Homily: The Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (C) by Pater Allen Baclor Abadines

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GOSPEL REFLECTION :The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (Year C)
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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READINGS:

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FIRST READING: 2 SAMUEL 5:1-3

In those days, all the tribes of Israel came to David in Hebron and said:
“Here we are, your bone and your flesh.
In days past, when Saul was our king,
it was you who led the Israelites out and brought them back.
And the LORD said to you,
‘You shall shepherd my people Israel
and shall be commander of Israel.’”
When all the elders of Israel came to David in Hebron,
King David made an agreement with them there before the LORD,
and they anointed him king of Israel.
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The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM : PSALM 122

Response: Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
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I rejoiced because they said to me,
“We will go up to the house of the LORD.”
And now we have set foot
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
R/ Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
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Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD.
R/ Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
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According to the decree for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
In it are set up judgment seats,
seats for the house of David.
R/ Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
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SECOND READING: COLOSSIANS 1:12-20

Brothers and sisters:
Let us give thanks to the Father,
who has made you fit to share
in the inheritance of the holy ones in light.
He delivered us from the power of darkness
and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

He 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.
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The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION
Alleluia. Alleluia.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!
R. Alleluia. Alleluia.
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GOSPEL: LUKE 23:35-43

The rulers sneered at Jesus and said,
“He saved others, let him save himself
if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God.”
Even the soldiers jeered at him.
As they approached to offer him wine they called out,
“If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.”
Above him there was an inscription that read,
“This is the King of the Jews.”

Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying,
“Are you not the Christ?
Save yourself and us.”
The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply,
“Have you no fear of God,
for you are subject to the same condemnation?
And indeed, we have been condemned justly,
for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes,
but this man has done nothing criminal.”
Then he said,
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
He replied to him,
“Amen, I say to you,
today you will be with me in Paradise.”
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The Gospel Of The Lord/ Praise To You Lord Jesus Christ.
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REFLECTION:

The Liturgical Year of Cycle C now comes to a conclusion as we honor our Lord Jesus, King of the Universe. This is a good preparation as we embark on a new spiritual journey in the coming year. Thus , It is but fitting that we reflect on the Kingship as well as the Kingdom of our Lord as we end this year’s Liturgical Calendar.

What does it mean when we say :”Jesus is King of the universe?” Not only that but to us “Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords.”
Does it mean power? Authority?

Yes , Jesus is King, but not as the world defines him to be. For the world understands a king as someone who lord over people. He is wealthy and powerful with an army and a kingdom. He is feared and respected by his people. His words have authority. And He is willing to use anything and everything to the extent of waging wars against enemies to protect his Kingdom. But none of these is the image of Jesus as King. In fact, when he was asked by Pilate, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus tried to reject the title. Because that is not the kind of kingship Jesus has in mind. Jesus’ notion of what kingship is all about is diametrically opposed to the world’s understanding of what a leader should be. For our Lord Jesus , real kingship is found in humble service. Yes, Jesus’ kingship is described in one word i.e. Servanthood. Mark 9:35 ” And siting down ,He called the twelve and said to them, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all, and servant of all.'”

In preaching the Kingdom of God, Jesus’ words and deeds go hand in hand. Not only that he preached the Kingdom by words but more so by example. He is the Son of God yet at the Last Supper he humbly washed the feet of the disciples. He healed the sick. He touched the lepers. He was not afraid to mingle with sinners and tax collectors and be associated with them. He forgave sinners. And fed the people not only with real bread but by the words of God that nourished their souls. And nowhere is Jesus’ Kingship more obvious than when he is hanging on the Cross. We see our Lord that despite the excruciating pain and agony yet full of love and forgiveness. The celebration of Christ the King therefore is a recognition of the power of a humble service, forgiveness and love.

The celebration of Christ is not just a devotion. We do not just recognize and admire Jesus as our King. Its real message lies on the fact that we are challenged in our lives to be like him. To imitate Jesus in our lives his service, forgiveness and love. God’s love is all-encompassing , It does not discriminate. It is always personal.In short , we are to reflect to the world that indeed Christ reigns in our hearts. And that we become the image of Christ to others.
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STORY (Author Unknown)

One night, at 11:30 PM, an older African-American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.

A young white man stopped to help her – generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab. She seemed to be in a big hurry! She wrote down his address, thanked him and drove away.

Seven days went by and a knock came on the man’s door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached. It read:

“Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others.”

