Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mt 9:1-8 Look At What God Can Do

Mt 9:1-8 Look At What God Can Do

(Click here for reading)

God works in mysterious ways. But He works! And how He works should always leave us with our mouth wide open and speechless! In fact, this is the most relaxed position for the jaw; it is the most natural position for the most relaxed people - the dead, but it should also be true for the living! This is the way to be - always! Everything around us, even the people around us, should leave us with a sense of awe and amazement.

“I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.” The Lord and the living go hand-in-hand. The fact that “I am” and God is the great “I am who am” means we are always in the presence of the Lord. It’s as simple as that. Do you feel His presence? Do you have your eyes open? C.S. Lewis once wrote, “There is no such thing as a simple conversation, or a conversation with a mere mortal?” A conversation with another living being is an image and likeness of our eternal conversing with the Lord. It should not be taken for granted. Every day I get a variety of messages from friends. A message is a knock on my door. It is an image and likeness of opening up your eyes and seeing the world. A conversation with another is a spiritual awakening, an opening up your eyes to another’s soul. Every message should make your day! I try not to take for granted a single message. Regardless of what means of communication is used, each message is a conversation, a dialogue between two living beings, united in heart and mind for a brief moment. This simple exchange is incredible; there is nothing common about that! The same is true with the Lord. When I read the Gospel of the day, the Lord communicates to me, directly. Of course His words are spread far and wide, but his words are there for me. Like the sun that rises for me, so His Son is just for me! The Lord communicates his presence, his warmth, and his word in a multitude of way, and through my heart, mind, body and soul, I receive His present.

Abraham did not run away from the Lord because he believed, he lived in the presence of the Lord, and it was credited to him. The paralytic could not physically run away from the Lord, but he could have shouted insult upon insult as the Lord approached him. But he didn’t because he lived in the presence of the Lord. Both men underwent tremendous suffering, and both experienced tremendous blessings because they lived in God’s presence. Everything is a blessing; everything is grace, even the Cross, when one lives in His presence. Everything comes from the Lord. The sun will shine on all who come out and live in the light.

Let us ask the Lord to walk with us, his children, especially as we journey through the valley of tears and darkness. Let us never have any fear for the Lord makes his presence felt and known. Today, taste and see the goodness of the Lord. Look and see what God has done for you!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mt 16:13-19 What God Can Do

Mt 16:13-19 What God Can Do

(Click here for reading)

The Lord is capable of moving two mountains, bringing them together and making them one. I cannot stress that enough in today’s solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. These two mountains of the Church came together at the right time to serve and build up the body of Christ, and they are living proof of God’s amazing power and love.

The Lord alone is capable of changing people’s lives, even the harshest of adversaries. He is an expert in transforming people’s lives, even the roughest of characters. The Lord is more than willing to forgive our past, to forget it, and set before us a new journey of life that literally wipes away all ill feelings and brings us to the heavenly gate that is left wide open.

The Catholic Church has survived attacks from empires and emperors. It has endured the test of time. How? I will tell you how and it may shock you: by the power of God and by its sinful members. Sinners and saints comprise God’s Church today, yesterday and tomorrow! Someone once told me that if popes, bishops and priests have not been able to destroy the Church, nothing will! Nothing ever will because it is founded on solid ground. This ground never shifts with time. The truth never changes, and those who stand by the truth will in the end stand in glory! The Church stands on solid not hard ground, for the Lord has a soft spot and the nails prove it! When the Church speaks, it speaks from the heart and although her message may bother homosexuals, adulterers and promiscuous teenagers, she never uses the language of her foes, language that is typically harsh and vulgar.

Sinners and saints comprise the body of Christ. We are the largest hospital in the world with over two billion patients. Even the doctors get sick. God help us if we ever forget this. We all need The Doctor! We all need a heart transplant and a blood transfusion. We all need a skin graft. We need Christ’s flesh, blood, heart, mind and soul to penetrate our tough-as-nails skin, hardened heart and thick skull! The one who chooses to submit will be admitted into God’s presence. We know because we have witnessed it in the lives of the saints who were sinners like us.

Recently, I read an article where a criminal was labeled a “monster”. He definitely did horrible things and yet did the Lord ever call anyone a “monster”? One question: who creates these so-called monsters? God? No. We do and we do it through our laws! Divorce, unnatural unions, live-in boyfriends and girlfriends destroy a child’s natural right to a loving, stable and natural family. And we, like Victor Frankenstein, have become schizophrenic! After all, we sought it, built it, promoted it and then rejected our very own creation.

May the Lord today enter into your life, touch your soul, enlighten your mind and move your heart in His direction, for His glory and for the salvation of all men! May His forgiveness and mercy penetrate the defensive walls that surround our lives so that He can transform us into living images of his beloved Son who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mt 8:23-27 Rock The Boat!

