the one God of Christ, the world will sadly remain in chaos until the Second Coming of the Lord. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

**Jesus Our Life

        In today's Gospel reading from John 6, Jesus said to the crowd, "The bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." Again, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst." I see that that Jesus had prefigured the Holy Eucharist here. As our Lord and our God, he is truly the only one who can satisfy our spiritual hunger and quench our spiritual thirst. Go to him and believe in him, and your are set for eternity. 

***Follow God, Not Your Own Grain

        In today's reading 1 from Acts 7, as Stephen was stoned to death at the feet of Saul (Paul), he called out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then he fell to his knees and cried in a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them"; and when he said this, he fell asleep. Now Saul was consenting to his execution. We sometimes don't mind openly or secretly that the people we consider bad or just plain don't like would meet some tragic end. But wishing ill of anyone is a sin, for God loves us all! Also, in so wishing, you have judged them. Instead, we should pray for our "enemies" as St. Stephen did. Ask the Lord to crush all evil but save all souls.

**Our Biggest Oversight

        We take good care of our own home, our properties, possessions, family, health, the business we own or the job we hold, our retirement, even our own funeral. How ironic that we hardly think about taking care of our soul!

Monday, April 27, 2020

**When Losing Peace Is Justifiable

        People get upset or lose peace over so many things. Know that we ourselves are not perfect, cannot be in control of all things, and are living in an imperfect sinful world. Besides, who are we to think that we should always be in control and have our ways? As Christians, God should be our only Lord. In any case, getting upset or losing peace is justifiable only if you know you might not make heaven.

*God Makes It Simple for Us

        In today's Gospel reading from John 6, people asked Jesus, "What can we do to accomplish the works of God?" He answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent." God has made it simple and straight for us—we only need to believe in Jesus. It's the very opposite of taking an obstacle course. With faith, we can simply accomplish anything in his name.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

*Progression of the Spiritual Life

        All journeys start out with the love of God. It is through this love that faith is born. As our faith deepens, we receive greater power and fire, and increasingly experience freedom, peace, and joy.

*One Reason We Need God

        Without God, we behave like little kids with no good sense, messing up things. With God, we acquire good sense, cleaning up the mess and putting our life in order.. 

***Criterion for Salvation

        We are not saved by how good we feel about ourselves. Instead, we are saved by how we good we feel about Jesus.

**Getting Around Surrendering to God

        If you don't surrender yourself to God just because you don't like to hear the word "surrender," there are other ways. Beg God to have mercy on you, meaning it from your very heart, or open yourself up completely to him, and you shall accomplish the same thing.

**To Be Freed from the World

        The Smithsonian Channel has produced the TV series Aerial America showing how each state looks from the air. As you watch the episodes, you also learn about the various historical landmarks and well-known buildings and homes. I came away with a picture that people in the past fought wars, built forts, started businesses, became big and constructed huge homes . . . in general, laboring away the whole time on earth. This is like living on a plane and never getting up into space. If we can connect with God, then we are lifted out of the two-dimensional space into the third dimension. This is the move the wise make to be freed from this mundane world for ever.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

***Anatomy of the Spiritual Journey

        Our ultimate goal is to become one with God. The greatest obstacle in my spiritual journey turns out to be ourselves. For we wish to be our own god and not want anyone else to restrict or control us, not realizing that God knows us thoroughly and is the only one who can free me from the enslavement we have imposed upon ourselves. Eventually, we know that we need God, but yielding ourselves to him is no easy task. The truth is that more you get out of God's way, the closer you become to him! I can also say that the more you let go in him, the more he is going to carry you to make your journey easy. When you surrender yourself completely to God, you become one with him and you are finally free! Following him is now effortless and a joy. The world no longer has any power over you, for you belong to him and are heaven bound. To all of you who are journeying toward the Lord, do not ever get discouraged. Know that every time you give up some of your control to him, your journey becomes easier. 

***Clearing Everything with God

        You want to be receptive to God so that you may see clearly what he wishes you to do for his glory. If there are other things you want to do on your own, you should also clear them with him to see that doing them is also for his glory. This is the harder part. It means you must abandon yourself totally to the Lord. But if you can do that, you'll experience immense freedom and peace and know that you've done the right thing. Again, this is how God has made us. 

Thursday, April 23, 2020

**Our Smart Role

        I am thinking about how Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. After he received word saying that Lazarus was ill, he did not rush to him, knowing that the illness was not to end in death, but was for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified through it. He remained for two days where he was. Knowing that Lazarus had now died, he and his disciples left for Bethany, the village Lazarus was from. By then, Lazarus had been dead for four days. The two sisters of Lazarus, Martha and Mary, both said to Jesus, "If you had been here, my brother would not have died." Jesus ordered to have the stone that lay across the opening of the tomb removed and cried out in a loud vice, "Lazarus, come out!" The man came out. 
      The lesson I learned is that God knows what he is doing and is always a step ahead of us. So we can confidently follow him in contentment, watching his glory unfold.