Sincerely,
Mrs. Nat King Cole
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A recognition that Christ indeed is king to us is to take its message seriously in our lives. Jesus is King of our lives. Which means that we submit our lives totally to Jesus as our King. We allow Jesus to reign in our homes, in our work places, in our community and in our hearts. Galatians 2: 20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”

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HOMILY: 32nd Sunday In Ordinary Time (C) by Pater Allen Baclor Abadines

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GOSPEL REFLECTION: 32nd Sunday In Ordinary Time (C)
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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READINGS:
FIRST READING: 2 MACCABEES 7:1-2,9-14
Jewish martyrs give witness to their faith, even unto death.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM: PSALM 17
I shall be satisfied, Lord, when I awake and behold your likeness.
SECOND READING: 2 THESSALONIANS 2:16-3:5
Paul encourages the Thessalonians and asks for their prayers.
GOSPEL: LUKE 20:27-38
Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection,
came forward and put this question to Jesus, saying,
“Teacher, Moses wrote for us,
If someone’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child,
his brother must take the wife
and raise up descendants for his brother.
Now there were seven brothers;
the first married a woman but died childless.
Then the second and the third married her,
and likewise all the seven died childless.
Finally the woman also died.
Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be?
For all seven had been married to her.”
Jesus said to them,
“The children of this age marry and remarry;
but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age
and to the resurrection of the dead
neither marry nor are given in marriage.
They can no longer die,
for they are like angels;
and they are the children of God
because they are the ones who will rise.
That the dead will rise
even Moses made known in the passage about the bush,
when he called out ‘Lord,’
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob;
and he is not God of the dead, but of the living,
for to him all are alive.”
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The Gospel Of The Lord/ Praise To You Lord Jesus Christ.
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REFLECTION
Why do people ask questions for which in actuality they do not even care about the answer or they do not really care about finding the truth? Sometimes they are just hoping to prove their opinions to be always right and unassailable. Still others ask question to prove that they are more intelligent and knowledgeable. They ask even though they already know the answer, and are just trying to make other people look dumb.Their intention really is to put other people down and to humiliate them.
These are the kind of people we encountered in today’s Gospel in the persons of the Sadducees. Who were the Sadducees? The Sadducees were members of a Jewish sect during the time of Jesus.They were in conflict with the teachings of the Pharisees as they did not believe in the resurrection of the dead and the existence of spirits. They claimed that the souls die with the bodies hence there’s no life after our earthly existence.
The Gospel of today relates to us an incident wherein some Sadducees approached Jesus with their dubious question concerning the resurrection. They actually did not care about the answer. They were not there to seek the truth. They intended to trap Jesus that he may give in to their concept that there is no resurrection after our life here on earth. To do this, they presented to Jesus a ridiculous situation using the Old Testament law to disparage the teaching about the resurrection. The law from Moses says that ‘if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother.’ Then they went on with an absurd story citing seven brothers ended up marrying the same woman, for each died leaving her childless. In the afterlife whose wife will that woman be? It was a question inviting us to reflect about something that is eschatological. Is there life after death? Yes there is! In fact, Jesus says in John 14″1-3 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe in Me as well. 2In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am…”
Believing in the resurrection is of paramount importance in our Christian faith. It is not enough that we accept Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross for the love of mankind, but it is essential that we also believe in the resurrection of Christ and that we too will share someday in his resurrection.
But why should we believe in the resurrection?
We are Easter people. We believe that Christ resurrected from the dead. Jesus is alive!
What separates Jesus from any other prophets,teachers of the law, and martyrs is his resurrection,
1 Corinthians 15:12-19
“But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.”
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If there is no resurrection then there will be no reason to Hope. It follows that there will be no reward or punishment in the after life.If we refuse to believe that Jesus rose from the dead then we deny ourselves a place in heaven.
There will be no real Joy.
There will be no Faith.
There will be no Love.
We are but pilgrims here on earth, amidst the pains, the sufferings and the struggles in this life , there is hope, joy, and love intrinsically rooted in our hearts because of our faith in the resurrection.

