Wednesday, August 16, 2017


XIX SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME   - CYCLE A – AGOSTO 13  2017

ü  Today’s Gospel is a call to trust in Jesus who says to us “Take courage it is I.”   

ü  In the first Reading the prophet Elijah acknowledges the presence of God in the tiny whispering sound of the wind.   

ü  And Paul in his letter to the Romans tells them how much he suffers for his people, he wishes that all may know Jesus.    

THE BOOK OF KINGS

Ø  The two books of Kings are the continuation of the books of Samuel.  

Ø  In the Hebrew Bible they form an only book and the are called   Melakim.

Ø  In the Greek translation (LXX) and in the Latin translation (The Vulgate) they are called thrid and fouth book of Kings, since Samuel are the first and the second.   

Ø  They are part of the Deuteronomistic History which goes from the entrance into the promise land (Josuah) to the exile to Babylon (587 before Christ). This collection of books is called by the Jews: the former prophets.   

Ø  The reading this Sunday is taken form the part of the first book of Kings called the Cycle of Elijah (1K 14-2K 1.  

FIRST READING   1K 19:9ª,11-13a

Ø  Elijah is on the Mountain of God, the Horeb.     

Ø  Since in the Bible we have the repetition of some passages in which Horeb is also called Sinai and vice versa, some have concluded that it is the same mountain. 

Ø  For those who think so Horeb would be the name used by the Madianites and Sinai by the Cannaneans and the Amorites; the name Horeb seems to indicate the dryness of the land while Sinai would indicate its proximity to the desert of Sin. 

Ø  However there is evidence to think that these two names indicate two different places.  

Ø  Elijah has called  a long drought over the land, but he has prayed and the Lord has sent the rain.

Ø   Now he goes to the Horeb and there he waits for the Lord.

Ø  God speaks to him and says I will  be passing by.

Ø  Different atmospheric phenomena happen, but Elijah does not perceive the presence of God through them, only when he experiences a tiny whispering sound.

Ø   In the Scriptures many times the theophany is represented by thunder, lightning and many other meteorological manifestations, but here God teaches Elijah something else about Him. God is in the peace, in the tenderness.



RESPONSORIAL PSALM  Ps 85: 9. 10. 11-12. 13-14

Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.

I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD — for he proclaims peace.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and prepare the way of his steps.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation



Ø  The promise of peace for those who turn to the Lord, for whoever begins a process of conversion, the closeness to God brings him/her  peace and energy.   

Ø  It seems as if the psalmist would want to tell us that love and justice are two similar realities and that truth and peace are also similar or equal.



GOSPEL  Mt 14:22-33

v Jesus asks his disciples to precede him to the other side of the lake. How did he planned to go to the other shore himself? 

v He dismissed the crowds of those he had cured and had fed, and now alone by himself he will go to the mountain top to pray, to talk with the Father. He did not do it when he got there for the first time because he was moved by compassion on seeing so many sick and so many hungry persons.  

v While he is at prayer the disciples are in the midst of the lake tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against them. 

v This continues to be so, we the disciples are immersed in the sea of our life, of our society, of our world and, in the midst of the dangers who assail us.   

v And Jesus moves toward them walking on the sea.

v And Jesus continues walking with us.

v The disciples believe and say it is a ghost, and the same thing will happen on the evening of the resurrection. 

v On both occasions Jesus speaks to them and says it is I, do not be troubled. 

v Peter, practical man inclined to what is concrete and palpable, asks Jesus to be able to walk on the sea as Jesus is doing, and the Lord says “come.”   

v How many times, we, the disciples of the 21st century, act in a similar way, and we ask the Lord for signs.   

v And Peter rushes to the sea led by his heart, and o! What a wonderful thing, he walks on the sea, but suddenly he doubts and,  then he begins to sink.  

v What a man of little faith you are! Yes, the Lord can say the same words to us, women and men of little faith. I have conquered the world why are your hearts troubled? ”It is I.” 

v It is I  when you are in the midst of darkness and you do not know where to go, when you feel lonely, when you believe that nobody listens to you, when you are sick, when you are tired… yes I am with you through it all, even when you do not feel my presence. Take courage, it is I. 

v When Jesus gets to the boat the wind calms down, and those men are amazed, they are troubled, and probably they   feel shame because they have doubted, thus they say to him “truly you are the Son of God!” 

SECOND READING   Rom 9:1-5

*      Paul confesses with simplicity to the community of Rome that he is suffering for his people, because his people does not acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah, they have waited for such a long time.   