***God Our Brilliant Judge*

        Ir occurs to me that how God will judge us is absolutely brilliant. You see, we are all given our free will so that how we deal with others determines how God will deal with us. You might say that he lets us set our own standards. He will forgive us the way we forgive others. How we judge others will determine how he is going to judge us. If we do not acknowledge him, he will not acknowledge us later either. If we reject him, we'll only get ourselves rejected by him. The is a totally fair system that makes us responsible for our choices. We can't complain about it. But there is one provision there that favors us: we can repent and reset our standards anytime to make sure we'll be well treated by the Lord. 

***The Holy Eucharist Is Holy!***

        Anyone who allows the Holy Eucharist, the Most Blessed Sacrament, to be profaned, will have to answer to the Lord one day. Fr. Mark Goring's video today makes the point.

God Our Only Judge

        Evildoers would think that good is bad and evil is good. But even if we follow the Lord faithfully, we can be wrong too, as human judgment is not always reliable. In recent news, some people think one public official is a good person, while others believe that he cannot be trusted. Who's right? We are not sure, since we don't see what's truly in his heart. Only the Lord God who knows all truths is qualified to judge both the good and the bad.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

**To Make the World Beautiful to God

        We know that God's thoughts are not our thoughts, nor are our ways his ways. (Isaiah 55.8.) We also know that God sees what's in our heart and we don't. I had traveled and seen many buildings that were beautiful and magnificent, and some cities were full of them. They could be cathedrals, palaces, museums, hotels, business centers, shopping malls, etc. Since I couldn't look inside people's hearts, everything looked good. If I could have seen as God sees, I would have been most likely shocked and never want to look at people (and myself) again. But we do know what's in our own heart. So if we can all make our own heart clean and pure, we'll have a truly beautiful world in God's eyes.

**Living-the-Truth Test

        In today's Gospel reading from John 3, the Apostle wrote: "This is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God." So I can say that if you have no hesitation in sharing all that's in your heart with God, then you have been living the truth.  

***Some Union Benefits

        Union with God liberates you. You know it when your tendency to sin is gone. While evildoers always scheme and plot to sin, you simply try to do good every present moment. You also experience peace because your thoughts are clean and you no longer think about anything that pulls you away from God. You find all trivial, mundane, phony, impure, worldly thoughts boring or even sickening, for you have seen or experienced the beauty, purity, and holiness of God. 

***The End of Journey***

        Last night I watched the documentary Footprints: The Path of Your Life on Netflix. It's about ten young men from Arizona following their parish priest, Fr. Sergio of Spain, to walk the Camino de Santiago in Northern Spain. It's a grueling 500-mile journey that took 40 days to complete. This ancient path has been traveled by pilgrims for centuries. The destination is the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral where the remains of the Apostle St. James is believed to have been buried. Anyway, the hikers went through pouring rain, suffered physical pain, lost their way, but also witnessed beautiful inspiring landscapes. More importantly, they all came to learn more about themselves and what they should focus upon, became motivated, and were drawn closer to God. Such an experience can definitely benefit most city dwellers who are so tied up with and weighed down by the affairs of the world. Again, I'd like to add that once you have attained union with God, he shall be dwelling within you, keeping you refreshed and inspired. You have now reached the end of your spiritual journey, for you have captured the Lord! Whatever that's beautiful or inspiring you wish to experience, you now find it right there in your God.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

***Dream Union Awaiting*

       Our Lord is a personal God, but it takes two to tango. We must at least be open to him to keep a relationship. When we open up completely to him in humble submission, God and us become united as one and we experience liberation, peace, and joy! The Holy Eucharist serves as the catalyst and the seal. This is the dream union every human being should be in, the thrust of this blog. And God's invitation is always there while you are in exile on earth.

*Discovering the Messiah

        Here is another good story from ONE FOR ISRAEL Ministry. It's typical of someone who never understood Jesus and woke up one day. God is always calling us and we need to leave ourselves open a crack to let the Lord in to lead us to him. 

Monday, April 20, 2020

**Don't Commit Suicide

        If you reject Christ as your Savior, it's no different from committing suicide. In either case, you end up condemning yourself. Accept Christ the author of life to have life and have it abundantly. He will fill you with more life and hope than ever, leading you to eternal salvation! That's why we call it the gospel, the good news. It's in reality the most fantastic, incredible news!

