Homily:29th Sunday In Ordinary Time B by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

29th B Pater

A REFLECTION OF THE HEART
29th Sunday In Ordinary Time (B)
Mark 10:35-45
A Lesson On Humility
A Reflection by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL: (MARK 10:35-45)

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him,
“Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”
He replied, “What do you wish me to do for you?”
They answered him, “Grant that in your glory
we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.”
Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the cup that I drink
or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”
They said to him, “We can.”
Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink, you will drink,
and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized;
but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared.”
When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John.
Jesus summoned them and said to them,
“You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles
lord it over them,
and their great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.
For the Son of Man did not come to be served
but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.
*
The Gospel of the Lord./ Praise to you, Lord, Jesus Christ.
*

REFLECTION:
One of the greatest lessons Scripture has to teach us is that there is greatness in being humble. In fact in today’s Gospel Jesus said: “Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be a slave of all.” But what is humility? The word humility is derived from the Latin word “Humilis” literally means “on the ground.” Humus means “earth.” It is the same reason why we are called humans….i.e. because we are earthlings! Genesis 2:7 teaches – “The Lord God formed a man from the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils of life and the man became a living being.” God is a powerful God, He could have chosen to create human beings in any way he wanted, but he chose to fashion man using earth. There must be a reason for that. God wants to teach mankind that greatness is founded on humility – i.e. to keep our feet close to earth where we belong. For you are dust, and unto dust, you shall return. Being humble is being close to the earth. Humility, therefore, should be our nature. Man is supposed to be humble.

Today’s Gospel text is once again teaching us a lesson on Humility. It relates to us that the apostles James and John approached Jesus making a ridiculous and very insensitive request i.e. to share in his power. It was so insensitive considering the fact that at that time our Lord Jesus was contemplating and talking about his impending suffering and death. It was like the most embarrassing moments on the part of the apostles. To top it all, the rest of the apostles began to feel indignant of the two apostles not because of their insensitivity but because they too have a hidden agenda. All of them have the desire to take the highest position in the Kingdom of God. All of them wanted to be first. All of them were actually seeking power and position in the Kingdom of God. But our Lord Jesus made it very clear to them, that true power and greatness come from man’s willingness to serve, to be a servant, to suffer and even to die out of love. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Allow me to share with you a story teaching a lesson that Greatness and Humility come hand in hand.
(Story unknown source) Many years ago, a rider came across some soldiers who were trying to move a heavy log without success. The corporal was standing by as the men struggled. The rider asked the corporal why he wasn’t helping. The corporal replied, “I am the corporal; I give orders.” The rider dismounted, went up and stood by the soldiers and as they were lifting the log, he helped them. With his help, the log got moved. The rider quietly mounted his horse and went to the corporal and said, “The next time your men need help, send for the Commander-in-Chief.” After he left, the corporal and his men found out that the rider was George Washington.

The message of the story is clear. Being great and being humble go hand in hand. Simplicity and humility are two hallmarks of greatness. Humility does not mean self-demeaning behavior. To be humble is not to put ourselves down, it is exalting Jesus up. Humility is not a sign of weakness, it is actually a virtue of the strong.
Our Lord Jesus taught us this lesson on humility not only by words but he showed us an example by being obedient to the Father, and even sacrifice himself accepting death on the Cross. That was Jesus’ greatest manifestation of humility and that is being obedient unto death. Humility is strange. If you think you possessed it, you probably don’t have it. But if you have it, you most probably are not aware you possessed it. Someone says “I won a medal for my humility, but it was taken away when I began to wear it.” Humility should always be God’s grace that we ask from him in our day to day life. Mother Teresa says:

“These are the few ways we can practice humility:

To speak as little as possible of one’s self.

To mind one’s own business.

Not to want to manage other people’s affairs.

To avoid curiosity.

To accept contradictions and correction cheerfully.

To pass over the mistakes of others.

To accept insults and injuries.

To accept being slighted, forgotten and disliked.

To be kind and gentle even under provocation.

Never to stand on one’s dignity.

To choose always the hardest.”

