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

20th Sunday 2019 pater

REFLECTION OF THE HEART
20th Sunday In Ordinary Time (year C)
A Reflection: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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FIRST READING: JEREMIAH 38:4-6,8-10

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

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

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

RESPONSE: LORD, MAKE HASTE TO HELP ME.

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

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

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

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

SECOND READING: HEBREWS 12:1-4

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

GOSPEL: LUKE 12:49-53

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Homily: 18th Sunday In Ordinary Time C by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

18th Sunday C pater

REFLECTION OF THE HEART
18th Sunday In Ordinary Time (year C)
Luke 12:13-21 The Sin Of Greed
A Reflection: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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READINGS:

FIRST READING: ECCLESIASTES 1:2;2:21-23
Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth,
vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!
Here is one who has labored with wisdom and knowledge and skill,
and yet to another who has not labored over it,
he must leave property.
This also is vanity and a great misfortune.
For what profit comes to man from all the toil and anxiety of heart
with which he has labored under the sun?
All his days sorrow and grief are his occupation;
even at night his mind is not at rest.
This also is vanity.
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The Word Of The Lord/Thanks Be To God.
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RESPONSORIAL PSALM: PSALM 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17
Response: LORD, YOU HAVE BEEN OUR DWELLING PLACE IN ALL GENERATIONS.

You turn man back to dust,
saying, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in your sight
are as yesterday, now that it is past,
or as a watch of the night.

R/ Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.

You make an end of them in their sleep;
the next morning they are like the changing grass,
Which at dawn springs up anew,
but by evening wilts and fades.

R/ Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.

Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!

R/ Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.

Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
And may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours;
prosper the work of our hands for us!
Prosper the work of our hands!

R/ Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.

