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

20th Sunday 2019 pater

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

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

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

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

RESPONSE: LORD, MAKE HASTE TO HELP ME.

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

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

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

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

SECOND READING: HEBREWS 12:1-4

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

GOSPEL: LUKE 12:49-53

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Homily: Second Sunday Of Lent (B) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

2nd Sunday of Lent1

GOSPEL REFLECTION: Second Sunday Of Lent (B)
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL: Mark 9:2-10

Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them.
And there appeared to them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”Peter did not know what to say, for they were terrified.
Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud, there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved, listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them anymore, but only Jesus.
And they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead could mean.

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REFLECTION

A German Philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche once said that “To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.” It means to say that part of our human existence is suffering. One doesn’t have to be a Philosopher to prove this. You only have to look around and you’ll see all the sufferings in the world. We see how sick people suffer. We see people suffer because of poverty. We see people suffer because of the abuse from other people. We see people suffer because they feel unable to fit in. They feel like a misfit in the place they live in. That makes them extremely lonely. We also see people suffer because of rejection. We also see people suffer because of a broken relationship.There is in us a need to be accepted, to love and be loved. And when these desires are not met there occur extreme feelings of suffering.

Does God feel our pain? Is God a distant God who really doesn’t care even if we experience sufferings in life? How, then, can God relate to the human pain and challenges when he is God and therefore everything in him is good? This is the mystery that we are to contemplate as we read this Sunday’s Scriptural text. We are now on the Second Sunday of Lent. In today’s Gospel, we see Jesus transfigured before three of his apostles.
Mark 9:2-4 “Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.”

The Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus is teaching us a profound
lesson in life. It tells us that just as we experience suffering in life
yet, in the end, the reward will be a share in his glory. We will all be
transfigured just as Jesus himself transfigured before his apostles.
The Apostles Peter, James, and John represent us all. Jesus
invited these apostles so that they may experience Christ’ glory in
preparation for the coming of great suffering in his life i.e.
persecution, crucifixion, and death. The Apostles should
understand that death is not the end because there would be
victory in the resurrection of Jesus.

There is one who understands Human Suffering completely. Jesus understands Human Suffering totally because he himself willingly accepted suffering…Luke 9:22 And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” Yes, Jesus entered into the mystery of suffering, death, and resurrection in order for us to know that he totally understands our pain. Only a God who suffers is a God who truly loves.He knows our hardships and he responds accordingly. And so when our life is replete with hardships and pains and we are ready to give up, always remember that Jesus experienced extreme suffering long before we too have experienced it in life. Our faith tells us that we are never alone in our suffering. God is always with us, giving us consolation and peace.

Suffering, as they say, is a way of purification in order for us to achieve perfection. There are also benefits that could emerge in a seemingly negative reality in life like suffering. We know that suffering produces perseverance, and perseverance produces character, now character produces hope.
A certain Joel Fritz relates his personal experience, he said:
“I remember a crippled man in the hospital where I was the chaplain for a few years. He was unbelievably disfigured. His body was twisted like a corkscrew and all he could do was sit in bed, day and night. If someone came to visit him, he could not even turn his head enough to make eye contact.
Whenever I came around to visit him, my standard greeting would be,”Well, how are things today?”
And his answer was always the same: “Just fine, thank you.”
Now, deep down in my own heart, I knew that if I were answering for him, I could truthfully have said each time, “Well, things are a lot worse with me than with you,” and I could have understood.
But seeing this man suffering and hearing him answer so lightheartedly, always did something to me: I always left the room both humble and joyful.”

Suffering has also become a demand in following our Lord. Luke 9:23Then he said to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” We cannot be his disciples if we reject carrying our Cross because Jesus’ way is the way of the Cross.

We are ready to embrace our Crosses in life knowing deeply that God is very much present in all our sufferings. We experience the pain not out of despair but hope. God provides the necessary strength that we may persevere because in the end awaits victory. The Victory of Jesus who was triumphant on the Cross.

