Sunday, May 20, 2018

Dear Sisters and Friends, Happy Pentecost Day. From next Sunday until the First Sunday of August you will not receive the commentaries on the Sundays' readings. I will send them again for Sunday August 4. May the Lord grant to all of us a peaceful and restful summer.

Saturday, May 19, 2018


PENTECOST – CYCLE B – 2018

Ø  Fifty days have passed since the solemnity of the resurrection of the Lord, when the Church, filled with joy, announced to all men and women who live on this planet that Jesus, the crucified man, is risen. Alleluia

Ø  In our meditation, today, we are going to do something different. We are going to concentrate on the beautiful sequence which we will recite during the Mass on Pentecost Sunday.   

Ø  And afterwards we will reflect on the Gospel.     

SEQUENCE OF PENTECOST – VENI, SANCTE SPIRITUS
v  Veni Sancte Spiritus, sometimes called the "Golden Sequence," is a sequence prescribed in the Roman Liturgy for the Masses of Pentecost and its octave,

v  It is usually attributed to either the thirteenth-century Pope Innocent III or to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Cardinal Stephen Langton, although it has been attributed to others as well.

v  Veni Sancte Spiritus is one of only four medieval Sequences which were preserved in the Missale Romanum published in 1570 following the Council of Trent (1545–63).  


Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!

Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
Come, within our bosoms shine.

You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul's most welcome guest;
Sweet refreshment here below;
In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.

O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
And our inmost being fill!
Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill.

Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away:
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.

On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore
In your sevenfold gift descend;
Give them virtue's sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end.
Amen. 


*      The Holy Spirit is first mentioned in Scriptures in the Book of Genesis, when God creates by his Word, at the same time that the breath of God hovers over the waters, and transforms the chaos in a wonderfully beautiful universe.    

*      This Spirit who is already present in the first creation, will be present again in the new creation, the incarnation of the creating Word, which is the Son of God. 

*      And again the Spirit is present at the birth of the Church, the community of the followers.

*      And he is the Spirit that Jesus has promised to send and who will remind us and make us understand all the words that Jesus has said to us.    



v  The Church calls upon the Spirit, Come!  Who is this Spirit?

o   It is the Spirit of God, to whom we ask for light  

o   He is the loving father of those who are poor, of those who trust fully and unconditionally in the love of the Triune God.   

o   It is the spirit which with his light comes into our soul and gives a consolation which nobody else can give to us.    

§  A consolation which can go together with the difficulties  

§  To which our limitations is not an obstacle   

§  Neither are our infirmities, nor  our fears   

§  Not even our sins

o   This Spirit is the guest of our soul. Jesus had told us that if someone loves him, the Father will love that person, and they will come to abide in him or her.   

o   The Spirit of Jesus gives rest to our souls; he is also breeze, joy and consolation in all our sufferings and difficulties.      

o   We all have the experience of how good it is when the Lord is present and allows us to experience it. Everything changes, nothing is the same anymore. The three Apostles on Mount Tabor had the experience of the presence of God  and,  Peter in the name of the three of them,  wanted to build three tents in order to remain there, close to God.  

v  The Church who calls on the Holy Spirit invites Him to enter  

o   She opens the doors of her heart, of her deepest self, of her intimacy   

o   So that the divine light may fill her, fill all of us and help us to understand what God wants from  us

o   Yes, O Spirit of God, look at our emptiness, because we are filled with many things which take your place

o   Look how vulnerable we are without you; see how the evil spirit takes hold of us in so many ways, sometimes very obvious, but most of the time so subtle that we do not realize it. 

v  Our soul is dry, as we sing in the psalm “like a dry land without water” 

v  Our heart is sick, sick with pride, with ambition, with emptiness, with sadness… if you are not present, come, come!  

v  And heal our sick heart, which is anxious to love, but which looks for love in the wrong place, like that Samaritan woman you met at the well and,  you filled her empty jug with the living water that wells up to eternal life.  

v  Yes, wash us again, as you washed us at our baptism, baptize us in the Spirit and fire, as the Baptist announced.     

v  Our spirit is rebellious; transform it with your meekness, your mercy, your kindness.  

v  And lead us in the journey of our life toward the eternal abode where you, Lord, will wipe away all tears.     

v  Give us your seven gifts, and give us the faith we need to receive and enjoy them.    

v  Come to our aid, because we do not know how to ask, but you, Holy Spirit, intercede for us.    

v  And we also ask you to give us your joy, the joy to know that we are loved, coddled, taken care by the Triune God, and above all grant us that this joy be transformed into eternal joy when the Lord will come and call us.