SECOND READING: COLOSSIANS 3:1-5, 9-11
Brothers and sisters:
If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.
For you have died,
and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ your life appears,
then you too will appear with him in glory.
Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly:
immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire,
and the greed that is idolatry.
Stop lying to one another,
since you have taken off the old self with its practices
and have put on the new self,
which is being renewed, for knowledge,
in the image of its creator.
Here there is not Greek and Jew,
circumcision, and uncircumcision,
barbarian, Scythian, slave, free;
but Christ is all and in all.
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The Word Of The Lord/Thanks Be To God.
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GOSPEL ACCLAMATION
Alleluia. Alleluia. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven! Alleluia.
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GOSPEL: LUKE 12:13-21
Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,
“Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.”
He replied to him,
“Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?”
Then he said to the crowd,
“Take care to guard against all greed,
for though one may be rich,
one’s life does not consist of possessions.”
Then he told them a parable.
“There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.
He asked himself, ‘What shall I do,
for I do not have space to store my harvest?’
And he said, ‘This is what I shall do:
I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones.
There I shall store all my grain and other goods
and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you,
you have so many good things stored up for many years,
rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’
But God said to him,
‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you;
and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’
Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves
but are not rich in what matters to God.”
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The Gospel Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.
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REFLECTION:
Receiving an inheritance should be a blessing. But for some people, it could be more of a curse than a blessing. It could ruin family relationships…siblings hated each other and money was squandered. In today’s Gospel text, we see two brothers fighting over an inheritance. One of them approached Jesus with a request to act as a judge or arbitrator between him and his brother regarding their inheritance. However, Jesus was not pleased at all.
He asked the man, “And who appointed me your judge or the arbitrator of your claims?” We could sense here that our Lord was not really being mean to the man. But for Jesus, something must be corrected. He wants the man to listen to himself. He wants him to sort out his priorities and the things he values the most. He wants the man to see his mistakes. The issue here is not just a matter of a division over an inheritance, but the real issue here is basically what caused the conflict and that is greed. Since they were brothers, they could have just settled the matter over inheritance amicably. But those siblings it seems each desired to have more. Thus Jesus warns his audience to avoid all forms of greed. Luke 12:15 “Take care! Be on guard against all kinds of greed, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” Of course, there’s nothing wrong with material possessions. Everybody needs money in order to survive and to live comfortably. A lack of it is also a problem. Poverty is a problem. No one should be deprived of material possessions and the right to have a decent kind of existence. But what is wrong is for a man to think that wealth is all that matters to the point that it ruins one’s relationship with God and with his fellowmen. We do not focus our attention only on the riches this present world has to offer. Earthly riches are but passing. No matter how rich a person may be, he or she can not take his possessions with him in the afterlife. In the end, others will only inherit the fruits of one’s toil.
Our Lord Jesus gave us a powerful parable teaching us these important lessons in life. The rich man would have been better off if he had learned the value of generosity than being a miser. He only intended to use his harvest for his own selfish interest. He wants only to relax, eat, drink and be merry. Thus God took everything away from him with his sudden death. The Gospel is a reminder and a challenge for us to evaluate our priorities and to re-assess our sense of security. “Life is not just about what we own or possess now but rather it is about how we give and share them to others.”
Story: (from The Next 500 Stories by Frank Mihalic, SVD)
Fortune And The Poor Man
There was a poor man who complained loudly that life had been unfair. “Most of those who are rich did nothing to gain their wealth,” he wailed to anyone who would listen. “They inherit their money from their parents.”
One day as the man was walking home after having expressed his bitter feelings to a crowd at the town square, Fortune appeared before him and said. “I have decided to provide you with wealth. Hold out your purse, and I will fill it with gold coins. But there is one condition: if any of the gold falls out of the purse onto the ground everything I gave you will become dust. Be careful. I see that your purse is old; do not overload it.”
The poor man was overjoyed. He loosened the strings of his purse and watched as Fortune began to pour a stream of golden coins into it. The wallet soon became heavy.
“Is that enough?” Fortune asked.
“Not yet,” the man replied.
Fortune poured in several more coins, so that the purse was filled, and then asked again. “Shall I stop?”
“Not yet. Just a few more.”
But at that moment the purse split apart, the gold coins fell to the ground and the treasure turned to dust. Fortune disappeared, and the greedy man was left with an empty wallet.
The story is a beautiful illustration that is teaching us an important lesson the same as in today’s Gospel. The man in the story couldn’t stop to desire for more. It tells us that indeed there is in man this insatiable lust for everything. Jesus is telling us in today’s Gospel that there’s more into life than just material possessions. In fact, as what the Little Prince says “What is essential is invisible to the eye.” Real happiness and fulfillment in life are found in the things that can not be seen by the naked eye, like love, harmony, peace, contentment and beautiful relationship. Things that cannot be bought. People who are only after the things of this world are shortsighted. For material things are but fleeting. Be reminded that one’s life is far too precious to waste chasing only material possessions. Never settle for less. Let us set our hearts rather on the things that are eternal

HOMILY: 17th Sunday In Ordinary Time C by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

