HOMILY:3rd Sunday Of Advent (B) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

3rd Advent final father

 

GOSPEL REFLECTION: 3rd Sunday of Advent (B)
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL: John 1:6-8,19-28

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.
This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him. “Who are you?” He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.”
Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, “Make straight the way of the Lord,” as the Prophet Isaiah said.
Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me, I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.
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REFLECTION:

We now celebrate the Third Sunday of Advent. And the third candle of Advent which symbolizes JOY is now lit. Today’s Liturgical color which is rose is significantly different to give emphasis on the joyous anticipation of the Lord’s coming. The third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete , a Latin word meaning “Rejoice.” We rejoice because the Lord is near. And our salvation therefore is drawing nearer. We joyfully await the coming of the Lord.
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On this Sunday’s Liturgy, we are being invited to rejoice.God wills us to be happy. If we have no joy in our hearts, then something is wrong with our spirituality because ours is a religion of joy. 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.” It is safe to say that Jesus was a joyful person. He attended dinners. In fact, the very first miracle Jesus performed in his ministry here on earth happened at a wedding at Cana where he transformed water into wine.
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But how can we rejoice amidst the many sufferings we see in the world? Well, the joy that Jesus was talking about is much more than superficial and fleeting happiness or pleasure. Having fun is different from having joy. Joy is something that is inside our hearts. It is a way of life. Joy is a pilgrim. It is a journey. Pope Francis said that Christian joy is something we cannot buy because it is a gift from God. The Pope likened this experience of joy to that of a mother embracing her baby after childbirth because it is a joy “purified” by suffering of labor. The joy of Christians, he said, is a “joy in hope.” Therefore, when life’s trials are severe, our hope seems dim and our future dismal, we can still have that Christian joy which can be found in our deep sense of trust in God – that everything is going to be alright. A certain Leslie Weatherhead says “The opposite of joy is not sorrow, It is lack of trust (or unbelief). It was the joy before him that allowed Jesus to endure the suffering of the cross. Likewise, it is also our deep sense of joy that will allow us to overcome whatever trials and tribulations we encounter in life. Joy is not only there in happy times. It is the strength within in the most trying times. For St. Paul joy is possible even amidst adverse circumstances, like suffering and persecution. The second reading from the 1 Thessalonians says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Real joy is found in the presence of God and on how firm is our trust in Him.
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Today’s Gospel tells us that joy starts from within. We find joy when we allow ourselves to have a real conversion of the heart. This is what St. John the Baptist is trying to impart to us. A pure and a contrite heart brings real joy in us. When we make the presence of God felt not only within us but also in our caring and compassion for others we become harbingers of God’s joy.
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Story (Author Unknown)
Reggie’s brother gave him a car as a Christmas present. On Christmas eve Reggie came out of his office, and saw a boy admiring his shiny new car. “Is this your car, Mister?” he asked. Reggie nodded in affirmation, “My brother gave it to me for Christmas.” The boy was surprised. “You mean your brother gave it to you and it didn’t cost you anything? Boy, I wish….” The boy hesitated. Reggie knew what he was going to wish for. He was going to wish he had a brother like the one Reggie has. But what the lad said was far beyond Reggie’s expectation. “I wish,” the boy went on, “that I could be a brother like that.”
For a few seconds words failed Reggie and then he impulsively added, “Would you like to take a ride in my car?”
“Oh yes, I’d love that.” After a short ride, the boy turned towards Reggie. His eyes were glowing and he said, “Mister, would you mind driving in front of my house?” Reggie smiled a little. He thought he understood what the boy wanted. He wanted to show it off to his neighbors that he could ride home in a big car. But Reggie was wrong again.
“Will you stop where those two steps are?” the boy asked. He ran up the steps. In a little while Reggie, heard him coming back, but he wasn’t coming fast. He was carrying his little brother who was physically challenged. He sat him down on the bottom step, then sort of squeezed up against him and pointed to the car. “There she is, Buddy, just like I told you upstairs. His brother gave it to him for Christmas and it didn’t cost him a cent. And someday I’m going to give you one just like it…then you can see for yourself all the pretty things in the Christmas windows that I’ve been trying to tell you about.
Reggie got out and lifted the boy to the front seat of his car. His brother whose eyes were gleaming with joy climbed in beside him and the three of them embarked on a memorable Christmas ride.
That Christmas Eve, Reggie learned many lessons from the boy. Now he understood what Jesus meant when he said, “It is more blessed to give.” It is only when we put others first before us that we’ll find real joy. After all, JOY means. Putting J-esus as our priority. O-thers come second before Y-ourself.