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Homily:28th Sunday In Ordinary Time B by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

28th Sunday pater x

A REFLECTION OF THE HEART
28th Sunday In Ordinary Time (B)
Mark 10:17-30
Gospel Reflection by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL :Mark10:17-30

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
knelt down before him, and asked him,
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;
honor your father and your mother.”
He replied and said to him,
“Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
“You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
At that statement, his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
“How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
“Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
“Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For human beings it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God.”

Peter began to say to him,
“We have given up everything and followed you.”
Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you,
there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters
or mother or father or children or lands
for my sake and for the sake of the gospel
who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age:
houses and brothers and sisters
and mothers and children and lands,
with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.”
*
The Gospel of the Lord/ Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
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REFLECTION:
We are told from the Gospel for this Sunday an encounter between our Lord Jesus and a someone who was referred to, as a very wealthy man. In this particular text, we see a man who enthusiastically approached Jesus to ask this question, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” In a close examination of the text, we see here the good intention of the man. It was a question on how to attain salvation. And Jesus in effect said to the man, “You know the commandments …observe them!” And the man replied, “Teacher, all these I have kept since my youth.” To which Jesus further said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” Then the Gospel described to us the reaction of the man i.e. he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Jesus initially loved the man for the goodness in his heart. But he became sad because he failed in that one final test – to give up his possessions and to distribute them to the poor. To most of us, the test that Jesus gave the man may seem harsh. How could he give away everything he has in an instant to give them to the people who were not even members of his family nor related to him. Considering perhaps that the man labored hard all his life that he and his family may be assured of a comfortable life. It may seem unjust to be asked such a thing. But we should also consider what he was asking for. The man wants to be assured of salvation. Salvation is not a cheap thing. Salvation is a free gift from God, but it costs you your life! Yes, it is true that grace is free but it is certainly not cheap. It is going to cost a person everything. Attaining it, therefore, is like finding a pearl of great value…so you don’t wanna settle for less. God offers us the best and so we do not compromise for anything less. A perfect example was Judas Iscariot. If anyone had the promise of great wealth and blew it, it was Judas Iscariot. Great rewards await the apostles. In the Book of Revelation 21:14, it says that the names of the Twelve Apostles would be inscribed into the 12 foundations of heaven. Jesus also promised that they would sit on 12 thrones judging the nations of Israel. Judas had witnessed Jesus’ many miracles, had listened to his preaching, walked with him, ate with him, but still, somehow he failed to see the eternal riches that were placed before him. It was some kind of foolishness that Judas exchanged the glory of the Kingdom of God for a meager 30 pieces of silver. Sometimes people didn’t know what is of greater value and importance. The man in the Gospel was offered by our Lord Jesus something that is valuable. He was invited to come and follow him. It should have been a chance of a lifetime. But he let it go. He chose material and earthly wealth in place of something eternal.
There is actually nothing wrong with material possessions or being wealthy. In fact, we could use the money for a greater cause. Some of the world’s greatest people who did most of the welfare of humanity have been wealthy people. One should realize that we are but stewards here on earth. We actually own nothing, Our hold on things is only temporary. And one day, death will separate us from earthly goods. When we die, we will leave everything behind …our house, our jobs, our money, our friends and even our loved ones. Everything that is dearest to us. Everything that we consider our greatest treasure. Everything that we’ve given utmost importance, something that we value the most. Something that we even considered that which we cannot live without. In our journey to perfection, our Lord Jesus wants us to succeed. This is the reason why he was saddened upon seeing the man in the Gospel walked away for he had many possessions. In the end, the problem is not what we possessed, but what possesses us. Jesus wants us to inherit eternal life. His mission is to save us. Yet he said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God. Yes, it may be difficult but it is not impossible.
This reminds me of Dolores Hart. The name may sound familiar to you. Well, Dolores Hart was a prominent Hollywood actress. She made ten films in 5 years. Her first movie was with Elvis Presley in “Loving You” (1957). She became an established leading lady in1960. At the height of her showbiz career, she ‘stunned Hollywood’ by announcing that she would give up show business to become a nun. Dolores Hart starred in the film, Francis of Assisi in 1961. While doing the movie, she met Pope John XX11, who was instrumental in her vocation. When she introduced herself to the Pope, she said: “I am Dolores Hart, the actress playing Clare.” To which the Pontiff replied in Italian – “Tu sei Chiara!” (which means “No, you are Clare). Dolores Hart is a perfect example of a person who could possibly leave everything behind – wealth, fame, the glamour – in order to heed to a greater call i.e to follow Jesus. As a novice, Dolores Hart told her superior, “I will never have to worry again about being an actress because it was all over and behind me.” But the lady Abbess replied, “I am sorry, but you are completely wrong. Now you have to take up a role and really work at it.” The Abbess was like saying being a Christian is a serious business, one needs to work hard to achieve perfection.
The Gospel serves as a challenge and an invitation to us all. It is an invitation for us to let go of anything that hinders us from living in accordance with the Gospel values and for us to be able to give ourselves completely to God. If God could give himself totally to us in the Person of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, can we not give ourselves totally to God?

