Homily:26th Sunday In Ordinary Time C by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

lazarus

REFLECTION OF THE HEART
26th Sunday In Ordinary Time (year C)
The Rich Man and Lazarus
A Reflection: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

READINGS:

FIRST READING: AMOS 6:1a,4-7

Thus says the LORD the God of hosts:
Woe to the complacent in Zion!
Lying upon beds of ivory,
stretched comfortably on their couches,
they eat lambs taken from the flock,
and calves from the stall!
Improvising to the music of the harp,
like David, they devise their own accompaniment.
They drink wine from bowls
and anoint themselves with the best oils;
yet they are not made ill by the collapse of Joseph!
Therefore, now they shall be the first to go into exile,
and their wanton revelry shall be done away with.
*
The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: PRAISE THE LORD, O MY SOUL.

Blessed he who keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R/Praise the Lord, O my soul!
*
The LORD gives sight to the blind.
The LORD raises up those who were bowed down;
the LORD loves the just.
The LORD protects strangers.
R. Praise the Lord, O my soul!
*
The fatherless and the widow he sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, O my soul!
*

SECOND READING: 1 TIMOTHY 6:11-16

But you, man of God, pursue righteousness,
devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.
Compete well for the faith.
Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called
when you made the noble confession in the presence of many witnesses.
I charge you before God, who gives life to all things,
and before Christ Jesus,
who gave testimony under Pontius Pilate for the noble confession,
to keep the commandment without stain or reproach
until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ
that the blessed and only ruler
will make manifest at the proper time,
the King of kings and Lord of lords,
who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light,
and whom no human being has seen or can see.
To him be honor and eternal power. Amen.
*
The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.

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GOSPEL ACCLAMATION
Alleluia. Alleluia. Though Jesus Christ was rich, yet he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. Alleluia.

*
GOSPEL: LUKE 16:19-31

Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
that fell from the rich man’s table.
Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
When the poor man died,
he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.
The rich man also died and was buried,
and from the netherworld, where he was in torment,
he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off
and Lazarus at his side.
And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me.
Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
for I am suffering torment in these flames.’
Abraham replied,
‘My child, remember that you received
what was good during your lifetime
while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;
but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.
Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established
to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go
from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’
He said, ‘Then I beg you, father,
send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers,
so that he may warn them,
lest they too come to this place of torment.’
But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them.’
He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham,
but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’”
*
The Gospel Of The Lord/ Praise To You, Lord Jesus Christ,

____________________________________________

*
REFLECTION:
In the Lord’s Prayer, our Lord Jesus taught us to ask the Father to give us our daily bread.” The emphasis is clear. He did not tell us to ask God for a monthly, yearly or a lifetime provisions. He wants us to present to God our daily needs. There is wisdom in placing our needs on a daily basis. It means putting ourselves in humble dependence on the Father. We are encouraged to place our trust that God will certainly grant us the grace we need. Furthermore, it is clear that God wants us to come to him all the time which means that we recognize our need of Him so that we may discern a loving and a gracious God each and every single day. Very clearly therefore that our trust and confidence should be placed on a providential God alone and not on material possessions. Material possessions are but fleeting.
“Those who trust in their wealth. And boast in the multitude of their riches, None of them can by any means redeem his brother, Nor give to God a ransom for him … That he should continue to live eternally, And not see the Pit” (Psalm 49:6-9).
This statement is not anti-rich people. I always say that there’s nothing wrong with being rich. So long as one is aware of the proper use of material possession, then there’s nothing wrong with it. In fact, everyone deserves to enjoy the riches of the land. But one should realize that wealth should never be our only concern and main focus in life. One should not be possessed by material possessions. There is always a danger for a person to fall into materialism. Materialism means our main concern and focus are only on wealth and not on spiritual things. One can easily be possessed by it regardless of status in life. It is possible for a wealthy person to not become materialistic. However, a poor person can also become materialistic. Materialism therefore does not rely on one’s status in life for is rooted in one’s desires and one’s outlook in life. Anyone can be preoccupied by material possessions neglecting a much important thing which is our spiritual growth. Let us not place our trust in riches. One cannot attain eternal life by acquiring all the riches of this world.
This Sunday we continue our reflection on the Gospel of St. Luke. You may have noticed that these past few Sunday’s our points for reflection are centered on the material possessions versus spiritual matters. Today , we continue our reflection on this same subject as we reflect on the beautiful parable related to us by our Lord Jesus regarding the Rich Man and Lazarus.
. The Rich Man’s name unlike in the case of the beggar Lazarus was not disclosed to us by our Lord and it maybe on purpose. It teaches us that anyone of us could be that rich guy. The story tells us that that particular rich person was completely insensitive and indifferent to the beggar Lazarus. He manifested not even a slight sign of compassion and sympathy to the sad plight of Lazarus. Not that the Rich Man was a bad person. He was not mean to Lazarus. He in fact even let Lazarus stay near his table that he may enjoy the crumbs that fell from his table. It was his indifference that eventually made him deserving of eternal punishment. There is this so called sin of omission. A sin of Omission is committed when one advertently and freely failed to act or to do something when he can and ought to do. Just like in the case of the Rich Man, he was given an opportunity to be compassionate and to exercise some sense of generosity but he simply chose not to do it. The rich man committed that sin of omission.To be a follower of Christ is not only a matter of not doing anything bad. It is also a matter of doing something good and productive towards other people. On this Year of Mercy, we are being called to do something i.e. to animate in our lives God’s love by our humble service and love of neighbor.
STORY: (Unknown Source) A story is told of an intellectual motivational speaker who just gave a very moving and inspiring presentation to a group of students on the subject of the love of the poor. He did a very good presentation that the audience gave him a long standing ovation. When everything is done. He immediately went towards his expensive car. On his way, however, he was mobbed by a group of very poor beggars. But he just look at them with indifference and drove them away with his annoyed and irritated face.
Matthew 25:35-45
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. ‘Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, 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 no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, 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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Homily: 21st Sunday In Ordinary Time C by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

