GOSPEL REFLECTION: EASTER VIGIL (B) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

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GOSPEL REFLECTION: EASTER VIGIL (B)
THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL: Mark 16:1-8

Jesus Has Risen
16 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3 and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”

8 Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone because they were afraid.

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REFLECTION:

In the Exultet or Easter Proclamation, we heard the phrase “This is the night” several times. It also says, “O truly blessed night.” But why is this night different from all nights? This night is the holiest night of all nights, simply because this is the night when our Lord Jesus passed from death to life. Something great and wonderful had happened on this night. Christ has risen.Jesus is alive!

In a Sunday class, the priest asked the children about the meaning of Easter. What is Easter all about? And one little boy answered with pride – “Easter is all about egg hunts, Easter bunnies, and dressing up for Church” The priest further asked the boy,”And why are we going to Church?” To which the little boy replied: “We are going to Church to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus is alive.” And the priest with a sigh of relief said, ” Whew! Now, you got it right, Kid. On Easter Sunday, we gathered in the Church in the fact that Jesus resurrected from the dead.”

Two things that we should do on Easter Sunday: First, we are here to celebrate. Easter is a time for celebration. We are gathered in the Church to celebrate Christ’ victory. For his victory is our victory. We are now assured that death is not our end. Our final destination now is heaven – there is life beyond the grave. Although, our mortal bodies must suffer decay, yet there is hope- for our soul will live forever with God. Christ’s resurrection tells us that someday we, too, will share His life in glory. Yesterday, we gathered at the Church with sadness in our hearts and we mourned collectively as we contemplate on the suffering and death of our Lord. But tonight, we are here again this time to celebrate in joyful songs of praise and thanksgiving.

Second, we are gathered here to thank and praise God. Our hearts are filled with gratitude. Christ’s resurrection brings us back our identity i.e. we are children of God. We also regained our dignity, we became sharers in the life of God. I am not alone. I no longer exist all by myself. I live now with Christ. St. Paul says (Galatians 2:20)” My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself to me.” Our life now has meaning and purpose. Our struggles are not anymore in vain. We now have directions, we are not lost. Heaven is our final and ultimate destination. The resurrection of Jesus gives us the necessary hope. It reveals to us our ultimate goal in life i.e. to prepare for the next life.

Christ has accomplished his mission.It is up to us now, if we want to remain free. Let us, therefore, be steadfast. St. Paul said to the Galatians (5:1) “When Christ freed us, He meant us to remain free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.”

When we look at the Risen Christ, he is just like telling us – “Now, I have done my part. I have forgiven you. And you now know how much I love you. All I ask of you is to remain in my love. I want you to sin no more. In life, I also want you to win. Heaven is your reward.”

John 14, “In my Father’s house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you. I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”

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Happy Easter everyone!

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Homily: Corpus Christi (A) The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

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GOSPEL REFLECTION: Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (A) CORPUS CHRISTI
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
*

GOSPEL: JOHN 6:51-59

Jesus said to the people: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
The people then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.

“Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”

He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
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The Gospel Of The Lord/ Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ
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REFLECTION:

It is sad to know that nowadays some families rarely eat together anymore. Eating together as a family, for me, is an important aspect of family life. This is one particular family activity that strengthens family bonds. It is an opportunity for family members to exchange pleasantries and to some extent get to know each other so well. A healthy conversation among family members is essential to building up of a close family relationship. In the old days, when life and technologies were much simpler, families spent more time together. Members worked, ate, and slept together. But nowadays, even if they find time together at one table, they seemed to be busy doing their own thing. In that case, the chance to get to know each other intimately is destroyed. We need to put back a culture of strong family ties.Where we see parents talking to their children, Children listening to their parents. And siblings sharing jokes, laughter, and stories. And at the dinner table is the best place to start. I really miss those days when we share moments in one table as a family.It is the best place where families could create special memories together. We say the grace together. We share our experiences, some jokes, stories and some of our dreams and aspirations. We create sweet moments that we’ll treasure the rest of our lives.

