Homily: Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (C) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

trinity pater 2019

REFLECTION OF THE HEART
Solemnity of the Most Blessed Trinity (C)
A Reflection: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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READINGS:

FIRST READING: Proverbs 8:22-31

Thus says the wisdom of God:
“The LORD possessed me, the beginning of his ways,
the forerunner of his prodigies of long ago;
from of old, I was poured forth,
at first, before the earth.
When there were no depths I was brought forth,
when there were no fountains or springs of water;
before the mountains were settled into place,
before the hills, I was brought forth;
while as yet the earth and fields were not made,
nor the first clods of the world.

“When the Lord established the heavens I was there,
when he marked out the vault over the face of the deep;
when he made firm the skies above,
when he fixed fast the foundations of the earth;
when he set for the sea its limit,
so that the waters should not transgress his command;
then was I beside him as his craftsman,
and I was his delight day by day,
playing before him all the while,
playing on the surface of his earth;
and I found delight in the human race.”
*
The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.
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RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Psalm 8:4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R/ O LORD, OUR GOD, HOW MAJESTIC IS YOUR NAME IN ALL THE EARTH!
*
When I behold your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars which you set in place —
What is a man that you should be mindful of him,
or the son of man that you should care for him?
R. O Lord, our God, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
*
You have made him little less than the angels and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him rule over the works of your hands,
putting all things under his feet:
R. O Lord, our God, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
*
All sheep and oxen,
yes, and the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fishes of the sea,
and whatever swims the paths of the seas.
R. O Lord, our God, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
*

SECOND READING: Romans 5:1-5

Brothers and sisters:
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have gained access by faith
to this grace in which we stand,
and we boast in hope of the glory of God.
Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions,
knowing that affliction 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.
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The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.
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GOSPEL ACCLAMATION
Alleluia. Alleluia. Glory to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: to God who is, who was, and who is to come. Alleluia.
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GOSPEL: JOHN 16:12-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.
But when he comes, the Spirit of truth,
he will guide you to all truth.
He will not speak on his own,
but he will speak what he hears,
and will declare to you the things that are coming.
He will glorify me,
because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.
Everything that the Father has is mine;
for this reason, I told you that he will take from what is mine
and declare it to you.”
*
The Gospel Of The Lord/ Praise To You, Lord Jesus Christ.
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REFLECTION:
Today, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Blessed Trinity. Our point for reflection is a bit of a challenge. We are being invited to contemplate on a doctrine that in the end, no matter how much we try, still we won’t be able to get to the bottom of it completely. But we do not worry, God’s nature is supposed to be a mystery. St. Augustine puts it beautifully, “A God without mystery is not God.” In other words, If we can understand and explain God totally then he is not God. God is almighty, eternal, infinite …and our limited mind can never unravel His immensity. Today, therefore, we should first of all accept the fact we are about to reflect on a mystery hence beyond human comprehension. This does not mean that we do not know anything about the Trinity. Nowhere in the Scriptures, we could find the word, Trinity. However, the Trinity was clearly revealed throughout the whole scriptures. Jesus introduced to us the Trinitarian nature of God. For instance in Matthew 28:19 Jesus said, “Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Notice that Jesus used the word ‘name’ (singular) instead of ‘names’ (plural) to tell us that there is but one God. The doctrine of the Trinity tells us that “God is one in essence, and three in person.” There is one God who eternally exists as three distinct persons – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Trinity is One. We do not worship three Gods, but one God in three Divine Person. No one can fully understand nor explain to us the mystery. Only God can make it known to us by revealing himself to us. God revealed himself to us as a manifestation of his love for us. We only reveal ourselves to those we love and to those we want to establish a deeper relationship with. God wants us to establish a personal and intimate relationship with Him. As we discover the mystery of Divine love, we eventually unravel the mystery of our existence, we discover the mystery of our relationship with one another and in the end, we understand the mystery of life itself. Trinitarian revelation is God’s revelation of His love for mankind. God is love (1 John 4:16). Love, therefore, is our origin. Love is our mission. Love is our journey. Love should be our goal. And Love should be our destiny.
Each of us has his/her understanding of God based on our experience of him through one another. For instance, a boy who was physically abused by his own father cannot comprehend a loving and caring God. On the other hand, somebody who was given a second chance could easily perceive a forgiving and merciful God. Our task, therefore, is to make God known by the life we live. We reveal God to others by our love.

