Homily:27th Sunday In Ordinary Time C by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

27th Sunday C pater

REFLECTION OF THE HEART
27th Sunday In Ordinary Time C
“Increase our faith!”
A Reflection: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
*

READINGS:

First Reading:Habakkuk 1:2-3,2:2-4

How long, O LORD? I cry for help
but you do not listen!
I cry out to you, “Violence!”
but you do not intervene.
Why do you let me see ruin;
why must I look at misery?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife and clamorous discord.
Then the LORD answered me and said:
Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets,
so that one can read it readily.
For the vision still has its time,
presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint;
if it delays, wait for it,
it will surely come, it will not be late.
The rash one has no integrity;
but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.

Responsorial PsalmPS 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
R. (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works.”
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Second Reading: 2 Timothy 1:6-8,13-14

Beloved:
I remind you, to stir into flame
the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord,
nor of me, a prisoner for his sake;
but bear your share of hardship for the gospel
with the strength that comes from God.

Take as your norm the sound words that you heard from me,
in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit
that dwells within us.

Gospel: Luke 17:5-10

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”
The Lord replied,
“If you have faith the size of a mustard seed,
you would say to this mulberry tree,
‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

“Who among you would say to your servant
who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field,
‘Come here immediately and take your place at the table’?
Would he not rather say to him,
‘Prepare something for me to eat.
Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink.
You may eat and drink when I am finished’?
Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?
So should it be with you?
When you have done all you have been commanded,
say, ‘We are unprofitable servants;
we have done what we were obliged to do.'”

___________________

REFLECTION:

I am reminded of a song by a band named R.E.M. entitled “Losing My Religion” which says “That’s me in the corner
That’s me in the spotlight
Losing my religion”
I have always asked myself about the meaning of this particular song. Does this song describe someone who is literally losing his faith? So I made a little research on the meaning of this song. And I found out that the song is not literally about somebody losing faith, it is said that it’s just a southern expression which means somebody is at the end of one’s rope. Somebody is just being polite in saying that he is losing his temper. But anyway, my reflection is not about the song. It is only sad that some people could really find themselves at the end of their patience. When we find ourselves at the end of the rope that’s when we lose our trust and to some extent, even our faith. Feeling so low once in a while is part of human existence. A certain Saadi puts it beautifully, “The rose and the thorn, and sorrow and gladness are linked together.” It means to say that life is both joy and sorrow. Sadness is as much part of life as joy is. Without sadness life is incomplete. It is an emotion. While nobody wants to be sad but we accept it as part of life with hope. I even find such a feeling of loneliness therapeutic. That’s the reason why I sometimes watch sad movies or even listen to sad music. So to be sad is normal. All of us have in one way or another have experienced loneliness in our life. But what is wrong is that when people find themselves at the end of their rope, so to speak. It is very wrong when loneliness turned into depression, In that case, it will require serious attention. People lose their patience. People lose trust and to some extent even lose faith. This is what happened to Prophet Habbakuk in today’s first reading. Such a strange-sounding name. But who is this prophet they call Habakkuk? Habakkuk was a minor prophet. As a prophet, his ministry was to offer prayers for the people. Habakkuk was not so much of a preacher. The Prophet Habbakuk was feeling so frustrated considering his so many challenges in life. Despite the fact that he was praying fervently to God yet still he saw so many injustices and suffering around. And the situation seemed to get dismal. So he cried aloud to God out of desperation. Habakkuk felt like his prayers were unanswered and that God really didn’t care. This is the meaning of his lamentation on our first reading today. But God reassures Habakkuk that long before he ask God something in his prayers, God is already at work. The experience of Habakkuk is actually a common experience for most of us even to this date. Many people blame God when their prayers seemingly remain unanswered. As a person, at times, it is easy for us to find ourselves in the shoes of the Prophet Habakkuk. We find ourselves helpless. But the reality is that God will never forsake us. God will never abandon us. And God will always remain faithful, reassuring us that he is always there for us. Never believe that we are forgotten, And never believe that we are not loved. A renewed and solid faith is what we need. And just like to the Apostles in today’s Gospel text, we should ask that firm faith. Faith is a gift. “Lord, increase our faith.”

