Homily:32nd Sunday In Ordinary Time (B) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

 

32nd S Pater

A REFLECTION OF THE HEART
32nd Sunday In Ordinary Time (B)
The lesson of the Widow’s Mite (Mark 12:38-44)
A Reflection: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL: MARK:12:38-44
In the course of his teaching, Jesus said to the crowds,
“Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes
and accept greetings in the marketplaces,
seats of honor in synagogues,
and places of honor at banquets.
They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext
recite lengthy prayers.
They will receive a very severe condemnation.”

He sat down opposite the treasury
and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.
Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them,
“Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more
than all the other contributors to the treasury.
For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,
her whole livelihood.”
*
The Gospel Of The Lord./Praise To You O Lord Jesus Christ.

*
REFLECTION:
God speaks to us through the Scriptures. This Sunday God is inviting us to reflect on the importance of giving and generosity. It relates to us the story of a poor widow who gave everything she had into the temple’s treasury. It happened that our Lord Jesus with his disciples were at the temple sitting near the treasury. Rich people came to drop a large amount of money until a poor widow did the same with only two small copper coins. Jesus took this as an opportunity to teach his disciples an important lesson on giving. In the eyes of the world, the gift of the widow might be insignificant but to our Lord, it is of great value. Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.” Let me focus my reflection on the importance of giving. However, I’d like to encourage my readers to dig deeper also into the message of the Gospel. There’s something in the story than meets the eye. The story of the widow’s mite is not only about sacrificial giving. The warning of our Lord Jesus to beware of the scribes for they “devour widows houses” tells something more profound than the lesson on generosity. In the Gospel, the widow was praised but those people who abused her generosity were condemned. The Gospel therefore also warns the readers not to take advantage of other people’s kindness and generosity. Regardless of your interpretation of the text, I would say that it is worth pondering on the lesson about giving. It is very obvious that ‘giving’ is an important part of Christian living. We cannot do away with it. As Jesus commanded us to “Love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves.” “Whatever you do to the least of my brethren you do it unto me.” We as Christians are being called therefore to be generous, to be charitable at all times.
But giving may not be that easy. Some people may be so inspired to share their time and talents but may find it so hard to share their treasure. Thus, we often hear people say “I’ll give when I got rich.” But I think, it is not a matter of having plenty to be able to learn how to give, it is a matter of the heart. In the First Reading of today, we see the prophet Elijah who challenges the faith of the widow by testing her generosity. Elijah was a total stranger to the widow and in their encounter, Elijah asked for water to drink as well as bread to eat. But the widow said that she only had very little flour left for her and her son, “when we have eaten it, we shall die.” It was then that Elijah challenges her not to be afraid, but to be generous and to place her trust in a loving and providential God. For if we do so, there would be a miracle – “The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, until the day when the Lord sends rain upon the earth.” The widow did as she was told by Elijah and the miracle transpired. The lessons we got from the First Reading is that – “not to be afraid to give in the awareness that we have a providential God.” Those who know how to give will always experience God’s providential care. Our lack of sense of generosity is a manifestation of our lack of trust in a gracious and loving God. Just like the widow in the Gospel, we can only learn to give from our livelihood if we trust that God will provide for us.

There’s a very inspiring story about the power of giving as told by a certain Ilene Wright that I would like to share herewith:

“Several years ago he, his wife and their child were destitute. They had lost everything, had no jobs, no money and were living in their car. They were not Christians at the time and had decided to make a suicide pact, including the child. They drove to a cliff and quietly discussed their fate. They decided that they should at least give their child some food before they killed themselves and drove away to buy him some milk and food.

They were standing in line at the store and realized they did not have enough money to pay for the few little items they wanted to give their child for his last meal. Then, he said a man behind him spoke and asked him to please take the money from his hand and to not look at him. The man also told him and his family that “Jesus loves you.”

The man said that they left the store, drove back to the cliff and wept for 4 hours. They knew that they could not go through with what they had planned to do, so they drove away. They drove by a church with a sign that said “Jesus loves you”, and went to the church the next Sunday. The man and woman both got saved that day in Church.