HOMILY:27th Sunday In Ordinary Time (B) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

27th Sunday B pater2

27th Sunday In Ordinary Time (Year B)
A REFLECTION OF THE HEART
Mark 10:2-16 “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her.”
Sunday, 7th October 2018
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL :Mark 10:2-16

The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked,
“Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?”
They were testing him.
He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?”
They replied,
“Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce
and dismiss her.”
But Jesus told them,
“Because of the hardness of your hearts
he wrote you this commandment.
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.
So they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together,
no human being must separate.”
In the house, the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.
He said to them,
“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another
commits adultery against her;
and if she divorces her husband and marries another,
she commits adultery.”

And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them,
but the disciples rebuked them.
When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them,
“Let the children come to me;
do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to
such as these.
Amen, I say to you,
whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child
will not enter it.”
Then he embraced them and blessed them,
placing his hands on them.
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The Gospel of the Lord/ Praise be to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
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REFLECTION:
The Gospel for this Sunday presents us a very sensitive and controversial issue i.e Divorce. In today’s Gospel text the Pharisees approached Jesus to challenge him concerning the issue about divorce. They asked our Lord, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” The issue about divorce is obviously one of the most controversial topics during Jesus’ time. In fact, St John the Baptist literally lost his head when he condemned King Herod for taking his brother’s wife. And undoubtedly, it still is as controversial as ever even to this date. Many people are having difficulties accepting the Theology about divorce, and therefore, we deal with this issue with sensitivity and care. But in the end, whether we agree or not our Lord made a clear and firm stance. Jesus never waters down his message. It is not in the will of God for a marriage to end up in divorce. Marriage is a sacred union between a man and a woman and God wills it to last a lifetime. “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Then Jesus further said, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” It was indeed strong words from our Lord Jesus himself. Does that mean that Jesus hates those who are divorced? I understand that we have members of the Church who went into this process, some couples are separated and there are those who are civilly married. Does Jesus condemn those people? Not at all! I think Jesus deals with them with compassion, healing, acceptance, forgiveness, and love. It is demonstrated on how he dealt with the woman caught in adultery, the same as in the case of the woman at the well. More than anything else our Lord Jesus made more emphasis on the truth about mercy, forgiveness, and love.
The ideal is for the married couple to remain faithful until death… The truth is, not all marriages last until death. Husbands and wives commit mistakes. Nobody’s perfect, so to speak. Many couples break apart. Relationships fall apart. So the question is – Is there life after divorce? Absolutely, there is life after divorce. We don’t want to see people living miserably. The issue with regards divorce has become a very touchy subject even in the central government of the Church. The good news is that our pope, Pope Francis and the like-minded people around him are determined to find the pastoral approach in dealing with this most important issue. This is in line with the Pope’s vision of making the Church an instrument of God’s mercy and compassion.
It takes a lot of hard work to make a marriage really work. Pope Francis said, “Married life must be persevering, because, otherwise love cannot go forward. Perseverance in love, in good times and in difficult times, when there are problems …love perseveres.”
Story (Jack McArdle): A tough battle-ax of a wife was seeking advice from the marriage counselor. “I hate my husband,” she began. “He’s making my life a hell on earth. I want a divorce and I want to make things as tough as possible for him.”
The counselor advised, “Begin by showering him with compliments, indulge his every whim. Then when he realizes how much he needs you and wants you, start your divorce proceedings.”
Six months later the counselor met the woman and asked, “When are you going to file your divorce papers?”
“Are you out of your mind?” replied the woman indignantly, “We are divinely happy!”
When two people make a vow to love each other and be with each other all the days of their lives, it is a sacred vow. It is a covenant between two people. It is even more beautiful because it is a sacrament. It is not just husband and wife making a covenant with each other in marriage, but it is husband and wife making a covenant to each other with Jesus in marriage. The secret therefore of a lasting marriage is to make Jesus the center of married couples’ lives.