21st 2019 pater

REFLECTION OF THE HEART
21st Sunday In Ordinary Time (C)
The Narrow Door (Luke 13:22-30)
A Reflection: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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READINGS:

FIRST READING: ISAIAH 66:18-21

Thus says the LORD:
I know their works and their thoughts,
and I come to gather nations of every language;
they shall come and see my glory.
I will set a sign among them;
from them I will send fugitives to the nations:
to Tarshish, Put and Lud, Mosoch, Tubal, and Javan,
to the distant coastlands
that have never heard of my fame, or seen my glory;
and they shall proclaim my glory among the nations.
They shall bring all your brothers and sisters from all the nations
as an offering to the LORD,
on horses and in chariots, in carts, upon mules and dromedaries,
to Jerusalem, my holy mountain, says the LORD,
just as the Israelites bring their offering
to the house of the LORD in clean vessels.
Some of these I will take as priests and Levites, says the LORD.
*
The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: PSALM 117:1-2

RESPONSE: GO INTO ALL THE WORLD AND PROCLAIM THE GOOD NEWS.
or Alleluia.

Praise the LORD all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!
R/ Go into all the world and proclaim the good news.
or:
R. Alleluia.

For steadfast is his kindness toward us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
R/ Go into all the world and proclaim the good news.
or:
R. Alleluia.
*

SECOND READING: HEBREWS 12:5-7,11-13

Brothers and sisters,
You have forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as children:
“My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord
or lose heart when reproved by him;
for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines;
he scourges every son he acknowledges.”
Endure your trials as “discipline”;
God treats you as sons.
For what “son” is there whom his father does not discipline?
At the time,
all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain,
yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness
to those who are trained by it.

So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees.
Make straight paths for your feet,
that what is lame may not be disjointed but healed.
*
The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.

GOSPEL: LUKE 13:22-30

Jesus passed through towns and villages,
teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.
Someone asked him,
“Lord, will only a few people be saved?”
He answered them,
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter
but will not be strong enough.
After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door,
then will you stand outside knocking and saying,
‘Lord, open the door for us.’
He will say to you in reply,
‘I do not know where you are from.
And you will say,
‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’
Then he will say to you,
‘I do not know where you are from.
Depart from me, all you evildoers!’
And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth
when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
and all the prophets in the kingdom of God
and you yourselves cast out.
And people will come from the east and the west
and from the north and the south
and will recline at table in the kingdom of God.
For behold, some are last who will be first,
and some are first who will be last.”
*
The Gospel Of The Lord/ Praise To You Lord Jesus Christ.