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HOMILY: 1st Sunday Of Advent (A) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

1st Advent - talagang final na

 

GOSPEL REFLECTION: First Sunday of Advent (B)
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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Readings: First Reading- Isaiah 63:16b-17; 64:1,3-8
Responsorial Psalm: Restore us, O God, let your face shine, that we may be saved.
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:3-9
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GOSPEL: MARK 13:33-37

Jesus said to his disciples: “Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.
“It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and put his slaves in charge, each with a particular task, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly.
“And what I say to you I say to all: keep awake.”
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REFLECTION:

Story: A famous football coach once rebuked an overconfident player who said that their team would win because it had the will to win. “Don’t fool yourself,” said the coach. “The will to win is not worth a nickel unless you have the will to prepare.”
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What the coach meant was that – Success in any endeavor in life depends upon how much preparation we make. It is not enough that we have the will to succeed, for everything requires hard work and preparation. Like, a professional singer needs to rehearse to be assured of a good performance. A student, no matter how intelligent he may be, needs to study his lesson. An actor needs to read and study his script first before taking center stage. Indeed, preparation is important in our practical life as well as spiritual life. Christ exhorts us in today’s Gospel message to be always prepared. And it comes as a warning as he said:” Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.”
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The call to be spiritually prepared is of utmost importance as we enter a new Liturgical year. Advent is the beginning of our new spiritual journey. It invites us to embark on a journey as we reflect on the life of Jesus anew. Traditionally, Advent is considered a preparation for the coming of Christ.
The word Advent originates from the Latin word “Adventus” meaning “coming.” I call Advent season as a celebration of the past, present, and future.A celebration of the Past because the ‘first coming’ had already taken place. It happened 2,000 years ago on the first Christmas – the birth of our Lord Jesus. It is a celebration of the Present because we also experience Jesus’ daily coming into our life – like in the celebration of the Eucharist where we encounter Jesus in the form of Bread and Wine. We also experience His presence in Scripture as we contemplate his words. We encounter His presence in one another as we gather in faith and in prayer.”For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in their midst.” (Matthew 18:20) And it is also a celebration of the Future because the second coming is yet to come. It will be at the end of time. Jesus came, who will come, and who constantly comes.
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The celebration of Advent would make sense if we understand the importance and the need to prepare, to be vigilant. To highlight his message of preparedness and vigilance, Jesus relates to us in today’s Gospel the parable of the master who went on a journey and puts his slaves in charge. With this admonition to be always “on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come. (Mark 13:33) Preparation is what the life of discipleship is all about, before, during and after the season of Advent. Life, therefore, should be a constant observance of the Advent season. Saint John Paul 11 says “The whole of our life must be an ‘Advent’, a vigilant of the final coming of Christ.” So what must we do? To answer this question, let me share with you another story that we may ponder upon.
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Story (from The Next 500 Stories by Frank Mihalic, SVD)
A young man dreamt that he had walked into a store where an angel was standing behind the counter. He hastily asked the angel, “What do you sell in this store?”
“Anything. You name it,” said the angel.
So the young man began, saying, “I would like to order the following; a democratic government in Chile, an end to all the wars in the world, a better deal for the marginal nations, the removal of all squatter settlements in South America.”
At this point, the angel interrupted and said, “Excuse me, young man, you did not understand me correctly. We don’t sell fruits and finished products in this store. We sell only seeds.”
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Advent is a time of expectancy for a special and wonderful event -i.e. the coming of Christ. While we wait for this final event, there is a need for us to plant the seed, that we may benefit in the harvest time. Our life here on earth is but a preparation of our life in heaven.Are we making the necessary preparation? Have we planted the seeds of goodness and holiness? If so, then this expectancy should bring us joy rather than fear. Only then that we recognize that God’s judgment should be looked upon not of condemnation but of moments of mercy and grace. John 3:17 “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

 

HOMILY: Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (A) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

Christ the king final

 

GOSPEL REFLECTION: Solemnity of Christ the King (A)
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL: Matthew 25:31-46

