Saturday of the Octave of Easter

Mark 16:9-15

The Appearance to the Disciples


Have you experienced not believing a piece of news because of the person who relayed it? A news item may seem incredible but if the news bearer is trustworthy or he is an influential or popular personality or someone known and respected in the community, it is usually easy for us to believe the news. I also find myself incredulous and obstinate in accepting as true a news account coming from a person of questionable character or a person without credibility.

In today’s gospel, we see Jesus reproaching His apostles for their incredulity. The apostles did not believe Mary of Magdala and the two disciples of Emmaus who brought the news that Jesus was alive. Who were they to claim a first-hand experience of Jesus, risen from the dead? Honestly I would be as incredulous and obstinate as the apostles in this case.

Yet in spite of the apostles’ weak faith, Jesus challenged them as He is now challenging you and me: “Go out to the whole world, proclaim the Good News to all creation.” (Sr. Ma. Melanie, SSpS, Bible Diary 2002)


Just like our gospel today, it was quite difficult for the disciples to immediately believe what Mary Magdalene had to say or the two disciples who met the Lord. They were hurt and getting out of it wasn’t all that easy.

But when Jesus finally showed Himself to them they believed!

Know what? Jesus continues to personally work miracles today…the miracles of His personal presence and love. After some time I got the chance to meet that young lady again. Her life is now full of promises, there’s a magical sparkle of happiness in her eyes that I never saw when we first met. I could attempt to give her that talk again…but I’d rather listen to her talk about God’s Love. (Frt. Anthony Ynzon, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


Faith is a gift from God. It is not something we can earn or acquire by our own efforts. There is a mystery about how God grants this gift. A person can read the whole Bible, study the best of theologians and listen to the most persuasive of preachers without coming to faith.

St. Peter and St. John in the first reading went about preaching the resurrection of Christ. They even cured a cripple as a sign that their words were from God. But still the officials of the people would not believe them. We should not be surprised. It is no easy thing to believe that the cripple in an instant can walk again. Mary Magdalene announced to the followers of Jesus the good news that she had seen Jesus alive after His death. They refused to believe her. Again we should not be surprised. It is indeed no easy thing to believe that a man has come back from the dead!

What ought to surprise us is our own faith. Some of us may think we have faith because we were born to Catholic parents who saw to it that we were baptized as infants. But some people, baptized as infants, have rejected the faith later in life. Others may have become converts as adults and think that faith came from the good example and teaching of others. Some however have witnessed good example and heard sound teaching without converting.

In the final analysis we must all stand before God in wonder that for His own good reasons, without any merit of our own, He has freely chosen to give us faith as a gift. And faith makes all the difference in our lives. (Fr. Denny Lucas, SVD Bible Diary 2008)


April 2, 2016 Saturday

On June 12, 1999, I boarded the plane for the first time going to Argentina, my first mission assignment. When the plane took off I looked out the window and suddenly felt a great pain in my heart. “Totohanan na ito” (This is it). After 7 hours of sitting down without sleep I started to recall the joys and happiness of the good life that I had had with my friends: the places we went to, the movies we watched, the eating places we dined in, the security that I felt in familiar territory. There and then I realized that I was leaving these behind. I started to protest in pain. Why should I go to Argentina when, in fact in Abra, there are so many places that do not have a priest to celebrate the mass? The people there, too, need a priest. Not knowing how to console myself I took out my wallet and started to look at the picture of Jesus. Lord, is there a need for me to go? I had a good life in St. Jude; I think I can serve you better in the Philippines! And I started crying! Suddenly an old woman who was sitting beside me saw the picture and said, ‘Oh, are you missing your Dad? Your father is too young.’ Surprised by her words I said, ‘No, I am looking at the picture of Jesus Christ, our Lord.’ Then she said, ‘I am sorry, I know nothing about your God, I wish I could have faith.’ Right there on the plane I found someone who did not know Jesus. Maybe it was just a coincidence but I took it as Christ’s response to my questions, to my fears, doubts and lack of faith in Him.

In this world of so many uncertainties we find it extremely difficult to believe. The disciples and friends of Jesus, after his death, were confused and did not know what to believe! The question is, why is it that they failed to recognize Jesus?

Today’s gospel gives us two reasons: First, they failed to recognize because they were SCARED, that they had lost their leader. Indeed fear paralyzes us. The same thing that I felt when I realized that I was leaving my “built-in security”. That is why we find it hard to believe. And yet Jesus tells us like he told Thomas, “How little faith you have, have faith and believe”.