Homily: 29th Sunday In Ordinary Time (C) by Pater Allen Baclor Abadines

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GOSPEL REFLECTION: 29th Sunday In Ordinary Time (year C)
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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READINGS:
FIRST READING: EXODUS 17:8-13
Joshua and the Israelites defeat Amalek with the help of God and his servant, Moses.
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RESPONSORIAL PSALM: 121:1-2,3-4,5-6,7-8
Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
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SECOND READING: 2 TIMOTHY 3:14-4:2
Paul exhorts Timothy to continue to preach the word Timothy received from his teachers.
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GOSPEL: LUKE 18:1-8
Jesus told his disciples a parable
about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.
He said, “There was a judge in a certain town
who neither feared God nor respected any human being.
And a widow in that town used to come to him and say,
‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’
For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought,
‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being,
because this widow keeps bothering me
I shall deliver a just decision for her
lest she finally come and strike me.'”
The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says.
Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones
who call out to him day and night?
Will he be slow to answer them?
I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.
But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
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The Gospel Of The Lord/ Praise To You, Lord Jesus Christ.
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REFLECTION:

This Sunday’s Gospel teaches us about prayer. It’s actually a lesson on the importance of persistence in prayer. Jesus relates to us the Parable of the Persistent Widow and the Unjust Judge. When the name “widow” is mentioned in the Scriptures, it means a someone powerless and poor. It seems logical for the widow having no husband to protect and to provide for her needs become powerless. It is in such kind of situation when a certain widow approached a judge to seek justice. But being a vermin judge left her but a little chance to get justice. None the less , the widow won’t give up. It was her persistence that in the end the judge even though of evil repute decided to grant her request.
The message is clear! Jesus was not actually comparing God to the unjust judge. He just wanted to make a clear point. That even a judge who is so evil could grant the request of a someone so insignificant, how much more a loving Father who gives man of utmost importance would provide for his needs.“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? (Matthew 6:26) When we pray ,therefore, we are not only required a complete trust and confidence, but more so perseverance. Jesus encourages us not to loose heart.
Is there a need for us to pray? Why do we pray? We can pray because we know God. If we do not know God, we will not pray. Prayer is talking and listening to a someone. We only talk to a somebody we know. Most mother’s advice to their kids is not to talk to a stranger. A stranger is someone you do not know. God is never a stranger to us. We are never a stranger to God. We have a special relationship with God. John 10:14 “I am the good shepherd. I know My own sheep, and they know me.” To pray therefore is to enter a covenant relationship with God. That is why when Jesus taught his Apostles how to pray, he said, “when you pray say Our Father.” Meaning we have a relationship with the Father. So when we pray, we talk to him like a son to his father.
Make prayer therefore a way of life. Prayer is important in our spiritual life. We know that! But prayer at times is a struggle. Some people stop praying for various reasons. Some people can’t find meaning in it. Some even think it’s a waste of time. For some prayers seem not to work. We pray yet as if nothing happens!
This is precisely the reason why our Lord relates to us the parable of the Persistent Widow. It is to assure us that prayer works, so be persistent. God hears our prayers. Remember St. Monica prayed unceasingly to God for the conversion of her son, Augustine. Her perseverance paid off. Not only that her son was converted, he even became a saint.
Why do we need to pray at all?
First, God commands us to pray. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 it says “Pray continually.” Matthew 5:44 says “Pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 6:9 says “This, then, is how you should pray.”
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Second, Jesus himself is a man of prayer. He prayed regularly to the Father. He showed the importance of prayer by example.
Mark 1:35 “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”
Luke 5:16 “But Jesus often withdrew to a lonely place and prayed.”
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Third, Prayer is an education. In Prayer we come to know ourselves. It teaches us how we could relate with other people. It teaches us the virtue of humility. St. Ephraem of Syria said that “Virtues are formed by prayer. Prayer preserves temperance. Prayer surpasses anger. Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy. Prayer draws into the soul the Holy Spirit, and raises man to heaven.”
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Prayer should not be only asking God for something. God is not like a genie in a bottle who only makes our wishes come true. Prayer is building an intimate relationship with God. The value of prayer depends upon how deep is our relationship with God. We need to pray because we need God. We need a Father , and a friend we can rely on.

 

HOMILY: 28th Sunday In Ordinary Time (C) by Pater Allen Baclor Abadines

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GOSPEL REFLECTION: 28th Sunday In Ordinary Time (C)
by Pater Allen Baclor Abadines
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READINGS:

FIRST READING: 2 KINGS 5:14-17
Naaman is cleansed of his leprosy and chooses to serve the God of Israel.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: PSALM 98
The Lord has revealed his victory in the sight of the nations.

SECOND READING: 2 TIMOTHY 2:8-13
Those who remain faithful to Christ will share Christ’s glory.