GOSPEL – Jn 15:26-27;12-15

 We have two options for the Gospel, both from the Gospel of John, one from chapter 20 and the other one  from chapter 15. We will use the second option for our reflection.    

v  Jesus says to his disciples that the  Spirit will testify to him, and

v  They will also testify because they have been with Him from the beginning

v  Jesus has many more things to tell them, but they could not  bear it then. 

v  But Jesus will send his Spirit who will guide them, guide the community, the Church, throughout history, and He will teach them little by little as the different situations arise. 

v  The Spirit will also glorify Jesus and He will teach us to do the same with our life, which will be the strongest testimony. 



                         CLARETIAN CORNER 

May the light of the Holy Spirit guide my pen to write with clarity what God our Lord has ordered me several times and now again orders me by means of Holy Obedience.  I beg, then, all the Saints in Heaven, and especially my Most Holy Mother, Mary Most Holy, upon whose feet I lie prostate, plunged in my own vileness and engrossed in the midst of my lowliness, without knowing where to begin.  I cannot remain silent, and to speak is temerity.  Supposing then my God, that you order me to do so, I will speak so that those who will read it will magnify your works, Lord, and seeing the inadequacy of the instrument may remember that to establish the Holy Church you chose twelve poor fishermen and now to revitalize it you deign yourself to give the fundamental plan to another poor creature without more miserable comparison.  Blessed be your Power and Kindness forever. (Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress. Plan for the Renewal of the Church 1)  
We had to cross the river Jojo 35 times because it zigzags between two high mountain ridges, and the traveler has no course open to him other than to cross it. After we made it past the river, we had to climb a stretch of mountains called the Knives of Baracoa. The name fits them perfectly because they really are like a row of knives. A road runs along the crest of the mountains, and there are stretches of it as tortuous as a chambered nautilus. These are divided, so that anyone descending can avoid ascending traffic. Otherwise, if two horses confronted each other, one would have to back up because the road is too narrow to turn around in. The mountains run along the spine of the island for about four leagues, and they are so high that you can see the ocean on both sides. We had to climb and cross these mountains fasting, and the road is so steep that on the way down I slipped and fell twice, although I wasn't badly hurt, thank God. . (Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder. Autobiography 541)



Tuesday, May 8, 2018


THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD   2018

«  Forty days ago we celebrated   Jesus triumph over death, his RESURRECTION.   

«  After the resurrection  Jesus has appeared in different ways to his apostles,  who will be his  witnesses, the witnesses  of his resurrection.   

«  Today we celebrate, in the liturgy, Jesus return to the Father.    

«  He will not be visible anymore; he will be present in his church through the sacrament, the word and his witnesses.

  

 FIRST READING  – Act  1:1-11

-          Jesus asks them to remain in Jerusalem until they receive the promise from the Father.   

-          Luke says, in the Acts, that the Lord has tried, in different ways, to convince them that he is alive.  

-          John baptized in water, you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit.  

-          Let us reflect on the meaning of the word “baptize.” To baptize means to submerge into water. Thus when Jesus says they will be baptized in the Holy Spirit, it means that they will be submerged in the Spirit of God that we call the Holy Spirit.

-          And this will happen as well  to those who will follow him through the centuries.    

-          Thus the Spirit does not come to us in a visible and external way, but we are submerged in the Spirit.  

-          The apostles ask if the kingdom of Israel will be restored, but Jesus says that this is known only by the Father.  

-          But, they will receive the Holy Spirit who will come upon them and make them witnesses of Jesus throughout all the world.   