INSIGHT: Why do we celebrate birthdays? by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

why

Why Do We Celebrate Birthdays?

by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

Why is a celebration of one’s birthday of so much importance to most of us? Come to think of it, man is not born every year. So what’s the point of celebrating one’s birthday? Some people get hurt when we simply forget their birthdays. You always get in trouble if you fail to remember and to greet a loved one on his or her birthday. I always wonder how people came to be greatly affected by the anniversary of their birth. Someone jokingly said “Why celebrate the fact that you are a year older and now one year closer to your penultimate fate which is death? Practically the date of one’s birth should just be another day, just a reminder that a year has passed. But each year on our birthday we look forward to some meaning and significance of our existence.
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Culturally, we vary in our celebration of birthdays. To some, it serves as a family event. In other culture, they especially give importance to a rite of passage, a celebration of the coming of age. For instance, in Japan, the coming of age day recognizes all those who have turned the age of 20. In the Philippines, a ‘debut’ is celebrated at their 18th for girls and 21st for boys. In some Hispanic countries the 15th year is the most important one called ‘quinceanera’ And here in North America, usually sweet sixteenth is an important family event. A celebration of a birthday is never complete without birthday cakes in any culture. I prefer birthday cakes to be always round for to me, it symbolized the cyclical nature of life. Life is a cycle.
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But why really a need to celebrate birthdays? When we celebrate birthday whom do we honor? Do we honor ourselves? NO! But we honor the source of our life and the people who give meaning and significance in our existence. The most important person in a birthday party, therefore, is not the celebrant, but the people around the celebrant i.e. his loved ones. Therefore, the day of our birth is to give honor to God and to our family and friends, especially our parents who gave us life. It is so wrong if the celebration of our birthday is always self-centered. Like, we always expect surprises, gifts, and parties in our honor. Well, there’s nothing wrong with that so long as we acknowledge the real meaning of our celebration. Celebrating the anniversary of our birth is not just about gifts and parties. It is first and foremost to celebrate the life that God gave us and to offer Him praise and thanksgiving for it. It is a reminder of God’s goodness and graciousness. When our Lord Jesus was born on Christmas day, it was to glorify His Father and to save us. His birth, therefore, means service, sacrifice, and love. On Christmas day, therefore, our concern should never be focused on what we’re gonna receive but on what we are to give. For on Christmas day, we contemplate on His birth and what He was coming into the world to accomplish. It was Jesus’ manifestation of His obedience to the Father and His great love for us. His birth is giving and love. Ultimately, His mission was accomplished on Easter, the day of His resurrection.
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Birthday is one day in our life when we rejoice commemorating the beginning of our existence not just to count the time that has passed but to remind ourselves that each day is a new gift. To those who are only thrilled on what they are to receive on their birthday and thinking that it is always material things that could give meaning and happiness to their existence, bear in mind that we have already received the best gift i.e. the gift of Life. We receive so many gifts daily not just on our birthday. We only need to recognize and acknowledge those gifts in our lives. Birthday is actually a challenge to reflect on one’s legacy. Like, how am I going to spend the rest of my life? What legacy will I leave behind? How would I want to be remembered? What is the purpose of my existence?
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“Let them eat cake” to me means let us rejoice, let us celebrate the gift of LIFE & LOVE!