*     He suffers so much that he wishes, if this could be possible, to be separated from the Lord for the sake of his people

*     He thinks aloud on who his people is, and mentions all that makes of it the people of the election, the people of the promise, but  they are not aware of this reality.  

*     We need to abandon ourselves into the arms of our God, of our Lord Jesus and let us never boast of our own strength, our vanity and our pride. Faith is a gift, a precious gift which may wither like a flower, break as the crystal, get lost like we lose  what the thieves steal.    

*     The Lord is always with us, “it is I.”  


 CLARETIAN CORNER

 When the ship was so full with the water which was entering in (by the crack that I mentioned above), and it was impossible to resist (humanly speaking), without sinking, then the butler went to Santa Barbara (store room) to look for sugar. An interior force moved him, as he himself confessed, because he had no need of that sugar and at that time – it was 4:30 in the morning (no body used to go to that place). But God our Lord who took this navigation under his grace, wanted to announce the danger when there was no more human remedy for the prodigy to be more manifested. When the butler entered the store room he found himself in an immense pond of water since this had entered already in very great quantity that reach up to a man’s height.

Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 146. 

We continued our voyage to Cuba in high spirits and excellent order. The ship's cabin space was divided into two parts: I and my companions were quartered in the space between the main mast and the poop; the nuns were quartered all to themselves in the space between the main mast and the bow, and separated from the rest of us by shuttered doors. My group got up every day on schedule, I washed, and made a half-hour's meditation together. The nuns did the same in their quarters. After meditation I celebrated Mass in our quarters, where an altar had been set up. I said Mass every day of our voyage. It was attended by all in my group as well as by the sisters, who heard it from their own quarters by pushing back the shuttered doors that formed the dividing line between them and us. The sisters and priests all received Communion, except for one of the priests who celebrated a second Mass, during which we made our thanksgiving. There was a system of rotation for the priest who said the second Mass, so that every day we had two Masses--one said by me, the other by the priest whose turn it was that day.  Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, 506.     

BIBLIOGRAPHY

CLARET, Antonio María Claret, Autobiography.

PAGOLA, José A.   El camino abierto por Jesús. PPC 2012

PARIS, María Antonia, Autobiography

STOCK, Klemens. La Liturgia de la Palabra. Ciclo A (Mateo)  2007

ENCICLOPEDIA DE LA BIBLIA, cuarto volumen. Editorial Éxito 1963. 
SAGRADA BIBLIA. Versión oficial de la Conferencia Episcopal Española, Madrid 2012.    

SUNDAY OF THE TRANSFIGURATION OF THE LORD – CYCLE A – 2017  

FIRST READING - Dn 7: 9-10, 13-14.

v  The book of Daniel belongs to the prophetic-apocalyptic  tradition. It uses images which we will find later in the New Testament in the book of Revelation.   

v  The apocalyptic literature uses fantastic and spectacular images, some taken from nature, some from the human imagination.   

v  Whenever God makes him present, there are grandiose signs that cause fear and respect in those who are present, and at the same time we feel attracted to him.   

v  The sacred author wants to tell us how great God is, how different from us.   

v  The white color is always associated with God, maybe because we say that God is light and the color closest to the light is the white color.   

v  Fire is also an element present in the theophany  or manifestations of God. The fire is powerful, strong;  through this signs we are reminded  that God is Almighty.     

v  Daniel  keeps contemplating the vision, and he sees someone  like a son of man, that means  human but at the same time   participating of the divine being.   

v  This  son of man comes in the clouds. In the book of Genesis, after the flood God makes peace with the human race and the sign of this peace is the rainbow which he hangs on the clouds.  On those days when people were fighting against each other in war, when they wanted to end the war and make peace they would hang their bow at the entrance of their tents. 

v  What a wonderful and beautiful image of peace and beauty  is the rainbow.   

v  This son of man receives all authority and sovereignty.   

v  It is the image of  Jesus risen and glorified.   

v  Yes Jesus receives our praise and our love.    

 Responsorial Psalm. Ps. 96:1-2.5-6.9

R. (1a and 9a) The Lord is king, the Most High over all the earth.
The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice;
let the many islands be glad.
Clouds and darkness are round about him,
justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne.
R. The Lord is king, the Most High over all the earth.
The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
before the LORD of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his justice,
and all peoples see his glory.
R. The Lord is king, the Most High over all the earth.
Because you, O LORD, are the Most High over all the earth,
exalted far above all gods.
R. The Lord is king, the Most High over all the earth.  

Ø  This psalm is the response to the first reading and gives the same message about the majesty of God.   

Ø  But it mentions also the “gods.” Who or what are our gods

GOSPEL- Mt 17: 1-9
    The narration of the transfiguration is found in the three synoptic gospels.  