Mt 8:23-27 Rock The Boat!

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Do you know who you are? I know who I am...for now. It took a long time to figure it out. Like so many things we tend to take the simplest, the most obvious things for granted - as a given. But as you get older, you begin to realize that there are very few things in life that are straightforward or simple. When two people come to me and tell me that they want to get married, I ask them a simple question: Why? They typically answer, “We’re in love...Duh!” I then ask them, “Ah, so what is this love?” They come back, “Well, we know each other so well.” I then ask them, “How do you know anyone?” These questions may not be easy to answer, but they are the right questions to ask. We spend a lot of quality time researching before investing our money. The same should be true in the preparation for marriage. The rate of divorce is pretty much the same among Catholics as with the general population. Therefore, there is room for improvement! We can do better in preparing for marriage.

I love asking children, “Who are you?” They generally respond by telling me their name. I then proceed to explain to them that they are much more than just a name (I love the look on their face at this moment – eyes moving around, total confusion and at a total loss for words). I help them by reminding them that they are a beautiful gift from God.

To discover who you are takes years and children should not be rushed with details. They need time and guidance to grow, not fertilizer. Parents are on this earth to ensure that their children grow up straight in virtue and in morals. Otherwise, these poor kids will never learn to control themselves and will end up living the religion of carpe diem – which is not a religion of happy people but of very unhappy people. The very splendor of youth is their sense of being immortal, eternal, not some fleeting moment of self-induced ecstasy! Children should never be rushed or pushed into taking any one particular career path, and that includes sports, which continues to consume so much time and energy and is a source of unimaginable stress.

It is important that each us take a very personal journey of discovery, for in order to know who you are, you must unravel the mystery of who God is, who is independent of who you are.

As Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him.

The disciples discovered themselves when they discovered who Jesus is. To get to know themselves they had to trust in God. The Lord did not coerce them, nor did He ever strip them of their freedom. He called them and they followed, and they followed Him into a nasty storm. It reminds me of non-denominational churches. They claim to have taken all the good beliefs from other religions and excluded all the bad stuff. In my opinion, they took everything that was boring. A storm is scary, but it is also very thrilling; it released Christ’s power and in one single instant increased the disciples’ knowledge and trust of Him. Storms are a big hit with God. They help adults to grow up quickly.

The grace these men received could have been refused, like the rich young man, but they chose, out of their own free will, to accept the invitation and set out on the journey. The best way to know who you are is to know who God is. I will never be able to trust in the Lord until I get to know Him, and to know Him means I must get into the boat with Him.

Almighty and ever-living God, you Word is the rock in which we take refuse against all outward disturbance and inner turmoil. Pour forth upon your people the refreshing midst of water that rains upon us from your Son’s heart, so that we may overcome the storms of life as Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mt 8:18-22 Faithful in Little Things

Mt 8:18-22 Faithful in Little Things

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We’ve all heard this question asked before, “What am I, a mere human being, compared to God?” I mean, if I were to stand beside God, side by side, together, and compare, what could I say? The most logical thing would be to say, “I am nothing.” For this comparison would be far worse than the comparison between a man and an ant, or a man and speck of sand. Right? Right!

But what we have all grown up to believe comes from our perspective. What I would really like to know is, “What does God think of me?” We know what we think of ourselves. We love to put a man and an ape, side by side, and compare the two and say that we are not too far off from the other. We love to be self-deprecating when it comes to God-eliminating. After all, we are just another animal who happened to figure out how to walk on two rather than four legs. We would also have to say that we grew up in a century of very negative spirits towards ourselves.

If you have never read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, then I want to recommend it to you. If you have not read it in a very long time, then read it again. Most people do not know that this novel is about her life. I won’t get into all the Enquiry details right now, but suffice it to say that Mary left home when she was sixteen and took off with a married man. Soon after, one tragedy after another began to fill their lives. Mary had grown up in a staunchly atheist-scientific family and so did her lover. In fact, he was a promoter of militant atheistic thought. What most readers fail to understand is that her life resembled that of Victor Frankenstein. She too, by her arrogance and ignorance, had created a monster!

In her excellent novel, the main character, Victor Frankenstein, runs away from his creation. God, after creating us, did not run away from us. Instead, we ran away from him. God did not say, “What have I done?” when we sinned. Rather, he said, What I did is, and will always be, very good. Our Father never refers to us as “monsters” – not even after we killed His Son. Victor Frankenstein will call his creation nothing but a monster.

What does God think of us? Abraham knows the answer because he asked the question: “Would you destroy the entire city if there were less than ten good people in it?” God replied, “For the sake of those ten, I will not destroy it” (Gen 18:33). Would the Son of God die on a cross to save just one soul? God replied, “If I had one hundred sheep and one got lost, I would go after it.”