Jesus said to his disciples: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the Angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.
“Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you? And the King will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it to me.’
“Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’
“Then they also answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you? Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
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REFLECTION:

Story: A well-known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20. bill. In the room of 200, he asked, “Who would like this $20. bill? Hands started going up.
He said, “I am going to give this $20. to one of you but first, let me do this.” He proceeded to crumple the dollar bill up. He then asked, “Who still wants it?” Still, the hands were up in the air. “Well, ” he replied, “What if I do this?” And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now all crumpled and dirty. “Now who still wants it?” Still, the hands went into the air. And he said to them, “My friends, you have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money you still wanted it. Why? Because it did not decrease in value! It was still worth $20. Likewise, Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value – you are special – you are a CHILD OF GOD.
Yes, this is our identity and our worth – that we are children of God. A God who is King. In the “Lord’s Prayer,” we say “Thy Kingdom come!” And as children of God, He welcomes us to enter His Kingdom. “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…” A Kingdom that is not in a palace or royalty but it is in the human heart.
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Today, we celebrate Christ the King.Why do we celebrate a feast that is inviting us to reflect on the image of Jesus as King? It is not easy for us to picture Jesus as King. During Jesus’ trial,Pilate asked Jesus “Are you a King?” To which Jesus replied, “I am a King, and I came into the world to bear witness to the truth.” The notion of Jesus as King is not that easy to reconcile with the kind of royalty we have in mind.For a start, Jesus was born in a stable. He was the son of a carpenter.Unlike, Caesar, Jesus did not have soldiers who were armed to protect him…no golden crown, no exquisite clothing, no palace, no throne or servants to wait on him. If ever his throne was the cross, his crown was thorns , his scepter was the lance that pierced his side.Christ Kingship therefore is far different from our secular understanding of royalty. In his trial he made it clear, “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.” (John 18:36) What is this Kingdom that Jesus was talking about? How then do we look at the Kingship of Jesus? Jesus’ Kingship is sustained by a power that does not manipulate others but a power of love. Christ did not come to establish a political sovereignty. We have here a King who is not hungry for worldly power and fame but a King who loves the poor and the marginalized. A King who cares for the weak and the downtrodden.A king who did not come to be served but to serve. Christ Kingship is not of this world, for He is a King who rules not from a royal throne in glory but from service of the cross. It is a Kingdom of truth, justice, peace, service , compassion and love.
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Yes, Jesus is our King and our challenge is for us to imitate in our lives the way our King lived. Like Jesus our King, we are called to serve not to be served. To love as Jesus loved. To be compassionate especially to the poor, the oppressed , and the marginalized. And to give ourselves totally to the Father by loving our neighbor as ourselves.In the Gospel, Jesus said “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothing. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me…For truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it to me.” William Barclay puts it beautifully, “Love always involves responsibility, and love always involves sacrifice. And we do not really love Christ unless we are prepared to face His task and to take up His Cross.”
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As we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King, there is a sense of gratitude in my heart. For I feel loved despite my weaknesses and shortcomings. I came to know my worth , I am a child of God. Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely…He loves everyone of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful or broken.”
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Let Christ reign in our hearts by being faithful to His will. Let us make his love known by our example and deeds. Let us help build his Kingdom here on earth knowing fully that Christ Kingship has at its heart, not power and wealth but compassion, service, selflessness and love. Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat! (Christ conquers, Christ reigns, Christ commands!)

HOMILY: 33rd Sunday In Ordinary Time (A) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

33rd Sunday1

 

GOSPEL REFLECTION: Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL: Matthew 25:14-30

Jesus spoke this parable to his disciples: “For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.
The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
After a long time, the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying,’Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’
“And the one with two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents, see, I have made two more talents. His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’
“Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’
“But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return, I would have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'”
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REFLECTION

