We seek fun things to do in this life and there are many of them. We go on a vacation, see a movie, attend a party, etc. Unfortunately, the fun never lasts long, forcing us to continue seeking more fun. Before you know, you life is over. This sounds and really is tragic, for you have not done anything to prepare for living your next life. When Christ asked us to remain awake and alert, he surely didn't mean for us to wait for some fun thing to happen. When we seek God, whatever we receive satisfies us forever and is more jolly than all the fun in the world put together.
Sunday, July 31, 2022
In reading 1 from Ecclesiastes 1, we hear the familiar saying of David's son, Qoheleth: "Vanity of vanities, vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!" In the Gospel reading from Luke 12, Jesus told the parable of the rich man to the crowd. A rich man had planned to tear down his barns and build larger ones to store his bountiful harvest. He thought he'd then have so many good things stored up for many years and he could just rest, eat, drink, and be merry! But God said to him, "You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?"
So how do we cease being vain and become detached from material possessions? To find the answer, we can work backwards. Since this is a spiritual problem, only God can remove such impediments. This would necessitate knowing God. And the only way to know him best is to seek union with him thru the Holy Eucharist. This leads us to surrendering ourselves to him completely. We have arrived at the endpoint, which is the starting point we've been looking for. In conclusion, seek to attain union with God and you'll have taken complete care of your spiritual life.
Saturday, July 30, 2022
All our sins are caused by disobedience to God. If we obey the Lord, he'll free us from all sins and we'll enjoy peace and have joy. The truth is always simple. Avoid it and you only make your life complicated and more difficult for yourself, not to mention the possible loss of your soul.
Today, sadly many Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. Even many of those who believe do not take it seriously enough. Also sad that we don't see the Church coming out strongly to correct this problem. So this new video is most welcome. Of the three points mentioned, the last one is most important.
Friday, July 29, 2022
The Lord's Prayer is not only the perfect prayer, it's also most demanding. For to say it from the heart and mean everything you say, you need to surrender yourself to the Lord unreservedly. To really mean "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" is to desire union with God, for there's no other way to realize that.
Living a secret life in Christ is most satisfying. The opposite way is to live for the world to see, then you simply keep feeding your ego and live in miserable self-enslavement. Living for God alone shows that you no longer care about you own ego, thus you live a truly carefree life. Also, knowing that you are pleasing the Lord and he is pleased with you is a joy that's beyond the world's understanding. To want the whole world to admire you is to fall away from God as far as possible. You cannot serve both God and yourself.
When Jesus was at the house of Martha and Mary, Martha was burdened with serving, while Mary sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Jesus made it clear that Mary had chosen the better part (Luke 10:-42). At Mass after receiving the Holy Eucharist this morning, I knew that I had chosen the best part.
Today is the memorial of Saints Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. In the Gospel reading from John 11, Jesus went to the house of Martha and Mary. Martha said to him, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother (Lazarus) would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you." Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise." For he was going to raise him from the dead shortly. Then he said, "I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and anyone one who lives and believes in me will never die." This is indeed a very bold statement—it's so bold that you have no choice but to believe in its truth, unless you're sure that Jesus was completely out of his mind. But the Gospels reveal that he always knew what he's doing and is most likely the most sane person who has ever existed.
Thursday, July 28, 2022
God is infinitely greater than us, yet we can move his heart and change his mind, for he is our Father who loves us to death! As long as we speak to him from our hearts, he listens to us and always responds by giving us the best for us to attain eternal happiness. Four days ago, we had the Gospel reading from Genesis 18 about which I posted under the title Learning About the Lord (from Abraham). We see that God gave in to Abraham bargaining with him that if he finds ten innocent people in Sodom, he would spare the whole city for their sake. Our God loves to hear from us. It's those who ignore him that hurt him the most. We should rejoice that we have instant access to our Father and can endear ourselves to him to make him happy.
In today's reading 1 from Jeremiah 18, the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, "Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, house of Israel." It just struck me what a beautiful thing it is for us to be like wet clay in God's hand to let him mold and shape us into whatever pleases him, as the end result is bound to be most beautiful.
Wednesday, July 27, 2022
It is so clear we don't get along with each other almost everywhere is this world because we all follow ourselves. Christ is the perfect example showing us how we should live. If we all follow him, we'll have peace in world for sure. I am not trying to simply things because it is the simple truth. Sadly, the lack of humility on our part has blinded us from seeing it.
