“Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”

saints front

On a recent morning, I captured this image of the early light shining through the stained glass window of one church and landing right among the pews in front of the icon of Christ. This image made me think of the possibility of the Angels and Saints visiting and listening attentively to the Lord in silence.

This morning, when I was attending Mass, the bright morning light shone through the church window onto my face as I was standing for the Gospel.

bright sunlight

The priest was reading the line about the Greeks coming to Philip and saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus”.  I couldn’t help but think how the light forced me to close my eyes and, now, I would not be able to see Jesus. It was then that a conversation with the late Father Charlie came to mind.

Long ago, I asked about Purgatory and, specifically, why our souls would need to be in Purgatory.  Father Charlie thought that, perhaps, the light of God’s love would be so powerful that we would not be able to face the Lord if we were to head straight to heaven. We needed time to adjust to this brightness.  Thinking about the pews glowing in the morning light from a few days earlier, I think Father Charlie might be right.

Saints and Angels.jpg

The angels and saints, who are spirits or have been raised to life in heaven, may be fairly bright, just like those multi-coloured spots on the pews suggested. They are, therefore, able to stand in the presence of the Lord, seeing Him face-to-face, singing songs of praise! So, if you and I were to ask the same question as the Greeks and “wish to see Jesus”, we might want to look at the saints as our role models. Just like them, we can choose to follow God’s directions in life and embark on a journey of holiness.  Of course, we can always join in praising at church with the saints and angels:

“For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

Let the saints and angels accompany us and guide us!

How quickly can you answer to “Do you know Jesus Christ?”

A good teacher once proposed the scenario where someone approaches me and asks,

Do you know Jesus Christ?

If you were confronted with this question, could you answer it as quickly as you would if someone asked if you know your mom or dad?

I challenge you to answer the question!

 

What would you need to give a positive response?

To say that we “know” someone, I suppose we first need to know many facts about this person. We need to know something about his physical appearance and “data”, such as his background, likes and dislikes, etc.

Indeed, we know the background of Jesus Christ from the bible. We can read about his genealogy, his birth, his human parents, his ministry, his death and resurrection, all from the Gospels.

What about his appearance?

I was checking out an old hymn, “Fairest Lord Jesus”, that is no longer in the present edition of the hymnal at my church, when I came across a blogpost by David Hamrick. In his blog http://drhamrick.blogspot.ca/2013/11/fairest-lord-jesus.html , he talked about how Jesus’ physical appearance was probably unremarkable, as Judas had to point Him out to the soldiers. Jesus was probably an “average-looking Galilean Jew.”  Yet, his inner beauty would make him be the light that shines in the darkness, and he would be “the most beautiful of all ever lived.” Hence, he is the “fairest” of all!

However, by knowing the physical appearance and facts about a person, we can only claim that we know of that person, just like how we know of a movie star because of all the pictures that we have seen and post that we have read on the internet. We will need to have intimate knowledge of the other. We can say that we know the other well only if we have had specific common experiences with the other, have private communications, be able to feel for the other, have challenged one another, respected or loved the other, etc.

I asked myself when I last communicated with Christ – the last time I talked to him, the last time I heard him, the last time I saw his glory in nature, his remarkable work in the good deeds that I witnessed. He often answered me in ways that only I could appreciate – the funny sign that I saw seemed to answer the question I had in my thoughts, the colorful bird that flew by when I was having a greyish day, etc.  I remembered feeling sad when I read about the government making medical-assisted death legal.  I felt Christ weeping when I heard about the fate of Christian martyrs and those betrayed by fellow brothers and sisters. I prayed for Jesus’ consolation as he stayed on the cross and he challenged me to be a better disciple. He gifted me with his life and I returned his love by singing praises and trying to follow his will.

So, do you have all that you need to answer the question positively? Do you know Jesus Christ?

I think I do. 

 

 

 

 

An Insight of God’s love in Math

Whenever I mentioned that I see God in Mathematics, people always shrugged and commented that one shouldn’t define God with Mathematics, or reduce God to numbers. That’s like saying one shouldn’t talk about God in their language, or describe God in words!

Mathematics is a language itself. If we believe that we are born in the image of God, then our logic that leads to the development of all languages or subjects came from the same source.  Therefore, while it is only logical that some prefers writing about God in traditional languages, I enjoy connecting our concepts of God to what I learn in Mathematics.

 

So, this morning I read a blogpost http://tywkiwdbi.blogspot.ca/2017/04/099999999-is-equal-to-1000000.html that explains that 0.99999999…is equal to 1.

 

As the article suggests, thinking of subtracting 0.99999……..from 1 gives us 0.  That is, 0.00000…….   is  0.

Intuitively, our minds, however,  think of the “1” at the end of a very, very long string of “0”s in 0.000000000……

Here is the neat little insight: We can never pin point where that “1” is anymore at the end of the string of 0’s. Is there an end to the string at all? If you look at the “0”s as God’s infinite love for us that push away our sins, or how He forgives us of our sins, you will understand that the “1” sin you committed only carries in your mind, but not God’s. He forgives you when you ask for it, so why can’t you let it go yourself?

How g(x) = 1/x expresses Matthew 16:24?

