HOMILY:13th Sunday In Ordinary Time (B) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

13th Sunday pater

A REFLECTION
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)
Sunday, 1st July 2018
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READINGS:
First Reading: Wisdom 1:13-15;2;23-24
Responsorial Psalm: “I will extol you, Lord, for you have raised me up.
Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 8:7,9:13-15
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GOSPEL: Mark 5:21-43
When Jesus had crossed in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. Then one of the synagogue leaders named Jairus came and when he saw Jesus, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” So Jesus went with him. And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” Immediately her hemorrhage stopped, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.
Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, “Who touched me?”
He looked all around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. Jesus said to her daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your disease.” While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”
Jesus allowed no one to follow him. When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him.
Then Jesus put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about for she was twelve years of age.
At this, they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
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REFLECTION:
Today’s Gospel text presents to us a beautiful literary style of the evangelist St. Mark. Mark gave us two miracle accounts. First, he introduced to us, a prominent figure, Jairus a synagogue official of some kind who came to Jesus to plead for the life of his daughter who was greatly ill and was dying. Then this account is interrupted to relate to us another character, a woman with hemorrhages for twelve years. Then we return to the daughter of the synagogue official. Certainly, this particular literary style of Mark sandwiching the cure of the woman with hemorrhage was done with a purpose. It was as if to prepare Mark’s readers of an even greater miracle that is to come. The woman came to Jesus and Jesus brought healing and peace. As if this account is not amazing enough, it was followed up by an even greater miracle – the raising of Jairus’ daughter. Jairus puts his complete trust in Jesus, and Jesus brought life where there once was death. The raising of Jairus’ daughter reminds us of the raising of Lazarus. It is meant to invite us to reflect on the realities of life and death and life after death. It brings us the necessary hope and joy. For it tells us that there is life after this our present state. It tells us that we are destined to immortality. If there is no life after this one, then life is meaningless. We see life as a journey, a pilgrimage towards our ultimate goal which is heaven. Reflecting on today’s Gospel brings us to the conclusion that in Jesus we experience peace and healing. In him, suffering ends and new life takes the place of death.
When we read in the Scripture the miracle accounts of Jesus, bear in mind that it is not the spectacular element that is important. What is important is the meaning or the message that’s contained in the miracle. In Mark’s Gospel text we see impossible cases. Mark presents to us each case as almost beyond help. For instance, last Sunday, Mark gave us an account of the calming of the storm. The disciples thought they were going to die in the storm (Mk 4:38) but Jesus was able to calm the storm with a simple command – Quiet, be calm! And now we reflect on the healing of the woman suffering for twelve years and the raising of Jairus’ daughter. These accounts tell us that in Jesus there is no such thing as a hopeless case. In Jesus there are no incurables, nothing is impossible in him. But we learn a lot from the example of Jairus and the woman in the Gospel. It was their faith that brought about healing and restoration of life. Today, we have seen two beautiful examples of faith. When the sick woman and Jairus were helpless and hopeless, Jesus was the answer.
The woman had an incredible faith. She was certain that Jesus could heal her. She knew that Jesus was so powerful so that if she could just touch even the hem of his clothes, she would be healed. Certainly, that’s faith.
And Jairus, considering that he was a figure of respect in his town manifested incredible faith also. He was an important man, which is why the crowd gave way enough to let him through. But Jairus set aside his prominence and importance. Here he behaves like a desperate man. Jairus didn’t worry about what other people might say or think about him. So he threw himself at Jesus’ feet and begged. He had only one thing in mind and that’s the well-being of his child. He was not ashamed to ask Jesus for help. His child is dying. Here we see a compassionate Jesus who agreed to come with him to see his child. But before they get very far, they received a disturbing news – “Your daughter is dead…why trouble the teacher any further.” But Jesus said, “Do not fear, only believe!” Jesus was like telling Jairus to have faith. When things, therefore, seem hopeless, come to Jesus. Jesus is full of compassion. He feels and knows our pain for he himself experienced suffering. He longs to help you. He has the power to help when no one else can. You should never be afraid to bring Jesus your needs. But always have faith. Faith is a free gift from the Father. If we are lacking in faith, just ask the Father and he will gladly give you the gift of faith.
Perhaps this story may further enlightened us in our reflection:
The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements and in which to store his few possessions. But then one day, after scavenging for food, he came to see his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened, everything was lost. He was stunned with grief and anger. “God how could you do this to me!” Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him. The weary man asked his rescuers – “How did you know I was here?” They replied: “We saw your smoke signal.”
The lesson: It is easy to get discouraged when things are going bad. But we should never lose heart because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of our pain and suffering. Have faith in Jesus like the faith of Jairus and the sick woman. Whatever the circumstances may be, it is important to know that His divine providence will always be there for you and me.
Proverb 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