Secondly, they failed to know him because they DOUBTED and therefore they were extremely confused.  In this world of so much relativism it is so difficult to know the truth. It seems that the world has the ultimate answer to all human needs. In order for us to enjoy life, we need fame, power and wealth.  Everything can be bought. I too was confused and doubted even my readiness to proclaim the gospel in the mission. But thanks to Jesus, who, like in the gospel, has patiently taught the confused disciples to go and broadcast the joy of proclaiming the good news and the wonder of living Christ’s messages of love, hope, peace and happiness.

Indeed, in spite of our doubts, fears and seemingly lack of faith, Jesus trusts us. That is why we have to renew our trust in Him and cling to him because there is happiness in proclaiming his gospel. It’s been 16 years since I left the Philippines with fear, and, glad to say that everyday Jesus surprises me with strength to move on in the mission.

Yes, Christ sends us but he surely accompanies us. Therefore let us transform our fears, doubts and lack of faith into a living witness of His love, hope and peace. When he had risen, early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. She went and told his companions who were mourning and weeping. When they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe. After this he appeared in another form to two of them walking along on their way to the country. They returned and told the others; but they did not believe them either.

But later, as the eleven were at table, he appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw him after he had been raised. He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” (Fr. Romulo Laguico, SVD Argentina Bible Diary 2016)


Five Reasons Why We Preach the Gospel

 My wife, Marge and I have spent close to 50 years going into over 125 countries telling the ‘Good News’ of the Gospel.

Many have told us of the wonderful exiting life of travel we have had.  However, it has gone against the natural desires of my life.

I am a poor tourist, I naturally do not like to travel and being of Jewish heritage I am a finicky eater of food.  I also like to sleep in one bed and yet we have slept in more than 4,000 beds.

We have slept in ‘water beds’ before they invented them.  The roof leaked or the children playing on the bed. I do not want to get into the food etc, that we have eaten doing missionary work.

You may ask us if we are sorry?  The answer is a resounding NO!  Next to receiving Christ and being saved, winning souls is the greatest JOY you can experience.

Next the question may be asked, “Why do you preach the Gospel?”


 There are 5 main reasons I preach the Gospel.

 I. God’s Word tells me to preach the Word.

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  If I had not other reason, this would be enough. Jesus told his Church in the great commission for all believers to go into all the world and to preach the Gospel to everyone.”  (Mark 16:15 KJV)

The word ‘preach’ has a three-fold meaning:

– First it means to tell the Word by mouth.

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 KJV)

– Second it means to live the Gospel. (We all can do that even if we cannot speak).  “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. This is living the Gospel!” (John 13:35 KJV)

– Third it means to demonstrate or to manifest the Gospel. This is what creation is crying out for. “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” (Rom 8:19 KJV) We need to be doing the works Jesus told us to do. The Sermon of the Mount in Matthew 5 chapter clearly tells us how to demonstrate the Gospel.

II. I am called to preach the Gospel.

– I am an Evangelist. “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; I am a gift to the Church.” (Eph 4:11 KJV)

–  I know my calling. I have a divine call to the ministry and to preach the Gospel. Every God called minister is a gift ministry to the church. “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” (1 Cor 9:16 KJV)

– It is a calling and not a profession.

 III. The Gospel is the Power of God!

 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Rom 1:16 KJV)
“And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.” (Luke 4:32 KJV)
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor 1:18 KJV)

IV. I would like to overcome the grave and death.

 There is only one way not to go by way of the grave. Jesus told us how in Matthew 24:14 – “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”  If we can reach the whole world with the message of the Kingdom we will not be taken by the ‘undertaker’ but by the ‘upper taker’.

V. It changes lives.

 I do not know anything that can change lives move than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It can unite broken homes, draw the alcoholic from the cup, the gambler from the cards, the addict from the needle, the harlot from the streets and draw all people into the Kingdom of God.  It changes lives.  It changed my life and that is why we have given out lives to preach the Gospel. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Cor 5:17 KJV)

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24 KJV)

These are a few of the reasons we go, however, most of all, because we love our Father in heaven.

God bless and help you to preach the gospel with your words and with your life. God bless you and yours – remember to smile, why? Because God loves you, He really does!

 God bless you and yours!

