Today for this part of the world is the last day of 2020. I never thought I would live this long. The Lord has his reason for everything. Am I happy about that? Well, that's not really the important question. What's important is whether we are ready to meet the Lord. It we are not and he takes us sooner than expected, that could be tragic. But if we are always ready to meet him anytime he calls, this would be a constant joy for us. Like everyone else, I still have unfinished business to take care of. A project of mine is running into some problems now. My feeling is that if it doesn't get completed, that'd be fine too. Wouldn't you agree that the coolest attitude is to never lose your cool? God is truly cool, so be like him. Have a blessed 2021! My #1 recommended New York resolution for you is to abandon yourself totally in God ao that he may bless you to his heart's content.
Thursday, December 31, 2020
In John 14:6, Jesus says to his disciples, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Some people misinterpret this and say that if you are not a Christian, you won't get into heaven. If non-Christians make it to heaven, it is still through the mercy of Christ with his full knowledge and approval. They will realize that when they get there. Of course, I am not saying that you don't need to become Christians. Christ being the true God, no matter what your belief, you come under his jurisdiction. We need to believe in Christ because he is the way and the truth and the life, and believing in him is the sure way of securing your salvation.
To live Jesus is to live for Jesus alone and is the way to become free of the world and ourselves. We must let him be No. 1 in our lives, do all things in his name and for his glory, leave all our problems in his hands, suffer and rejoice along with him, and keep his word. Is this hard to achieve? Not at all if you let him do it for you!
Wednesday, December 30, 2020
Apart from the Lord, we can do nothing, for he is the vine and we are the branches (John 15:5). Whatever we conquer spiritually, it's the Lord conquering it through us. Victory is assured when we let him lead and command us. Perfect obedience to the Lord is the key to spiritual success.
We sin because we get pleasure or satisfaction out of it. The trade-off is that we lose peace. Know that it is always sin that causes us to lose peace. Sinning unceasingly will make you loathe yourself and can end up destroying your soul. Experience the true joy of the Lord that uplifts the spirit and cleanses the soul and you'll never want to sin again.
Tuesday, December 29, 2020
Evil is real and has been with us since the beginning of mankind. Evil operates in darkness and we do not see it until we are directly affected. Jesus wants us to remain alert and vigilant so that we may not get snared by evil and lose our soul. Evil sneaks up on us when we slack off and don't fight. That's why it is so important that we surrender ourselves to Christ to let him make us strong and holy. If Trump hadn't come along this time, no one would have realized how extensively evil has infiltrated our governments, our courts, the big corporations, the main stream media, the entertainment industry, the academia, and more. It's hard to believe that we could become a Communist country should the evildoers get their way! This spiritual warfare will continue on until the Lord's Second Coming. Meanwhile we must defend the glory of God with all our heart, with all our strength, and with all our soul.
God is calling you when you first sense the emptiness and start questioning the meaning of life. He is calling you again when you realize that we are all sinners and need salvation. He calls you every time you feel that you need help. And if you find Christ to be the Savior, believe and follow him to the end, his last call to you will be "Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." (Matthew 25:34)
Today's first reading comes from 1 John 2. John wrote "Whoever says, 'I know Jesus,' but does not keep his commandments is a liar.... But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him. This is the way we may know that we are in union with him...." So if we truly know Jesus, we would keep his commandments. If we don't obey him at all times, then we do not know him yet. Keep his word and we remain in union with him.
John further wrote "Whoever says he is in the light, yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness." In other words, if we don't love everyone yet, we are not completely in the light yet. Christians already know everything said here. They only need to execute them successfully, and this calls for full surrender to the Lord.
Monday, December 28, 2020
A couple posts back, I mentioned "darkness must have blinded you." Is that possible? We know that a bright light can temporarily blind you, but it's also true that light dispels darkness to make you see. In completeness darkness, you cannot not see anything, so you become like a blind person. Yes, darkness does blind one and light opens our eyes. It works spiritually too. Stay with God, the light, and you'll always see the truth.
