Homily:27th Sunday In Ordinary Time C by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

27th Sunday C pater

REFLECTION OF THE HEART
27th Sunday In Ordinary Time C
“Increase our faith!”
A Reflection: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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READINGS:

First Reading:Habakkuk 1:2-3,2:2-4

How long, O LORD? I cry for help
but you do not listen!
I cry out to you, “Violence!”
but you do not intervene.
Why do you let me see ruin;
why must I look at misery?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife and clamorous discord.
Then the LORD answered me and said:
Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets,
so that one can read it readily.
For the vision still has its time,
presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint;
if it delays, wait for it,
it will surely come, it will not be late.
The rash one has no integrity;
but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.

Responsorial PsalmPS 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
R. (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works.”
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Second Reading: 2 Timothy 1:6-8,13-14

Beloved:
I remind you, to stir into flame
the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord,
nor of me, a prisoner for his sake;
but bear your share of hardship for the gospel
with the strength that comes from God.

Take as your norm the sound words that you heard from me,
in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit
that dwells within us.

Gospel: Luke 17:5-10

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”
The Lord replied,
“If you have faith the size of a mustard seed,
you would say to this mulberry tree,
‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

“Who among you would say to your servant
who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field,
‘Come here immediately and take your place at the table’?
Would he not rather say to him,
‘Prepare something for me to eat.
Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink.
You may eat and drink when I am finished’?
Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?
So should it be with you?
When you have done all you have been commanded,
say, ‘We are unprofitable servants;
we have done what we were obliged to do.'”

___________________

REFLECTION:

I am reminded of a song by a band named R.E.M. entitled “Losing My Religion” which says “That’s me in the corner
That’s me in the spotlight
Losing my religion”
I have always asked myself about the meaning of this particular song. Does this song describe someone who is literally losing his faith? So I made a little research on the meaning of this song. And I found out that the song is not literally about somebody losing faith, it is said that it’s just a southern expression which means somebody is at the end of one’s rope. Somebody is just being polite in saying that he is losing his temper. But anyway, my reflection is not about the song. It is only sad that some people could really find themselves at the end of their patience. When we find ourselves at the end of the rope that’s when we lose our trust and to some extent, even our faith. Feeling so low once in a while is part of human existence. A certain Saadi puts it beautifully, “The rose and the thorn, and sorrow and gladness are linked together.” It means to say that life is both joy and sorrow. Sadness is as much part of life as joy is. Without sadness life is incomplete. It is an emotion. While nobody wants to be sad but we accept it as part of life with hope. I even find such a feeling of loneliness therapeutic. That’s the reason why I sometimes watch sad movies or even listen to sad music. So to be sad is normal. All of us have in one way or another have experienced loneliness in our life. But what is wrong is that when people find themselves at the end of their rope, so to speak. It is very wrong when loneliness turned into depression, In that case, it will require serious attention. People lose their patience. People lose trust and to some extent even lose faith. This is what happened to Prophet Habbakuk in today’s first reading. Such a strange-sounding name. But who is this prophet they call Habakkuk? Habakkuk was a minor prophet. As a prophet, his ministry was to offer prayers for the people. Habakkuk was not so much of a preacher. The Prophet Habbakuk was feeling so frustrated considering his so many challenges in life. Despite the fact that he was praying fervently to God yet still he saw so many injustices and suffering around. And the situation seemed to get dismal. So he cried aloud to God out of desperation. Habakkuk felt like his prayers were unanswered and that God really didn’t care. This is the meaning of his lamentation on our first reading today. But God reassures Habakkuk that long before he ask God something in his prayers, God is already at work. The experience of Habakkuk is actually a common experience for most of us even to this date. Many people blame God when their prayers seemingly remain unanswered. As a person, at times, it is easy for us to find ourselves in the shoes of the Prophet Habakkuk. We find ourselves helpless. But the reality is that God will never forsake us. God will never abandon us. And God will always remain faithful, reassuring us that he is always there for us. Never believe that we are forgotten, And never believe that we are not loved. A renewed and solid faith is what we need. And just like to the Apostles in today’s Gospel text, we should ask that firm faith. Faith is a gift. “Lord, increase our faith.”