On behalf of this generation,
Your friends in the service of Christ,
Tony and Marge Abram
Abundant Life Crusades (


“Lastly, He showed himself to the Eleven themselves while they were at table. He reproached them for their incredulity and obstinacy…. And He said to them, ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation.'” (Mark 16: 14-15)

On coming out of the baptismal font on Easter Sunday, the neophytes (newly baptized) were given a white symbolic garment, which they wore throughout the Easter Octave. Easter Saturday was known as “the Saturday on which white vestments are laid aside,” or Saturday “in albis (depositis).” It was also called “Low Saturday.” The octave ends tomorrow, but the Easter Season continues for five more weeks.

Stational Church

Meditation: The Power that Regenerates the World

Earthly history and the workings of the cosmos undoubtedly continue their course and are not identified with the rate at which the Kingdom of Christ develops. In fact, pain, evil, sin, death, yet claim their victims, in spite of the resurrection of Christ.

The cycle of one thing succeeding another, the cycle of becoming, is not at a standstill. If it were, history would be at an end! And so facts and events are continually being repeated and give rise to thoughts of an irremediable conflict here on earth between the two kingdoms, or, as St. Augustine said, between the two cities. Think, for example, of the contrast which is to be found in this Holy Year between celebration of the Redemption on the one hand and on the other hand the offenses against God, the misdeeds committed against man and, at bottom, the challenges to Christ which are continually being launched.

This is the most impressive aspect, the most mysterious dimension of the historic dialectic between the forces of good and the forces of evil: the fact that obstacles are raised or indifference is shown to the forces of Redemption let into the world by Christ through his Resurrection as the principle which resolves the conflict between death and life.

The world is in need, today as yesterday, for the “new people” to remain in its midst, among the vicissitudes, the conflicts, the variations which not seldom lead to situations which are so difficult, sometimes even dramatic. The world has need of this people which will dedicate itself with humility, courage and perseverance to service of the Redemption and give concrete form, in good Christian conduct, to the regenerating power of Christ’s resurrection.

This is the function which Christians have as evangelizers and witnesses to the Resurrection in history.

Excerpted from Prayers and Devotions from Pope John Paul II, edited by Bishop Peter Canisius, 1984.


FACT OR FICTION? They returned and told the others; but they did not believe them either. – Mark 16:13

Once, a friend and I were talking about how quickly technology has developed. Things that used to be the stuff of science fiction movies are ordinary things to us today.

Just take the example of using Skype or Facetime where you see the person you’re speaking to on your smart phone. Weren’t those things we saw only in cartoons just a few short years ago? I remember Mommy telling me that when she was young, going to the moon was make-believe, something they read about in the comics, Buck Rogers. I thought that, maybe, flying to the moon was as impossible for them as time traveling is to us today.

Yes, things that were impossible in yesteryears are not just possible but ordinary in our times. So will we still doubt Jesus when He says, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God”?

Friend, I’ve learned one thing in my walk of faith. If my faith can see it, then God can engineer it to reality. After all, “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen” (Hebrews 11:1). Rissa Singson-Kawpeng (

Reflection: What you are hoping for is the stuff of fiction until you put your faith behind it to make it a fact.

Lord, increase my faith!


1ST READING: The Jewish authorities are worried about the miracles of Peter and John because they threaten their authority among the people. If Peter and John can work miracles like this, the people will not take long in following the rest of the creed of the Gospel. This is narrow-mindedness but it is too often the way that “old” leaders think. We need to be open to the new things that the Holy Spirit always wants to do in our midst. Let us never be threatened by the graces God gives to others; let us always rejoice in them. Acts 4:13-21

GOSPEL: We will probably doubt our faith at one time or another. Let us pray that they will never be serious doubts. We struggle to accept aspects of our lives, particularly when it comes to suffering. However, this is often where God’s Spirit is at His most powerful. Let us pray for the faith to trust in the goodness of God, no matter what our experience may be at the time. Mark 16:9-15

think:  We all struggle to accept aspects of our lives, particularly when it comes to suffering. However, this is often where God’s Spirit is at His most powerful.



THE VALUE OF UNBELIEF: We are about to end the Easter Octave, our one-week, eight-day celebration of the resurrection appearances of Jesus. We surveyed these stories of sightings of Jesus risen and alive, as written in the various Gospel accounts. Now we read from the longer ending to the Gospel of Mark. Although Bible scholars agree that these verses did not come from the original writer of the oldest Gospel, and that these verses could have been the work of a writer from the second century, the Church during the Council of Trent declared these verses as part of the inspired work. In content, these verses render a summary of resurrection stories we read elsewhere, with greater detail in Luke 24 and John 20.