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Mother Teresa had a way where she could introduce God to others by her own personal witness of Him. She relates to us this story. In the story, a certain woman could only see a God of pain and suffering. But Mother Teresa was able to impart to her a God of joy and hope.

“I never forget one day when I met a lady who was dying of cancer and I could see the way she was struggling with that terrible pain. And I said to her, you know this is but the kiss of Jesus, a sign that you have come so close to Him on the cross that He can kiss you. And she joined her hands together and said, ‘Mother Teresa, please tell Jesus to stop kissing me’.”

Mother Teresa explained her story by saying, “This is the joy of suffering, the kiss of Jesus. Do not be afraid to share in that joy of suffering with Him because He will never give us more suffering than we are able to bear.”

But she seemed to have struggled with being overwhelmed at times. Mother Teresa also said, “I know God won’t give me anything I can’t handle, but I just wish he didn’t trust me so much!”
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Somebody said that the Trinity is not a puzzle to be solved but a mystery to be lived. We live a Trinitarian mystery in order for us to be living witnesses of God’s love. Failing to love means failing to know God deeply in our lives. It is good to know that our ultimate destiny is God the Father. God the Son prepared and paved the way for us. And we journey by the light and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

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Homily: Solemnity of Pentecost by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

pentecost 2019 pater allen

REFLECTION OF THE HEART
Solemnity of Pentecost
A Reflection: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
*

GOSPEL: JOHN 20:19-23

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,

Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”
*

_______________________________________

REFLECTION:

In the First Letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul says” Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (1 Cor 6:19-20) It is sad when sometimes I hear some people argued this way: “It is my body I can do anything with it.” Or “I’ll do anything whatever pleases me for this is my body.” But this is wrong! Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit – we can not desecrate, we cannot mutilate and destroy our bodies. Somebody resides in it. We should, therefore, take care of it, consecrate it and we treat it with utmost respect and love.

Today, we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost. The Church invites us to reflect on the role and importance of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

The day of Pentecost was celebrated long before Jesus was born. It was a Jewish celebration just like we celebrate Thanksgiving Day. The Jewish people celebrate Pentecost (Shavuot) in Thanksgiving for the first Wheat harvest, but it was later connected to the commemoration of the Law given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai. In the Old Testament, this Jewish observance was known as the Festival of Weeks, or, more simply, Weeks (Shavuot in Hebrew). One can find its origin in the book of Leviticus 23:16, which instructs people to count seven weeks or the fiftieth day after Passover. The word “Pentecost” comes from the Greek word “Pentekostos.” which means “Fifty.” It was an important Jewish celebration even during the time of our Lord Jesus. This is simply the reason why the Apostles were gathered in a room, precisely to celebrate Pentecost. What comes at first as the traditional Jewish Thanksgiving observance, turned out to become a more significant event in the life of the Apostles and us as a Church. On that day, the Holy Spirit descended upon them, thus empowering them to fulfill their mission together as a Church. Now we look at the day of Pentecost as significantly the birth of the Church. For on the Fiftieth day after Easter Sunday, God fulfilled His promise to send another Advocate – the Holy Spirit, to be with us until the end of the age. Oh, yes, on the day of Pentecost, we celebrate the birthday of the Church.

Pentecost reminds us of such a wonderful gift the Father gave us i.e. the gift of the Holy Spirit. In His homily, Pope Francis says that “The Spirit is given to us by the Father and leads us back to the Father. The entire work of salvation is one of “regeneration”, in which the fatherhood of God, through the gift of the Son and the Holy Spirit, frees us from the condition of being orphans into which we had fallen.” When sin entered humanity, we alienated ourselves from the love of God. We wandered aimlessly and abandoned. But because of Christ’ saving act through his obedience to the will of the Father, our dignity was restored. Once again we become children of God. We are not alone. We are not abandoned. We now have a clear direction in our pilgrimage here on earth. And the Holy Spirit will lead and guide us. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit provides the necessary graces empowering us to do the mission entrusted to us.