17th sunday c 2019 1

REFLECTION OF THE HEART
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
The Lord’s Prayer
A Reflection: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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READINGS:
FIRST READING: Genesis 18:20-32
In those days, the LORD said: “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great,
and their sin so grave,
that I must go down and see whether or not their actions
fully correspond to the cry against them that comes to me.
I mean to find out.”
While Abraham’s visitors walked on farther toward Sodom,
the LORD remained standing before Abraham.
Then Abraham drew nearer and said:
“Will you sweep away the innocent with the guilty?
Suppose there were fifty innocent people in the city;
would you wipe out the place, rather than spare it
for the sake of the fifty innocent people within it?
Far be it from you to do such a thing,
to make the innocent die with the guilty
so that the innocent and the guilty would be treated alike!
Should not the judge of all the world act with justice?”
The LORD replied,
“If I find fifty innocent people in the city of Sodom,
I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
Abraham spoke up again:
“See how I am presuming to speak to my Lord,
though I am but dust and ashes!
What if there are five less than fifty innocent people?
Will you destroy the whole city because of those five?”
He answered, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.”
But Abraham persisted, saying “What if only forty are found there?”
He replied, “I will forbear doing it for the sake of the forty.”
Then Abraham said, “Let not my Lord grow impatient if I go on.
What if only thirty are found there?”
He replied, “I will forbear doing it if I can find but thirty there.”
Still, Abraham went on,
“Since I have thus dared to speak to my Lord,
what if there are no more than twenty?”
The LORD answered, “I will not destroy it, for the sake of the twenty.”
But he still persisted:
“Please, let not my Lord grow angry if I speak up this last time.
What if there are at least ten there?”
He replied, “For the sake of those ten, I will not destroy it.”
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The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.
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RESPONSORIAL PSALM: PSALM 138:1-2,2-3,6-7,7-8
RESPONSE: ON THE DAY I CALLED, O LORD, YOU ANSWERED ME.
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I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart,
for you have heard the words of my mouth;
in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise;
I will worship at your holy temple
and give thanks to your name.
R/ On the day I called, O Lord, you answered me.
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Because of your kindness and your truth;
for you have made great above all things
your name and your promise.
When I called you answered me;
you built up strength within me.
R/ On the day I called, O Lord, you answered me.
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The LORD is exalted, yet the lowly he sees,
and the proud he knows from afar.
Though I walk amid distress, you preserve me;
against the anger of my enemies, you raise your hand.
R/ On the day I called, O Lord, you answered me.
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Your right-hand save me.
The LORD will complete what he has done for me;
your kindness, O LORD, endures forever;
forsake not the work of your hands.
R/ On the day I called, O Lord, you answered me.
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SECOND READING: 2 COLOSSIANS 2:12-14
Brothers and sisters:
You were buried with him in baptism,
in which you were also raised with him
through faith in the power of God,
who raised him from the dead.
And even when you were dead
in transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh,
he brought you to life along with him,
having forgiven us all our transgressions;
obliterating the bond against us, with its legal claims,
which was opposed to us,
he also removed it from our midst, nailing it to the cross.
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The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.
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GOSPEL ACCLAMATION: (ROMANS 8:15)
Alleluia. Alleluia. You have received a Spirit of adoption, in whom we cry, “Abba, Father.” Alleluia.
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GOSPEL: LUKE 11:1-13
Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished,
one of his disciples said to him,
“Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.”
He said to them, “When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread
and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test.”
And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend
to whom he goes at midnight and says,
‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey
and I have nothing to offer him,’
and he says in reply from within,
‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked
and my children and I are already in bed.
I cannot get up to give you anything.’
I tell you,
if he does not get up to give the visitor the loaves
because of their friendship,
he will get up to give him whatever he needs
because of his persistence.
“And I tell you, ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
What father among you would hand his son a snake
when he asks for a fish?
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will the Father in heaven
give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”
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The Gospel Of The Lord/ Praise To You, Lord Jesus Christ.
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REFLECTION:
Is there really a need to pray? We were taught that God is all-knowing and that we have a compassionate God. He knows what we need. Being a compassionate God, he will bestow on us the graces we need whether we ask him or not…so why should we pray?
Today’s Scriptural readings share with us some insights on the importance of prayer in our lives.
The First Reading relates to us that Abraham interceded to God on behalf of his nephew Lot. Abraham who has built a good relationship with God was seen bargaining with him to a plea that Sodom and Gomorrah might be spared should God still find several righteous people there. It was like a prayer of intercession for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham received a positive response. Hence, the First Reading tells us the importance of intercessory prayer.
While the Gospel relates to us that the disciples made an important request to our Lord Jesus – that he may teach them how to pray. Thanks to the request of the disciples for we now have the most beautiful prayer i.e. the Lord’s Prayer. I said it is the most beautiful prayer simply because it was Jesus himself who composed it. We can be assured that the Lord’s Prayer is most pleasing to the Father because the author is the very Son “in whom I am well pleased.” The Lord’s Prayer is the model of all prayers.
Story (Author Unknown)
As little Deborah sat down to eat dinner with her parents she instinctively reached for her fork. “Please hold on,” her father replied. “We haven’t said grace yet.” This exasperated the girl, who was tired and hungry. “Daddy,” she said with a sigh, “why can’t we just pray once a week? Why do we have to ask for our daily bread every day?”
Her older brother, wiser and eager to set her straight, weighed in before the dad could answer. “You don’t think we want stale bread, do you?” he said.
Inadvertently, that fellow was confirming the importance of regular prayer.
Yes, it is important that we pray regularly. Somebody said that Prayer is like the air we breathe. How could we live without it? Prayer could mean different things to many people. People pray for varied reasons. Let’s go back to the question, Why should we pray?
First, God wills that we pray. In fact, God commanded us to pray. 1Thessalonians 5:17 says “Pray without ceasing.”
Second, Jesus showed us by his example that prayer is indeed important. Jesus prayed regularly. Amidst his busyness doing his ministry, he never failed to find time to be in communion with his Father. Matthew 26:36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” Our Lord Jesus deemed it important to be in communion with his Father in prayer, how much more should we recognize our need to pray.
Third: Communication is important in a relationship. Dialogue is important, Prayer is how we communicate with God. Prayer is establishing a relationship with God. Prayer acknowledges that we have relationships with God. Consequently, the quality of our prayers reveals the depth of our relationship with God. The more we pray, the more we know God intimately and the more we know ourselves.
Fourth: Prayer creates in us a clean and humble hearts. It makes us holy. It gives us strength in the face of difficulties. It makes us steadfast in trials. It brings peace and healing to our soul.
Jesus gave us a wonderful gift – the gift of prayer. A lack of prayer demonstrates a lack of faith in God. It is just like telling God, “I don’t need you in my life. I don’t need your friendship or love.” One should realize that when we ignore God, we do not punish him, we punish ourselves. Apart from him, we become unhappy. We become miserable. We lose God’s friendship.
Make a fervent and enthusiastic daily prayer a habit. It is free! It doesn’t cost you anything yet the reward is great.”And I tell you, ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Luke 11:9.
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” 1 John 5:14-15.
The best prayer comes from a sincere, pure, contrite, grateful and humble heart.

