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)

Advertisements

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.
__________________________________________

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)
_______________________________________________

INSIGHTS: A Lesson In Humility by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

humility3

INSIGHTS; A LESSON IN HUMILITY
A Reflection on the readings of the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (year C )
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

If there is one particular virtue you’d like to ask from God that you might possess, then it should be the virtue of Humility. Humility is never easy to achieve, by the moment you realize you have it then you lose it. A really humble person is never aware that he is one. He will always find lacking in himself C.S. Lewis gave Humility a profound description: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.

This Sunday’s Scriptural readings, in particular, the First Reading from the Book of Sirach and of course the Gospel text from St. Luke, invite us to reflect on this extremely important Christian virtue i.e. the virtue of humility.

The book of Sirach says, My child, conduct your affairs with humility,
and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts.
Humble yourself the more, the greater you are,
and you will find favor with God.

While St. Luke in today’s Gospel relates to us an occasion when Jesus was invited for dinner in a Pharisee’s house and he observed that the invited guests were competing among themselves to take the seat of honor. Whereupon, Jesus took this opportunity to teach them a lesson in Humility. At the heart of today’s Gospel is Jesus’ profound message worth pondering upon. He said, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted.

The word Humility is derived from the Latin word “Humilitas” and or from the word “Humus” which means “grounded” or “from the earth.” Obviously, the word “Human” also comes from “Humus” which means Earth. We, humans, are earthlings. As humans, our nature should always be close to the earth. Being humans, therefore, is to always keep our feet to the ground. That is where we belong. The Book of Genesis (3:9) tells us that ‘we are dust and to dust, we shall return.’

I came across a beautiful story from an unknown source. Allow me then to share it with you.

Story: The Lion and the Mouse (source unknown)

A lion was awakened from sleep by a little mouse running over his face. Because of the disturbance, he got upset and was able to catch the mouse. As he was about to kill his catch. The mouse pleaded for his life saying: “If you spare my life, I will repay your kindness someday.” Upon hearing that, the lion laughed out loud saying”You a little mouse… How could a lion as big as I am be needing help from a little mouse like you?” Nevertheless, the lion spared the mouse’s life. He let him go.

Shortly after this incident, it happened that the lion was caught by some hunters, who bound him with strong ropes. Meanwhile, the mouse recognizing the lion’s roar, came and gnawed through the ropes and set the lion free. The mouse said to the lion: “You didn’t think that a small mouse, like me, would be able to help a great lion, like you? Now, you see, that it is possible for even a lion to need the help of a little mouse.

The lion felt humbled and grateful.

Our Lord Jesus demonstrated to us by his example and by the life he lived, what Humility really is. Ultimately, Jesus revealed to us the virtue of Humility when he accepted death on the Cross to save us and to glorify the Father.

Our challenge for us today is to able to strive to achieve this virtue. It will never be easy. It will always be a challenge. But as they say, “Practice makes perfect.” St. Augustine when asked about the three Theological Virtues, he said: “The three Theological Virtues are Humility, Humility, and Humility.” Humility could take us to victory, while Pride could take us to shame and defeat.

(Unknown source) The voices of the World tell us:

Appetite says, ‘Be sensuous, enjoy yourself.’
Education says, ‘Be resourceful. expand yourself.’
Materialism says, ‘Be satisfied, please yourself.’
Psychology says, ‘Be confident, fulfill yourself.’
Pride says, ‘Be superior, promote yourself.’
Humanism says, ‘Be capable, believe in yourself.’
But God says, ‘Be wise, humble yourself.’

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.

__________________________________

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.
_____________________________________
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.
____________________________________

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: 17th Sunday In Ordinary Time (B) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

17th Sunday B pater

SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (B)
A Reflection: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
*

GOSPEL: JOHN 6:1-15

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee. A large crowd followed him because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. The Jewish feast of Passover was near. When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” He said this to test him because he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people recline.” Now there was a great deal of grass in that place. So the men reclined, about five thousand in number. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted. When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples. Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.” So they collected them and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat. When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, “This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.” Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain.