Homily:26th Sunday In Ordinary Time (B) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

26th Sunday B pater

GOSPEL: Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48

At that time, John said to Jesus,
“Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name,
and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.”
Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him.
There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name
who can at the same time speak ill of me.
For whoever is not against us is for us.
Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink
because you belong to Christ,
amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,
it would be better for him if a great millstone
were put around his neck
and he was thrown into the sea.
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.
It is better for you to enter into life maimed
than with two hands to go into Gehenna,
into the unquenchable fire.
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off.
It is better for you to enter into life crippled
than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.
Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye
than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna,
where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’”

The Gospel of the Lord / Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
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REFLECTION:
This Sunday’s Gospel is divided into two parts. The First part relates to us that the apostle John approached Jesus complaining to him that they saw a man casting out demons in his name and that they tried to stop him because the man did not belong to their group. “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him because he was not following us.” At once, Jesus knew where the reaction was coming from. We know that Jesus had given the twelve an authority to cast out demons (Mk 3:14-15). There were times that they were successful in driving out demons (Mk 6:13). But it was also reported they were frustrated for having failed to cast out demons. Like in Mark 9:14-29 – A man had brought them his son who was possessed by an evil spirit, but the apostles were unable to cast it out. This must be the reason why the apostles, most especially John, reacted that way when they saw a man casting out demons in the name of Jesus and was successful. It is so clear to me, that the apostles were envious of that man. They thought that since they belong to the group formed by Jesus himself they have the monopoly of working in Jesus’ name. But immediately, Jesus turns the table on the disciples, as if telling them that there is a need for them to pay attention to their attitude. They were envious of the man whom they considered an outsider and therefore he didn’t have the right to use Jesus’ name. The apostles should realize that the spirit of God is not controlled by any single individual or group of individuals or even an institution, no one has the monopoly of truth and the spirit blows where it wills. And so Jesus told them to leave the man alone and not to prevent him. “For no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us.” Here Jesus is teaching the apostles and us about the dangers of the sin of envy. Pope Francs talked about the dangers of envy. He said that it is a sin which fosters bitterness against our brothers, stifles our joy and inhibits us from truly praising God. It is a destructive anxiety which tolerates that a brother or sister has something that I have not.”
Story ( Envy by Tonne)
In Greek history we read of a young man who so distinguished himself in the public games that his fellow citizens raised a statue in his honor, to keep fresh the memory of his victories.
This statue so excited the envy of another rival who had been defeated in the races, that one night he stole out under cover of darkness with the intention to destroy the statue. But he only nicked it slightly. He then gave it a final heave and it fell – on top of him…and killed him.
The lesson of the story: Envy always harms the one who is guilty of it. An envious person always emerged a loser.
And so what must we do? Well, counter envy with charity. That’s the only solution we have – Charity! The only way we can rejoice at the success and gifts of others is LOVE!

1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hope, always perseveres.

The second part of the Gospel should not be interpreted literally. We reflect on it with extra care. This particular text is a warning to those who would cause a scandal to a someone leading him/her to sin. “If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea.” To sin is horrible but to lead another person to sin is infinitely worse. Our goal therefore as Christians is to be a role model to our brothers and sisters that they may follow.
Then Jesus further said, “If your hand or foot causes you to stumble, cut it off or if your eye causes you to stumble tear it out…” Again this should not be interpreted literally. Because if we do, since nobody’s perfect and we are all capable of committing sins, then many of us would be without hands, feet or eyes. Our Lord Jesus in a metaphorical manner just wanted to make a point. He wants us to take things seriously i.e. to do everything in our power to live a holy life for God. There is only one goal in life that is worth any sacrifice and that goal is to give ourselves over to God completely. In other words, whatever it is that gets in the way between ourselves and our following of God must be totally cut off. And that could mean anything, like our excessive love of selves, our love of power and fame, our love of influence, our love of wealth or that which become so part of our life but has become an obstacle to our following of the Lord. Living a holy life may never be that easy but it’s worth a sacrifice. If we could make a supreme sacrifice so as to avoid sin for the sake of our love of God, then we’ll experience in our life true joy and not just a fleeting and superficial one.

