Saturday, November 22, 2014

Solemnity of Christ the King (A)

GOSPEL REFLECTION: Solemnity of Christ the King (A)

23rd November 2014
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines 
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GOSPEL: Matthew 25:31-46
Jesus said to his disciples: "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the Angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.

"Then the King will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.'

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you? And the King will answer them, "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it to me.'

"Then he will say to those at his left hand, 'You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.'

"Then they also answer, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you? Then he will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.' And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
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REFLECTION:

Story: A well known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20. bill. In the room of 200, he asked, "Who would like this $20. bill? Hands started going up.

He said, "I am going to give this $20. to one of you but first, let me do this." He proceeded to crumple the dollar bill up. He then asked, "Who still wants it?" Still the hands were up in the air. "Well, " he replied, "What if I do this?" And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now all crumpled and dirty. "Now who still wants it?" Still the hands went into the air. And he said to them, "My friends , you have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money you still wanted it. Why? Because it did not decrease in value! It was still worth $20. Likewise, Many times in our lives , we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value - you are special - you are a CHILD OF GOD.

Yes, this is our identity and our worth - that we are children of God. A God who is King. In the "Lord's Prayer," we say "Thy Kingdom come!" And as children of God, He welcomes us to enter His Kingdom. "Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world..." A Kingdom that is not in a palace or royalty but it is in the human heart.

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Today, we celebrate Christ the King.Why do we celebrate a feast that is inviting us to reflect on the image of Jesus as King? It is not easy for us to picture Jesus as King. During Jesus' trial,Pilate asked Jesus "Are you a King?" To which Jesus replied, "I am a King, and I came into the world to bear witness to the truth." The notion of Jesus as King is not that easy to reconcile with the kind of royalty we have in mind.For a start, Jesus was born in a stable. He was the son of a carpenter.Unlike, Caesar, Jesus did not have soldiers who were armed to protect him...no golden crown, no exquisite clothing, no palace, no throne or servants to wait on him. If ever his throne was the cross, his crown was thorns , his scepter was the lance that pierced his side.Christ Kingship therefore is far different from our secular understanding of royalty. In his trial he made it clear, "My Kingdom does not belong to this world- If my Kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my Kingdom is not here." (John 18:36) What is this Kingdom that Jesus was talking about? How then do we look at the Kingship of Jesus? Jesus' Kingship is sustained by a power that does not manipulate others but a power of love. Christ did not come to establish a political sovereignty. We have here a King who is not hungry for worldly power and fame but a King who loves the poor and the marginalized. A King who cares for the weak and the downtrodden.A king who did not come to be served but to serve. Christ Kingship is not of this world, for He is a King who rules not from a royal throne in glory but from service of the cross. It is a Kingdom of truth, justice, peace, service , compassion and love.
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Yes, Jesus is our King and our challenge is for us to imitate in our lives the way our King lived. Like Jesus our King, we are called to serve not to be served. To love as Jesus loved. To be compassionate especially to the poor, the oppressed , and the marginalized. And to give ourselves totally to the Father by loving our neighbor as ourselves.In the Gospel, Jesus said "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothing. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me...For truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it to me." William Barclay puts it beautifully, "Love always involves responsibility, and love always involves sacrifice. And we do not really love Christ unless we are prepared to face His task and to take up His Cross."

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As we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King, there is a sense of gratitude in my heart. For I feel loved despite my weaknesses and shortcomings. I came to know my worth , I am a child of God. Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, "Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God's love encompasses us completely...He loves everyone of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful or broken."

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Let Christ reign in our hearts by being faithful to His will. Let us make his love known by our example and deeds. Let us help build his Kingdom here on earth knowing fully that Christ Kingship has at its heart, not power and wealth but compassion, service, selflessness and love. Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat! (Christ conquers, Christ reigns, Christ commands!)




















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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

GOSPEL REFLECTION: Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
16th November 2014
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines 
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GOSPEL: Matthew 25:14-30
Jesus spoke this parable to his disciples: "For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.

The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.

After a long time, the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying,'Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.' His master said to him, 'Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.'

"And the one with two talents also came forward, saying, 'Master, you handed over to me two talents, see, I have made two more talents. His master said to him, 'Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.'

"Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward saying, 'Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.'

"But his master replied, 'You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'"
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REFLECTION

Story: Three pelicans were flying to a popular lake. As they traveled, they were each lost in thought.
The first pelican thought to himself, "I love my beak. It's magnificent. No other bird has a beak quite like mine. When I get to the lake, I am going to parade along the bank, showing off my beautiful beak and all of the other birds will be jealous.

The second pelican thought to himself, "I love my beak and I need to protect it. I can't afford for it to get damaged, so I am going to only catch small fish in shallow waters. I know that I can do more, but it is too risky."