Today's Psalm reading comes from Psalm 124. It is most fitting for our times. David writes, "Had not the LORD been with us—when men rose up against us, then would they have swallowed us alive, when their fury was inflamed against us. Then would the waters have overwhelmed us; the torrent would have swept over us, over us then would have swept the raging waters. Broken was the snare, and we were freed. Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth." Historically, the enemies of the Lord had risen up against his people so overwhelmingly that it seemed that only the Lord could defend them. And defend them he did. We need to remember that last verse of the psalm: Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth. Let's realize and believe that God will always have our back.
Today is Feast of the Holy Innocents. In reading 1 from 1 John 1, the Apostle tells us that God is light and we must walk in his light to let the Blood of Christ cleanse us from all sin, and that if we do not acknowledge our sins, we make the Lord a liar. This is so true. If we continue sinning, we could end up in darkness for all eternity. I shudder at such a thought. Realizing that we are sinners is the beginning of seeing the light. Once we repent of our sins and have Christ take hem all away, we are fully in the light. I am explaining this at the most elementary level. If you still don't get it, then darkness must have totally blinded you.
I knew of one deceased person, a very kind lady who was nice to everyone. I couldn't imagine that she could or would harm anyone. She's not well educated nor well off and worked at a lowly job all her life away from her own family. And no one really told her about Christ. There must be many others like her who do not know the Lord, but work hard and live humbly, not complaining about anything. I am certain that the Lord will be merciful to them. The Beatitudes Jesus gave to his disciples in his Sermon on the Mount tells us that blessed are the poor in spirit, they who mourn, the meek, they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the clean of heart, and the peacemakers. It shows that no matter who and what you are, the Lord will always treat you fairly and justly. It's so good that we have a Lord and God who know it all and has the answer to everything we need to know.
Sunday, December 27, 2020
In John 14, Jesus said to his disciple at the Last Supper, "Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves." So if we know Jesus, we know the Father. In Christianity, God came to us. We don't need to look for him anymore; we only need to believe in him. This the Lord made me see clearly again today. This is the sure path to the truth.
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 2, Joseph and Mary took the child Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. A man named Simeon was righteous and devout. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: "Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory for your people Israel."
Can we also say that we are ready to go to God in peace? We should know. We must be ready and eager anytime he calls us to go to him. Returning to God for us should be to spend eternity with our Father in heaven, experiencing the greatest joy possible! If you are still uncertain, hesitant, or even afraid, then you need to straighten out your relationship with the Lord before he calls you.
Today we celebrate The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. In today's reading 1 from Colossians 3, Paul writes, "Whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." To consciously do everything in the name of Jesus until it becomes our second nature is a great way for us to become holy.
Personally, I think that this year's Nativity scene displayed at the Vatican is both ugly and bizarre. It does not draw me any closer to the birth of Christ. Archbishop Vigano even says that the display is from Lucifer. You can easily find the images of the display online and see what you think. Brian Holdsworth shares how he feels about this display.
Saturday, December 26, 2020
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 10, Jesus spoke to his disciples of coming persecutions. He said, "You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved." This is what's virtually happening today when we see the globalists and the radicals of the deep state trying to wipe out all beliefs in God. And we also see many people under pressure ready to give in. As true followers of Christ, we must never ever give up, even if we must die. We must endure to the end, for the Lord awaits us. It is only his wish that we must follow and his glory that we must defend. With him, we'll invariably triumph in the end.
Today is the feast of Saint Stephen, first martyr. He was stoned to death at the feet of Saul. As he was being stoned, he called out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." We may not be stoned to death, but are being persecuted in other ways. Are we ready like Stephen to call out to the Lord to receive our spirit? With or without persecution, the time will come when we all shall have no choice but to let the Lord do whatever he wishes with us. The time to abandon ourselves to him is now!