I like the word “to empower.” To empower is to give us the strength and the authority to do the mission. Which means that we receive a gift that makes us strong. A gift that makes us equipped for the task. Thus, we receive the necessary graces we need for the mission. There should be no more excuses for us not to do the mission, We are entrusted to continue the mission. A mission to spread the Good News. A mission to tread the path of Christ. And in a way to be a witness of Christ here on earth.

Veni, Creator Spiritus, mentes tuorum visita, imple superna gratia, quae tu creasti, pectora.

Qui diceris Paraclitus, donum Dei altissimi, fons vivus, ignis, caritas, et spiritalis unction.

Homily: Feast Of The Lord’s Ascension by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

ascension 2019 pater

REFLECTION OF THE HEART
Ascension Of The Lord
A Reflection: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
*

GOSPEL: Luke 24:44-53
Jesus said to the disciples, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you-that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance and forgiveness of sins are to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”
“And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised, so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and return to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple blessing God.
*
The Gospel of the Lord/ Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
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REFLECTION
One of my greatest fears is the fear of heights. I am afraid to fly. Ironically, I am a frequent flyer. And I never get used to flying. Every time I fly in an airplane, I still feel that fear inside. To overcome this fear, I just imagine myself flying with Jesus, much like the Ascension of the Lord. Thinking that I am flying with Jesus works all the time.
Today we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord, this is the time when the Risen Lord ascended to heaven. Jesus leaves this mortal world to be with the Father. This is exactly what comes to mind when we think of the Ascension of the Lord. But Ascension has a more profound meaning than just reflecting on the fact that Jesus ascended to heaven. In last Sunday’s Gospel text, the scene was set during the Last Supper wherein Jesus was saying his so-called Farewell Discourse. There was a tinge of sadness in Jesus’ words since he was actually saying goodbye to his apostles. He knew that his hour has come. He was fully aware of his impending death and suffering. But instead of thinking about himself, he was thinking of his apostles. He was giving them the strength that they may be able to bear the imminent suffering. Jesus offered them the gift of peace. He said let your hearts not be troubled. And he promised them that he would send an Advocate that would remind them of all that he has done. Jesus knew that the hour will come for him to depart from this world and go to the Father. His earthly mission is complete. This is the time for him to go back to the Father. And therefore today we celebrate this event of the Ascension. But what is it’s significance and how it is relevant to us today?
First, Ascension may mean the end of Jesus’ earthly mission. But it doesn’t mean just an end but rather it means more of a beginning. It is the beginning of the new chapter of the saving work which Jesus began. Now, it’s time for the apostles to continue this work and pass it on eventually to the Church and its members. In the first reading, Acts 1:8, Jesus admonished his disciples to continue his mission – “and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Second, Ascension means to glorify the Son of God. Jesus’ mission is fulfilled. The Son of God is triumphant in the offering of his life on the cross. Like to a Lamb, Jesus willingly sacrifices his life for the salvation of the world. Now is the time to give back his heavenly glory. The Father is well pleased and he exalted Jesus. This is best described in the second reading from the letter to the Ephesians, “God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places…”
Third, now that Jesus is exalted by the Father, it allows him to prepare a place for us. John 14: 2, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
As we reflect on the meaning of the Ascension of the Lord, the question now is – how is this relevant to us today?
First, It means that as followers and as children of God, our task now is to continue the mission of spreading the good news of the Kingdom of God. The mission is huge. There are times that we may feel unworthy. We should not worry – ‘let your hearts not be troubled.’ We only have to put our complete trust in Jesus. Jesus may not be with us physically but he never leave us orphans. He wants us to be able to carry this mission out and so he promised – “Behold, I am with you always until the end of the age.” He sent the Holy Spirit to empower us so that we be credible witnesses to the Gospel.
Second, the Ascension of the Lord tells us that we are but pilgrims here on earth and our final destination is heaven. After doing the task of spreading the Good News and that we remain faithful till the end, then heaven is our reward. Jesus wants us to succeed. He wants to gather his flock once again in his Kingdom.
The Apostles were here spreading the Good News of our Salvation 2000 years ago. The mission has been passed on to us. Now it is our turn to do the same. It is indeed a great responsibility. But let us do our part with great faith and great love. But do not forget to always ask the Holy Spirit for guidance, inspiration, and strength. Be bold…be courageous in making the Love of Jesus known throughout the whole world.