In today’s gospel text, the Apostles asked Jesus, “Increase our faith.” This is done after Jesus gave them a lesson on sin and forgiveness. Realizing how hard it is to follow Jesus, they felt unworthy at once. They realize how will it cost them to be a real follower of Jesus. The demand of discipleship is great. And so they ask, “Increase our faith.” As a priest, I could simply relate to the experience of the Apostles with the demands, challenges, and hardships of being a priest, I could also ask the same request. Please, Lord, increase my faith. Give me the strength always. Without God’s providential help and guidance, I do not know how to cope with the demands of this ministry. For sure, God will give me the same response as of his Apostles. “If you have faith the size of the mustard seed, you could do marvelous things.” But then again, the Gospel reminds us that even God works wonders through us, remember that we are but servants. Everything is but God’s abundant grace. Never claim praises to ourselves. Do things with humility. “When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.” However, if we do our service with fidelity, God will bless us and our humble service can be made to produce abundantly.

Ask Jesus to increase our faith all the time. We need his guidance and inspiration to go on. With our faith, we could see the power and love of God always at work in us.

At the end of my life, when everything is done, I wish to say with St. Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)

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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.

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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,

____________________________________________

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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.””

Homily: Exaltation of the Holy Cross by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

exaltation of the cross

REFLECTION OF THE HEART
Exaltation of the Holy Cross
14th September 2019
A Reflection: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

GOSPEL: John 3:13-17
Jesus said to Nicodemus: “No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”


REFLECTION:
It was through the wood i.e. the tree of the knowledge of good and evil- that humans lost the friendship with God (Gen. 3). Ironically, It was also through the wood i.e. the Cross -that humans regained that friendship with God.
This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. On the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross we honor the Holy Cross by which Jesus, our Saviour offered his life for the redemption of the world. And not only that, but this is also the day when the Church invites us to reflect on the meaning and significance of the Holy Cross in our lives.
Nowadays, we venerate the Holy Cross. In Catholic Churches all over, the Holy Cross is the most conspicuous and important symbol. Every Catholic loves the Cross, we kiss it at times, we pray before it, we wear it. But it wasn’t like that during the time of our Lord. People back then are afraid of the Cross. They despised the Cross. It was a symbol of punishment, of extreme suffering, pain, and death. It was one of the most shameful types of punishment during Jesus’ time. The person condemned to be crucified received the most humiliating death. It was the ultimate stripping of man’s dignity and honor. It is for this purpose that the convicted person was hung naked publicly i.e. to bring further humiliation and severe punishment to the person being accused. Undoubtedly, it was one of the most barbaric forms of punishment and therefore supposed to be reserved only for the most serious offenders. But though innocent, this is exactly what our Lord Jesus experienced on the Cross when He died for you and me. When Jesus died on the Cross He gave new meaning and perception of the Cross. During Jesus’ time the Cross had no beauty, today it is looked upon as a thing of beauty. The Cross now represents the one sacrifice Jesus made out of His love and obedience to the Father. Philippians 2:8 “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – death on a cross!’
In today’s Gospel, we see Jesus trying to explain to Nicodemus God’s plan of salvation through the cross. Thus Jesus wanted Nicodemus to understand the story of Moses lifting up the serpent in a new perspective- as a foreshadowing of the cross of redemption. The bronze serpent in the desert was the symbolic figure of the Crucified One. Numbers 21:9 “So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live.” Thus when the Son of Man is lifted up on the Cross of Calvary; all who believed will have eternal life.
How then is the Cross relevant to us today?
First, the Holy Cross becomes a sign of Hope. During trials and temptations, our strength and protection is the sign of the Cross. When we make the sign of the Cross, it is not only meant to be an introduction and an ending of the prayer. Making the sign of the Cross is a prayer itself. When we make the sign of the Cross, we are actually saying a beautiful prayer, we ask Jesus to save us. It is a recognition of His saving work. It should, therefore, be said with utmost reverence. It is actually a profession of our faith. The Cross is the summary of what we believe in.
Second, when we look at the Cross, we are looking at our final destiny – our heavenly home, a place prepared for us. John 14:2 “In my Father’s house there are so many mansions. If not, would I have said, I go to prepare a place for you.”The Cross reminds us of God’s act of love in Christ’s sacrifice. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
Third, Adoration of the Cross is adoration of Jesus Christ. When we give honor and importance to the Cross, we acknowledge the sacrifice of Christ to redeem us. It is a reminder of all of us of God’s act of love in Christ sacrifice at Calvary, where He gave his life for our salvation, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Story: A daughter was brought to the hospital by his father because she was sick. The doctor ordered that the little girl be given a shot. The little girl asked his father if it will hurt. The Father knew that it will hurt. But he said to the little girl, “do not be afraid …everything’s gonna be alright. And to prove that to you, I’ll ask the doctor to give me a shot first.” The father was given a shot reassuring the little girl that everything’s perfectly alright. A similar thing is what Jesus did for us. He accepted death on the Cross to assure us that everything’s alright. When we experienced persecution, trials, suffering, and pain, when we are abandoned by friends, when people mock at us, remember that Jesus experienced these things first.
When we fixed our gaze at the Cross, it is telling us a clear message. As you see, the Cross is perfectly designed. Two pieces of woods attached together – one vertically and the other horizontally – forming a perfect cross. The vertical one is the foundation pointing upward, an oblation of God. The horizontal which is solidly attached to the vertical stretched out to all of humanity. The Cross is a reminder of the two greatest commandments. The love of God, with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. And the love of neighbor as thyself.

