Gospel Reflection: Good Friday (Celebration of the Lord’s Passion) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

Good Friday

GOSPEL REFLECTION: GOOD FRIDAY
Celebration of the Lord’s Passion
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

*
GOSPEL: John 18:1-19,42
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I thirst.” There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth. When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.” And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.
Now since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out.

*
REFLECTION
On Good Friday, we do not celebrate the Sacrament of the Eucharist, instead, we have the Liturgy of the Word, the Veneration of the Cross and Communion Service. This is the one day that the Church omits the celebration of Mass when She commemorates the Passion as it really happened in time. The commemoration of the Passion on Good Friday, the reality of the sacrifice is presented to us, not as a sacrament (i.e. not through the Mass) but “as it was really accomplished.” The Church invites us to once again reflect on the Passion of our Lord i.e. to be a witness and experience the saving work of Christ. That is why today we don’t celebrate a Mass, instead, we mourn the death of our Lord. And we give reverence to the Cross on which our salvation was achieved.
I was contemplating on the seven last words of Jesus.What struck me was the very last words of Jesus – “It is finished.” “Consummatum est!” It was Jesus’ very important last words. John 19:30 “When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.” But what does Jesus’ words “It is finished” really mean?To understand this clearly, we should bear in mind that Jesus did not say “I am finished” or “I am done” It was not a cry of despair nor defeat. But rather, it was a declaration of victory. It was just like reporting to the commander-in-chief – “My task is done, it is mission accomplished.” When the servant had finished his work, when the job was completed, the servant would say to his master – it is finished! The master will say to the servant “well done!” I am pretty sure that the Master i.e. the Father is so pleased with the work that is done. “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” Jesus had always said that He came not to do his own will but that of the Father. He had a mission and work to do directly from the Father and is now completed. The work is done. It was perfect. Salvation is accomplished. Redemption is attained through Jesus death and resurrection. The debt of sin was paid.
What a sacrifice! It was God’s revelation of His immeasurable love for mankind. He gave us His only Son. We call Jesus as the Lamb of God. In professing that Jesus is the Lamb of God in our celebration of the Mass, we are recalling His sacrificial death on the Cross. This precisely is our focus on today’s reflection.
At this point, allow me to share with you a story: Two brothers lived together in the same apartment. The elder brother was an honest, hardworking and God-fearing man, while the younger was dishonest, gun totting substance abusing rogue. Many a night the younger brother would come back into the apartment late, drunk and with a lot of cash – and the elder brother would spend hours pleading him to mend his ways and live a decent life. But the younger brother would not listen.
One night, the younger brother came running into the house with a smoking gun and his clothes were bloodstained. “I killed a man,” he announced. In a few minutes, the house was surrounded by police and two brothers knew there was no escape. “I did not mean to kill him,” stammered the younger brother, “and I don’t want to die.” By now the police was knocking at the door.” The elder brother had an idea. He exchanged his clothes with blood-stained clothes of his killer brother. The police arrested him, tried him and he was condemned to death. What a great sacrifice. He died for his younger brother out of his love for him.
In the same manner, that Jesus sacrifices himself that we may live out of his love for us. He took upon himself our guilt. For our sake, he suffered and died on the Cross. All these, because he loves us immensely.”There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friend.”
“It is love to the end.” (John 13:1) We come to realize his love by what it costs him. But may this love of Christ that we have come to realize be a reason for us to become more loving people. Realizing the depth of His love should make us grow more of our love of God and our fellowmen.

Advertisements

Homily: 22nd Sunday In Ordinary Time (A) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

22nd A4

 

GOSPEL REFLECTION (22nd SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – A)
Matthew 16:21-27 On Jesus’ Passion and Discipleship
3rd September 2017
by REV.FR. ALLEN BACLOR ABADINES
*

GOSPEL: MATTHEW 16:21-27

Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised. 2Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does but as human beings do.”
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct.
*

___________________________________________________

REFLECTION:

Does God want us to suffer? Does He enjoy our pain? Of course NOT! But why is it that the world is filled with people who are suffering? Suffering has become a part of human existence. It happens to all of us in life, to have some suffering and pain – like every time we encounter problems, when we are sick, when we are dealing with rebellious sons or daughters, when we are in a financial trouble etc. All these bring us pain and suffering. It could happen to anyone. Every one of us can experience loneliness and suffering. It could happen also to famous, rich and powerful people. Wealth, fame, status in life are never guaranteed to make us happy.Yes, there’s no such thing as suffering-free existence. No one is spared.It’s only how we deal with it that makes the difference. Some people wallow in bitterness, hate, anger and regret while others seek meaning and purpose in it. It is our choice!