It is time that we begin to see things as God sees them. Let the dead bury the dead. Let those who wish to live in the past live in the past. If you want to keep holding on to past hurts, then go ahead, but you can’t follow Him. A Christian is allowed to look in all directions except one, back. He is, by definition, one who never looks back – not at past mistakes and not at past failings. He gets up, shakes off the dust, learns, and keeps walking. If God forgives and forgets past mistakes, then the same holds true for us. Don’t forget, Love one another is a commandment.

Nietzsche, the atheist, once said, “A new commandment I give to you, ‘be hard,’” he was really saying, “A new commandment I give to you, be dead?” As G.K. Chesterton so brilliantly wrote in response, “Sensibility is the definition of life.”

Many years ago I was hearing first confessions. One child walked in and began his confession by telling me his sins, one right after the other. Right before he left, he asked me, “Father, do you remember the first sin I said. I felt horrible that I couldn’t. I tried and tried to remember. I didn’t want this child to think that I had not paid attention. Well, after some time, I gave up and said, “No. I don’t remember.” He screamed as loud as he could, “Its’ true! It’s all true! The priest forgets all our sins!” And so does God.

“The Lord is kind and merciful,” even to the little people like us!

P.S. Above is one of the earliest images discovered of Christ. It is a portrayal of Christ as the Good Shepherd. Around his shoulders is the lost lamb he found.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Jn 6:51-58 The Gift of His Love

Jn 6:51-58 The Gift of His Love

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How often do you run to your window to witness the sun rise? When was the last time you laid down on the grass and looked up at the stars? How often do you tell your spouse (and children) that you love them? Do you remember the last time you took a walk along the beach? You know the answers to all of these questions.

Do I wish to live my life in a constant state of war? Where nothing goes right and everyone is wrong? Do I really want to spend years of my life burning bridges but holding on to grudges so as to relive painful experiences?

Today is the feast of Corpus Christi, a celebration of our Lord’s most precious gift - his most precious life and most precious love. “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.”

Let us never forget that Jesus gave himself (The Eucharist) on the night He was betrayed. He knew all things, and knowing all things did our Lord begin to shout and scream, yell and kick? No. Knowing all things, on the night He was betrayed, He gave it all. This is what is most striking about Christ! At our worst, He gave us His best.

Let us not forget that the Lord gave himself to the Eleven, eleven unworthy men. Is it enough to love those who love you? No, says the Lord, what merit is there in that? The Lord gives even to those who do not deserve it. The Eucharist is the eternal gift of Unconditional Love.

When we truly love someone, we have to be careful not to suffocate or drain them. Love does not suffocate or drain, but rather is given and consumed. The Lord gives himself to be consumed and is never drained. His love comes from above, it rains down from Heaven. His love comes from a source that is pure, uncontaminated, that gives before it receives, seeks before it finds, and knocks upon the unopened door. Christ’s love, his body and blood, is such that the more He gives, the more He receives. His love will never end.

We can do better in the way we live our lives. We can do much better in our relationships. Too much is taken for granted. Too little is given away.

Scientists examine the heavens to give numbers and names to things (and the names and numbers they give are boring!). What a waste of beauty. They seem to find all the right things but never take the time to reflect upon the beautiful things! They bring heaven down to earth and make it boring.

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Nicodemus asked, “Can a man once born be born again from his mother’s womb?” The experts of heaven appear to be at a loss because they are trying to do what scientists do. Jesus answered Nicodemus, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things from above?” There is more than bread and wine here. There is more than a man here! There is much more than meets the eye here.

It takes more than meets the eye to get to know someone. It will also take more than what is written on paper. The best way to know someone is to know them by heart. Sometimes, if you want to understand certain things, it means you have to take a leap of faith. To do that requires a tremendous lover. Again and again, the Lord, through the Eucharist, provides. Will you?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mt 8:5-17 God’s Marvels & Marvel Comics

Mt 8:5-17 God’s Marvels & Marvel Comics

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Just recently I went to the movies and saw X-men. I know, I know what you are thinking! Or at least I know what I was thinking, “Why waste my time and money on something so irrelevant.” But I invited a friend, turned it into a men’s night out and asked myself a couple of questions. First, why are movies about superheroes so appealing? Second, what’s the real difference between a villain and the hero? Third, how do these stories relate to our story, the Gospel story?

Let me start off by saying that very few ideas are original. That’s true with us and it’s true with screen writers. What we are witnessing right now in the movie industry is the recycling of old stories that are filled with good and wholesome ideas and ideals. So what makes Marvel’s superheroes so appealing is not the unbelievable but the believable; that which we can all seek and strive for.