Communion experience. Michelangelo's famous painting Creation of Adam came to my mind. This fresco appears in the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. It shows God's index finger about to touch Adam's to give him the divine breath of life. When Christ entered me, I knew that he's going to empower me to become a new creature living in him and for him only.
This is today's short Gospel reading from Matthew 13. Jesus said to his disciples: "The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it." This is exactly the way we feel about Christ after we find him. Our joy is so great that we are willing to give up all we have in order to keep him.
At Mass this morning, I saw the beautiful statue of Mother Mary in the chapel and I knew that she's constantly praying for me. No doubt that Jesus always listens to her and I felt it's such a privilege that she should pray for me. Later, just before I received Christ in the Holy Eucharist, I realized that the Lord had died for me to save me, I felt tremendously privileged! As Father Stephen wrapped up the Mass, he invoked God to bless all of us. Receiving blessing from the Lord God, another privilege! With so many great privileges, how can I possibly not prosper?
Tuesday, July 26, 2022
When we encounter anything unpleasant in life, it's easy for us to wish that we had done things differently. For example, if someone is giving you trouble, you wish you had not bothered to know that person in the first place. Then you realize that you have Christ and are heaven bound, all you troubles on earth now fade away. Such is the power of the joy of Christ!
If it makes it any easier, surrendering yourself to God is simply remaining passive and resting yourself in God or letting yourself go in God. You experience the greatest liberation upon giving yourself to God, because he now carries you!
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 13, Jesus explained the parable of the weeds in the field to his disciples. He said, "He who sows good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world, the good seed the children of the Kingdom. The weeds are the children of the Evil One. The harvest is the end of age, and the harvesters are angels. Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of Kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears ought to hear." What Jesus said was very clear—he knew exactly what's going to happen at the end of age. It can't be something he just made up to fool us. Indeed, whoever has ears ought to hear.
Monday, July 25, 2022
Sunday, July 24, 2022
Jesus said to his disciple, "Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." He didn't say "be holy." Since you can be holy and still be imperfect, he expects much from us. Of course, he deserves the very best from us. If we truly take this commandment seriously, he'll make us as perfect as we wish without much effort on our part—that's right.
In today's reading 1 from Genesis 18, Abraham intercedes for Sodom. The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah was so great and their sin so grave that the LORD was going to look into it. Abraham said to the LORD, "Will you sweep away the innocent with the guilty? Suppose there were fifty innocent people in the city; would you wipe out the place, rather than spare it for the sake of the fifty innocent people within it? Should not the judge of all the world act with justice?" The LORD replied, "If I find fifty innocent people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake." Abraham spoke up again, asking the same question, but reducing the number of innocent people by five to forty-five. The LORD answered again, "I will not destroy it, it I find forty-five there." Abraham persisted, asking and reducing the number of innocent people to forty, thirty, twenty, and finally 10. The LORD gave the same favorable answer each time.
We learn the following from this reading. (1) We need not hesitate asking the LORD any questions we have from the heart. (2) Persistence on our part brings greater success. (3) Specifically, we see God's great mercy at work here. By being holy ourselves, we can save innumerable other souls.
Saturday, July 23, 2022
According to Maria Simma, Padre Pio has said God values every soul far more than the entire universe. Yes, God values every soul so much that he even died on the cross to save us. Since it concerns our soul, shouldn't we at the least show that we care about it too? If not, we are ungrateful and make God's work so much harder. To not value what God values is in truth downright rebellion.
I drove home from gym this morning. I usually turn left from the big busy street I am on onto a smaller one. With the absence of traffic lights, I must wait for a break in the oncoming cars in the left lanes. With these cars moving around 60 mph, I must make it quick or wait for a long time. I took a chance and made it quick, but realized that the risk of having an accident was also higher. Then I realized that with God, we must never take a chance. We must absolutely do everything right, even if a lot of patience is required, so that nothing can go wrong. In other words, we should take God most seriously and listen to his every word. For the risk here is not just the death of our body, but also our soul.
If you think that you know better than God, you are not smart at all (putting it mildly). God is infinite and the creator of all things, so no one can possibly outsmart him. The Lord knows all things; he doesn't even have to think! He knew you before you were born and knows what's ahead for you. If you try to outsmart him in any way, you'll end up losing even more. The only way to win all the way is to submit yourself to him and follow him. This is being truly smart and you'll receive the greatest satisfaction to boot!
There can only be two reasons for Catholics not going to confession. (1) They have no sins to confess. (2) They are afraid to face their sins. This in itself is a serious sin. Sins are to be dealt with and removed by God. If you cannot face them, how can you face God? This puts one in quite a predicament.