The man then told the Pastor that the minute he stood up in the pulpit and started speaking that he knew immediately that the Pastor was that kind stranger from 9 years ago. He said he would never forget that accent. The Pastor is from South Africa, so he has a very distinct accent. He continued on to tell the Pastor that because of his one random kind act he saved three lives that day, and because he had told them that Jesus loves them, it had drawn them into a church where they accepted Christ!!!!”

Lastly, let us always remember that whatever good deeds extended to our fellowmen, big or small, is a love extended to God. Let us ask God for that grace to have always an increase of Charity in our hearts.

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Gospel Reflection: Solemnity of All Saints by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

all saints

 

A REFLECTION: Solemnity Of All Saints

by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

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GOSPEL: Matthew 5:1-12a

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.”

The Gospel of the Lord/ Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

*
REFLECTION:

Today’s Solemnity honors all the Saints known and unknown. The known Saints are those men and women who were recognized for their exemplary lives of holiness and were beatified and canonized by the Church. However, there are also men and women who lived lives of holiness unknown and unrecognized. We call them the unknown Saints. The Solemnity of all Saints, therefore, is to venerate on this one particular day all the Saints known and unknown.
We do not worship the Saints, we venerate them. Worship and Veneration are two different things. Only God is worthy of worship, adoration, and praise. Worship can be more completely defined as showing respect, love, reverence or adoration which should be attributed to God alone. While Veneration can be defined as respect or awe directed toward someone due to his /her value or greatness.
But why do we celebrate “All Saints’ Day?”
Let me give you at least three reasons:

First: The Celebration of All Saints is like a prefiguration of what our future would be i.e. we all belong to a communion of Saints. Heaven is our final destination. And therefore Holiness should ultimately be what we aspire for. As what Oswald Chambers said “Holiness, not happiness, is the chief end of man. For us who are still on a pilgrim on earth, we are hoping that with the grace of God we too will be one with the Saints.

Second: Since we are in the pursuit of Holiness…we need models. The lives of the Saints are worthy of our reflection that may inspire us to go on. We look up to Saints as models of holiness. Pope Benedict XVI said, “The example of the Saints encourages us to follow in their same footsteps and to experience the joy of those who trust in God, for the one true cause of sorrow and unhappiness for men and women is to live far from him.”

Third: The Celebration of All Saints serves to us all as a challenge. Nobody is born a saint. It is something you have to become …something for you to work out. The good news is that anyone can become a saint. You and I are candidates for sainthood. Sanctity is a choice – a product of our freedom. Our longings and aspirations in life should be perfection. Matthew 5:48 “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
How can we achieve perfection? How can we become Saints? Is perfection possible? Well, it is not easy, but it is possible. To be a saint is to understand the will of the Father, to keep them in our hearts and to do to the best of our capacities to realize them in our lives no matter what the costs may be. But it is not gonna be easy. Every day is a challenge. We are always like being pulled in two different directions i.e. to tread the path of righteousness or otherwise. St. Paul in his letter to the Romans presented us the same concern. Romans 7:15, St. Paul said “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”

Story:
A man made a mess of his life. He got into a big trouble of drug addiction. As a result, he lost his job. His wife and children left him. His friends deserted him. His dad said he was on a path of destruction.
One day, his father visited him and asked him these questions. “Son, is this really the life you want? How many failed relationships will you have? Those questions made him think. And filled with guilt along with shame. He cried profusely. And he asked his father for help. That recognition of his faults led him into his conversion. He prayed and he embraced Jesus once again. Eventually, with the help of his father, he was rehabilitated. And he said to himself, “I made things right with God by receiving Jesus into my heart.”

Remember in our pursuit of holiness…we are not alone. God is always with us, inspiring us, giving us the strength to persevere, guiding us and leading us the way that we may succeed.
This is the reason why Jesus gave us the Beatitudes in today’s Gospel according to Matthew. The Beatitudes serve as our blueprint in our pursuit of holiness. Here Jesus challenges the values of the world. The values embodied in the Beatitudes are the values that we as a pilgrim Church are called to embrace to show that we are true disciples of Jesus. Once we are able to live according to these values to the end of our earthly pilgrimage we will be like those servants mentioned in today’s First Reading, robed in white, washed in the blood of the Lamb. The Beatitudes give us ways on how to live a life of holiness. Beatitudes are sometimes called “beautiful attitudes” or “be happy attitude.” For finding holiness is finding beauty and happiness.