Homily:23rd Sunday In Ordinary Time C by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

23rd Sunday 2019 pater

REFLECTION OF THE HEART
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (year C)
The Cost Of Discipleship
A Reflection: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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READINGS:

FIRST READING: WISDOM 9:13-18B

Who can know God’s counsel,
or who can conceive what the LORD intends?
For the deliberations of mortals are timid,
and unsure are our plans.
For the corruptible body burdens the soul
and the earthen shelter weighs down the mind that has many concerns.
And scarce do we guess the things on earth,
and what is within our grasp we find with difficulty;
but when things are in heaven, who can search them out?
Or who ever knew your counsel, except you had given wisdom
and sent your holy spirit from on high?
And thus were the paths of those on earth made straight.
*
The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.
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RESPONSORIAL PSALM: PSALM 90:3-4,5-6,12-13,14-17

Response: LORD, YOU HAVE BEEN OUR DWELLING PLACE IN ALL GENERATIONS.
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You turn man back to dust,
saying, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in your sight
are as yesterday, now that it is past,
or as a watch of the night.
R/ Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
*
You make an end of them in their sleep;
the next morning they are like the changing grass,
Which at dawn springs up anew,
but by evening wilts and fades.
R/ Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
*
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of the heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
R/ Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
*
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
And may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours;
prosper the work of our hands for us!
Prosper the work of our hands!
R/ Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.

*

SECOND READING: PHILEMON 9-10,12-17

I, Paul, an old man,
and now also a prisoner for Christ Jesus,
urge you on behalf of my child Onesimus,
whose father I have become in my imprisonment;
I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you.
I should have liked to retain him for myself,
so that he might serve me on your behalf
in my imprisonment for the gospel,
but I did not want to do anything without your consent,
so that the good you do might not be forced but voluntary.
Perhaps this is why he was away from you for a while,
that you might have him back forever,
no longer as a slave
but more than a slave, a brother,
beloved especially to me, but even more so to you,
as a man and in the Lord.
So if you regard me as a partner, welcome him as you would me.
*
The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.