Homily:16th Sunday In Ordinary Time (C) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

16th Sunday C 2019 finale pater

REFLECTION OF THE HEART
16th Sunday In Ordinary Time year C
Martha and Mary
A Reflection: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL: Luke 10:38-42

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

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REFLECTION:

Today’s Gospel text invites us to reflect on the two well-known biblical characters- Martha and Mary. When we hear the names, Martha and Mary, one thing will come to our mind and that is the contrasts between the two characters. By her example shown in today’s Gospel, Martha has become the symbol of ‘service’, while Mary has become the symbol of ‘contemplation.’ So most spiritual writers talk about these contrasts between the Life of service from the Life of prayer. This is the reason why it has created a rivalry between an active life to a contemplative life. The Gospel message tells us a simple story about Martha welcoming Jesus and his disciples to her house. It seems to me that Martha’s family was pretty well-off being able to host several guests like Jesus and his disciples. Theirs might be a big house to be able to accommodate them all. The Scriptures indicate that Jesus with his disciples were already regular visitors. That particular visit was not the first. Jesus was considered a close friend if not a member of the family. We could sense this particular closeness of Jesus to the family on the death of their brother Lazarus. John 11:21-22 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
But on that particular visit of Jesus, it happened that Martha was so busy preparing a meal for their guests. It could mean a lot of work. It happened too that Mary chose to be with Jesus listening to his words. So Martha got annoyed that her sister was not of help. She approached Jesus and complained,”“Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But Jesus’s response surprised Martha, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Seemingly, Jesus’s response was in defense of Mary. And that he favored Mary and put Martha in place. Jesus was not encouraging laziness. I believe, our Lord Jesus just took that opportunity to make a point. He just wanted to impart a very important message and that is the importance of listening to the word of God. While work is important in discipleship, we should not undermine the importance of listening to the word of God. It is, therefore, never a competition between “service” and “prayer” or “active life” and “contemplative life.” Discipleship is always a combination of work and prayer and of an active and contemplative life. It should never be a choice between Martha and Mary. Both of them should be an inspiration to us all. We live in such a busy life that we often forget to spend time for prayers. A spiritual writer once said that “Time spent in prayer is not time wasted.” A life of prayer is actually most fruitful. To devote ourselves to prayer is never easy. Yet, it surely is rewarding. Martha was preparing to feed the bodies but Mary was busy feeding her soul.