*     Jesus takes three of his disciples to a mountain; the mountain is the symbol of the closeness of God. If God lives in heaven beyond the blue sky which we see, naturally that the high mountains will take us closer to the abode of God.  

*     And there in the mountain, Jesus shows to them the true abode of God, God himself; Jesus who is the only begotten son of the Father.   

*     The author of the Gospel describes the Jesus, with all the signs we use to describe God in the theophany of the Old Testament.     

*      In this so beautiful vision two characters of the Old Testament the prophet Elijah and the legislator Moses appear besides Jesus speaking with him.  

*     Jesus had told his disciples and the people that he had not come to abolish the law and the prophets.    

*     For the Jews what we call the Old Testament is called the Law=Torah=the first five books of the Bible which we call the Pentateuch; and all the other books are the Prophets. 

*     The Law which they believed was written by Moses.   

*     Here the Law and the Prophets are dialoguing with Jesus about what he is going to suffer.   

*     Jesus enters into a dialogue with the law, not only in this occasion but through his entire ministry. He has tried by all possible means to help us understand the law, that is, to make us understand the real being of God, not the god we have made according to our convenience.   

*     And Jesus dialogues with the prophets, that is, with the characters of the Old Testament who spoke to the people about God and about the need to be faithful.  

*     The disciples are happy; overwhelmed with joy, as we are when we have an experience of God. 

*     And Peter speaks in the name of all “Lord, it is good to be here! If you want, we will build three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.   

*     At that moment the voice of the Father was heard. He repeats the same words He said at the Jordan when his son Jesus was baptized “Here is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, listen to him” 

*     Jesus is the beloved son of the Father, all his joy, and God calls us as a community to become the image of the Son “listen to Him”.   

*     All of us when we have an experience of God, of the supernatural, we wish it last long, forever o that it may be repeated, but the Lord says to us “Rise and do not fear.”

SECOND READING  : 2 P  1: 16-19

Ø  Peter remembers in this letter the unforgettable experience of the transfiguration.   

Ø  And thus he explains it to the faith community.  

Ø  And Peter tells us that besides his words which he has shared with us we have the experience and testimony of the prophets to encourage us and help us to grow in our faith.     
   
 
Peter, the prophets and many others have shared with us their experience of God, the experience of the change they have undergone in their life and they encourage us to do the same. What has our experience been? Are we ready to share it with others?  
CLARETIAN CORNER

…and it seemed that it had its resting place and dwelling in the center of the Sacred Heart of my God and Lord.     I say  «in the center of my God’s Heart»,  because it did not seem to me that God was in my heart, but I saw as if myself, body and soul, was within the Sacred Heart of my God and Lord.  . (Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters. Report to Caixal 9).

O my God, I give you my word that I shall do this: I shall preach, write, and circulate good books and pamphlets in abundance, so as to drown evil in a flood of good.(St. Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters.  Autobiographya 453).





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Wednesday, July 12, 2017


XV SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME  – CYCLE A – 2017

The theme of the first reading and the Gospel is about agriculture: earth, water, seed; but these realities of our earth are used to take us to the level of the Word of God which does not go back before having fulfilled  his mission, in the same way as the rain fertilizes the earth and the seed, the Word changes our hearts and fulfills his mission: making us in the image of Jesus.  

FIRST READING : Is 55: 10-11

Ø  The Word that goes forth from God does not return without having accomplished its mission, 

Ø  Jesus, the Word made flesh speaks to us words of life, teaches us, calls us, and for love of us abandons himself in our hands   to be crushed   by our sins.  

Ø  On so doing he does the will of the Father who sends him to fulfill his saving mission: fertilize, make the seed germinate, to give food to….  

  RESPONSORIAL PSALM
R. (Lk 8:8) The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.
You have visited the land and watered it;
greatly have you enriched it.
God's watercourses are filled;
you have prepared the grain.
R.
The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.
Thus have you prepared the land: drenching its furrows,
breaking up its clods,
Softening it with showers,
blessing its yield.
R.
The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.
You have crowned the year with your bounty,
and your paths overflow with a rich harvest;
The untilled meadows overflow with it,
and rejoicing clothes the hills.
R
. The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.
The fields are garmented with flocks
and the valleys blanketed with grain.
They shout and sing for joy.
R.
The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.