GOSPEL: LUKE 17:11-19

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem,
he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.
As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him.
They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying,
“Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”
And when he saw them, he said,
“Go show yourselves to the priests.”
As they were going they were cleansed.
And one of them, realizing he had been healed,
returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.
He was a Samaritan.
Jesus said in reply,
“Ten were cleansed, were they not?
Where are the other nine?
Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”
Then he said to him, “Stand up and go;
your faith has saved you.”
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The Gospel Of The Lord/ Praise To You, Lord Jesus Christ.
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REFLECTION:

The second Monday in the month of October is celebrated as Thanksgiving Day here in Canada. This is one particular day when people make it an opportunity to give thanks for all the graces received in the past year. Although it is a civic observance but the idea is there i.e. it is giving as an important lesson in gratitude. To live a life in gratitude is to recognize your blessings which means that one acknowledges everything as gift. Incidentally , on this 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Readings special the Gospel provide us some profound insights on the lesson on gratitude. Let me therefore focus my reflection on the importance of gratitude.
We heard on this Sunday’s Gospel the encounter between our Lord Jesus and the ten lepers. In the New Testament, when the word “leper” is mentioned , it means the most pitiable state of a person. They were considered outcasts in society. Normally, they no longer got support from their own family and friends. They were considered not only literally unclean but also spiritually. Leprosy then was considered as some kind of curse inflicted by God to punish people because of their sinfulness. The Book of Leviticus gave a clear description of the plight of a leper , “the leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean.’ He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp” (Leviticus 13:45-46). Lepers were not allowed to get near any other human being. By doing so may cause them death. People were afraid that they too might be contaminated by their being unclean. They thought the disease was highly contagious. More than physical pain, lepers suffered emotional and psychological pain the most , considering the fact that they were separated from their loved ones, relatives,friends and the community they belong. It was in this kind of situation when Jesus encountered the ten lepers. These ten lepers congregated with each other to get support and protection from each other. “Misery loves company!” (Miseria amat vexillum!) But Jesus was not afraid to get near them. He was not afraid to touch them. He was not afraid to be with them. As the lepers learned about Jesus getting near them, they cried out in unison – “Jesus master, have pity on us. Out of compassion, Jesus healed them. And they were given instruction to by Jesus to “Go and show yourselves to the priest. Why the priest? Well. the priest had the duty to declare the person clean. The Gospel relates to us that as the lepers went off to look for a priest, they were healed. It should have been a beautiful Jesus’ healing account. But what was tragic was the fact that out of ten lepers only one came back to worship God and thank Jesus , the source of healing. The event cannot be ignored and so our Lord asked, “Were not ten made whole, the other nine where are they?” Yes, only one came back to thank the Lord and he was a Samaritan, a foreigner. The other nine showed an ignoble display of ingratitude. The Gospel message is therefore a reminder and a challenge for us to live a life of gratitude. Living a life of gratitude is not just a simple habit of generous words of ‘thanks!” It has become almost automatic to anyone of us to always say “Thank you!’ For instance , when somebody greeted you -“How are you doing?” We automatically respond, “I’m fine, thank you!” Or when somebody complimented our appearance, we quickly respond “Thank you!” But living a life in gratitude is more than that. It is a recognition that everything is but grace from God, a reason that we should always be thankful for. God is a gracious God.Which means that, when we realize that everything is but grace, then we should be thankful to God. When we realize that we were forgiven, then it should be easy for us to forgive. When we realize that God loves us unconditionally, then it should be easy for us to be loving of others unconditionally. When we realize how gracious and generous God is to us, then it should be easy for us to give and be generous from the heart. Our gratitude to God should be translated into action. We do not just simply say “Thank you, Lord!” It should be translated into concrete. John F. Kennedy said , “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” Then putting our complete trust in a providential God won’t be difficult even in the midst of trials and misfortunes. Let us always focus on the things to be grateful for. The more we respond with a grateful heart, the more blessings we receive. Let me elaborate this point by sharing with you a story:
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STORY: GRATITUDE
There was a young, poor farmer in Scotland and his name was Fleming. One day, while doing some work, so that he can get some money in order to feed his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby area. He dropped his tools and ran to the place where the noise came from. There he saw a terrified boy, who was half submerged in black swamp, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the boy from the swamp. Had he not saved the boy, he would have died a slow and terrifying death drowning in that swamp.

The next day, a stylish carriage driven by handsome horses came and stopped in front of the poor farmers front yard. It was very weird to see such a beautiful carriage in that surrounding. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved. He expressed his gratitude and said,

“I want to repay you,” said the nobleman. “You saved my son’s life.”