I hope that you all had a great Christmas Day. Since my first son and his wife live next door to us and their daughter and son, our grandchildren, were also home from college, the six of us got together. Later my daughter-in-law's parents came and joined us. We all enjoyed a well-prepared home-cooked supper and had a good time together. This morning I took a brisk walk outside. The scenery looked extra beautiful when the sun came out right after an earlier rain. You see the fallen fall leaves stuck to the wet pavement and hear frogs croaking in the surrounding fields. I couldn't help thinking how immeasurably more beautiful our future environment God has prepared for us will be! As I like to photograph whatever beauty I can spot around me, I took these two shots with my phone recently. The first image I captured a week ago while walking outside after a rain. The white spot was bird poop and looked good next to the dead leaf. The second shot I captured yesterday when my daughter-in-law and our granddaughter came over to deliver something. I love the way the boots and shoes landed inside the entrance. It shows that you don't need to travel around the world to find beautiful images. And we don't need to go anywhere to experience the beauty of our God in our hearts and spirits either.
Friday, December 25, 2020
Today is Christmas Day. Christians are joyful because they know that the Lord has saved them from eternal fire and is taking them to paradise to live with him forever! This morning as I was doing my daily walk and praying, I felt most grateful to the Lord. He has created me, given me life, enabled me to live on this earth, suppled me with what I need, and on top of all that, given me many things to enjoy. Moreover, he's ready to forgive all my sins against him so that I might have eternal life—this is truly a huge favor and blessing! The Lord has taken care of me completely, how can I possibly not be grateful to him? I want to praise and thank him forever. It's so good to have such a loving Father!
Thursday, December 24, 2020
I attended the Christmas Vigil Mass today at noon, the first of three Vigil Masses scheduled for today. It was a cool day, but the sun came out before noon. The Mass was held outside the church. We all sat with masks on in chairs spaced 6 feet apart from each other set on an asphalt road that ends at the rose garden. It was gratifying to actually receive the Holy Eucharist again, greatly strengthening my faith at this time. The prayers offered at Mass were very general as usual. At this urgent critical time when our nation can cease to remain a republic and our people lose religious freedom altogether, it was disconcerting not to hear any specific prayers said regarding such serious threats. It's been the timid noninvolvement of the Church all along that has gotten us into this sorry state of today. Sign of end times for sure.
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
We know that we'll inevitably die one day. So shall we inevitably appear before the Lord to be judged by him! Why do we still live as if we'll never die? How foolish can we be? If we receive a red flag wildfire threat warning from the National Weather Service, we mostly likely would get ready for evacuation right away. Now, for at least two thousand year, we've been warned about how sin can lead us into the fires of hell, yet we just shrug it off. How deaf or dead can we be?
Today the Lord makes me see the importance of knowing the truth, which is the Lord himself. Only the truth can set us free. Once you know and possess the truth, you lose all you fears, for the Lord is with you and for you! The evildoers do not know him, so they always live in fear. When they fall, it'll be a free fall with no one able to stop it. For those who embrace the truth and yearn for heaven, God will gladly grant their wish. There is nothing greater or more precious than the truth!
Tuesday, December 22, 2020
We have just one Lord, the God of Christ, who is everlasting. We become either his friends or his foes. We get either exalted or humbled by him. After we die, we'll either inherit his kingdom or be cast into the nether world. Everything is clearly laid out before us. Fix your eternity now.
Monday, December 21, 2020
This is a joy many of us set aside, ignore, or even jeer at, a joy so few ponder, appreciate, or treasure. I am talking about the joy of being saved. God has come to us, made it clear to us by his wonderful words and deeds, including his own sacrifice on the cross and Resurrection, that he wants to save us to enjoy eternal life in heaven, yet many of us have hearts so hardened that they tune out this best news of all. If we do not realize that we are sinners, then we lose all hope of being saved. On the other hand, those who know what salvation is all about are filled with heavenly joy; they can't believe that God loves them this much. It's a joy that will infiltrate their souls and spirits forever.