Homily: Sixth Sunday of Easter (C) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

6th Easter 2019 pater

REFLECTION OF THE HEART
SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER (C)
A Reflection: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
*
GOSPEL: John 14:23-29

Jesus said to his disciples: “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words, and the word that you hear is not mine but is from the Father who sent me.

“I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name will teach you everything and remind you all that I have said to you.

‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.

‘You heard me say to you. ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.”

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REFLECTION:

This Sunday’s Gospel passage comes from John. Significantly, it is part of Jesus’ farewell discourse at the Last Supper. That means to say that the message is of utmost importance. Which is why the Farewell discourse of our Lord was given an emphasis in the Gospel. It could be compared to the Last Will and Testament of a certain person. The Last Will and Testament are important to a person for the reason that you work hard to earn whatever you possessed and so you wanna make sure that when you die those things precious to you will go to the people you loved the most. If you do not leave a will then your wishes might be irrelevant and the Government will decide how to distribute your possessions. Likewise, at the Last Supper, our Lord Jesus declared His will for us to ensure that what he possessed may be passed on to us. He wants us to inherit what he possessed and that is the Kingdom of God. In our spiritual journey, Jesus wills that we succeed. That in the end, heaven will be our reward. At the Last Supper, Jesus was preparing his disciples in advance because he knew that the hour had come. He knew about his impending suffering and death and he was like preparing his disciples spiritually, psychologically, and emotionally. That is why He was talking about “going and returning” “You heard me say to you, I am going away, and I am coming to you.” Jesus is going but he is not leaving us orphans for the “Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I have said to you.” And what is it that Jesus wants that we be always reminded of with the help of the Holy Spirit? Well, it is keeping his word. “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words: and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.”

As we reach the end of the celebration of the Easter Season, The Liturgy reminds us to always keep Jesus’ words as our expression of his love for him. In the end, when everything is said and done, one thing will remain and that is love. A certain Willi Hoffsuemmer tells a story with a message that the grand total of it all is love.
Story: Once there was an intelligent young King who ordered all the learned professors of his kingdom to gather and write down all the wisdom of the world. They got right down to work and forty years later, they had a thousand books packed with wisdom. The King who had meantime reached sixty years of age, told them, “I cannot possibly read a thousand books. Reduce all that wisdom to basics.”

After ten more years the professors reduced the world’s wisdom to a hundred volumes. “That’s still too much,” said the King. “I am already seventy years old. Condense all the wisdom into absolute essentials.”

So the wise men tried again and squeezed all the wisdom of the world into just one book. But by that time the King was lying on his deathbed, so the leader of the committee of the wise men condensed that one last bok into just one sentence: “People live, they suffer, they die. The only thing that outlives them is love.” (The Next 500 Stories by Frank Mihalic, SVD)

1 Corinthians 13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but does not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is Jesus’ mission and destiny. Let us make Love our mission and our destiny too.

Homily: Fifth Sunday Of Easter (C) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

5th Easter pater 2019

REFLECTION OF THE HEART
Fifth Sunday of Easter (C)
A Reflection: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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READINGS:

First Reading: 1 Acts 14:21-27

After Paul and Barnabas had proclaimed the good news
to that city
and made a considerable number of disciples,
they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch.
They strengthened the spirits of the disciples
and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying,
“It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships
to enter the kingdom of God.”
They appointed elders for them in each church and,
with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord
in whom they had put their faith.
Then they traveled through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia.
After proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia.
From there they sailed to Antioch,
where they had been commended to the grace of God
for the work they had now accomplished.
And when they arrived, they called the church together
and reported what God had done with them
and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.

