Tuesday, December 9, 2008

crying out

"A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!"
12/9 readings
Is there a voice crying out to you? Is your own heart crying out to you? God cries out to me in today's readings, "Comfort, give comfort to my people." But he didn't add "only for today" or "only during this 'Christmas season.'" What God says in these readings today, held up in the past, and will be the same in the future. What I mean is this:

Every day, let us give comfort to God's people: everybody.

In the West, we sometimes make Christmas our excuse for being generous. "Christmas is the season of giving." Let's change that. Let's make CHRIST our excuse for being generous. The season of Christ lasts all year, for "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). So let us give: give to God, give to others, but most importantly, give all that we've got - if not yesterday, then today and forever.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


"...not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy..." (Titus 3:5).
What did happen to the other nine who were healed?

Sometimes in life, we forget that we're merely a passenger in God's pimped out ride; the Holy Spirit is our driver. Sometimes in life, we forget that the praise and thanks that we get is only due God. Sometimes in life, we forget that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

Sometimes in life, we become a part of the crowd - one of the nine who did not return to Jesus, even just to say, "Thanks dude." That's why sometimes in life, we need a reminder that we know better than that.

Sunday's readings contain "The Parable of the Talents." The talents that we receive are like our lives. The distribution of the talents according to Matthew were 5, 2, and 1. I guess you can say it's how easy our lives are. The servant who was given 5 talents is responsible for a lot of stuff; a person with 5 talents will probably go through a lot more trials (blessings) than a person with 1. A person with 1 talent probably has it made; he's not responsible for much. But no matter how many or how few trial-blessings we're given, we've been commanded to "be fruitful and multiply" (Genesis 1:28). That's the very first thing God said to man.

When the one leper came back to thank Jesus, he took the talent he had been given, made something more out of it (his thankfulness), and showed it to Jesus. The simplest way to double up on our talent-blessings is to give God thanks for each one of them.

Remember the Beatitudes. Jesus said, "Blessed are you WHEN they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven." Your blessing is twofold. The very moment WHEN you're put through a trial, you're immediately being blessed. AND your reward will also be great in heaven in the future. That's why in all circumstances, we really should give God thanks (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

That's a lot of parallels I'm attempting to draw... I hope that made sense.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Pro-Life Means Action

From Catholics United

The BEST way to combat abortion is to give women and families the tools they need to choose life.
Studies consistently show that when women and families have health care, jobs, education, and other essential supports they are less likely to have an abortion. In fact, more than three out of four women who obtain an abortion say that economic factors were a primary reason for doing so. Instead of helping struggling American families, our leaders have left them to fend for themselves.

Being pro-life is 1 percent talk, 99 percent ACTION.
Being pro-life is not just about what our elected leaders say they believe. It's about the things they do. During the Clinton Administration, the U.S. abortion rate declined nearly 30 percent without enacting any legal prohibitions on abortion. Under President Bush, this decline stagnated. Even the appointment of two new Supreme Court justices was unsuccessful in making any meaningful progress toward building a culture of human life. For all its talk about being pro-life, the Bush Administration has done very little to protect the unborn.

Pro-life means ALL human life - WITHOUT exceptions.
How can our leaders say they are pro-life, while starting unjustified wars, supporting the death penalty, supporting torture, opposing expanded health care for children, cutting school lunch programs, and standing by as hard-working Americans lose their jobs and retirement protections? They can't. To be pro-life is to answer a deep call to support and defend human life at all stages – from conception until death. It means caring for the unborn, for the children, for the less fortunate, and for all hard-working Americans.

Overturning Roe v. Wade will NOT end abortion in America.
All too often, what passes for an authentic pro-life agenda is a candidate's stated opposition to the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision. While legal protections for the unborn are an important part of a pro-life strategy, overturning Roe v. Wade would simply let states decide whether abortion should be legal or illegal. In a post-Roe America, only a handful of states would impose penalties on those who obtain or perform abortions, and women living in these states could still go elsewhere to get an abortion. Overturning Roe cannot be seen as a substitute for policies that can work RIGHT NOW to end abortion, namely supporting women and families. Many candidates say they're pro-life. But do they really have a record to run on?