The Scottish farmer was amazed.

“No, I can’t accept payment for what I did,” said the Scottish farmer, waving off the offer. At that moment, the farmer’s own son came outside hearing all the noise.

“Is that your son?” the nobleman asked.

“Yes,” the farmer replied proudly.

At that moment the noble man got an idea and said,

“I’ll make you a deal. Let me take him and give him a good education. If this boy is anything like his father, he’ll grow to a man you can be proud of.”

And that he did become a great man.
Farmer Fleming’s son graduated from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin.

Years afterward, the nobleman’s son was stricken with pneumonia.
And What saved him?
Penicillin.
The name of the nobleman?
Lord Randolph Churchill.
His son’s name?
Sir Winston Churchill.
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Therefore, always develop an attitude of gratitude.It’s a virtue that sanctifies our day to day living. True gratitude is a manifestation of our humble dependence on a providential and gracious God.

Homily: 25th Sunday In Ordinary Time (C) by Pater Allen Baclor Abadines

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GOSPEL REFLECTION: Twenty-fifth Sunday In Ordinary Time (C)
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.
*

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.
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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 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 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.
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The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.
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GOSPEL ACCLAMATION:
Alleluia. Alleluia. Though Jesus Christ was rich, yet he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. Alleluia.
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GOSPEL: LUKE 16:1-13
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.
__________________________________________

REFLECTION:

This Sunday’s Scriptural Readings enlighten us with what should be our outlook with regards 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 a 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 a someone who looked more capable of working than I am. In such 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 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 maybe 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 a foresight that made him prepare for his future. Although he use 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 maybe 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 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 everyday. 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 in 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: 22nd Sunday In Ordinary Time (year C) by Pater Allen Baclor Abadines

humility

GOSPEL REFLECTION:22nd Sunday In Ordinary Time (C)
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 every one 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 a 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 war going on inside each and everyone 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 whom 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 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 every one who exalts himself will be humbled,
but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Homily: 19th Sunday In Ordinary Time (C) by Pater Allen Baclor Abadines

heart4

GOSPEL REFLECTION: 19th Sunday In Ordinary Time (C)
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
*

READINGS:

FIRST READING: WISDOM 18:6-9

The night of the passover was known beforehand to our fathers,
that, with sure knowledge of the oaths in which they put their faith,
they might have courage.
Your people awaited the salvation of the just
and the destruction of their foes.
For when you punished our adversaries,
in this you glorified us whom you had summoned.
For in secret the holy children of the good were offering sacrifice
and putting into effect with one accord the divine institution.
*
The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: PSALM 33:1,12:18-19, 20-22

RESPONSE: BLESSED THE PEOPLE THE LORD HAS CHOSEN AS HIS HERITAGE.

Exult, you just, in the LORD;
praise from the upright is fitting.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
R/ Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his heritage.

See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R/ Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his heritage.

Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us
who have put our hope in you.
R/ Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his heritage.
*

SECOND READING: HEBREWS 11:1-2.8-19

Brothers and sisters:
Faith is the realization of what is hoped for
and evidence of things not seen.
Because of it the ancients were well attested.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place
that he was to receive as an inheritance;
he went out, not knowing where he was to go.
By faith he sojourned in the promised land as in a foreign country,
dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs of the same promise;
for he was looking forward to the city with foundations,
whose architect and maker is God.
By faith he received power to generate,
even though he was past the normal age
—and Sarah herself was sterile—
for he thought that the one who had made the promise was
trustworthy.
So it was that there came forth from one man,
himself as good as dead,
descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky
and as countless as the sands on the seashore.

All these died in faith.
They did not receive what had been promised
but saw it and greeted it from afar
and acknowledged themselves to be strangers and aliens on earth,
for those who speak thus show that they are seeking a homeland.
If they had been thinking of the land from which they had come,
they would have had opportunity to return.
But now they desire a better homeland, a heavenly one.
Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God,
for he has prepared a city for them.

By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac,
and he who had received the promises was ready to offer his only son,
of whom it was said,
“Through Isaac descendants shall bear your name.”
He reasoned that God was able to raise even from the dead,
and he received Isaac back as a symbol.
*
The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.

GOSPEL: LUKE 12:32-48

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not be afraid any longer, little flock,
for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom.
Sell your belongings and give alms.
Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out,
an inexhaustible treasure in heaven
that no thief can reach nor moth destroy.
For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.