Homily:6th Sunday In Ordinary Time (B) by Pater Allen Baclor Abadines

6th Sunday pater

GOSPEL REFLECTION: 6th Sunday In Ordinary Time (B)
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL: Mark 1:40-45

A man with leprosy came to Jesus begging him, and kneeling said to Jesus, “If you choose, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!” Immediately leprosy left him, and he was made clean.

After sternly warning him Jesus sent him away at once, saying to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

But the man went out and began to proclaim it freely and to spread the word so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly, but stayed out in the country; people came to Jesus from every quarter.
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REFLECTION

There’s nothing more pitiable than the plight of people with leprosy during the time of our Lord Jesus. Leprosy during Jesus’ time was considered by the Jews as God’s punishment as it was openly associated with sin.People who contracted leprosy were not allowed to mingle with other people since they are regarded unclean. This is the reason why they were thrown out of their homes and out of their community. Whenever they come near people they need to shout “unclean, unclean!” so as to give warning that they may be avoided. Since there was no cure for leprosy during that time, they were considered as the living dead. Theirs was a hopeless case. Lepers didn’t have a family to cling to, and not even a community where they could ask for help. They were on their own. They just try to continue living while waiting for the time to die. They were literally stripped off of their rights and dignity. Getting near people can even put them to risk. Most of them were even stoned to death should they come near people. They received no pity nor compassion. It was a law then not to get near a lepper because it would make one ceremonially unclean.

Today’s Gospel text comes as a surprise. The man with leprosy dared to come near Jesus. It was such a bold act. He took the risk even with the knowledge that it might cost him his life. It shows us how desperate that man must be.Probably the man must have heard something about Jesus. And so realizing that Jesus was just nearby, he did not let such opportunity pass by. He knew that Jesus was his only hope. He had great needs. His needs must be satisfied whatever it takes.And he believed that Jesus was the answer to his need. He had faith in Jesus and he had faith in God.

Something is admirable in the way the man approach our Lord Jesus.It reveals not only his courage and his faith but he also shows us great humility. He did not demand. He did not directly ask Jesus. He felt unworthy to present his request. He only said to him “If you choose, you can make me clean.” Here we learned an important lesson in life i.e. if we need something from God, we should ask him in humility, realizing that everything is but out of God’s goodness. We do not demand anything but we only rely on God’s compassion and grace. And so our Lord Jesus was filled with love to the man when he said: “I do choose, be made clean.” And not only that Jesus stretched out his hands and touched him. He was not afraid to touch the man. He was not even afraid to violate the prescribed rule during that time. Jesus was so focused on his love for the man.  His main preoccupation at that very moment is to let him feel the love of God.And so the man not only experienced the healing touch of Jesus but the healing compassion of God.

There may be times in our lives that we may have experienced the same way like the leper in the Gospel. There may be times that we too must have felt desperate, hopeless and alone. Some people may have felt cast out, alienated and abandoned. But do not ever believe that we are totally alone. God is with us, reaching out to us and touching us.

In the Eucharist, every time we receive Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, haven’t we feel God’s healing touch through Jesus? Every time, I receive Jesus in the Eucharist I feel peace, comfort, and assurance for my soul. The Eucharist gives me healing and strength. I feel so fortunate that even in my weakness and insecurities Jesus is there comforting and reassuring me.

If we look around we see sufferings of every kind. A lot of people need comfort and healing.Many are suffering physically, emotionally and spiritually. May we be instrumental in revealing the depth of God’s compassion to each and everyone we come in contact with.Let everyone know how much God loves us.
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Homily: 5th Sunday In Ordinary Time (B) by Pater Allen Baclor Abadines

5th Sunday re1

GOSPEL REFLECTION: 5th Sunday In Ordinary Time (B)
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL: Mark 1:29-39

As soon as Jesus and his disciples left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told Jesus about her at once. He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her and she began to serve them.

That evening at sunset, they brought to Jesus all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And he cured many who were sick with various diseases and cast out many demons and he would not permit the demons to speak because they knew him.