To be holy is to be close to God. Holiness can be achieved by the kind of response we give to the grace of God.

Homily: 30th Sunday In Ordinary Time B by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

 

30th Sunday B pater

A Reflection Of The Heart
30th Sunday In Ordinary Time (B)
Sunday,28th October 2018
A Reflection: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL: MARK 10:46-52
(Jesus hears the prayer of a blind man and gives him back his sight.)

They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.” So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.

The Gospel of the Lord/ Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

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REFLECTION:

In today’s Gospel text we read of an encounter between the blind man named Bartimaeus and our Lord Jesus. It tells us that our Lord was on his way to Jerusalem and a great crowd was following him when all of a sudden a voice was heard from a blind man asking him for mercy. The crowd tried to get him to shut up. But it was his persistence and determination that caught Jesus’ attention. Obviously, the name of our Lord Jesus and the many wonders he performed have reached Bartimaeus’ ears. From what he heard, he was convinced that Jesus could heal him and that there was power in his words and touch. Bartimaeus recognized his needs and the desires of his heart. He, therefore, risked everything i.e. the crowd’s outrage for making a scene and perhaps public humiliation. But he will not let this one chance of a lifetime pass him by. And on top of his voice, he shouted all the more – “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” His faith was rewarded. Jesus summoned him and asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” To which he replied, “My teacher, let me see again.” Immediately, Jesus restored his sight. This Gospel text is teaching us an important lesson about Faith. Jesus made emphasis not on the physical healing but on the faith that Bartimaeus manifested. Jesus said that what has made him well was his great faith. The real miracle was his Faith. Pope Francis said that ‘Our Faith is an encounter with Jesus … Faith creates miracles.’ Healing is always possible through our personal relationship with and through a recognition of our need of Jesus. Do we come to Jesus and humbly reach out to touch him with deep faith and a complete trust in him. Likewise, do we also recognize that Jesus wants to touch and reach out to us too? Like Bartimaeus, do we have enough courage to approach Jesus and tell him our needs? 2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “We walk by faith not by sight.”

Story: (Author Unknown)
The amazing story of Charles Blondin, a famous French tightrope walker, is a wonderful illustration of what true faith is.

Blondin’s greatest fame came on September 14, 1860, when he became the first person to cross a tightrope stretched 11,000 feet (over a quarter of a mile) across the mighty Niagara Falls. People from both Canada and America came from miles away to see this great feat.

He walked across, 160 feet above the falls, several times… each time with a different daring feat – once in a sack, on stilts, on a bicycle, in the dark, and blindfolded. One time he even carried a stove and cooked an omelet in the middle of the rope!

A large crowd gathered and the buzz of excitement ran along both sides of the river bank. The crowd “Oohed and Aahed!” as Blondin carefully walked across – one dangerous step after another – pushing a wheelbarrow holding a sack of potatoes.

Then at one point, he asked for the participation of a volunteer. Upon reaching the other side, the crowd’s applause was louder than the roar of the falls!

Blondin suddenly stopped and addressed his audience: “Do you believe I can carry a person across in this wheelbarrow?”

The crowd enthusiastically yelled, “Yes! You are the greatest tightrope walker in the world. We believe!”

“Okay,” said Blondin, “Who wants to get into the wheelbarrow.”

As far as the Blondin story goes, no one did at the time!

This story illustrates what real faith is all about. Like, people recognized Blondin’s ability. They were witnesses to his daring feats. But to trust their lives in his hands is another thing.

Similarly, it is one thing for us to say we believe in God. However, it’s true faith when we believe God and put our faith and trust in His Son, Jesus Christ.

One of the greatest lessons we learned in life is that there is a need for us to hold on to something, especially in our most trying moments – i.e Faith. We all have faith. The question now is not whether we have faith at all. The question is, how strong is your faith? Is your faith built upon our trust in Jesus Christ?