Our faith is being tested by God at all times. Times can be so dark that it seems that all we can do is to pray. This challenges us to the core to choose trusting in God all the way or not; it separates the ones with strong faith from those whose faith is weak. Know that God is not just our first or last resort, he is our only resor! Without him, we lose everything. Therefore, always trust in him all the way.
God can speak audibly or appear visually to us if he so chooses, so not hearing or seeing him does not mean at all that he is not with us. Attain union with the Lord through the Holy Eucharist and you'll know him personally without needing to hear or see him. Jesus said to Thomas in John 20:29, "Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed." I choose to be blessed this way. If I ever wish to see the Lord now, it'll be only because I yearn for him.
Since we cannot see the future, we need to trust in God who knows everything and has a plan for each of us. With the Lord, one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day (2 Peter 3:8). God has his schedule. Sometimes he changes things depending upon how we respond and pray to him. The best and only thing we can do is to trust in him with no anxiety nor worry, knowing that he is in control and his timing will always be perfect for our greater good. What Jesus said in Matthew 6:34 should help: "Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil." One thing is clear: we must never lose hope in God.
Sunday, December 20, 2020
When we pray to the Lord, we connect with him. And if we pray with all our heart and soul in earnest, that connection becomes most intimate and beautiful. It solidifies your union with him. Sharing everything with the Lord with absolutely no barrier between you and him as one is absolutely the most rewarding state you can be in. After surrendering yourself completely to him, you can finally exclaim "My Lord and my God!" as Thomas did after seeing the Risen Christ.
If you do not yet fully believe in Christ, you are really playing a game with God. If you reject Christ outright, believing that you don't need him, you are playing a deadly game that could end up with you dead for all eternity. Those who believe in him only lukewarmly are also playing a risky game. It's a foregone conclusion that you cannot beat God in any game you play, for he created you and knows all that's in your heart. So wise up.
Saturday, December 19, 2020
Friday, December 18, 2020
We never know what can happen tomorrow. Life can be full of unexpected twists and turns. Looking back on what we've gone through, we often see things clearly. What I have learned in following Christ is that I don't need to understand why certain things happen that seem to thwart my progress in certain endeavor. As I plow forward, I learn more and more about everything and finally the greater good emerges at the end as all problems are resolved. This is very satisfying and is often how the Lord puts us through. We only need to keep our faith, knowing that by following him faithfully, we'll ultimately arrive at heaven.
Thursday, December 17, 2020
Do you feel that you are successful in life? What is success to you? Let me share with you what true success is. It has nothing to do with what people think of you or even what you think of yourself. It is not measured by any standard of the world. True success is measured by how you succeed in doing God's will. If you are totally obedient to the Lord and accomplish whatever he wishes you to do, then you are a resounding success in his eyes! So it all has to do with what God thinks of you. When you succeed this way, you are a fulfilled and happy person and are ready for heaven.
Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Today I feel good that I don't live forever in this world and that I shall die one day and return to God our loving Father. You have to be out of your mind to want to live in this sinful world forever. Happiness is not good enough if it's not forever; that's how the Lord has made us. I rejoice that I've found Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life. He is what I ever wanted and need. He fulfills me for all eternity!
If we reject the God of Christ, he will reject us. If we believe in him with all our heart and with all our soul, we'll receive all the blessings he can give us. So God will take us as seriously as we take him. Rightly, we reap what we sow. It's in making God happy that we become joyful.
Another new day: another day for us to praise God. Today the Lord made me see the difference between him a good human friend. If I have the best human friend in the world, he'll probably help me as much as he can. But if I ask for his help time and again, eventually he would want me to stop bothering him. Now, take our God, if we truly need his help, he will never reject us. In fact, it pleases him immensely to know that we trust in him as our Father. So even if we ask for his help unceasingly, he won't mind at all, for his love for us is great.