Homily: 25th Sunday In Ordinary Time(B) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

25th Sunday B Pater

A REFLECTION OF THE HEART
25th Sunday In Ordinary Time (B)
23rd September 2018
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL: MARK 9:30-37

Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee,
but he did not wish anyone to know about it.
He was teaching his disciples and telling them,
“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men
and they will kill him,
and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.”
But they did not understand the saying,
and they were afraid to question him.

They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house,
he began to ask them,
“What were you arguing about on the way?”
But they remained silent.
They had been discussing among themselves on the way
who was the greatest?
Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them,
“If anyone wishes to be first,
he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”
Taking a child, he placed it in their midst,
and putting his arms around it, he said to them,
“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me;
and whoever receives me,
receives not me but the One who sent me.”
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The Gospel of the Lord/ Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

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REFLECTION:
Today’s Gospel text relates to us that for the second time our Lord Jesus predicted his passion and death. He said to his disciples that “the Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.” I could have just imagined how Jesus must have felt at that time while he was discussing these things to his disciples. There may be a deep sense of loneliness in his heart while he was talking about his impending suffering and death. Given this scenario, it was ironic on the other hand that the disciples were preoccupied with discussing among themselves as to who among them is the greatest. In the Gospel, therefore, we were given this contrasting situation – i.e our Lord was talking about his passion while the disciples were in a competitive mode as to who among them should be considered number one in the Kingdom of God. And so Jesus took this as an opportunity to teach his disciples the meaning of true greatness. True greatness is found in our willingness to be “last and servant of all. “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be last of all and the servant of all.”
While I was reflecting on this Sunday’s Gospel, what really struck me is the word “passion.” Jesus predicted for the second time his passion and death. Allow me here to give you my insights on the word ‘passion.’ The word passion has a double meaning. Commonly it refers to any intense feeling, whether of love or desire, delight or enthusiasm. It also means “suffering.” (From the Latin word “Pati” meaning ‘to suffer.’) Passion, therefore, both means Love and Suffering. In that case, there must be some connections between Love and Suffering. Henri Nouwen puts it beautifully, he said “Every time we make the decision to love someone, we open ourselves to great suffering, because of those we most love cause us not only great joy but also great pain. And if we want to avoid suffering, we will never experience the joy of loving. And love is stronger than death, hope stronger than despair. We have to trust that the risk of loving a someone is always worth taking.” Our Lord Jesus took that risk! Christ manifested the greatest price for love through suffering, he laid down his life for us. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) If you genuinely love something or someone, then you must be willing to suffer for it. In today’s Gospel, therefore, when our Lord Jesus was talking about his passion and death, it was at the same time his declaration of his love for us. The Cross is Jesus’ ultimate act of love and suffering.
But the Gospel serves both a challenge and a warning. Jesus challenges us to be always passionately in love. But we need to asses our hearts. The Gospel shows us a contrast between the “passion” of Jesus to that of the disciples. Jesus is passionately in love with the world and in love with people. While the disciples were passionately in love with themselves and in love with their own ambition. Jesus was not the only one who suffered martyrdom. There are so many people who experienced suffering and martyrdom, but what set Christ apart is its saving role. It was done for the salvation of mankind. “The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45) Jesus wants us to be passionately in love. But it should not be a love just of oneself and one’s ambition but most especially a love done in the service of others. “Our capacity to give and receive love is what ultimately defines us. Nothing we have ‘accomplished’ in our life matters as much as the way we have loved one another. No matter what life brings our way, love is our highest goal, our most passionate quest.” (Alan Wolfelt)
If we are to love God, then we should love him passionately. He does not want us to love Him half-heartedly. He wants us to love Him with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.
Likewise, if we are to love our neighbors, then we should love them passionately. If we truly believe in the love of others then we should be willing to suffer for it. Love one’s neighbor as oneself.
“At the end of life, we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.” (Mother Teresa)
For Jesus, the measure of greatness is determined by our service and love. The more we are willing to serve and love, the more humble we become. For service, love and humility go hand in hand. Aim to be great that is motivated by humble service and love.

