Sunday, July 12, 2020

The readings for this Sunday increase in us the trust in God, because he is powerful and uses his power to take care of us with compassion and tenderness.   
FIRST READING: Wis 12: 13, 16-19
Ø  The reading speaks about God:  
Ø  God is Lord of all:   
o   God takes care of everything and of everyone, things, animals and human beings whom he treats with kindness and tenderness.   
o   God has power over all, and he does not have to explain himself.  
o   Because his power is the foundation of justice, and   he uses this power to show mercy to all his creatures.   
Ø  God shows his strength:
o   To those who doubt of him   
o   Punishes those who knowing him, defy him      
o   To punish is not to destroy, it is to teach, to build.  
o   He judges with mercy and governs with kindness.   
Ø  With his behavior God :
o   Has taught his people   
o   That the just has to be humane, behave as God behaves, who being Lord uses his power as he wills, and this is caring and loving.   
o   And fills his children with a sweet hope because he waits for us sinners, and gives us enough time to repent.    
Ø  What a beautiful description of who God Is! We find it in the Old Testament in this book which is considered deuterocanonical or apocryphal by our Jewish and Protestant brothers and sisters; but the church has always recognized it as inspired and uses it in its liturgy.  
RESPONSORIAL PSALM : Ps  85: 5-6. 9-10. 15-16a
R. (5a) Lord, you are good and forgiving.
You, O LORD, are good and forgiving,
abounding in kindness to all who call upon you.
Hearken, O LORD, to my prayer
and attend to the sound of my pleading.
Lord, you are good and forgiving.
All the nations you have made shall come
and worship you, O LORD,
and glorify your name.
For you are great, and you do wondrous deeds;
you alone are God.
Lord, you are good and forgiving.
You, O LORD, are a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in kindness and fidelity.
Turn toward me, and have pity on me;
give your strength to your servant.
Lord, you are good and forgiving.,

v This psalm is full of tenderness and trust in God.   
v It conveys the same message as the first reading   
v God is compassion, tenderness and above all he is slow to anger  
v I would rather say that God does not get angry, on the contrary, he suffers our wrong behavior because this harms us and causes us to be detached from him.
v But, as the first reading puts it, God gives us time, he waits for us, and he continues calling us. 

GOSPEL Mt 13:24-43

*     The Gospel for today is the continuation of last Sunday’s Gospel 
*     All these parables found in chapter 13, are about the kingdom.  
*     Through them we are able to understand what Jesus felt and thought about the kingdom of God that he had come to announce to us.   
*     And also to  approach the experience of Jesus himself about the way God acts.   
*     Not in theory, but as a proclamation which requires a response to be understood, those who do not accept it do not understand it either.   
*     The parables of the kingdom are short and suggestive accounts with images and comparisons taken from the daily life in order to help us to think.   
*     They want to help the listener to question his/her own life and situation in relation to the kingdom.     
*     The parables we will read today speak about what is hidden, what is little.   
o   The weed grows together with the wheat, it grows silently 
o   The mustard seed is insignificant but it gives origin to a tree where the birds make their nests.   
o   The yeast which is not seen but makes the batch of wheat flour leaven.  
*     It is always hard for us to look for God in the daily events of life, in what is little, common. We prefer to look for God in the spectacular.  
*     This also was the way Jesus’ contemporaries looked at the kingdom   
*     He had to teach them and help them to discover the presence of God who works in silence in the daily life, in what is insignificant.   
*     To discover how God works always in the silence. Even if we cannot see anything extraordinary, God continues to work in the world and in each human being.   
·       Paul in this fragment of the letter to the Romans explains how the Spirit works.    
·       The Spirit comes to our aid and teaches us how to pray in the way Jesus taught us  
·       And he does so interceding for us, because we do not know what to ask for, but the Spirit knows.    
·       And God, who knows our hearts, knows also what the Spirit wants to say.   