Tuesday, December 15, 2020
Most of us in this country accumulate a lot of material things over our lifetime. I remember one family who belonged to my church two years ago. The couple had accumulated 300 boxes, some of which quite sizable, of Christmas decorations. Every year they started decorating their house about a month ahead of Christmas, and of course had to take down and pack away everything later in the new year. Looking at my own possessions, because my hobbies had been music and photography, I still have many CDs, LPs, music scores and books, a piano, photographic prints, matting and framing materials, a mat cutter, etc. I know that when I leave this world, it's be saying goodbye to them forever. This makes me see that we should start detaching ourselves from all our material possessions as we age. The only way to succeed here is to attach ourselves to the Lord God alone. Again, surrendering to him is the key, not trying to fight yourself and struggle on your own. Once more, it comes down to whether we let God truly be our Lord or not—something we must face.
Monday, December 14, 2020
The world has got so evil and corrupt that they are crucifying our Lord again. After the first Crucifixion before his Resurrection, the disciples became so demoralized and didn't know what to do. But Resurrection changed all that. Now we should always be full of hope, knowing that the Lord is alive and with us. Therefore, continue praying and never give up. To lose hope is to fall into the Devil's trap. Our final victory is assured. Nothing is impossible for God if we have faith. Rejoice in the Lord always.
As we get older, we start getting ready for meeting God. One of the things we sometimes forget is straightening out our relationships with all others on earth before we depart. If you haven't made peace with your fellow humans yet, how can you possibly expect that you'll get along with God?
It's only 11 days to Christmas and Christians are exchanging glad tidings with each other. I just received an email about a YouTube video on Christmas music. The singing was wonderful, but I couldn't help thinking that no matter how beautiful what we have created to glorify God might be, it still falls far short of the true beauty of the Lord himself, for we are finite and our capabilities are limited. To appreciate and enjoy the full beauty of the Lord, get to know him thoroughly first. Once you attain union with him, all other beauties fade away.
Sunday, December 13, 2020
Today's Gospel acclamation from Isaiah 61: The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me.... We say a lot of prayers, so why not also ask the Lord specifically to anoint you with the Holy Spirit? Again, I am no theologian, but my actual experience had been that great things happen to you when you desire anointing by the Spirit. This is what the Lord wants you to have, so it's yours for the asking! I can tell you that your spiritual life will then progress by leaps and bounds! It all comes down to when you let God do the work, he just does it for you, making your spiritual life most exciting.
From reading 2 from 1 Thessalonians 5, we have Paul writing "Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thinks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. Test everything; retain what is good. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will also accomplish it." We see that our journey must be one of faith. The Lord is not going to tell us specifically what's going to happen and what every little thing we need to do next. We must believe in him always and plunge ahead following his will as best we can, knowing that we will arrive at where he wants us to go. It is by faith that we live, being hopeful always and never becoming disheartened.
Going through hell on earth is infinitely better than experiencing true hell after death. You may live a most miserable life, but if you are with Christ, your suffering will end when you leave this world. On the other hand, if you are not with him and end up in hell, your suffering never ends—this is why hell after death is so horrible. This is why accepting and obeying Christ is so necessary before you die. Romans 6.23: The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Christ is our answer.
To be a saint, you need to abandon yourself completely to God. To be saved, you only need to believe in Christ and repent of your sins, something everyone can do. This is the best news of all. But if you go for Christ, why not go all the way and your life will be so much more rewarding now and also later?
Saturday, December 12, 2020
Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. If you are not familiar with the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe, look it up and you'll find it amazing and beautiful. The miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was found imprinted on the cloak of Juan Diego of Mexico to whom Mary appeared in 1531. In Revelation 11, the Apostle John saw the following in his vision: "A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth." In the Our Lady of Guadalupe image, we see her clothed with the sun and with the moon under her feet. And the black ribbon around her waist shows that she is expecting a child.