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Homily: First Sunday Of Lent (B) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

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GOSPEL REFLECTION: First Sunday of Lent (B)
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL: Mark 1:12-15

After Jesus was baptized, the Spirit drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan: and he was with the wild beasts, and the Angels waited on him.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”

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REFLECTION:

Last Wednesday, the Season of Lent has begun starting with the celebration of Ash Wednesday. Thus my personal spiritual journey has officially commenced. I always make the season of Lent an opportunity to have a forty day self-directed personal retreat. In the same manner that it should also be a season for everyone to take extra steps for some spiritual growth.The ashes that were imposed on our forehead is sending us a strong message i.e. that this time we really mean business. It is time for us once again to show some seriousness in our spiritual life. Thus we are being called to a sincere repentance. “Turn away from sin and believe in the Gospel.” The message of Ash Wednesday is tough since we are being reminded also of our mortal nature.”Remember, man, you are dust, and unto dust, you shall return.” It means to tell us that” One day we shall die.” And therefore there is a need to prepare for the inevitable. We are but pilgrims here on earth. We have our final destination.Heaven should be our goal and our reward. In the end, if we wanna succeed in this journey then there is a need for us to heed the Lenten call. It is a challenge to all of us – i.e. to repent and to change our ways. The word “metanoia” should be on our mind. It is a Greek word which means a radical change of mind and heart.
To make metanoia possible in us, we need to go to the basic.The First stage should be a recognition of our sinfulness and weaknesses. The second stage should be an avoidance of anything that could lead us to sin. In the “Lord’s Prayer,” we say “And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”

What is Temptation? It is an occasion of enticement. A seduction to commit sin. It is a deception trying to present something to be good when in fact it is not. Sin is presented to us as something pleasurable and harmless, thus we find committing them so attractive.

Is it a sin to be tempted? Have we committed sin when we were tempted?

The temptation is NOT a sin per se. Even our Lord Jesus allowed himself to be tempted by the devil, but he did not sin. There’s a common misconception that one commits sin when he is tempted. But no, the person is just being enticed to sin. It only becomes sin when one entertained it and took pleasure in it.

The good news is that no one can make us sin. Not even the devil. They can only seduce us into committing sin. But it is an entirely personal choice. It is a decision that we make. “You can lead the horse to water but you cannot make it drink,” so to speak.The bad news, however, is that man is weak. We all have our weaknesses and shortcomings. We all commit mistakes. Nobody’s perfect. Even St. Paul struggles, “I do not understand what I do. There are good things that I want to do but I do not do. Yet there are evil that I hate, but I do.” And therefore we need help. Before the Lord, we should humble ourselves and admit that on our own, we can not make things possible. We need God’s help as we say, “Lead us not into temptation.”

In the face of the Test, Jesus wants us to succeed. He wants us to pass the test. This is the very reason why in today’s Gospel text our Lord Jesus showed us the way to stay strong when we face temptation.
The Gospel relates to us that after a forty day of Prayer and Fasting in the wilderness, our Lord Jesus was tempted by Satan. The evangelist St. Mark in today’s Gospel text did not tell us how Jesus was tempted but St. Matthew gave us a detailed account i.e. Satan challenged our Lord to do three different things.