**To Be Born from Above

        In today's Gospel reading from John 3, Jesus explained to Nicodemus how one must be born from above: "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless one is born of water and spirit he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I told you, 'You must be born from above.' The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." I now fully understand why the Lord is more real than anyone I see on earth, and I feel his presence and know that he dwells in me. If you ask me how I know all this, all I can say is that if you'd been born from above, you'd know it too. Know God first and you'll have no more questions.

***Averting Tragic Ending of Life

        If you feel depressed, down-hearted, discouraged, that your heart is heavy, that life is empty . . . it's God letting you know that you need him. This is how he has made us! Only he can truly satisfy us and make us happy. Life is temporal and we need to secure our eternal existence to be happy forever. You need to wake up and get in touch with the Lord of Christ, your Savior, who is readily accessible. Cry out to him from your heart and he hears you instantly. By the way, two of my friends who were outwardly very successful had committed suicide; the news shocked me. How I wish that they had known Christ and realized that life in him could be such a joy! It's like you are drowning and not aware that the life boat is right there in front of you. So, to avert any tragic ending of your life, get in touch with Christ the Lord of love and mercy and submit yourself to him if you haven't yet. It would be not only tragic, but also extremely foolish, to let your own pride kill you.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

***Shroud of Turin

        God is brilliant!

***Post #10,000 Advice

        On this Divine Mercy Sunday, I hit post #10,000. I started blogging in September 2009, just wanting to get my conversion story out. That didn't take long. After I finished telling it, there were a few more spiritual thoughts and I posted them as well. So from September to December that first year I posted just 24 times. And nothing came to my mind until June of next year, 2010. Thoughts started to pop up in my mind and I duly posted them, never believing that this would continue on too long. But it did continue on and I got the feeling that the Lord was up to something. So I asked him about it, and it became clear the following year in 2011 that I was to spread the message that he desires to draw all to union with him through the Holy Eucharist. As I continued posting, I also realized that he was shaping and molding me too through the teachings I received. It never would have been possible for me to say much about loving God and becoming holy on my own in the days preceding the blog. And the fact that for the last 10 years or so I've never had to think about what to blog next only shows that it's all God's doing. So how much longer I shall go on blogging, I don't know and am not concerned about it. I only wish more and more people will realize that to become one with the Lord is his highest calling for all of us and we can all become saints, for everything is possible with him. The Lord is ready to give you more and more, for he loves to bless you. Say yes to him and your journey will become a great joy. Say no and you'll find it laborious. Wise up to let him carry you all the way to heaven!  

To Trust in God's Mercy Is . . .

to abandon yourself in him.

***One Thing We Must Do!

        It's Divine Mercy Sunday. I rejoice that the Lords's mercy is so great that a sinner like me can get to go to heaven to be with him forever! To trust in the Lord is to trust in his mercy. So the foremost important thing for us to do in this life is to get all our sins forgiven by God. If this is not done, don't waste time thinking about heaven.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

***Divine Mercy Sunday Graces***

        Tomorrow April 19 is Divine Mercy Sunday. Jesus has made this fantastic promise to us through St. Faustina. So take advantage of it! Don't forget to pray for graces for all those you love also. 

Friday, April 17, 2020

***Most Joyful Moment!

       In today's Gospel reading from John 21, Jesus appeared to seven of his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. Peter, John, and the other disciples went fishing. All night they caught nothing. When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, "Children, have you caught anything to eat?" They answered him, "No." So he said to them, "Cast the net over the right side of he boat and you will find something." So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish. So John recognized that it was Jesus and said to Peter,"It is the Lord." When Peter heard it, he jumped into the sea and swan toward Jesus.
         It is a most joyful moment to recognize that it is the Lord. You don't need to see him; you can just hear him speaking to you and know that it's his voice or see something happening and know that it's his doing. In fact, everything has to do with him and should be a joy to us! It is absolutely fine for us to love him for giving us so much joy.

**Our Only Savior

        In today's first reading from Acts 4, Peter and John were speaking to the people in Jerusalem, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. The priests, the temple guard, and the Sadducees confronted them and put them in custody. The next day they brought them before the leaders, elders, and scribes, with all the high priests present. Peter, filled with Holy Spirit, answered their questions first and then boldly proclaimed about Jesus, "There is no salvation through anyone else nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved." I totally agree with Peter. If you do not agree and definitely know of someone who can do a better job of saving us than Jesus, feel free to let me know.

*A Spiritual Illumination

      Here is a beautiful 10-minute testimony you may enjoy watching.

