A Reflection: 16th Sunday In Ordinary Time (B) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

16th Sunday - Pater

GOSPEL REFLECTION: 16th Sunday In Ordinary Time (B)
22nd July 2018
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

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READINGS:
First Reading: Jeremiah 23:1-6
Responsorial Psalm: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
Second Reading: Ephesians 2:13-18
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GOSPEL: Mark 6:30-34
The Apostles returned from their mission. They gathered around Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught.
He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves.
Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As Jesus went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he began to teach them many things.
The Gospel of the Lord: Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
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REFLECTION:
Have you ever experienced being too exhausted, stressed and burnout? If you experience constant stress, feeling helpless, feeling physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted then today’s Gospel text is for you to reflect upon.
The Gospel text for this Sunday is a continuation of last Sunday’s Gospel text. In last Sunday’s Gospel, St. Mark relates to us about the sending of the twelve apostles to a mission i.e. to preach the good news and to administer to the needs of the people – curing the sick, casting out demons. It was such a huge task for the apostles.
Now, in today’s Gospel text, St. Mark relates to us the return of the apostles from doing their mission. They reported to Jesus what they’ve accomplished. The apostles must be very tired. And so Jesus invites them to come away with him and rest. They were hoping to escape for just a little while to seek rest, to share the stories of their experiences and to debrief but the crowd followed them and arrived even ahead of them. When Jesus saw the crowd he had compassion towards them because “they were like sheep without a shepherd.” And Jesus attended to their needs.
Upon reflection on the Gospel, two things came up to my mind. First, Jesus recognized the need to rest. Second, Jesus is a compassionate God. He set aside his own personal needs and replaced it with a concrete need to minister to the people.
Let me, therefore, focus my reflection on these two particular points. When we are feeling a little weary amidst the busyness of life, or probably we’re wrung out or burnout, we should have in mind that even our Lord Jesus recognized the need to rest or to a retreat, After doing his ministry of preaching and healing and when he felt his strength waning, Jesus would steal away to a lonely place away from the crowd to pray.
There was once a lawyer whose main preoccupation was to make money. His ultimate goal was to get rich. So he worked hard for that, finding no time to be with his family, no time for leisure and no time to pray. For him time is gold and he should not waste time on the less important matter. And he became successful in life. But his relationship with his family suffered. He got separated from his wife and his only son got imprisoned for drugs and other crimes. When the father visited his son in prison he asked his son this question – ” Why? What happened to your son? Where did I go wrong, son?” To which the son replied, “It’s all because you really did not care about us. All your concern was to make money. You did not even find time to be with mom and me”
The man in the story did not know that a good and successful life should be a balance between work and rest and prayer. A Philosopher Socrates once said, “An unreflected life is not worth living.”
In today’s Gospel, Jesus affirms the importance of rest and renewal. Jesus invites to come away with him and to rest. This is what we seek and find in our life of prayer. Life is full of changes and challenges. As soon as we get finished with one, there is another one in our path. Thus a great temptation to make ourselves with so much work and not finding time to rest. But there is a saying – “A person who wants to sing always find a song; likewise, a person who wants to pray always find the time.” When was the last time you spend quality time to pray? Prayer is not a waste of time. When we pray we learn, we experience healing. How we pray reveals a lot about our soul, just like how we spend money says so much about what we value. Jesus, therefore, is like telling us in today’s Gospel the need for us to rest not only for physical renewal but also for spiritual refreshment through reflection. When I say rest, I do not mean only to pray but also to reconnect with the inner self. To find time to stop and smell the flowers. To find time to appreciate the beauty of nature. To find quality time to bond with the people around most especially with your family.
The last part of the Gospel reveals Jesus’ compassion. “As Jesus went ashore, he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd.” Jesus was hoping to spend quality time with his disciples but something comes up unexpectedly and so Jesus set aside his own personal needs. We can practically relate to the experience of Jesus. For example, a doctor, in the middle of the night and sleep got an emergency call of duty. A good doctor will comply at once. Similarly, a good priest responds quickly and joyfully to an emergency call to administer to the sick. There are times when we feel that we have already given so much and yet we are asked to give even more. That is compassion. Compassion literally means ” to suffer with another.” In our most trying moments, remember that we have a compassionate Lord. We only have to trust in his great love who invites us to “come to him, all you that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”