The First Temptation is to turn the stones into loaves. “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But Jesus said, “Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

The Second Temptation was meant to test God himself. “If you are the Son of God throw yourself down, for it is written, He will command his angels concerning you.”. But Jesus said, “Do not put your God to the test.”

And Third Temptation concerns power and wealth. “All these I will give you if you fall down and worship me.’ But Jesus said, “Away with you Satan, for it is written, worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him.”
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Story (by Bruno Hagspiel) Once upon a time the devil decided to go out of business. He offered all of his tools for sale. He attractively displayed the whole bad looking lot: Malice, Hatred, Envy, Jealousy… Each was marked with a price tag.
Apart from them lay a harmless looking wedge-shaped tool, very much worn out, but priced higher than any of the others. Someone asked the devil what tool that was.
“That’s discouragement, “he replied.
“But why is it priced so high?”
“Because,” answered the devil, “discouragement is more useful to me than all the others. With discouragement, I can pry open and get inside a person’s conscience, when I cannot get near him with any other tools. And once I’m inside his conscience, I can use him in any way that suits me best. It is so much worn because I can use it with nearly anybody since very few people know that it belongs to me.”
A person is never weaker than when he or she is fed-up, is down in the dumps. He or she couldn’t care less about anything.. and then anything can happen.. and usually does.
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Yes, Bruno was right! When a person feels so discouraged and when he is ready to give up, that’s the time when he is easily tempted. I notice that I am most vulnerable when I am lonely and feeling so low. But when I am happy and contented, that’s the time that I am spiritually strong. The bottom line, therefore,e is to be always spiritually joyful. A joyful person cannot be easily tempted.

There are essential elements we need to be able to succeed in the face of Temptations – I call these the three “Ps” – Perseverance, Prayers, Providence. Saints had to persevere and not to give up. Persevere and not to lose heart. We may be imperfect but our perseverance could lead us to perfection. Practice makes perfect. Then Pray, we need to pray. For when we ask God for the strength he will never fail us. Lastly, believe in God’s Providence and grace. A recognition that we are weak may help but we also need to recognize that God provides us the grace that we could be strong.
Remember, Temptations can only have power over us if we let them in.

In his letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul advises, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

HOMILY: 15th Sunday In Ordinary Time (A) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

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GOSPEL REFLECTION: FIFTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (A)
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL: MATTHEW 13:1-23
On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea. 2 And great multitudes were gathered to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat down; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.
3 Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. 6 But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. 8 But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:
‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
and seeing you will see and not perceive; 15
for the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
and their eyes they have closed,
lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
so that I should heal them.’
16 But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; 17
or assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
18 Therefore, hear the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. 20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful, 23 But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”
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REFLECTION:
Our Lord Jesus relates a parable using imageries so common and generally familiar i.e. The Parable of the Sower.Someone explains that a parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. Jesus uses ordinary things to explain about the Kingdom of God in a manner that could be easily understood. He makes the comparison to make sure that the lesson he wanted to impart to his listeners is expressed clearly. Now, this Sunday’s particular parable is one of the few that Jesus himself provides an explanation. But no matter how much Jesus makes it simple to each of us yet only those who accept the truth of the Kingdom will be blessed with a profound understanding. The truth will always be hidden to those who rejected the Gospel and its message. Thus Jesus said “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them, it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.” This Sunday, we are invited to reflect on a parable about a Sower, about seeds, and about different types of soil. We learned from Jesus himself that the Sower represents God, the seed is the Word of God and we are the different types of soil.I believe every one of us knows how does a seed grow. As Jesus explained to us, the parable tells us more about the soil than the Sower.
In this parable, we learned that in matters of Faith and Spirituality, we are not given a finished product. We are given seeds that we plant, cultivate and nurture. We help make it grow. God can only send us the necessary graces, but we are free to accept or to reject them. God respects our freedom. If we are to love Him, then we love Him freely.“ Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said “God does not force us to believe in Him, but draws us to Himself through the truth and goodness of his incarnate Son. Love, in fact, always respects freedom,” In this regard that our Lord Jesus likens us to a different type of soil.
“Some seed fell by the wayside, and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” (Matthew 13:4-8)
“The seed that fell on good soil produced a hundredfold,” says the response in our Responsorial Psalm
The question is – Are we the type of good soil that we let the word of God grow in our hearts? Our hearts, by the way, is a fertile place and whatever we plant in it will surely grow.A spiritual writer once said that we should be careful what you plant in it.
“If you plant honesty, you will reap trust.
If you plant goodness, you will reap friends.
If you plant humility, you will reap greatness.
If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment
If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective.
If you plant hard work, you will reap success.
If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation.
If you plant faith in Christ, you will reap a harvest.
So, be careful what you plant now; it will determine what you will reap later” (Source unknown)
Likewise, if you plant hatred, evil deeds and desires, then evil you shall reap. It is better that we plant good things, then we shall reap goodness and happiness in life.
There are ways where we could make our hearts like a fertile soil. We cultivate and nurture it by our frequent reception of the Sacrament of the Eucharist, also by our reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation where we experience God’s forgiveness and healing. Our communion with God through prayer also helps us establish a deeper relationship with him. Our daily practice of Charity helps improve our spirituality.
A deep faith in God doesn’t just happen all by itself. We have to cultivate and nurture it that it may grow and yield a hundredfold.