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REFLECTION:

We continue our little sojourn through Luke’s Gospel text reflecting on some important and difficult issues. In today’s passage, Jesus was confronted with a question about salvation. He was heading Jerusalem when suddenly a man came up and asked him this question – “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” Seemingly, it was just a simple question answerable by ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ But actually, there are so many subtexts comprising this question. It was a question that could make us reflect on things that are eschatological, meaning issues about heaven and hell, judgment, eternal punishment, and heavenly bliss. Yet, Jesus made this an opportunity to teach and to make a statement. Obviously, the man got more than what he was asking for. There are so much going on in this passage. Jesus’ response indeed was profound and worth pondering upon. To the one who asked the question, “Lord, will only a few people be saved,” – he was just simply asking how many will be saved. But Jesus’ response reveals to us that the quantity should not be that much of a concern. What concerns him most is for people to know how could they attain salvation. In today’s Gospel, our Lord Jesus in answering that question managed to give us three little parables. The first parable is about the narrow door. Sometimes it is referred to as the narrow gate. Jesus said, “Strive to enter through the narrow door.” The question would be, “Why would anyone need to strive to enter?” and “Why is the door narrow?” The door may not be literally narrow that it would be a challenge for anyone to enter. It may be just a normal door. But as the gospel relates to us, the fact that many people will attempt to enter that door will make its entrance so challenging. Imagine a huge volume of people trying to make it through the door. What then will happen? It will require so much strength to get through the crowd of people pushing one another. Some won’t be able to make it. Only those who are persistent and strong enough will be able to get through. Entering, therefore, is not an easy job.
Jesus supported this parable by giving us another imagery – that of a locked door. “After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door,
then will you stand outside knocking and saying,
‘Lord, open the door for us.’
He will say to you in reply,
‘I do not know where you are from. We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’
Then he will say to you,
‘I do not know where you are from.
Depart from me, all you evildoers!” This means that it is not enough for us to know the Lord. It is not enough that we have faith. We need to have a covenant relationship with God, that in the end, God will acknowledge us and grant us entrance to the heavenly banquet. With this, the parable was followed by another imagery and that is the heavenly banquet. “And people will come from the east and the west
and from the north and the south
and will recline at table in the kingdom of God.”
While the Gospel of today is teaching us some important lessons in life. It also serves as a warning. Salvation is never easy. We need to strive hard until the end. Salvation is never cheap. It is freely given yet it will require hard work to fully attain it. There is no shortcut to salvation. It requires pains, hardships, and sacrifices. In short, it is the way of the Cross. But is there a need to strive? Why would God not make it easy for us? Perhaps the story that I would like to share with you at this point could shed some lights.
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STORY: One Day A Small Gap (Author Unknown)

One day a small gap appeared in the cocoon, through which the butterfly had to appear. A boy, who accidentally passed by, stopped and watched how the butterfly was trying to get out of the cocoon. It took a lot of time, the butterfly was trying very hard, and the gap was as little as before. It seemed that the power would leave the butterfly soon.
The boy decided to help the butterfly. He took a penknife and cut the cocoon. The butterfly immediately got out, but its body was weak and feeble, and the wings were barely moving.
The boy continued to watch the butterfly, thinking that now its wings would spread and its would fly. However, that did not happen.
The rest of its life the butterfly had to drag its weak body and wings that weren’t spread. It was unable to fly because the boy did not realize that an effort to enter through the narrow gap of the cocoon was necessary for the butterfly, so that the life-giving fluid would move from the body to the butterfly’s wings and that the butterfly could fly. Life forced the butterfly to leave its shell hardly so that it would become stronger and would be able to grow and develop.
If we were allowed to live without meeting difficulties, we would not be viable. Life gives us challenges to make us stronger.
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Life is a matter of decision we make. We are being challenged to make a choice. The Book of Sirach 15:14 tells us, “He created humanity at the beginning, and left them to the power of their choices. Are we going to take the easy path, but it leads to destruction? Or are we going to take the difficult one but it leads to life?
Matthew 7:13-14
“Enter by the narrow gate, for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.
For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
But who says, it is that easy. There is a need to strive. Every day is a challenge. We are always confronted with choices to do good or to do bad. To turn towards God or away from Him. We are like being pulled to two different directions. The choice is ours. Even saints find it difficult to heed to the call of holiness. That reminds me of St. Augustine who says, “Lord, make me chaste, but not yet.”
As we continue to reflect on today’s Gospel, there are important points that I’d like you to keep in mind.
We are already saved. By the mere fact that Jesus died on the Cross, we are already saved. God gave us a wonderful gift of salvation through the sacrifice of his son on the cross. It was Jesus’ mission to save us by accepting death on the cross. But it is a gift. We are saved by God’s free gift of grace but we have to reciprocate to this grace. God desires all men to be saved. He desires every single person to enter his Kingdom. But God respects our free will. Freedom is the gift that God gave us otherwise we would just be like an automaton. God predestined no one to go to hell, but he can not stop us if we would like to. We need to persevere to claim heaven till the end.