In today’s Gospel text, our Lord Jesus was talking about his passion and death. If you still remember last Sunday’s Gospel text, Peter was praised by Jesus for giving the right answer when Jesus asked this question – “Who do you say that I am?” Peter said, “You are the Messiah!” But it’s different in today’s Gospel, Peter was rebuked by Jesus because he objected to his prediction of his sufferings (Mt. 16:23) “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” Thus Peter was called Satan and an obstacle. Because he is thinking not as God does but as human beings do. Jesus further said, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” This reminds me of a someone’s reaction when one time I was discussing this particular text to a certain group of people, one of them reacted -“Why do we have to take up a cross to follow Jesus?” The question is similar to this “Why do we have to suffer?” “Can we not live our lives free from suffering?” This reminds me of a story. A story is told about a someone who approached Jesus with a question: “Why do you allow sufferings like famine, war, disease, crime, homelessness, despair etc. exist in our world?” To which Jesus replied,”Interesting that you should bring that up as I was about to ask you the exact same question.” Some people thought that “God wills us to suffer!” No, God did not want us to suffer. But suffering in the world is a consequence of man’s sinfulness. When Jesus said “If anyone wants to follow me let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me,” our Lord was just being realistic. He knew that following him is not gonna be easy considering that his way is a way of the cross. So why do we need to carry our cross?The question was of course as valid as it is relevant. To answer this -We need to understand the meaning of what true Discipleship is.True Discipleship means “laying something down.” – let him deny himself. Denying oneself means following the examples set forth by Jesus himself.True Discipleship demands of us ‘to pick something up’ – take up your cross. But what do we mean by the Cross? The Cross that Jesus was talking about does not necessarily mean bearing difficulties and pains of life.

There are people who interpret “Cross” as some burden they must carry in their lives, like our hardships, challenges, and struggles in life. But when Jesus was talking about his cross, he was not only talking about hardships and pain. He was actually talking about DEATH! Therefore, when Jesus carried his cross, it was not meant only to carry a burden – but the cross meant only one thing i.e. death. Which means taking up your cross is our willingness to die in order to follow Jesus. This is called “dying to oneself”, an ultimate sacrifice and a complete surrender to the will of God.I know the demands are tough but the rewards, in the end, are priceless i.e. eternal bliss and the heavenly glory. Some people want only the reward without the cross. There’s truth in the saying “No pain, no gain!” Suffering, as they say, is a way of purification in order for us to achieve perfection. Yes, following Jesus may not be easy. Following him is easy when life runs smoothly but our true commitment and fidelity to Christ are revealed most especially during trials. Discipleship demands sacrifice. When he invited us to come follow him, he never sugar-coated things. Jesus never hid the cost.But the reward is worth the price.
When we are called to carry our cross, we don’t have to carry it perfectly.In his agony in the garden, Jesus said: “Let this cup pass from me.” And remember Simon of Cyrene, was only forced to carry the cross, he actually didn’t want to help, but he did anyway. On his way to Calvary, Jesus fell several times. But He carried it out of his perfect love and obedience to the Father.Carrying the cross means obeying the will of God. A complete trust in His divine providence and design.Love makes things bearable. Let us, therefore, carry our crosses with LOVE.

 

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

 

ascension 6

 

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

*
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.”
*
______________________________

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: Easter Vigil (A) The Resurrection Of Jesus by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

easter2

GOSPEL REFLECTION: EASTER VIGIL (A)
THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
*

GOSPEL: MATTHEW 28:1-10

28:1 After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.

28:2 And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.

28:3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.

28:4 For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men.

28:5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.

28:6 He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.

28:7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.”

28:8 So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.

28:9 Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him.

28:10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
*

__________________________________________

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.”
*
Happy Easter everyone!