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GOSPEL ACCLAMATION (Psalm 119,135)
Alleluia. Alleluia. Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes. Alleluia.
*

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GOSPEL: LUKE 14:25-33

Great crowds were traveling with Jesus,
and he turned and addressed them,
“If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother,
wife and children, brothers and sisters,
and even his own life,
he cannot be my disciple.
Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me
cannot be my disciple.
Which of you wishing to construct a tower
does not first sit down and calculate the cost
to see if there is enough for its completion?
Otherwise, after laying the foundation
and finding himself unable to finish the work
the onlookers should laugh at him and say,
‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’
Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down
and decide whether with ten thousand troops
he can successfully oppose another king
advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops?
But if not, while he is still far away,
he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms.
In the same way,
anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions
cannot be my disciple.”
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The Gospel Of The Lord/ Praise To You, Lord Jesus Christ.

____________________________________________
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REFLECTION:

THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP
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We are again confronted with a challenge this Sunday. Our Lord is inviting us to follow him. But following him is never easy. Following him means giving up the things that we love the most. Giving them up could be the hardest thing to do for we have so many attachments. Many people are attached to material possessions . Some of us are attached to people (relationships). Others are attached to their own ambitions and dreams. But Jesus is telling us in today’s Gospel to choose him and put him first in our lives.
“Unless you give up all those possessions you think you can not live without, you can never be Jesus’ disciple.” The words of Jesus in today’s Gospel may not be easy to accept. One should reflect deeply in order to get to the bottom of what Jesus’ meant by such strong words – “Whoever comes to me and does not hate their father and mother, spouse and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even their life itself, cannot be my disciple.” Did Jesus really mean for us to literally hate our parents or spouse, and or brothers and sisters and even ourselves? No, not at all! We do not interpret this particular text literally. Our Lord Jesus was just trying to make a strong statement. He wanted to shock his listeners that he may be able to get their attention. His words were not in conflict with his admonition to love our parents, our brothers and sisters, our friends and neighbors as well as oneself. The use of the word ‘hate’ here was just a metaphor. ‘ Hate’ here means only to detach oneself. It means not to take it as a sole priority. He wants us to assess our level of commitment. When one chooses Jesus, it should be a full commitment. One should never allow any other commitments to take priority. Following Jesus should be first before all others. It tells us therefore that following Jesus is never easy. It entails hardships, pain, sacrifices. And yes the cost of discipleship is the Cross. “Whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
Jesus’ demand was a full commitment, a complete giving of oneself. It is understandable indeed for when he committed himself to the will of the Father it was a complete obedience. When he gave his love for us, it was a complete giving, it was without reservation to the extent of accepting death on the Cross. And it is but fitting also that when we decide to follow him, it should be a full commitment even if following him demands sacrifice.
In my ministry as a priest, my role is to preach the good news. Preaching the good news means speaking the truth. When we speak the truth, it is inevitable that some people may get hurt, for truth really hurts. I never water down the Gospel message no matter how strong Jesus’ message may be. But in the process, some people may tend to harass and even malign the messenger by their harsh reactions and comments. As for me, that is part of my commitment to follow Jesus. The hurts, pains, and hardships are but signs indeed of being in the right track, for Jesus’ way is the road to Calvary.
STORY: (Author unknown)
One day in a certain barn, the chicken and the cow was discussing with each other. “Our master is sick, we should do something for him, ” proposed the chicken. “Sure, but how?” asked the cow. To which the chicken replied, “Let’s take care of his breakfast, I will supply him with eggs, and you supply the meat.” The cow felt sad for he knew that it would mean a total sacrifice. It means death for the cow but it is total commitment and the ultimate giving of oneself.
We may find Jesus’ idea of discipleship too demanding for us. Others may find it not only difficult but impossible. But whenever we reflect deeply on the Cross and the sacrifice of Christ then we would understand that Jesus was not asking of us that he has not done himself. By our constant contemplation of Jesus’ Cross will make us understand fully what discipleship really means and what it truly constitutes. Then following him will never be a burden but an act of love to him who is the author of that greatest LOVE.