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

——————————————–

REFLECTION:

Today’s Gospel text – the multiplication of loaves and fishes – indeed, is very important … so important that it is the only miracle account that is recorded by all four evangelists. The story may seem so simple. But it gives us a very profound insight. Something that we must ponder upon as it is ever relevant in our lives as Christians. Some spiritual writers reasoned out that there was no actual miracle that took place during the feeding of the multitude. They claimed that Jesus only inspired the spirit of sharing of what they have with one another. That made it appear to have a miracle of the multiplication of bread and fish. For them, that spirit of collective sharing and generosity was the real miracle. But that is not true …indeed, there was a miracle. Yes, there was a hungry crowd and Jesus moved with compassion asked Philip “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” The scripture explained to us that Jesus “said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do.” Jesus knew that he could perform wonders. Like he was able to turn water into wine, he walked on water, he cleansed the lepers, raised the dead and so why not feed the multitude? Jesus blessed the five loaves and two fish, distributed them to feed the huge crowd, they were satisfied and collected twelve wicker baskets of leftovers.

We need to see this miracle as a sign given by God. To dismiss this as a miracle will surely affect our understanding of the miracle of the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. This is the very reason why in today’s Gospel, St. John makes it clear to us that this miracle is a sign. Which means to say that it points beyond itself to a higher reality. This miracle of Jesus should go beyond “awe and amazement” at the miracle per se but it should lead us to a deeper understanding of who Jesus is. The sign should point to Jesus himself. It should lead us to the recognition that Jesus is our Lord and saviour. That Jesus came to provide us with food that will nourish for all eternity. That Jesus came to sustain us as we journey to our ultimate destiny which is heaven. The miracle of the feeding of the multitude is a sign whose meaning is realized at the Last Supper where Jesus instituted the Eucharist, and in which Jesus further gives meaning by his offering of himself on the Cross and which will be fully realized in the heavenly banquet. This is the place where Jesus wants to gather all his children. John 14:2 “In my Father’s house are many rooms: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” Ergo, if we deny the miracle that is contained in the feeding of the multitude, then how could we understand fully the miracle that is in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

The Gospel text reveals to us once again how much Jesus loves us. He is true to his word that he will be with us until the end of time nourishing us, sustaining us in our journey until we reach our ultimate destiny.

But what is this particular text trying to teach us? Actually, it highlighted Jesus compassion towards mankind. Jesus takes care not only of our spiritual needs but even our physical needs. He understands fully the human longings, sufferings, and needs. He gives us an image of a loving shepherd sustaining and nourishing our hunger. But just as we have a compassionate Lord, he also wants us to be compassionate with one another. He wants us to feel the suffering of our neighbor and do something about it. Let me elaborate this point by sharing with you a story:

Story (Willi Hoffsuemmer) There was once a very poor mother with three children. And next door lived a very rich lady, who also had three children. This lady was so stingy that she would never give anything to poor people.

It so happened that the poor mother was again all out of bread. Her children were very hungry. So she went to the rich lady and said, “Could you please give me just one loaf of bread for my poor children, who are almost starving?” “I don’t have any bread for myself,” said the rich lady. “So how can I give some to you?” “But,” said the poor lady, “you are so rich. I am sure that you must have a little bit of bread somewhere in your cupboard.” “No, I don’t. If I do, then may God change every bit of it into stone,” said the rich lady. So the poor lady went away crying. And the rich lady said to her children, “Now let’s go and make a nice jam and butter sandwich.” So she went to the cupboard to take out the bread. But all the bread had turned to stone.

The lady was shocked. Off she ran straight to the bakery and bought bread and cakes for the poor lady. And she also got some flour and meat and butter to go along with it. “Lady,” she said, as she handed over the gifts, “I will never again be selfish. God has turned all my bread into stones. If it would only turn back into bread so my children would have something to eat…”

Then she went back home and the stones in the basket turned back into bread. Since then the rich lady has become generous to poor people around her.

In our day to day life, we can also experience a miracle of the multiplication of bread. But that is if we like our Lord Jesus could feel the suffering of our poor brothers and sisters. If we have compassion like the compassion of our Lord towards our neighbors. Let us then multiply the bread of kindness, generosity, and love with one another.