Proverb 3:5 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”

Homily:29th Sunday In Ordinary Time B by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

29th B Pater

A REFLECTION OF THE HEART
29th Sunday In Ordinary Time (B)
Mark 10:35-45
A Lesson On Humility
A Reflection by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL: (MARK 10:35-45)

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him,
“Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”
He replied, “What do you wish me to do for you?”
They answered him, “Grant that in your glory
we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.”
Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the cup that I drink
or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”
They said to him, “We can.”
Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink, you will drink,
and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized;
but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared.”
When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John.
Jesus summoned them and said to them,
“You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles
lord it over them,
and their great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.
For the Son of Man did not come to be served
but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.
*
The Gospel of the Lord./ Praise to you, Lord, Jesus Christ.
*

REFLECTION:
One of the greatest lessons Scripture has to teach us is that there is greatness in being humble. In fact in today’s Gospel Jesus said: “Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be a slave of all.” But what is humility? The word humility is derived from the Latin word “Humilis” literally means “on the ground.” Humus means “earth.” It is the same reason why we are called humans….i.e. because we are earthlings! Genesis 2:7 teaches – “The Lord God formed a man from the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils of life and the man became a living being.” God is a powerful God, He could have chosen to create human beings in any way he wanted, but he chose to fashion man using earth. There must be a reason for that. God wants to teach mankind that greatness is founded on humility – i.e. to keep our feet close to earth where we belong. For you are dust, and unto dust, you shall return. Being humble is being close to the earth. Humility, therefore, should be our nature. Man is supposed to be humble.

Today’s Gospel text is once again teaching us a lesson on Humility. It relates to us that the apostles James and John approached Jesus making a ridiculous and very insensitive request i.e. to share in his power. It was so insensitive considering the fact that at that time our Lord Jesus was contemplating and talking about his impending suffering and death. It was like the most embarrassing moments on the part of the apostles. To top it all, the rest of the apostles began to feel indignant of the two apostles not because of their insensitivity but because they too have a hidden agenda. All of them have the desire to take the highest position in the Kingdom of God. All of them wanted to be first. All of them were actually seeking power and position in the Kingdom of God. But our Lord Jesus made it very clear to them, that true power and greatness come from man’s willingness to serve, to be a servant, to suffer and even to die out of love. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Allow me to share with you a story teaching a lesson that Greatness and Humility come hand in hand.
(Story unknown source) Many years ago, a rider came across some soldiers who were trying to move a heavy log without success. The corporal was standing by as the men struggled. The rider asked the corporal why he wasn’t helping. The corporal replied, “I am the corporal; I give orders.” The rider dismounted, went up and stood by the soldiers and as they were lifting the log, he helped them. With his help, the log got moved. The rider quietly mounted his horse and went to the corporal and said, “The next time your men need help, send for the Commander-in-Chief.” After he left, the corporal and his men found out that the rider was George Washington.

The message of the story is clear. Being great and being humble go hand in hand. Simplicity and humility are two hallmarks of greatness. Humility does not mean self-demeaning behavior. To be humble is not to put ourselves down, it is exalting Jesus up. Humility is not a sign of weakness, it is actually a virtue of the strong.
Our Lord Jesus taught us this lesson on humility not only by words but he showed us an example by being obedient to the Father, and even sacrifice himself accepting death on the Cross. That was Jesus’ greatest manifestation of humility and that is being obedient unto death. Humility is strange. If you think you possessed it, you probably don’t have it. But if you have it, you most probably are not aware you possessed it. Someone says “I won a medal for my humility, but it was taken away when I began to wear it.” Humility should always be God’s grace that we ask from him in our day to day life. Mother Teresa says:

“These are the few ways we can practice humility:

To speak as little as possible of one’s self.

To mind one’s own business.

Not to want to manage other people’s affairs.

To avoid curiosity.

To accept contradictions and correction cheerfully.

To pass over the mistakes of others.

To accept insults and injuries.

To accept being slighted, forgotten and disliked.

To be kind and gentle even under provocation.

Never to stand on one’s dignity.