In the Gospel reading from Luke 1, Mary visited her relative Elizabeth who's pregnant with John the Baptist. When Elizabeth heard Mary' greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does his happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled." It is important to learn that the unborn infant can also experience joy, and therefore, sorrow and pain too. It is absolutely sacrilegious for pro-abortionists to think that the infant unborn is a merely a blob in the mother's womb with no life at all.
When you are one with the Lord, you experience his agony along with him, and that places a heavy burden on your heart. Yet knowing that he is with you, you never lose hope. Suffering is always a part of following the Lord who also gives you unspeakable joy. As Ascension followed the Lord's Passion, we will also see his glory after our agony expires. Our world has gotten so godless that I believe that the illumination of conscience, our mini-judgment, as prophesied could happen anytime now. Pray for the mercy of God on all unceasingly. Remember that we are only passing through this world and our permanent home is to be with our Father in heaven.
Friday, December 11, 2020
From today's reading from Psalm 1, we learn that the wicked are chaff which the wind drives away; for the LORD watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes. We know that the wicked won't be able to stand the Lord, while the just are blessed by him always. God is in full control of everything, but we who are finite easily forget this and start to worry when times get tough. Christians who know that they are returning to their Father in heaven live in freedom and with great joy. Similarly, those who know that God is in full charge pray hard, but do not worry, in troubled times. Final victory belongs to the just and faithful, not to the wicked whose way will vanish altogether.
Thursday, December 10, 2020
If you appreciate that God loves you so much that he even died for you on the cross so that you might have eternal life, you would appreciate that he has created you and be happy with yourself. So if you are not happy with yourself, you do not know God yet. To become happiest, seek to attain union with him through the Holy Eucharist.
In Matthew 7:21, Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father in heaven." Does this mean that a basically good person may not make it to the kingdom of heaven? I see at least two instances in which this can happen. (1) You don't obey God in all things. For example, you find it difficult to forgive someone. Whereas you should go to God to seek help, you decide that you are just not going to forgive that person. This is deliberately going against the Lord. (2) You believe that you are a good enough person and that it's OK to commit some small sins now and then. This lack of humility can also keep you out of the kingdom of heaven. The bottom line, we need to do the will of our Father in heaven as best we can.
Wednesday, December 9, 2020
Since this blog is all about attaining union with God through the Holy Eucharist which the Lord ardently desires, I'd like to pause and again list the three distinctive benefits you receive in the state of union.
- God becomes more real than someone you see, hear, and touch.
- God takes away your tendency to sin.
- Your fear of death vanishes.
There are many other more general graces which I won't get into here.
Without or with not much of Christ in your life, you try to find happiness on your own. Since we live in an imperfect, sinful world, you encounter obstacles, setbacks, and even make enemies along the way. Then the sorry experiences and hurts you feel start to affect you mentally, making you hate the world and even yourself; you feel like giving up altogether. All I want to say is that you will not find happiness on your own. Then you let Christ into you life and everything changes. Living becomes meaningful. You are now free from the world, as serving him gives you so much joy and satisfaction. Yes, you know exactly where you are going and look forward to that day. The Lord guides you through every moment of your life. And there is much more. The God of Christ is exactly what we sinners need.
Tuesday, December 8, 2020
On this Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I'd like to bring up wearing the Brown Scapular. I wear both the Brown Scapular and the Miraculous Medal and can testify to the abundant blessings I have received from the Lord. Mary promises that whoever dies wearing the Brown Scapular shall not suffer eternal fire. I am posting two videos about it below. Fr. Goring's came out two years ago and Jerome Chong's, recently. The two presentations complement each other. To learn all about the Brown Scapular and what you need to do before wearing it, visit the Sisters of Carmel.