The third pelican thought to himself, "I love my beak. It is a beauty and I am going to push the limits and get the most out of it. I am going to become the best catcher of fish in the lake. I've been given this beak for a reason, so i am going to work hard and catch the biggest fish out there. (Source unknown)

I like this story. It is teaching us some realities of life. Like, each one of us have received talents, blessings and potentials for a reason. Not to brag about it and to show off just like the first pelican.Nor to hide it just like the second pelican. But to fully develop and make use of them to their maximum capacity just like what the third pelican did. Each one of us are blessed with so many gifts that we may use to share and make this world a better place.
*


The Gospel of this Sunday has a similar message. It relates to us a simple story so easy to understand yet it has a powerful message with eternal relevance. Anyone can relate to its significance. Jesus tells the story of a man who gives talents to three of his servants. The first servant received five talents. The second servant received two talents. And the third servant received one talent. The first and the second servant went out at once and used the money to buy and trade things and ended up making even more money. But the third one didn't want to take the risk out of fear of losing the money he was given that he went and buried it to keep it safe.It happened that upon the return of the master , they were summoned for an accounting. As what was expected the first and the second servant were praised by the master. But he finds to his dismay that the third slave to whom he entrusted one talent had simply buried the wealth and had garnered neither gain nor interest. And for that reason the third servant was punished.
*

Like many of Jesus' parables, he tells this one in particular to teach us an important lesson i.e. God doesn't want us to hide our gifts and blessings. Instead, He wants us to make use of them to the fullest. God created each of us with special gifts and He expects us to use those gifts for the purpose for which he gave them to us. This is the challenge of today's Gospel. Our Lord Jesus is telling us that in the end the Master will come for an accounting. There should be no excuse for us to come with a report that would not be pleasing to the Master. Our Lord intends that we multiply, increase , expand our gifts for our own good and the good of others. And to help build the Kingdom of God.
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So what holds the people back to show, develop and share their talents. Let me give you some reasons:

1) Insecurity - Some people may feel inferior to other people.They are always intimidated by people who are more talented.

2) Lack of confidence - They thought that their talents are not good enough.They do not see their importance. They would rather keep their talents to themselves rather than to use and share them with others. They forgot that those are gifts from God and therefore precious to God.

3) Fear of rejection. A lot of people are afraid of being rejected, ridiculed and or laughed at by others. But we have to first and foremost appreciate ourselves in order for us to be appreciated by others. People who are successful started out from a humble beginning,but what separates them from the rest are their boldness and readiness to take the risk. Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton said "With ordinary talents and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable." You may have the skills and abilities. You may not feel it particularly great, but it may be better than you think. If you don't use it, you lose it! Talents that are not used are like Sundial in the shade.
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Let me end my reflection with another inspiring story. It is a story of a man who had real talent.
This particular man played piano in a bar. He was a good piano player. People came out just to hear him play. But one night a customer wanted him to sing a particular song. The pianist declined. But the customer was persistent. He talked to the bartender: "I am tired of listening to the piano. I want that guy to sing." The bartender shouted across the room to the piano player. "Hey buddy! If you want to get paid sing the song! The customers are asking you to sing."

So he did. He sang a song. A jazz piano player who had not sung much in public, sang a song that changed his career, for nobody had ever heard "Sweet Lorraine" sung the way it was sung that night by a pianist - his name was Nat King Cole!
All along he had talent hidden and undiscovered.
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Luke 11:33- "No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden , or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light."
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To God be all the glory!




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Panalangin sa Paghahanda sa Ginintuang Hubileyo ng Diyosesis ng San Pablo

Bishop Buenaventura Famadico had decided that due to many prayers parish churches prays during the mass, the parishes within the diocese will use the prayer in preparation for the golden Jubilee to give importance to the preparation for the said event before the Post Communion prayer. Other prayers like that for the coming of the Pope this coming January can be prayed before or after the Mass. 



Ama namin sa langit
sa pasimula pa tinawag mo na ang lahat ng tao
upang matamo ang iyong katotohanan.

Sa pamamagitan ng halimbawa ng iyong Anak,
di mabilang na mga lalaki at babae
ang tinalikuran ang lahat para sa Kaharian ng Diyos.

Sa Perlas ng Silangan
itinatag mo ang isang lalawigan
na hindi lamang naging duyan ng mga bayani
bagkus nabiyayaan ng isang buhay na Simbahan
na nakatalagang magsiwalat ng iyong liwanag
sa lahat ng taong may mabuting kalooban.

Ipagkaloob mo ang panibagong pagbubuhos
ng kapangyarihan ng iyong Espiritu
sa lahat ng mananampalataya sa Diyosesis ng San Pablo,
sa pagpasok ng lokal na simbahan sa Ginituang Taon ng Hubileyo.

Itulot mong ang panahong ito ng paghahanda
ay maging panahon ng pagpapanibago ng pananampalataya,
pagapapatibay ng pag-asa
at pagsasabuhay ng halimbawa ng pag-ibig ng iyong Anak.

Ipagkaloob mo sa kaparian
ang pusong tumitibok tulad ng puso ni Kristo;
sa mga relihiyoso at relihiyosa,
ang tunay na kagalakan sa pagsasabuhay ng tunay na diwa ng Mabuting Balita;
at sa mga layko,
lakas na maging asin ng mundo at liwanag ng sanlibutan.

Biyayaan mo ang lahat ng tao
ng pang-unawa at matatag na paninindigan
na ipagtanggol ang kultura ng buhay.

Sa kapangyarihan ng Eukaristiya,
bigyan mo po kami ng lakas ng kalooban
upang makasulong sa aming kinabukasan
habang aming pinagninilayan at natututuhan ang mga aral ng nakaraan.

Kasama ang Ina ng Diyos,
pakilusin mo kami sang ayon sa diwa ng katuruan ni Hesus
ukol sa mapapalad
upang maibahagi namin sa iba ang kagalakan
ng lahat ng mga banal. Amen.

L: San Pablo Unang Ermitanyo, patron at gabay ng Diyosesis ng San Pablo 
R: Ipanalangin mo kami.





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