Homily: Fourteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (A) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

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GOSPEL REFLECTION: FOURTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (A)
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL: MATTHEW 11:25-30

At that time Jesus exclaimed:
“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to little ones.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
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REFLECTION:

Men are basically lonely. In fact, loneliness is man’s nature. He was born alone and he will die alone. Even during the creation of man, God recognizes man’s loneliness. In Genesis 2:18, it says”Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Thus God created a woman to be his companion. I had a favorite poem when I was in High school that talks about the lonely nature of a man. It was written by Wordsworth – “I wandered lonely as a cloud.” The poem tells us that the gathering together of the daffodils on a river bank shows nature’s refusal of being alone. However, I deem that loneliness is not really associated with just being alone. A man can still be lonely in the midst of a crowd. One may have lots of friends, yet still lonely. You may feel all alone even among friends. It is a feeling inside one’s heart. A person could be laughing, enjoying, talking, eating with friends yet still feeling lonely inside. Persons are lonely for various reasons. But sometimes, he is lonely for no reason at all. It doesn’t matter who you are.It doesn’t matter how young or old you are, nor how intelligent and beautiful you are. It is not a question of your status in life.Poor or Rich, one can get lonely. Feeling lonely can strike to anyone at anytime. Sometimes it is taken for granted, but it should be addressed seriously. Loneliness, when properly addressed, could build a person. One may become stronger and better person.But when it is not handled properly, it can also destroy a person. Many people become so depressed.Some lose hope and end up their lives. So how one can cope up with loneliness? People have different ways of coping up with loneliness. I know of a friend, like every time he gets lonely he would go shopping or go to a spa to relax. Some will go to a movie theater for a little distraction. Others indulge themselves with food. Still, others seek help from friends. Rich people spend money to hire the service of a Psychologist and or a Psychiatrist. Some people find it hard to talk about their emotions. I personally go to nature, to contemplate and to pray.That’s how I cope up with loneliness. I firmly believe that people who have a personal and intimate relationship with God tend to do well.
Saint Teresa of Calcutta says that “The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are much more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty — it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.”
“The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved.”