What captures the audience’s attention watching X-men is this inner yearning deep inside the characters to be accepted and loved. It is much more moving than the suspense, high paced action or high-flying dare devil stunts throughout the movie. The question thrown out there is this: I can either love unconditionally or hate ruthlessly. What will it be? I can either give all or demand more! What will it be? I can either live selflessly or selfishly. What will it be? We know love. Even the most hardened of hearts know for it is ever-old and always-new in all of us and in all things. This is everybody’s story. And like it or not, we will never stop seeking it. Love is the fountain of youth, the source of all that is good and powerful. Hate can move people and things, but love will move the highest of mountains and displace submarines deep below the ocean. It can move the most stubborn of souls and change the course of world events. It can make things new again and make them better than before.

Our superheroes, we are told, were the result of random genetic mutations. Let’s not forget the prevailing attitude back in the forties and fifties when our X-men were first drawn up on paper. Science had replaced God and man had become deaf and blind by his own arrogance. The inventor of our superheroes and villains can easily tell us how they came about and why some are evil, but he never gets around to tell us why most are good? We know the answer to this question, and it has nothing to do with mutations or genes; but rather with virtue, the virtue of humility. In the end, this is what distinguishes the villain from the superhero - nothing more and nothing less, for nothing more is greater than that and nothing less will get you there.

Love who you are. This is a theme that replays itself over and over again in the movie X-men. It is a novelty - foreign in the original comics. It represents modernity’s latest secular creed, and a bad one at that! For in the movie (as in real life) it doesn’t seem to resolve the agonizing problems and challenges of the day. In fact, those who repeat it often turn bad at the very end. Intentional or not, “Love who you are” is an idea that gets lost in the movie. How? By training. The villains never train, but the X-men begin to train in mind, body and soul. Yes, we can be better than our raw material and we should be. Just like in today’s Gospel, we really don’t want the centurion to love himself. We want the centurion to love Jesus Christ. We really don’t want little Billy to grow up loving himself. We want Billy to grow up loving Jesus Christ.

Near the end of the movie, the latest Marvel comic begins to look a lot like the greatest Gospel commandment: Love your enemies and neighbors as yourself. Our X-men, after having trained, gradually become more and more like men of the Cross. Let me remind you that an X is by definition, a cross.

Humility is man’s strength and it will never be a sign of weakness. Christ took away our infirmities and bore our diseases. True, and as a result, he changed our lives forever. Now little Billy can love someone more than himself. He can love his neighbors, step-mother and step-father because he loves God more than himself, and if you can love the One who is above you, then you will always be able to love the love that is beside and below you. This is the story of the centurion. This is the story of every single conversion. This is from God’s marvel book!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Luke 1:57-66,80 To Be Wonderfully Made

Luke 1:57-66,80 To Be Wonderfully Made

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“O Lord, you have probed me, you know understand my thoughts from afar…Truly you have formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made…” (Ps 139:14)

This goes to say, I cannot forget who I am: I am, and will always be, a priceless gift from God. Life should always be considered sacred. To think otherwise would be the gravest of heresies because it would be the greatest of fallacies! My worth, in the eyes of God, does not increase based upon my good works, especially those valued by men, for not even the achievements of the saints make them any more worthy of eternal life. Can the infinite be measured? Or value placed on the priceless? The magnitude and the grandeur of every human life cannot be contained or measured by metrics such as individual accomplishments or achievements. Heaven cannot be gained, it can only be defined. And heaven is best defined by the Creator, for its very nature is the Creator’s nature. Heaven is God’s presence, where Love rests and love is free to be unleashed.

Today we celebrate the birth of John the Baptist. John knew God and His love rested upon him. From his mother’s womb, his heart leaped at the presence of the Lord. He grew strong in spirit while maturing in the wasteland of the desert. In that time, he acquired a keen awareness of who he was and his God-given mission - to prepare the way of the Lord. That’s it! That’s all he did. But that's not all He was.

“The Lord called me from birth, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name. He made of me a sharp-edged sword and concealed me in the shadow of his arm. He made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me. You are my servant, he said to me, Israel through whom I show my glory. (Is 49:1-6)

You may remark, “What kind of life is that?” Now let me ask, “How is your life?”

John loved his life because he loved himself, and he loved himself because he loved the Lord. There is no other way he could have endured what he endured. Hidden from view for years, mocked and misunderstood by many, he suffered a cruel death at the hands of a maniac! His life was that of a faithful servant – all the way, till the end. Love God so that you can love your neighbor as yourself. It is all related. We are all connected. There is no getting around it. To find ourselves we need to find our Creator. John had no mid-life crisis. He had The Life because he was open to The Way. There may have been a moment of doubt, a moment of weakness, where there was some second-guessing going on. But he was ready! John knew the secret to happiness: Love God, love who you are, and love your neighbor, for He is wonderful and you are wonderfully made.