Pro-Life means action on behalf of all human life.

Brought to you by Catholics United.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


“These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.”

"Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”
Do you ever wonder, "Why do I have to go through all this garbage in my life? I mean, I serve God, serve my community, sing his praises and all that; yet I go through so much crap!"

Because you're being blessed. Jesus says, "Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven."

You're building a reward in heaven... that's great. But look at the beginning of that: it's subtle, but Jesus says, "Blessed are you WHEN..." The moment your persecution begins, your blessing also begins. In fact, you're blessed now (when) and in the future (your reward will be great in Heaven).

God is good... all the time; so in all circumstances, we should give him thanks. Amen?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Psalm 23

"The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want."

The Lord… the Lord… Have you ever seen the Lord? Have you ever touched him? Felt his touch? Smelled him? Have you ever heard the real voice of the Lord? I don't expect that God has revealed himself to all 5 of your senses. So then why do you believe in God? The Bible is telling me that the Lord, whom I've never seen, touched, tasted, felt, or heard, is supposed to be my shepherd? I shall not want?

Be honest: what do you want? Let me give you a short list of things that I want. I want to get better grades in school. I want to pay off my college loans. I want to become a Physical/Occupational Therapist. And someday, I want to have a family. I want to marry somebody who's going to be completely honest about herself, faithful, who possibly likes basketball and football, sings, maybe plays a musical instrument, preferably guitar or piano or violin. haha I sound like a personal ad. But back to what I was saying: every other Sunday for the past 3 months, we've heard Psalm 23 at Mass, but then I realize there's so much that I want, you know—and it's practical stuff. But is there a U-Haul trailing behind your hearse? Is my family going to jump in six feet deep with me when I die? Maybe if you're watching Maria Flor de Luna on the Pilipino Channel, yes, but in real life? NO!

You know, I always thought that having a girlfriend would make me happy. And I'm using that as my example because if there's one thing that I want more than anything, it's to share my life with someone special. But you know what? People come and go. Even when I've found that special someone, one of us is going to precede the other in death. People die. This life is finite; it has a distinct beginning and a distinct end. But God: God is infinite; God does not know the limits of the beginning and the end for he is the beginning and the end.
Wisdom 3:1 says, "The souls of the just [meaning, those who put their faith and hope in God] are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them."

But a God we've never seen, tasted, felt, smelled or heard? I've put my faith what is not God. I've tasted alcohol and know what drunkenness feels like. I've seen my own family members gamble away everything they've got. I've heard my friends talk as if they've got nothing, yet they're young and have more money in the bank than I've made in my entire lifetime. I smelled the aftermath – the burning flesh of the man who took his life into his own hands in the middle of UW on Red Square yesterday [October 30] afternoon. I'll tell you, I have never used all 5 senses to fully sense the Lord, but I have seen, tasted, felt, smelled, and heard all these other things; and I have found myself completely empty. I don't need to feel God to believe in him. Somebody told me "walk by faith, not by sight, and not by feelings." But if you need proof, look no further than the person next to you... or if nobody is next to you, look at yourself in the mirror. We are all living, breathing defiances of the natural laws of thermodynamics, chemistry, and physics.

The second law of thermodynamics states that the entropy, or disorder of a system will increase over time. Every beat of our heart is in defiance of entropy. Somehow, our bodies are maintaining their structural order, and even becoming more ordered. In fact, as I tell you these things right now, your nerve terminals are splitting to create new synapses, which are responsible for new memories. There is something that obviously transcends scientific law and human reasoning. The Bible is not a scientific text, but there is truth to Jesus' statement that "with God, nothing will be impossible."

There is no way that we, ourselves, are responsible for life. "The souls of the just are in the hands of God." Our lives are in God's hands. If God, who can defy natural laws, is our shepherd, why should we ever want anything than to be with him?

