A Reflection: Third Sunday Of Advent (C) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

3rd Advent 2018 pater

A Reflection Of The Heart
A REFLECTION: THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT (C)
GAUDETE SUNDAY
16th December 2018
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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READINGS:

FIRST READING: Zephaniah 3:14-18a

Shout for joy, O daughter Zion!
Sing joyfully, O Israel!
Be glad and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!
The LORD has removed the judgment against you
he has turned away your enemies;
the King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst,
you have no further misfortune to fear.
On that day, it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged!
The LORD, your God, is in your midst,
a mighty savior;
he will rejoice over you with gladness,
and renew you in his love,
he will sing joyfully because of you,
as one sings at festivals.
*
The Word of the Lord/ Thanks be to God.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM (ISAIAH 12)

R. Shout aloud and sing for joy: great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
With joy, you will draw water
at the fountain of salvation.
R. Shout aloud and sing for joy: great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name.
R. Shout aloud and sing for joy: great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement;
let this be known throughout all the earth.
Shout with exultation, O city of Zion,
for great in your midst
is the Holy One of Israel!
R. Shout aloud and sing for joy: great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.
*

SECOND READING: PHILIPPIANS 4:4-7

Brothers and sisters:
Rejoice in the Lord always.
I shall say it again: rejoice!
Your kindness should be known to all.
The Lord is near.
Have no anxiety at all but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
*
The Word of the Lord/ Thanks be to God.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION (LUKE 4:18)
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GOSPEL: Luke 3:10-18

The crowds asked John the Baptist,
“What should we do?”
He said to them in reply,
“Whoever has two cloaks
should share with the person who has none.
And whoever has food should do likewise.”
Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him,
“Teacher, what should we do?”
He answered them,
“Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.”
Soldiers also asked him,
“And what is it that we should do?”
He told them,
“Do not practice extortion,
do not falsely accuse anyone,
and be satisfied with your wages.”

Now the people were filled with expectation,
and all were asking in their hearts
whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying,
“I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor
and to gather the wheat into his barn,
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
Exhorting them in many other ways,
he preached good news to the people.
*
The Gospel Of The Lord/ Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

REFLECTION:

The celebration of the Third Sunday of Advent to me could be likened to an intermission of a play. An intermission in a play is important because it builds anticipation for what’s to come in the acts to follow, the break also gives the audience and the actors a little time to prepare for the next act. Likewise, the celebration of the Third Sunday of Advent serves as a little break in our journey of the season. Basically, our spiritual sojourn during Advent is a call to a repentance, conversion, and renewal. It encourages us to make some sacrifices, self-reflection, examination of conscience, self-denial to prepare ourselves for Christmas as well as in our anticipation of the coming of our Lord and Saviour at the end of time. The Advent message, therefore, is a serious business for us Catholics. We do not take things for granted. We heed to that call. But then in our Liturgy for this Sunday, we see a shift of moods i.e. from a call to repentance and renewal to an invitation to rejoice. Our readings proclaim the message of joy and jubilation. Thus the reason why the liturgical color also changed from purple to rose. We also light the rose-colored candle of the Advent wreath. Rose signifies Joy. The Third Sunday of Advent is also called Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is a Latin word meaning “Rejoice.’ The word came from Philippians 4:4,5 “Gaudete in Domino Semper.” (Rejoice in the Lord always.)
At the heart of the Gospel message is an invitation for us to rejoice. This is the reason why God created us so that He may share with us His joy. Joy is also the reason for our existence. The joy that I am talking about is not something that is equated with just being happy. It is not something that is fleeting, superficial and external. It is something profound, lasting and real. A true follower of Christ seeks not just happiness but joy. Happiness is temporary but joy is permanent since it is founded in the Lord. One can experience joy even in the face of trials, sufferings, and tribulations. So do not be a mere happy person but a joyful person.
Contrary to the impression of some, embracing our Catholic belief should make us people of joy. Our religion is a religion of joy. Something must be wrong if our experience of religion is one of an experience of sadness. In John 15:11 Jesus said “I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.
Was our Lord Jesus joyful? People are used to having an image of a melancholic Jesus, a suffering Messiah. I am convinced that part of Jesus’ charisma was his being a joyful person. That was what made people of different walks of life being drawn to Jesus that includes the sinners and tax collectors. You won’t enjoy the company of someone who is not pleasant and joyful. So Jesus was a joyful and probably a humorous person. In fact, we even find something humorous in some of the Gospel texts. For example, in describing the Pharisees, Jesus said they are like blind leading a blind. In Matthew 9:13, when asked why he and the disciples didn’t fast, He said”Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Of course, not!” And in Beatitudes, Jesus shared with us the reasons to be joyful. We call the Beatitudes ” Be happy attitudes.” And lest we forget that the very first miracle Jesus performed here on earth transpired at a wedding at Cana. So Jesus mingled with the people. He enjoyed the company of the people. He laughed with them. He wept with them. It was a human experience. Jesus empathized with us completely and share with us in our joys and in our sadness.
In today’s Gospel, John the Baptist gives practical ways in which one could find joy. He tells them to be generous, to always do the right thing, not to cheat and to find contentment in life. When things are dark, when our life is beset with problems, do we become bitter and resentful? Today’s liturgy is a challenge and an invitation to “Rejoice always in the Lord.”
To conclude our reflection, let us reflect on the insights of the prophet Habakkuk:
Habakkuk 3:17-19
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.”