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GOSPEL REFLECTION: 15th Sunday In Ordinary Time (B) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

15th Sunday B - Pater

GOSPEL REFLECTION: 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)
Sunday, 15th July 2018
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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READINGS:
First Reading: Amos 7:12-15
Responsorial Psalm: Show us your steadfast love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation.
Second Reading: Ephesians 1:3-14
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GOSPEL: Mark 6:7-13
Jesus called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics.
Jesus said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.”
So the twelve went out and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
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REFLECTION:
In today’s Gospel text, St. Mark relates to us that Jesus summoned his twelve apostles to send them to a mission i.e. to preach the Good News, cure the sick, cast out demons and to ask people to repent. I could almost imagine how the apostles must have felt at that time. After they were trained and have witnessed the marvelous works of Jesus, now they were being sent to do the same. Some of them, maybe anxious to do their mission, others might be so excited and still, others might be somewhat apprehensive. Yes, they had listened to Jesus’ preaching. They had seen him performed healing. They had witnessed Jesus casting demons out of people. But to do them by themselves must have been for the apostles a bit overwhelming. Yet, they trusted Jesus completely. They knew that Jesus had confidence that they could carry out the mission entrusted to them.
But how is this account of commissioning the apostles relevant to us today? Well, it tells us that the work of evangelization must continue till today. It would be erroneous to think that the mission to evangelize is only for the clergy, bishops, religious and missionaries. Every baptized person has a duty to spread the good news. In fact, at home, parents should be the first missionaries to their children. It is their obligation to bring their children to the faith. The Church teaches that lay people have a distinct and very real role in the spreading of the Gospel. The Church also teaches that in dignity laity are absolutely equal to the ordained ministers as far as carrying out the duty to evangelize is concerned.
It is quite interesting to reflect on the instructions Jesus gave to his apostles as they set out to do the mission. First, the apostles were sent two by two. There must be something special about the number two. Jesus did not send them one by one, but two by two. The number two for me indicate the importance of community. Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, there am I in their midst.”
Then Jesus ordered them not to take anything with them but a staff, no food, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. I think not only did Jesus wants for his apostles to travel light, but he also wants them to learn to trust God completely who would provide them for everything they need, even their basic needs. Jesus wants them also to learn to trust in the goodness of the people.
Doing Jesus’ mission is not gonna be easy. A missionary should never expect to always receive a positive response from the people. Some people will reject us because we represent Jesus on earth. And Jesus knew this reality that is why he instructed the apostles, “If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” Jesus did not say that we should condemn those who reject his word. He only said to shake the dust off our feet. Shaking the dust off for me means to move forward. Shaking off the dust means to leave the place quietly, to forget everything and not to be disappointed. Indeed, many people will reject yet somewhere there are people who will listen, accept and embrace the faith. If as a missionary you are rejected then just shake off the dust from that village, do not bring a souvenir not even the dust that is on your feet, then move on and make a fresh start. Never dwell too long on your disappointments. And do not let failure let you down. Remember the captain of the ship is Jesus. We are only his servants.
Luke 10:2 “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest.”
Will you allow God to use you to carry out the mission for the salvation of the world? Are you willing to make the difference?
As God’s Worker in his vineyard, I could only pray with the prayer of St. Francis:
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Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon, where there is doubt, faith, where there is despair, hope, where there is darkness, light, where there is sadness, joy.
O , Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

HOMILY: 14th Sunday In Ordinary Time by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

14th Sunday pater

 

 