HOMILY: Fifth Sunday Of Lent (A) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

lazarus0

 

GOSPEL REFLECTION: FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT (A)
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
*

GOSPEL: JOHN 11:1-45

Now a man was ill, Lazarus from Bethany,
the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
Mary was the one who had anointed the Lord with perfumed oil
and dried his feet with her hair;
it was her brother Lazarus who was ill.
So the sisters sent word to him saying,
“Master, the one you love is ill.”
When Jesus heard this he said,
“This illness is not to end in death,
but is for the glory of God,
that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
So when he heard that he was ill,
he remained for two days in the place where he was.
Then after this he said to his disciples,
“Let us go back to Judea.”
The disciples said to him,
“Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you,
and you want to go back there?”
Jesus answered,
“Are there not twelve hours in a day?
If one walks during the day, he does not stumble,
because he sees the light of this world.
But if one walks at night, he stumbles,
because the light is not in him.”
He said this, and then told them,
“Our friend Lazarus is asleep,
but I am going to awaken him.”
So the disciples said to him,
“Master, if he is asleep, he will be saved.”
But Jesus was talking about his death,
while they thought that he meant ordinary sleep.
So then Jesus said to them clearly,
“Lazarus has died.
And I am glad for you that I was not there,
that you may believe.
Let us go to him.”
So Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples,
“Let us also go to die with him.”
When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus
had already been in the tomb for four days.
Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, only about two miles away.
And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary
to comfort them about their brother.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
she went to meet him;
but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you.”
Jesus said to her,
“Your brother will rise.”
Martha said to him,
“I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her,
“I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
She said to him, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world.”
When she had said this,
she went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying,
“The teacher is here and is asking for you.”
As soon as she heard this,
she rose quickly and went to him.
For Jesus had not yet come into the village,
but was still where Martha had met him.
So when the Jews who were with her in the house comforting her
saw Mary get up quickly and go out,
they followed her,
presuming that she was going to the tomb to weep there.
When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him,
she fell at his feet and said to him,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping,
he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said,
“Where have you laid him?”
They said to him, “Sir, come and see.”
And Jesus wept.
So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.”
But some of them said,
“Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man
have done something so that this man would not have died?”
So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb.
It was a cave, and a stone lay across it.
Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”
Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him,
“Lord, by now there will be a stench;
he has been dead for four days.”
Jesus said to her,
“Did I not tell you that if you believe
you will see the glory of God?”
So they took away the stone.
And Jesus raised his eyes and said,
“Father, I thank you for hearing me.
I know that you always hear me;
but because of the crowd here I have said this,
that they may believe that you sent me.”
And when he had said this,
He cried out in a loud voice,
“Lazarus, come out!”
The dead man came out,
tied hand and foot with burial bands,
and his face was wrapped in a cloth.
So Jesus said to them,
“Untie him and let him go.”
Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary
and seen what he had done began to believe in him.
*

The Gospel Of The Lord/ Praise To You, Lord Jesus Christ.

___________________________________________

REFLECTION:

This Sunday’s Gospel text reminds me of a funny story I heard years ago about a seriously ill ,selfish, wealthy husband who made a strange dying wish to his wife; that when he dies the wife will put inside his coffin all his money amounting to Ten million dollars to be buried with him. The selfish man thought that in the afterlife he could still bring with him his riches. So the man made the wife promise to heed to his will. The wife then made a solemn promise. The man eventually died. On his interment at the grave site, one of the widow’s best friends approached the woman and asked her. “Don’t tell me that you really kept your promise to your husband? ” But the woman replied: “I really did, I put inside his coffin the full amount of Ten million dollars.” The friend was shocked upon hearing it, “That’s very foolish of you for doing so!” To which the widow replied “Of course, you don’t break a promise to your husband’s last wish. And so I issued a Check in full amount of Ten million dollars in his name and put that inside his coffin.”

In the afterlife, our earthly riches will not make sense. Obviously, earthly wealth has no eternal value. We cannot bring with us any material things we accumulated in this world. Everyone dies – rich, poor, intelligent, educated , famous, ordinary people. But people end up the same. Everybody dies. No matter who you are, no matter how wealthy you are… you leave your wealth to others. The money that we have accumulated will be other people’s use when we die. The bottom line therefore is that, if you are wealthy in this life use your riches NOW! Use it now to make other people happy. Use it now for a worthy cause. You use it now to help other people in need. Use it now to affect poor people’s lives. We are here in this world to leave a mark by doing good to others. The love that we give to others will make us immortal.The right time to give and to share your blessings is NOW. Not when you die.