Homily:24th Sunday In Ordinary Time (B) by Rev. Fr.Allen Baclor Abadines

24th Sunday B Pater2

A REFLECTION: 24th Sunday In Ordinary Time (B)
16th September 2018
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL: MARK 8:27-35

Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they answered him, John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him. Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly.

And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.

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

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REFLECTION:

The Gospel of this Sunday centers on the identity of Jesus. The Gospel text relates to us an encounter of Jesus with his disciples at Caesarea Philippi. On the way to a village called Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked this question, “Who do people say I am?” And they responded some say John the Baptist, others, Elijah, still others one of the prophets. ” Caesarea Philippi, by the way, is a village which actually became the center of worship of false gods for thousand years, hence, this may inspire Jesus to ask his Disciples such question. He wanted to know how people regarded him. They were so wrong to think that Jesus was John the Baptist, or Elijah or one of the prophets. Jesus was of course not satisfied with the response he got, but that was to be expected. People really did not know him that well. They must have heard very little of him, except for the fact that they were amazed at his teachings as well as the so many miracles he performed. But what is of a more important and more relevant to Jesus is the understanding of his disciples. For quite a while, they had been with Jesus. They have heard Jesus’ teachings. They were first-hand witnesses to the so many wonderful works of Jesus. They were witnesses to how Jesus lived, they experienced Jesus’ spirituality. And so turning to his disciples he directed the crucial question, “But how about you…who do you say that I am?”. Jesus’ question offers them an opportunity to clarify in their hearts how well do they know the Lord. That question has become life’s ultimate question, for I believe, it was not only directed to the disciples but it is the same question that is being asked of us. “Who do you say that I am?” How are we gonna respond? How well do we really know Jesus? Well, it may be easy for us to respond now based on what we’ve learned from our Catechesis.But Jesus wants a personal, honest response. Knowing Jesus is different from knowing something about Jesus. In the Gospel, Peter replied, “You are the Messiah” Peter must be very proud of his answer. He got it right! But not so fast! For when Jesus began to explain to them that the ‘Son of man would have to suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and by the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again,’ it was way beyond them. They cannot comprehend a suffering Messiah. Peter must have answered correctly – Jesus is the anointed one, the promised Messiah, but Messiah in his mind is a someone who would rescue Israel from the Romans. But Jesus’ mission is more than saving Israel. His mission is to save mankind from sin, to assure man of eternal life, to teach us how to live and to reveal to us God’s love. God’s love is a mystery. It is indeed a mystery why in the very first place he willed that his only begotten Son, must suffer persecution and death. If the disciples will not be able to accept the suffering Messiah, then it will not be possible also to accept their own suffering for Jesus’ sake. This is the same reason why there are people who lose sight of a loving God whenever they experience suffering in their lives. In the midst of trials, pains and hardships they eventually lose their faith in God. People are most especially tempted to doubt God’s fidelity when they experience setbacks in their lives. This is why getting to know Jesus deeply is indeed important. Let me elaborate this point by telling you a story:

A Father’s Protection (Author Unknown)

A father takes his son into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone. He is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. He cannot cry out for help to anyone. Once he survives the night, he is a MAN. He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own. The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises. Wild beasts must surely be all around him. Maybe even some human might do him harm. The wind blew the grass and earth and shook his stump, but he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could become a man! Finally, after a horrific night, the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold. It was then that he discovered his father sitting on the stump next to him. He had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm. We, too, are never alone. Even when we don’t know it, God is watching over us, Sitting on the stump beside us. When trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out to Him. Moral of the story: Just because you can’t see God, Doesn’t mean He is not there. “For we walk by faith, not by sight!!!
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We come to know the love of God through our experience of the love of Jesus. Getting to know Jesus deeply, therefore, is to get to know God deeply in our lives. How would this be possible? It is by heeding his invitation “to come and follow me!” We come to know him personally only in living the lives he lived. To know Jesus is to walk with him. Following him is to imitate Jesus’ ways – his service, his sacrifice, his suffering, and his love.