Probably this is the reason why our Lord Jesus instituted the Eucharist in a form of a meal. Jesus wants us to gather at the Church as a community and as one family.Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in their midst.” Gathering therefore at a Church for our worship is indeed in God’s desire for us. Exodus 20:8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” There should be no compromise. Sometimes you hear people say,”Why should I go to Church when I see people who are sinners too?” Well, that is exactly the reason why there is a need for us to come to Church i.e. because we are all sinners. We need God’s grace and forgiveness. We also need one another in our spiritual journey. We need the support of the community in our spiritual life. While we are taking care of our own spirituality, we are also building up a Christian community. A community united in the love of Christ. Yes, we are an imperfect community for we are composed of imperfect people. But we go hand in hand as a community of believers towards perfection.This leads me to believe that those people who do not go to Church are only making excuses. For, in the end, the only reason I see is a sloth or perhaps lack or absence of faith. When one is convinced about the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, by all means, he will always find time to receive Communion as often as he could. The first time I learned about the real presence of Jesus in the bread, I fell in love instantly in the Eucharist. And I said to myself, “From now on I will never fail to receive Jesus in the Eucharist every week.” I kept that promise. It is one of the reasons why I decided to become a priest.

It is such a profound wisdom why Jesus presented to us himself as a Bread of Life. This Sunday, we are confronted with a Gospel text that deals with the Living Bread and the idea of partaking of it. John 6:51,, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever, and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
In today’s Gospel, we see Jesus’ listeners having difficulty in accepting Jesus’ teaching. They argued with one another, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” It was not easy for them to comprehend. Thus they abandoned our Lord Jesus saying “it was a hard teaching.” To this date, we are confronted with the same issue. There are people who expressed their doubts in believing in the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. It is not surprising that even among Catholics, there are those who are struggling to accept this teaching. But we could have the same argument presented when we explain the mystery of the Trinity. “It is not a puzzle to be solved, but a mystery to be lived.” Receiving Jesus in the Eucharist daily will help us grow in our faith and will help us understand the mystery of his presence in the Eucharist. To a man, it may be impossible. But to God everything is possible. He created the universe by just mere word, how can he not make himself present in every Sacred Host.

At the Last Supper, Jesus took the bread, blessed it and said, “This is my body.” Then he took the chalice, gave it to his disciples and said, “This is my blood.” Then he asked us to do this in “Remembrance of Me.” Every time, we celebrate the Mass and we receive Jesus in the Eucharist we celebrate God’s saving act and his love for us. It is a remembrance of God’s eternal love for mankind.

HOMILY: Solemnity Of The Most Holy Trinity (A) by Rev.Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

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GOSPEL REFLECTION: SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY (A)
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL: JOHN 3:16-18

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him will not be condemned,
but whoever does not believe has already been condemned,
because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
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REFLECTION:

God wants to establish a personal and intimate relationship with us. This is the reason why he revealed His very nature with us. We do not normally reveal ourselves to a someone we do not personally know. And so when God reveals Himself to us as Trinity, it is a manifestation of God’s desire to enter into a relationship with all of the humanity. That is good news …we have a relationship with God. God calls us His own. Unworthy as we are, the fact still remains i.e. we are loved! Now we could clearly understand why Jesus wants us to call his Father as our Father too. In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus taught us to call God as our Father.

When I reflect on the Trinity, what comes to my mind is a perfect relationship. A relationship between the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. All equal, undivided in unity.God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are co-equal, co-eternal, three distinct persons, yet one God.

So today, the Church invites us to contemplate on the mystery of the Trinity. Today’s Solemnity teaches us that we have but one God with Three Divine persons – The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.

Not only a few but a lot of people are struggling to accept this teaching of the Church. St. Augustine spent so much in his lifetime unraveling the mystery of the Trinity only to get to the conclusion in the end that we will never get to the bottom of it. It is a mystery! And when we say a mystery, it means that one can never completely comprehend its very nature. Somebody puts it beautifully: the Trinity is “not a problem to be solved but a mystery to be lived.” It doesn’t mean however that we will remain totally oblivion of it. In order for us to somehow understand the mystery is to experience it in our lives. Experience the Trinitarian love in our lives. It should be a way of life to us. God should be the ultimate end of man’s journey. St. Augustine says that Man is by nature restless and only in God where a man can find real rest.