In yesterday’s New York Times, there is a beautiful article of a Catholic woman who is an expert in mental illness. A few weeks ago, Dr. Marsha M. Linehan, a psychologist at the University of Washington, revealed why she is an expert: She suffers from it herself and never opened up about it.

Her breakthrough came while she was praying in a chapel at Loyola University.

“One night I was kneeling in there, looking up at the cross, and the whole place became gold – and suddenly I felt something coming toward me. It was this shimmering experience, and I just ran back to my room and said, ‘I love myself.’ It was the first time I remember talking to myself in the first person. I felt transformed.”

The high only ended when a romantic relationship went soar. But something was different this time. She could now weather her emotional storms without cutting herself or harming herself. What changed? Romanticism may disappointment. Divine love, never! For love does not insist on its own way (cf. 1Cor 13:5) or seek its own interest.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came to bear witness to the light, to prepare an upright people for the Lord. (Entrance antiphon)

To be wonderfully made is God's guarantee to living a wonderful life!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mt 7:21-29 When God Doesn’t Makes Sense

Mt 7:21-29 When God Doesn’t Makes Sense

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“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.”

At first glance, this saying from the Lord may appear to mean that those who say much about Him, may not be doing much at all for Him; and therefore, will not be entering the Kingdom of heaven. We know actions speak louder than words, right? But then the Lord turns right back and says, “Many will say to me…Did we not do mighty deeds in your name? I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’” So what must we do? What must we say? Well, the Lord is in the details. He desires that we follow Him - with all our heart, our mind, our strength and our will. It is important to Christ that we do our Father's Will, not our will, even if that means getting hit and hit hard!

The Lord knows perfectly well what it feels like to get hit hard, to be abused at the hands of others. And still, he demands that we are faithful to His Holy Will, even when it doesn't make much sense.

Abraham’s wife Sarah had borne him no children. So she gave to Abraham her maid, Hagar the Egyptian, to be his concubine. But in the end, Sarah became jealous of Hagar and abused her. When Hagar could no longer take the abuse, she ran away. But the Lord’s messenger told her: “Go back to your mistress and submit to her abusive treatment…for the LORD has heard you, God has answered you... I will make your descendents so numerous that they will be too many to count.”

Why take all this abuse? Why submit to this type of treatment? Is the Lord a masochist? No, not at all! He knows that we are stronger than we think, and that He is stronger than we think! He answers our prayers, the ones that are worth answering. Good triumphs over evil, always! This is an historical fact, and it is an act of faith. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good” (Ps 106:1b).

When we say that God doesn’t make any sense, it means we have risen and fallen into two sins (temptations): arrogance and ignorance. The rise and fall of all sins!

Regardless of the negative and abusive people that surround you, there is no excuse for not being holy. No one can prevent you from believing in God. No one can take away your faith, hope and love, except for you. “At the end of our lives, when we come face to face with God, it would be childish to blame others for our lack of spiritual progress” It doesn’t mean we shut the doors around us. But when there is a problem, we should solve it. Can we do something positive? If the answer is yes, it would be a sin of omission to do nothing…There is within us something indestructible that is guaranteed by God’s faithfulness and love. (Pg. 72, Interior Freedom by Jacque Philippe). “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…” No one can take that away from us. No one!

Also, we have to be careful to not worship idols. What or who are our idols? They are whatever fills a gap that was created during my childhood. In our relationship with other people we naturally seek that which we lack, and especially what we lacked in childhood. Disappointment in a relationship with someone from whom we were expecting a lot (perhaps too much) can teach us to go deeper in prayer, in our relationship with God, and to look to him for that fullness, that peace and security, that only his infinite love can guarantee. Disappointments in relationships with other people oblige us to pass from “idolatrous” love to a love that is realistic, free, and happy.” (Pg. 70, Interior Freedom by Jacque Philippe)

When God or my life doesn’t make any sense, I have to admit to myself that I am not making any sense! Faith in God means to stop acting irrationally and immaturely. Of course this is a hard saying. Who can stand it? St. Peter knew the answer to that question: Where else are we to do? Where else are we to go? Only [the Lord] has the words and deeds that lead to eternal life.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mt 7:15-20 A Good Tree

Mt 7:15-20 A Good Tree

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Three hundred and sixty-five days ago I started blogging my daily meditations. My intention for doing so was to remain faithful to a very good discipline I acquired during seminary training and in religious life. From the very beginning, this was always my intention and it continues to be so even today. I believe I missed only one meditation in this past year, and I missed it due to illness. Many times I was tempted with sloth to not do it, but my conscience kept me from doing so, and I am glad it did. Just when I thought that I had nothing to write about, the Holy Spirit took over and inspired me to write, and write I did. And then, through an e-mail or a phone call, I received an encouraging confirmation that it was truly the Holy Spirit at work.