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

15th Sunday c 2019 pater

REFLECTION OF THE HEART
15th Sunday In Ordinary Time (C)
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
A Reflection: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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First Reading: Deuteronomy 30:10-14

Moses said to the people:
“If only you would heed the voice of the LORD, your God,
and keep his commandments and statutes
that are written in this book of the law,
when you return to the LORD, your God,
with all your heart and all your soul.

“For this command that I enjoin on you today
is not too mysterious and remote for you.
It is not up in the sky, that you should say,
‘Who will go up in the sky to get it for us
and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’
Nor is it across the sea, that you should say,
‘Who will cross the sea to get it for us
and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’
No, it is something very near to you,
already in your mouths and in your hearts;
you have only to carry it out.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 69

R. (cf. 33) Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.
I pray to you, O LORD,
for the time of your favor, O God!
In your great kindness answer me
with your constant help.
Answer me, O LORD, for bounteous is your kindness:
in your great mercy turn toward me.
R. Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.
I am afflicted and in pain;
let your saving help, O God, protect me.
I will praise the name of God in song,
and I will glorify him with thanksgiving.
R. Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.
“See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.”
R. Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.
For God will save Zion
and rebuild the cities of Judah.
The descendants of his servants shall inherit it,
and those who love his name shall inhabit it.
R. Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.

Second Reading Colossians 1:15-20

Christ Jesus is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn of all creation.
For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth,
the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers;
all things were created through him and for him.
He is before all things,
and in him, all things hold together.
He is the head of the body, the church.
He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,
that in all things he himself might be preeminent.
For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell,
and through him to reconcile all things for him,
making peace by the blood of his cross
through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven.

GOSPEL: Luke 10:25-37

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply, Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

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REFLECTION:

Today’s Gospel text gives us a very powerful message that could serve us as our guidelines in our day-to-day life. I’d like to give credit to that certain Lawyer in the Gospel. If not because of him, perhaps we won’t have this insightful parable that we may reflect upon. It was that particular lawyer who approached Jesus and asked this question: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” There are people who ask a question not because they didn’t know the answer. But because they just want to test other people’s intelligence. And that particular lawyer was one of them. Instead, of Jesus giving him the answer, he made the lawyer answer his own question. The response was in reference to the two greatest commandments and that is the Love of God and the love of neighbor as yourself. Because his real intention in asking a question was exposed, it put the man in an awkward situation, and so in order to save his face he followed it up with another one – “And who is my neighbor?” And in response to this question, Jesus told him a parable-The Parable of the good Samaritan. The lawyer in the Gospel got more than he bargained for. Jesus did not just give him an answer that could be so obvious like “a neighbor is a somebody who lives next to your house or a somebody you know.” But Jesus gives a definition of a neighbor that is something more profound. Something that is worth our contemplation. Something that gives us a reflection on what it is to be a good Samaritan to our neighbor.

We encountered four characters in the story- the man who was attacked by robbers leaving him half dead, a priest, a Levite, and a Samaritan. Those characters in the story were used by our Lord Jesus to show us extreme contrast and to make a point. It shows us that compassion is expressed beyond the provision of the Law and or tradition. Among the three who were given a chance to do something, it was the Samaritan who showed us what real compassion is. We expect compassion more on the part of the priest and the Levite. But it was the Samaritan and a foreigner at that who showed us the real meaning of how it is to be a neighbor to someone in need. Sometimes good deeds and help come from people we do not expect, like the Samaritan who happens to be a stranger. The Parable of the Good Samaritan is teaching us a lesson that true compassion is manifested in our willingness to become an active participant in the suffering of another person. It means getting involved. True compassion is translated into action, it is not just a matter of emotion. True compassion does not discriminate, it is extended to anyone in need. True compassion emanates from the generosity of a humble heart.