On this Fifth Sunday of Lent, the Gospel relates to us the raising of Lazarus. The name Lazarus is a Latin version of the Greek name “Eleazar” which means “God has helped” or “God is my help.” Lazarus was a man from Bethany. He was the brother of Martha and Mary. They were the so called Jesus’ close friends. At that time , Jesus learned that Lazarus was seriously ill. It was only after two days when our Lord Jesus was able to visit Lazarus. But when he got to their home he learned that Lazarus had died and was in the tomb for four days. Many neighbors gathered to console Martha and Mary. Martha then said to Jesus, “If you were here Lazarus would not have died.” But Jesus of course is the Lord of both the living and the dead. In the midst of great grief over the loss of a loved one, something wonderful was about to unfold. Jesus was deeply moved upon seeing where Lazarus was buried and He wept with them. Here we see the meaning of Compassion. Compassion means to suffer with. One feels the suffering of another. Jesus is a compassionate Lord. And with a loud powerful voice Jesus said “Lazarus come out!” Lazarus came out. And Jesus said “untie him…and let him go.”

We often hear this particular Gospel text read during Funeral services. This text about the Raising of Lazarus provides us some reflection on something that is eschatological in nature. The Raising of Lazarus prefigures our own resurrection with Jesus in the end of time.

But not only that, it also brings us to a realization of a compassionate God. That in our most trying moments, we have a God whom we can turn to. Martha and Mary turn to Jesus all the time. When Martha said to Jesus, ” Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” It was not an expression of disappointment of Jesus, nor helplessness or despair. It was actually a declaration of great faith because Martha added “But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you.”
Jesus said to her,
“Your brother will rise.”
Martha said to him,
“I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her,
“I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
She said to him, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,”

Martha had great faith in Jesus. We too are called upon to a profound faith in Jesus.
Raising of Lazarus therefore means to us now, that we should never fail sight of a loving and compassionate God. In times of difficulties and trials we could turn to God. Just like the name Lazarus (God’s assistance) let us always seek providence from a God who loves us unconditionally and infinitely.

 

HOMILY: Solemnity Of Mary, The Holy Mother Of God by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

mama-mary1

HOMILY: Solemnity Of Mary, The Holy Mother Of God
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
*
We are gathered here to celebrate the beginning of New Year. Significantly, at the very first day of the Year ,the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God.The question is: How then is the celebration of New Year somehow connected with the celebration of the Motherhood of Mary?

When we think of New Year, it is always associated with new beginnings, and making a fresh start. New Year could also instill in our hearts a renewed hope. Likewise, when we reflect on the Motherhood of Mary, we also think of a new beginning. When Mary said her “Fiat” – her “Yes!” to the angel, it was the beginning of the fulfillment of God’s saving action. Her Motherhood brings Hope to mankind. It is but appropriate that we celebrate Mary on the first day of the year as we reflect on God’s immense love for mankind and to ponder on the mystery of our redemption.

To reflect on the Motherhood of Mary is to come to a realization that indeed Man is in God’s plan of redemption. We are therefore grateful that despite our unworthiness and infidelity, God never give up on us. He sent his only begotten Son to be like us in all things but sin. All these were made possible with the cooperation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Even in the Book of Genesis, God somehow revealed that salvation is coming through a woman as he said to the tempter: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers, he will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.” Mary, therefore, played an important role in the fulfillment of God’s promise of salvation. We are indebted also to Mary in that sense. It is but fitting that we give Mary reverence and thanksgiving.

As a human being, Mary is also subject to free will. Meaning she could just simply say “No!” to the angel. with the knowledge that the task entrusted to her was so great. To be the Mother of God requires great responsibility. God respects Man’s freewill. He will never force anyone to submit to his will. But it was Mary’s faith , her humility and obedience that made her say “Yes!” Certainly , it was her faith, humility and obedience – those qualities of Mary that are worth pondering. We learned a great deal of lesson from Mary.In life, we may have experience sufferings and tribulations. But Mary too had them all.Even since those events surrounding the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph have had experience trials. And they passed the test, all because of their faith, humility and obedience. Even at the foot of the Cross, Mary trusted. She trusted all the way.