“Gird your loins and light your lamps
and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding,
ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.
Blessed are those servants
whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.
Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself,
have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.
And should he come in the second or third watch
and find them prepared in this way,
blessed are those servants.
Be sure of this:
if the master of the house had known the hour
when the thief was coming,
he would not have let his house be broken into.
You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect,
the Son of Man will come.”

Then Peter said,
“Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?”
And the Lord replied,
“Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward
whom the master will put in charge of his servants
to distribute the food allowance at the proper time?
Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so.
Truly, I say to you, the master will put the servant
in charge of all his property.
But if that servant says to himself,
‘My master is delayed in coming,’
and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants,
to eat and drink and get drunk,
then that servant’s master will come
on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour
and will punish the servant severely
and assign him a place with the unfaithful.
That servant who knew his master’s will
but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will
shall be beaten severely;
and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will
but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating
shall be beaten only lightly.
Much will be required of the person entrusted with much,
and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”
*
The Gospel Of The Lord/ Praise To You, Lord Jesus .

_________________________________________

REFLECTION:

Life as a follower of Christ has always been a challenge. With the so many distractions in the world we are like being pulled into two different directions at the same time. This is the reason why sometimes even though we struggle so hard to follow Christ yet we have the most difficult trials in life. Shall I come closer to God or shall I just enjoy the pleasure this world has to offer. Our choice will determine who we are. And where are we at with regards to our spirituality. St. Luke in today’s Gospel tells us , :For where your treasure is , there also will our heart be.” It is an invitation for us to examine ourselves – to look into our hearts.
It is such a long Gospel and it offers us so many insights that we may ponder upon. We are treated with a beautiful Gospel message this Sunday. But I would like to confine my reflection on a particular text that speak to me the most – “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
What is treasure? When you use it as a noun , it refers to something of great value like wealth, precious jewels etc. When you use it as a verb, it refers to something you give importance, something you cherish. Our treasures therefore are those we value the most and something of great importance in us. Our Lord Jesus talks about the heart as the place where we store our treasures because it is at the center of our body. There is a tendency in us to center our lives around the things that we value most. This is probably the reason why God put the heart at the center of our being. Whatever we put in there becomes the center of our lives. It creates a great influence and impact in our lives and in our being. We therefore need to be always on guard and to always search our hearts. “Where is your treasure?” “Where is your heart?” Or better still – “What is your treasure?” “What is in your heart?”
Is our heart set on the things of this world (hence temporary and passing)? Or we keep our focus more on something better, something that is eternal. We do not settle for less. So why choose the things of less value when we could have something great.

Colossians 3:2 “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

Give value therefore to the treasure of heaven. But how do we pursue treasure in heaven? At this point allow me to share a story from the collection of Frank Mihalic, SVD – The Next 500 Stories:

TREASURE IN HEAVEN
A wealthy man lay on his deathbed. His entire life had been centered around money. As his life ebbed away, he presumed that in the afterlife, money would also be everything. So he gave orders that a purse filled with gold coins be placed inside his casket alongside his body. His last wish was carried out.
In the next world it took the bookkeepers a long time to find his name in any of the good books. In fact it took so long that he got very hungry and thirsty just waiting. He looked around and sure enough, he saw an attractive eatery not far away. “Aha.” he said to himself, “it’s just like I thought. It’s a good thing that I bought some money along with me.”
His mouth was already watering as he approached the restaurant. But before he sat down to eat, he was told that the money he had brought along had no value now. In fact, only money that was of any value now was the money he had given away on earth. The rich man dropped his head in deep thought, but could not remember having given any money away …so now he had none.

Search your heart…what are the treasures you keep in your heart? If you were asked to give the list of the 10 most important things in your life right now what would they be? Some of us may say – God comes first, my family comes second, then my career, my job, my friends, my reputation and my dignity et al. Should we be put to the test as to our priorities in life would God still be first? There was an instance when one time there was a fire, and the husband went panicked that he instinctively grabbed the television set and took that out to safety before he could remember that the wife was still inside the house sleeping. The wife survived but she realized where she placed in order of priorities in her husband’s heart.
When I found Christ in my life, I decided to follow him. I left the comfort and security of home. I left my chance of getting rich for I could choose other career. But I value my love of Christ the most. I value my ministry. God is my first priority. And I found my happiness in life.
Christ said, “Set your heart first on God’s Kingdom and on his righteousness and all other things will be given you as well.”