At this point, allow me to share with you a story to elaborate on this point.

Story: (Leslie Wagner): At the Cashier in a Grocery store a woman began to take out some items from the bags when she learned that she was $12 over what she had. When another Shopper behind her handed her a $20. bill. She said, “Please accept my gift.” To which the woman politely refused. She said, “Thank you but I couldn’t possibly accept it.” But the stranger insisted and said, “My mother is in the hospital with cancer. I visit her every day and bring her flowers. I went this morning, and she got mad at me for spending my money on more flowers. She demanded that I do something else with that money. So, here, please accept this. It is my mother’s flowers.” The woman asked her ” Now, how can I repay you for your kindness?” To which the stranger replied, “You actually didn’t have to, but someday, you may have a chance to pay it forward to another person in need. In that case, a gesture of kindness doesn’t end here.”

Sometimes in our life, we encounter people who showed us some kindness. There may be chances that it is impossible to repay them with the same kindness. What we could do is to pay it forward.

No matter what your status is, poor or rich, strong or weak, educated or an uneducated, there will come a time that you will find yourself at the other side of the rope. That you will also be needing help.

Doctors could get sick and therefore may be needing help from another. Teachers could learn something from a student too. The rich may one day need help from the poor.

“No one is so poor that they can not give something and no one is so rich he has nothing to receive.”
There will come a time that you will understand how it is to be wanting. We could only relate to the suffering of someone when we take the time to understand our own suffering.

Sometimes you know the value of giving because there was once a time that you were the one in need.

As Christians, therefore, we are being called to be more compassionate and more giving. But there are times that our good deeds are not reciprocated. Some people may tend to become so ungrateful but that should not stop us from being kind and generous. In any given situation always go to the side of Charity.

Pope Francis said that the story of The Good Samaritan is not just a parable, it should be our way of life. Our Lord Jesus said to the Lawyer to go and do the same. Now Jesus is telling each one of us to go and be a good Samaritan to one another.

Going back to the question of the Lawyer, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Well, our Lord Jesus provides us a concrete answer i.e. to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. It is not gonna be easy. The demands are great. It is because we are asking for something that is huge. We are asking for eternal life. So if you wanna live forever, you should love God. But the only way to love God is to show it in the most tangible way and that is to love our neighbors as ourselves.

HOMILY: Nativity of John the Baptist by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

john the baptist - pater

NATIVITY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST
A REFLECTION
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
*

GOSPEL: Luke 1:57-66,80

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child
she gave birth to a son.
Her neighbors and relatives heard
that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her,
and they rejoiced with her.
When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child,
they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,
but his mother said in reply,
“No. He will be called John.”
But they answered her,
“There is no one among your relatives who has this name.”
So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.
He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,”
and all were amazed.
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed,
and he spoke blessing God.
Then fear came upon all their neighbors,
and all these matters were discussed
throughout the hill country of Judea.
All who heard these things took them to heart, saying,
“What, then, will this child be?”
For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.
The child grew and became strong in spirit,
and he was in the desert until the day
of his manifestation to Israel.
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REFLECTION:

Today we celebrate the Nativity of John the Baptist. Perhaps, the question would be, why was the birth of John the Baptist so much given special importance by the Church. Well, John the Baptist was no ordinary person. He was to play such a huge role in the salvation history. “You, child, shall be called the Prophet of the Most High: for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways.” (Luke 1:76) This is the reason why today we are being invited by the Church to reflect on the importance of John the Baptist’s ministry, his role and the values he imparted us by his life.

Who was John the Baptist? John was a unique and a special kind of person. We could see that he was a different kind of person considering the circumstances surrounding his birth. He was the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth. They were both advanced of age and considering that Elizabeth was barren, the birth of John the Baptist was seen as but Divine intervention. It tells us that with God nothing is impossible. John’s birth was even announced by an angel. This is the reason why the Blessed Virgin Mary became aware of it, hence, made that famous visitation to her cousin Elizabeth. Such encounter is worthy of reflection for even in the wombs of the two mothers, our Lord and John already encounter each other.

There are two things that I so admire in the person of John i.e. Discipline and incredible Humility.