(Story from an unknown source)

One rainy afternoon I was driving along one of the main streets of a town, taking those extra precautions necessary when the roads are wet and slick. Suddenly, my daughter, Aspen, spoke up from her relaxed position in her seat. “Dad, I’m thinking of something.”

This announcement usually meant she had been pondering some fact for a while and was now ready to expound all that her six-year-old mind had discovered. I was eager to hear.

“What are you thinking?” I asked.

“The rain!;” she began, “is like sin, and the windshield wipers are like God wiping our sins away.”

After the chill bumps raced up my arms I was able to respond. “That’s really good, Aspen.”

Then my curiosity broke in. How far would this little girl take this revelation? So I asked… “Do you notice how the rain keeps on coming? What does that tell you?”

Aspen didn’t hesitate one moment with her answer: “We keep on sinning, and God just keeps on forgiving us.” I will always remember this whenever I turn my wipers on.

In order to see the rainbow, you must first endure some rain.

The real joy is always found in the grace of a faithful, a loving and a forgiving God.

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REFLECTION: Second Sunday Of Advent C by Rev. Fr.Allen Baclor Abadines

2nd Advent 2018 pater

A REFLECTION OF THE HEART
Second Sunday Of Advent (C)
9th December 2018
A Reflection: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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READINGS:

FIRST READING: BARUCH 5:1-9

Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery;
put on the splendor of glory from God forever:
wrapped in the cloak of justice from God,
bear on your head the mitre
that displays the glory of the eternal name.
For God will show all the earth your splendor:
you will be named by God forever
the peace of justice, the glory of God’s worship.

Up, Jerusalem! stand upon the heights;
look to the east and see your children
gathered from the east and the west
at the word of the Holy One,
rejoicing that they are remembered by God.
Led away on foot by their enemies they left you:
but God will bring them back to you
borne aloft in glory as on royal thrones.
For God has commanded
that every lofty mountain be made low,
and that the age-old depths and gorges
be filled to level ground,
that Israel may advance secure in the glory of God.
The forests and every fragrant kind of tree
have overshadowed Israel at God’s command;
for God is leading Israel in joy
by the light of his glory,
with his mercy and justice for company.
*
The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Psalm 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6

Response: The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
*
When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

Then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad indeed.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those who sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
*

SECOND READING: PHILIPPIANS 1:4-6, 8-11

Brothers and sisters:
I pray always with joy in my every prayer for all of you,
because of your partnership for the gospel
from the first day until now.
I am confident of this,
that the one who began a good work in you
will continue to complete it
until the day of Christ Jesus.
God is my witness,
how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer:
that your love may increase ever more and more
in knowledge and every kind of perception,
to discern what is of value,
so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,
filled with the fruit of righteousness
that comes through Jesus Christ
for the glory and praise of God.
*
The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION: LUKE 3:4, 6
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths:
all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
*

GOSPEL: Luke 3:1-6

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,
when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea,
and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee,
and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region
of Ituraea and Trachonitis,
and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene,
during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas,
the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert.
John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan,
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,
as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah:
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
Every valley shall be filled
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”
Get the daily readings sent to your email every morning
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The Gospel Of The Lord/ Praise To You, Lord Jesus Christ.