The Lord truly blessed me by placing this desire in my heart, and it has been a pleasure for me to do this. This particular blogging program allows me to take a look at some daily, weekly, monthly and overall statistics. On a daily basis, there are close to 400 pageviews; on a monthly basis, it is close to 12,000. In total, over 120,000 pageviews have occurred with people from all over the United States, South Korea, Russia, Australia, India, Germany, Mexico, Philippines, United Kingdom and Canada viewing this blog. I am not sure if they read it, but they at least opened it.

The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, invited priests and religious to use the Internet in order to spread God’s word among the faithful and non-believers. It is a most efficacious tool. With the click of a button, it can do what it took thousands of missionaries many years to do. Obviously, It will never replace a missionary’s real and human presence. But, it is a non-invasive means to bring the Good News to people who are looking for God’s love, guidance and inspiration, and in the convenience and comfort of their own time and place. The Lord provides. This is true and the instruments he uses are humbling.

From today’s readings, the Lord is encouraging us to do something so that He may be glorified through you. He tells Abram, “Fear not! I am your shield; I will make your reward very great.” A good tree bears good fruit. Abraham belongs to the Lord. He was sent by the Lord, brought by the Lord and bought by the Lord. Now, he must work for the Lord.

Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. God does not punish! I know that is hard to believe, but it is true. God does not punish anyone: people punish themselves. Those who refuse to give or forgive - who refuse to love - will sooner or later be victims of their own lack of love. (Fr. Jacques Philippe) They will slowly starve to death. Their fruit will wither and rot. Not by God’s doing, but by their own omissions.

Our biggest obstacle to branching out is our fears, our insecurities. I think to myself, “What if I am rejected? What if I am hated? The fear of rejection and confrontation is strong. But the Lord is stronger. For this very reason he tells us, “Remain in me, as I remain in you. Whoever remains in me will bear much fruit.”

We can do it, if we remain rooted in the Lord. St John of the Cross wrote, “Where there is no love, put love, and you will harvest love.” A tree is a plant that came from a seed. We are called to be that seed.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mt 7:6,12-14 The Narrow Gate

Mt 7:6,12-14 The Narrow Gate

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As we continue to un-crack so many secrets about life and about the our Universe, it becomes increasingly clear that billions, not millions, of factors had to come to play at the right time, the right place and for the right reasons in order for intelligent life as we know it to exist on earth.

How amazing is life? For starters, it’s not like we find it everywhere in the Universe. It’s very hard to find it anywhere other than earth! And so far, nada!

H.G. Wells once said, “Man is utterly insignificant compared to the size of the universe!” G.K. Chesterton replied to his friend’s contention, “Man is small compared to the nearest tree.” We tend to forget the most obvious: The earth is bursting with life. It is absolutely beautiful and if man were not on this planet, it would be a beautiful waste. The earth is privileged beyond all other planets in that it has life, and above all it has human life that is capable of acknowledging it and discovering it.

One could say that we are a privileged planet. We are located within the Galactic Habitual Zone. Any slight variation (compare it to the width of your hair) and there would be no life! We are surrounded by water, in liquid form (in it of itself a miracle!), and we have a tremendous abundance of it, enough to support a large diversity of life and absorb the heat from the sun and maintain the right processes such as greenhouse effects, the carbonate-silicate weathering cycle, a myriad of biological processes, ocean circulation, clouds, ice sheets, plate tectonics and its associated phenomena! So many factors work in harmony in providing us an exquisite dance sequence and galactic masterpiece that is optimized and balanced.

I could go on and on but my purpose is not to discuss the Universe and how we got here, but rather life and living it to the full.

We know that for life to exist, it required certain conditions, very narrow conditions. The same holds true for eternal life. There are certain conditions that must be met in order to live life to the full and to live it eternally, regardless of whether or not we think it is fair or unfair.

Life itself is not fair, it is a privilege.

Can we simply throw away or waste our natural resources, our greatest resources and expect the earth to sustain us indefinitely? Of course not! Then we should not think less of the greatest natural resource on this planet: a child. Yes, a child, full of potential, full of life, and full of abilities and talents. We have thrown millions away, thinking that we are saving the planet and our lives by doing so! In reality, we are withering away by our selfishness and personal ambitions! This road will lead to destruction and it is an easy road to follow for it is very, very wide!