In the morning, while it was still very dark, Jesus got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.”

He answered, “Let us go to the neighbouring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also, for that is what I came out to do.” And Jesus went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.

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REFLECTION:

In today’s Gospel text, the evangelist St. Mark relates to us that it was such a busy day for our Lord Jesus – preaching, curing the sick, expelling demons from possessed people. Yet despite a hectic and tiresome schedule, our Lord Jesus still managed to give time to pray. “In the morning, while it was still very dark, Jesus got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. This particular text reveals to us that Jesus is indeed a man of prayer. We have seen so many occasions that our Lord Jesus will always find time to pray i.e.  to seek peace, to rest, to contemplate, and to commune with his Father. Thus the Gospel text gives us an important lesson in life i.e. no matter how busy we are with our life we should always find time to pause awhile, to reflect and to pray. A good examination of life is worth it in order for us to have a clearer direction as we contemplate our journey through life. The Philosopher Socrates puts it beautifully, “An unreflected life is not worth living.”

Today, therefore, I’d like to talk about the importance of prayer. Every one of us knows what prayer is all about. Prayer is our direct line with heaven. A prayer is a form of communication that allows us to converse with God. Making it simple, Prayer is talking to God. It may be simple as it sounds, but to some, it could be a struggle. Some people find prayer as a challenge. Well, it’s a busy world, it’s a complicated world. And therefore, there are people who find prayer complicated too.

But to pray for me is a privilege. Can you imagine, when we pray we are making a personal audience with God? Prayer is man’s opportunity to appear before God and therefore such a huge honor on the part of man. Like, if you are invited to the Vatican to have an audience with the Pope…wouldn’t you feel privileged? Yes, because not everybody has the chance to be up close and personal to a somebody like the Pope. If you are invited for a personal audience with Queen Elizabeth, wouldn’t you feel the same way too? If you feel privileged having such opportunities with personalities like the Pope or Queen Elizabeth, how much more should you feel privileged to have a personal encounter with God? Prayer is like that. The good news is that we don’t have to arrange for an appointment. We don’t bother to go somewhere else. You can have a personal audience with God anytime and anywhere we want. That’s the best part of it.

Some people would say ‘I don’t feel like praying.’ Prayer is not a matter of feeling. We don’t pray only when we feel like praying. Like we don’t eat only when we feel like eating. Prayer is essential in our lives like eating our meals. How can we live without our communion with God? Our Lord tells us to pray without ceasing.

When we pray, we should pray like talking to a loved one or to your best friend. We become more confident knowing that God is a loved one or a best friend to us, a someone who loves us unconditionally. God is not a distant God. This is the very reason of God’s incarnation in the person of Jesus. Jesus reveals to us the kind of love God has for us.

In the First Reading of this Sunday, we encounter Job. Job’s life and example are worth our contemplation. Job was severely tested. He experienced extreme tribulations in his lifetime yet his faith never wavered. He trusted and trusted all the way. When we pray, therefore, we should have Job’s faith in a loving God.

When we feel some kind of aridity in our prayer and spiritual life, ask the Lord for strength. The disciples humbly admitted that they didn’t know everything that led them to ask Jesus – “Lord, teach us how to pray.” We should humbly ask the same thing too.

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

3rd Sunday Ord B1

GOSPEL REFLECTION: Third Sunday In Ordinary Time (B)
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL: Mark 1:14-20

After John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent and believe in the good news.”
As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea – for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him.
As Jesus went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.
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REFLECTION:

Last Sunday, the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, we were invited to reflect on “discipleship.” This Third Sunday in Ordinary Time we continue to reflect on discipleship but this time with a twist, for we got an insight from the Readings of today the need for an urgency to respond. This response to a call is best described by Psalm 95 “If today you hear his voice harden not your heart.” We are all being called to be Jesus’ disciples in so many different ways. What would be our response? In last Sunday’s Gospel text Jesus said to the disciples of John the Baptist to “Come and see.” It is an invitation to be a witness to the life Jesus lives. The invitation reverberates even to this day and is now addressed to each one of us. We should then respond quickly and not delay.