The word Trinity is a combination of the Latin words “Trinus” meaning Three and “Unus” meaning One.Nowhere in the Scriptures where you could find the word, Trinity. So how did we know that God is Trinity? Our Lord Jesus revealed to us the Trinitarian nature of God.
For instance, when the teacher of the law approached Jesus and asked him this question: Of all the Commandments which is the greatest: Jesus replied, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” (Mark 12:28). In the Gospel of John 10:30, Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.” In John 14:9 Philip said to Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” But Jesus replied:“Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” It was at the baptism of the Lord when the Trinity is clearly revealed. The heavens opened and the Father spoke: “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased’ And the Holy Spirit descended to our Lord Jesus in a form of a dove. That was a perfect revelation of the Trinity.

The question is that: If the Doctrine of the Trinity is beyond human comprehension, how then is it relevant to us today? St. Augustine says that ‘anyone who denies the Trinity loses his salvation.’ At the very heart of our Christian faith is our profession of our belief in the Trinity. God reveals Himself to us in order to save us. Thus, it is summarized in today’s Gospel Text:

“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.”

Homily: Solemnity of Pentecost (A) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

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GOSPEL REFLECTION: SOLEMNITY OF PENTECOST (A)
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
*

GOSPEL: JOHN 20:19-23

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,

Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”
*

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REFLECTION:

In the First Letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul says” Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (1 Cor 6:19-20) It is sad when sometimes I hear some people argued this way: “It is my body I can do anything with it.” Or “I’ll do anything whatever pleases me for this is my body.” But this is wrong! Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit – we can not desecrate, we cannot mutilate and destroy our bodies. Somebody resides in it. We should, therefore, take care of it, consecrate it and we treat it with utmost respect and love.

Today, we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost. The Church invites us to reflect on the role and importance of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

The day of Pentecost was celebrated long before Jesus was born. It was a Jewish celebration just like we celebrate Thanksgiving Day.The Jewish people celebrate Pentecost (Shavuot) in Thanksgiving for the first Wheat harvest, but it was later connected to the commemoration of the Law given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai. In the Old Testament, this Jewish observance was known as the Festival of Weeks, or, more simply, Weeks (Shavuot in Hebrew). One can find its origin in the book of Leviticus 23:16, which instructs people to count seven weeks or the fiftieth day after Passover. The word “Pentecost” comes from the Greek word “Pentekostos.” which means “Fifty.” It was an important Jewish celebration even during the time of our Lord Jesus. This is simply the reason why the Apostles were gathered in a room, precisely to celebrate Pentecost. What comes at first as the traditional Jewish Thanksgiving observance, turned out to become a more significant event in the life of the Apostles and us as a Church. On that day, the Holy Spirit descended upon them, thus empowering them to fulfill their mission together as a Church.Now we look at the day of Pentecost as significantly the birth of the Church. For on the Fiftieth day after Easter Sunday, God fulfilled His promise to send another Advocate – the Holy Spirit, to be with us until the end of the age. Oh, yes, on the day of Pentecost, we celebrate the birthday of the Church.

Pentecost reminds us of such wonderful gift the Father gave us i.e. the gift of the Holy Spirit.In His homily, Pope Francis says that “The Spirit is given to us by the Father and leads us back to the Father. The entire work of salvation is one of “regeneration”, in which the fatherhood of God, through the gift of the Son and the Holy Spirit, frees us from the condition of being orphans into which we had fallen.” When sin entered humanity, we alienated ourselves from the love of God. We wandered aimlessly and abandoned. But because of Christ’ saving act through his obedience to the will of the Father, our dignity was restored. Once again we become children of God. We are not alone. We are not abandoned. We now have a clear direction in our pilgrimage here on earth. And the Holy Spirit will lead and guide us. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit provides the necessary graces empowering us to do the mission entrusted to us.

I like the word “to empower.” To empower is to give us the strength and the authority to do the mission. Which means that we receive a gift that makes us strong. A gift that makes us equipped for the task. Thus, we receive the necessary graces we need for the mission. There should be no more excuses for us not to do the mission, We are entrusted to continue the mission. A mission to spread the Good News. A mission to tread the path of Christ. And in a way to be a witness of Christ here on earth.