After all the Gospel stories about Jesus showing Himself as definitely resurrected, the reading today tells us of the unbelief and hardness of heart of many of the disciples. Jesus rebuked this attitude of His followers, but He also ended up commissioning them to go and preach His Good News to all.

On one hand, the highlighted unbeliefs of the disciples served a purpose. With this we are sure that the story of Jesus’ rising from the dead could not have been an invention and concoction of the first Christians. On the other hand, the early Christians had to be convinced with great proofs and with strong prodding from Jesus Himself.

A few years back, I came to know a “blue mason.” I believe that is how neophyte masons are referred to. Though in that state, he was also actively serving in his parish. He came to me with many questions. He also expressed to me his doubts about various things, religious and spiritual. I listened. I tried to provide him with answers as best as I could. Above all, since he was active in Church, I told him to bring all his questions to prayer, and to ask for the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Now, having gone through it, he is more convinced of his faith in God and in the Church. Fr. Domie Guzman, SSP

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: What doubts and questions do you have about your faith? What brought about these doubts and questions? Remember in your prayers today the intention of Christians going through their own moments of questioning.

When I am in doubt, fill me with Your wisdom, Holy Spirit.


STUBBORN JESUS – But later, as the Eleven were at table, he appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw him after he had been raised. – Mark 16:14

When I was a kid, I loved playing hide and seek. But I never wanted to be the “it” — except when my crush is the “it.”

The moment she is done counting, I come out for her to see me and catch me, although I make it look like it is unintentional. And as we race back to touch the base, I would run as slow as a turtle to ensure that I would not win — just to save her from becoming the “it” on the following round. Crazy, right?

But I believe that’s what love is. True love longs to be seen.

That’s what happened to Jesus after His resurrection. He had already shown Himself to Mary Magdalene. But the disciples did not believe her. Jesus tried again and appeared to two of them. Still, they did not believe! Oh those stubborn disciples!

The good news is that Jesus was even more stubborn. He showed Himself one more time to the rest until they all believed.

Troubled? Is God nowhere to be found? Open your stubborn heart. Believe. Our stubborn God will show Himself to you.

For true love longs to be found.Velden Lim (

Pope Francis Says: “Before all else, the Gospel invites us to respond to the God of love who saves us, to see God in others and to go forth from ourselves to seek the good of others.”

Jesus, open the eyes of my heart. In times when I cannot see Your hand working, may I trust in Your love everlasting.


WORD Today (Acts 4:13-21; Mk 16:9-15): Go to the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature (Mk 16:15). In contrast, the world warns us “not to speak or teach at all in the name of Christ,” (Acts 4:18).

We have a choice between the gospel’s self-giving values versus the world’s self-serving interests. Christ teaches us to give our last shirt and to turn the other cheek. The world teaches us “what’s mine is mine, what’s yours is yours” and “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”

Christ teaches us to be holy; the world tells us to be sexy. Christ teaches us the Truth; the world says it depends.

It’s Easter. With Christ, we continue the work of building His Kingdom where the Gospel must rule supreme. Lets boldly speak his name and live lives that proclaim His love! (Fr. Iko Bajos – April 26, 2014).


CATECHISM a Day (Mk 16:15): Go to the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.

ONE BAPTISM FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS (CCC 977): Our Lord tied the forgiveness of sins to faith and Baptism: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved.” Baptism is the first  and chief Sacrament of forgiveness of sins because it unites us with Christ, who died for our sins and rose for our justification, so that “we too might walk in newness of life.” (Fr. Iko Bajos – April 26, 2014)