The psalms may be classified in different ways. One is according to the final doxology after some psalms.  Using this method we discover 5 books of psalms.    

v The psalms were not written by King David alone, he wrote some of them only. But since he is portrayed singing the praises of God using musical instruments, the tradition considered him the author of psalms.     

v The psalms are prayerful poems. They are the expression of the diverse feelings common to all human beings in the diverse situations of human life.   

v The church from the beginning has organized the liturgy of the hours distributing the psalms along a pre-established time frame. In the church many pray the psalms every day, and it is true that sometimes we pray a psalm of sorrow and we are happy, but this is not a contradiction.    

v Why? Because we pray as a community, as a church in the name of the whole human race and giving voice to the entire creation. There are always human beings who weep, laugh, are born, die, are sick, are persecuted, are abandoned…. 

The vocabulary of this psalm is very beautiful and evokes the theme of the earth, of agriculture:  

·       The Lord waters the earth, his clouds are filled with water which falls upon the earth  

·       Thus the earth is softened and allows the seed to germinate   

·       And with the food that the fields produce, the flocks multiply.  

GOSPEL: Mt 13:1-23

*     This parable is like the model for all the other parables of Jesus narrated by the evangelists. 

*     The parable    

o   Describes a situation or a real event, from the daily life, a human reality with which the listeners may identify themselves easily.   

o   And after narrating this which we could call a story, Jesus makes us jump to another level of our life, the level of the relationship with God, with the other human beings and with ourselves.   

o   And leaves us with the task to draw the consequences in our own life, our response to the call that God makes to us through the parable.  

*     In today’s reading:   

o   The story is the work of a farmer and the seed  

o   The farmer, the sower goes out to sow, this is his work  

o   And to sow he throws the seed abundantly in the furrows 

o   And the seed o seeds fall in different places: the road, the stones, the thorns, and some in the furrows.   

o   According to the place the seed has landed its life will be different: it will be trampled under feet, burned by the heat, chocked by the thorns, will produce the grain in different measure.  

*     Jesus ends this story saying “He who has ears….”   

*     The disciples want to know the meaning and also the reason he speaks in parables.  

*     Jesus repeats the words of Isaiah which are difficult for us to understand because they are said according to the Semitic mind: God does everything, makes hear and makes us deaf…  But what this expression means is that if we do not want to listen, even if we are told we will not understand.  

*     And Jesus explains the parable:   

o   The seed on the road: the evil one takes the word from us when we listen without understanding, without reflecting on what we hear.    

o   The seed on the rock: sprouts very soon but it withers after a short time. Thus the one who receives the word with joy, with euphoria, but since it does not have roots it withers also, the enthusiasm dies out when the hardships to follow the Word appear in our life.           

o   The seed among thorns: The word is chocked in our heart by the many worldly worries and the seduction of riches.  

o   The seed that falls on fertile ground: The one, who listens to the Word, understands it and gives fruit. This understanding is the fruit of reflection and prayer, it is a responsible understanding. 

*     After finishing this explanation Jesus leaves to our responsibility to understand and make fructify the good God has put in our heart, and also in the heart of every human being.

SECOND READING : Rom 8:18-23

v Paul considers that the sufferings of the present time cannot compare to the glory that waits for us. 

v He says that creation is subjected, in some way, to suffering and groans with birthing pain, until it will give birth to the new creation fruit of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus. 

v Then the glory of the children of God will be revealed, glory like the glory of the Son Jesus.  



CLARETIAN CORNER

I thank you very much for the holy card of the divine law which you have sent me.  I am very grateful for it because the Holy Law is the only magnet of my love: from the moment God, Our Lord, taught me its beauty, the object of my meditation is the harmony of its beauty, and I would like to carry it written on my forehead to teach it to every creature.   (Taken from a letter of  María Antonia to St. Anthony M. Claret – Santiago of Cuba October 31st  1857).

The second means is the formation of the youth from both sexes, and for this I will write the booklet you asked me for; but I cannot do it until my return from the trip of the Queen and her family, because during the trip I have to preach every day many sermons; some days I have preached up to 8 sermons: to the clergy, the people, the nuns, the prisoners….   (Letter of St. Anthony M. Claret to María Antonia. Royal Place of St.    Ildefonso, August 31st 1860).

BIBLIOGRAPHY

CLARET, ST  Anthony Mary – Letters

CONFERENCIA EPISCOPAL ESPAÑOLA, Sacred Bible, official edition.

PARIS, Ma. Antonia – Letters

SCHOKEL, Luis Alonso. The Bible of Our People (text adaptation and commentaries by)  



 
 






Friday, July 7, 2017


XIV SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE A – 2017

Ø  The themes of the Liturgy for the  last two Sundays   have been about the following, how the disciple is supposed to be and what it means to follow the Teacher.   

o   On the XII Sunday we heard Jeremiah complaining with God because God did not tell him the consequences of following him,   his friends and fellow citizens, whom he loved dearly, turned their back against him.   

o   On the XIII Sunday our Teacher spoke to us about the need to do good for love of God,  love of the Lord and love for human kind.   