Besides our reflection on active and contemplative kinds of discipleship. There is also something profound that we need to reflect upon in today’s Gospel. It may not be popular among spiritual writers but Jesus wants to impart to us another important message. Jesus said to Martha, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about so many things.” These particular words of our Lord Jesus are like a reminder to all of us. I find this reminder still relevant to us today We need to be reminded not to worry but only to trust. People worry about a lot of things. I’d like to confess that even as a priest I am also guilty of it. I myself am a worrier. It is part of human weakness. Some of the top things that most people worry about are things that concern finances (money and material things), sometimes relationships, health, ambitions, work, safety and our appearance (we worry about how we look and we worry about getting old.) It is said that while fear is the opposite of faith, worry is the opposite of trust. Faith and trust and fear and worry do not go hand in hand. If we have true faith and trust in our hearts, then fear and worry should not exist in it. Our true faith and trust in God should free us from fear and worry. I came across a story that I would like to share herewith:

Story: (source unknown) There was a man who was a chronic worrier. He would worry about anything and everything. Then one day his friends saw him whistling.
“Can that be our friend? No, it can’t be. Yes, it is.”
They asked him, “What happened? You seemed to be happy now and free of worries”
To which he replied, “I’m paying a man to do my worrying for me.”
“You mean you aren’t worrying any more?”
“No, whenever I’m inclined to worry, I just let him do it.”
“How much do you pay him?”
“Two thousand dollars a week.”
“Wow! How can you afford that?”
“I can’t. But that’s his worry.”

The point we get from the story is that to worry is not gonna do us any good. When we worry, it robs us of our peace. Our hearts will be full of anxieties. When we worry, we miss one important thing. And what is this important thing? It is to sit, just like Mary, at the feet of our Lord Jesus. For Mary at that very moment, the most important thing was just to listen to the word of Jesus, learning from it and abiding in Christ. To her, Jesus’ word nourishes the soul. Martha was loved dearly by our Lord Jesus. But Mary has chosen the good portion which will not be taken away from her. Likewise, we also need to priorities our relationship with Jesus. For when we do that, then nothing else matters but to listen to the word of God. For we will realize that the best thing in life is to “seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness.” Everything will be added unto us, which will not be taken away from us.

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

15th Sunday c 2019 pater

REFLECTION OF THE HEART
15th Sunday In Ordinary Time (C)
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
A Reflection: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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First Reading: Deuteronomy 30:10-14

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

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

Responsorial Psalm PS 69

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

Second Reading Colossians 1:15-20

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

GOSPEL: Luke 10:25-37

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

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REFLECTION:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

john the baptist - pater

NATIVITY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST
A REFLECTION
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL: Luke 1:57-66,80

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

REFLECTION:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Homily: Fourth Sunday of Lent (B) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

4th Lent pater

 

FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT (B)
GOSPEL REFLECTION
By Rev. Fr.Allen Baclor Abadines
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Readings:
First Reading: 2 Chronicles 36:14-17a,19-23
Responsorial Psalm: Let my tongue cling to my mouth if I do not remember you!
Second Reading: Ephesians 2:4-10
Gospel: John 3:14-21
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GOSPEL: John 3:14-21
Jesus said to Nicodemus:”Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life,
“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. The one who believes in him is not condemned, but the one who does not believe is condemned already; for not having believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.
“And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.
The Gospel of the Lord: Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ
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REFLECTION
In today’s Gospel text, we encountered a very interesting figure in the person of Nicodemus. Nicodemus was a Pharisee. He was a teacher and held a very important position among religious leaders. Most of the religious leaders hated Jesus so much. Probably, they were jealous because of Jesus’ growing popularity among the people. People came to Jesus to listen to him. They came to Jesus to seek spiritual and physical healing. They came to Jesus because of his holiness. For sure, Nicodemus must have heard a lot about Jesus, and eventually, he became a silent admirer of him despite the growing opposition from among his associates. He wanted to know Jesus more…there was a growing desire in him to listen to Jesus about God and His Kingdom. But he was afraid for his reputation and status as a Pharisee. He was afraid that his associates might condemn him. And so Nicodemus came to Jesus in secret under the cover of darkness of the night to avoid being seen. I am not really a fan of Nicodemus. For to me, if we really love Jesus and have faith in him then we should be courageous enough to come out in the open to profess our faith in him. Either we are for Jesus or are against him. Either we are for righteousness or for sin. Either we are in the light or we are in the dark. Either we are for the love of God or for the evil one. There should be nothing in between. Our love for Jesus should be complete.But one thing good about Nicodemus was that at least he still approached Jesus and he listened to him. Despite his fears, he still sought Jesus.
The concept of a loving and a forgiving God was not easy for the Jewish people to comprehend. God for them is the God of the law. That God was a God who will judge and will give punishment to the sinners. That God is angry and unforgiving of the unrighteous. So Jesus took this opportunity to explain to Nicodemus, that he may be enlightened and may have a different concept of who God really is. He said,”Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
In other words, Jesus in today’s Gospel was telling Nicodemus and us, how great is the love of God for us. God loves and saves us. We may not be worthy of His love …it is actually a privilege gained through pure grace and not on merit. Because of this love that Jesus allowed himself to be lifted up as Moses lifted a bronze serpent so that all those bitten by the deadly serpent of sin might look up to him for healing and redemption. Jesus imparts on us that God is interested more about man’s salvation rather than condemnation. While reflecting on today’s Gospel message, it feels to me that Jesus was like telling me personally – “I love you no matter what. I am not here to punish you nor to judge you. I am here to save you and offer you, love. All I ask of you is to remain in my love.”
The Fourth Sunday of Lent is called Laetare Sunday. Laetare means to rejoice. We rejoice in the fact that God loves us. This is precisely the message of this Sunday’s liturgy – it’s LOVE! If we pondered deeply in the readings of today, the first reading (2 Chronicles), the second reading (Ephesians), and the Gospel, they shared something in common. It is just like reading a love letter from God. Do we really know how much God loves us? Do we really know how lavishly God wants to bestow his love upon us? God loves us so much that this love leads him to even sacrifice his only-begotten Son. Real love always involved sacrifice. We would know how deep is the love given by what it cost him. Jesus has proven the depth of his love of the Father and mankind for being obedient even unto death. John 15:13 “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. Jesus further said – You are my friends. And he stretched out his hands and died on the cross.
Having realized the depth of God’s love, it should lead us to grow in our love of God and our fellowmen, It should lead us to a more profound faith in him. That we should learn to love God deeply and to love our fellowmen sincerely.
An old priest was about to retire, and in his farewell party, a parishioner asked him this question. “Father, in your ministry as a priest, you have delivered countless of homilies. I should say, I don’t remember any of them. Would you give me your most important message that I should remember?” And the priest said, “You may not remember any of my words, it’s alright. But this I ask you not to forget – that You are loved! You are loved unconditionally by a greater love than you can ever imagine. God loves you now and forever. What should be your response to this love?”