I'm not saying that we don't have to work in order to earn money and buy food and pay bills. I'm not saying that God will miraculously provide me with a 4.0 in Biology without studying. But money, grades, and a girl are not above God. God is above all these things, yet close enough for us to realize that he really is working through us and sustaining life inside of us all the way down to the molecular level.

"The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want." People often want to know, "What is the meaning of life?" God is the meaning of life. Without God, our entropy would increase and our lives would become random and disordered and devoid of meaning. With God, there is nothing I lack; without God, I am nothing.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Monday, 10/13 Readings
"For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery" (Galatians 5:1).
Everybody's got a history.

For the Ninevites, their history was that they didn't take Jonah's plea for them to repent seriously. Fast forward to a couple of centuries later in Jesus' time, and here were people not answering that call to repentance. The crowd was repeating history.

But we're free. All of us: I'm free, you're free, the Ninevites were free, and the crowd in the Gospel was free. Freedom is the realization and the practice of goodness and righteousness. God made us free in the Garden of Eden. It was purely good. But we've all somehow abused that freedom and thus fallen into the slavery of sin and evil. That's our history. And somehow, we need to regain our freedom.

Let's wake up! Repeating what we've done in the past isn't gonna move us forward. It's God who's going to get us where we're supposed to be. If our past didn't cut it back then, it's not gonna cut it now. We have to stop staying chained down to our past and any of its mistakes. We've got to cut off ties with our vices. We've got to start living for God and God alone. Because if our lives don't line up with God, we're just never gonna cut it.

Ecclesiastes says, "There is an appointed time for everything" (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Every second is a time to live better than the previous one. And we can because we're free.

Dear God, look into my mind, my heart, and my soul. Show me the things that I need to work on and make it clear, Lord. Then help me to work on these things and get rid of all the junk I don't need and fill in the empty spaces with you. Help me break free from the chains of my history of slavery. You gave us all a new loan on life when you died on that cross for us. We owe it to you to invest our lives into holiness and give you the returns you deserve. Lord God, I belong to you. Take all of me.

Monday, October 6, 2008



"I am amazed that you are so quickly forsaking the one who called you by the grace of Christ for a different gospel" (Galatians 1:6).
disclaimer: this is really long.

I heard this first from Darick, and I said it after YLSS. But I think it's one of those things that's worth keeping in our hearts (as the readings told us yesterday).

When we go into Spirit-filled retreats, we often come out with radiant faces, our hearts filled with joy. But we face a difficult life as we must return to the "real world." I hope you noticed the error in the previous statement. There is no return to the real world. What we experienced in Church is real. Just because it's not science, doesn't mean it's not real.

This brings me to another point. I watched the movie Religulous with BJ on Saturday. It was pretty funny; but more than that, it was a really good movie. Bill Maher interviewed two Catholic Priests. The first is head of astronomy at the Vatican. He was basically asked how we are supposed to reconcile scientific evidence of evolution with the Bible's creation story. He said something to the effect:

The Bible was said to have been written about 4000 years before the common era (when Jesus was 3 or 4), until the 2nd or 3rd century CE. Modern science with Galileo, Newton, Pauling, and Darwin all started in the 15th to 16th century. More than a couple hundred years passed by before people really started to understand the scientific reasons as to why/how things happen. The Bible is not a scientific text; it cannot be compared to a scientific text. Pope John Paul II even conceded that there's too much scientific evidence to argue that evolution isn't valid.

Pretty good answer, right? But it is God who allows these evolutionary changes to happen. By the way, Darwin never said that we're monkeys who walk on two legs. Evolution is a lot more complicated than a lot of people think. Once you get the right combination of genetic mutations, a whole new species is born. Silent mutations do nothing. Deleterious mutations won't get passed on long enough for a species to survive. And advantageous mutations are how God created us. We've been given this life, the lives of others, and this earth to protect.

The Monsignor he interviewed was funny. Bill Maher basically asked him about things that bother him about the Church. The Vatican bothers him in all its grandeur. "It's probably not what the Boss had in mind." It bothers him that "people of the Church" always have to look so regal. Jesus walked around in a tunic, sandals, and a walking stick and told his disciples to do likewise.