Today December 8th is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Gospel reading from Luke 1 tells the announcement of the birth of Jesus. The angel Gabriel came to Mary and informed her that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and she would conceive in her womb and bear a son to be named Jesus and called the Son of God. He would be great and the Lord God would give him the throne of David his father, and he would rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there would be no end. Mary's response before the angel departed was "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." This is the perfect response for us to emulate whenever we hear the Lord asking or feel the Holy Spirit prompting us to do something.
Since my house is set quite a way back from the nearest public road, I try to exercise by walking from my house to that road and back, weather permitting. It takes about 20 minutes to complete three round trips, just enough time to pray five decades of the Rosary. But I find it hard to concentrate on praying that, as I am moving all the time, sometimes going uphill and sometimes, downhill. So I switched to mainly calling on the Holy Name of Jesus. Since I only need to focus upon the name "Jesus," distractions are no longer invasive. And I sincerely believe that when I pray thus fervently, the Lord already knows everything that's in my heart without my having to tell it all to him. A simple prayer is also worth a thousand words or more.
When I go to bed to sleep every night, I feel like I am going home to the Lord. That's because when I lie in bed, all relaxed in darkness with no distractions, I feel most close to him. I could bare all of myself, letting him see everything that's in my heart. It's enjoying a most intimate union with my Lord and my God before I fall asleep. Psalm 23:4 appropriately comes to my mind: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me.
Monday, December 7, 2020
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 5, some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed; they were trying to bring him in and set him before Jesus. But not finding a way to do it because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles in the middle in front of Jesus. They must have made quite an impressive entrance. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, "As for you, your sins are forgiven." It seems that how ready the Lord is to forgive you depends upon how much you believe in him. Here, the paralytic believed in him so much that he didn't even have to confess all his sins first. It was an eager childlike belief that the Lord valued. At the opposite end, we can have people with such weak faith that even after they confess all their sins, they may not be completely forgiven.
If we are holy and blameless, there would be no need for Jesus to come to save us. The fact that we can feel so grateful that he had come so that we might have eternal life and be moved to the point of even willing to die for him is proof that we basically know we are sinners and need salvation.
John 1.3 speaks of Christ: All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. Wow! And in John 14.6, Jesus said to Thomas, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Another wow! In reciting the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, we say, "Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world." It is through Christ that we get to atone for our sins and through his suffering that we dare to ask for mercy. St. Gertrude was told by Our Lord to pray to the eternal Father by offering him the most precious blood of His Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world for all the souls, living and deceased. Again, it is through the death of Christ that we are saved. And Christ knows everything about each of us, our heart and our soul. In the end, we'll have to answer to him about everything we've ever done, for he is our final judge.
Saturday, December 5, 2020
When you are attentive to what the Lord wants you to do and you obey, he is also shaping you. I was not aware of this at first when I received messages from him to post; I thought that they were for my readers. Then I realized that he was teaching me too, in fact, teaching me first. In other words, I wasn't just to relay what he'd said; he wanted me to learn the lesson from him first. So it is good to know that every time the Holy Spirit prompts you to do something, the Lord wants you to receive the same benefit. Obeying him is the best way to grow spiritually.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 9 & 10, Jesus summoned his Twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness. Then he sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus, "Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, make the proclamation: 'The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give." I like that last statement I underlined. We simply depend upon the Lord and serve him—that's it. This is how we should live the Christian life. It's not complicated at all.
Today's response to Psalm 147 came from Isaiah 30: Blessed are all who wait for the Lord. There is no doubt that Christ will come again as he had promised. The goal of life for all should be to prepare ourselves for that day as we wait. We Christians look forward to the Second Coming, as final justice will be served to all on that day.
I am amazed by the various forms of life God has created. Look at a plant, for example. It doesn't have a brain nor a heart, yet it grows and can flower or bear fruit. It may be deciduous or evergreen. Most likely, it has no feelings, yet instinctively in many cases, it consume bugs. For a vine, it also knows how to climb high. And I see ourselves made in the image of God. We instinctively understand good and evil and sense that we will one day return to our creator. And we do not find rest until we come to know him. Among all the animals, we know that we are his highest creations.