The Word of the Lord/ Thanks be to God.
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Responsorial Psalm PS 145

R. (cf. 1) I will bless your name forever, my king and my God.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. I will bless your name forever, my king and my God.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. I will bless your name forever, my king and my God.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Let them make known your might to the children of Adam,
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is a kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
R. I will bless your name forever, my king and my God.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Second Reading Revelation 21:1-5A
Then I, John, saw a new heaven and a new earth.
The former heaven and the former earth had passed away,
and the sea was no more.
I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race.
He will dwell with them and they will be his people
and God himself will always be with them as their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes,
and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain,
for the old order has passed away.”

The One who sat on the throne said,
“Behold, I make all things new.”

Alleluia JN 13:34.
I give you a new commandment, says the Lord:
love one another as I have loved you.

Gospel John 13:31-33A, 34-35

When Judas had left them, Jesus said,
“Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
If God is glorified in him,
God will also glorify him in himself,
and God will glorify him at once.
My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.
I give you a new commandment: love one another.
As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.
This is how all will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another.”

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REFLECTION:

In today’s Gospel text, we are being reminded once again of an extremely important thing i.e. love But is love really that important in our lives?. Why is love such a big deal? Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment, love one another.” But isn’t love a common experience? What is new about it? Even in the Old Testament, we were already told to love our neighbor. Leviticus 19:18″You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself, I am the Lord.” When Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment, love one another,” our Lord Jesus was not referring to any other love as the world taught us. It is something new because the love Jesus is asking for is not the kind of love the world has in mind. The world teaches us to love anything pleasant, good and pleasurable. We love when things are pleasant and nice. But how about in the most difficult times, when loving requires hardships, responsibilities, sacrifices, and even sufferings. The love that we are talking herewith is not synonymous to pleasure, not even fun. I am not talking about romance. I am talking about a love that is profound. It is love as Jesus loves, hence Divine love. It is only possible by making Jesus the center of our lives. Without Jesus loving another person in love according to the mind of God is impossible. We need to pattern our love in the love of Jesus.

Seemingly, it was just a very simple message of Christ. Often we hear this message to love others as we love ourselves. But do we really understand completely its message? Do we really know what love is all about? The love that Jesus was talking about is precisely the love that is perfectly like his love.

Let’s talk about love. Love is a powerful thing. We were created because of love. Our journey is about love. And love is our destiny. We cannot do away with it. We cannot live without love. Everything we worked for, everything that we lived for, everything that we dreamt about and everything that we aspired for is a thing called love.

Love is not just an emotion. It is a way of living. Like to a wife, preparing breakfast for her husband, doing chores every day, doing the daily routine for her family. Or to a husband working very hard to support his family. That is love.

But loving another person as Jesus loves is never easy, or is it? If you think that loving another person is that easy, then think again. For if you wanna learn how to love as Jesus loves, then start it by learning to love someone you really hate. For to some extent, Jesus taught us to love even our enemy. If we can learn to forgive from the heart, even the unforgivable, then it is loving as Jesus loves.

1 Corinthians 13 talks about love. You may find this text very encouraging and uplifting. But to me, this text is challenging. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hope, always perseveres.” It sets us a standard that may not be easy for us to achieve. It will only be possible if we immerse our lives to Jesus. Only by the grace of God that loving as Jesus loves would be possible.

To the whole world, our real identity will be revealed and that is: we are children of Christ simply because we love the way Jesus loves. John 13:35 “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you have a love for one another.”

Homily: Fourth Sunday of Easter (C) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

4th Easter pater 2019

REFLECTION OF THE HEART
FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER (C)
World Day of Prayer for Vocations
A Reflection: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
*

READINGS:

FIRST READING: Acts 13:14, 43-52

Paul and Barnabas continued on from Perga
and reached Antioch in Pisidia.
On the Sabbath, they entered the synagogue and took their seats.
Many Jews and worshipers who converted to Judaism
followed Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them
and urged them to remain faithful to the grace of God.