REFLECTION:

Matthew 5:48 tells us, “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Perfection is Jesus command and standard. But do we obey Jesus’ command wholeheartedly? Are we living to his standard? Perhaps, there’s a desire. We want to obey his command and live his standard. But something is holding us back. Something irresistible and powerful that is keeping us to achieve perfection i.e. sin. We are sinners. We are always struggling with sin. Struggling with sin means that we are still committing sins no matter how much we try not to. This reminds me of St. Augustine when he said, “Lord, make me chaste, but not yet.” Here we see a man who wanted to be sexually pure but still enjoying it. In his book, Confession, we see the many struggles of Augustine to be holy. When finally he succeeded, Augustine prayed, “Late, have I loved thee, my Lord.” There are people who are indeed struggling with sin. They fight against sin a little but ended up giving into it. A real Christian is someone who struggles against sin and aims to be victorious by asking Christ for strength. By ourselves, it is never easy to conquer sin. So we need the grace from God to be able for us to stand firm in the face of temptations. That is why in the “Lord’s Prayer,” Jesus teaches us to say, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Pope Francis said. “This is the difference between a sinner and a man who is corrupt. One who leads a double life is corrupt, whereas one who sins would like not to sin, but he is weak or he finds himself in a condition he cannot resolve, and so he goes to the Lord and asks to be forgiven. The Lord loves such a person, he accompanies him, he remains with him. And we have to say, all of us who are here: sinner yes, corrupt no”.

Pope Francis, differentiate to us clearly the meaning of being a sinner and a man who is corrupt. A man who is corrupt is totally blinded. He does not acknowledge that he is ill and therefore needs a healer. He is not humble enough to accept his weaknesses and shortcomings. He doesn’t see any wrongdoings. He always justifies his own action. But a sinner recognized that he commits mistakes and truly sorry for it. Having the courage that we are sinners means we are open to receive Jesus’ grace. This is the challenge that we face on this Second Sunday of Advent. John the Baptist is calling us to a true repentance of sin. He is “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'” There is some kind of an urgency in the call of St. John. The call to a repentance is of utmost important as well as urgent. And so we respond to it – A.S.A.P. (Normally, ASAP is an abbreviation for “As Soon As Possible.” But in this case, I have a different acronym for ASAP. To respond to the call of REPENTANCE (ASAP) means:

A- Acknowledge one’s sinfulness. If we say that we have not sinned, that’s a lie. We are all sinners. We commit mistakes sometimes. Psalm 32:5 says, “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgression to the Lord,’ and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” A recognition of one’s sinfulness is a sign of humbling oneself before the Lord. It is an important step to true repentance.

S-Sorrow. True repentance means that we feel a deep sense of sorrow in our hearts, even disgust for committing sins. Sometimes people feel sorry only because they have made a mess of their lives, or just because they were caught and were put into an embarrassment. But real sorrow comes from within. It comes from a recognition of God’s love and our lack of response to it.

A-Action. Real repentance demands action. Zacchaeus recognized his faults. He begged for forgiveness. But not only that, he even intended to do something about it, he said, “Lord, if I have defrauded anyone I will pay him fourfold.” True repentance means doing something for the remission of sins. An approach to the Sacrament of Reconciliation is making a good start.

P-Pray. Pray for the strength. Pray for the grace. We need to pray. Even if we have acknowledged our sinfulness and have been forgiven, it does not necessarily mean that we are not going to sin anymore. Sometimes we find committing the same sins over and over again. But do not despair. Someone said “I have plenty of sins, they are great. I am really not sure God will forgive me. The disciples Judas and Peter both committed sins. One betrayed the Lord, the other denied him. Both recognized their mistakes and both repented. But there is a difference. Judas wallowed into despair but Peter did not lose hope. So pray to God when you find yourself tempted and never lose sight of his love and forgiveness.

John the Baptist in today’s Gospel is calling us and challenging us to REPENT. Let us respond to him -ASAP! For this is also the same invitation and challenge of our Lord Jesus to us all – Matthew 4:17 – “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”

Homily: First Sunday Of Advent (C) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

1st Sunday Advent

A Reflection Of The Heart
FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT (C)
2nd December 2018
A Reflection: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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READINGS:

FIRST READING: Jeremiah 33:14-16
The days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will fulfill the promise
I made to the house of Israel and Judah.
In those days, at that time,
I will raise up for David a just shoot ;
he shall do what is right and just in the land.
In those days Judah shall be safe
and Jerusalem shall dwell secure;
this is what they shall call her:
“The LORD our justice.”
The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks be to God.
*

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Psalm 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14
R. (1b) TO YOU, O LORD, I LIFT MY SOUL.

Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God, my savior,
and for you, I wait all the day.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.

Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
and teaches the humble his way.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.

All the paths of the LORD are kindness and constancy
toward those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
The friendship of the LORD is with those who fear him,
and his covenant, for their instruction.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
*

Reading 2
SECOND READING:1 THESSALONIANS 3:12-4:2
Brothers and sisters:
May the Lord make you increase and abound in love
for one another and for all,
just as we have for you,
so as to strengthen your hearts,
to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father
at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.