GOSPEL REFLECTION
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)
Sunday, 8th July 2018
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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READINGS:
First Reading: Ezekiel 2:3-5
Responsorial Psalm: Our eyes look to the Lord until he has mercy upon us.
Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
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GOSPEL: Mark 6:1-6
Jesus came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. On the Sabbath, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
Then Jesus said to them, “A Prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown, and among his own kin, and in his own house.”
And Jesus could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And Jesus was amazed at their unbelief.
Then he went about among the villages teaching.
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REFLECTION:
The Gospel relates to us an account wherein Jesus visited his native place. While Jesus was born in Bethlehem, He grew up in Nazareth. For thirty years Jesus lived in this town. Nazareth, therefore, was for him his hometown. He had been visiting different places – doing his ministry of preaching about the Kingdom of God, administering to the sick, healing, and making wonders and so he thought why not his own hometown and his own folks and kin. Surely, he would be more welcomed in his own place. But far from what Jesus was expecting, we see in today’s Gospel text an obvious contradiction in their reaction to Jesus. They acknowledged Jesus’ wisdom, they were convinced of the miraculous nature of his deeds, they must have heard of some of the astonishing miracles and works of Jesus yet they rejected him. They “took offense at him” rejecting him personally, as well as by his friends and relatives. They rejected Jesus because they knew him personally. For them, Jesus was just the son of a carpenter from a poor family. “How could such wisdom and power come from this nobody we grew up with?” They could not accept. Jesus was unwanted. They thought they knew everything about Jesus. Indeed, “Familiarity breeds contempt!” There’s nothing more hurtful than to be rejected by your own family and people.
As I reflect on today’s Gospel text, one word kept ringing in my mind i.e. REJECTION!
What is Rejection? Rejection can be defined as the sense of being unwanted.
Have you ever experienced rejection? Have you ever feel the longing for acceptance and love from other people, yet you believe that they do not? Or you want to be part of the group, yet you feel excluded. Well, almost all of us, at one time or another, have experienced rejection even from people we loved the most or someone we respected and looked up to. Many of us have not understood its nature or its effects on other people’s lives. One’s rejection may have been relatively minor or it may have been so devastating that it affected one’s whole life. Rejection comes in a variety of forms. Some examples of simple rejection could be like – you invited a friend to your party yet he refused to come. Or you offered friendship to a someone yet it was not accepted. Some may have effects in your life like you were not accepted at the company you were applying saying that you didn’t have the qualifications they were looking for, or you did not get the promotion or a raise in your salary you were looking forward to getting. Others could be worse and painful like rejection coming from parents or someone dearest to you. Someone may have never felt the love from parents, or felt like an unfavored child or even abused. Experience such as these may leave permanent wounds. As for me rejection could either destroy or build you as a person. It could either make you a better person, make you stronger or make you bad or weak. Even great and famous people have experienced rejection. For instance, JK Rowling, creator of Harry Potter, she was rejected by 12 publishers before her work was published. Beethoven’s music teacher declared him ‘hopeless’ at composing. A teenager’s low popularity convinced her that she was unattractive. She became a top model, hailed by many as the most beautiful woman in the world. All those who had ignored her are now boasting that they had gone to school with Claudia Schiffer. It only tells us that for every “No” that you receive there could be a “Yes” just around the corner. Learn to love and appreciate yourself. Sometimes this could be the hardest thing to do. Never fear rejection but make it an opportunity to grow and to learn.
How do you cope with rejection? How do you react to rejection? How do you respond to rejection? The good news is – God never reject anyone. God offers us full acceptance. And God can heal us from the wounds that come from rejection. Jesus never rejects nor discriminate against anyone. Like he ate with sinners, tax collectors and women with ill repute. He touched the lepers, forgave their sins and made them whole. Jesus, therefore, will never reject anyone because of race, color, physical appearance, gender, status, and preference. Remember he himself had experienced rejection and so let us come to him who knows the pain of being rejected. No one but God is capable of giving perfect love at all times and in every circumstance. And amazingly enough, in spite of all rejection and indifference, God still and will always love us. 1 John 4:19 “We love because he first loved us.”

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
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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: Fourth Sunday of Easter (B) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

Good Shepherd pater

GOSPEL REFLECTION
Fourth Sunday of Easter (B)
World Day of Prayer for Vocations
Sunday, 22nd April 2018
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

GOSPEL: John 10:11-18

Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away- and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.
“For this reason, the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from the Father.”
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The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