Jesus understands loneliness. Even as a Son of God, he was not spared of the feeling of loneliness. He felt lonely knowing that one of his disciples would betray him and the other would deny him. He felt lonely when his friend Lazarus died. He felt lonely when people abandoned him for they couldn’t understand his teaching.He felt lonely when he was persecuted because of man’s sinfulness. He felt lonely when people disobeyed God and wallowed in sinfulness.However, Jesus is more concerned about people’s loneliness than his own. Thus in today’s Gospel text He invites everyone to “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” He understands man’s restlessness. The good news, however, is that we could find rest in him. We can find rest from the one who himself had experienced supreme rejection and loneliness. How? Jesus says “Come to me!” The only way where we could find rest for our soul is to “Come to Him.” Coming to him means establishing an intimate relationship with him. It means knowing Jesus personally. It means trusting his words with our lives. It means putting our complete trust and confidence in Him. Proverbs 3:5 says “Trust in me with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.”

Life is essentially replete with struggles and challenges. But only when we come close to Jesus and offer our burden and walk with him; when we could find rest for our weary souls.

Homily: Corpus Christi (A) The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

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GOSPEL REFLECTION: Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (A) CORPUS CHRISTI
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL: JOHN 6:51-59

Jesus said to the people: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
The people then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.

“Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”

He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
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The Gospel Of The Lord/ Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ
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REFLECTION:

It is sad to know that nowadays some families rarely eat together anymore. Eating together as a family, for me, is an important aspect of family life. This is one particular family activity that strengthens family bonds. It is an opportunity for family members to exchange pleasantries and to some extent get to know each other so well. A healthy conversation among family members is essential to building up of a close family relationship. In the old days, when life and technologies were much simpler, families spent more time together. Members worked, ate, and slept together. But nowadays, even if they find time together at one table, they seemed to be busy doing their own thing. In that case, the chance to get to know each other intimately is destroyed. We need to put back a culture of strong family ties.Where we see parents talking to their children, Children listening to their parents. And siblings sharing jokes, laughter, and stories. And at the dinner table is the best place to start. I really miss those days when we share moments in one table as a family.It is the best place where families could create special memories together. We say the grace together. We share our experiences, some jokes, stories and some of our dreams and aspirations. We create sweet moments that we’ll treasure the rest of our lives.

Probably this is the reason why our Lord Jesus instituted the Eucharist in a form of a meal. Jesus wants us to gather at the Church as a community and as one family.Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in their midst.” Gathering therefore at a Church for our worship is indeed in God’s desire for us. Exodus 20:8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” There should be no compromise. Sometimes you hear people say,”Why should I go to Church when I see people who are sinners too?” Well, that is exactly the reason why there is a need for us to come to Church i.e. because we are all sinners. We need God’s grace and forgiveness. We also need one another in our spiritual journey. We need the support of the community in our spiritual life. While we are taking care of our own spirituality, we are also building up a Christian community. A community united in the love of Christ. Yes, we are an imperfect community for we are composed of imperfect people. But we go hand in hand as a community of believers towards perfection.This leads me to believe that those people who do not go to Church are only making excuses. For, in the end, the only reason I see is a sloth or perhaps lack or absence of faith. When one is convinced about the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, by all means, he will always find time to receive Communion as often as he could. The first time I learned about the real presence of Jesus in the bread, I fell in love instantly in the Eucharist. And I said to myself, “From now on I will never fail to receive Jesus in the Eucharist every week.” I kept that promise. It is one of the reasons why I decided to become a priest.

It is such a profound wisdom why Jesus presented to us himself as a Bread of Life. This Sunday, we are confronted with a Gospel text that deals with the Living Bread and the idea of partaking of it. John 6:51,, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever, and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
In today’s Gospel, we see Jesus’ listeners having difficulty in accepting Jesus’ teaching. They argued with one another, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” It was not easy for them to comprehend. Thus they abandoned our Lord Jesus saying “it was a hard teaching.” To this date, we are confronted with the same issue. There are people who expressed their doubts in believing in the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. It is not surprising that even among Catholics, there are those who are struggling to accept this teaching. But we could have the same argument presented when we explain the mystery of the Trinity. “It is not a puzzle to be solved, but a mystery to be lived.” Receiving Jesus in the Eucharist daily will help us grow in our faith and will help us understand the mystery of his presence in the Eucharist. To a man, it may be impossible. But to God everything is possible. He created the universe by just mere word, how can he not make himself present in every Sacred Host.

