A Reflection: 16th Sunday In Ordinary Time (B) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

16th Sunday - Pater

GOSPEL REFLECTION: 16th Sunday In Ordinary Time (B)
22nd July 2018
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

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READINGS:
First Reading: Jeremiah 23:1-6
Responsorial Psalm: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
Second Reading: Ephesians 2:13-18
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GOSPEL: Mark 6:30-34
The Apostles returned from their mission. They gathered around Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught.
He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves.
Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As Jesus went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he began to teach them many things.
The Gospel of the Lord: Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
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REFLECTION:
Have you ever experienced being too exhausted, stressed and burnout? If you experience constant stress, feeling helpless, feeling physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted then today’s Gospel text is for you to reflect upon.
The Gospel text for this Sunday is a continuation of last Sunday’s Gospel text. In last Sunday’s Gospel, St. Mark relates to us about the sending of the twelve apostles to a mission i.e. to preach the good news and to administer to the needs of the people – curing the sick, casting out demons. It was such a huge task for the apostles.
Now, in today’s Gospel text, St. Mark relates to us the return of the apostles from doing their mission. They reported to Jesus what they’ve accomplished. The apostles must be very tired. And so Jesus invites them to come away with him and rest. They were hoping to escape for just a little while to seek rest, to share the stories of their experiences and to debrief but the crowd followed them and arrived even ahead of them. When Jesus saw the crowd he had compassion towards them because “they were like sheep without a shepherd.” And Jesus attended to their needs.
Upon reflection on the Gospel, two things came up to my mind. First, Jesus recognized the need to rest. Second, Jesus is a compassionate God. He set aside his own personal needs and replaced it with a concrete need to minister to the people.
Let me, therefore, focus my reflection on these two particular points. When we are feeling a little weary amidst the busyness of life, or probably we’re wrung out or burnout, we should have in mind that even our Lord Jesus recognized the need to rest or to a retreat, After doing his ministry of preaching and healing and when he felt his strength waning, Jesus would steal away to a lonely place away from the crowd to pray.
There was once a lawyer whose main preoccupation was to make money. His ultimate goal was to get rich. So he worked hard for that, finding no time to be with his family, no time for leisure and no time to pray. For him time is gold and he should not waste time on the less important matter. And he became successful in life. But his relationship with his family suffered. He got separated from his wife and his only son got imprisoned for drugs and other crimes. When the father visited his son in prison he asked his son this question – ” Why? What happened to your son? Where did I go wrong, son?” To which the son replied, “It’s all because you really did not care about us. All your concern was to make money. You did not even find time to be with mom and me”
The man in the story did not know that a good and successful life should be a balance between work and rest and prayer. A Philosopher Socrates once said, “An unreflected life is not worth living.”
In today’s Gospel, Jesus affirms the importance of rest and renewal. Jesus invites to come away with him and to rest. This is what we seek and find in our life of prayer. Life is full of changes and challenges. As soon as we get finished with one, there is another one in our path. Thus a great temptation to make ourselves with so much work and not finding time to rest. But there is a saying – “A person who wants to sing always find a song; likewise, a person who wants to pray always find the time.” When was the last time you spend quality time to pray? Prayer is not a waste of time. When we pray we learn, we experience healing. How we pray reveals a lot about our soul, just like how we spend money says so much about what we value. Jesus, therefore, is like telling us in today’s Gospel the need for us to rest not only for physical renewal but also for spiritual refreshment through reflection. When I say rest, I do not mean only to pray but also to reconnect with the inner self. To find time to stop and smell the flowers. To find time to appreciate the beauty of nature. To find quality time to bond with the people around most especially with your family.
The last part of the Gospel reveals Jesus’ compassion. “As Jesus went ashore, he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd.” Jesus was hoping to spend quality time with his disciples but something comes up unexpectedly and so Jesus set aside his own personal needs. We can practically relate to the experience of Jesus. For example, a doctor, in the middle of the night and sleep got an emergency call of duty. A good doctor will comply at once. Similarly, a good priest responds quickly and joyfully to an emergency call to administer to the sick. There are times when we feel that we have already given so much and yet we are asked to give even more. That is compassion. Compassion literally means ” to suffer with another.” In our most trying moments, remember that we have a compassionate Lord. We only have to trust in his great love who invites us to “come to him, all you that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”

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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
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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
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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.
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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:
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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: 14th Sunday In Ordinary Time by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

14th Sunday pater

 

 