GOSPEL REFLECTION: 15th Sunday In Ordinary Time (B) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

15th Sunday B - Pater

GOSPEL REFLECTION: 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)
Sunday, 15th July 2018
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
*

READINGS:
First Reading: Amos 7:12-15
Responsorial Psalm: Show us your steadfast love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation.
Second Reading: Ephesians 1:3-14
*

GOSPEL: Mark 6:7-13
Jesus called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics.
Jesus said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.”
So the twelve went out and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
*

REFLECTION:
In today’s Gospel text, St. Mark relates to us that Jesus summoned his twelve apostles to send them to a mission i.e. to preach the Good News, cure the sick, cast out demons and to ask people to repent. I could almost imagine how the apostles must have felt at that time. After they were trained and have witnessed the marvelous works of Jesus, now they were being sent to do the same. Some of them, maybe anxious to do their mission, others might be so excited and still, others might be somewhat apprehensive. Yes, they had listened to Jesus’ preaching. They had seen him performed healing. They had witnessed Jesus casting demons out of people. But to do them by themselves must have been for the apostles a bit overwhelming. Yet, they trusted Jesus completely. They knew that Jesus had confidence that they could carry out the mission entrusted to them.
But how is this account of commissioning the apostles relevant to us today? Well, it tells us that the work of evangelization must continue till today. It would be erroneous to think that the mission to evangelize is only for the clergy, bishops, religious and missionaries. Every baptized person has a duty to spread the good news. In fact, at home, parents should be the first missionaries to their children. It is their obligation to bring their children to the faith. The Church teaches that lay people have a distinct and very real role in the spreading of the Gospel. The Church also teaches that in dignity laity are absolutely equal to the ordained ministers as far as carrying out the duty to evangelize is concerned.
It is quite interesting to reflect on the instructions Jesus gave to his apostles as they set out to do the mission. First, the apostles were sent two by two. There must be something special about the number two. Jesus did not send them one by one, but two by two. The number two for me indicate the importance of community. Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, there am I in their midst.”
Then Jesus ordered them not to take anything with them but a staff, no food, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. I think not only did Jesus wants for his apostles to travel light, but he also wants them to learn to trust God completely who would provide them for everything they need, even their basic needs. Jesus wants them also to learn to trust in the goodness of the people.
Doing Jesus’ mission is not gonna be easy. A missionary should never expect to always receive a positive response from the people. Some people will reject us because we represent Jesus on earth. And Jesus knew this reality that is why he instructed the apostles, “If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” Jesus did not say that we should condemn those who reject his word. He only said to shake the dust off our feet. Shaking the dust off for me means to move forward. Shaking off the dust means to leave the place quietly, to forget everything and not to be disappointed. Indeed, many people will reject yet somewhere there are people who will listen, accept and embrace the faith. If as a missionary you are rejected then just shake off the dust from that village, do not bring a souvenir not even the dust that is on your feet, then move on and make a fresh start. Never dwell too long on your disappointments. And do not let failure let you down. Remember the captain of the ship is Jesus. We are only his servants.
Luke 10:2 “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest.”
Will you allow God to use you to carry out the mission for the salvation of the world? Are you willing to make the difference?
As God’s Worker in his vineyard, I could only pray with the prayer of St. Francis:
*
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon, where there is doubt, faith, where there is despair, hope, where there is darkness, light, where there is sadness, joy.
O , Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

HOMILY:13th Sunday In Ordinary Time (B) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

13th Sunday pater

A REFLECTION
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)
Sunday, 1st July 2018
*

READINGS:
First Reading: Wisdom 1:13-15;2;23-24
Responsorial Psalm: “I will extol you, Lord, for you have raised me up.
Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 8:7,9:13-15
*
GOSPEL: Mark 5:21-43
When Jesus had crossed in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. Then one of the synagogue leaders named Jairus came and when he saw Jesus, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” So Jesus went with him. And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” Immediately her hemorrhage stopped, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.
Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, “Who touched me?”
He looked all around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. Jesus said to her daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your disease.” While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”
Jesus allowed no one to follow him. When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him.
Then Jesus put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about for she was twelve years of age.
At this, they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
*