The number one hit song right now for teenagers is Kate Perry’s “Firework”. Here are some of the lyrics: “Do you ever feel like a plastic bag, drifting through the wind, wanting to start again. Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin, like a house of cards, one blow from caving in. Do you ever feel already buried deep, six feet under scream, but no one seems to hear a thing...You just gotta ignite the light, and let it shine. Just own the night, like the Fourth of July. Cause baby you’re a firework, come on show ‘em what you’re worth. Make ‘em go “Oh, oh, oh! As you shoot across the sky-y-y.”

Why is it, when we hear a song like this, our hearts fill with joy, more joy than when we read our biology or physics text books that make us feel like we are nothing! The answer is very simple: YOU will always be worth more and truer in person than on live T.V., or by a photograph, or represented on a passport, or a curriculum vitae. Textbooks will never come close to the human eye and heart in describing who we are and why we lie down at night upon the grass and gaze the stars in the Universe and adore the Creator of it all!

P.S. I am not endorsing Kate Perry at all. Only this song, in particular, has some worthy and meaningful lyrics.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mt 7:1-5 What God Hates Most

Mt 7:1-5 What God Hates Most

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What does God hate most? First of all, excuse me if I used some blunt wording here. You have to understand that we are all limited by our language and to get everyone’s attention I used some pretty strong words here. But given the words of our Lord today, it’s hard to not imagine some kind of indignation on the part of our Lord for those who choose to judge quickly! God does not smile upon those who decide to take his place on the judge’s bench!

There are two types of sinners: Those who have fallen and those who hold themselves above the rest. We know the Lord has a special place in his heart for those who have fallen. He anoints them with overflowing love and compassion. In fact, he often bows down before them, allowing them to reach out to him, touch him, hold on to him and embrace him. His words are gentle but very powerful: “Go in peace. Your sins are forgiven.”

However, when it comes to those who choose to judge others, and judge harshly, our Lord is very direct and severe: “Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged…”

The Lord is also very clear and pointed in his remarks towards hypocrites too: “You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.”

Why such harsh statements? Because God himself knows what it feels like to be beaten by the end of a rod, and to be beaten by hypocrites and judgmental people.

Last year I stopped a gift subscription to U.S. Catholic Magazine. What caused me to finally call their office and request that they no longer send me their monthly magazine was an editorial, written by the chief editor, blasting the Holy Father in a shockingly harsh and mean spirited manner. Speak about cowardly acts! How a Catholic Magazine, knowing full well that the Holy Father will never respond to their comments, will take the audacious liberty to strike at the Shepherd of the Church is absolutely incomprehensible and unjustifiable. Receiving this magazine left me sick to my stomach! I called. I cancelled.

With all this mud being thrown today, I am so proud of how the Church reacts to criticism and how she strives to promote peace and understanding. We run against the current. We can never forget that. But have we forgotten that the greatest current we run against is the fierce current to judge, to seek revenge and to not forgive? There are rock stars, movie stars, Catholics and non-Catholics, atheists and believers living and promoting lifestyles that are not in accordance with our Lord or according to the Magisterium of the Church. Does the Holy Father single out these individuals? Does he throw their names out into the public square? Does he call them by name or for their arrest? No. Instead, “forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.”

May we never forget this! May we never forget what it means to be a Christian. This is our contribution to the world: to love our enemies and forgive those who harm us.

Our enemies may not know better, but we know better. We have been called to know better in order to be better – that is, to be more like Christ, who though knocked down and beaten, did not send a legion of angels to destroy his adversaries. Rather, he humbled himself and died praying for his assassins. And in the end, we believe his assassins are resting in peace.

What displeases God most are those who spend so much time naming, ridiculing and mocking His and other’s names, but spend very little time praying, living and loving by His holy name: Yeshua – which means God saves.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Jn 3:16-18 Are There Any Mysteries Left?

Jn 3:16-18 Are There Any Mysteries Left?

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Is there anything that is still a mystery?

I have had many discussions with Jehovah Witnesses and a few with Muslims. When everything is said and done, the Witnesses and Muslims tend to think that they can strike a deadly blow over the Christian’s head when they argue against the mystery of the Holy Trinity.

They claim, “If God is a Trinity, then can you please explain it?” At that moment, a Christian may very well feel slightly embarrassed over the fact that he cannot - that it is a mystery and cannot be fully explained.

Is God so small that we can put him (understand everything about him) into our tiny human heads? Where did this idea come from? Where did this idea that we can know all things about our God, our Creator, come from? I would say it began with the Protestant Reformation and at the expense of the Bible.