To choose always the hardest.”

Homily:28th Sunday In Ordinary Time B by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

28th Sunday pater x

A REFLECTION OF THE HEART
28th Sunday In Ordinary Time (B)
Mark 10:17-30
Gospel Reflection by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL :Mark10:17-30

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
knelt down before him, and asked him,
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;
honor your father and your mother.”
He replied and said to him,
“Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
“You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
At that statement, his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
“How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
“Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
“Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For human beings it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God.”

Peter began to say to him,
“We have given up everything and followed you.”
Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you,
there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters
or mother or father or children or lands
for my sake and for the sake of the gospel
who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age:
houses and brothers and sisters
and mothers and children and lands,
with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.”
*
The Gospel of the Lord/ Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
*
REFLECTION:
We are told from the Gospel for this Sunday an encounter between our Lord Jesus and a someone who was referred to, as a very wealthy man. In this particular text, we see a man who enthusiastically approached Jesus to ask this question, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” In a close examination of the text, we see here the good intention of the man. It was a question on how to attain salvation. And Jesus in effect said to the man, “You know the commandments …observe them!” And the man replied, “Teacher, all these I have kept since my youth.” To which Jesus further said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” Then the Gospel described to us the reaction of the man i.e. he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Jesus initially loved the man for the goodness in his heart. But he became sad because he failed in that one final test – to give up his possessions and to distribute them to the poor. To most of us, the test that Jesus gave the man may seem harsh. How could he give away everything he has in an instant to give them to the people who were not even members of his family nor related to him. Considering perhaps that the man labored hard all his life that he and his family may be assured of a comfortable life. It may seem unjust to be asked such a thing. But we should also consider what he was asking for. The man wants to be assured of salvation. Salvation is not a cheap thing. Salvation is a free gift from God, but it costs you your life! Yes, it is true that grace is free but it is certainly not cheap. It is going to cost a person everything. Attaining it, therefore, is like finding a pearl of great value…so you don’t wanna settle for less. God offers us the best and so we do not compromise for anything less. A perfect example was Judas Iscariot. If anyone had the promise of great wealth and blew it, it was Judas Iscariot. Great rewards await the apostles. In the Book of Revelation 21:14, it says that the names of the Twelve Apostles would be inscribed into the 12 foundations of heaven. Jesus also promised that they would sit on 12 thrones judging the nations of Israel. Judas had witnessed Jesus’ many miracles, had listened to his preaching, walked with him, ate with him, but still, somehow he failed to see the eternal riches that were placed before him. It was some kind of foolishness that Judas exchanged the glory of the Kingdom of God for a meager 30 pieces of silver. Sometimes people didn’t know what is of greater value and importance. The man in the Gospel was offered by our Lord Jesus something that is valuable. He was invited to come and follow him. It should have been a chance of a lifetime. But he let it go. He chose material and earthly wealth in place of something eternal.
There is actually nothing wrong with material possessions or being wealthy. In fact, we could use the money for a greater cause. Some of the world’s greatest people who did most of the welfare of humanity have been wealthy people. One should realize that we are but stewards here on earth. We actually own nothing, Our hold on things is only temporary. And one day, death will separate us from earthly goods. When we die, we will leave everything behind …our house, our jobs, our money, our friends and even our loved ones. Everything that is dearest to us. Everything that we consider our greatest treasure. Everything that we’ve given utmost importance, something that we value the most. Something that we even considered that which we cannot live without. In our journey to perfection, our Lord Jesus wants us to succeed. This is the reason why he was saddened upon seeing the man in the Gospel walked away for he had many possessions. In the end, the problem is not what we possessed, but what possesses us. Jesus wants us to inherit eternal life. His mission is to save us. Yet he said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God. Yes, it may be difficult but it is not impossible.
This reminds me of Dolores Hart. The name may sound familiar to you. Well, Dolores Hart was a prominent Hollywood actress. She made ten films in 5 years. Her first movie was with Elvis Presley in “Loving You” (1957). She became an established leading lady in1960. At the height of her showbiz career, she ‘stunned Hollywood’ by announcing that she would give up show business to become a nun. Dolores Hart starred in the film, Francis of Assisi in 1961. While doing the movie, she met Pope John XX11, who was instrumental in her vocation. When she introduced herself to the Pope, she said: “I am Dolores Hart, the actress playing Clare.” To which the Pontiff replied in Italian – “Tu sei Chiara!” (which means “No, you are Clare). Dolores Hart is a perfect example of a person who could possibly leave everything behind – wealth, fame, the glamour – in order to heed to a greater call i.e to follow Jesus. As a novice, Dolores Hart told her superior, “I will never have to worry again about being an actress because it was all over and behind me.” But the lady Abbess replied, “I am sorry, but you are completely wrong. Now you have to take up a role and really work at it.” The Abbess was like saying being a Christian is a serious business, one needs to work hard to achieve perfection.
The Gospel serves as a challenge and an invitation to us all. It is an invitation for us to let go of anything that hinders us from living in accordance with the Gospel values and for us to be able to give ourselves completely to God. If God could give himself totally to us in the Person of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, can we not give ourselves totally to God?

