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

Friday, September 10, 2010

Be "Self-Centered" First

        In today's Gospel reading from Luke 6, Jesus said, "Why look at the speck in your brother's eyes when you miss the plank in your own?  How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me remove the speck from your eye,' yet fail yourself to see the plank lodged in your own?  Hypocrite, remove the plank from your own eye first; then you will see clearly enough to remove the speck from your brother's eye."
        The reason we don't have a peaceful world is because everybody is constantly criticizing everybody else.  What Jesus has given us is really a formula for peace.  If we all examine ourselves first and realize how imperfect we are, we probably won't think ill of others much anymore.  Besides, looking inward helps us in keeping in touch with God.    

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Is God Fair?

        A lot of people feel that God is not fair to them.  What are we to believe?  I think the parable The Laborers in the Vineyard from Matthew 20 provides some clues.  In the story the workers hired in the last hour got paid as much as all the other workers hired earlier, including the first group who had worked a full day.  When the first group complained, the owner of the vineyard responded: "I do you no injustice.  You agreed on the usual wage, did you not?  Take your pay and go home.  I intend to give this man who was hired last the same pay as you.  I am free to do as I please with my money, am I not?  Or are you envious because I am generous?"  Also, I recall Jesus telling one Apostle to mind his own business and not be nosy about what's going to happen to the other Apostles.
        I can conclude that God wants us to respond to him alone, letting him do whatever he wishes.  Envy is, of course, a sin.  If you mind other people's affairs, then right away you see that some are better-looking, taller, have better health, were born into a wealthier family,... ~ how can God ever be fair?!  If there's no life after death, then you have a point.  Since this is not the case, it makes no difference what your life is like if you end up in heaven.  View it this way: you trade this life, fair or unfair, for eternal life ~ there's nothing unfair about that.  If you knew how happy you'd be in heaven, you wouldn't mind spending a million "unfair" years on this earth.        

God's Blessing Not Free

        Caught Frontline on TV the other day and watched the report on the horrific genocides that took place within the last decade in Rwanda and Dalfur (a region of Sudan).  Altogether, over a million people got slaughtered and millions more became refugees.  The murder, rape, and torture were absolutely shocking.  And we thought that the Holocaust was the last of such horrors! 
        What's equally sad was the fact that the nations that had the power and wealth to do something pretty much didn't do much.  After all, those regions had nothing to offer them.  One Asian power nation voted against doing anything to stop the atrocities in Dalfur because it had business ties with the Sudan government.  Shame, shame, shame!  At the UN, nations talked, discussed, and delayed for years; finally, some troops were sent to Dalfur to protect the civilians only.  By this time the killing was pretty much over.
        I am also ashamed of our own government and presidents.  Apparently, it's easier to accuse other governments of neglecting human rights than doing something to stop the real violation of human lives.  Contrast the lack of action here with the eagerness to invade Iraq.  We are no longer a Christian nation.  At the governmental level, loving your neighbor is no longer considered.  Everything is done with self-interest in mind, not that of the American people either, but of the power elite. 
       Anyway, what I want to say is that we always ask God to bless America, but do we deserve his blessing if we have no intention of becoming a better nation?  To make my point clear, let's look at the extreme case.  Suppose Satan asks God to bless him, do you think that God will comply?  If we want God to bless us, we'd better desire to become more loving and less self-centered.          

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Preparation for Union

        Give to God from your heart: yourself, your family, your health, your possessions, your finance, your everything.  There's no point in holding onto them as all belongs to God in the first place.   Throw in your problems, burdens, and worries as well.  Let God take over and you are ready to seek complete union with the Lord.

Eternal Good News

        The world is filled with all kinds of news, and the news of today fast becomes the history of tomorrow.  But we Christians have the eternal good news, the news that's forever fresh and true.  This is the news that Jesus has come and revealed himself as savior of the world ~ happy news for us to rejoice in always. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Prerequisite for Loving God

        In praying the Hail Holy Queen, we ask Mary to pray for us that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.  At this morning's Mass, I felt strongly that we should pray for all to be made worthy of receiving the Lord in the Holy Eucharist.  It saddens me a great deal to see people receiving this most holy sacrament so casually. 
        I believe that most Catholics know that the Holy Communion is the true body and blood of Jesus.  Whether they really believe in it is another matter.  I don't see too many people spending time preparing themselves before receiving the Eucharist.  Mind you, this is comparable to meeting the Lord in person!  Why the incessant talking about mundane things on their way to church and even after entering it?  Do they go up for Communion just because everyone else is going up? 
        I am not sure how much the children learn in their preparation classes for receiving first Communion either, because sometimes I don't see any reverence shown.  People just don't stay behind to pray after Mass much anymore.  They want to dash home to watch some game on TV or do their shopping.  
        Going to church, receiving Communion,... all seem to be so mechanically done with no great meaning to the participants.  This is disturbing.  Does "Many are called, but few are chosen" apply here?  Receiving Communion is serious business.  That's why not taking it seriously is just as serious.  If we truly love God, we must start with reverencing, adoring, and worshiping the Holy Eucharist.  It's a prerequisite.        

