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.'”

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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.

*
GOSPEL: LUKE 16:19-31

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

____________________________________________

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

Homily: 25th Sunday In Ordinary Time(C) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

25th Sunday C pater

REFLECTION OF THE HEART
25th Sunday In Ordinary Time (C)
The Dishonest Steward (Luke 16:1-13)
A Reflection: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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READINGS:
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FIRST READING: AMOS 8:4-7
Hear this, you who trample upon the needy
and destroy the poor of the land!
“When will the new moon be over,” you ask,
“that we may sell our grain,
and the sabbath, that we may display the wheat?
We will diminish the ephah,
add to the shekel,
and fix our scales for cheating!
We will buy the lowly for silver,
and the poor for a pair of sandals;
even the refuse of the wheat we will sell!”
The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob:
Never will I forget a thing they have done!
*
The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.
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RESPONSORIAL PSALM: PSALM 113

Response: PRAISE THE LORD WHO LIFTS UP THE NEEDY
Praise, you servants of the LORD,
praise the name of the LORD.
Blessed be the name of the LORD
both now and forever.
R/ Praise the Lord who lifts up the needy.
*
High above all nations is the LORD;
above the heavens is his glory.
Who is like the LORD, our God, who is enthroned on high
and looks upon the heavens and the earth below?
R/ Praise the Lord who lifts up the needy.
*
He raises up the lowly from the dust;
from the dunghill, he lifts up the poor
to seat them with princes,
with the princes of his own people.
R/ Praise the Lord who lifts up the needy.
*

SECOND READING: 1 TIMOTHY 2:1-7
Beloved:
First of all, I ask that supplications, prayers,
petitions and thanksgivings be offered for everyone,
for kings and for all in authority,
that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life
in all devotion and dignity.
This is good and pleasing to God our savior,
who wills everyone to be saved
and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
For there is one God.
There is also one mediator between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus,
who gave himself as a ransom for all.
This was the testimony at the proper time.
For this, I was appointed preacher and apostle
— I am speaking the truth, I am not lying —,
teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
*
The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.
*

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

GOSPEL: LUKE 16:1-13
Jesus said to his disciples,
“A rich man had a steward
who was reported to him for squandering his property.
He summoned him and said,
‘What is this I hear about you?
Prepare a full account of your stewardship,
because you can no longer be my steward.’
The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do,
now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me?
I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg.
I know what I shall do so that,
when I am removed from the stewardship,
they may welcome me into their homes.’
He called in his master’s debtors one by one.
To the first he said,
‘How much do you owe my master?’
He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’
He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note.
Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’
Then to another, the steward said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’
He replied, ‘One hundred kors of wheat.’
The steward said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note;
write one for eighty.’
And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.
“For the children of this world
are more prudent in dealing with their own generation
than are the children of light.
I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth,
so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
The person who is trustworthy in very small matters
is also trustworthy in great ones;
and the person who is dishonest in very small matters
is also dishonest in great ones.
If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth,
who will trust you with true wealth?
If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another,
who will give you what is yours?
No servant can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve both God and mammon.”
*
The Gospel Of The Lord/ Praise To You, Lord Jesus Christ.
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REFLECTION:

This Sunday’s Scriptural Readings enlighten us with what should be our outlook with regards to material possessions. They also encourage us to care for the poor and the needy. Like in today’s First Reading, the prophet Amos manifested great compassion for the poor. We have seen here a prophet condemning the sad and unjust plight of the poor and the needy. He exposed the gap between the rich and the poor. The rich have always their surplus while the poor died of hunger. The Responsorial Psalm lifted up the poor. It says, Praise the Lord who lifts up the needy. In the Second Reading, however, St. Paul in his letter to Timothy urged us to pray for Kings, ruler and all people in authority that they may not fall to corruption in governing the land. This is still true to this date because corruptions in the government are rampant everywhere in the world. Corrupt leaders exchange honest and truthful service over material wealth because of their greed. Thus the Second Reading serves as a warning against corruption. And today’s Gospel relates to us the parable of the dishonest steward. It tells us that there is something more important than material possessions. The Manager was dishonest to the point that he forgot that there are things more important in acquiring wealth here on earth. Our dignity as children of God is of more value than any material possessions. Jesus said, “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much. If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches.” ” No slaves can serve two masters. You cannot serve God and wealth” Our money can only have meaning when it is used wisely. It is of greater value when it is extended in helping the poor and the needy. In short, today’s Readings in one hand, condemns corruption, dishonesty, and greed. And on the other hand, God wants us to cultivate our love of the poor.
However, dealing with the poor and the needy could mean different things to different people, It requires one to make some sacrifices, big or small. There are times that we feel some kind of apprehension in extending help to somebody. Experience tells us that there are abusive people who simply take advantage of one’s kindness and generosity. Several times I was approached by someone who looked more capable of working than I am. In such a situation a careful discernment is necessary if the need was legitimate. However, in case of doubt, the best thing to do is to always go to the side of charity so as not to miss an opportunity to imitate our Lord. Developing our sense of empathy and compassion towards the poor can help us discern on how we can extend a helping hand towards them. This is the beauty and the mystery of why we are not equal when it comes to blessings. Apparently, there are people who seemed to be more blessed than others. Some people are more wealthy, others may be more intelligent, still, others are blessed with so many skills. Yes, we may not be equal in our qualifications, but we are equal in our capacity to love. Saint John Paul 11 says “No one is so poor that they cannot give something and nobody is so rich that he has nothing to receive.”
The manager was not praised because of his dishonesty. He was praised because of his being so wise as to have some kind of foresight that made him prepare for his future. Although he uses such quality in the wrong manner. Just like the manager, our Lord Jesus wants us to have the same foresight and prudence but in a good way. We do not settle for less. Our attention should be the Kingdom of God, our greatest treasure.
The question may be this, “Is it wrong to even care about material things for ourselves or for others? Not at all! But let us bear in mind that material possessions should not be our end. They are a means to an end. They are something we use to achieve our goals, which is to be more like Christ. We should therefore not be possessed by material possessions. It is foolishness to spend all our attention towards accumulating them only to displace our love of God with the love of mammon.
*
Story (from Frank Mihalic’s The Next 500 Stories)
There was this businessman whose only interest in life was to play the stock market. He studied the financial pages of the newspapers greedily every day. He became so obsessed with finances that one day he said aloud to himself, “I would give anything to see the paper one year from now.”
No sooner were the words out of his mouth, than there was a puff of smoke in the room and a little genie handed him a newspaper and then disappeared. As soon as he got over his shock, he realized that his wish had been granted. The paper in his hand dated for next year. Feverishly he found the financial page and then his eyes bulged when he saw how the market had developed. He wrote down the stocks that had jumped highest and won the most money at that time.
He got into his car and went down to his stockbroker with his latest information. He took the newspaper along and was browsing through it before he started off. Then suddenly he noticed his name in the obituary page. It described the cause of his death and the funeral arrangement.
*
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt. 6:19-21)
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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
*

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.
*

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: PSALM 90:3-4,5-6,12-13,14-17

Response: LORD, YOU HAVE BEEN OUR DWELLING PLACE IN ALL GENERATIONS.
*
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.

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

*
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.”
*
The Gospel Of The Lord/ Praise To You, Lord Jesus Christ.

____________________________________________
*
REFLECTION:

THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP
*
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.

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.
__________________________________________

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: 21st Sunday In Ordinary Time C by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

21st 2019 pater

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

READINGS:

FIRST READING: ISAIAH 66:18-21

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

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: PSALM 117:1-2

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOSPEL: LUKE 13:22-30

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

__________________________________

REFLECTION:

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

One day a small gap appeared in the cocoon, through which the butterfly had to appear. A boy, who accidentally passed by, stopped and watched how the butterfly was trying to get out of the cocoon. It took a lot of time, the butterfly was trying very hard, and the gap was as little as before. It seemed that the power would leave the butterfly soon.
The boy decided to help the butterfly. He took a penknife and cut the cocoon. The butterfly immediately got out, but its body was weak and feeble, and the wings were barely moving.
The boy continued to watch the butterfly, thinking that now its wings would spread and its would fly. However, that did not happen.
The rest of its life the butterfly had to drag its weak body and wings that weren’t spread. It was unable to fly because the boy did not realize that an effort to enter through the narrow gap of the cocoon was necessary for the butterfly, so that the life-giving fluid would move from the body to the butterfly’s wings and that the butterfly could fly. Life forced the butterfly to leave its shell hardly so that it would become stronger and would be able to grow and develop.
If we were allowed to live without meeting difficulties, we would not be viable. Life gives us challenges to make us stronger.
____________________________________

Life is a matter of decision we make. We are being challenged to make a choice. The Book of Sirach 15:14 tells us, “He created humanity at the beginning, and left them to the power of their choices. Are we going to take the easy path, but it leads to destruction? Or are we going to take the difficult one but it leads to life?
Matthew 7:13-14
“Enter by the narrow gate, for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.
For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
But who says, it is that easy. There is a need to strive. Every day is a challenge. We are always confronted with choices to do good or to do bad. To turn towards God or away from Him. We are like being pulled to two different directions. The choice is ours. Even saints find it difficult to heed to the call of holiness. That reminds me of St. Augustine who says, “Lord, make me chaste, but not yet.”
As we continue to reflect on today’s Gospel, there are important points that I’d like you to keep in mind.
We are already saved. By the mere fact that Jesus died on the Cross, we are already saved. God gave us a wonderful gift of salvation through the sacrifice of his son on the cross. It was Jesus’ mission to save us by accepting death on the cross. But it is a gift. We are saved by God’s free gift of grace but we have to reciprocate to this grace. God desires all men to be saved. He desires every single person to enter his Kingdom. But God respects our free will. Freedom is the gift that God gave us otherwise we would just be like an automaton. God predestined no one to go to hell, but he can not stop us if we would like to. We need to persevere to claim heaven till the end.