**Illumination of Conscience

        I watched Fr. Goring's new video on YouTube today. I also feel that we need a spiritual illumination to secure our salvation. It is possible that we hear the gospel preached so many times or have had a Christian upbringing all along, but are never acutely aware that Christ is our one and only Savior, that we need to love and serve him alone, and that we would be absolutely lost without him! You probably agree with me here, but it really should hit you like a private revelation!
         Here's the video:

**To Be Somebody Holy*

        An Italian was asked about the difference between those who buy Ferraris and those who buy Lamborghinis. He said that those who choose the Ferrari all want to become somebody, while those who favor the Lambo know that if they own one, they are somebody. Now I can tell you that if you want to become somebody holy, there are plenty of things you can find to aid you. But if want to be somebody holy, you only need to "own" Jesus, for he can make you to be just like him.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

**The Living Bread

        In the Gospel reading from Luke 24, Jesus appeared to two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus after his Resurrection. They did not recognize him until he broke the bread at the table later in the evening. When the priest breaks the bread during the liturgy of the Eucharist at Mass, we must also recognize that it is the Lord breaking himself to feed us. This is the living bread from heaven that gives us eternal life and we must be grateful for and treasure this most precious gift. 

**The Author of Life!

        In today's first reading from Acts 3, Peter addressed the people telling them that Jesus is the author of life they put to death, but God raised him from the dead. Indeed he is. We need to know that when we reject him, we reject life and thus life for ourselves. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

*God Our Joy

        Today's response from Psalm 105: Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord. The Lord is our greatest and true joy. Once you know him, you want to be with and in him forever, as he is most delightful, uplifting, and understanding. He is what our spirit needs and seeks. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

***Getting Back to the Father Assured

        In today's Gospel reading from John 20, the Risen Lord appeared to Mary Magdalene at the tomb and said to her, "Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, 'I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" Here is my rock solid assurance that if I stay with and follow Christ, I am going straight to my Father and my God.

*Choosing to Be Happy

        Today's alleluia verse before the Gospel from Psalm 118: This is the day the LORD has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it. It seems that broadly speaking, there are three groups of people. We have those who are deeply entrapped in sin; those who just drift along, not in particular thinking about God or anything; and those who are glad and rejoice in the Lord everyday. It's easy for me to choose which group I want to belong to.

**God's Sorrow

        The more we love someone, the heavier the burden we feel when that person abandons God. Now God loves us infinitely more than we love others. Imagine how heavy the burden he must feel on his heart when so many of us abandon him!

Monday, April 13, 2020

*Fake News Then and Now

        In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 28, after learning that Jesus had risen, the chief priests assembled with the elders and took counsel; then they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, "You are to say, 'His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep.' And if this gets to the ears of the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble." The soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. They thought that they had everyone fooled, but we two thousands years later know that it was all fake news. Today maybe 80-90% of the news media spread fake news in this country and the majority of the people already know that they are fake. And, of course, the Lord God you can never fool. It is sad that in general, evildoers are not smart enough to see that they are destined to lose big in the end.

**How to Live Right

        Each of us is a spirit with a soul and a body. Since our body is only a temporary abode, we should not ever let it dictate the way we live. It is the imperishable soul that we must safeguard for it to live on forever with God. By the way, this makes believing in Christ a must.

***Jesus Is Our Life!

        In today's reading 1 from Acts 2, Peter gave a speech on the day of Pentecost. He let it be known that God raised Jesus the Nazorean up, releasing him from the throes of death because it was impossible for him to be held by it. And he quoted David who prophesied and knew that God would set one of his descendants upon his throne, and foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ. I see that since death has no power over Christ, he has to exist forever, and be our life, our creator, and our God! You cannot possibly separate these three roles! In John 11.25, Jesus said to Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, he will live." In John 14.6, Jesus said to Thomas, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." So the Resurrection of Jesus should be sufficient evidence for us to believe in him. (*In case you still have doubts, watch the the film The Case for Christ on YouTube. It tells the true story of an investigative journalist who tried hard to disprove the Resurrection of Jesus and failed.)

Sunday, April 12, 2020

***I Know the Lord!

        Today's Gospel reading from John 20 is about the empty tomb which Mary of Magdala first discovered. She ran and went to Simon Peter and John and told them about it. Then they all ran to the tomb and saw only the burial cloths and the cloth that had covered Jesus' head in the tomb. After the disciples returned home, Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping. Later Jesus appeared to Mary and told her to go to his brothers and tell them that he was going to his Father and their Father, to his God and their God. Mary went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord," and told what he told her.
        It must be such a great joy to see the Risen Lord! We do not see him, but we can know him! In fact, knowing the Lord is much better than seeing him but not knowing him. Jesus said to Thomas, "Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed." Let's get to know Jesus as much as possible so that we may proclaim "I know the Lord!"

Peter as an Eyewitness

        Happy Easter to all! We have the Risen Lord! Reading 1 comes from Acts 10, it is Peter's speech! He told us as an eyewitness the many things Jesus did. He and other witnesses even ate and drank with Jesus after he rose from the dead. Peter also knew that Jesus was appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead and that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name. If you can't say that Peter wasn't speaking the truth, then you must believe in Jesus.