Here we see Mary as an instrument connecting the Old and the New Testament. In the Old Testament we have seen the fall of Mankind through our first parents Adam and Eve. Eve played a crucial role in the fall of mankind. It was her who first disobeyed God. And now Mary became the new Eve. In contrast to Eve’s disobedience was Mary’s Faith and obedience. From her obedience in the Annunciation to the Crucifixion of her Son, Mary became a role model to us all. And so in her Magnificat, Mary declares “For behold , from now on all generations will call me blessed.” (Luke 1:48).

Yes Jesus is our Lord and Savior. And Jesus alone can offer a perfect sacrifice for our salvation. 1 Timothy 2:5 says “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.” But Mary played a crucial role in salvation history. Her title “Co-redemptrix” says it all.
“Mary’s participation in salvation history as Mother of Christ and Mother of Christians does not diminish the unique mediation of Christ; rather, it points to Christ’s unique mediation and reveals its power (Lumen Gentium [LG] 60.

Mary is the Mother of Jesus and therefore the Mother of God. We are fortunate because we are also given a Mother in her.
John 19:25-27 “Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold your Son.”
Then he said to the disciple, “Behold your mother.”
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.”

Now that we are about to embark a new chapter of our life as we celebrate New Year, we need Mary’s maternal care. Mary’s role of a Mother didn’t end at the Crucifixion of her Son. She continues to be a mother of us all. We now have a direct intercessor to God. Thus we pray, “Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.”

“O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”

“O Maria sine labe concepta, ora pro nobis, qui confugimus ad te.

INSIGHTS: TIME by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

time

INSIGHTS: TIME
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
*

What is time? Taking Aristotle’s definition of Time – Time is essentially connected to movement. Time is the measurement of movements. There is time because there is movement. Anything that moves, therefore, have time.
God doesn’t have to move for He is literally everywhere. God is infinite. Ergo, God is not subject to time. Even when we say, “God is the Alpha (the beginning) and the Omega (the end),” still we are limiting God. God has no beginning and end. Even the word “Infinite” and “Eternal,” could be limiting God. Many Philosophers have tried to explain God being ‘Timeless’ or outside time and “Spaceless” or outside space. But the concept of Time and Space in connection with God is simply beyond human comprehension.

Man have no power over Time. As we have no power over change and movement. Thus the phrase “Time and tide wait for no man” indicates that people have no capacity to stop the passing of time. Whether we like it or not , Time goes on. No one has the power to stop the march of time. When Time passes , forever it is gone. It will never come back. Quotes: ” Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.” (Source Unknown)

Thus Time could be an enemy or a friend. It depends on how you look at it. It is a choice! Time could be your best friend or your worst enemy. It’s a “Quid pro quo” (a give and take) situation. What you give is what you take. Make friends with time because time is an enemy that cannot be defeated. Time only allows to be conquered by a friend. To some, Time brings joy, healing, contentment,bliss, and peace. To others, Time brings suffering, agony, sorrow, boredom, worry and pain.

“As soon as Man is born, he begins to die.” Each second, each minute is subtraction to our Time. Each passing of day is time closer to our penultimate destiny which is death. And therefore, Time should never be wasted. Time is God’s most precious gift. Pope Francis says “Our life is made up of time, and time is a gift from God, so it is important that it be used in good and fruitful actions.”

Spending Time means differently to different people. Do not let bitterness and hatred destroy your Time. When someone hurts you… you may either hold on to hatred and bitterness, and to some extent to exact revenge …or to forgive and move forward. It’s a personal choice. Forgiveness like Love is a decision we make.

Life’s greatest challenge is to love even the unlovable, to love even those who hurt you or to some extent even to one’s enemy. It is a Christian challenge.

We are just pilgrims here on earth. One day our time will come. It is inevitable! It is not for us to decide how long or how short our personal journey could be. It is our destiny. One thing is certain though – If it is time for us to go, then we shall go. But it is the Love we give away that will make us Immortal.

ECCLESIASTES 3:1-8

A TIME FOR EVERYTHING
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.