Monday, September 6, 2010

Another Lesson in Humility

        The other day someone told me that a certain person knew a certain subject very well.  It turned out that I was also well-versed in that subject.  My first reaction was to downgrade that person, thinking surely that I knew better.  Then I realized that how petty, unchristian my thoughts were.  I didn't even know the person!  Why should I even be affected in any way??  Maybe he is more knowledgeable than I, then praise God.  It's that ugly ego acting up again!
        Anyway, how good it is to have the Holy Spirit point out our sins?  Without his guidance, we'd be living in darkness.  We need to pray constantly for God's mercy on us.  Rejoice that the moment we humble ourselves before God, he exalts us.   

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Being Detached

        In today's reading at Mass from Luke 14, Jesus makes it clear that one must hate all his own family members and even his own life in order to be his disciple.  Obviously, "hate" is a relative term here.  Jesus wants us to be attached to him alone.
        To me, a detached person is one who       
        (1) is attached to God only and not to all else,
        (2) sees that all his family members belong to God and not to him,
        (3) is not cold but a true realist, seeing through God's loving eyes,
        (4) lives in the present moment, looking forward to eternal life with God, and does not get overly sentimental or nostalgic,
        (5) has all his priorities put in order according to God's will,
        (6) is no longer a slave to himself or the world, and thus free to love God.  

The Lord Nourishes Us

        At today's Mass, I saw myself as parched soil and Jesus as rain.  When I received the Lord, my thirst was quenched and I, the soil, was readied to bring forth fruit-bearing spiritual growths.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

How's Your Fighting?

        We are engaged in spiritual warfare against the evil forces.  If you are on the right side, then are you fighting?  If you are, then how hard are you doing it?  Are you letting others bearing the brunt of the enemy's attack or are you also in the forefront leading a charge?  Every moment of our limited lifetime counts. 

The Mass

        This morning while praying before Mass began, I saw the Mass as a feast, a treat, an opportunity of a lifetime because I get to be united with the loving Lord again, a momentous occasion, an awesome privilege, a life-changing grace.
        I remember maybe a couple of decades ago, when there was going to be a stride summit held near my area, I thought that's going to be a once-in-a-lifetime event with five of the best stride pianists in the world getting together to give a concert.  I just had to attend that.  I even took a leave from my work to do it (resulting in a loss of pay later).   
        Today, I'd rather attend one Mass than a thousand of these concerts.  By the way, that concert wasn't really a once-in-a-lifetime event ~ the performers came back the following year to hold a stride summit II. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Be One with Jesus First

        I've been thinking that if you truly become one with Jesus, then you would have the mind of Jesus, and you would ask for things for which Jesus would ask.  It follows that the Father will not be able to refuse what you ask for.  Therefore, be united with Jesus first and let all good things follow. 

God the Renewer

        The Lord showed me this morning at Mass that he is a renewer.  He makes all things new.  How refreshing!  He's responsible for all the renewals in nature.  Most of all, he loves to renew each one of us, transforming us into delightful, brand new creatures, reflecting his beauty.  Naturally, our cooperation is needed.  So, cooperate and be refreshed.

Passion of Christ

        This is Friday and I meditated on the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary. 
        First, Jesus went through the agony in the garden.  It's safe to say that we all have gone through some agony when we knew ahead that we're going to get into some tough situation or face a dreadful moment.  Jesus knew exactly the terrible events coming to him and the agony must have been almost unbearable.
        Next, the scourging.  How do we feel when someone does as little as jabbing you with his finger in your chest even for a good reason?  What if someone punches you with his fist?  Here, our Lord, totally innocent, received such severe scourging on his body.
        Crowning with thorns.  When I work in the garden, even when a little thorn pricks one of my fingers, I feel the sharp pain.  Now, someone jammed a crown of large thorns on top of his head ~ it's hard to imagine how painful that could be.  And don't forget the hurtful verbal taunts and scorns he also received.   
        Carrying of his own cross.  This is adding insult to injury, an extreme cruel treatment.
        The Crucifixion.  His mission was accomplished.  This crowned his achievement.  He carried out the will of the Father to a triumphant conclusion.  And we are the beneficiaries.  

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Best Advice

        At the wedding at Cana, both Jesus and Mary were there.  After the wine ran out, Mary instructed those waiting on table, "Do whatever he tells you."  This gets my vote as the best advice ever given by a human being. 
        Obey Jesus and be amazed as the disciples were when they caught such a great number of fish after Jesus told them exactly where to lower the nets.  (Today's Gospel reading: Luke 5, 1-11) 

Feeling of the New

        Putting on some new clothing makes you feel good.  Driving a new car does likewise.  Welcoming the New Year calls for celebration.  Then there are making new friends, learning new skills, discovering new solutions to old problems, etc.  The feeling of experiencing the new is a good feeling.
        I am saving the best feeling of the new for the last.  This is the feeling that you are a new creature after you put on Christ.  The old "you" no longer lives and it's Christ himself who lives in you.  You're now clean, free, and an adopted child of the Father.

Perfect Relationship

        If you believe that Jesus has given all of himself to us, then we must give all of ourselves to him.  This is the perfect relationship intended by God.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Faith Journey

        Jesus said to Thomas after he saw the wounds on the Lord and believed: "You became a believer because you saw me.  Blest are they who have not seen and have believed."  So we who believe are blessed. The other known part is that God will always lead us to what's best for us because he loves us so much.  The only unknown are the details, exactly how God is going to make things happen.  And it is this unknown part that turns our faith journey into an adventure. 
        From Psalm 23: "Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side..."  I love this verse.  For me, it describes the true faith journey.