GOSPEL REFLECTION
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)
Sunday, 8th July 2018
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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READINGS:
First Reading: Ezekiel 2:3-5
Responsorial Psalm: Our eyes look to the Lord until he has mercy upon us.
Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
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GOSPEL: Mark 6:1-6
Jesus came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. On the Sabbath, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
Then Jesus said to them, “A Prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown, and among his own kin, and in his own house.”
And Jesus could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And Jesus was amazed at their unbelief.
Then he went about among the villages teaching.
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REFLECTION:
The Gospel relates to us an account wherein Jesus visited his native place. While Jesus was born in Bethlehem, He grew up in Nazareth. For thirty years Jesus lived in this town. Nazareth, therefore, was for him his hometown. He had been visiting different places – doing his ministry of preaching about the Kingdom of God, administering to the sick, healing, and making wonders and so he thought why not his own hometown and his own folks and kin. Surely, he would be more welcomed in his own place. But far from what Jesus was expecting, we see in today’s Gospel text an obvious contradiction in their reaction to Jesus. They acknowledged Jesus’ wisdom, they were convinced of the miraculous nature of his deeds, they must have heard of some of the astonishing miracles and works of Jesus yet they rejected him. They “took offense at him” rejecting him personally, as well as by his friends and relatives. They rejected Jesus because they knew him personally. For them, Jesus was just the son of a carpenter from a poor family. “How could such wisdom and power come from this nobody we grew up with?” They could not accept. Jesus was unwanted. They thought they knew everything about Jesus. Indeed, “Familiarity breeds contempt!” There’s nothing more hurtful than to be rejected by your own family and people.
As I reflect on today’s Gospel text, one word kept ringing in my mind i.e. REJECTION!
What is Rejection? Rejection can be defined as the sense of being unwanted.
Have you ever experienced rejection? Have you ever feel the longing for acceptance and love from other people, yet you believe that they do not? Or you want to be part of the group, yet you feel excluded. Well, almost all of us, at one time or another, have experienced rejection even from people we loved the most or someone we respected and looked up to. Many of us have not understood its nature or its effects on other people’s lives. One’s rejection may have been relatively minor or it may have been so devastating that it affected one’s whole life. Rejection comes in a variety of forms. Some examples of simple rejection could be like – you invited a friend to your party yet he refused to come. Or you offered friendship to a someone yet it was not accepted. Some may have effects in your life like you were not accepted at the company you were applying saying that you didn’t have the qualifications they were looking for, or you did not get the promotion or a raise in your salary you were looking forward to getting. Others could be worse and painful like rejection coming from parents or someone dearest to you. Someone may have never felt the love from parents, or felt like an unfavored child or even abused. Experience such as these may leave permanent wounds. As for me rejection could either destroy or build you as a person. It could either make you a better person, make you stronger or make you bad or weak. Even great and famous people have experienced rejection. For instance, JK Rowling, creator of Harry Potter, she was rejected by 12 publishers before her work was published. Beethoven’s music teacher declared him ‘hopeless’ at composing. A teenager’s low popularity convinced her that she was unattractive. She became a top model, hailed by many as the most beautiful woman in the world. All those who had ignored her are now boasting that they had gone to school with Claudia Schiffer. It only tells us that for every “No” that you receive there could be a “Yes” just around the corner. Learn to love and appreciate yourself. Sometimes this could be the hardest thing to do. Never fear rejection but make it an opportunity to grow and to learn.
How do you cope with rejection? How do you react to rejection? How do you respond to rejection? The good news is – God never reject anyone. God offers us full acceptance. And God can heal us from the wounds that come from rejection. Jesus never rejects nor discriminate against anyone. Like he ate with sinners, tax collectors and women with ill repute. He touched the lepers, forgave their sins and made them whole. Jesus, therefore, will never reject anyone because of race, color, physical appearance, gender, status, and preference. Remember he himself had experienced rejection and so let us come to him who knows the pain of being rejected. No one but God is capable of giving perfect love at all times and in every circumstance. And amazingly enough, in spite of all rejection and indifference, God still and will always love us. 1 John 4:19 “We love because he first loved us.”

HOMILY: Nativity of John the Baptist by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

john the baptist - pater

NATIVITY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST
A REFLECTION
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL: Luke 1:57-66,80

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child
she gave birth to a son.
Her neighbors and relatives heard
that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her,
and they rejoiced with her.
When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child,
they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,
but his mother said in reply,
“No. He will be called John.”
But they answered her,
“There is no one among your relatives who has this name.”
So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.
He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,”
and all were amazed.
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed,
and he spoke blessing God.
Then fear came upon all their neighbors,
and all these matters were discussed
throughout the hill country of Judea.
All who heard these things took them to heart, saying,
“What, then, will this child be?”
For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.
The child grew and became strong in spirit,
and he was in the desert until the day
of his manifestation to Israel.
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REFLECTION:

Today we celebrate the Nativity of John the Baptist. Perhaps, the question would be, why was the birth of John the Baptist so much given special importance by the Church. Well, John the Baptist was no ordinary person. He was to play such a huge role in the salvation history. “You, child, shall be called the Prophet of the Most High: for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways.” (Luke 1:76) This is the reason why today we are being invited by the Church to reflect on the importance of John the Baptist’s ministry, his role and the values he imparted us by his life.