REFLECTION:
Today’s Gospel text presents to us a beautiful literary style of the evangelist St. Mark. Mark gave us two miracle accounts. First, he introduced to us, a prominent figure, Jairus a synagogue official of some kind who came to Jesus to plead for the life of his daughter who was greatly ill and was dying. Then this account is interrupted to relate to us another character, a woman with hemorrhages for twelve years. Then we return to the daughter of the synagogue official. Certainly, this particular literary style of Mark sandwiching the cure of the woman with hemorrhage was done with a purpose. It was as if to prepare Mark’s readers of an even greater miracle that is to come. The woman came to Jesus and Jesus brought healing and peace. As if this account is not amazing enough, it was followed up by an even greater miracle – the raising of Jairus’ daughter. Jairus puts his complete trust in Jesus, and Jesus brought life where there once was death. The raising of Jairus’ daughter reminds us of the raising of Lazarus. It is meant to invite us to reflect on the realities of life and death and life after death. It brings us the necessary hope and joy. For it tells us that there is life after this our present state. It tells us that we are destined to immortality. If there is no life after this one, then life is meaningless. We see life as a journey, a pilgrimage towards our ultimate goal which is heaven. Reflecting on today’s Gospel brings us to the conclusion that in Jesus we experience peace and healing. In him, suffering ends and new life takes the place of death.
When we read in the Scripture the miracle accounts of Jesus, bear in mind that it is not the spectacular element that is important. What is important is the meaning or the message that’s contained in the miracle. In Mark’s Gospel text we see impossible cases. Mark presents to us each case as almost beyond help. For instance, last Sunday, Mark gave us an account of the calming of the storm. The disciples thought they were going to die in the storm (Mk 4:38) but Jesus was able to calm the storm with a simple command – Quiet, be calm! And now we reflect on the healing of the woman suffering for twelve years and the raising of Jairus’ daughter. These accounts tell us that in Jesus there is no such thing as a hopeless case. In Jesus there are no incurables, nothing is impossible in him. But we learn a lot from the example of Jairus and the woman in the Gospel. It was their faith that brought about healing and restoration of life. Today, we have seen two beautiful examples of faith. When the sick woman and Jairus were helpless and hopeless, Jesus was the answer.
The woman had an incredible faith. She was certain that Jesus could heal her. She knew that Jesus was so powerful so that if she could just touch even the hem of his clothes, she would be healed. Certainly, that’s faith.
And Jairus, considering that he was a figure of respect in his town manifested incredible faith also. He was an important man, which is why the crowd gave way enough to let him through. But Jairus set aside his prominence and importance. Here he behaves like a desperate man. Jairus didn’t worry about what other people might say or think about him. So he threw himself at Jesus’ feet and begged. He had only one thing in mind and that’s the well-being of his child. He was not ashamed to ask Jesus for help. His child is dying. Here we see a compassionate Jesus who agreed to come with him to see his child. But before they get very far, they received a disturbing news – “Your daughter is dead…why trouble the teacher any further.” But Jesus said, “Do not fear, only believe!” Jesus was like telling Jairus to have faith. When things, therefore, seem hopeless, come to Jesus. Jesus is full of compassion. He feels and knows our pain for he himself experienced suffering. He longs to help you. He has the power to help when no one else can. You should never be afraid to bring Jesus your needs. But always have faith. Faith is a free gift from the Father. If we are lacking in faith, just ask the Father and he will gladly give you the gift of faith.
Perhaps this story may further enlightened us in our reflection:
The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements and in which to store his few possessions. But then one day, after scavenging for food, he came to see his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened, everything was lost. He was stunned with grief and anger. “God how could you do this to me!” Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him. The weary man asked his rescuers – “How did you know I was here?” They replied: “We saw your smoke signal.”
The lesson: It is easy to get discouraged when things are going bad. But we should never lose heart because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of our pain and suffering. Have faith in Jesus like the faith of Jairus and the sick woman. Whatever the circumstances may be, it is important to know that His divine providence will always be there for you and me.
Proverb 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.”