The point is, we've been given full authority to interpret Scripture, but so much of what people have done has been harmful or for selfish profit. The leaders of our Catholic Church persecuted Jews for years because they wanted their land and because they didn't believe that Jesus was the Christ. Muslims conquered most of the known ancient world because their early leaders wanted to control the land. Jews fought back sometimes against people who had persecuted them (though to this day, they still remain pretty oppressed). WHY?! Every single one of these monotheistic religions believes in the exact same god, named GOD! It's ridiculous.

Conversely, today's parable makes a lot more sense. One thing that stood out to me was Abraham's would-be sacrifice of his only son, Isaac (Genesis 22). Bill Maher stumped me when he was talking about how absurd it is that we believe that God speaks to us. He rolled a clip of a woman on trial for killing her 12 children because God told her to do it. How close is that to Genesis 22? It seems odd that God would do such a thing.

But the point of sending Jesus was to clear stuff up that seemed odd. Jesus told the Pharisee to go treat others with mercy. THAT is how God speaks to me. The Bible is what God's telling us every single day. God said, "This is my Son. Listen to him." And he told us to go treat people with compassion. Jesus told us to live humble lives in service to others for the greater glory of God. Jesus told us not to worry about money, not to store up earthly treasures, and basically not to be jerks to each other! We're commissioned by Jesus to spread the Gospel, but everyone who doesn't believe will be judged and eventually thrown into the fiery furnace... by God himself.

Jesus NEVER told US to thrown them in!!! Jesus didn't tell his disciples to seize the rich young man who asked "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" and burn him at the stake! I mean, I'm not supposed to judge, but some of the leaders in the early Church were dead wrong! Leaders who wage holy wars are not cool at all; holy wars are everything but holy.

We can't take back what happened in the past, but we have to make sure this path of unrighteousness and miseducation (I guess that's only a word to Lauryn Hill, but you get me) gets turned around. We have to love people. Jesus asks God "lead us not into temptation." No more of this "I killed her because God told me to" business. No more George Bush saying "God Bless America, but not the majority Muslim states controlling our oil supply." Those people don't get it. But are we just as ignorant? Please don't be!

Jesus summed up the Torah - the law - everything that Jews believe in, everything Mohammed started his Prophetic life and religion with Luke 10 just before this, the parable of the Good Samaritan. Love God, and love others. The word "love" appears some 400+ times in the Bible. Maybe that's not enough because some people still don't get it. 1 John 4:8 says God IS love. These are a small subset of things we need to understand. I encourage you to ask questions about your religion and your personal faith and relationship with God. Challenge it. Accept challenges from others so as to educate yourselves about THIS Gospel, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Stewart Interview:
Part 1: http://www.thedailys­how.com/video/index.j­html?videoId=186755&t­itle=Bill-Maher-Pt.-1
Part 2: http://www.thedailys­how.com/video/index.j­html?videoId=186756&t­itle=bill-maher-pt.-2


Saturday, September 20, 2008


"What you sow is not brought to life unless it dies" (1 Corinthians 15:36).
from September 20's readings.
i know of no scientific examples of this verse... except tomatoes (and phoenixes... but that's mythological, not scientific).

okay, i'm not ciscoe, but i listen to him sometimes because i really enjoy gardening. he said (with his most odd mannerisms that suggestive of a former way of life): "when you're growing tomatoes, let the first tomato die on the vine. i know it will kill you to not be able to eat that first tomato, but it will encourage way more tomatoes to grow nice and big." and then he laughed that really weird snorting laugh.

yeah, i know that we always hear that Jesus is the vine, but that first tomato is Jesus' humanity. Jesus was not only the vine on which we grew, he also became just like us, a tomato, if you will, susceptible to infection, slugs, and even death. but by his death, so many are able to flourish.