Story: Three pelicans were flying to a popular lake. As they traveled, they were each lost in thought.
The first pelican thought to himself, “I love my beak. It’s magnificent. No other bird has a beak quite like mine. When I get to the lake, I am going to parade along the bank, showing off my beautiful beak and all of the other birds will be jealous.
The second pelican thought to himself, “I love my beak and I need to protect it. I can’t afford for it to get damaged, so I am going to only catch small fish in shallow waters. I know that I can do more, but it is too risky.”
The third pelican thought to himself, “I love my beak. It is a beauty and I am going to push the limits and get the most out of it. I am going to become the best catcher of fish in the lake. I’ve been given this beak for a reason, so I am going to work hard and catch the biggest fish out there. (Source unknown)
I like this story. It is teaching us some realities of life. Like, each one of us has received talents, blessings, and potentials for a reason. Not to brag about it and to show off just like the first pelican.Nor to hide it just like the second pelican. But to fully develop and make use of them to their maximum capacity just like what the third pelican did. Each one of us is blessed with so many gifts that we may use to share and make this world a better place.
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The Gospel of this Sunday has a similar message. It relates to us a simple story so easy to understand yet it has a powerful message with eternal relevance. Anyone can relate to its significance. Jesus tells the story of a man who gives talents to three of his servants. The first servant received five talents. The second servant received two talents. And the third servant received one talent. The first and the second servant went out at once and used the money to buy and trade things and ended up making even more money. But the third one didn’t want to take the risk out of fear of losing the money he was given that he went and buried it to keep it safe.It happened that upon the return of the master, they were summoned for an accounting. As what was expected the first and the second servant were praised by the master. But he finds to his dismay that the third slave to whom he entrusted one talent had simply buried the wealth and had garnered neither gain nor interest. And for that reason, the third servant was punished.
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Like many of Jesus’ parables, he tells this one, in particular, to teach us an important lesson i.e. God doesn’t want us to hide our gifts and blessings. Instead, He wants us to make use of them to the fullest. God created each of us with special gifts and He expects us to use those gifts for the purpose for which he gave them to us. This is the challenge of today’s Gospel. Our Lord Jesus is telling us that in the end, the Master will come for an accounting. There should be no excuse for us to come with a report that would not be pleasing to the Master. Our Lord intends that we multiply, increase, expand our gifts for our own good and the good of others. And to help build the Kingdom of God.
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So what holds the people back to show, develop and share their talents. Let me give you some reasons:
1) Insecurity – Some people may feel inferior to other people.They are always intimidated by people who are more talented.
2) Lack of confidence – They thought that their talents are not good enough.They do not see their importance. They would rather keep their talents to themselves rather than to use and share them with others. They forgot that those are gifts from God and therefore precious to God.
3) Fear of rejection. A lot of people are afraid of being rejected, ridiculed and or laughed at by others. But we have to first and foremost appreciate ourselves in order for us to be appreciated by others. People who are successful started out from a humble beginning, but what separates them from the rest is their boldness and readiness to take the risk. Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton said, “With ordinary talents and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable.” You may have the skills and abilities. You may not feel it particularly great, but it may be better than you think. If you don’t use it, you lose it! Talents that are not used are like Sundial in the shade.
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Let me end my reflection with another inspiring story. It is a story of a man who had real talent.
This particular man played piano in a bar. He was a good piano player. People came out just to hear him play. But one night a customer wanted him to sing a particular song. The pianist declined. But the customer was persistent. He talked to the bartender: “I am tired of listening to the piano. I want that guy to sing.” The bartender shouted across the room to the piano player. “Hey, buddy! If you want to get paid sing the song! The customers are asking you to sing.”
So he did. He sang a song. A jazz piano player who had not sung much in public, sang a song that changed his career, for nobody had ever heard “Sweet Lorraine” sung the way it was sung that night by a pianist – his name was Nat King Cole!
All along he had talent hidden and undiscovered.
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Luke 11:33- “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.”
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HOMILY: 32nd Sunday In Ordinary Time (A) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

32nd A

GOSPEL REFLECTION: 32nd Sunday In Ordinary Time (A)
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL: Matthew 25:1-13

Jesus spoke this parable to the disciples: “The Kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept.

“But at midnight there was a shout, “Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him! Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out!” But the wise replied, “No! There will not be enough for you and for us, you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.” And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet: and the door was shut.

“Later the other bridesmaids came also saying, “Lord, Lord, open for us.”: But he replied, “Truly I tell you, I do not know you.” Keep awake, therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
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REFLECTION:

Sometimes cramming becomes a habit to many students. Like, when we were studying in high school and in College, we developed a habit of putting off studying for the exam until the last minute. Then we stayed overnight without enough sleep in an attempt to have the last minute preparation for the next day’s exam. To some cramming may be effective. But most of the times, it could be a disaster, for the student lacks the much-needed sleep for the Test.The result shows, however, that those who came for the exam prepared always did very good.The bottom line, therefore, is to be always prepared. Life is teaching us an important lesson and that is to be prepared all the time.To be always vigilant for we do not wanna miss it when opportunities come.