At the Last Supper, Jesus took the bread, blessed it and said, “This is my body.” Then he took the chalice, gave it to his disciples and said, “This is my blood.” Then he asked us to do this in “Remembrance of Me.” Every time, we celebrate the Mass and we receive Jesus in the Eucharist we celebrate God’s saving act and his love for us. It is a remembrance of God’s eternal love for mankind.

Homily: 4th Sunday Of Easter (A) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

4th easter2

 

GOSPEL REFLECTION: Fourth Sunday Of Easter (A)
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL: JOHN 10:1-10

Jesus said:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate
but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber.
But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice,
as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

When he has driven out all his own,
he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him,
because they recognize his voice.
But they will not follow a stranger;
they will run away from him,
because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.”

Although Jesus used this figure of speech,
the Pharisees did not realize what he was trying to tell them.
So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
I am the gate for the sheep.
All who came before me are thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the gate.

Whoever enters through me will be saved,
and will come in and go out and find pasture.
A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy;
I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
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REFLECTION:

They say that the sweetest and most important sound to anyone’s ears is the sound of one’s personal name. This is the reason why it is important to remember people’s names. When we remember and use their names in a conversation, it builds up a personal relationship. It shows we value the person.We give honor. interest and respect by calling him or her particular name.I must confess that I am really bad at names. It could happen at times when I am introduced to a someone for the first time that towards the end of the conversion I already forgot the name of the person. That would be so embarrassing. So I make it a point to always focus on other people’s names. Practice focusing on people’s names all the time makes perfect. But in case, you simply forgot , it is always nice to ask humbly- “I am sorry but I seem to have forgotten your name,” We all have our strength and weaknesses. Some people are good at remembering names. Others maybe struggling. But what is important is to always relate to people with sincerity and honesty.

Having this insights in mind, I feel so fortunate. I realize how important and how valuable are we in the eyes of God. This Sunday’s Gospel text attests to this reality as we reflect on the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. Every Fourth Sunday of Easter, the Church invites us to reflect on this image of Jesus as the good shepherd. And it tells us that the Good Shepherd knows his sheep or us personally and individually. “The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” It is such a privilege to have this personal and intimate relationship with God. Why? Because we are assured of his love. Just us he knows us personally, He also knows what is good for us and he provides for our needs. He knows our thoughts and actions. He knows our joys and pains.He even knows us better than we know ourselves. He cares about you personally.

Part of Dan Schutte song inspired by Psalm 139 says, “.Lord, You have searched my heart,
and You know when I sit and when I stand.
Your hand is upon me protecting me from death,
keeping me from harm.” God therefore relates to us like a loving Father taking care of his children’s needs. To God, you and I matter.

The image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd is perhaps the most appealing image of Jesus. We picture him as sweet, dedicated Shepherd to us his flock. But have we ever realized it’s most profound message? Part of shepherding are the perils that entail this job. It means that the Good Shepherd should be ready even to sacrifice his life for his sheep. Which our Lord Jesus did in accepting death on the Cross.This reminds me of a story from an unknown author:

THE VISITOR

One day, a man went to visit a church. He arrived early, parked his car, and got out. Another car pulled up near him, and the driver told him, “I always park there. You took my place!”
The visitor went inside for Sunday School, found an empty seat, and sat down. A young lady from the church approached him and stated, “That’s my seat! You took my place!”
The visitor was somewhat distressed by this rude welcome, but said nothing.
After Sunday School, the visitor went into the church sanctuary and sat down. Another member walked up to him and said, “That’s where I always sit. You took my place!”
The visitor was even more troubled by this treatment, but still said nothing.
Later, as the congregation was praying for Christ to dwell among them, the visitor stood, and his appearance began to change.
Horrible scars became visible on his hands and on his sandaled feet.
Someone from the congregation noticed him and called out, “What happened to you?”
The visitor replied, “I took your place.”