In the First Reading of today, we encounter a very interesting character in the person of Jonah. Jonah is known to us now as the reluctant prophet. He was asked by God to go and preach “repentance” to Nineveh (a place Jonah hates so much). Instead of obeying God, Jonah went to the other direction opposite Nineveh to escape from responsibility. But God didn’t give up on Jonah. He insisted on the task entrusted to him. To make the story short, Jonah finally agreed and despite his hesitation, Jonah delivered God’s message to Nineveh the need to repent, to change their ways, and to accept God’s offer of love. To his utter surprise, Nineveh repented. Jonah preached and Nineveh listened. Jonah obeyed and trusted God and an amazing thing took place.

Nowadays, there are still so many Jonahs around. We often hear people say, when I retire and I got nothing to do, that’s the time that maybe I could concentrate on serving the Lord. But the time to serve the Lord is the ‘here and now.’ The problem lies not on having more time but on the desire and the willingness to serve the Lord. Or some people say when I get rich like if I am going to win a lottery I will help the needy.But the time to help the needy doesn’t wait. “No one is so poor that he cannot give now.” We do not dilly dally in serving the Kingdom of God. May we learn from the experience of Jonah, we only have to listen, to obey and to trust God.

The best response is given to us by the disciples in today’s Gospel text. In today’s Gospel, Jesus saw Simon and his brother Andrew. And Jesus said to them “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of people.” The text says “Immediately they left their nets and followed him.” The word “immediately” is important in our reflection. It reflects the need for an urgency to respond. Simon and his brother Andrew did not ask Jesus where are we going.But instead, they immediately left their nets. The same as in the case of the other disciples, the brothers James and John, they left their father Zebedee for the mission.

Following Jesus, therefore, means a life changed – from a life sans Jesus to a life with Jesus. Jesus has become one’s priority. St. Paul says (Galatians 2:20) “No longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” It is tantamount to say that the life I live now is the life in complete service of God and his Kingdom.

Following Jesus means taking the risk and trying something different and something new for the sake of God’s Kingdom. The disciples were fishermen and were untrained for the mission. But they took the risk. They may not be knowledgeable about the task yet what was important was that they were willing to try and to learn.

Following Jesus comes at a price. It involves sacrifice and pain for Jesus’ way is the way of the Cross. Following him, therefore, is carrying our own crosses.Following Jesus is walking not our own path but Jesus’ path. It means living the life of Jesus. Serving as Jesus serves. Healing as Jesus heals. Forgiving as Jesus forgives. Loving as Jesus loves.

Homily: 4th Sunday Of Advent (B) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