Friday, July 22, 2022
God created all of us, so we really belong to him who knows everything about us. Whatever we do affects him (and ultimately us too). If we obey him, we'll have harmony in the universe. If we rebel, we create disorder. As simple as that. And it's impossible for us not to have anything to do with God. There's absolutely no possible hiding nor escape. For one day we'll have to face him to give an account of ourselves.
Today is the Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene. The Gospel reading from John 20 is beautifully moving. After Mary found the tomb empty early Sunday morning, she thought that someone had carried Jesus away and wept. Later Jesus appeared to her and said to her, "Go to my brothers and tell them, 'I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" Mary went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord." Imagine her joy! We can rejoice too when we realize that Jesus' Father is our Father and his God is our God. If you love the Lord, he'll always turn your sorrow into joy.
To be perfect, we must do everything we should for Christ and mean what we do when we do it. If you realize this, then you are ready and the Lord will make everything effortless for you to succeed. He always does that when you put all your trust in him.
When Jesus was on earth, many people saw him, but they didn't all believe in him. It's knowing him that's more important than seeing him. Today we do not see him, but we can get to know him thoroughly. After all, he is God and nothing is impossible for God. But we'll have to be completely open to him, which is really the only obstacle we face. It comes down to deciding who's most important to you—he or you. In Luke 9:24 Jesus says, Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
Thursday, July 21, 2022
I have no doubt that God has so made us that we don't feel 100% fulfilled until we attain full union with him. I think we all intuitively sense this, but we are just too busy to think about it or take it seriously. While the Lord is always calling us, the secular material world has pretty much drowned out his gentle voice. Have pity on us, O Lord.
Christ came the first time to get us ready for meeting him again. This will take place either at his Second Coming or upon our departure from earth. We only get to go to the Lord once, so we'd better make it really good for both him and ourselves. You goof this one time and you goof up our entire future for good!
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 13, Jesus said to his disciples, "Knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them [the crowd to whom Jesus spoke in parables] it has not been granted. To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away." It makes all the difference whether we have an open receptive heart or not. We either hear God calling us to enter his Kingdom or shut ourselves off from him altogether.
Wednesday, July 20, 2022
I am continuing reading the book "Get Us Out Of Here!!" Maria Simma not only tells us much about purgatory, she also gives good advice on prayer, fasting, and many other topics. She says on p. 41, "Not the smallest of prayers ever goes to waste." That is, if you pray for someone who no longer needs your prayers, the Blessed Mother would take and apply them elsewhere. All prayers earn merits. So pray as much as possible, as your prayers will always benefit someone somewhere.
You are in union with God when you know without a doubt that you are in union with him. What I want to say is that when God lets you know something, you just know that it's true. No self-deception here; it's the Lord accessing our innermost as only he can.
Today, we don't listen to anyone objectively anymore. We only want others to listen to us. We don't even listen to ourselves! If we don't hear our own inner voice, how can we possibly know God? Now, even after you've found God, you'd still need to listen to him in all things to insure that you'll inherit eternal life. To listen takes humility. The lack of this humility among us in general is a most serious flaw of this generation of ours.
When I go to daily Mass to receive Christ in the Holy Eucharist, my union with him gets strengthened further. Then the Lord gives me daily thoughts to blog—this is like hearing his voice in my heart and has the effect of drawing me ever closer to him. Such intimacy one can only attain with the Lord alone. My cup runneth over.
Tuesday, July 19, 2022
I just lied down on my bed to put an eye drop in my right eye as prescribed by my optometrist to do twice daily to control the intraocular pressure. As my left ear was in contact with the pillow, I could hear the sound of my beating heart distinctly via the mattress and pillow. It amazed me that a body like mine was alive, and I instinctively knew that God had created me. You can duplicate a body exactly like mine down to the last molecule—without God, it won't come alive. No God, no life, period.
There are sins of commission and sins of omission. Here's how I see them. A sin of commission is about something you know you shouldn't do, but you do it anyway. A sin of omission is about something you should do, but you just don't do it. For example, you get drunk and go drive a car in public—that would be committing a sin of commission—you do something knowingly wrong. A sin of omission is often more subtle, thus less noticeable. For example, I watch a TV program and find it very interesting. Even though I should go do the dishes, I keep on watching TV longer. Here I don't do something I should go do. Nevertheless, a sin is committed in each case. More advanced Christians should pay more attention to the sin of omission so that they may become more perfect spiritually. This is where I need to work on myself.