Veni, Creator Spiritus, mentes tuorum visita, imple superna gratia, quae tu creasti, pectora.

Qui diceris Paraclitus, donum Dei altissimi, fons vivus, ignis, caritas, et spiritalis unction.

 

Homily: Ascension of The Lord (A) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

 

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GOSPEL REFLECTION: ASCENSION OF THE LORD (A)
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

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GOSPEL: MATTHEW 28:16-20
The eleven disciples went to Galilee,
to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.
When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.

Then Jesus approached and said to them,
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
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REFLECTION:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Homily: Sixth Sunday Of Easter (A) by Pater Allen Baclor Abadines

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GOSPEL REFLECTION: SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER (A)
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
*GOSPEL: JOHN 14:15-21Jesus said to his disciples:
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
And I will ask the Father,
and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always,
the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept,
because it neither sees nor knows him.

But you know him because he remains with you,
and will be in you.
I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
In a little while the world will no longer see me,
but you will see me because I live and you will live.

On that day you will realize that I am in my Father
and you are in me and I in you.
Whoever has my commandments and observes them
is the one who loves me.

And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”
*
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REFLECTION:

In a Sunday school, the Parish priest was teaching the children about Jesus. He was telling them that Jesus is a loving father. He told them about the so many good qualities of Jesus – like his obedience to the Father, his compassion to the poor, to the sick and needy people and the sacrifice he made for mankind. As he was explaining to them about Jesus, suddenly there was one little boy, his name was Johnny, who said to the pastor: “Father, you are a lot like Jesus.” And the priest gave little Johnny the sweetest smile for to him that was the most wonderful compliment he has ever heard his entire life i.e. to be likened to Jesus.

Our goal here on earth is to imitate Jesus in our lives. We should be an “Alter Christus” or “another Christ.” Imitate Jesus in everything we do and in everyone we encounter. Jesus should always be our model in humility, in generosity, in service, in compassion, in forgiveness, and in love. This is how we could prove our love of him. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” We are commanded to love as Jesus loves. Well, it’s not gonna be easy so we need help.We need inspiration and strength to go on. And this is what Jesus promised us – “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always.” Jesus promised us to send the Holy Spirit to be our guide.

We now celebrate the sixth Sunday of Easter.We are near the conclusion of our Easter celebration, The Church continue to invite us to reflect on the Gospel of John. On the sixth Sunday of Easter, the Gospel text is still part of the Farewell discourse of Jesus. Indeed, it is appropriate so that we could prepare now for our reflection on the Ascension Sunday and the Pentecost. It talks about Jesus’ departure as well as the promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Last Sunday, in my homily, I said it is not good for us to be alone. There is a need for us to belong to something and to someone. We need a place to stay, we need a home and we need a family.Last Sunday, Jesus promised to prepare a place for us. But while we wait for his return to take us for himself, he is sending us another advocate and that is the Holy Spirit or a Paraclete.

Paraclete comes from the Greek word Parakletos, it refers to “One who consoles or comforts, one who encourages or uplifts and one who intercedes on our behalf.” This is what the Holy Spirit does to us, He encourages, He consoles and He comforts us. He gives us the strength, protection, and care, He refreshes and guides us. Which means that in our journey to our going home to the Father, we are not alone. Jesus wants us to succeed.”I will not leave you orphans.” But there is something he wants us to do – i.e. to keep his commandments.”Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me.
And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I will love him and reveal myself to him.” What are Jesus’ commands? Very clearly in the Scriptures, it is a commandment to Love.

When we were young, our parents used to give us so many restrictions and rules. Most kids didn’t like that. There are times that those rules didn’t really make sense. They rebelled, they protested and they disobeyed. Only when they became adults that they understood that those rules and restrictions were made because they are loved. Parents gave them those rules because they care and because they are for their own good. And so Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandment.” That’s the only way we can prove our love of God.