On the following Sabbath, almost the whole city gathered
to hear the word of the Lord.
When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy
and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said.
Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said,
“It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first,
but since you reject it
and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life,
we now turn to the Gentiles.
For so the Lord has commanded us,
I have made you a light to the Gentiles,
that you may be an instrument of salvation
to the ends of the earth.”

The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this
and glorified the word of the Lord.
All who were destined for eternal life came to believe,
and the word of the Lord continued to spread
throughout the whole region.
The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers
and the leading men of the city,
stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas,
and expelled them from their territory.
So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them,
and went to Iconium.
The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.
*
The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: PSALM 100

Response: WE ARE HIS PEOPLE: THE SHEEP OF HIS PASTURE.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
R. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.
R. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
or:
R. Alleluia.

The LORD is good:
his kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
or:
R. Alleluia.

SECOND READING: REVELATION 7:9,14b-17

I, John, had a vision of a great multitude,
which no one could count,
from every nation, race, people, and tongue.
They stood before the throne and before the Lamb,
wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.

Then one of the elders said to me,
“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.

“For this reason, they stand before God’s throne
and worship him day and night in his temple.
The one who sits on the throne will shelter them.
They will not hunger or thirst anymore,
nor will the sun or any heat strike them.
For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne
will shepherd them
and lead them to springs of life-giving water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
*
The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION:
Alleluia. Alleluia. I am the good shepherd, says the Lord; I know my sheep, and my own know me. Alleluia.
*

GOSPEL: JOHN 10:27-30
Jesus said:
“My sheep hear my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.
No one can take them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,
and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.
The Father and I are one.”
*
The Gospel of the Lord/ Praise To You, Lord Jesus Christ.
*
REFLECTION:
The feeling of rejection is perhaps the most painful and most excruciating experience that one can have. Rejection comes from our community, our peers, at school and even from among members of our family. So what do we do and what do we need when we experience rejection? We need compassion! And not just any other compassion but we need the compassion of Jesus in particular. And therefore, during those times of awkward feeling of rejection, we turn to Jesus. We know that Jesus will never reject us. He will never abandon us. He will accept us as who we are. In him, we feel loved and cared for. In fact, as Scriptures tell us, we find Jesus somehow seemed to find those who alienated and rejected by society. He visited Zacchaeus, the tax collector. He even invited Matthew to be his disciple. He healed lepers and embraced people with various diseases. He welcomed sinners and prostitutes and was compassionate towards them. This compassion of Jesus brought about a dramatic change to those people. Such an image of a compassionate Lord is so visible when he introduced himself to us as the Good Shepherd. John 10:11 – “I am the Good Shepherd. The good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
The Fourth Sunday of Easter is always the Good Shepherd Sunday. We also celebrate World Day of Prayer for Vocations.
This image of the Good Shepherd is one of my most favorite images of Jesus. Scriptures gave us various images of Jesus such as a Teacher, a Rabbi, Lord, Gate, Light, Bridegroom, et al. But this image of a good shepherd is most compelling and powerful. First of all, it was Jesus himself who gave us this image of the good shepherd – “I am the Good Shepherd!” It feels to me that through this image, Jesus would like to give more emphasis on the fact that we have a loving, merciful and compassionate God. This is what we need today. We need to be consoled. We need to be reassured. In today’s Gospel, Jesus says, “The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice and they follow me.” God knows and cares about us. During those times that we can’t see the light because of the darkness in our life, he is happy when we can put our trust in him. No matter how young and old we are, Jesus wants us to trust him. Like to a child, let us bring our troubles to him. We are called to trust God even in the face of difficulty and trouble. Some of us at this very moment may have a heavy heart. Some of us may feel that at times Jesus doesn’t answer our prayers the way we want. But Jesus wants us to trust him like to a shepherd who really cares. Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd and I am ready to lay down my life for my sheep.” This was realized when he willingly and voluntarily accepted death on the cross that we might be saved. John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” The death of the shepherd on the cross gave us a powerful message of perfect love of the Son of God.
God gave us the image of a good shepherd that we may imitate him in our lives. Jesus wants us to be good shepherds ourselves. Good shepherding means taking good care of the people entrusted to us. As parents, we should be good shepherds for our children. As teachers, we should be good shepherds for our students. As doctors or people in health care, we should be good shepherds to our patients.
Jesus takes care of and looks after his sheep. We have to understand that the sheep are totally defenseless and are always subject to danger. But Jesus protects and provides them with their needs. And the sheep under Jesus’ care is never lost and never left unprotected. Let us not wander far away from his love but always listen and heed his voice. “My sheep hear my voice, I know them and they follow me.”