Finally, brothers and sisters,
we earnestly ask and exhort you in the Lord Jesus that,
as you received from us
how you should conduct yourselves to please God
and as you are conducting yourselves
you do so even more.
For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
*

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION: (PSALM 85:7)
Alleluia. Alleluia. Show us your steadfast love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation. Alleluia.
*

GOSPEL: Luke 21:25-28, 34-36
Jesus said to his disciples:
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.

“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.
For that day will assault everyone
who lives on the face of the earth.
Be vigilant at all times
and pray that you have the strength
to escape the tribulations that are imminent
and to stand before the Son of Man.”
The Gospel Of The Lord/ Praise To You, Lord Jesus Christ.
*

REFLECTION:

A new Liturgical Year commences with the celebration of the First Sunday of Advent. The celebration of Advent reminds us that Christmas is fast approaching. This is the time of the year when the Church invites us to spend more time in prayer and reflection so that we may contemplate on the fact that God gave us the greatest gift on the first Christmas eve i.e. the gift of the Incarnation of His only begotten Son – our Lord Jesus Christ. Advent comes from the Latin word ‘Adventus’ which means ‘coming.’ Advent season celebrates the anticipated second coming of our Lord Jesus in the fullness of time, as well as his first coming in his incarnation on the first Christmas day. Which means that our reflection in the season of Advent should not only be focused on the celebration of Christmas. I believe that the celebration of Christmas becomes more meaningful and profound when we celebrate it in joyful anticipation for the second coming of our Lord into our lives. Therefore, being Advent people means we are a people in anticipation of someone who is yet to come. We cannot but be filled with awe as we reflect on the mystery of Jesus’ coming. But our anticipation for the coming of Jesus should not only leave us in wonders and awe …it should mean ‘action’ or doing something while we await Jesus’ return. The best preparation that we could do is to prepare ourselves spiritually. The season of Advent, therefore, is our journey for spiritual growth.
So what must we do? Psalm 51:10 says it beautifully, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” This is the best preparation that we could do – to cleanse our hearts. I’d like to make some suggestions wherein we could achieve a clean and pure heart. I call these the Three Rs in the spiritual growth:

First R – stands for Repentance. Repent from sins. To do this one should recognize that we are sinners. Nobody’s perfect. We all commit mistakes. We all have our weaknesses. We screw up and make a mess sometimes. As long as we exist, we will keep on committing mistakes. And once a sin has become habitual, soon it will become a necessity. Sin is always deceitful. It offers fleeting happiness. It offers beauty, pleasures, and fulfillment but in the end, it only delivers unhappiness and death. Somebody likened committing sin to use a credit card. It follows this scheme – “Enjoy now, pay later!” If one is not careful in using a credit card, the tendency is to dig deeper until one finds himself in a situation where it has become difficult to fix the mess he himself created. You are now caught in a web wherein it won’t be easy to get out. In the end, a man pays the price i.e. unhappiness and to some extent eternal damnation. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death.” The good news is that in the Kingdom of God we always find hope. A sincere and a repentant heart will give us the grace of total forgiveness. This is the reason why God make the Sacrament of Reconciliation available to us. The season of Advent is calling us to a sincere repentance. The best preparation, therefore, is to avail of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Come to Jesus with a sincere and a contrite heart.

Second R- stands for Release – Release yourself from heavy loads of bitterness and unforgiveness. Do not let anger and unforgiveness dwell in your heart. Harboring grudges causes pains in our hearts that leads to bitterness. The way to unload our burdens is to learn to forgive from the heart. But why is it so hard to forgive? Forgiveness is always possible when we ask grace from the Lord, the author of forgiveness and love. When burdens weighed us down, offer them to the Lord. Psalm 55:22 – Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”

The third R – stands for Relationship. God wants to build an intimate relationship with us. Be friends with God again. Have always a deep desire for intimacy with God. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. God wants us to be happy. In fact, He commands us to be happy. 1 Thessalonians 5:46 – “Be joyful always.” But why are some people so unhappy? We always find a lonely existence when we turn ourselves far away from the love of God. True happiness can only be found in God. So when we find ourselves lost and wandered far away from God, we can always turn back to Him. Seek His love and forgiveness. God loves to take his children back to the flock, to build them up again and to restore their dignity once again as children of God.

This Sunday as we light the first candle of Advent wreath which symbolizes Hope. We contemplate that Hope – a Hope that God will come again to share with us His glory.
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel.
That mourns in lonely exile here. Until the Son of God appears.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

Reflection: Solemnity Of Christ the King B by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

Christ the King Pater Ace

A Reflection Of The Heart
SOLEMNITY OF OUR LORD JESUS, KING OF THE UNIVERSE (B)
25th November 2018
A REFLECTION: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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READINGS:

FIRST READING: DANIEL 7:13-14

As the visions during the night continued, I saw
one like a Son of man coming,
on the clouds of heaven;
when he reached the Ancient One
and was presented before him,
the one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship;
all peoples, nations, and languages serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
that shall not be taken away,
his kingship shall not be destroyed.
The Word of the Lord/Thanks be to God.
*
RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Psalm 93:1, 1-2, 5

R. (1a) The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty.

The LORD is king, in splendor robed;
robed is the LORD and girt about with strength.
R. The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty.