INSIGHTS: A Lesson In Humility by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

humility3

INSIGHTS; A LESSON IN HUMILITY
A Reflection on the readings of the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (year C )
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

If there is one particular virtue you’d like to ask from God that you might possess, then it should be the virtue of Humility. Humility is never easy to achieve, by the moment you realize you have it then you lose it. A really humble person is never aware that he is one. He will always find lacking in himself C.S. Lewis gave Humility a profound description: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.

This Sunday’s Scriptural readings, in particular, the First Reading from the Book of Sirach and of course the Gospel text from St. Luke, invite us to reflect on this extremely important Christian virtue i.e. the virtue of humility.

The book of Sirach says, My child, conduct your affairs with humility,
and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts.
Humble yourself the more, the greater you are,
and you will find favor with God.

While St. Luke in today’s Gospel relates to us an occasion when Jesus was invited for dinner in a Pharisee’s house and he observed that the invited guests were competing among themselves to take the seat of honor. Whereupon, Jesus took this opportunity to teach them a lesson in Humility. At the heart of today’s Gospel is Jesus’ profound message worth pondering upon. He said, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted.

The word Humility is derived from the Latin word “Humilitas” and or from the word “Humus” which means “grounded” or “from the earth.” Obviously, the word “Human” also comes from “Humus” which means Earth. We, humans, are earthlings. As humans, our nature should always be close to the earth. Being humans, therefore, is to always keep our feet to the ground. That is where we belong. The Book of Genesis (3:9) tells us that ‘we are dust and to dust, we shall return.’

I came across a beautiful story from an unknown source. Allow me then to share it with you.

Story: The Lion and the Mouse (source unknown)

A lion was awakened from sleep by a little mouse running over his face. Because of the disturbance, he got upset and was able to catch the mouse. As he was about to kill his catch. The mouse pleaded for his life saying: “If you spare my life, I will repay your kindness someday.” Upon hearing that, the lion laughed out loud saying”You a little mouse… How could a lion as big as I am be needing help from a little mouse like you?” Nevertheless, the lion spared the mouse’s life. He let him go.

Shortly after this incident, it happened that the lion was caught by some hunters, who bound him with strong ropes. Meanwhile, the mouse recognizing the lion’s roar, came and gnawed through the ropes and set the lion free. The mouse said to the lion: “You didn’t think that a small mouse, like me, would be able to help a great lion, like you? Now, you see, that it is possible for even a lion to need the help of a little mouse.

The lion felt humbled and grateful.

Our Lord Jesus demonstrated to us by his example and by the life he lived, what Humility really is. Ultimately, Jesus revealed to us the virtue of Humility when he accepted death on the Cross to save us and to glorify the Father.

Our challenge for us today is to able to strive to achieve this virtue. It will never be easy. It will always be a challenge. But as they say, “Practice makes perfect.” St. Augustine when asked about the three Theological Virtues, he said: “The three Theological Virtues are Humility, Humility, and Humility.” Humility could take us to victory, while Pride could take us to shame and defeat.

(Unknown source) The voices of the World tell us:

Appetite says, ‘Be sensuous, enjoy yourself.’
Education says, ‘Be resourceful. expand yourself.’
Materialism says, ‘Be satisfied, please yourself.’
Psychology says, ‘Be confident, fulfill yourself.’
Pride says, ‘Be superior, promote yourself.’
Humanism says, ‘Be capable, believe in yourself.’
But God says, ‘Be wise, humble yourself.’