HOMILY:27th Sunday In Ordinary Time (B) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

27th Sunday B pater2

27th Sunday In Ordinary Time (Year B)
A REFLECTION OF THE HEART
Mark 10:2-16 “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her.”
Sunday, 7th October 2018
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL :Mark 10:2-16

The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked,
“Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?”
They were testing him.
He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?”
They replied,
“Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce
and dismiss her.”
But Jesus told them,
“Because of the hardness of your hearts
he wrote you this commandment.
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.
So they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together,
no human being must separate.”
In the house, the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.
He said to them,
“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another
commits adultery against her;
and if she divorces her husband and marries another,
she commits adultery.”

And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them,
but the disciples rebuked them.
When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them,
“Let the children come to me;
do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to
such as these.
Amen, I say to you,
whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child
will not enter it.”
Then he embraced them and blessed them,
placing his hands on them.
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The Gospel of the Lord/ Praise be to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
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REFLECTION:
The Gospel for this Sunday presents us a very sensitive and controversial issue i.e Divorce. In today’s Gospel text the Pharisees approached Jesus to challenge him concerning the issue about divorce. They asked our Lord, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” The issue about divorce is obviously one of the most controversial topics during Jesus’ time. In fact, St John the Baptist literally lost his head when he condemned King Herod for taking his brother’s wife. And undoubtedly, it still is as controversial as ever even to this date. Many people are having difficulties accepting the Theology about divorce, and therefore, we deal with this issue with sensitivity and care. But in the end, whether we agree or not our Lord made a clear and firm stance. Jesus never waters down his message. It is not in the will of God for a marriage to end up in divorce. Marriage is a sacred union between a man and a woman and God wills it to last a lifetime. “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Then Jesus further said, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” It was indeed strong words from our Lord Jesus himself. Does that mean that Jesus hates those who are divorced? I understand that we have members of the Church who went into this process, some couples are separated and there are those who are civilly married. Does Jesus condemn those people? Not at all! I think Jesus deals with them with compassion, healing, acceptance, forgiveness, and love. It is demonstrated on how he dealt with the woman caught in adultery, the same as in the case of the woman at the well. More than anything else our Lord Jesus made more emphasis on the truth about mercy, forgiveness, and love.
The ideal is for the married couple to remain faithful until death… The truth is, not all marriages last until death. Husbands and wives commit mistakes. Nobody’s perfect, so to speak. Many couples break apart. Relationships fall apart. So the question is – Is there life after divorce? Absolutely, there is life after divorce. We don’t want to see people living miserably. The issue with regards divorce has become a very touchy subject even in the central government of the Church. The good news is that our pope, Pope Francis and the like-minded people around him are determined to find the pastoral approach in dealing with this most important issue. This is in line with the Pope’s vision of making the Church an instrument of God’s mercy and compassion.
It takes a lot of hard work to make a marriage really work. Pope Francis said, “Married life must be persevering, because, otherwise love cannot go forward. Perseverance in love, in good times and in difficult times, when there are problems …love perseveres.”
Story (Jack McArdle): A tough battle-ax of a wife was seeking advice from the marriage counselor. “I hate my husband,” she began. “He’s making my life a hell on earth. I want a divorce and I want to make things as tough as possible for him.”
The counselor advised, “Begin by showering him with compliments, indulge his every whim. Then when he realizes how much he needs you and wants you, start your divorce proceedings.”
Six months later the counselor met the woman and asked, “When are you going to file your divorce papers?”
“Are you out of your mind?” replied the woman indignantly, “We are divinely happy!”
When two people make a vow to love each other and be with each other all the days of their lives, it is a sacred vow. It is a covenant between two people. It is even more beautiful because it is a sacrament. It is not just husband and wife making a covenant with each other in marriage, but it is husband and wife making a covenant to each other with Jesus in marriage. The secret therefore of a lasting marriage is to make Jesus the center of married couples’ lives.