First, Discipline, because even at a young age he knew his role, He was to prepare the way of the Lord. His awareness of his role paves the way to his life of great discipline – physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. Like, he lived a simple life, dressed in camel’s hair, eating nothing but locusts and wild honey. He was not afraid to preach the truth. We remember John for his bold and courageous preaching against the self-righteous Pharisees that cost him a great price i.e. his own life.

And second, an incredible Humility because he took no credit for himself. To John the Baptist, his mission was just to prepare the way of the Lord. When he was asked whether he is the Messiah or not, he replied: “After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals.” (Mark 1:7) He knew his mission and purpose in life. “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight his path.” – John 1:23. John’s finger was pointing at Jesus. John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” “He must increase, I must decrease.” John 3:30. This is the lesson we learned from the life of John the Baptist. A life that is centered on Jesus. As modern-day disciples of Jesus, we are being called to do just the same i.e. to be courageous and make Jesus known.

The name John was announced by Angel Gabriel, it means “Gift of God” “Graced by God” and or “God is gracious” Just like John the Baptist, may our lives be instruments heralding God’s graciousness.

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

ascension pater

GOSPEL REFLECTION: ASCENSION OF THE LORD
WORLD COMMUNICATIONS DAY
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
*

GOSPEL: MARK 16:15-20
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Go into the whole world
and proclaim the gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;
whoever does not believe will be condemned.
These signs will accompany those who believe:
in my name, they will drive out demons,
they will speak new languages.
They will pick up serpents with their hands,
and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them,
was taken up into heaven
and took his seat at the right hand of God.
But they went forth and preached everywhere,
while the Lord worked with them
and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.
________________________

REFLECTION:

Here in Canada, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord this Sunday. Traditionally, the observance of the Ascension of the Lord is on Thursday, the 40th day after Easter. However, for pastoral reasons, the Church has obtained permission from the Vatican to move its observance on Sunday 43 days after Easter, for some countries like Canada. It is a Sunday before Pentecost. To celebrate it on Sunday actually, helps set the mood for our reflection in preparation for Pentecost.

Certainly, by its name itself, what comes to our mind as we reflect on this Sunday’s Liturgy is the fact that our Lord Jesus was lifted up to heaven. It must be a wonderful sightseeing Jesus ascended to heaven. His disciples were indeed so privilege having witnessed such spectacular event. But our reflection should not only be focused on Jesus’ leaving the earthly presence.

The observance of the Ascension of the Lord has a more profound meaning than just reflecting on the fact that Jesus ascended into heaven. In last Sunday’s Gospel text, the scene was set during the Last Supper wherein Jesus was saying his so-called Farewell Discourse. There was a tinge of sadness in Jesus’ words since he was actually saying goodbye to his apostles. He knew that his hour has come. He was fully aware of his impending death and suffering. But instead of thinking about himself, he was thinking of his apostles. He was giving them the strength that they may be able to bear the imminent suffering. Jesus offered them the gift of peace. He said let your hearts not be troubled. And he promised them that he would send an Advocate that would remind them of all that he has done. Jesus knew that the hour will come for him to depart from this world and go to the Father. His earthly mission is complete. This is the time for him to go back to the Father. And therefore today we celebrate this event of the Ascension. But what is it’s significance and how it is relevant to us today?

First, Ascension may mean the end of Jesus’ earthly mission. But it doesn’t mean just an end but rather it means more of a beginning. It is the beginning of the new chapter of the saving work which Jesus began. Now, it’s time for the apostles to continue this work and pass it on eventually to the Church and its members. In the first reading, Acts 1:8, Jesus admonished his disciples to continue his mission – “and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Second, Ascension means to glorify the Son of God. Jesus’ mission is fulfilled. The Son of God is triumphant in the offering of his life on the cross. Like to a Lamb, Jesus willingly sacrifices his life for the salvation of the world. Now is the time to give back his heavenly glory. The Father is well pleased and He exalted Jesus. This is best described in the second reading from the letter to the Ephesians, “God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places…”

Third, now that Jesus is exalted by the Father, it allows him to prepare a place for us. John 14:2, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”

As we reflect on the meaning of the Ascension of the Lord, the question now is – how is this relevant to us today?