Many Protestant denominations, especially Evangelicals and Fundamentalists, pride themselves in having all the answers to all life’s questions. They often begin by referring to Scripture; “The Bible says or God said…” as if this type of written or spoken feedback is supposed to erase all our fears, calm all our doubts and ease all our pains. Was the Bible, the fruit of the Holy Spirit and the Lord’s bride, his Church, really meant to be used this way, as a Reference Manuel? No! St. Paul tells us that Scripture is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training (cf. 2Tim 3:16). Needless to say, when St. Paul wrote down these words, the New Testament, as we know it, still did not exist! Scripture was never intended to be the go to all for all things! And it was definitely never meant to be the source of all knowledge, including God’s very being and essence. The greatest fallacy ever created by man is that if it is not in Scripture than it does not come from God! For this reason, the Protestants continue to regress rather than progress.

If Scripture removed all life’s questions, then there would be no need for faith, since the answers to our dearest questions would be readily available at the turn of a page. History has shown, over and over again, how Scripture (God’s Holy Word) can be distorted and manipulated to serve our purposes rather than that of the Glory of God. Our latest doomsday predictor, who was a good and sincere Christian man; who read the Bible earnestly and faithfully, is a clear reminder of such failed attempts at tapping into the mystery of God’s Infinite Being, Mind, Love and Plan for each and every one of us and using Scripture alone as his point of departure.

Scripture must be interpreted by God’s proper authority. The Bible belongs to His Bride, the Roman Catholic Church. It is a gift from the Church to the world. Scripture must be read and interpreted with proper instruction, which immediately contradicts the notion that it can be used alone to know, love and serve the Lord. This instruction consists of more than just learning how to read; it entails true ownership and authority. If not, then the mushrooming of Christian denominations (which started after the Reformation) will continue to expand, and bizarre and never-before-heard-of weird theologies (such as the so-called prosperity Gospel) will continue to appear that are as alien to Christianity as Martians are to earth!

Let God be God. Let God have some semblance of mystery. I do not have to have an answer to every question. Some questions will not be answered until the end of time or until we make it to Heaven or Hell. But there are two things we know of God and we know for sure and both are found “in the pillar and foundation of Truth, the Church” (cf. 1Tim 3:15), and they are: God is love and God is a Father, and that God so loved the world that he sent his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. There is much more, and most of it we will never know until we see Him face to face. So be humble! Accept the mysteries of life, for the Lord does not love the arrogant or prideful of heart but the repentant sinner and a humble kneeler. And that is a mystery in itself!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Mt 6:24-34 My Greatest Fears

Mt 6:24-34 My Greatest Fears

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“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear...Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes?”

The first thing I said to myself after reading today’s Gospel was “Gee, this could have been written yesterday?” Little has changed. And we shouldn’t be surprised. What the Lord said over two thousand years ago applies today – and maybe even more than yester-year!

I have no idea how much money is spent on clothes in any given year. Regardless of the recession, many families continue to spend hundreds of dollars a month on clothes, especially now during the summer months. Over and over again I hear on the radio commercials for Sonya Spa and Ideal Imaging. At least ten times a day I hear radio commercials inviting women to try new serums (I love how they use and market the word serum for cosmetics!) that reportedly remove all types of aging lines. And how when this “special offer is gone…it’s gone!” I pray that one day it will be gone! But after twelve months, the offer is not gone!

Then there are the special commercials brought to you by “world famous directors” looking for the new and fresh child star! Yes!, it could be your child that one day appears in a block buster teenage hit movie like the Last Song with Miley Cyrus…, and “how amazing would that be!” Really? If you think it’s amazing, then you seriously need to take a look at the history of child actors and actresses and read the far too common tragic story of their lives! That’s not amazing, it’s shocking and sickening!

Oh the seduction and glamour of evil, with all its lies, manipulations and distortions. Evil is alive and well today. As the Lord says, “Sufficient for a day is its own evil.” We have never eliminated it. We have simply replaced it with more cunning and more sophisticated high-tech gadgets. We have not even reduced it! On the contrary, we have made it more accessible by making it more hidden, private!

Fr. Robert Kraynak, professor of Political Science at Colgate University, wrote, “We are temporarily in a state of stability. We are in immersion – into middle class careerism, creature comforts and high tech gadgets – directing people from the abyss of nihilism in the surrounding modern culture. When economic recession pricks this bubble or the inner emptiness of the holding pattern becomes unbearable, we could see the void of atheistic humanism, mixed with doomsday cults, environmental pantheism and science fiction.”

Wow! Doomsday cults…May 21st? It all seems to be coming together. If we were to sum up our greatest fears, it would have to be our personal need for recognition. We crave attention and on a mass scale! We wish to be different. We want to be noticed. We have a desire to make a difference; to leave our mark, our sign that we were here!

Our Heavenly Father knows exactly what we need. “Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself." Seek to be holy and your face will shine (all wrinkles will disappear) and you will be dressed in white robes, bathing in the presence of the Son of Glory!