In today’s gospel text, the Apostles asked Jesus, “Increase our faith.” This is done after Jesus gave them a lesson on sin and forgiveness. Realizing how hard it is to follow Jesus, they felt unworthy at once. They realize how will it cost them to be a real follower of Jesus. The demand of discipleship is great. And so they ask, “Increase our faith.” As a priest, I could simply relate to the experience of the Apostles with the demands, challenges, and hardships of being a priest, I could also ask the same request. Please, Lord, increase my faith. Give me the strength always. Without God’s providential help and guidance, I do not know how to cope with the demands of this ministry. For sure, God will give me the same response as of his Apostles. “If you have faith the size of the mustard seed, you could do marvelous things.” But then again, the Gospel reminds us that even God works wonders through us, remember that we are but servants. Everything is but God’s abundant grace. Never claim praises to ourselves. Do things with humility. “When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.” However, if we do our service with fidelity, God will bless us and our humble service can be made to produce abundantly.

Ask Jesus to increase our faith all the time. We need his guidance and inspiration to go on. With our faith, we could see the power and love of God always at work in us.

At the end of my life, when everything is done, I wish to say with St. Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)

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

25th Sunday C pater

REFLECTION OF THE HEART
25th Sunday In Ordinary Time (C)
The Dishonest Steward (Luke 16:1-13)
A Reflection: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
*

READINGS:
*

FIRST READING: AMOS 8:4-7
Hear this, you who trample upon the needy
and destroy the poor of the land!
“When will the new moon be over,” you ask,
“that we may sell our grain,
and the sabbath, that we may display the wheat?
We will diminish the ephah,
add to the shekel,
and fix our scales for cheating!
We will buy the lowly for silver,
and the poor for a pair of sandals;
even the refuse of the wheat we will sell!”
The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob:
Never will I forget a thing they have done!
*
The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.
*

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: PSALM 113

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

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

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

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

This Sunday’s Scriptural Readings enlighten us with what should be our outlook with regards to material possessions. They also encourage us to care for the poor and the needy. Like in today’s First Reading, the prophet Amos manifested great compassion for the poor. We have seen here a prophet condemning the sad and unjust plight of the poor and the needy. He exposed the gap between the rich and the poor. The rich have always their surplus while the poor died of hunger. The Responsorial Psalm lifted up the poor. It says, Praise the Lord who lifts up the needy. In the Second Reading, however, St. Paul in his letter to Timothy urged us to pray for Kings, ruler and all people in authority that they may not fall to corruption in governing the land. This is still true to this date because corruptions in the government are rampant everywhere in the world. Corrupt leaders exchange honest and truthful service over material wealth because of their greed. Thus the Second Reading serves as a warning against corruption. And today’s Gospel relates to us the parable of the dishonest steward. It tells us that there is something more important than material possessions. The Manager was dishonest to the point that he forgot that there are things more important in acquiring wealth here on earth. Our dignity as children of God is of more value than any material possessions. Jesus said, “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much. If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches.” ” No slaves can serve two masters. You cannot serve God and wealth” Our money can only have meaning when it is used wisely. It is of greater value when it is extended in helping the poor and the needy. In short, today’s Readings in one hand, condemns corruption, dishonesty, and greed. And on the other hand, God wants us to cultivate our love of the poor.
However, dealing with the poor and the needy could mean different things to different people, It requires one to make some sacrifices, big or small. There are times that we feel some kind of apprehension in extending help to somebody. Experience tells us that there are abusive people who simply take advantage of one’s kindness and generosity. Several times I was approached by someone who looked more capable of working than I am. In such a situation a careful discernment is necessary if the need was legitimate. However, in case of doubt, the best thing to do is to always go to the side of charity so as not to miss an opportunity to imitate our Lord. Developing our sense of empathy and compassion towards the poor can help us discern on how we can extend a helping hand towards them. This is the beauty and the mystery of why we are not equal when it comes to blessings. Apparently, there are people who seemed to be more blessed than others. Some people are more wealthy, others may be more intelligent, still, others are blessed with so many skills. Yes, we may not be equal in our qualifications, but we are equal in our capacity to love. Saint John Paul 11 says “No one is so poor that they cannot give something and nobody is so rich that he has nothing to receive.”
The manager was not praised because of his dishonesty. He was praised because of his being so wise as to have some kind of foresight that made him prepare for his future. Although he uses such quality in the wrong manner. Just like the manager, our Lord Jesus wants us to have the same foresight and prudence but in a good way. We do not settle for less. Our attention should be the Kingdom of God, our greatest treasure.
The question may be this, “Is it wrong to even care about material things for ourselves or for others? Not at all! But let us bear in mind that material possessions should not be our end. They are a means to an end. They are something we use to achieve our goals, which is to be more like Christ. We should therefore not be possessed by material possessions. It is foolishness to spend all our attention towards accumulating them only to displace our love of God with the love of mammon.
*
Story (from Frank Mihalic’s The Next 500 Stories)
There was this businessman whose only interest in life was to play the stock market. He studied the financial pages of the newspapers greedily every day. He became so obsessed with finances that one day he said aloud to himself, “I would give anything to see the paper one year from now.”
No sooner were the words out of his mouth, than there was a puff of smoke in the room and a little genie handed him a newspaper and then disappeared. As soon as he got over his shock, he realized that his wish had been granted. The paper in his hand dated for next year. Feverishly he found the financial page and then his eyes bulged when he saw how the market had developed. He wrote down the stocks that had jumped highest and won the most money at that time.
He got into his car and went down to his stockbroker with his latest information. He took the newspaper along and was browsing through it before he started off. Then suddenly he noticed his name in the obituary page. It described the cause of his death and the funeral arrangement.
*
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt. 6:19-21)
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Homily:23rd Sunday In Ordinary Time C by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