it takes a lot of humility by God, the vine-grower, to put his most prized tomato through that. it takes a lot of character for that tomato to sit there and be sacrificed. i mean, it could reach a point where it takes on an adaptation and doesn't produce the crucial chemical signals that are released when it dies to encourage the other tomatoes to grow. in other words, Jesus didn't have to send us his Holy Spirit. but because he loves us, he did all of these things.

we can learn a real lesson from all this. it applies to us too. now, we don't have to be any sort of whole-bodied sacrifice for the salvation of humanity, but our actions should mirror the humility of Jesus' sacrifice.

i think what st. paul is really driving at is that our actions should be done with the utmost humility. how often do we read of Jesus scorning certain scribes and pharisees for their lack of humility (and for being hypocritical)? if you do something, it won't matter in God's book unless you do it wholeheartedly for him. and to perform an action wholeheartedly for God means 100% for him and 0% for you or anybody else.

praise God and God alone.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

the real world

so i go on these retreats every now and then, and you start recognizing that towards the end, there's a big emotional drop-off. most commonly, it's because you know you have to go back out into the "real world." but one brother told me something really cool: when you chose to be at that retreat, you never left the real world. God is not some imaginary being that you go on a 3-day camp for. he's very prominent at those retreats, but he's so incredibly real outside of those church doors. what's different outside those doors is that WE sometimes choose not to recognize God's presence. but God's signature is on all of creation. he made the fundamental elements that make up everything we see. but it's up to us to live that up. we have to show others that God is real because we're the ones who have that privilege of already knowing that. and it's in teaching others that we also solidify our learning.

every day, every breath, and every moment of life is about God.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

No Limits to God's Logic

If you think about it, the readings for this Sunday may appear to be somewhat absurd when compared to the logic in today's society. We often say nothing is free so we place limits on what we give of ourselves. We protect ourselves and above all, since nothing is free, we must not give things away freely since they become devalued. We put substantial efforts into the things we want to achieve since nothing is free, but if we must struggle, according to the logic of God, it is better to fight for something worthwhile. Why throw away money and waste our life on things that are not worth it? No one gives something for nothing and since nothing is free, we must save our money to acquire those things most important to us. However, once those things are attained they may not seem as important or satisfying to us. We are left with a greater thirst and hunger.

Our experience with boundaries makes us place limits on everything. Thank goodness God's logic is completely different. God does not have limitations or boundaries. Not in the bread he gives us freely, nor in the love we can never be separated from. There are always limits to relationships, but God's logic does not have limits; nothing and no one can ever separate us from his love.

What we observe in today's gospel are the friends of Jesus wanting to impose limits on him. "Send them home to eat," said the disciples, but Jesus responded, "YOU give them something to eat." The logic of God is applied when we give what we have for free and watch it transformed into something greater. It is to move from the mindset of scarcity to one of abundance. For this to happen, we must stop putting limitations on ourselves; cease thinking we can only give up to a certain point and no more.

from Nuestra Parroquia, Claretian Publications... this was on the front cover of the bulletin last Sunday, August 3 from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

wanna do something amazing?

then LOVE!

http://www.usccb.org/nab/today.shtml (july 24 if you happen not to read this today)

once again, God (through Jeremiah), the psalmist, and Jesus are telling us not to put God in a box. God knows no limits. and brothers and sisters, GOD is LOVE. and love is not a feeling or an emotion. love is not just a word to be thrown out casually. it's not a picture of a heart. love means giving yourself freely, totally, faithfully, and fruitfully. when a couple gets married, these four things determine whether or not you will be approved to marry in the Catholic Church. but you might be wondering, i'm not getting married now! what does this have to do with me?