Jesus in today’s Gospel text gave us the Parable of the Ten Virgins to teach us important lessons about being prepared and vigilant for the Parousia.Parousia means the coming of our Lord on Judgment day. Certainly, Jesus is coming on the last day. Like the bridesmaids in the Parable, it is our duty to wait patiently for the bridegroom’s return. Being prepared is of utmost importance in the waiting. And since nobody knows the exact time of the coming of the Bridegroom, it would be wise to have sufficient oil for the lamp.It would be a stupid thing to do to be without enough oil for the waiting.
Thus we are shown in today’s parable the contrast between waiting wisely to waiting foolishly. Five of the bridesmaids were wise and five of them were foolish.

When the Bridegroom arrived at an unexpected hour, those five wise virgins were able to join the entourage while the five foolish ones were left out.

I think there is wisdom why the exact time of the Parousia is not known to us.Matthew 22:35-37 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away. No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be at the coming of the Son of Man.…” God wants us to be always prepared. The seemingly delayed of the Lord’s coming should encourage us to live wisely. Living wisely is to be spiritually prepared for the arrival of the Lord. The time of waiting is a time to be able to get rid of anything that is not pleasing in the eyes of our Lord.

Something tragic had happened to those five foolish virgins. The Parable concluded that they were pleading for an admission but to no avail.They were totally banned from entering the wedding banquet. No matter how much they pleaded, the decision for them is with finality. They won’t be able to enter and join the party simply because of their foolishness. Its message serves as a warning to us all i.e to be always prepared. In the Kingdom of God, an opportunity missed will have a final consequence. In the story of Lazarus and the rich man, the rich man was given an opportunity to be compassionate and kind to the beggar Lazarus. But he failed. As a consequence, he was sent to an eternal punishment. And so begged Abraham for a little comfort.
Luke 16:25-26 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

Being vigilant is to live our lives in accordance with the will of the Father. His will for us is to always bring sufficient oil for our lamps – Sufficient desire to serve those in need, Sufficient will to live a holy life, and sufficient love in our hearts.
Be wise! Do not settle for less! It would be tragic if, in the end, we’ll fail to achieve our reward which is heaven.

HOMILY: 31st Sunday In Ordinary Time (A) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

31st Sunday A

 

GOSPEL REFLECTION: 31st Sunday In Ordinary Time (A)
A Warning Against Hypocrisy
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL: Matthew 23:1-12

1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

5 “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries[a] wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.

8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
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REFLECTION

Hypocrisy is what really ticked Jesus off. This is the reason why he oftentimes criticized the Scribes and Pharisees. He characterized them as hypocrites, self-righteous, judgmental and blind guides. These are the people whose holiness is but an outside appearance but inside they are full of malice, lies and evil deeds. Jesus said in today’s Gospel text, “Do whatever the scribes and Pharisees teach you and follow it, but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach.” Jesus seemed to be more compassionate to sinners like the prostitutes and tax collectors who are open to repentance, contrition and conversion than to self-righteous and hypocrites religious leaders and experts of the law during his time.
Of course, Jesus didn’t hate anyone. But if Jesus is to choose one between the sinners and self-righteous people, certainly he would prefer the sinners. In fact, the religious leaders of his time accused him of associating with them. He ate and drank with them and even visited their homes. Jesus rationalized in the Gospel of Matthew 9:12 “Healthy people do not need a doctor, sick people do.” The Scribes and Pharisees because of their being self-righteous, it wouldn’t easy for them to acknowledge their flaws. They do not see the need for repentance and conversion. They were so blinded that they cannot see their need for a Messiah. It is true that only those who acknowledge that they are sick, who are in need of healing.
What is hypocrisy? It is a pretense. It is like someone who claimed to have a good moral standard yet his action does not conform.
The word “hypocrite” derives originally from the Greek “hypokrites’ which means “an actor” or a “stage player.” Therefore, a hypocrite is some playing a role of a somebody who is far from his real self. The Scribes and Pharisees are the perfect examples of what hypocrisy is. They boast about following the hundreds of laws by wearing phylacteries and tassels in their robes. But everything is all about that. It’s about showing off their holiness. It was a display of holiness guided by pride and evil deeds.
We are all in danger of becoming hypocrites simply because we are all sinners. That’s the bad news! But the good news is that we are also capable of repentance, as well as being holy. Apparently, Jesus is like telling us that it is better to acknowledge our sinfulness and weaknesses than to be dishonest about it. Only when we accept our shortcomings that we can be humble enough to beg for forgiveness and be open to change.