-          It is important to enter into the symbolic meaning of the vocabulary used to describe this mystery of faith, the passage or return  of Jesus to the Father.  

o   Lifted up = we always look  at the blue sky when we speak about heaven, the abode of God. Thus to be lifted up means that Jesus goes to the Father.  

o   They continue to look intently, we feel so good when we experience the presence of God   

o   Why are you standing there looking at the sky? He will return  

o   But now “you have to be his witnesses”, now it is the time of the church, our time when we have to do the same works that Jesus did. We have been called to do that through our baptism. 

-          It is not a sad farewell, it is not a day of mourning, it is the day of Jesus  triumph, that is why the church puts on our lips the responsorial psalm:  

o   We are invited to clap our hands, to shout with cries of joy, to sing the praises of our King, to sing hymns  

o   Because the Lord has established his throne upon the heights, he reigns over the nations and he sits as King on his sacred throne. 

-          It is neither a sad farewell, nor a day of mourning because Jesus has triumphed over evil and death. 

-          This triumph is already ours in hope, now for a little while we have to work with the Lord to invite all to the heavenly banquet for all eternity.  



Responsorial Psalm Ps 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9

-          R. (6) God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
 All you peoples, clap your hands,
shout to God with cries of gladness,
For the LORD, the Most High, the awesome,
is the great king over all the earth.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
 God mounts his throne amid shouts of joy;
the LORD, amid trumpet blasts.
Sing praise to God, sing praise;
sing praise to our king, sing praise.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
 For king of all the earth is God;
sing hymns of praise.
God reigns over the nations,
God sits upon his holy throne.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.



SECOND READING   Ephesians  1:17-23

-          The author of this letter asks that the Lord Jesus     

o   May grant us a spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in  knowledge of  him  

o   May the eyes of our heart be enlightened in order to know what is the hope that belongs to his call   

o   What are the riches of his glory, the inheritance among the holy ones, destined to be distributed to the members of the Church.    

o   So we may experience his power in our life  

o   This is the same power that the Father has revealed in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and in giving to Jesus a glory which is above all that has been created.   

o   He has put all things beneath the feet of Jesus; this means that he has made  Jesus Lord and Head of the church which is his body.   

-          A good preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ triumph will be to reflect and try to answer this question:  

o   Do I really know Jesus, do I know him in such a way that this knowledge fills me with hope, joy, strength and trust without limits? Let us have a heart to heart conversation with the Lord. 



GOSPEL  Mark 16:15-20

ü  This reading is part of the longer ending of Mark’s Gospel. 

ü  The Gospel written by Mark ends on verse 8, the verses from 9 to 20 were added later on. And this addition was also considered part of the cannon of the Scriptures.   

ü  The Lord sends the 11 to proclaim the good news to all creation.   

o   Whoever believes will be saved, and whoever does not believe will be condemned.  

o   This gospel becomes a trail of salvation or condemnation.  

o   Condemnation, not for those who have never heard of the Gospel, but for those who have heart and have rejected it.   

o   The key word is “freely”. We need to accept the message as free human beings, as God has created us. Persons able to obey,  that is “hear” and follow the voice of God they have heard. This means that we acknowledge that God is, that he is not an imagination. 

ü  Let us examine the words used in this gospel to describe the signs which will accompany the Works of those who believe:   

o   They will drive out  demons = evil will be destroyed   

o   They will speak new languages =  The Holy Spirit comes upon all the believers in a ongoing Pentecost, upon all the peoples  and  all the cultures

o   They will pick up  serpents with their hands= the serpent  is the symbol of all that is evil.

o   If they drink any deadly thing it will not harm them  = a poison is the symbol of all that threatens life.  

o   They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover = the sick will be comforted and healed which does not precisely mean cured from their sickness but alleviated from their sufferings by the compassionate love of the followers of Jesus.

o   The mission of the church will be the same mission of Jesus who proclaimed the Kingdom and healed all that were afflicted by any kind of suffering.   

o   It is a mission which requires the action of the whole person: Word, hands, eyes and mind.



ü  The disciples are left now without the visible presence of the Lord.

o   Each one will go to a different part of the world to preach the good news of salvation, the good news of the unconditional love of God who is Father, Brother and Friend (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).   

o   The Lord is with them, with his church, and works with them through signs which can be accomplished only by him.