My very dear Prelate and Father in J.C.,  Since   Your Excellency is our  first father and support, I can but to tell you the sadness I have…   that a third part of the wall, which separates the cloister from the section which is not built, collapsed but not only the wall, but the land as well; you can imagine  how I worry having the cloister open, because since during winter the weather here is humid due to the frequent rains and fogs, it is not easy under those conditions to rebuild the wall, because the land is crumbling away and there is no firm ground, and besides, this causes more expenses over the ones we already have with the construction….(Letter of María Antonia París to St. Anthony M. Claret January 11 1961)

I have received your letter from the 18th of the present month, and, informed of its content, I tell you in respect to holy poverty that I know very well what the sacred canons of the church say, and what is ordered by the laws of the kingdom; but this is in relation to what is normal and ordinary, and it seems good to me. But what is happening with us is something exceptional, that God wants, and I will prove it with two simple explanations: the first is that experience has already manifested it, as you well know, that you have not lack anything, and your will lack nothing in the future, if you put your trust in God; the second reason is that God wants that a public testimony in favor of poverty be given, since regrettably, in the present time, people have more trust in money than in God.   I only say to you that you do what is in your power; but may poverty reign over all, since it is a virtue very much loved by Jesus and Mary.    (Letter of Saint Anthony M. Claret to María Antonia París, January 30  1962)

CLARET, St. Antonio María Claret, Letters. To María Antonia París
CONFERENCIA EPISCOPAL ESPAÑOLA. Sagrada Biblia, versión oficial.
MARÍA ANTONIA PARÍS,  Letters. To San Antonio María Claret.
PAGOLA, José Antonio, El camino abierto por Jesús – Gospel of Matthew.
SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso, La Biblia de nuestro Pueblo.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

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: transforming us into 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  In 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….  
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.
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.
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.
. 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.
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 usually 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  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.  

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….   (Taken from the Letter of St. Anthony M. Claret to María Antonia. Royal Place of St.    Ildefonso, August 31st 1860).
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)  


Monday, June 29, 2020

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  heart. 
FIRST READING – Zec 9:9-10
Who was the prophet Zechariah?  
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 This book  has two parts:  the first part (c. 1-8 )  is written by  a prophet called Zechariah. The second part (c.9-14) was written in a different time by a prophet who 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  520 B.C. to  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 this 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 in 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.  
ü  A prophet before speaking looks at the political situation of his time. The prophet is always involved in the political situation either of his people or of the whole world. The prophet discovers and understands the message from God in those situations.
ü  Do I listen to the voice of God in the midst of my daily life?
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.
*     During this week, in spite of the chaos that we see in many places around us, let us dedicate some minutes each day to truly give thanks to our Father and God, of whom Jesus said he was his “Abba=daddy”.      
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 Jesus 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 us 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.   
o   St. Augustin has a sentence related to the love of God, he says “Our heart is not at rest until it rests in you.”
Venerable María Antonia Paris - They will have Seminaries where the young men who will be ordained should be educated.  They should provide God-fearing men, who are also zealous of his Holy Law, as the Teachers of these young men.  They should educate them detached of all interests, without there being a distinction of what is yours and mine in all Seminaries; this even when they themselves cover the expenses, and if anyone gives any sign that what he really desires is to be ordained for his own benefit, or to help his family, rather than for God’s glory, he should not be ordained.  Greed has destroyed religion.  Greed has its foot on it and does not allow it to breathe.  (Renewal of the Church # 22 in Paris and Claret, Two Pens Moved by the Same Spirit, 

St. Anthony Mary Claret - Each diocese must have a theological seminary, that may be a true seed-bed of  good priests . This is a very essential point, since if the Bishops succeed in forming good clergymen, they will be their collaborators; but if they have the misfortune to see in their dioceses bad clergymen, this will be the greatest obstacle for the good, and from no one will they suffer so much as from the bad clergymen. (From Notes of a Plan to Keep and Preserve the Beauty of the Church   in Paris and Claret, Two Pens Moved by the Same Spirit)