When you faithfully follow the Lord, he gives you deep peace to remain calm always and great joy to keep you feeling exhilarated. The combination of these two gifts just makes your Christian life easy to live and enjoy. Alleluia!
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 12, while Jesus was speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers appeared outside, wishing to speak with him. Someone told him about it. But he said in reply to the one who told him, "Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?" And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and my sister, and mother." This is a revelation! Do the will of the heavenly Father and we instantly belong to the heavenly Family! Treasure this secret God has revealed to us and take full advantage of it.
I am continuing reading "Get Us Out Of Here", the book about Maria Simma on Purgatory. I read something I hope I may quote here. She said, "People are so ungrateful and in Western society have come to take so much for granted. And taking things for granted quickly permits greed and then hate to take over. The implied teaching, so prevalent in western society today, that all men must have the same chance for a university degree and a big house with two cars is not God's teaching. Satan promises power, influence and success. God promises peace, joy, and fulfillment." Amen. I believe that because we take our affluence so much for granted, we have forgotten all about God.
Monday, July 18, 2022
In Luke 12, Jesus said to his disciples, "Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division." Does Jesus really cause division among us? As it is, I look around me or anywhere else, I see people acting in their own interest, causing division. If we would believe in and follow Jesus and become like him, we'll have instant peace in our world for sure. This shows that the Lord must be our perfect model and example. It is by him that we'll all be judged. So the division Jesus has caused is really caused by those of us who disobey him.
Do you think that following Christ is hard? Well, that all depends upon how how you approach him. Following the world is much easier for almost all of us, but it's full of pitfalls that can make us lose our soul forever! I would rule out that option outright. Then how can we make following Christ easy or even a joy? We only need to submit ourselves completely to him! This is simple, but it turns out to be a most difficult line for us to cross, for we must swallow our pride and become humble before God. This is the ultimate test to see if we are fit for heaven or not! We are being challenged, but we only need to be smart to win.
Living for Christ should be a full-time job. If you find it hard, then you are not a full-timer yet. For the Lord sustains a full-timer in all that he does. Becoming a full-time worker is an incremental process. As you rely on the Lord more, you receive more power from him and your work more for him.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 12, in speaking to some of the scribes and Pharisees Jesus let it be known that he is greater than Jonah the prophet and Solomon the king. Indeed, Christ, being God and Savior, has to be the greatest of all beings. This is the realization we must come to if we are to be certain of our salvation.
Sunday, July 17, 2022
I bought three good books recently and started reading them, but I stopped reading two of them after finding them not that interesting nor inspiring. Last night I picked up the last book, and after reading just ten pages, I knew I was to finish this 340-age book. It's entitled "Get Us Out of Here!!" about Maria Simma (1915-2004). She was a humble Austrian woman dedicated to helping souls in purgatory. Nicky Eltz, the author of the book visited her more than 30 times over five year. The book contains all the recorded answers to questions Nicky asked of her. Over the many decades, numerous souls from purgatory had visited Maria for help, so she probably knows more about purgatory than anybody else.
Before I share a few things I've learned from those ten pages I read, let me say that many non-Catholic Christians do not believe that purgatory exists. That's OK. I am merely sharing them with no intention of starting a debate. I have already posted why existence of purgatory makes sense on this blog. If you disagree, reading this book may very well change your mind.
(1) One actual case shows that one woman who refused to forgive another woman who wanted peace between them earned her the deepest level of purgatory. (2) God does not sent the souls to purgatory. The souls themselves recognize that they are not yet pure and need to be cleansed before joining God. (3) There are many different levels of sufferings in purgatory. In the lowest levels, Satans can still attack souls, and fire that can consume the entire body exists. The souls in the deepest third of purgatory must first suffer away the sins that they committed before our prayers, Masses and good deeds can do them any good. (4) The sufferings of purgatory are greater than those we suffer here on earth. Our sufferings here, despite being less severe, are worth so much more to erase sins than in purgatory.
Saturday, July 16, 2022
Some more thoughts after my last post. If we do not prepare for meeting the Lord in this life, then after we die, we'll be shown that we have wasted our lifetime, sinned against the Lord, and missed all the opportunities we could have used to secure our own soul. This regret we feel can be most unbearable, but now it's too late to change anything. I am bringing this up here hoping that no one will ever have to experience that. It's in this life that we permanently cast our next life, you might say.
Our time on earth is extremely brief. Whereas we should spend time preparing for meeting our creator upon departing from this world, we entertain ourselves and fight each other instead as if there'll be no life after death. When shall we wake up and face reality?