Ø  The readings today will teach something else to us: humility and meekness. Let us listen to and reflect in our the heart. 

FIRST READING – Zec 9:9-10

Who was the prophet Zecchariah?  

v His name means “The Lord remembers” or “May the Lord remember.”    

v It seems that he belonged to a priestly family,  he had a great interest in the temple.   

v His work has two parts:  the first is of a prophet called Zechariah it goes from c.1 to c. 8  and chapters 9-14 were written in another time and the author has been called Second Zechariah.       

v The prophet of the first part is considered to be the pioneer of the apocalyptic visions, in his visions we discover fantastic elements ( red horses, women with wings…) and the presence and action of a divine messenger.   

v The time of his mission was October 520 B.C. to December 518 B.C.   

v His message like the message of all the prophets is very much related to the political situation of his people.   

v Zechariah agrees with the reconstruction of the temple and of the monarchy, but acknowledges the ethical requirements of faith.   

v Maybe we can say that he wants a reconstruction of what in the past had helped the people, and it seems that he does not see the needs under the light of the future.   

v The second Zechariah cc. 9-14 was written by another prophet as we have said above, this prophet wrote between the years 330 B.C. to 300 B.C.

v Although there are many authors who think that this part was written in the time of the Persian domination  on the  V century before the missions of Nehemiah and Ezra, before the reconstruction.  

Message  of the reading for this Sunday     

ü  Daughter Zion, the city of Jerusalem, is invited to rejoice, why? Her king comes humble and meek.   

ü  These qualities are reflected on what he is riding, an ass not a horse, which was considered to be the symbol of power, dominion, and human pride.    

ü  This humble and meek king will destroy; eliminate war, violence from the midst of his people.  This is symbolized inn the elimination of war chariots and, the bows and arrows. 

ü  He will proclaim peace not only for his people, but for the entire human race.   

 RESPONSORIAL PSALM- Ps 144: 1-2. 8-9. 10-11. 13cd-14

R.   I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
I will extol you, O my God and King,
and I will bless your name forever and ever.
Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
R. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
 The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
 Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
 The LORD is faithful in all his words
and holy in all his works.
The LORD lifts up all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
R. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.



*     The psalmist will praise and bless God day after day.    

*     Because God is compassionate, merciful, generous, faithful,  slow to anger, his love is for all his creatures, he gives support and relieves those who are burdened.   

*     What a wonderful litany of who God is.   

*     The psalmist invites everyone to praise and bless God.      

GOSPEL Mt 11:25-30

§  These verses reveal to us the messianic prayer of Jesus before the surprising revelation of God to the dispossessed of this world.

§  Salvation does not depend on the knowledge we may have of the biblical texts and of the other articles of our faith, but on the capability to discover the path of God in history and the availability to accept his call.   

§  Together with the transfiguration, this is one of the highest  points of the Gospel.    

§  We can discover in this text an exultant joy,  fruit of his experience of God as Father.   

§  Jesus invites all the  broken hearted, the overwhelmed by suffering all those excluded by the social and religious mechanisms of our society; and he offers them to carry another yoke, another  load: the yoke of freedom which requires humility and meekness

SECOND READING  Rom 8:9. 11-13

o   Paul reminds the community of Rome that they are in the spirit not in the flesh, that is to say, that they live for God if they have opened up to the Spirit of God who lives in them.  

o   Because if we have the Spirit of Jesus, of God, we belong to him.     

o   And the One who raised Jesus from the dead, will also raise us up.  

o   Paul invites again to live according to the spirit, and not according to the demands of the flesh.    

o   This entails to live a truly  human and honest life,  and not a life of sin that dehumanizes  us.   

CLARETIAN CORNER

Most Reverend  Antonio María Claret y Clará

The grace of the Holy Spirit be with Y.E. (your excellency). Amen. My most dear Father; the anxiety of all the members of this community to know of your  arrival to the secure port, does not allow me to wait longer before writing to you, hoping that by the grace of God you have already arrived to your destination.    

I wish and ask the Lord every day for the health of Y.E. May the Lord grant that if it is for his glory,  the change of climate you will experience,  may not affect your health, and may Our Lord give you the grace to counteract the great beast which is roaring.    

I am eagerly awaiting your determination to move to the House of Formation, which is so much  needed, as you know, and everyday I see more clearly that we should not  lose any more time.   María Antonia París letter to  Saint  Anthony Mary Claret,   Santiago de Cuba,   Junio 2  1857.