INSIGHT: Why do we celebrate birthdays? by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

why

Why Do We Celebrate Birthdays?

by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

Why is a celebration of one’s birthday of so much importance to most of us? Come to think of it, man is not born every year. So what’s the point of celebrating one’s birthday? Some people get hurt when we simply forget their birthdays. You always get in trouble if you fail to remember and to greet a loved one on his or her birthday. I always wonder how people came to be greatly affected by the anniversary of their birth. Someone jokingly said “Why celebrate the fact that you are a year older and now one year closer to your penultimate fate which is death? Practically the date of one’s birth should just be another day, just a reminder that a year has passed. But each year on our birthday we look forward to some meaning and significance of our existence.
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Culturally, we vary in our celebration of birthdays. To some, it serves as a family event. In other culture, they especially give importance to a rite of passage, a celebration of the coming of age. For instance, in Japan, the coming of age day recognizes all those who have turned the age of 20. In the Philippines, a ‘debut’ is celebrated at their 18th for girls and 21st for boys. In some Hispanic countries the 15th year is the most important one called ‘quinceanera’ And here in North America, usually sweet sixteenth is an important family event. A celebration of a birthday is never complete without birthday cakes in any culture. I prefer birthday cakes to be always round for to me, it symbolized the cyclical nature of life. Life is a cycle.
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But why really a need to celebrate birthdays? When we celebrate birthday whom do we honor? Do we honor ourselves? NO! But we honor the source of our life and the people who give meaning and significance in our existence. The most important person in a birthday party, therefore, is not the celebrant, but the people around the celebrant i.e. his loved ones. Therefore, the day of our birth is to give honor to God and to our family and friends, especially our parents who gave us life. It is so wrong if the celebration of our birthday is always self-centered. Like, we always expect surprises, gifts, and parties in our honor. Well, there’s nothing wrong with that so long as we acknowledge the real meaning of our celebration. Celebrating the anniversary of our birth is not just about gifts and parties. It is first and foremost to celebrate the life that God gave us and to offer Him praise and thanksgiving for it. It is a reminder of God’s goodness and graciousness. When our Lord Jesus was born on Christmas day, it was to glorify His Father and to save us. His birth, therefore, means service, sacrifice, and love. On Christmas day, therefore, our concern should never be focused on what we’re gonna receive but on what we are to give. For on Christmas day, we contemplate on His birth and what He was coming into the world to accomplish. It was Jesus’ manifestation of His obedience to the Father and His great love for us. His birth is giving and love. Ultimately, His mission was accomplished on Easter, the day of His resurrection.
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Birthday is one day in our life when we rejoice commemorating the beginning of our existence not just to count the time that has passed but to remind ourselves that each day is a new gift. To those who are only thrilled on what they are to receive on their birthday and thinking that it is always material things that could give meaning and happiness to their existence, bear in mind that we have already received the best gift i.e. the gift of Life. We receive so many gifts daily not just on our birthday. We only need to recognize and acknowledge those gifts in our lives. Birthday is actually a challenge to reflect on one’s legacy. Like, how am I going to spend the rest of my life? What legacy will I leave behind? How would I want to be remembered? What is the purpose of my existence?
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“Let them eat cake” to me means let us rejoice, let us celebrate the gift of LIFE & LOVE!