SATURDAY OF THE OCTAVE OF EASTER (YEAR B) MARCOS 16:9-15. NGANONG KINAHANGLAN NATONG ISANGYAW ANG EBANGHELYO? Si Oswald J. Smith nag-ingon, “We talk of the Second Coming of Christ; but, half of the world has never heard of the first.” Sakto siya. Daghan kaayo ang mga tawo nga wala pa makadungog mahitungod kang Kristo. Dinhi sa ato, daghan na ang nakabati sa ebanghelyo, apan wala kini magpasabot nga sila nakaila na sa tinuoray kang Kristo, o kaha nakasinati na sa gugma sa Dios. Sa pagkatinuod, ang atong katilingban nanginahanglan pa og daghang magsasangyaw sa kaayo sa Dios. Panahon na nga atong tubagon ang gisugo sa Nabanhaw’ng Ginoo: “Panglakaw kamo sa tibuok kalibotan ug isangyaw kining Maayong Balita.” Himoon nato ang matag adlaw sa atong kinabuhi nga kahigayonan sa pagsangyaw sa gugma sa Dios ngadto sa isigkatawo. Posted by Abet Uy


YOU’RE A MISSIONARY “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” – Mark 16:15

There are many problems that people face. There are those who are financially broke, addicted to drugs, sexually abused, suicidal, products of broken homes, involved in violent gangs, etc. To the self-righteous, these are the least in the kingdom of heaven.

But in the course of my ministry, I have seen the following:

  • A financially broke person turned financial specialist
  • A drug addict turned missionary to street kids
  • An abuse victim turned minister to the abused
  • A broken home turned missionary family
  • A suicidal person turned community leader
  • A gangster turned builder

What caused the miracle? The Word of God!

The Gospel was preached and accepted. As it was cultivated, it bore fruit and the harvest came.

So don’t tell me that you’re not a missionary.

Everyone is a missionary!

Be a friend. Love sincerely. Help unselfishly.

This is how the Word is preached.

Let’s go and proclaim the Gospel! Obet Cabrillas (

Reflection: “Proclaim the Gospel, if necessary speak!” (St. Francis of Assisi)

Lord, use my life as Your Gospel that is preached with everything I do and say. Amen.


Acts 4: 13-21; Mk 16: 9-15

The Stubbornness Met With Love

In today’s Gospel reading we have part of a passage which is believed to be a later addition as a conclusion of Mark’s Gospel, as the original ending seems to have been lost. Yet the addition itself is considered to be an ancient and earlier addition dating back to the first century itself.

Verses 7 and 8 of Chapter 16 are really interesting. Two words are found there which are not found elsewhere in other Gospels. The angel tells the women, “Go, tell his disciples and Peter” Special mention is given about Peter. How considerate is Jesus. How comforting this special mention would have been to Peter, considering his denial of Jesus three times at the crucial time of His death. Jesus thinks too much of a penitent sinner than his actual sin.

But the sad part mentioned here is that the women fled from the tomb trembling in fear and ‘they said nothing to anyone’. Now read the apparition of risen Jesus given in verse 9, 12 and 14. He tries to convey the message though Mary Magdalene, through the disciples who went to Emmaus and had an encounter with risen Jesus. But the stubborn disbelief of the disciples is not overcome by the narrations of those who had the experience of the Risen one. The stubbornness of “Unless I see…..” of Thomas is reflected in some degree in other disciples too. So Jesus decides to appear before the eleven.

Jesus does not leave us half way. He who brought us half way will take us through the full way. That is his promise. That is what He proves in today’s Gospel. The same failed Peter and his stubborn friends are entrusted with the mission command, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation”. Note that the command is to preach it to “all” the world and to “all creation”. The whole creation renewed in Risen Jesus is to be offered back to the Father. That is the challenge. Dr. Martin Mallathu CMI


April 02, 2016

REFLECTION: One of the greatest demonstrations of how the Holy Spirit can affect a person’s behavior is shown in how Peter was transformed by the gift of the Spirit. Before he receives the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, he is a timid, fearful, faint-hearted man—a coward, in a word. He abandons Jesus at the garden of Gethsemane and betrays him three times shortly afterwards. Even after the crucifixion is a thing of the past, Peter and his companions stay huddled in the upper room with locked doors “for fear of the Jews,” John tells us (Jn 20:19). But when the Spirit invades Peter on the day of Pentecost, Peter becomes a changed man: from a coward he becomes a fearless witness to Jesus. With great daring after that, he addresses huge crowds and publicly blames them for the death of Jesus. Then he appears before the Sanhedrin (the land’s Supreme Court) and with perfect self-assurance refuses to bow to its injunction of silence, as we see in today’s first reading. Later on he presides the Council of Jerusalem with great authority.

The Holy Spirit can transform us too, if only we are willing to let him do so.


8 Mayumi Street, U.P. Village, Diliman, 1101 Quezon City, Philippines

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Saturday of the Octave of Easter

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