Maybe it sounds simple. But to love truly and sincerely is never easy. Much more to love as Jesus loves. Jesus commanded us to love even the unlovable, even people who do not deserve our love. He even commanded us to love our enemies. And to love till it hurts. By us alone, things may not be possible. But with the help of the Holy Spirit, our strength, inspiration, and guide-what seem to be impossible would be possible. Then loving would not be a burden but a way of life.

Homily: 4th Sunday Of Easter (A) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

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GOSPEL REFLECTION: Fourth Sunday Of Easter (A)
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL: JOHN 10:1-10

Jesus said:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate
but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber.
But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice,
as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

When he has driven out all his own,
he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him,
because they recognize his voice.
But they will not follow a stranger;
they will run away from him,
because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.”

Although Jesus used this figure of speech,
the Pharisees did not realize what he was trying to tell them.
So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
I am the gate for the sheep.
All who came before me are thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the gate.

Whoever enters through me will be saved,
and will come in and go out and find pasture.
A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy;
I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
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REFLECTION:

They say that the sweetest and most important sound to anyone’s ears is the sound of one’s personal name. This is the reason why it is important to remember people’s names. When we remember and use their names in a conversation, it builds up a personal relationship. It shows we value the person.We give honor. interest and respect by calling him or her particular name.I must confess that I am really bad at names. It could happen at times when I am introduced to a someone for the first time that towards the end of the conversion I already forgot the name of the person. That would be so embarrassing. So I make it a point to always focus on other people’s names. Practice focusing on people’s names all the time makes perfect. But in case, you simply forgot , it is always nice to ask humbly- “I am sorry but I seem to have forgotten your name,” We all have our strength and weaknesses. Some people are good at remembering names. Others maybe struggling. But what is important is to always relate to people with sincerity and honesty.

Having this insights in mind, I feel so fortunate. I realize how important and how valuable are we in the eyes of God. This Sunday’s Gospel text attests to this reality as we reflect on the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. Every Fourth Sunday of Easter, the Church invites us to reflect on this image of Jesus as the good shepherd. And it tells us that the Good Shepherd knows his sheep or us personally and individually. “The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” It is such a privilege to have this personal and intimate relationship with God. Why? Because we are assured of his love. Just us he knows us personally, He also knows what is good for us and he provides for our needs. He knows our thoughts and actions. He knows our joys and pains.He even knows us better than we know ourselves. He cares about you personally.

Part of Dan Schutte song inspired by Psalm 139 says, “.Lord, You have searched my heart,
and You know when I sit and when I stand.
Your hand is upon me protecting me from death,
keeping me from harm.” God therefore relates to us like a loving Father taking care of his children’s needs. To God, you and I matter.

The image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd is perhaps the most appealing image of Jesus. We picture him as sweet, dedicated Shepherd to us his flock. But have we ever realized it’s most profound message? Part of shepherding are the perils that entail this job. It means that the Good Shepherd should be ready even to sacrifice his life for his sheep. Which our Lord Jesus did in accepting death on the Cross.This reminds me of a story from an unknown author:

THE VISITOR

One day, a man went to visit a church. He arrived early, parked his car, and got out. Another car pulled up near him, and the driver told him, “I always park there. You took my place!”
The visitor went inside for Sunday School, found an empty seat, and sat down. A young lady from the church approached him and stated, “That’s my seat! You took my place!”
The visitor was somewhat distressed by this rude welcome, but said nothing.
After Sunday School, the visitor went into the church sanctuary and sat down. Another member walked up to him and said, “That’s where I always sit. You took my place!”
The visitor was even more troubled by this treatment, but still said nothing.
Later, as the congregation was praying for Christ to dwell among them, the visitor stood, and his appearance began to change.
Horrible scars became visible on his hands and on his sandaled feet.
Someone from the congregation noticed him and called out, “What happened to you?”
The visitor replied, “I took your place.”

John10:11 says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

Our Lord shed his blood on the Cross for our salvation. That’s the ultimate expression of love when you are ready to sacrifice even your own life. But it is not enough that we admire this sacrificial offering of our Lord. It also entails responsibility on our part. John 10:27 My sheep listen to my voice, I know them, and they follow me.” Our task , therefore, is to always listen to our Shepherd intently and to let his Words guide us in everything we say or do.