4th Advent

GOSPEL REFLECTION:4th Sunday of Advent (B)
A Season Of LOVE
by Rev.Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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READINGS:
First Reading:2 Samuel 7:1-5,8b-12,14a,16
Responsorial Psalm:(Psalm 89) Forever I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord.
Second Reading: Romans 16:25-27
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GOSPEL: Luke 1:26-38
The Angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
The Angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.
“He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom will be no end.”
Mary said to the Angel, “How can this be since I am a virgin?” The Angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.
“And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your word.” Then the Angel departed from her.
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REFLECTION
Story: (unknown source)
There was once a man who was shipwrecked and stranded on an island. Every day he prayed asking God to send someone to rescue him, but to his disappointment, no one ever came.
Months passed and this man learned how to survive on the island. During this time, he accumulated things from the island and stood them in a hut that he constructed. One day after hunting for food and returning back to his hut, much to his dismay he saw that his hut was on fire along with everything else he owned.
All of his possessions were going up in smoke! The only thing he had left were the clothes on his back. Initially, he was in shock, and then he was consumed with anger and rage! In his fury, he threw a fist into the air and began cursing God and yelling, “God, how could you let this happen to me? I’ve been praying every day for months about being rescued and no one has come, and now everything that I have is on fire! How could you do this to me? Why did you let this happen?
Later, the man on his hands and knees weeping heavily when he happened to look up and catch sight of a ship coming in his direction. The man was rescued and as they were heading back to civilization the man asked the captain, “How were you able to find me?” The captain responded, “We were voyaging across the ocean when we noticed on the horizon a column of smoke going up. We decided to go check it out and we did, that’s when we found you.
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The man in the story obviously lacked something very important i.e. a complete trust in God. Surely, we all have trials and setbacks in life but it pays to put all our trust in a loving and providential God even in the midst of all adversities. What if our misfortunes in life may not be what it looks like? What if they are indeed blessings in disguise? Just like to a man in the story. He was in great distress for no one came to his rescue and to further add to his misfortunes all of his possessions were consumed by fire. But as the story goes, it turned out to be more of a blessing than a curse.
This season of Advent, the call to everyone is to trust God completely in our lives i.e to put our entire lives in God’s hands. No matter what our struggles may be or no matter how bad things may seem, we need to trust God. Simply believing in God is not enough. If we acknowledge Jesus as our Lord and Saviour then a confident faith and trust in him should be our way of life.
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Mary our mother is our role model of a profound faith in God. And so on the Fourth Sunday of Advent, our focus of reflection is on the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Gospel of today relates to us the event when the Angel Gabriel announced unto Mary that she would be the Mother of God. It must be a great surprise to Mary considering the fact that she was very young then. Biblical scholars believe Mary was just a teenager when Angel Gabriel visited her with a Divine message. But Mary’s reaction and how she accepted God’s mission for her truly revealed to us how deep was her faith. She knew that to be a mother of the Messiah will not be that easy.The task that is being entrusted to her was as huge as the world itself and therefore requires huge responsibilities. She may not completely understand what was revealed to her by the Angel, but she trusted completely.She questioned the Angel, but it was a question of faith not really doubt. “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” Mary may have special creation but she too enjoyed freedom. She had the freedom to say “yes” or “no” to the Angel. But in her great humility she said her “Fiat” – “Here I am Lord, let it be done unto me according to your word.” St. Augustine tells us that the Blessed Mother conceived Jesus first in faith then in her body. A belief that God would be true to His promise, that the word spoken through His messenger preceded motherhood. It was this faith that gave Mary the strength in her many ordeals since the birth of Jesus. Mary trusted and she trusted all the way to Calvary. What an amazing faith, what an amazing mother.
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We learn so much from our Blessed Mother. In our struggles and challenges in life, may our faith be as unwavering and as deep as Mary’s. John 14:1, Jesus says, “Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in me.” What it means to trust God? Trust in God means believing in God’s unconditional love for us. It is believing that God is in control. It is a belief that God will always come to our rescue and he will always help us in times of trouble. That He is always there for us – He is Emmanuel (God is with us) That God is good all the time. And that we are confident that God loves each one of us and knows us individually and personally.Oftentimes, we are used to trusting ourselves and or the people around us like our family and friends. But they too are imperfect. Therefore, if we can entrust ourselves to those who are far from perfect, can we not put our trust in God who is perfect? Proverb 3:5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him. And He shall direct your paths.”
Like to a child, we come to Jesus whose birth we celebrate and we say to him – “Lord, I offer myself to you, all my joys, my worries, and my pains. Grant me a pure and sincere heart that I may be able to say with deep and profound faith – Jesus, I trust in you!’

HOMILY:3rd Sunday Of Advent (B) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

3rd Advent final father

 

GOSPEL REFLECTION: 3rd Sunday of Advent (B)
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL: John 1:6-8,19-28

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.
This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him. “Who are you?” He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.”
Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, “Make straight the way of the Lord,” as the Prophet Isaiah said.
Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me, I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.
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REFLECTION:

We now celebrate the Third Sunday of Advent. And the third candle of Advent which symbolizes JOY is now lit. Today’s Liturgical color which is rose is significantly different to give emphasis on the joyous anticipation of the Lord’s coming. The third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete, a Latin word meaning “Rejoice.” We rejoice because the Lord is near. And our salvation, therefore, is drawing nearer. We joyfully await the coming of the Lord.
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On this Sunday’s Liturgy, we are being invited to rejoice. God wills us to be happy. If we have no joy in our hearts, then something is wrong with our spirituality because ours is a religion of joy. In John 15:11 Jesus said: “I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” It is safe to say that Jesus was a joyful person. He attended dinners. In fact, the very first miracle Jesus performed in his ministry here on earth happened at a wedding at Cana where he transformed water into wine.
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But how can we rejoice amidst the many sufferings we see in the world? Well, the joy that Jesus was talking about is much more than superficial and fleeting happiness or pleasure. Having fun is different from having joy. Joy is something that is inside our hearts. It is a way of life. Joy is a pilgrim. It is a journey. Pope Francis said that Christian joy is something we cannot buy because it is a gift from God. The Pope likened this experience of joy to that of a mother embracing her baby after childbirth because it is a joy “purified” by suffering from labor. The joy of Christians, he said, is a “joy in hope.” Therefore, when life’s trials are severe, our hope seems dim and our future dismal, we can still have that Christian joy which can be found in our deep sense of trust in God – that everything is going to be alright. A certain Leslie Weatherhead says “The opposite of joy is not sorrow, It is lack of trust (or unbelief). It was the joy before him that allowed Jesus to endure the suffering of the cross. Likewise, it is also our deep sense of joy that will allow us to overcome whatever trials and tribulations we encounter in life. Joy is not only there in happy times. It is the strength within in the most trying times. For St. Paul joy is possible even amidst adverse circumstances, like suffering and persecution. The second reading from the 1 Thessalonians says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Real joy is found in the presence of God and on how solid is our trust in Him.
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Today’s Gospel tells us that joy starts from within. We find joy when we allow ourselves to have a real conversion of the heart. This is what St. John the Baptist is trying to impart to us. A pure and a contrite heart brings real joy in us. When we make the presence of God felt not only within us but also in our caring and compassion for others we become harbingers of God’s joy.
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Story (Author Unknown)
Reggie’s brother gave him a car as a Christmas present. On Christmas eve Reggie came out of his office and saw a boy admiring his shiny new car. “Is this your car, Mister?” he asked. Reggie nodded in affirmation, “My brother gave it to me for Christmas.” The boy was surprised. “You mean your brother gave it to you and it didn’t cost you anything? Boy, I wish….” The boy hesitated. Reggie knew what he was going to wish for. He was going to wish he had a brother like the one Reggie has. But what the lad said was far beyond Reggie’s expectation. “I wish,” the boy went on, “that I could be a brother like that.”
For a few seconds words failed Reggie and then he impulsively added, “Would you like to take a ride in my car?”
“Oh yes, I’d love that.” After a short ride, the boy turned towards Reggie. His eyes were glowing and he said, “Mister, would you mind driving in front of my house?” Reggie smiled a little. He thought he understood what the boy wanted. He wanted to show it off to his neighbors that he could ride home in a big car. But Reggie was wrong again.
“Will you stop where those two steps are?” the boy asked. He ran up the steps. In a little while Reggie, heard him coming back, but he wasn’t coming fast. He was carrying his little brother who was physically challenged. He sat him down on the bottom step, then sort of squeezed up against him and pointed to the car. “There she is, Buddy, just like I told you upstairs. His brother gave it to him for Christmas and it didn’t cost him a cent. And someday I’m going to give you one just like it…then you can see for yourself all the pretty things in the Christmas windows that I’ve been trying to tell you about.
Reggie got out and lifted the boy to the front seat of his car. His brother whose eyes were gleaming with joy climbed in beside him and the three of them embarked on a memorable Christmas ride.
That Christmas Eve, Reggie learned many lessons from the boy. Now he understood what Jesus meant when he said, “It is more blessed to give.” It is only when we put others first before us that we’ll find real joy. After all, JOY means. Putting J-esus as our priority. O-thers come second before Y-ourself.