REFLECTION:
Today we celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday. Every year, on the Fourth Sunday of Easter, the Church invites us to reflect on this beautiful Jesus’ description of himself as the Good Shepherd. In the Scripture, Jesus was given titles like the Son of God, Lord, Teacher, Messiah, and King. But it was through Jesus’ words that we learned this image of him as the Good Shepherd. In today’s Gospel text, our Lord Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd.” This description of our Lord Jesus about himself is most appealing to many of us as it is indeed consoling. It conveys Jesus’ tenderness, his compassion, and care, his concern and love for his flock. Such an image is reassuring for us. In this time and season, this is what we need to hear – that Jesus is with us, supporting and guiding us on our journey through life. When life is beset with problems and or personal challenges occur this image of Jesus the Good Shepherd reassures and consoles us. It tells us that God will never abandon us, that we are not alone in our struggles and that Jesus is supporting and holding us up.
This is the same reason why that old story – Footprints in the Sand- became very popular. People see Jesus as their refuge. When we feel so desolate and alone, Footprints in the Sand is something that we should contemplate upon. For during those moments of trials that Jesus carries us in his arms like a good shepherd.
“I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.”
When we are feeling sad and low, think of the love of Jesus. He loves us unconditionally not because we are worthy of it nor we have a right to that love. But simply because Jesus is love personified. St. Paul puts it beautifully, he said to the Romans, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” When Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd and I am ready to lay down my life for my sheep.” He really did it. Christ accepted death willingly and voluntarily, i.e. that we might be saved. Christ died for us. John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Therefore, when Christ gave us this image of a Good Shepherd, he wanted to impart to us that message of a perfect love of the Son of God. Despite our unworthiness and sinfulness, He loved us first that He might restore us our identity as children of God and that we too might become imitators of His love.
Therefore, the celebration of Good Shepherd Sunday is teaching us important lessons in life.
First, Just as Jesus is a good shepherd to us, we, too, are expected to be good shepherds. True shepherding is a life of total self-giving. In a way, we are all shepherds. As pastor of our Church, I am the shepherd of this flock. I am, therefore expected to be a good shepherd. I am expected to live a good and holy life. Jesus, the good shepherd, should be reflected in my dealing with people and in my personal life. If not then I am not being true to my calling.
Parents, you are shepherds in your own home. Therefore, you are expected to be good and loving parents. You are expected to set good examples for your children. You are expected to guide and lead the children to the truth and to the faith.
This reminds me of a story as related by Bro. Andrew Maria: A young boy caught stealing is brought before a judge, who cross-examines him.”How old are you?” the judge asks him. “Ten years old.” “Who taught you to steal?” “My Father.” Upon hearing this, the judge orders the arrest of the father and sets the boy free.
“Your honor, why are you sending me to jail for my son’s crime?” asks the father.
The judge answers unequivocally, “One who teaches another to commit a crime is a worse criminal.”
Second, The celebration of Good Shepherd Sunday is teaching us to be imitators of Jesus service, sacrifice, and love. Being loved by Christ is the ground of becoming loving. Our awareness that we are loved despite our flaws and weaknesses should be the reason for us to be more loving, more accepting and forgiving.

GOSPEL REFLECTION: EASTER VIGIL (B) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

Easter1

GOSPEL REFLECTION: EASTER VIGIL (B)
THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL: Mark 16:1-8

Jesus Has Risen
16 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3 and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”

8 Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone because they were afraid.

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REFLECTION:

In the Exultet or Easter Proclamation, we heard the phrase “This is the night” several times. It also says, “O truly blessed night.” But why is this night different from all nights? This night is the holiest night of all nights, simply because this is the night when our Lord Jesus passed from death to life. Something great and wonderful had happened on this night. Christ has risen.Jesus is alive!

In a Sunday class, the priest asked the children about the meaning of Easter. What is Easter all about? And one little boy answered with pride – “Easter is all about egg hunts, Easter bunnies, and dressing up for Church” The priest further asked the boy,”And why are we going to Church?” To which the little boy replied: “We are going to Church to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus is alive.” And the priest with a sigh of relief said, ” Whew! Now, you got it right, Kid. On Easter Sunday, we gathered in the Church in the fact that Jesus resurrected from the dead.”

Two things that we should do on Easter Sunday: First, we are here to celebrate. Easter is a time for celebration. We are gathered in the Church to celebrate Christ’ victory. For his victory is our victory. We are now assured that death is not our end. Our final destination now is heaven – there is life beyond the grave. Although, our mortal bodies must suffer decay, yet there is hope- for our soul will live forever with God. Christ’s resurrection tells us that someday we, too, will share His life in glory. Yesterday, we gathered at the Church with sadness in our hearts and we mourned collectively as we contemplate on the suffering and death of our Lord. But tonight, we are here again this time to celebrate in joyful songs of praise and thanksgiving.

