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

15th Sunday c 2019 pater

REFLECTION OF THE HEART
15th Sunday In Ordinary Time (C)
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
A Reflection: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
*

First Reading: Deuteronomy 30:10-14

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

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

Responsorial Psalm PS 69

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

Second Reading Colossians 1:15-20

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

GOSPEL: Luke 10:25-37

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

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REFLECTION:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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
*

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
*

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.
*

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:
*
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
*

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

13th Sunday pater

A REFLECTION
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)
Sunday, 1st July 2018
*

READINGS:
First Reading: Wisdom 1:13-15;2;23-24
Responsorial Psalm: “I will extol you, Lord, for you have raised me up.
Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 8:7,9:13-15
*
GOSPEL: Mark 5:21-43
When Jesus had crossed in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. Then one of the synagogue leaders named Jairus came and when he saw Jesus, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” So Jesus went with him. And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” Immediately her hemorrhage stopped, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.
Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, “Who touched me?”
He looked all around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. Jesus said to her daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your disease.” While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”
Jesus allowed no one to follow him. When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him.
Then Jesus put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about for she was twelve years of age.
At this, they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
*

REFLECTION:
Today’s Gospel text presents to us a beautiful literary style of the evangelist St. Mark. Mark gave us two miracle accounts. First, he introduced to us, a prominent figure, Jairus a synagogue official of some kind who came to Jesus to plead for the life of his daughter who was greatly ill and was dying. Then this account is interrupted to relate to us another character, a woman with hemorrhages for twelve years. Then we return to the daughter of the synagogue official. Certainly, this particular literary style of Mark sandwiching the cure of the woman with hemorrhage was done with a purpose. It was as if to prepare Mark’s readers of an even greater miracle that is to come. The woman came to Jesus and Jesus brought healing and peace. As if this account is not amazing enough, it was followed up by an even greater miracle – the raising of Jairus’ daughter. Jairus puts his complete trust in Jesus, and Jesus brought life where there once was death. The raising of Jairus’ daughter reminds us of the raising of Lazarus. It is meant to invite us to reflect on the realities of life and death and life after death. It brings us the necessary hope and joy. For it tells us that there is life after this our present state. It tells us that we are destined to immortality. If there is no life after this one, then life is meaningless. We see life as a journey, a pilgrimage towards our ultimate goal which is heaven. Reflecting on today’s Gospel brings us to the conclusion that in Jesus we experience peace and healing. In him, suffering ends and new life takes the place of death.
When we read in the Scripture the miracle accounts of Jesus, bear in mind that it is not the spectacular element that is important. What is important is the meaning or the message that’s contained in the miracle. In Mark’s Gospel text we see impossible cases. Mark presents to us each case as almost beyond help. For instance, last Sunday, Mark gave us an account of the calming of the storm. The disciples thought they were going to die in the storm (Mk 4:38) but Jesus was able to calm the storm with a simple command – Quiet, be calm! And now we reflect on the healing of the woman suffering for twelve years and the raising of Jairus’ daughter. These accounts tell us that in Jesus there is no such thing as a hopeless case. In Jesus there are no incurables, nothing is impossible in him. But we learn a lot from the example of Jairus and the woman in the Gospel. It was their faith that brought about healing and restoration of life. Today, we have seen two beautiful examples of faith. When the sick woman and Jairus were helpless and hopeless, Jesus was the answer.
The woman had an incredible faith. She was certain that Jesus could heal her. She knew that Jesus was so powerful so that if she could just touch even the hem of his clothes, she would be healed. Certainly, that’s faith.
And Jairus, considering that he was a figure of respect in his town manifested incredible faith also. He was an important man, which is why the crowd gave way enough to let him through. But Jairus set aside his prominence and importance. Here he behaves like a desperate man. Jairus didn’t worry about what other people might say or think about him. So he threw himself at Jesus’ feet and begged. He had only one thing in mind and that’s the well-being of his child. He was not ashamed to ask Jesus for help. His child is dying. Here we see a compassionate Jesus who agreed to come with him to see his child. But before they get very far, they received a disturbing news – “Your daughter is dead…why trouble the teacher any further.” But Jesus said, “Do not fear, only believe!” Jesus was like telling Jairus to have faith. When things, therefore, seem hopeless, come to Jesus. Jesus is full of compassion. He feels and knows our pain for he himself experienced suffering. He longs to help you. He has the power to help when no one else can. You should never be afraid to bring Jesus your needs. But always have faith. Faith is a free gift from the Father. If we are lacking in faith, just ask the Father and he will gladly give you the gift of faith.
Perhaps this story may further enlightened us in our reflection:
The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements and in which to store his few possessions. But then one day, after scavenging for food, he came to see his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened, everything was lost. He was stunned with grief and anger. “God how could you do this to me!” Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him. The weary man asked his rescuers – “How did you know I was here?” They replied: “We saw your smoke signal.”
The lesson: It is easy to get discouraged when things are going bad. But we should never lose heart because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of our pain and suffering. Have faith in Jesus like the faith of Jairus and the sick woman. Whatever the circumstances may be, it is important to know that His divine providence will always be there for you and me.
Proverb 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

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

john the baptist - pater

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

GOSPEL: Luke 1:57-66,80

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

REFLECTION:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ascension pater

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

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

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

REFLECTION:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Homily: 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 the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it up again. I have received this command from the Father.”
*
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 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.