Jesus didn't get married, but he gave free (John 10:18), total (John 13:1), faithful (Matthew 28:20), and fruitful (John 10:10) love.

love everybody! after all, God has only given us one kind of person to love: sinners!

love "until the end." if your love is not matched with love from another brother or sister, they can't stop you from offering up a prayer for them. it might seem like the last-ditch effort, but isn't intercession one of the most loving acts you can offer up for someone anyway?

can't stop, won't stop *dancing, dancing* haha i don't know what that song is really about. but you can't stop! here's what my good friend Rommel said that Mother Teresa says: "I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love." if your love is not returned in the way that you gave it, God will be faithful to return your love in Heaven.

this should be called ACTION! love without action is fruitless (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)! let's break down the following statement: "I LOVE YOU!"
-I is a (proper) noun (and therefore, requires capitalization)
-LOVE is a........ (are you having trouble? move on for now)
-YOU is a noun
if "I LOVE YOU" is a complete sentence, it needs a verb; an action word. and if you already have 2/3 words being nouns, LOVE is a... VERB!!!

this is why Isaiah said they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand. whether it's because the Israelites didn't love God, themselves, or each other, their lack of love (verb) closed their eyes and ears.

when we don't have God=love in our lives, it's so easy to ignore the incredible plans that God has made for us. i think one of those things that i've often ignored is God's discipline. but Hebrews 12:5 says that the Lord loves those whom he disciplines. in those moments when i'm putting up my wall of pride, i'm not letting God be God.

so how does this relate to other people? well we're vessels of God's love. so sisters, guard the love in your hearts. brothers, protect your sisters' hearts as well as your own. Louis did a really good job and translating this statement (and the entire point of this message): "If you love someone you desire the best for them; Heaven. So you have to show the person that sin is bad, even if they do not see love in your words, keep in mind the final goal."

for our own purposes, we need to understand that sin is our decision to reject God=love. it closes our spiritual eyes, plugs up our spiritual ears. but when our ears and eyes are restored by God, we understand that God=love knows no limits.

-rev run hahaha

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

random bible verses

Proverbs 13:1... a wise son loves correction, but the senseless one heeds no rebuke.

Hebrews 12:5-6... "My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges."

Hebrews 12:14-16... strive for peace with everyone, and for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord. see to it that no one be deprived of the grace of God, that no bitter root spring up and cause trouble, which many may become defiled, that no one be an immoral or profane person like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal.

Jeremiah 1... (haha just look it up; it's too long to type out.)

Monday, July 21, 2008

i already said some of this

when God was helping Elijah escape from Ahab and Jezebel, God told Elijah to go out to the mountain and wait for the Lord to pass by. Elijah searched for God in the strong winds that were so powerful that they were crushing rocks, but God wasn't in the wind. Elijah looked for God in an earthquake, but God was not there. He looked in the fire, but still, God was not there. God manifested himself to Elijah in a tiny whispering sound (cf. 1 Kings 19:11-13).

God won't always give you clear and tangible signs of his presence. God is everywhere. When you feel God's air blowing on your face, drink his water, play football on his grass, drive on his earth, walk through his forests, or do anything on his earth, remember that God's fingerprint is on it. But even more than that, us human beings not only have his fingerprint, but are made in God's very image and likeness and he breathed his breath into us (Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 2:7).

brothers and sisters, the next time you look at someone that you don't particularly like, remember that you are staring down the face of God. we're not necessarily called to like everybody we meet, but we are called to even be able to recognize our distaste for others, love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44).

brothers, the next time you look at any girl and think to yourself yo, she's so fine!, slow down, because that's not just a girl; that's one of our sisters. as a brother, it is our duty to protect her from harm, to provide any assistance that she may need, and to pastor her towards God. it is also our duty to protect our own minds from the devil's temptation to look at her lustfully, to provide ourselves with the knowledge on how to treat sisters, and to pastor ourselves to be men "after God's own heart."

our bodies are sacred. (that's a whole different book to write, but know that much for now.) we are God's vessels. if we fill our bodies with temporary thrills, those all come to an end. yes, we go through ups and downs with serving God, but in doing so, we're working for eternal life with God. alcohol, drugs, materialism, sex, food, for whatever your vice is: those are temporary highs. we can't take any of it to heaven. it doesn't mean that some of these things aren't actually good. for those 21 and up, a glass of red wine may bear healthy-heart properties. food is pretty amazing (haha i'd know!). recreational drugs are still bad no matter what.. but you get my point.