*Time-Wasting Thoughts

        Thinking about various things occupies the greater part of our life. Contemplating worldly things, worrying about the future, dwelling upon the past, being unduly curious about others . . . all these things take up our time. In fact, they keep us away from God. If you want the Lord to uplift you spiritually, ask him to uplift your thoughts too. The time of our life is precious. Any time wasted is time lost forever, the time you could have used for building up treasure in heaven. Seek to attain union with God to have him occupy your mind completely to block out all wasteful thoughts. And I  assure you that you'll experience inner peace.

*Knowing God Is Best

        You can study physics, math, medicine, or even theology, and become the top expert in your field, but if you do not know God, what you have learned doesn't amount to much. Knowing God personally is worth more than possessing all the knowledge in any other subject field. It is through God that you come to know the truth about this life and beyond. Also, you can only know God through the heart, so he is special. Rejoice, if you hear him calling you to know him in your heart.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

***How Jesus Won Me Over

          Matthew 28.1-10 is today's Gospel reading about the Resurrection of Jesus. It starts out this way. "After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning and his clothing was white as snow. The guards were shaken with fear of him and became like dead men." Let me stop right here. Our Lord never tries to win us over by being self-aggrandizing, intimidatory, or harsh in any way. Seeing his glorious appearance is enough to make you shake with fear or submit yourself to him in joy. This will happen at his Second coming. When I realized his awesome glory, he completely won me over. 
        I resumed reading and the Holy Spirit stirred up a powerful joy in my heart that's so overwhelming that I had to stop reading again. Jesus is more than sufficient for me!

***Back in God's Good Graces*

        Today is Holy Saturday. Reading 1 starting from Genesis 1 gives The Story of Creation. God created the whole universe, the earth, all the vegetation, plants, the animals and other living creatures on earth and culminated in the creation of man, male and female, in his image. "Wow!" is all I can say. My simple thought is that surely he can make us holy in no time. The only problem is that man committed the original sin of disobedience later and we now have to "permit" God to make us holy first. That is, we need to submit ourselves to God, expressing our sorrow for the original sin, as it were, and for our continued disobedience. Taking this one simple step will get us back in God's good graces again. And we can easily accomplish this if we are humble and willing! 

***Our Ultimate Quest*

        I used to chase after music. I would spend a lot of time at various Tower Records stores searching for records and CDs. I found great pleasure in listening to music and collecting recordings. I also subscribe to a number of magazines such as Fanfare, American Record Guide, Gramophone, etc. Looking back, I see that I was unknowingly looking for God. Although I already knew God at the time, I had not completely submitted myself to him yet. All of you who are doing all kinds of things, good or bad, to please or satisfy yourselves are, you may not realize it yet, basically searching for God, because without him life is empty. How do I know? Well, once you truly know the God of Christ, all your other desires just fade away. You are not obsessed with any of them anymore. Compared to the joy and freedom you experience in God, all your old pleasures are now "boring." You finally know that the Lord God is the real thing, that he has made us in such a way that we won't be truly happy until we have him! 

Friday, April 10, 2020

*One Christian Failure

        The world is full of unhappy people living unhappy lives. Here we have Christ who can make us anew and change our lives. Of course, many heard about him and choose not to accept him. But there are many more who have not even heard about him! It's a case of "the harvest is abundant but the laborers are few." Sadly, Christians in general have not taken the Lord's last command "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature" seriously. They need to know the Lord more to feel the urgency of bringing him to others. Otherwise, they'll have to answer to the Lord one day.

***Key to Perfection

        From Hebrews 4, today's second reading: Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him. Jesus' perfect obedience to the Father showed that he was perfect. Surely, if we humble ourselves and obey God, he will exalt us and make us perfect.

***Words to Set Us Free***

        Luke 23.46, today's Psalm response: Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. This was what Jesus cried out from the cross before he breathed his last. These parting words of his are words that can actually set us free! When we say them to God the Father from our very heart, we abandon ourselves completely in him and we are free!

**Fulfilling the Prophecies

        Today is Good Friday of the Lord's Passion. Isaiah 52.13–53.12 is the first reading. I confess that I am not that familiar with the Old Testament, but what Isaiah had prophesied about Christ's suffering 700+ years in advance was amazing! Here are some of the verses from Isaiah 53 I have lumped together. 
         It was our pain that he bore, our sufferings he endured. He was pierced for our sins, crushed for our iniquity. He bore the punishment that makes us whole, by his wounds we were healed. We had all gone astray like sheep, all following our own way; but the LORD laid upon him the guilt of all. Though harshly treated, he submitted and did not open his mouth, like a lamb let to slaughter. Seized and condemned, he was taken away, though he had done no wrong, nor was deceit found in his mouth. But it was the LORD's will to crush him with pain, by making his life as a reparation offering. My servant, the just one, shall justify the many, their iniquity he shall bear.