Who was John the Baptist? John was a unique and a special kind of person. We could see that he was a different kind of person considering the circumstances surrounding his birth. He was the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth. They were both advanced of age and considering that Elizabeth was barren, the birth of John the Baptist was seen as but Divine intervention. It tells us that with God nothing is impossible. John’s birth was even announced by an angel. This is the reason why the Blessed Virgin Mary became aware of it, hence, made that famous visitation to her cousin Elizabeth. Such encounter is worthy of reflection for even in the wombs of the two mothers, our Lord and John already encounter each other.

There are two things that I so admire in the person of John i.e. Discipline and incredible Humility.

First, Discipline, because even at a young age he knew his role, He was to prepare the way of the Lord. His awareness of his role paves the way to his life of great discipline – physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. Like, he lived a simple life, dressed in camel’s hair, eating nothing but locusts and wild honey. He was not afraid to preach the truth. We remember John for his bold and courageous preaching against the self-righteous Pharisees that cost him a great price i.e. his own life.

And second, an incredible Humility because he took no credit for himself. To John the Baptist, his mission was just to prepare the way of the Lord. When he was asked whether he is the Messiah or not, he replied: “After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals.” (Mark 1:7) He knew his mission and purpose in life. “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight his path.” – John 1:23. John’s finger was pointing at Jesus. John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” “He must increase, I must decrease.” John 3:30. This is the lesson we learned from the life of John the Baptist. A life that is centered on Jesus. As modern-day disciples of Jesus, we are being called to do just the same i.e. to be courageous and make Jesus known.

The name John was announced by Angel Gabriel, it means “Gift of God” “Graced by God” and or “God is gracious” Just like John the Baptist, may our lives be instruments heralding God’s graciousness.

Homily: Ascension Of The Lord by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

ascension pater

GOSPEL REFLECTION: ASCENSION OF THE LORD
WORLD COMMUNICATIONS DAY
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
*

GOSPEL: MARK 16:15-20
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Go into the whole world
and proclaim the gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;
whoever does not believe will be condemned.
These signs will accompany those who believe:
in my name, they will drive out demons,
they will speak new languages.
They will pick up serpents with their hands,
and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them,
was taken up into heaven
and took his seat at the right hand of God.
But they went forth and preached everywhere,
while the Lord worked with them
and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.
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REFLECTION:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Homily: Fourth Sunday of Easter (B) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

Good Shepherd pater

GOSPEL REFLECTION
Fourth Sunday of Easter (B)
World Day of Prayer for Vocations
Sunday, 22nd April 2018
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

GOSPEL: John 10:11-18

Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away- and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.
“For this reason, the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from the Father.”
*
The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