23rd Sunday 2019 pater

REFLECTION OF THE HEART
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (year C)
The Cost Of Discipleship
A Reflection: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
*

READINGS:

FIRST READING: WISDOM 9:13-18B

Who can know God’s counsel,
or who can conceive what the LORD intends?
For the deliberations of mortals are timid,
and unsure are our plans.
For the corruptible body burdens the soul
and the earthen shelter weighs down the mind that has many concerns.
And scarce do we guess the things on earth,
and what is within our grasp we find with difficulty;
but when things are in heaven, who can search them out?
Or who ever knew your counsel, except you had given wisdom
and sent your holy spirit from on high?
And thus were the paths of those on earth made straight.
*
The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.
*

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

Response: LORD, YOU HAVE BEEN OUR DWELLING PLACE IN ALL GENERATIONS.
*
You turn man back to dust,
saying, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in your sight
are as yesterday, now that it is past,
or as a watch of the night.
R/ Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
*
You make an end of them in their sleep;
the next morning they are like the changing grass,
Which at dawn springs up anew,
but by evening wilts and fades.
R/ Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
*
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of the heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
R/ Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
*
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
And may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours;
prosper the work of our hands for us!
Prosper the work of our hands!
R/ Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.

*

SECOND READING: PHILEMON 9-10,12-17

I, Paul, an old man,
and now also a prisoner for Christ Jesus,
urge you on behalf of my child Onesimus,
whose father I have become in my imprisonment;
I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you.
I should have liked to retain him for myself,
so that he might serve me on your behalf
in my imprisonment for the gospel,
but I did not want to do anything without your consent,
so that the good you do might not be forced but voluntary.
Perhaps this is why he was away from you for a while,
that you might have him back forever,
no longer as a slave
but more than a slave, a brother,
beloved especially to me, but even more so to you,
as a man and in the Lord.
So if you regard me as a partner, welcome him as you would me.
*
The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.

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

*
GOSPEL: LUKE 14:25-33

Great crowds were traveling with Jesus,
and he turned and addressed them,
“If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother,
wife and children, brothers and sisters,
and even his own life,
he cannot be my disciple.
Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me
cannot be my disciple.
Which of you wishing to construct a tower
does not first sit down and calculate the cost
to see if there is enough for its completion?
Otherwise, after laying the foundation
and finding himself unable to finish the work
the onlookers should laugh at him and say,
‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’
Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down
and decide whether with ten thousand troops
he can successfully oppose another king
advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops?
But if not, while he is still far away,
he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms.
In the same way,
anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions
cannot be my disciple.”
*
The Gospel Of The Lord/ Praise To You, Lord Jesus Christ.