And he has made the world firm,
not to be moved.
Your throne stands firm from of old;
from everlasting, you are, O LORD.
R. The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty.

Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed;
holiness befits your house,
O LORD, for a length of days.
R. The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty.

SECOND READING: Revelation 1:5-8

Jesus Christ is the faithful witness,
the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,
who has made us into a kingdom, priests for his God and Father,
to him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen.

Behold, he is coming amid the clouds,
and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him.
All the peoples of the earth will lament him.
Yes. Amen.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, ” says the Lord God,
“the one who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
The Word of the Lord/ Thanks be to God.
*

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION: MARK 11:9-10
Alleluia. Alleluia. Blessed is the coming Kingdom of our father David; blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Alleluia.
*

GOSPEL: JOHN 18:33b-37

Pilate said to Jesus,
“Are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own
or have others told you about me?”
Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I?
Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me.
What have you done?”
Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world.
If my kingdom did belong to this world,
my attendants would be fighting
to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.
But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”
So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?”
Jesus answered, “You say I am a king.
For this, I was born and for this, I came into the world,
to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
The Gospel of the Lord/Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
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REFLECTION:
The Liturgical year comes to a conclusion with our celebration of the Solemnity of Christ the King. Today the Church invites us to reflect on the kind of Jesus’ kingship. Is Christ really King? Why do we call him King? The word king connotes the idea of someone powerful, someone who rules with an army and a kingdom. But Christ’ image is far from the idea of the kind of an earthly king. Jesus said in today’s Gospel text, “My Kingdom is not from this world. If my Kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my Kingdom is not from here.” And so what kind of king is he? Christ kingship is a mystery. An image of Christ as a king is not easy to fathom. He is King yet he was tried before Pilate, He is King yet he was stripped of his robes. He is King yet he carried the Cross. He is King yet he was crucified…he suffered and died. Yet from the Cross Jesus gives us a powerful insight of what true kingship and his Kingdom are all about. Yes, Christ is King, a someone powerful yet his power lies in his sacrifice on the Cross. He is king because he rules yet there is only one law to follow i.e. the law of love. He is king because he has a kingdom, but his Kingdom dwells within every person’s heart. He is king yet he comes not to be served but to serve. His power is founded in Humility, Service, and Love. The prayer in the Preface of the Mass best describes Christ’ Kingship – “a Kingdom of truth and life, a Kingdom of holiness and grace, a Kingdom of justice, love and peace.”
Therefore, we make Christ the King reigns in our hearts when we imitate Jesus our King in our lives. When like him we learn to forgive from the heart. When we learn to give the kind of sacrifice Jesus gives. When we learn to serve in humility.When we learn to love even if it hurts. Making him reign in our hearts is never easy amidst the so many hatred, greed, injustice in the world today. But there is power in forgiveness. There is peace in acceptance. There is joy in hope. And there is healing in forgiveness. A while ago, I came across an article circulating on the internet. It’s a very powerful open letter, originally written in French by a Paris man intended to the terrorists who killed his wife during one of the attacks on the Bataclan concert hall. The letter is now going viral. What struck me most is the man’s ability to forgive, to accept and to seek peace, understanding, and hope in the midst of such a horrible experience. Let me share with you this open letter that we may ponder upon:

“Friday night, you took an exceptional life — the love of my life, the mother of my son — but you will not have my hatred I don’t know who you are and I don’t want to know, you are dead souls. If this God, for whom you kill blindly, made us in his image, every bullet in the body of my wife would have been one more wound in His heart.

So, no, I will not grant you the gift of my hatred. You’re asking for it, but responding to hatred with anger is falling victim to the same ignorance that has made you what you are. You want me to be scared, to view my countrymen with mistrust, to sacrifice my liberty for my security. You lost.

I saw her this morning. Finally, after nights and days of waiting. She was just as beautiful as when she left on Friday night, just as beautiful as when I fell hopelessly in love over 12 years ago. Of course, I am devastated by this pain, I give you this little victory, but the pain will be short-lived. I know that she will be with us every day and that we will find ourselves again in this paradise of free love to which you have no access.