Friday, December 4, 2020
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 9, Jesus healed two blind men. They cried out to Jesus to have pity on them. Jesus asked them, "Do you believe that I can do this?" They said to him, "Yes, Lord." Then he touched their eyes and said, "Let it be done for you according to your faith." And their eyes were opened. Jesus warned them sternly, "See that no one knows about this." But they went out and spread word of him through all that land.
Here we see that the two men had faith in Jesus and the Lord listened to them, but they did not listen to him. Faith is necessary, but obedience is important. Without perfect obedience, faith is made imperfect.
Thursday, December 3, 2020
Today is the memorial of St. Francis Xavier. The Gospel reading came from Matthew 7, in which 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. Everyone who listens to theses words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock." The bottom line: action counts, not necessarily words; and obedience to the Father is the key to entering heaven.
Isaiah 55:6 is today's Gospel acclamation: Seek the Lord while he may be found; call him while he is near. Even if we live to 100, the time we have to find Christ is limited. When we leave his world, our opportunity of finding him is gone forever. Do not delay seeking and calling the Lord, for you do not know how long you will live in this world!
We want to live inside of Christ, not outside of him. This is our challenge and goal. Either he is truly our Lord or he is not. To succeed here, you only need to abandon yourself to God. But this is the stumbling block for many, for great humility is required. The good news is that if you can do it, you'll experience total freedom and joy on the other side and never want to go back to where you were before.
Essential survival rules for the Christian in these troubled times. (1) Shut out all fake news. Stop listening to lies. (2) Do not look back on you past, especially if it's not a happy one. Let the past go forever! (3) Focus upon Christ only. Place all your hope in him alone. Truly let him be your Lord! In fact, if you follow rule 3 to the letter, you won't need any other rules.
Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Today's Gospel acclamation: Behold, the Lord comes to save his people; blessed are those prepared to meet him. Those who prepare themselves to meet him are the ones who realize the truth that we are all sinners and need salvation. Those who do not prepare themselves are the ones who do not realize this truth and are to be pitied. They are the evildoers and those who are simply asleep spiritually, for Satan has pulled the wool over their eyes.
Jesus commands us to love the Lord, our God, with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind. Of the three, heart, soul, and mind, the soul resides the deepest within us and is the closest to God. Therefore, when we call on the Lord, pray to him, or just converse with him, we must let everything come from our very soul! That is, we always connect with the Lord at the deepest level! And your spiritual life will be astoundingly rewarding!
Many people enjoy working hard, often on some favorite project, as they age. This is admirable and so much better than remaining idle most of the time. My only concern is that if all your work is self-centered, you may lose the time you need to secure the salvation of your soul. When we realize that our time on earth is limited, it's time to work more for the Lord and less for ourselves. As we get closer to meeting the Lord, we need to improve our relationship with him as much as possible. The wise would start to seek union with the Lord from the very outset.
In John 20, after Thomas saw the resurrected Jesus and believed, Jesus said to him, "Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed." For us, we can say that we are blessed who have not seen nor heard him and have believed. All that matters is that he sees and hears us!
Tuesday, December 1, 2020
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 10, Jesus said, "All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him." God has given me so many blessings in this life: loved ones, caring friends, all kinds of good things that fulfill my needs, etc. But the greatest blessing of all is that Christ has revealed himself and then the Father and later the Holy Spirit to me so that I now know all of God most intimately.
If we will all submit ourselves to the God of Christ, our loving Father and our creator, Satan will fall and have no power over us whatsoever and there will be complete peace in this world. I am telling you the absolute truth here. Follow Christ alone and we save ourselves and the whole world. (If you have not paid much attention to Christ yet, you owe it to yourself before you die to look into how he can give you inner peace as well as eternal life.)