         There are many other prophecies in the Old Testament which Jesus fulfilled, down to a specific detail in some cases. The Lord God had made the prophets foresee the coming of Christ as our Savior, surely he can make us believe in him as our Savior now that he had already come.  

***Loneliness, Begone!

        Each of us is basically alone in this vast universe. If there is no God, our existence becomes meaningless. Deep down, we know that there must be a creator. The fact that we understand good and evil shows that we have a spiritual God. We may belong to a huge family and living among billions of other human beings, but if we don't have a personal God, each of us is still alone, for no one truly knows us thoroughly. Then Christ came and became one of us, giving us the great news of salvation. We can even become one with him in spirit through receiving him in the Holy Eucharist! Being our creator, he knows all about us. ViolĂ , we are no longer alone! He is the only one who can take away our loneliness and the feeling of being lost. (I am not even mentioning that he can make us go to heaven easy too—whoops!) 

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Only What God Thinks Matters

        If you are still affected much by what people think about you, good or bad, you still have an ego problem. We should care only about what God thinks about us. When God praises us, we rejoice. And he would never say bad things about us. When we fail, he gently reminds us. We then repent and are forgiven and back to rejoicing. Let the Lord dwell in you fully and there will be no room left for ego.

*Two Versions of Tea for Two

        This post kinda ties in with the previous one. As you know, I have an interest in music (but not obsessed with it anymore as I was once). In the morning, I usually watched the news a little bit on YouTube and if I see any music videos interesting I watched them also. This morning I heard both Pierre-Yves Plat's "Tea for Two" and Art Tatum's version played. If you read scores, you can follow the playing. Pierre-Yves Plat is a living French pianist, very talented in both classic and jazz playing. His arrangement of the song is cleverly worked out and quite impressive. Art Tatum was probably the greatest American pianist who ever existed. I found his arrangement to be more spontaneous, coming more from the soul, and his talent truly amazing. I would say that, of the two, Tatum is more like a reservoir and less like a canal. The videos follow below.

**Be More like a Reservoir

        This morning I watched Marcus Grodi interviewing Keith Nester on his EWTN The Journey Home show on YouTube. Marcus quoted the saying "We aren't supposed to be channels, we are supposed to be reservoirs." This spoke to me and I searched online and found that St. Bernard of Clairvaux actually said this. I am quoting him more fully below.

        "The man who is wise, therefore, will see his life as more like a reservoir than a canal. The canal simultaneously pours out what it receives; the reservoir retains the water till it is filled, then discharges the overflow without loss to itself.... Today there are many in the Church who act like canals, the reservoirs are far too rare.... You too must learn to await this fullness before pouring out your gifts, do not try to be more generous than God."

       It was beautifully said. While we feel that it is our duty to serve the Lord, it's equally important to know that God wants us to become holy ourselves first. The best way to achieve that is again to go deep, deep into the Lord. 

     I am posting the Keith Nester interview here in case you are interested in watching it.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

**WHY We Need Christ

        Not a single person in the world has the power to understand us fully, know our true feelings, tolerate all our errors, remove any guilt we have, or heal our wounded souls except Christ who can not only do all the above, but also set us free, make us clean, and lead us to heaven. He is not called our Savior for nothing.

*God Be Our Defender

        When you are one with God, if you are ever wrong, you would know instantly and repent of your sin. And if you are right, you would know that your are, for God is always right. Now, even if people say bad things about you, put you to shame, or oppose you, it doesn't matter anymore, for he Lord is your instant help and will defend you.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

***How to Know God's Plan for You

        First, you must know God well. Attain union with God is the perfect way to know him. Once you know him most intimately, you'll know his will, and his plan would be for you to follow his will. Beware that if you sin, you ruin his perfect plan for you, for you have gone against his will. So, remain in union with the Lord to know his plan and remain holy to know that you are following it. 

*Predetermined & Undermined Events

        In today's Gospel reading from John 13, Jesus predicted Peter's denial by saying to him, "Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow before you deny me three times." Later, this truly happened. The Lord knows all the things that must happen. His Second Coming has to be on of them. Of course, not everything is predetermined, for we have our free will and how we exercise that will affects how things will turn out. For example, if we all repent to the Lord and beg for his mercy, the coronavirus crisis can be quickly over. On the other hand, if we continue to sin against the Lord, worse chastisements will surely come. For each of us, we only need to follow the Lord faithfully according to the plan he has for each of us and leave the rest to him. 

***How Jesus Captured Me

       Of course, the might works and great miracles Jesus performed were most impressive, but what moved my heart and touched my soul and made me want to worship, praise, and adore him were his humility, his meekness, and his perfect obedience to the Father. Jesus said, "Whoever humbled himself will be exalted." Now it makes perfect sense to me.