CLARETIAN CORNER
 




First and foremost the Apostolic Missionary must conform his life, person and customs with his Divine Master Jesus Christ.

The missionary must compose his person in a way that he be a cause of edification to whom might look at him and relate closely with him.

This composure requires many qualities but specially the following:

First, modesty in his way of looking he must never look out of curiosity specially women. Second, he must be moderate in his words.  Third, he must not move his hands when talking but have them in a decent and quiet way without touching his face, his chin much less his nose; he must not do gestures with the mouth when speaking, he must not change the tone of his  voice nor speak making fun or scorning people.  The missionary loses very much of his modesty with these manners, and most of all he loses the good opinion the people had of him before relating with him because they see in him things not proper of the holiness of his state of life; in this way he has very samnll or not fruit at all with his words.  María Antonia París, Foundress.  The Apostolic Missionary. 1-3  

I remember that in my second year on the island I wanted to go overland to Baracoa because the sea wasn't fit, and I took off with my companions.  We took along a cook, both because the places we were going to were few and far between and because the inhabitants of the few outlying houses had abandoned them in their flight from the cholera epidemic. Our good cook fell behind because his pack-mule couldn't walk; so the rest of us went on ahead, arriving very late that night at a house where we could find nothing to eat but a small and really tough piece of hardtack, which we broke into four pieces, one for each priest. Next morning we had to start out, fasting, on the worst road I've ever traveled in my whole life. Anthony Mary Claret, Founder.   Autobiography 540.   



BIBLIOGRAFÍA

CLARET, Antonio María. Autobiografía.  

PARIS, María Antonia. Autobiografía en Escritos, con Comentarios por   Juan Manuel Lozano.

PÉREZ HERRERO, Francisco. “Evangelio Según San Marcos” en Comentario al Nuevo Testamento. Casa de la Biblia 1995. 

RAVASI, Gianfranco. Según las Escrituras – Año B. San Pablo-Bogotá, Colombia 2005.

SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso. LA BIBLIA DE NUESTRO PUEBLO (comentarios). Misioneros Claretianos. China 2010.   

Sunday, April 29, 2018


SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER  – MAY 6, 2018

v  We are approaching the Ascension of the Lord, which we will celebrate next Sunday     

v  Two weeks ago Jesus told us that he is the good shepherd, that he knows his own and his own know him

v  Last Sunday Jesus said that he is the vine and we are the branches. With this image he wanted to tell us that the life which we have is his own life.  

v  Today we will hear him telling us in the Gospel that we are slaves no more, but sons and daughters.  

FIRST READING – ACTS 10:25-26. 34-35. 44-48

Ø  Peter has had a estrange dream, by means of which the Lord wanted to make him understand that nothing that God has created is profane or impure or bad.   

Ø  At the same time that he awakens from his sleep, some men sent by Cornelius knock at the door.  They have a message for Peter; Cornelius wants him to come to his home.   

Ø  Peter goes to Cornelius home and there God makes the wonders we will read in this text.    

o   On arriving to the house Cornelius greets and pays homage to him.    

o   Peter tells him to stop because he is also a human being and not a God. 

o   Then Peter speaks to all and says that he realizes that God does not show preferences, he treats all of us equally

o   What an encouraging word, God loves all of us equally; he has created us and loves whatever he has made.  When we read the creation account in Genesis we hear over and over the same refrain … and God saw that everything was good, very good.    

o   Anyone who acts honestly pleases God.   

Ø  Peter is still speaking    

o   When the Holy Spirit comes down on all those present  

o   The Jews, who had been converted and had come with Peter, were astonished to see  that   

o   The gift of the Spirit which they had received, was also poured out on Cornelius household      

o   Because they could hear them speak in tongues  

§  I have many times asked myself what is so important about speaking in tongues  

§  Maybe it can be a way to describe the wonders of the presence of the Holy Spirit.  

§  But it could be also that God, in performing this sign, wanted to let the little community of Cornelius household know that they are part of the larger community of faith born after the resurrection of Jesus. 