Friday, July 15, 2022
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew12, Jesus let the Pharisees know that he is the Lord of even the sabbath. There can be only one Lord and he has to be the lord over all things in heaven and on earth. And that Lord can only be Christ, our creator and Savior. How foolish it would be for us to live and not acknowledge this fact and truth!
Today is the memorial of St. Bonaventure. Reading 1 from Isaiah 38 starts out thus: When Hezekiah was mortally ill, the prophet Isaiah came and said to him: "Thus says the LORD: Put your house in order, for you are about to die..." When I heard that, it struck me that since Christ has already promised me eternal life, I am never really going to die! This is nothing new, but somehow I never thought about it much. Now that I am more aware of it, I feel even more peacc and joy.
Thursday, July 14, 2022
(1) Have that desire. (2) Then abandon yourself totally to God. (Remember that in Luke 23, the "good" criminal who was crucified with Jesus asked him, "Jesus, remember me when he come into your kingdom," and he replied, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.")
We are to pray for others and the world, of course, but our No.1 obligation should be to pray for ourselves—we can't help others and the world much if we are still weak and not holy enough. And the No.1 thing we should pray for ourselves is obedience to God. If we always do God's will, then nothing can disturb us anymore. Pretty cool!
Are you ready to go to the Lord? Do you look forward to seeing him face to face? If you answer yes and yes, then he probably wants you to remain here a little longer to do more work for him. Anyhow, be ready whenever he calls you and you'll have a most joyful meeting.
At Mass, before the breaking of the bread, we prayed the Lord's Prayer in preparation for receiving the Holy Eucharist. This prayer is already the perfect prayer. As I said it from my very heart, I was ready to melt myself into the Lord. Finally, the most beautiful encounter this side of heaven happened!
Why are we happy and even grateful that we've found Christ? That's because deep down we know that we are sinners and need salvation! As for those who still have not accepted Christ yet, they are still under the influence of the world (other religions included) too much for the time being. Anyway, this is what I see.
The Lord God exists forever and remains the same forever. He loves us forever and want us to go to heaven to be happy with him forever. He is absolutely trustworthy. If you lose him, you lose him forever too. Hold onto him and you'll have not a thing to worry about forever.
Today is the memorial of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin. The entrance antiphon: Here is a wise virgin, from among the number of the prudent who went forth with lighted lamp to meet Christ. You are probably familiar with the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25. It is poignant to hear that someone is ready to meet the Lord when he comes. It's equally poignant to learn that someone is caught unprepared when he appears. For Christians, this is a big deal.
Wednesday, July 13, 2022
I watched a short tonebase video in which the celebrated pianist Leon Fleisher gave a master class on the opening five bars of the Beethoven's 4th piano concerto. I mention this because I met him at his 70th birthday celebration at the University of Kansas in 1998. This video was probably made more recently, in which he looked older. My thoughts are that as we age, our hair, our skin, our teeth . . . all exterior parts of our body show our age. If you examine the X-ray or CT scan images of an older person, you'll find that the interior parts also no longe look as pristine as before. Nevertheless, spiritually we can always become more robust and beautiful. What an opportunity for us to grow holier and more pleasing to the Lord! The body deteriorates, but the soul becomes more immaculate! Growing old affords us the time to get perfectly ready for meeting our Lord.
God wants us to pray for the world and many other things, but most of all he want us to pray for ourselves. He wishes the most that we surrender ourselves completely to him so that we may receive power to become holy and blameless. Whether you are happy or feel uncomfortable upon hearing this, he is calling you!
Never lock God out of your heart. If you do, you cut off your lifeblood. Seek the God of Christ with an open heart and he will enter and become your dearest friend, then you'll have more life than ever. (John 10:10) We can be stone dead or filled with abundant life! Which would you rather prefer?
In this life, we are stuck with our physical body and original sin. The body will always be a burden to us while we're on earth, so there's not much we can do about it. As for the original sin, we can take care of that by believing in and following the God of Christ. In fact, by so doing, not only are we set free from sin now, we'll also remain free forever after we lose our physical body.
Humility is what we sinners need the most. The lack of it causes us to rebel against God and judge our neighbors. It is a virtue we must never stopping praying for. Imitating or seeking union with Christ is the effective way of acquiring humility.
Tuesday, July 12, 2022
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 11, Jesus reproached the three towns, Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, for being unrepentant. To repent is to tell God we are sorry for having offended him. We do say sorry to friends and others easily when we realize that we are wrong—then why is it so hard for us to repent to God our sins? I think it's because with friends, we just want to make peace and move on, not really thinking about changing ourselves, while in repenting to God we must be completely honest and want to change ourselves afterwards. Not willing to submit ourselves to God yet, we keep putting off repenting (going to confession for Catholics).