In Matthew 16:24, we have

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me…

This actually explains Peter’s problem when he denied Jesus three times in the high priest’s courtyard following the arrest of Jesus. He was a righteous person all along, the first one to answer Jesus as the Son of God at Caesarea Philippi, the one that Jesus handed the keys of the kingdom of heaven. However, Peter was so sure of himself that he did not believe what Jesus said he would do.  Peter trusted his own wisdom too much and had trouble denying himself.  Denying oneself is the key to be in union with Christ!

Recently, I came across a painting by Emily Carr, titled “Scorned as Timber, Beloved by the Sky”. It’s part of the Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery and can be viewed on its website. I know nothing about art and nothing in particular about this painting. However, it makes me think of how one denies his own wishes and all interruptions and just reaches out to God. As I ponder on the message of Matthew 16:24 and this painting, the mathematician in me led me to think of my kind of art, a simple functiongcomp.jpg.

The interesting fact about this function is that

the greater the x, the less is g(x).

The more proud we are of ourselves, the more we act on our own wishes and collect our gains in this world, the further we move away from God!

Now, if we were able to deny ourselves completely, setting x to 0, then we would achieve the impossible g(0). It is common for mathematicians to denote a value that one cannot fathom as infinity infinity .

As one can never divide 1 by 0, the general notation of expression of  is

g0.

The infinity seems to point at the infinite power of God, our God Almighty!

So, here it is, a simple elegant function g

that reminds me of Matthew 16:24!

Baptism of the Lord – a parent’s view

In today’s Gospel (Mark 1:4-5, 7-11), Jesus asked for Baptism from John. Since John’s message has been one of repentance, Jesus is essentially admitting his “sins.”

But…was it really his “sins”?

Jesus would have known his mission all along. God sent his beloved son to save the people. However, how would God knows his Son accepts his mission until his actions show that he does?

We, parents, teach our children to be kind to others and to have good manners. However, it’s not until we see our kid hold the door for others for the first time, or initiate to donate their favorite toy to toy drive, that we would know that our messages came across to our children.

When Jesus asked for baptism, he was fully “man”. As a child of God just like us, he was saying that he was taking the cup, his mission. He was responding to God the Father, just like his mother’s fiat. He, who has no sins, was taking on the sins of the people and asking for repentance. For that, God the Father said, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

Studying Christology Mathematically

When I first considered taking the Certificate of Pastoral Ministry program at St. Peter’s Seminary, I had some doubts about how I might handle studying, what is in my mind, the “Arts” subjects. After all, I once spent 10 years at university studying Mathematics and I was sure that one would need different mind-sets for the study of Mathematics and subjects like Philosophy and Religion.  Now, there is also the fact that writing a concise and precise mathematical paper and writing an essay with no numbers and graphs are quite different.  (Although I, once upon a time, managed to insert a mathematical graph in an essay for my high school English Literature course, showing the emotional development of the major character in a fiction.) However, I also enjoy challenges and so, I decided that taking the CPM program will be my challenge for the next few years.

Two of the topics I studied earlier in the year were on the Doctrine of the Triune God and Christology.  I mentioned how I understood the doctrine of Trinity through Mathematics back in December. (See my earlier post.) In fact, I now see that the logic in mathematical studies is actually very useful when applied to the study of many abstract, philosophical religious concepts. I know, many teachers teaching the mystery of God would frown if I tried to describe the Mystery mathematically. They would worry that I would be reducing the Mystery to some “solvable” equation of sorts. However, all I am saying here is that the logical thoughts in how we study the subjects are the same.

For instance, in Mathematics, we are always dealing with statements like “A implies B”; therefore, “Not B implies Not A”.  In studying about Christ, people realized the resurrection of Jesus Christ meant that the death of Jesus was not ordinary and that the people came to believe the baby borne in the manger some 33 years earlier was no ordinary baby.  There, “Not B implies Not A!”

Another example deals with the way we present Mathematical formulas.  Whenever we present a formula, we always list the conditions in which the variables have to satisfy so that the formula will be valid.  These conditions are what we called the constraints. Now, when we read the Book of Genesis, we know that we are created in the image of God.  One good explanation of this plan is that when God sent his only Son to be fully human, as human is already in the image of God, then incarnation is possible.  In other words, God created the constraint and satisfied the constraint at the same time for the Incarnation “formula” to work! This is how we become the Body of Christ and be nourished by the Body of Christ at mass!

I just think this is the most beautiful Mathematical formula ever!

Understanding the Doctrine of Trinity through Mathematics

It has been a little while since I last posted something here. I started taking a program in September at St. Peter’s Seminary in London, Ontario and am enjoying it very much.

One session of the program back in October was on the topic of the doctrine of Trinity.  It was mentioned then that there were parts of the doctrine that people generally have trouble understanding them and people just accepted the doctrine on faith, calling that a mystery itself. While I find that a wonderful sign of faith for so many, the difficult parts do not seem so daunting for me at all.  As the doctrine was explained in class, my mind seemed to switch to the mathematical concepts that I learned many years ago.  Sometimes,  people are worried that I might be putting a “formula” on the concept of God.  In reality, my mind  is simply expressing the written lines within our creed or doctrine in a different language – the Mathematical language.  The beauty of it is that concepts that are well proven within the mathematical world can then be used to help our understanding of theological concepts.  At least, this will help the mathies out there. I think a better understanding of the doctrine will make me a firm believer and can help me better explain the doctrine to others in traditional languages.

So, here it is…for those who might be interested…  Enjoy!

Understanding the Doctrine of the Trinity through Mathematics