Homily: 22nd Sunday In Ordinary Time C by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

22nd Sunday C 2019 pater

REFLECTION OF THE HEART
22nd Sunday In Ordinary Time (C)
Humility vs. Pride
A Reflection: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
*

READINGS:

FIRST READING: SIRACH 3:17-20,28-29

My child, conduct your affairs with humility,
and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts.
Humble yourself the more, the greater you are,
and you will find favor with God.
What is too sublime for you, seek not,
into things beyond your strength search not.
The mind of a sage appreciates proverbs,
and an attentive ear is the joy of the wise.
Water quenches a flaming fire,
and alms atone for sins.
*
The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: PSALM 68:4-5,6-7,10-11

RESPONSE: IN YOUR GOODNESS, O GOD, YOU PROVIDED FOR THE NEEDY.

The just rejoice and exult before God;
they are glad and rejoice.
Sing to God, chant praise to his name;
whose name is the LORD.
R/ In Your Goodness, O God, You Provided For The Needy.
*

The father of orphans and the defender of widows
is God in his holy dwelling.
God gives a home to the forsaken;
he leads forth prisoners to prosperity.
R/ In Your Goodness, O God, You Provided For The Needy.
*

A bountiful rain you showered down, O God, upon your inheritance;
you restored the land when it languished;
your flock settled in it;
in your goodness, O God, you provided it for the needy.
R/ In Your Goodness, O God, You Provided For The Needy.
*

SECOND READING: HEBREWS: 12:18-19,22-24A

Brothers and sisters:
You have not approached that which could be touched
and a blazing fire and gloomy darkness
and storm and a trumpet blast
and a voice speaking words such that those who heard
begged that no message be further addressed to them.
No, you have approached Mount Zion
and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,
and countless angels in festal gathering,
and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven,
and God the judge of all,
and the spirits of the just made perfect,
and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant,
and the sprinkled blood that speaks more eloquently than that of Abel.
*
The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION:
Alleluia. Alleluia. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart. Alleluia.
*

GOSPEL: LUKE 14:1,7-14

On a sabbath, Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees,
and the people there were observing him carefully.

He told a parable to those who had been invited,
noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table.
“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet,
do not recline at table in the place of honor.
A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him,
and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say,
‘Give your place to this man,’
and then you would proceed with embarrassment
to take the lowest place.
Rather, when you are invited,
go and take the lowest place
so that when the host comes to you he may say,
‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’
Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table.
For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Then he said to the host who invited him,
“When you hold a lunch or dinner,
do not invite your friends or your brothers
or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors,
in case they may invite you back and you have repayment.
Rather, when you hold a banquet,
invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind;
blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.
For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
*
The Gospel Of The Lord/ Praise To You, Lord Jesus Christ.
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REFLECTION:

STORY (by Wendy Mass)
“A fight is going on inside me,” said an old man to his son. “It is a terrible fight between two wolves. One wolf is evil. He is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other wolf is good. He is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility. kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.
The same fight is going on inside you.”
The son thought about it for a minute and then asked, “Which wolf will win?” The old man replied simply, “The one you feed!”
************************************************
It is evident indeed that there is a war going on inside each and every one of us. It’s a conflict between good and evil, love and hate, and humility and pride. Whoever wins depend upon our own choice. We are free to decide who do we favor. Are we gonna give in to good or evil, to love or hate and to humility and pride?

It is easy for us to attribute that pride is mostly seen to people who are rich, famous, successful, beautiful and intelligent. But Pride comes in different shapes and forms. There is a danger for every single person to have it to some degree regardless of status in life. Everyone, therefore, struggles from the sin of Pride. It is said that Pride is our greatest enemy and Humility is our greatest friend.

In today’s Gospel text, our Lord Jesus is teaching us a lesson on the virtue of Humility against the background of Pride.