HOMILY: The Commemoration Of All The Faithful Departed by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

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OSPEL REFLECTION: All Souls’ Day
Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed
2nd November 2017
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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There is a tinge of sadness in my heart as I reflect on today’s Gospel. Today’s Liturgy reminds us of our loved ones who have passed on before us. We remember whom we love the most and whom we miss the most. When we lose a somebody we love so much, the pain will always linger. We can never move on. We only have to deal with it every day of our lives. As we celebrate “All Souls Day,” we commemorate our departed loved ones. Remembering them is like bringing back all the memories – the time we spent with them, all the joys, the laughter as well as the pains and struggles we’ve shared with them – all these can never be recreated. And that makes it all the sadder. But I find consolation in the very words of our Lord Jesus in today’s Gospel. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” It is an assurance that Jesus knew our hurts, our pains, and troubles. And He invites us to come to Him and seek rest.
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Today, not only that we remember our dead but also we are being reminded of our future – our final destination i.e. one day we too shall die. The inevitable will also come to us whether we like it or not. That is part of human existence, we were born, we live and we shall die. Today we are being reminded that the body is not immortal. “Memento mori,” it is a Latin phrase which means “Remember that you have to die” or simply “Remember death!” The phrase is intended to remind us the transient and transitory nature of all earthly reality, our own very selves not excluded. On Ash Wednesday as the priest imposes ashes on our forehead, we were reminded of this reality as he said,”You are dust and unto dust, you shall return.” Do we really need to be reminded of this? Yes, actually we should be reminded of this most of the times, that we may not be distracted with things that are not essential on our journey, things that are passing but that we may focus more on the things that will last and that are immortal.
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Every time I do funerals, I always remind the bereaved family that death is not the end but rather beginning. It is not defeat but victory. Death is only a parting for a little while – not a good-bye but only a see you later. One day we shall all meet again. And we believe that our beloved departed brothers and sisters are in good hand. Our faith tells us that wherever they are, they are enjoying eternal bliss with all the angels and saints. This is the promise our Lord Jesus gave to us. John 14:2 “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.”
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Life is a journey.It is a journey that begins at birth and end with death that brings us to eternity. Therefore, we are only like pilgrims here on earth. Death is necessary for us to achieve higher kind of life. John 12:24 – “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” We are meant to be born out of this world to a higher level of our existence. Our life here on earth is but our preparation to a life eternal. And so what must we do? Our Liturgy this Sunday reminds us to desire for the highest goal which is heaven. We can only achieve it by the life we live. Surely, nobody’s perfect. But perfection should be our goal. Yesterday, we celebrated “All Saints’ Day” – it is a reminder of what should be our ultimate goal i.e. perfection. Saint Augustine puts it powerfully, he said, “The entire life of a good Christian is, in fact, an exercise of holy desire. You do not see what you long for, but the very act of desiring prepares you, so that when he comes you may see and be utterly satisfied.” We should, therefore, do our best to intensify our desire and longing for God. In doing so, we affect and inspire the lives of other people too.
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Allow me to end my reflection with a story:
A story is told of a man dying of AIDS at a hospital in Washington that was run by Missionaries of Charity. The man decided to receive the Sacrament of Baptism, and so he summoned a priest. But the priest said, “Before I baptize you I want to ask for some expression of faith from you.” The dying man said to the priest, “All I know is that I am unhappy, and these sisters who are attending to me are very happy, even when I curse them and spit on them. Yesterday, I finally asked them why they were so happy despite everything i did to them. And they replied ‘Jesus’ Jesus makes them happy and that when they serve the needy like me , they see Jesus,” and the man explained , “I want this Jesus so I can finally be happy.”
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While here on earth, let us be emissaries of the joy of Christ that we may affect the lives of others. Together we go hand in hand in our journey from here to eternity.