We are just two, my son and me, but we are stronger than all the armies in the world. I don’t have any more time to devote to you, I have to join Melvil who is waking up from his nap. He is barely 17-months-old. He will eat his meals as usual, and then we are going to play as usual, and for his whole life, this little boy will threaten you by being happy and free. Because no, you will not have his hatred either.”
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How could something so painful and tragic make this person forgive? It is his faith in God. Obviously, God reigns in his heart for he chose to love and forgive.
Let us then share in the Kingship of Christ by living a life of unity rather than division, a life of forgiveness than revenge. a life of joy than hopelessness, and a life of love than hatred. Let Christ reigns in our hearts!

Homily:33rd Sunday In Ordinary Time (B) by Rev. Fr. Alen Baclor Abadines

33rdS

33rd Sunday In Ordinary Time (B)

by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

 

GOSPEL: MARK13:24-32
Jesus said to his disciples:
“In those days after that tribulation
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from the sky,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

“And then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in the clouds’
with great power and glory,
and then he will send out the angels
and gather his elect from the four winds,
from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.

“Learn a lesson from the fig tree.
When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves,
you know that summer is near.
In the same way, when you see these things happening,
know that he is near, at the gates.
Amen, I say to you,
this generation will not pass away
until all these things have taken place.
Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will not pass away.

“But of that day or hour, no one knows,
neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
The Gospel of the Lord/ Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
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REFLECTION:
Today we celebrate the 33rd Sunday in ordinary time. And next Sunday we will conclude the Liturgical Year (B) with our celebration of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. Since we are near the end of our Church’s calendar, it is not surprising that today we are being invited to reflect on the Eschaton. Eschaton refers to the Last Things such as death, end time, judgment, heaven, hell, purgatory, new heaven, new earth. Eschatology is a study of the eschaton. The Readings of today, especially the First Reading (Daniel 12:1-3) and the Gospel (Mark 13:24-32) talk about the ‘end time.’ This Sunday, therefore, our focus of reflection is on this so-called Eschaton – the end of time, judgment and the second coming of Christ.
The First Reading, the Book of Daniel, talks about the end time. He talks about catastrophes and the resurrection of the dead. Since the dead will be resurrected there will be judgment i.e. some of those risen will have everlasting life and others will have everlasting shame (eternal damnation). Similarly, in today’s Gospel, our Lord Jesus describes the end time the same way as Daniel prophesied it. Jesus shares his vision of the end time with his disciples, that there will be some sort of cataclysmic event that will cause great suffering for all humanities. Jesus gives this frightening vision – the sun and moon are going to turn dark, the stars are going to fall from the sky, and heaven and earth are going to pass away. Scary isn’t it? But this is not meant to frighten us, on the contrary, it is meant to give us hope and to prepare us for such an inevitable event. Jesus’ vision didn’t simply end in chaos and destruction. He also talks about his second coming. “Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory.” That means to say that the ‘end time’ is not the end of the story. It is not the end of time either. It is actually a new beginning. There may be an ‘end time’ but always have in mind that God’s love for us will never end. In the end, God’s glory and love prevail. It’s advent, therefore, is not something that we should be afraid of. We should only be afraid if we are caught unprepared. Today’s Liturgy, therefore, serves not just as a warning but an invitation and a challenge to be always prepared. Certainly, Jesus is coming at the end of time. When would that be? Jesus made the emphasis that no one knows when the end time will come. Many have predicted the end of time as if they were certain of but it didn’t happen. The truth is Jesus will return any time any day. But no one knows! God’s time is not our time. There is wisdom for us not knowing the precise moment. Just as we do not know the exact date of this event, it is wise to live our lives as if Jesus is coming back right now. Every day should be a preparation for our encounter with Jesus. We hear some people say, ‘when I get old or when I retire that’s the time I will devote myself serving the Lord.’ But why wait for that time, for it may never come. The time is right here, right now. Every day should be an encounter with Jesus. And lest we forget, while we wait for the second coming of our Lord, we also need to be aware that Jesus is present in our midst. It is as if we are waiting for someone who did not desert us in the first place. Again, as the Liturgy for this Sunday presents to us an apocalyptic discourse of Jesus, it is not meant to scare us but to prepare us and give us hope. The question should be – How are we to make good preparation? We need to be always in the state of grace, which is of course always a challenge to us. In making preparation, I am always reminded of the word PRAY- P.R.A.Y. P- stands for Perseverance. Always persevere to live a holy life. Do not be discouraged nor disappointed. But keep on persevering. Living a holy life is always a struggle and a challenge. If we persevere and ask the Holy Spirit for guidance and strength then grace will abound. R- stands for Reflection. Always reflect. Socrates once said an ‘unreflected life is not worth living.’ Have always a good examination of conscience and avail of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We experience a loving and a forgiving Lord only if we come to him with a sincere and a contrite heart. A-stands for Action. Our holiness and good intentions should be translated into action. Acts of Charity should always be practiced by true Christians. James 2:14 &26 – “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? … For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” Jesus commands us that our love of God should be translated into action – love your neighbor as yourself. And Y-stands for Yearning. Our hearts should have a deep longing for God. We should always desire God in our hearts. God must be the center of our lives. We always long to see the face of God. Psalm 41 – “Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God; my soul is thirsting for God, the living God.”
At the end of our lives, God is going to ask us to give an account of how we live our lives. We are but pilgrims here on earth and heaven is a reward for those who remain faithful till the end. Our journey here on earth is a journey in joyful hope and anticipation for the coming of Christ.