The evangelist, St. Luke relates to us an occasion when Jesus was invited for dinner in a Pharisees’ house. Upon observing that the invited guests at a wedding banquet were competing with each other to choose the seat of honor, he took it an opportunity to teach them an important lesson, i.e. the virtue of Humility. In the Kingdom of God, Humility is an essential virtue. The First Reading of today tells us,” My child, perform your tasks with humility, then you will be loved by those whom God accepts.” (Sirach 3:17)

But what is Humility?
The word “humility” comes from the Latin word humilitas, a noun related to the adjective humilis, which may be translated as “humble”, but also as “grounded”, or “from the earth”, since it derives in turns from humus (earth). Incidentally, the word ‘human’ has also some connection with the word. Human means from the earth. Therefore, humans are supposed to be always close to the ground for that’s what we are. Genesis 3:19 “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

The definition reminds me of the Chinese proverb: “The taller the bamboo grows, the lower it bends.” The closer it is therefore to the ground. Being humble is keeping both feet on the ground.

True humility was demonstrated to us by our Lord Jesus. The ultimate manifestation of such humility was when he accepted death on the Cross. Philippians 2:6-8

6 Though he was God,[a]
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges[b];
he took the humble position of a slave[c]
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,[d]
8 he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Jesus revealed the virtue of Humility even in life and in death. He served the poor; he mingled, ate and forgave sinners; he touched and healed the sick and he washed the feet of his apostles. And in humility, he accepted death to save us and to glorify the Father.

In our spiritual journey, let us put in mind that humility is the foundation of our spiritual growth. We need to empty ourselves, to let go of our arrogance and pride and to understand that we really have nothing of our own and all that we have are but graces from God. Pope Francis said that “If you wish to be holy, then you better start by being humble.” When St. Augustine was asked about the three Theological virtues he said: “If you ask me which is the first virtue for a Christian, I will tell you that it is humility. If you ask me again which is the second, I will say to you it is humility. If you again ask me which is the third, I will still say that it is humility, and as often as you ask me this question, I shall always give you the same answer.” Humility, therefore, is the virtue of the strong. It takes a lot of courage to acquire this virtue for it is founded in truth. One cannot achieve Holiness without Humility.
“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

HOMILY: 20th Sunday In Ordinary Time C by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

20th Sunday 2019 pater

REFLECTION OF THE HEART
20th Sunday In Ordinary Time (year C)
A Reflection: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
*

FIRST READING: JEREMIAH 38:4-6,8-10

In those days, the princes said to the king:
“Jeremiah ought to be put to death;
he is demoralizing the soldiers who are left in this city,
and all the people, by speaking such things to them;
he is not interested in the welfare of our people,
but in their ruin.”
King Zedekiah answered: “He is in your power”;
for the king could do nothing with them.
And so they took Jeremiah
and threw him into the cistern of Prince Malchiah,
which was in the quarters of the guard,
letting him down with ropes.
There was no water in the cistern, only mud,
and Jeremiah sank into the mud.

Ebed-melech, a court official,
went there from the palace and said to him:
“My lord king,
these men have been at fault
in all, they have done to the prophet Jeremiah,
casting him into the cistern.
He will die of famine on the spot,
for there is no more food in the city.”
Then the king ordered Ebed-melech the Cushite
to take three men along with him,
and draw the prophet Jeremiah out of the cistern before
he should die.
*
The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: PSALM 40:2,3,4,18

RESPONSE: LORD, MAKE HASTE TO HELP ME.

I have waited, waited for the LORD,
and he stooped toward me.
R/ Lord, make haste to help me.

The LORD heard my cry.
He drew me out of the pit of destruction,
out of the mud of the swamp;
he set my feet upon a crag;
he made firm my steps.
R/Lord, make haste to help me.

And he put a new song into my mouth,
a hymn to our God.
Many shall look on in awe
and trust in the LORD.
R/ Lord, make haste to help me,

Though I am afflicted and poor,
yet the LORD thinks of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
O my God, hold not back!
R/ Lord, make haste to help me.

SECOND READING: HEBREWS 12:1-4

Brothers and sisters:
Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us
and persevere in running the race that lies before us
while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus,
the leader and perfecter of faith.
For the sake of the joy that lay before him
he endured the cross, despising its shame,
and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.
Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners,
in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart.
In your struggle against sin,
you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.
*
The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.