REFLECTION:
Today we celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday. Every year, on the Fourth Sunday of Easter, the Church invites us to reflect on this beautiful Jesus’ description of himself as the Good Shepherd. In the Scripture, Jesus was given titles like the Son of God, Lord, Teacher, Messiah, and King. But it was through Jesus’ words that we learned this image of him as the Good Shepherd. In today’s Gospel text, our Lord Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd.” This description of our Lord Jesus about himself is most appealing to many of us as it is indeed consoling. It conveys Jesus’ tenderness, his compassion, and care, his concern and love for his flock. Such an image is reassuring for us. In this time and season, this is what we need to hear – that Jesus is with us, supporting and guiding us on our journey through life. When life is beset with problems and or personal challenges occur this image of Jesus the Good Shepherd reassures and consoles us. It tells us that God will never abandon us, that we are not alone in our struggles and that Jesus is supporting and holding us up.
This is the same reason why that old story – Footprints in the Sand- became very popular. People see Jesus as their refuge. When we feel so desolate and alone, Footprints in the Sand is something that we should contemplate upon. For during those moments of trials that Jesus carries us in his arms like a good shepherd.
“I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.”
When we are feeling sad and low, think of the love of Jesus. He loves us unconditionally not because we are worthy of it nor we have a right to that love. But simply because Jesus is love personified. St. Paul puts it beautifully, he said to the Romans, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” When Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd and I am ready to lay down my life for my sheep.” He really did it. Christ accepted death willingly and voluntarily, i.e. that we might be saved. Christ died for us. John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Therefore, when Christ gave us this image of a Good Shepherd, he wanted to impart to us that message of a perfect love of the Son of God. Despite our unworthiness and sinfulness, He loved us first that He might restore us our identity as children of God and that we too might become imitators of His love.
Therefore, the celebration of Good Shepherd Sunday is teaching us important lessons in life.
First, Just as Jesus is a good shepherd to us, we, too, are expected to be good shepherds. True shepherding is a life of total self-giving. In a way, we are all shepherds. As pastor of our Church, I am the shepherd of this flock. I am, therefore expected to be a good shepherd. I am expected to live a good and holy life. Jesus, the good shepherd, should be reflected in my dealing with people and in my personal life. If not then I am not being true to my calling.
Parents, you are shepherds in your own home. Therefore, you are expected to be good and loving parents. You are expected to set good examples for your children. You are expected to guide and lead the children to the truth and to the faith.
This reminds me of a story as related by Bro. Andrew Maria: A young boy caught stealing is brought before a judge, who cross-examines him.”How old are you?” the judge asks him. “Ten years old.” “Who taught you to steal?” “My Father.” Upon hearing this, the judge orders the arrest of the father and sets the boy free.
“Your honor, why are you sending me to jail for my son’s crime?” asks the father.
The judge answers unequivocally, “One who teaches another to commit a crime is a worse criminal.”
Second, The celebration of Good Shepherd Sunday is teaching us to be imitators of Jesus service, sacrifice, and love. Being loved by Christ is the ground of becoming loving. Our awareness that we are loved despite our flaws and weaknesses should be the reason for us to be more loving, more accepting and forgiving.

HOMILY: Second Sunday Of Easter Divine Mercy Sunday by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

Divine Mercy - Pater

 

GOSPEL REFLECTION: 2nd SUNDAY OF EASTER
DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
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GOSPEL: JOHN 20:19-31

On the evening of the first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put on my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Now, Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

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

Today we celebrate Second Sunday of Easter. On the Second Sunday of Easter, we continue our reflection on the risen Christ. But this is also a day, in particular, that we are being invited to reflect on the immensity of God’s mercy and love as we also celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. When we say Divine Mercy, we mean to say it’s God’s infinite mercy. His mercy, love, and forgiveness are greater than sin, suffering, and death. It means our salvation and life eternal. And it means Christ’s victory as well as our own. This Sunday’s Gospel text helps us to understand the reality in the mystery of this Divine Mercy. It is clearly stated in today’s Gospel message. Divine forgiveness, peace, mercy, and love are the keywords underlying the message of John.

The Gospel relates to us that our Lord Jesus appears before the apostles. Very noticeable in this particular text is the image of Jesus who is so quick to assure his disciples of his peace and forgiveness. I could only imagine how those disciples must have felt at that time. They confined themselves in a room out of fear, desperation, and shame. One of them, Judas betrayed our Lord for thirty pieces of silver and it is easy to condemn him for his action but on that most trying moments in the life of our Lord, the rest of the apostles did not do too well either. They abandoned our Lord Jesus in times when he needed them most. We could even recall how Peter professed that he would lay down his life for Jesus. But Jesus knew that he would even deny him three times when he was put to the test. It was only John the beloved who was seen all the way to Calvary. And so the disciples knew that they were no better than Judas who betrayed our Lord.

Against this background of doubts and lacking faith, later on, the disciples manifested deep expression of faith. They became courageous and bold. They continued the mission of Christ of spreading the Good News of God’s Kingdom. Eventually, except for John they suffered the same fate as their Master. And so on this encounter of the risen Christ, Jesus manifested that he perfectly understood how his disciples must have felt at that time. He knew the guilt and the shame the disciples were keeping in their hearts. It was in this situation that our Lord Jesus assured them of the gift of Peace. Several times the word “Peace” was mentioned in the Gospel. The nature of “Shalom” or “Peace” of Christ in its purest sense means joy, the tranquility of the soul and in its more profound sense, it means healing and reconciliation. Just like what St. Paul tells us in his letter to the Colossians (1:20-22)
“20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,”

Jesus himself is the source and author of Peace. “Peace I give to you, not as the world gives; do I give to you.” The Peace of Christ means more than offering reconciliation, it is salvific, it gives life and it brings us back our dignity as Children of God.

As we continue to reflect on the Risen Christ and the Divine Mercy, we are being invited to always desire and ask for God’s mercy, forgiveness, and love. Divine Mercy Sunday also invites us to put our complete trust in Jesus and to imitate his mercy in our lives.

Luke 6:36 “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
“Jesus, I trust in you!”