But store up for yourselves heavenly treasures, and "seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness" (Matthew 6:20, 33).

i challenge all of us to be God-fearing. fear offending the man who, himself came down to earth to see just how difficult it is to live in our shoes. fear offending him because he loves us, and we would never want to do anything to get in the way of his love for us (not that anything can except for us completely rejecting it (Romans 8:37-39)).

the earth's moral standards continue to change. they seem to decline, or at least become more muddled each passing moment. but God's love never changes. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). let us really be a holy people. to be holy is literally to be "set apart." let us set ourselves apart from need of anything besides God. yes, we still have lives to live and responsibilities to take care of while we live on the earth, but remember Matthew 6:33. our earthly duties are not incompatible with God's will if we only yield to him and dedicate everything we do in this life to his glory. having fun is so ridiculously compatible with serving God. it is an honor, a privilege, and a JOY to do his work. i've never had more fun in my entire life than in these past three weeks. i really want to share this joy with everybody.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

what God sees in secret

when i read the following Bible verse, i completely concurred.

Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."
Ephesians 5:11-14

Aires said that to be holy literally means to be "set apart." as followers of God, we set ourselves apart from the rest of the world - not above it. for who am i, that i may judge another person's character? Jesus tells us that there is but one judge that we call God. yet Jesus also tells us to hold our brothers and sisters accountable for their actions. because by holding each other accountable, we have the opportunity to bring one another closer to God.

there's a fine line between telling a person that he or she is wrong versus passing undue judgment on that person. what's worse is that being able to come up with the courage to tell someone they're wrong is often the most difficult part of the process.

there are so many ways to go awry. you might receive ridicule from others. people may turn a deaf ear to you. it could go so far that you may become ostracized from that person's life or that group of friends. but pray.

when things look impossible, Jesus reminds us that there are some situations (some "demons") that will pass only if we pray persistently (cf. Mark 9:14-29).

it sucks sometimes when others don't see the amazing goodness of God that you see. it's immensely frustrating. but if we pray unceasingly, St. Paul tells us that the "affliction [that we go through while interceding for others] produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us" (Romans 5:3-5).

people often say, "if i go down, i'm taking you with me." while i don't think that's the most caring mindset, the reverse is. let us strive to lead others to holiness as we strive to set ourselves apart, no matter what the cost is to our pride; because in the end, it's all for God, and nothing to do with our glory.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mark 13:31

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away" (Mark 13:31).

This world is changing. People "change." Clothing styles change. All these crazy diets come out. The economy is ever-changing. Through it all, one thing remains the same... two things, actually. Kuya Joseph from the Philippines says the Big Mac never changes (haha). But he also made the claim that God never changes.

Nothing about Him changes. Think about the consequences of that for a minute. God sent his Word to be proclaimed to all peoples. What is one of the first things we know about God?

It was only after He made man that God said anything was VERY good. God thinks we are VERY good (cf Genesis 27-31).

You can try to invent your image, but God is the only one who can truly define us. He defined us as the most beloved of His creation. He defined us as His sons and daughters. Any other definition of "myself" that is not in line with that very basic definition doesn't really matter.

Monday, July 14, 2008

overjoyed, same spirit!

oh, my GOD!!! no, that's nowhere close to using His holy name in vain. i mean that with all of my being. my God and my all, i am so blessed to know that you are God.

i am blessed because i have a family. i have so many blessings that i want to thank You for. though i am unable to enumerate them all, here are some others besides family that are on my mind:
-the Eucharist, God's real physical presence. yes, i have seen Jesus!
-Kerygma ("Jason, Franny, Warrentt... you're gonna say all their names?! hahaha!" haha he never did.. but the rest of us. you know! pero hindi ko ma-say!)
-brothers who make me want to be a better brother
-sisters who make me want to be a better brother
-CFC Youth
-BLD Youth
-being old, so that maybe i can be a vessel of God's love to pour out His love to others and influence them to do the same.
-CFC Youth JOY Conference
-every truth behind Zephaniah 3:17
-problems that He helps me to overcome through other youth.
-God's love letter to me (and to everybody else): the BIBLE... word haha
-Fr. Bryan's talk about the Eucharist
-hindi ko ma-... verb haha
-the sound guy! Kuya Rod? everybody in the sound production crew... everybody who went to Conference!
-the Corpuz dynasty who housed us for a week
-SAME SPIRIT!!! i never heard that in my life until now, but praise God for everybody having the same Spirit!
-homework... that i should be doing right now!!!