GOSPEL: LUKE 12:49-53

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have come to set the earth on fire,
and how I wish it were already blazing!
There is a baptism with which I must be baptized,
and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!
Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?
No, I tell you, but rather division.
From now on a household of five will be divided,
three against two and two against three;
a father will be divided against his son
and a son against his father,
a mother against her daughter
and a daughter against her mother,
a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
*
The Gospel Of The Lord/ Praise Be To You Lord Jesus Christ
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REFLECTION

Today’s Gospel text should be read with extra care. We do not interpret this literally. We need to know the scriptural background of this particular text in order to have a clearer understanding of its message. We also need to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. For instance, we know Jesus’ heart to be a harbinger of peace. He always greets his disciples with his peace. That is why we call him Prince of Peace. On his birth, the Angels sing “Glory to God in the highest and peace to men of goodwill.” But ironically in today’s Gospel Jesus said “Do you think that I come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” What does Jesus mean by bringing ‘division and not peace.’ Obviously, here we really need to contemplate in order to deeply understand what Jesus was trying to tell us here. We could see that Jesus was trying to shock his listeners. He wants to get their attention. No one wants strife and conflict, so why was Jesus talking about division. When Jesus said, “I have come to bring not peace but division,” it does not literally mean that he is the one bringing such division. The division that he was talking about is caused by the message that he brings. Of course, he comes to bring us the message of peace. But Jesus’ message has never been easy to obey and follow. This struggle to heed to the message of Christ is what really causes the division among the people. Some people will faithfully obey his commands, other’s will ignore and rebel to his commands. That is where conflicts will arise. Even among the disciples, we could see this division. Remember when Jesus was talking about him being the bread of life most of his listeners could not accept his teachings. They murmured among themselves, “this is a hard teaching,” and one by one they abandoned our Lord Jesus. However, the apostles remained faithful though they may find his teachings hard to understand too for they said to Jesus – “You have the word of eternal life.” The Gospel of today, therefore, calls for fidelity to Christ and his words. We may not fully comprehend his teachings. We may struggle at times to heed his commands but we need to put our complete trust in him. Jesus has the word of eternal life.
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Story: THE SON

A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art.

When the Vietnam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.

About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands. He said, “Sir, you don’t know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart, and he died instantly. He often talked about you, and your love for art.” The young man held out his package. “I know this isn’t much. I’m not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this.”

The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture. “Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It’s a gift.”

The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home, he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected.

The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection. On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. “We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture?” There was silence. Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, “We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one.” But the auctioneer persisted. “Will someone bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?” Another voice shouted angrily, “We didn’t come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Goghs, the Rembrandts. Get on with the real bids!” But still, the auctioneer continued, “The son! The son! Who’ll take the son?”

Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son. “I’ll give $10 for the painting.” Being a poor man, it was all he could afford. “We have $10, who will bid $20?” “Give it to him for $10. Let’s see the masters.” “$10 is the bid, won’t someone bid $20?” The crowd was becoming angry. They didn’t want the picture of the son. They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections. The auctioneer pounded the gavel. “Going once, twice, SOLD FOR $10!”

A man sitting on the second row shouted, “Now, let’s get on with the collection!” The auctioneer laid down his gavel. “I’m sorry, the auction is over.” “What about the paintings?” “I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings. The man who took the son gets everything!”

God gave his Son 2000 years ago to die on a cruel cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is, “The Son, the Son, who’ll take the Son?” Because you see, whoever takes the Son gets everything.

– Author Unknown –
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This is what Jesus meant when he says “I came not to bring peace but division.” He came to bring truth but the truth was not easily accepted. He came to bring love but his love was rejected and not reciprocated. He came to offer himself as a sacrifice on the cross but his sacrifice was unappreciated.

When our faith is severely tested, would we still remain faithful to Christ? Some will easily lose heart and will simply abandon our Lord. But others will remain faithful despite the hardships and the challenges for their hearts are focus to Christ. The choice is ours. Our choice will determine the depth of our love for Jesus.