Homily: Third Sunday of Easter (C) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

3rd Easter C 2019

REFLECTION OF THE HEART
THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER (C)
A REFLECTION: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
*

READINGS:
*
FIRST READING: Acts 5:28-32,40b-41

When the captain and the court officers had brought the apostles in
and made them stand before the Sanhedrin,
the high priest questioned them,
“We gave you strict orders, did we not,
to stop teaching in that name?
Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching
and want to bring this man’s blood upon us.”
But Peter and the apostles said in reply,
“We must obey God rather than men.
The God of our ancestors raised Jesus,
though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree.
God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior
to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins.
We are witnesses of these things,
as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”

The Sanhedrin ordered the apostles
to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them.
So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin,
rejoicing that they had been found worthy
to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.
*
The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Psalm 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11-12, 13

R. I WILL EXTOL YOU, LORD, FOR YOU HAVE RAISED ME UP.
or:
R. ALLELUIA.

I will extol you, O LORD, for you drew me clear
and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O LORD, you brought me up from the netherworld;
you preserved me from among those going down into the pit.
R. I will extol you, Lord, for you have raised me up.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Sing praise to the LORD, you, his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger lasts but a moment;
a lifetime, his good will.
At nightfall, weeping enters in,
but with the dawn, rejoicing.
R. I will extol you, Lord, for you have raised me up.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me;
O LORD, be my helper.
You changed my mourning into dancing;
O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.
R. I will extol you, Lord, for you have raised me up
or:
R. Alleluia.

SECOND READING: Revelation 5:11-14

I, John, looked and heard the voices of many angels
who surrounded the throne
and the living creatures and the elders.
They were countless in number, and they cried out in a loud voice:
“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain
to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength,
honor and glory and blessing.”
Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth
and under the earth and in the sea,
everything in the universe, cry out:
“To the one who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor, glory and might,
forever and ever.”
The four living creatures answered, “Amen,”
and the elders fell down and worshiped.
*
The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION
Alleluia. Alleluia, Christ is risen, the Lord of all creation; he has shown pity on all people. Alleluia.
*

GOSPEL: JOHN 21:1-19

At that time, Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias.
He revealed himself in this way.
Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus,
Nathanael from Cana in Galilee,
Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples.
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”
They said to him, “We also will come with you.”
So they went out and got into the boat,
but that night they caught nothing.
When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore;
but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?”
They answered him, “No.”
So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat
and you will find something.”
So they cast it and were not able to pull it in
because of the number of fish.
So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.”
When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord,
he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad,
and jumped into the sea.
The other disciples came in the boat,
for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards,
dragging the net with the fish.
When they climbed out on shore,
they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.”
So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore
full of one hundred fifty-three large fish.
Even though there were so many, the net was not torn.
Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.”
And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?”
because they realized it was the Lord.
Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them,
and in like manner the fish.
This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples
after being raised from the dead.