Sins are to be removed as soon as possible. If you don't repent now, the Lord will show you all your unabsolved sins when you face him at judgment time. Not repenting is choosing to destroy you own future forever. Remember this motto: Never die in sin.
Monday, July 11, 2022
From Romans 8:28, "All things work for good for those who love God." To us, both good and bad things happen. But if you see them as all coming from God, they can draw you even closer to him. Here's one recent example. After my bout with COVID-19, I came to appreciate even more my wife's devotion to me. This is a good thing that came out of a "bad" thing, which made the "bad" thing look good. So we should thank God for all things that happen to us, as they all work for our good (if we love him).
Living for Christ, you experience freedom, peace, and joy, more or less in that order. Freedom is what you experience when the Lord first liberates you from sin and severs your attachment to the world. Consequently, you experience his peace that surpasses all understanding. The heavenly joy you receive from time to time is just icing on the cake. Let Christ set you free first to get the ball rolling.
Today is Memorial of Saint Benedict. In the Gospel reading from Matthew 10, Jesus said to the Apostles, "Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not taker up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." If anyone else had said this, you would definitely think that person must absolutely be out of his mind—who does he think he is? But if you believe that Jesus is indeed our Lord God and Savior, then what he had said here is perfectly fitting. Go through all the Gospels and you'll see that he always knew what he's doing or talking about and had the right answer to every question people threw at him.
Thought for the day. We are all sinners, ranging from slightly imperfect souls to most horrendous evildoers. But what we are now doesn't make any difference when we go before the God of Christ to confess our sins and ask for his forgiveness. He'd just take away all our sins and make us white as snow, for his mercy knows no bounds. We are so blessed to have such a soft-hearted Lord.
Sunday, July 10, 2022
Someone recently shared a video many people thought was hilarious. It shows a comedian telling some jokes. But I found it neither funny nor entertaining. Nowadays, nothing in the world excites me anymore. Tasty food, great sceneries, beautiful music . . . they are all fine, but I don't feel any attachment to any of such nice things anymore. How come? I know it's because I have already experienced the overwhelming brilliance, beauty, loveliness, power, and love of Christ so that everything else just pales in comparison. Other people probably think that I am no longer a fun person to be with, but that's only a small price I don't mind paying at all. Besides, I had expected that. God can truly change us, this I now know.
In today's reading 2 from Colossians 1, Paul writes, "Christ Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creation. For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." These are bold statements. Note that Paul used to persecute all followers of Jesus without mercy. Then Jesus called him and converted him. It had to be the Lord who revealed to him what he proclaims in this epistle. So I totally believe what he has said is true.
The Lord God is not remote or nebulous. In fact, he is so near that you can go straight to him, call on him to respond to you, and he'll do just that! I am talking about Jesus Christ, our creator, Lord and Savior. The difficulty is to come up with such a faith since we are so used to playing God. If you were smart, you'd see that humility is the key to knowing God. Think that you are your own god and I can only wish you the best of luck. See that you are nobody before God, then voilà, there he is!
Saturday, July 9, 2022
In Matthew 7, Jesus said to his disciples, "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constructed the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few." We all must choose between following God or ourselves. Since it's so much easier to follow ourselves and not God, the gate that leads to destruction is wide and the gate to life, narrow. But if you are really smart, you head straight for Christ, as he is the way and the truth and the life (John 14:6). When you have him, you have eternal life.
Jesus also said to his Apostles in today's Gospel reading from Matthew 10, "Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father." To me this affirms the following: (1) No one comes to the Father except through Jesus (John 14:6). (2) Jesus will be our final judge. (3) Accepting Christ is the sure way to being saved. May I also add what Jesus has said in John 9: "I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved." So Jesus is the door to salvation. To be saved, go straight to him and he'll refuse no one.
In today's Gospel reading from Matthew 10, Jesus said to his Apostles, "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul: rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna." The soul is the most important thing we need to safeguard. Christ died in order to save our souls! If we trust in the Lord, our soul will be safe and there'll be absolutely nothing for us to fear. If we neglect our soul, then we can lose it altogether and we really should be shaking in our boots right now. Therefore, wake up and do yourself the biggest favor by letting Christ the Savior safeguard your soul, for both your sake and his sake.