Homily:32nd Sunday In Ordinary Time (B) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

 

32nd S Pater

A REFLECTION OF THE HEART
32nd Sunday In Ordinary Time (B)
The lesson of the Widow’s Mite (Mark 12:38-44)
A Reflection: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL: MARK:12:38-44
In the course of his teaching, Jesus said to the crowds,
“Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes
and accept greetings in the marketplaces,
seats of honor in synagogues,
and places of honor at banquets.
They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext
recite lengthy prayers.
They will receive a very severe condemnation.”

He sat down opposite the treasury
and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.
Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them,
“Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more
than all the other contributors to the treasury.
For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,
her whole livelihood.”
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The Gospel Of The Lord./Praise To You O Lord Jesus Christ.

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REFLECTION:
God speaks to us through the Scriptures. This Sunday God is inviting us to reflect on the importance of giving and generosity. It relates to us the story of a poor widow who gave everything she had into the temple’s treasury. It happened that our Lord Jesus with his disciples were at the temple sitting near the treasury. Rich people came to drop a large amount of money until a poor widow did the same with only two small copper coins. Jesus took this as an opportunity to teach his disciples an important lesson on giving. In the eyes of the world, the gift of the widow might be insignificant but to our Lord, it is of great value. Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.” Let me focus my reflection on the importance of giving. However, I’d like to encourage my readers to dig deeper also into the message of the Gospel. There’s something in the story than meets the eye. The story of the widow’s mite is not only about sacrificial giving. The warning of our Lord Jesus to beware of the scribes for they “devour widows houses” tells something more profound than the lesson on generosity. In the Gospel, the widow was praised but those people who abused her generosity were condemned. The Gospel therefore also warns the readers not to take advantage of other people’s kindness and generosity. Regardless of your interpretation of the text, I would say that it is worth pondering on the lesson about giving. It is very obvious that ‘giving’ is an important part of Christian living. We cannot do away with it. As Jesus commanded us to “Love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves.” “Whatever you do to the least of my brethren you do it unto me.” We as Christians are being called therefore to be generous, to be charitable at all times.
But giving may not be that easy. Some people may be so inspired to share their time and talents but may find it so hard to share their treasure. Thus, we often hear people say “I’ll give when I got rich.” But I think, it is not a matter of having plenty to be able to learn how to give, it is a matter of the heart. In the First Reading of today, we see the prophet Elijah who challenges the faith of the widow by testing her generosity. Elijah was a total stranger to the widow and in their encounter, Elijah asked for water to drink as well as bread to eat. But the widow said that she only had very little flour left for her and her son, “when we have eaten it, we shall die.” It was then that Elijah challenges her not to be afraid, but to be generous and to place her trust in a loving and providential God. For if we do so, there would be a miracle – “The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, until the day when the Lord sends rain upon the earth.” The widow did as she was told by Elijah and the miracle transpired. The lessons we got from the First Reading is that – “not to be afraid to give in the awareness that we have a providential God.” Those who know how to give will always experience God’s providential care. Our lack of sense of generosity is a manifestation of our lack of trust in a gracious and loving God. Just like the widow in the Gospel, we can only learn to give from our livelihood if we trust that God will provide for us.

There’s a very inspiring story about the power of giving as told by a certain Ilene Wright that I would like to share herewith:

“Several years ago he, his wife and their child were destitute. They had lost everything, had no jobs, no money and were living in their car. They were not Christians at the time and had decided to make a suicide pact, including the child. They drove to a cliff and quietly discussed their fate. They decided that they should at least give their child some food before they killed themselves and drove away to buy him some milk and food.

They were standing in line at the store and realized they did not have enough money to pay for the few little items they wanted to give their child for his last meal. Then, he said a man behind him spoke and asked him to please take the money from his hand and to not look at him. The man also told him and his family that “Jesus loves you.”