***Tragedy in the Making

        Dying from the coronavirus must be a terrible experience, as the victim cannot breathe normally anymore. But if you have not reconciled yourself to God yet, this experience is nothing compared to what you might experience after you die and face God. The wise always think ahead and plan for their eternity first. Most people think only about this life and consider death only when they are threatened by it. They hardly think about life after death—it's as if they are content to let the unknown be unknown. This unwillingness to face eternity is a tragedy in the making, for they might miss the greatest possible reward God wants to give you.

***Our Last Hope!

        Jesus the Lord God himself has come to us in person to give us the good news of salvation. There is not another savior and there will be no one greater than he to come. He is our last hope!

**A Christian's Sole Mission

        From today's first reading from Isaiah 49, we read The LORD said to me, You are my servant, in you, Israel, I show my glory and I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth. Here it's made clear the mission of a Christian. We are to show God's glory by being a light to the world, spreading the good news of his salvation. Nothing less and nothing more. In other words, a Christian must be a soul saver. It's easy to remember and completely doable through the personal power of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, if we simply obey God.

Monday, April 6, 2020

***How to Be Set Afire

        God has to be more important to us than anything else for obvious reasons. So we must take him seriously. I do see Christians who live a rather casual Christian life. To please God, being lukewarm is not good enough. You must set your heart afire, and the only way to achieve that is to let the Holy Spirit fill you to the brim, for you cannot do it on your own. By the way, to be evil, you don't need God's help; but to be holy, you need all of his help. It all comes down to how willing you are to let God rightfully be your God. In this "game," if you want to win, you lose; but you are willing to lose, you win. Let God take charge of you and he'll set your heart on fire with the Holy Spirit.

***Our Amazing God

        Today I realize that our God, the God of Christ, is truly amazing. He is pure, unconditional love. He wants us to live happily with him forever in heaven! He is absolutely someone we can completely trust. Nothing is impossible for him and we can tap this power for our own spiritual gain. Just thinking about it puts a smile on my face, let alone the joy I feel in my heart. This God can be totally ours!

Sunday, April 5, 2020

***How to Know God

        If you already know the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, then you already know God the Holy Trinity. Of the three, we can relate to Christ the most because he actually did come down to earth to be among us. Through him, you get to know the Father intimately and receive the Holy Spirit. Since God is the truth, when you know him, you just know that he is the true God. How about if you are still seeking God? Know that you are finite and do not know him yet, while he is infinitely greater than you and knows all about you already. So you cannot expect that he would come to you to beg you to believe in him (it's just not appropriate, right?). The right attitude to assume is to believe that he truly exists and go to him humbly to let him know that you desire to know him. Seeing that you are sincere, he will then joyfully reveal himself to you to fulfill all you desire.

***How to Be like Jesus

        Today is Palm Sunday. What inspires me the most about Jesus was his complete obedience to the Father. These verses before the Gospel from Philippians 2 make that clear: Christ became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name. When Jesus was accused by the chief priests and elders, he remained silent. After he was brought before Pontius Pilate the governor, Pilate asked him if he didn't hear the many things the chief priests and elders were testifying against him, he did not say one word. Obviously, obedience to the Father was his sole concern.
          We are to obey the Father too. If we know we are doing his will, we must carry it through no matter what others think or say. There is no need to explain nor justify what we do to anyone. Obey the Father in secret and we'll be like Jesus.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

***My Testimony and Plea***

        We do have our happy moments in life, but they don't last. And we know we can never find true happiness in this world. You can make all the money, get all the material things, and earn all the admiration you want, and life will seem emptier than ever. True happiness is to be found in Christ alone who created us! He is the only one who understands us, who loves us, and who can cleanse my hearts and heal my souls. He is our one and only Savior! That is why in him, we can rest and find peace, freedom, and joy, now and forever! Abandon the sinking world and put yourself completely in his hands. Now, even if you die, you'll live with him in paradise.  

***How to Avoid Chastisement

        To avoid receiving any chastisement from God, we need to have a pure, clean heart. The first thing would be to repent and let God take away your sins. This step may be hard for those who would not ever consider humbling themselves to take, but it's absolutely necessary for their salvation. It is the part that requires you to make the effort. Once your heart is made clean, you must keep it clean by not falling into sin again. The next proper step to take would be to seek union with God.  Again, you need to humble yourself by surrendering yourself completely to him, but the effort is definitely worth it. For once you attain union with God, he even removes your tendency to sin. With struggling with sin gone, you now know that the Lord is carrying you all the way! (By the way, the Holy Eucharist is absolutely the greatest aid in helping you achieve union with God.)