As you know, I caught COVID-19 recently. Even though my symptoms weren't that severe, I didn't feel right; I just wanted to rest and forget about the many things I normally do. After I got well, I knew that I was good again. The same way we can look at our spiritual health. Basically, if you are restless and don't have inner peace, you are spiritually unwell. Once you have reconciled with God and feel peace and joy, you know that you are spiritually well.
Friday, July 8, 2022
At morning Mass, Fr. Steven consecrated the bread and wine and they became the body and blood of the Lord. This to me has to be the greatest invisible miracle. It made me realize that God can also work miracles invisible in us. We may not see anything, but we do become more like the Lord as we receive the Holy Eucharist regularly.
After the Supreme Court struck down Roe vs. Wade, pro-abortionists have gone on a rampage and vandalized many pregnancy centers and Catholic churches across the country. Evil is real! This only shows that God is real too, for without God, evil would have no one to attack.
All people, Christian or non-Christian, need to bear fruit for the good of all. For Christians, they have a higher purpose—to serve the Lord God. This makes them more focused and dedicated. The richest and most rewarding fruit they bear is the salvation of themselves and others. This is a fruit non-Christians cannot produce.
I believe we all have gotten lost at one time or another. I had my own occasions and the memory still haunts me in dreams sometimes. Then being lost on earth is OK, for it's only temporary. What we must avoid at all costs is being lost in our next life, for it'll last forever and we won't be able to get out of it ever!
All of us on earth will die one day, but let's not forget that we all have a soul that's immortal! This soul lives on forever and it's up to us while we are on earth to make sure that it will live on not in misery, but in bliss, for all eternity.
Thursday, July 7, 2022
Today's Gospel acclamation comes from Mark 1:15. Jesus proclaimed, "The Kingdom of God is at hand: repent and believe in the Gospel." Now, two thousand years later, many of us still have not heeded this advice. In general, we are as rebellious as ever, not realizing that we are the reason the spiritual warfare between good and evil is ongoing. Meanwhile, the day of our final judgment approaches.
I am interested in and understand music and art in general. Some composers are more craftsmanlike than others; their compositions are cleverly worked out but lack soul—they are not truly inspired. On the other hand, the works of great composers have much inner beauty, capable of stirring the soul of the listener. Visual artists are the same. Some produce images that draw you in, while others, works so contrived or bland that are worth only a glance. Being Christian is no exception. You can superficially go thru the motion of being one without involving the heart or be genuinely living for Christ, pleasing him alone.
Wednesday, July 6, 2022
If you believe in Christ and know that you are heaven bound, then nothing in this life, good or bad, matters anymore. They are simply temporary ups and downs before you enter paradise, no big deal. This is not just simple reasoning, I am speaking from personal experience too. Of course, it'd be best that you find this out yourself.
If God is willing to enter you to be in union with you, then surely you can receive all the power you need to become holy! For the Lord, nothing is impossible, and he loves to make you beautiful. So ask for all that would please him and you'll have it all!
Receiving the Lord in the Holy Eucharist is a privilege. It's no ordinary act. It's better that you don't receive it if you do not appreciate it. I see it as the most holy Lord willing to enter you to be one with you spiritually, and you must be ready for it. It is the Lord bringing the heavenly banquet personally to you, inviting you to live with him in heaven for all eternity. Know that the Holy Eucharist is God's greatest gift for you on earth! It is as holy as the Lord himself, for it is the Lord!
In making the penitential act at the beginning of Mass, we confess having sinned and ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and all our brothers and sisters present to pray for us. So, if we are ready to submit ourselves to God, imagine what all these prayers can do for us! The power of all the prayers from heaven alone should be enough to keep us from failing God again.
Tuesday, July 5, 2022
Communion experience. First of all, the Lord has already redeemed me with his most precious blood, so I am most precious to him. Now he enters me to be one with me. Can you think of any higher exaltation? I don't think so. All in all, it's an unbelievable day!
When we face a problem, it usually gets all our attention and we easily feel the stress and lose peace in trying to solve or resolve it. Here's the superior way. Rely totally on Christ and when a problem comes up, focus on the Lord instead, trusting in his guidance and giving you the strength to deal with the problem. This way you don't ever get stressed out as you essentially let the Lord solve the problem for you.
Without Christ, we are essentially alone. You may know a lot of people, but whom can you depend on? They will all die one day like you. I know Christ, so definitely I am not alone. I have all I need, for I can depend on him completely as my creator, my Savior, my Lord, and my God! Me and Christ, always belonging to each other!!!