Second, we are gathered here to thank and praise God. Our hearts are filled with gratitude. Christ’s resurrection brings us back our identity i.e. we are children of God. We also regained our dignity, we became sharers in the life of God. I am not alone. I no longer exist all by myself. I live now with Christ. St. Paul says (Galatians 2:20)” My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself to me.” Our life now has meaning and purpose. Our struggles are not anymore in vain. We now have directions, we are not lost. Heaven is our final and ultimate destination. The resurrection of Jesus gives us the necessary hope. It reveals to us our ultimate goal in life i.e. to prepare for the next life.

Christ has accomplished his mission.It is up to us now, if we want to remain free. Let us, therefore, be steadfast. St. Paul said to the Galatians (5:1) “When Christ freed us, He meant us to remain free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.”

When we look at the Risen Christ, he is just like telling us – “Now, I have done my part. I have forgiven you. And you now know how much I love you. All I ask of you is to remain in my love. I want you to sin no more. In life, I also want you to win. Heaven is your reward.”

John 14, “In my Father’s house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you. I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”

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Happy Easter everyone!

Gospel Reflection: Good Friday (Celebration of the Lord’s Passion) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

Good Friday

GOSPEL REFLECTION: GOOD FRIDAY
Celebration of the Lord’s Passion
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

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GOSPEL: John 18:1-19,42
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I thirst.” There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth. When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.” And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.
Now since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out.

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REFLECTION
On Good Friday, we do not celebrate the Sacrament of the Eucharist, instead, we have the Liturgy of the Word, the Veneration of the Cross and Communion Service. This is the one day that the Church omits the celebration of Mass when She commemorates the Passion as it really happened in time. The commemoration of the Passion on Good Friday, the reality of the sacrifice is presented to us, not as a sacrament (i.e. not through the Mass) but “as it was really accomplished.” The Church invites us to once again reflect on the Passion of our Lord i.e. to be a witness and experience the saving work of Christ. That is why today we don’t celebrate a Mass, instead, we mourn the death of our Lord. And we give reverence to the Cross on which our salvation was achieved.
I was contemplating on the seven last words of Jesus.What struck me was the very last words of Jesus – “It is finished.” “Consummatum est!” It was Jesus’ very important last words. John 19:30 “When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.” But what does Jesus’ words “It is finished” really mean?To understand this clearly, we should bear in mind that Jesus did not say “I am finished” or “I am done” It was not a cry of despair nor defeat. But rather, it was a declaration of victory. It was just like reporting to the commander-in-chief – “My task is done, it is mission accomplished.” When the servant had finished his work, when the job was completed, the servant would say to his master – it is finished! The master will say to the servant “well done!” I am pretty sure that the Master i.e. the Father is so pleased with the work that is done. “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” Jesus had always said that He came not to do his own will but that of the Father. He had a mission and work to do directly from the Father and is now completed. The work is done. It was perfect. Salvation is accomplished. Redemption is attained through Jesus death and resurrection. The debt of sin was paid.
What a sacrifice! It was God’s revelation of His immeasurable love for mankind. He gave us His only Son. We call Jesus as the Lamb of God. In professing that Jesus is the Lamb of God in our celebration of the Mass, we are recalling His sacrificial death on the Cross. This precisely is our focus on today’s reflection.
At this point, allow me to share with you a story: Two brothers lived together in the same apartment. The elder brother was an honest, hardworking and God-fearing man, while the younger was dishonest, gun totting substance abusing rogue. Many a night the younger brother would come back into the apartment late, drunk and with a lot of cash – and the elder brother would spend hours pleading him to mend his ways and live a decent life. But the younger brother would not listen.
One night, the younger brother came running into the house with a smoking gun and his clothes were bloodstained. “I killed a man,” he announced. In a few minutes, the house was surrounded by police and two brothers knew there was no escape. “I did not mean to kill him,” stammered the younger brother, “and I don’t want to die.” By now the police was knocking at the door.” The elder brother had an idea. He exchanged his clothes with blood-stained clothes of his killer brother. The police arrested him, tried him and he was condemned to death. What a great sacrifice. He died for his younger brother out of his love for him.
In the same manner, that Jesus sacrifices himself that we may live out of his love for us. He took upon himself our guilt. For our sake, he suffered and died on the Cross. All these, because he loves us immensely.”There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friend.”
“It is love to the end.” (John 13:1) We come to realize his love by what it costs him. But may this love of Christ that we have come to realize be a reason for us to become more loving people. Realizing the depth of His love should make us grow more of our love of God and our fellowmen.