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
He then said to Simon Peter a second time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
Jesus said to him the third time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was distressed that Jesus had said to him a third time,
“Do you love me?” and he said to him,
“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger,
you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted;
but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you
and lead you where you do not want to go.”
He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.
And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”
*
The Gospel Of The Lord/Praise To You Lord Jesus Christ.
*
REFLECTION:
We continue our reflection of the amazing encounter of the Risen Christ with his Apostles. And this Sunday’s Gospel text is for me the most touching and emotional post-resurrection story. Once again, the Risen Christ appeared before the Apostles. This particular scene is actually a reminder of their first encounter of Jesus wherein they were asked to follow him. Although this was already their third encounter with the Risen Christ, yet as the Gospel relates to us, the spirit of desperation still looms the scene. Jesus’ trial and crucifixion must have been a horrifying experience for the Apostles. It was such an ordeal that put them to the test. It was a test not only of their loyalty to their master but it was also a test of their character. They failed! For in times of Jesus’ most trying moments, they abandoned their master with whom they professed earlier of their fidelity. Such an experience must have been emotionally and spiritually draining to them. There are indeed times in our lives that we simply make bad choices. We are not proud of it, we are ashamed of it and we later regret it. This was exactly the experience of the Apostles. That is why in their disappointments and shame they just decided to go back to their former ways – fishing! Peter along with other apostles decided to go back fishing. They felt unworthy of Jesus’ trust. This is the reason why although they were aware that Christ has risen, they wanted to get away from it. Such was their hopeless attempt to escape from that awkward situation. It would be best for them to just forget everything that had happened. Forget the past and move forward? But Jesus will never give up on them. Jesus knew from the start that they will fail. He knew of their frailties yet he chose them to be his followers so that they may know that by God’s grace they can keep on getting back.
In today’s Gospel text, the Apostles especially Peter had experienced Jesus’ infinite love and forgiveness. We can recall that Peter had earlier declared his fidelity to Jesus. But Peter failed! He denied knowing Jesus. This denial was also an absolute denial of his relationships with Jesus. It was just like Peter was saying to this effect – “I do not know the man. I got nothing to do with him. I am not in any way related to him.” Yet, something beautiful had happened in today’s Gospel. A reconciliation took place. Peter was given another chance to prove his worth. And just as Peter denied Jesus three times. He was also asked to make a declaration of his love three times.” “Peter, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” “Feed my sheep!”
But what is this love that Jesus was asking Peter for? When Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me more than these?” It was not just like asking Peter “Are we good now?” or “Are we friends again?” It is not something that is shallow, It is not something superficial. But it is something profound and meaningful. A love that is ready to sacrifice. A love that is ready to give and to forgive. A love that embraces responsibility. “If you love me,” Jesus said, “Tend my sheep, Feed my sheep.” Jesus loved us first, but this love demands a response i.e.by loving him too! How? By loving one another! That is the only way when we can prove our love of Jesus. “If you love me, then I want you to look after my flock”. This is a challenge that should be demonstrated only in loving and serving humbly the flock that is entrusted to our care. Tending sheep is never an easy task. It only gets easy when it is done in the spirit of love and service of Christ. For instance:
– If you are a doctor, you should not just be an ordinary doctor, but be a loving and dedicated doctor.
– If you are a wife or a husband, don’t be just an ordinary wife or husband, but be a faithful and holy husband or wife.
– If you are a parent, don’t be just an ordinary parent, but be a responsible and loving parent.
– If you are a son or a daughter, don’t be just an ordinary son or daughter, but be an obedient and respectful son or daughter.
– If you are a teacher, don’t be just an ordinary teacher, but be a dedicated one.
– If you are in the government service, don’t be just an ordinary official, but be a holy, honest, dedicated, hardworking and Godfearing government official.
We can learn something from the experience of the Apostles. At times we too mess up. But luckily we have a God of second chances. We are all sinners. But more than our capability to commit sins always is God’s infinite desire to forgive us. God loves us without limits, his forgiveness, therefore, is limitless too There may come a time when just like Peter we may have denied Jesus by committing sins. We may have broken our relationship with him. But Jesus is Lord ready to offer us unlimited chances. God will never give up on people. He is ready to forgive and all it takes is sincere repentance on our part.
The Gospel ended up with this command – “Follow me!” This command is now addressed to us all! We are called to follow him no matter what the cost may be. Following him entails responsibility – “Feed my Sheep!”