John10:11 says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

Our Lord shed his blood on the Cross for our salvation. That’s the ultimate expression of love when you are ready to sacrifice even your own life. But it is not enough that we admire this sacrificial offering of our Lord. It also entails responsibility on our part. John 10:27 My sheep listen to my voice, I know them, and they follow me.” Our task , therefore, is to always listen to our Shepherd intently and to let his Words guide us in everything we say or do.

Homily:2nd Sunday Of Easter (A) Divine Mercy Sunday by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

2nd easter

GOSPEL REFLECTION: 2nd SUNDAY OF EASTER (A)
DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL: JOHN 20:19-31

On the evening of the first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.

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

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”

Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Now, Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.
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The Gospel of the Lord./ Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
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REFLECTION:

Today we celebrate Second Sunday of Easter. On the Second Sunday of Easter we continue our reflection on the risen Christ. But this is also a day, in particular , that we are being invited to reflect on the immensity of God’s mercy and love as we also celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. When we say Divine Mercy , we mean to say it’s God’s infinite mercy. His mercy, love and forgiveness are greater than sin, suffering and death. It means our salvation and life eternal. And it means Christ’s victory as well as our own.

This Sunday’s Gospel text helps us to understand the reality in the mystery of this Divine Mercy. It is clearly stated in today’s Gospel message. Divine forgiveness, peace, mercy and love are the keywords underlying the message of John. The Gospel relates to us that our Lord Jesus appears before the apostles. Very noticeable in this particular text is the image of Jesus who is so quick to assure his disciples of his peace and forgiveness. I could only imagine how those disciples must have felt at that time. They confined themselves in a room out of fear, desperation and shame. One of them, Judas betrayed our Lord for thirty pieces of silver and it is easy to condemn him for his action but on that most trying moments in the life of our Lord, the rest of the apostles did not do too well either. They abandoned our Lord Jesus in times when he needed them most. We could even recall how Peter professed that he would lay down his life for Jesus. But Jesus knew that he would even deny him three times when put to the test. It was only John the beloved who was seen all the way to Calvary. And so the disciples knew that they were no better than Judas who betrayed our Lord.

It happened that during Jesus appearance to the disciples, Thomas was not present for some reasons. And when he was told about the risen Lord, he said . “Unless I see it for myself, and can touch his wounds I will not believe.” We can’t blame Thomas , his reactions were actually valid. He wants proofs. How can one easily believe such story of one rising from the dead? But when he finally encountered the risen Lord , he gave us a beautiful declaration of faith – “My Lord and my God.”

Against this background of doubts and lacking faith, later on the disciples manifested deep expression of faith. They became courageous and bold. They continued the mission of Christ of spreading the Good News of God’s Kingdom. Eventually , except for John they suffered the same fate as their Master. And so on this encounter of the risen Christ , Jesus manifested that he perfectly understood how his disciples must have felt at that time. He knew the guilt and the shame the disciples were keeping in their hearts. It was in this situation that our Lord Jesus assured them of the gift of Peace. Several times the word “Peace” was mentioned in the Gospel. The nature of “Shalom” or “Peace” of Christ in its purest sense means joy, tranquility of the soul and in its more profound sense , it means healing and reconciliation. Just like what St. Paul tells us in his letter to the Colossians (1:20-22)

“20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,”

Jesus himself is the source and author of Peace. “Peace I give to you, not as the world gives; do I give to you.” The Peace of Christ means more than offering reconciliation, it is salvific, it gives life and it brings us back our dignity as Children of God.

As we continue to reflect on the Risen Christ and the Divine Mercy, we are being invited to always desire and ask for God’s mercy, forgiveness and love. Divine Mercy Sunday also invites us to put our complete trust in Jesus and to imitate his mercy in our lives.

Luke 6:36 “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
“Jesus, I trust in you!”