____________________________________________
*
REFLECTION:

THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP
*
We are again confronted with a challenge this Sunday. Our Lord is inviting us to follow him. But following him is never easy. Following him means giving up the things that we love the most. Giving them up could be the hardest thing to do for we have so many attachments. Many people are attached to material possessions . Some of us are attached to people (relationships). Others are attached to their own ambitions and dreams. But Jesus is telling us in today’s Gospel to choose him and put him first in our lives.
“Unless you give up all those possessions you think you can not live without, you can never be Jesus’ disciple.” The words of Jesus in today’s Gospel may not be easy to accept. One should reflect deeply in order to get to the bottom of what Jesus’ meant by such strong words – “Whoever comes to me and does not hate their father and mother, spouse and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even their life itself, cannot be my disciple.” Did Jesus really mean for us to literally hate our parents or spouse, and or brothers and sisters and even ourselves? No, not at all! We do not interpret this particular text literally. Our Lord Jesus was just trying to make a strong statement. He wanted to shock his listeners that he may be able to get their attention. His words were not in conflict with his admonition to love our parents, our brothers and sisters, our friends and neighbors as well as oneself. The use of the word ‘hate’ here was just a metaphor. ‘ Hate’ here means only to detach oneself. It means not to take it as a sole priority. He wants us to assess our level of commitment. When one chooses Jesus, it should be a full commitment. One should never allow any other commitments to take priority. Following Jesus should be first before all others. It tells us therefore that following Jesus is never easy. It entails hardships, pain, sacrifices. And yes the cost of discipleship is the Cross. “Whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
Jesus’ demand was a full commitment, a complete giving of oneself. It is understandable indeed for when he committed himself to the will of the Father it was a complete obedience. When he gave his love for us, it was a complete giving, it was without reservation to the extent of accepting death on the Cross. And it is but fitting also that when we decide to follow him, it should be a full commitment even if following him demands sacrifice.
In my ministry as a priest, my role is to preach the good news. Preaching the good news means speaking the truth. When we speak the truth, it is inevitable that some people may get hurt, for truth really hurts. I never water down the Gospel message no matter how strong Jesus’ message may be. But in the process, some people may tend to harass and even malign the messenger by their harsh reactions and comments. As for me, that is part of my commitment to follow Jesus. The hurts, pains, and hardships are but signs indeed of being in the right track, for Jesus’ way is the road to Calvary.
STORY: (Author unknown)
One day in a certain barn, the chicken and the cow was discussing with each other. “Our master is sick, we should do something for him, ” proposed the chicken. “Sure, but how?” asked the cow. To which the chicken replied, “Let’s take care of his breakfast, I will supply him with eggs, and you supply the meat.” The cow felt sad for he knew that it would mean a total sacrifice. It means death for the cow but it is total commitment and the ultimate giving of oneself.
We may find Jesus’ idea of discipleship too demanding for us. Others may find it not only difficult but impossible. But whenever we reflect deeply on the Cross and the sacrifice of Christ then we would understand that Jesus was not asking of us that he has not done himself. By our constant contemplation of Jesus’ Cross will make us understand fully what discipleship really means and what it truly constitutes. Then following him will never be a burden but an act of love to him who is the author of that greatest LOVE.

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

21st 2019 pater

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

READINGS:

FIRST READING: ISAIAH 66:18-21

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

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: PSALM 117:1-2

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOSPEL: LUKE 13:22-30

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

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REFLECTION:

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

One day a small gap appeared in the cocoon, through which the butterfly had to appear. A boy, who accidentally passed by, stopped and watched how the butterfly was trying to get out of the cocoon. It took a lot of time, the butterfly was trying very hard, and the gap was as little as before. It seemed that the power would leave the butterfly soon.
The boy decided to help the butterfly. He took a penknife and cut the cocoon. The butterfly immediately got out, but its body was weak and feeble, and the wings were barely moving.
The boy continued to watch the butterfly, thinking that now its wings would spread and its would fly. However, that did not happen.
The rest of its life the butterfly had to drag its weak body and wings that weren’t spread. It was unable to fly because the boy did not realize that an effort to enter through the narrow gap of the cocoon was necessary for the butterfly, so that the life-giving fluid would move from the body to the butterfly’s wings and that the butterfly could fly. Life forced the butterfly to leave its shell hardly so that it would become stronger and would be able to grow and develop.
If we were allowed to live without meeting difficulties, we would not be viable. Life gives us challenges to make us stronger.
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Life is a matter of decision we make. We are being challenged to make a choice. The Book of Sirach 15:14 tells us, “He created humanity at the beginning, and left them to the power of their choices. Are we going to take the easy path, but it leads to destruction? Or are we going to take the difficult one but it leads to life?
Matthew 7:13-14
“Enter by the narrow gate, for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.
For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
But who says, it is that easy. There is a need to strive. Every day is a challenge. We are always confronted with choices to do good or to do bad. To turn towards God or away from Him. We are like being pulled to two different directions. The choice is ours. Even saints find it difficult to heed to the call of holiness. That reminds me of St. Augustine who says, “Lord, make me chaste, but not yet.”
As we continue to reflect on today’s Gospel, there are important points that I’d like you to keep in mind.
We are already saved. By the mere fact that Jesus died on the Cross, we are already saved. God gave us a wonderful gift of salvation through the sacrifice of his son on the cross. It was Jesus’ mission to save us by accepting death on the cross. But it is a gift. We are saved by God’s free gift of grace but we have to reciprocate to this grace. God desires all men to be saved. He desires every single person to enter his Kingdom. But God respects our free will. Freedom is the gift that God gave us otherwise we would just be like an automaton. God predestined no one to go to hell, but he can not stop us if we would like to. We need to persevere to claim heaven till the end.

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.”
*
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.

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.”
*
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.
*
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.
*
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.
*
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.