First, It means that as followers and as children of God, our task now is to continue the mission of spreading the good news of the Kingdom of God. The mission is huge. There are times that we may feel unworthy. We should not worry – ‘let your hearts not be troubled.’ We only have to put our complete trust in Jesus. Jesus may not be with us physically but he never leave us orphans. He wants us to be able to carry this mission out and so he promised – “Behold, I am with you always until the end of the age.” He sent the Holy Spirit to empower us so that we be credible witnesses to the Gospel.

Second, the Ascension of the Lord tells us that we are but pilgrims here on earth and our final destination is heaven. After doing the task of spreading the Good News and that we remain faithful until the end, then heaven is our reward. Jesus wants us to succeed. He wants to gather his flock once again in his Kingdom.

The Apostles were here spreading the Good News of our Salvation 2000 years ago. The mission has been passed on to us. Now it is our turn to do the same. It is indeed a great responsibility. But let us do our part with great faith and great love. But do not forget to always ask the Holy Spirit for guidance, inspiration, and strength. Be bold…be courageous in making the Love of Jesus known throughout the whole world.

HOMILY: Second Sunday Of Easter Divine Mercy Sunday by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

Divine Mercy - Pater

 

GOSPEL REFLECTION: 2nd SUNDAY OF EASTER
DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
*

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 nail marks 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 on 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.

*
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 he was 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.

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, the 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)
” and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 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!”

INSIGHTS: God’s Abundant Love & Mercy by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

reconciliation

INSIGHTS – God’s Abundant Love and Mercy
(On the Sacrament Of Reconciliation)
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
*

It seems so unfair that we too have to suffer from the matter of consequences of what Adam and Eve did in paradise. They disobeyed God and as result, we inherited the original sin. Our parents pass along the original guilt of Adam and Eve. Romans 5:12 clearly says “Just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people because all sinned.” Shall we, then, blame Adam and Eve for our present plight? Not at all, let us not be too judgmental of them. In fact, if we were in the place of Adam and Eve, I am certain that we would have done the same. Whether we admit it or not, we too are weak. And just as, at present, we continue to commit sins, we have no one to blame but ourselves. We are all responsible for our own actions. We always hear people say, “Nobody’s perfect!” So true! We all have our shortcomings and weaknesses. Romans 3:23 says “For everyone has sinned, we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.”

But the good news is that God looks into our hearts. We may have our flaws. But God knows that still there is goodness in our hearts. As a matter of fact, there was purity and innocence before the fall of Adam and Eve. It was actually our original state before the fall. Everything in us was good. Because we were created in the image and likeness of him who is pure goodness and beauty. “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.’ . . . God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:26–27) Man, therefore, is not evil in nature. Still, there is goodness in everyone’s heart. We only have to search the heart of each individual. I think it is safer to say that man is by nature weak but not evil.

This is the reason why every year we enter into our Lenten journey i.e. to spend the time to reflect and to contemplate. This is the time when we search our hearts. Where are we now when it comes to our spiritual life? Are we advancing or regressing? The season of Lent provides us an opportunity to humble ourselves before the Lord so that we may come to terms with true repentance and conversion. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is an invitation for each one of us to come home. It is a beautiful Sacrament where we experience God’s forgiveness and his healing touch. This is the reason why God in His abundant Love and Mercy instituted the Sacrament of Penance, so that we may always make a fresh start. That we may always obtain forgiveness of our sins and reconcile with God and His Church.

John 20:21-23 ” Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” It was Easter when Jesus uttered these words, it was like telling his apostles “I have authority to forgive sin, now you may do the same with one another. Thus Jesus wants us to confess our sins to a priest in the Sacrament of Penance.The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a visible sign that our sins are forgiven.

How often should I go to Confession?

I should say, as often as there is a need.

Catholic who has committed mortal (grave) sin is obliged to seek God’s forgiveness in this sacrament as soon as possible.

From the Catholic Teachings:
The Catechism of the Catholic Church statement, “after having attained the age of discretion, each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year” (CCC 1457), includes a footnote reference to the Code of Canon Law: “After having reached the age of discretion, each member of the faithful is obliged to confess faithfully his or her grave sins at least once a year” (CIC 989).

As we continue our Lenten journey in anticipation of the joy of Easter, let us humble ourselves. Let us avail of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and find peace and solace in the loving embrace of a merciful and compassionate God.
We are fortunate because, despite our sinfulness, God is always ready to forgive. As what St. Paul says “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)