Monday, July 4, 2022
When Fr. Stephen ended the Mass this morning asking almighty God to bless us, it struck me that we should not take God's blessings lightly. For when God blesses us, great good things are bound to happen. This is having faith, and it's thru this faith that we get to see God's wonders.
Today is July 4th, Independence Day. It's a happy day for me, since it's the day I started attending daily Mass again at Mount St. Joseph Chapel nearby after I recovered from COVID-19. During Mass, the Lord made me see that to find rest in him, I only need to offer up all of myself—my mind, my heart, and my soul—to him. And I gladly did that.
In today's Gospel from Matthew 9, a woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind Jesus as he was walking and touched the tassel on his cloak. She said to herself, "If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured." Jesus turned around and saw her, and said, "Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you." From that hour the woman was cured. Lesson learned: When you have strong faith in God, you believe in your own faith too. This allows miracles to happen.
(1) You open completely up to God, allowing him to enter your innermost with no hindrance whatsoever. (2) He shapes and molds you so that all his ways and his thoughts become your ways and your thoughts. For this part, no effort is required from you as all the work is done by the Lord.
Sunday, July 3, 2022
John the Baptist didn't even consider himself to be worthy of untying Jesus' sandal strap. Yet this Lord wishes us to eat his body and drink his blood in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist in memory of him! How he deems us is pretty incredible! We should really rejoice and love him with all our heart!
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 10, Jesus sent seventy-two of his disciples ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit, to proclaim the kingdom of God at hand. The seventy-two returned rejoicing, and said, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of you name." Jesus said, "Behold, I have given you the power to tread upon serpents and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven." Lesson learned: We are not to rejoice that we are mighty and powerful, but to rejoice that God loves us even as sinners. Humility beats out pride every time.
To me, the words of Jesus our Lord are more palatable than anything else we might experience, for they speak the truth, enlightening our whole being and freeing the spirit. Indeed, we are to live by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God, as Scripture tells us. Listening to the Lord is a delight that surpasses all understanding.
To forgive our enemies is most difficult for almost all of us, Christians included. To love the unlovely just goes against our grain. But the love of God is blind—Christ has already made that crystal clear to us. God never hates anyone. If we hurt him, he feels the pain greatly, but pities us even more. Christians must be like that too to comfort our Lord. Amidst this chaotic, godless world, we must pray for the conversion, not destruction, of all evildoers.
Saturday, July 2, 2022
We have our Lord who is infinitely merciful and patient, and can save us from damnation instantly if we believe in him and ask him to forgive our sins. On the other hand, Satan is waiting for us to enter hell. This is the situation we are in, a perfect balance. If only one of the two extremes exists, then we sinners would all go to heaven or all go to hell—this wouldn't make any sense. Both good and evil are real, so both reward and punishment exist.
I am doing the First Saturday devotion. Today being a first Saturday, I spent some time thinking about the Holy Mother. We all need a good mother. I loved my own mother, but because of my complex family situation, I wasn't able to get close enough to her to know her well. Even if we have a most loving mother close to us on earth, I believe that deep down we still yearn for a perfect mother. Well, the mother of Christ whom he had given us surely fits the bill. She always watches over and pray for us. Go to her and she'll lead you straight to her Son. If she is good enough to be the mother of Christ, surely she's plenty good enough for me. I love her as I feel her burning love for all of us. In end times now, she is playing a leading role in calling us to return to God. Thank you, dear Mom.
In praying the Our Father today, I had to pause after saying "Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." For I realized that if this were truly the intention of all the people on earth, we'd all be saved and have peace in the entire world. For the Christian, the whole aim is know and do God's will. Here's also the key to becoming reconciled to God and being set free forever!
Sometimes we wonder why we need to tell God anything when he already knows everything about us. Well, if you love someone, it's natural for you to want to confide all your thoughts and feelings to that person. It's the same with God. When you love him, you want to be completely open to him to remove all barriers between you and him. This clears the way for him to share his thoughts and feelings with you. The reward is great, for now you have the Lord as your soulmate! This is also union with him, the highest spiritual state we can attain this side of heaven. So start talking to your loving Father right now. By the way, he'll never get tired of hearing from you so long as you speak from your very heart.
Friday, July 1, 2022
It's Friday, a day to pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. They are Agony in the Garden, Scourging at the Pillar, Crowning with Thorns, Carrying of the Cross, and Crucifixion. It's just too painful to meditate upon the Lord's sufferings, so I chose to look at the positive side of things—how his sufferings have liberated us from eternal death—and my prayer became a joy. Really, how can you possibly not jump for joy when you think of Christ?