***It's Chastisement Time!***

        Many lay Christians have recognized that the coronavirus is a chastisement from God. Of course, God is always calling us to turn away from sin to turn to him, but we grow increasingly deaf and stray away even further. This leaves the Lord with no choice but to shake us up a bit. Fr. Mark Goring is giving this warning today. He mentions a couple of examples showing how far we have walked away from the Lord. Let me just add several more. (1) We've legalized abortion and allowed the continuous termination of the unborn by the millions worldwide. (See my post "Magnitude of Abortion" giving the numbers in this country alone.) (2) The corruption within the Church, covering up the sex-abuse scandals and much more. (3) Our devious politicians who seek to gain power and control with no regard for the wellbeing of the country in the U.S. (4) The worldwide human-trafficking creating millions and millions of victims. While I don't expect any government officials to proclaim that God is chastising us, it is our duty as Christians to tell others about it for the sake of their souls. If we don't wake up, something worse will surely come. Just know that the days to Christ's Second Coming are numbered!

Friday, April 3, 2020

*Guiding Rule for Getting Things Done

        We all have many things to do in life. Some are necessary and others less so. We should do what's necessary, but not be anxious about it. During this coronavirus shutdown period, we cannot do all the things we normally do, but we can adapt by doing other things that can be equally fruitful. Following God's will without any anxiety should be our guiding rule in any circumstances. It is following his will that counts, not whether we get it done or not. 

*Christ Be Our Eternal Spring

        It is such a beautiful spring day. I took a walk outside the house, following the road down to the front of the property, as my house was set quite a way back from the city street. Spring here has the most delightful temperatures. Birds were singing and flowers blooming. The light green colors all around looked absolutely refreshing. My thoughts turned to the Lord. Why don't we in this spring of 2020 invite the Lord Jesus to enter us to be our eternal spring? Let him rejuvenate us to make us appear absolutely refreshing to him for all eternity!

*Danger of Being Close-Minded

          In today's Gospel reading from John 10, the Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus. Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you trying to stone me?" The Jews answered him, "We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy. You, a man, are making yourself God." Jesus answered them, "Can you say that the one whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world blasphemes because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? If I do not perform my Father's works, do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may realize and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father."
         The trouble with the Jews was that they already made up their mind that Jesus could not be God, so they disregard all his amazing works. That was making a close-minded condemnation of him. We should be open-minded always, especially when it comes to dealing with such an important issue as whether Jesus is God or not. I knew someone once who told me that he did not believe in Jesus because he called himself the Son of God and also the Son of Man. I believe that if he had wanted to believe, he could have easily found the explanation. We must be fair-minded always, even in dealing with the worst sinners.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

**How to Feel Good About Yourself

        As human beings, we are imperfect and we know it. First of all, when you have bad thoughts, say bad things, and do bad deeds, you lose peace. Then you can get angry, worry, become impatient, feel inadequate, and so on. In sum, you just don't feel good about yourself as a person. Here comes Jesus, and you get to know him and seek and attain union with him. And he completely changes your outlook on life and how you feel about yourself. You are now liberated from sin and feel that the Lord has made you anew. Finally, you are happy in him and about yourself as a person, for you know he loves and treasures you and can make you holy and whole. Alleluia!

*****Jesus Has to Be Our God*****

        Can anything be more important than God? Of course, not! Without him, all of us wouldn't even be here. Today's verse before the Gospel from Psalm 95: If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. In today's Gospel reading from John 8, Jesus said to the Jews, "Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death." Again, he said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM." Do you hear his voice? No normal sane human would make such audacious statements; only God can. If you don't hear him, you have hardened your hearts. The only way out is to prove that Jesus was an insane human. If you can't, then you have no choice but to acknowledge that he is your God!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

*How God Sets Us Free

        In today's reading from John 8, Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him, "If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the the truth will set you free." I can testify to you that what he said is true. To remain in his word is to be in him. When you follow and surrender to him, you become one with him and is in him. The Lord is the truth. In union with the Lord, you know him most intimately and are with the truth all the way. You are now set free.

Be Ready for the Lord

     The fact that the coronavirus is now worldwide is God's clear call to all to repent and return to him, for we have strayed far away. Confession and the Holy Mass go hand in hand. For we need to confess our sins first to be clean enough to receive the Lord at the altar. Sadly, the virus has now prevented many churches from offering Mass and hearing confession. This is hard for those who are not in a state of grace. Always confess your sins regularly before something unexpected like this happens. What if Christ comes next unexpectedly to judge us? Will you have time to get ready? I don't think so, if you are not ready now. 

The Best or the Worst to Come

        For the faithful followers of our Lord Jesus Christ, the best is yet to come. But for those who reject him and will not repent, the worst is surely to come to them. The Lord always wants the best for us, but sadly, some of us are foolish enough to choose the worst for themselves.