The man said that they left the store, drove back to the cliff and wept for 4 hours. They knew that they could not go through with what they had planned to do, so they drove away. They drove by a church with a sign that said “Jesus loves you”, and went to the church the next Sunday. The man and woman both got saved that day in Church.

The man then told the Pastor that the minute he stood up in the pulpit and started speaking that he knew immediately that the Pastor was that kind stranger from 9 years ago. He said he would never forget that accent. The Pastor is from South Africa, so he has a very distinct accent. He continued on to tell the Pastor that because of his one random kind act he saved three lives that day, and because he had told them that Jesus loves them, it had drawn them into a church where they accepted Christ!!!!”

Lastly, let us always remember that whatever good deeds extended to our fellowmen, big or small, is a love extended to God. Let us ask God for that grace to have always an increase of Charity in our hearts.

Gospel Reflection: Solemnity of All Saints by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

all saints

 

A REFLECTION: Solemnity Of All Saints

by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

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GOSPEL: Matthew 5:1-12a

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
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.”

The Gospel of the Lord/ Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

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REFLECTION:

Today’s Solemnity honors all the Saints known and unknown. The known Saints are those men and women who were recognized for their exemplary lives of holiness and were beatified and canonized by the Church. However, there are also men and women who lived lives of holiness unknown and unrecognized. We call them the unknown Saints. The Solemnity of all Saints, therefore, is to venerate on this one particular day all the Saints known and unknown.
We do not worship the Saints, we venerate them. Worship and Veneration are two different things. Only God is worthy of worship, adoration, and praise. Worship can be more completely defined as showing respect, love, reverence or adoration which should be attributed to God alone. While Veneration can be defined as respect or awe directed toward someone due to his /her value or greatness.
But why do we celebrate “All Saints’ Day?”
Let me give you at least three reasons:

First: The Celebration of All Saints is like a prefiguration of what our future would be i.e. we all belong to a communion of Saints. Heaven is our final destination. And therefore Holiness should ultimately be what we aspire for. As what Oswald Chambers said “Holiness, not happiness, is the chief end of man. For us who are still on a pilgrim on earth, we are hoping that with the grace of God we too will be one with the Saints.

Second: Since we are in the pursuit of Holiness…we need models. The lives of the Saints are worthy of our reflection that may inspire us to go on. We look up to Saints as models of holiness. Pope Benedict XVI said, “The example of the Saints encourages us to follow in their same footsteps and to experience the joy of those who trust in God, for the one true cause of sorrow and unhappiness for men and women is to live far from him.”

Third: The Celebration of All Saints serves to us all as a challenge. Nobody is born a saint. It is something you have to become …something for you to work out. The good news is that anyone can become a saint. You and I are candidates for sainthood. Sanctity is a choice – a product of our freedom. Our longings and aspirations in life should be perfection. Matthew 5:48 “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
How can we achieve perfection? How can we become Saints? Is perfection possible? Well, it is not easy, but it is possible. To be a saint is to understand the will of the Father, to keep them in our hearts and to do to the best of our capacities to realize them in our lives no matter what the costs may be. But it is not gonna be easy. Every day is a challenge. We are always like being pulled in two different directions i.e. to tread the path of righteousness or otherwise. St. Paul in his letter to the Romans presented us the same concern. Romans 7:15, St. Paul said “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”

Story:
A man made a mess of his life. He got into a big trouble of drug addiction. As a result, he lost his job. His wife and children left him. His friends deserted him. His dad said he was on a path of destruction.
One day, his father visited him and asked him these questions. “Son, is this really the life you want? How many failed relationships will you have? Those questions made him think. And filled with guilt along with shame. He cried profusely. And he asked his father for help. That recognition of his faults led him into his conversion. He prayed and he embraced Jesus once again. Eventually, with the help of his father, he was rehabilitated. And he said to himself, “I made things right with God by receiving Jesus into my heart.”

Remember in our pursuit of holiness…we are not alone. God is always with us, inspiring us, giving us the strength to persevere, guiding us and leading us the way that we may succeed.
This is the reason why Jesus gave us the Beatitudes in today’s Gospel according to Matthew. The Beatitudes serve as our blueprint in our pursuit of holiness. Here Jesus challenges the values of the world. The values embodied in the Beatitudes are the values that we as a pilgrim Church are called to embrace to show that we are true disciples of Jesus. Once we are able to live according to these values to the end of our earthly pilgrimage we will be like those servants mentioned in today’s First Reading, robed in white, washed in the blood of the Lamb. The Beatitudes give us ways on how to live a life of holiness. Beatitudes are sometimes called “beautiful attitudes” or “be happy attitude.” For finding holiness is finding beauty and happiness.

To be holy is to be close to God. Holiness can be achieved by the kind of response we give to the grace of God.