Friday, June 27, 2008


“Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops" (Matthew 10:26-27).

St. Francis said, "Preach the gospel. If necessary, use words."

It's not easy, but if you say so, okay.

"I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love" (Mother Teresa).

God's love makes us strong. And "I'm strong. Just hurt" (thanks Darryl). But I know the hurt will go away too.

God's love is perfect for me. It surpasses every negative feeling you can think of. My love for him is nowhere near perfect. But the closer I come to that perfection, though I may never attain it on earth, the less hurt I am capable of feeling.

People might come along and ask, "Why bother going for something that you know you'll never get?"

"Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1).

If you ask God to bless you, he'll bless you. But it's almost never exactly as you would have it. Our eyes can only be sensitized to our blessings when we believe that God is working in our lives.

Friday, June 20, 2008

my Lola loved puzzles

maybe that's where i get it from. i don't know... papa too. he liked making stuff. so do i. remember puzz 3-d's?

okay so anyway, i was trying to put this puzzle together. i worked really hard on it trying to get every piece of the puzzle figured out and in its correct place. some people thought i was for real psycho, and started asking stuff like, "why is he trying to put this puzzle together anyway? what does it matter?" haha! i'm far from psycho.

yeah, it's a challenge. it probably isn't completely necessary, but you see, in the end - after the long and frustrating hours i've spent (and am still spending) trying to put it all together - i knew i would have a sort of masterpiece. i don't like putting it together - not one bit - because sometimes, it's overwhelmingly draining to work on it. but really, what i've got so far is actually turning out to be really nice. and i think i'll be really happy with the end product.

i already mentioned that piecing this puzzle together has been frustrating. but i will admit that at some point, i expressed my frustrations in a less-than-polite manner: i used expletives. (i remember papa would get hecka mad too when he couldn't figure something out.) i mean, none of those expletives were directed at any passers-by. they just came out while i talked about the puzzle to others or sometimes when i asked people for their help. some people around me thought, "hold on now, there's no need to be frustrated here!"

but you've got to understand that i've had every reason to be frustrated. it's a difficult puzzle! it's been really tough trying to figure out how the pieces are oriented and everything.

but hey, give me one chance to mess up. i've given others a big freebie mess-up. BIG. i've seen other people get frustrated putting puzzles together. and their puzzles weren't even as tough as mine! i mean, my puzzle isn't the absolute worst. mine's like ages 12+. i know people who have puzzles for ages 15+ and even older than that; really up there. but i should be allowed more frustration over mine because some people's were like 2+. mine's hecka harder! AND to top that all off, some people were taking my pieces and hiding them!

but i've been really, really patient trying to put mine together, even despite the people who hid my pieces. i mean, besides that one slip-up, i was really polite and respectful to anybody that tried to hide my pieces. i asked for them back, but they thought i was nuts!!! umm, hello?! you totally took my puzzle pieces! i need them back! and duh! i know it was you who took them!

but i never got them back. sad, but oh well. what can i do? BUT... i'm pretty close to being finished putting everything together. and if i have to paint and cut the missing pieces to fit myself, i guess that's the way it goes. it's kinda hard to do though. i'm not much of an artist, but i've gotten quite a bit of help, so hopefully i'll be able to fit those missing pieces in soon.

i really think it will be nice. i mean, i know it's going to be really nice. and it's not all that bad putting it together. i know that sometimes, it's gotta get really ugly, but before you know it, you'll have something really beautiful and worth every drop of sweat. this puzzle's definitely not the absolute funnest to piece together, but that's because it's going to be extra cool in the end.