§  When the Spirit is poured out on us in the sacraments we do not see anything especial, any external sign, but in the interior of each one of us something great is happening, something that makes us speak new languages, that is to say, makes us  act in new and surprising ways.  .

§  But this does not happen overnight, it needs time to change us and shape us into the image of the only Son of the Father.   

Ø  Peter asks 

o   Can we deny baptism to those on whom the Holy Spirit had been poured out?  

o   The answer is that Peter make  them to be baptized 

o   All the people in the household are baptized   

o   Peter does not baptize them but he asks those who have come with him to do it.   

o   Sometimes I think that here we have an  explanation to the difficulty that some of our Christian brothers have about the baptism of children. Probably in that household there were children too and for what it is written, they were baptized.    

Ø  Peter has just admitted the first gentiles into the community of Jesus’ followers.  

Ø  How much we must be grateful to Peter and to the first followers of Jesus that they were attentive to the signs that Jesus, who was not with them in a visible way, was giving to them, to guide them in the formation of the ecclesial community.     

 RESPONSORIAL  PSALM  Ps  98: 1,2-3,3-4

. (cf. 2b) The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
 Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
 The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
 All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
 



v  This psalm has the form of a hymn, an invitation to sing the wonders God has made.   

v  Hymns spring from a deep human need: to say in words the admiration before the divine works: creation or the historical events, the city of God and even before God himself.   (commentary to the psalms taken from the official version  of  the Conference of Bishops from Spain, my translation.)    



SECOND READING   1Jn 4:7-10

Tradition says  that John repeated, over and over again to his disciples, that they had to love one another as the Lord has loved us.

*      In today’s reading John invites us to love one another because whoever loves has been begotten by God.   

*      In our mind this is very clear, if God is love whoever is able to love is because he or she has been begotten by God, and wants to be like him, wants to be faithful to his or her nature. The difficulty comes in practice when our limitations interfere with our behavior.   

*      If all of us, who call ourselves followers of Jesus, all who have been reborn in the baptismal waters, made the commitment to live as the Lord has commanded us,  took the resolution  to be faithful to our nature of children of God, what a different world we would have!

*      John continues saying that the love of God has been revealed to us in that he has sent his Son   that the world could have life in him.    

*      This is what love is, not that we have loved God first, but that he has loved us first.  

*      I think that even if we meditate over and over again on this truth, we will never grasp it completely.  



GOSPEL  Jn 15: 9-17

·        This reading is taken from the words of Jesus after the Last Supper.  

·        Jesus asks us to remain in his love, as he remains in his Father’s love.   

·        His joy will remain in us, and thus our joy will be complete.  

·        His commandment is this: that we love one another as he has loved us.   

·        Such is his love that he has given his life for us, and in turn we are invited to give our life for others.    

·        Each one of us can look at his or her own life, and discover in it how many ways we have had the opportunity to give our life for others.   

·        The opportunities are always present, the invitations from the Lord are always present too, we only have to listen to, stop, make silence inside of us and, then we will be able to listen to the invitation: love as I have loved you.   

·        It will help you, if you do  not see it as a burdensome commandment, but if instead  you look at me, how I have lived among you, how I have treated you and then go and do the same.     





CLARETIAN  CORNER  




I never sought any consolation, either interior or exterior, from any creature; I always kept a profound silence of the graces that Our Lord put in my soul. And I kept this silence even with my confessors, because I did not have as a matter of consultation the Holy Law of the Lord; thus on speaking of the acts I practiced, to fulfill with perfection the Divine Commandments, it always seemed to me vanity or idle words, because I had the duty to fulfilled them;  and on the contrary it would have given me great remorse of conscience to hide the smallest thing that I had omitted due to my neglect or laziness, which, by the mercy of God, I was always very careful to confess with clarity. María Antonia París, Foundress.  Memories and Notes 9.  


During the first two years, despite the earthquakes and the cholera epidemic, we managed to visit all the parishes in the archdiocese. In every one of them a mission was led either by myself or my companions, and in rural parishes with a very large territory, several missions were given. Every two or three leagues we would hold a mission in one of the many large tobacco sheds. We would set up an altar, a pulpit, and a confessional with the help of some chairs and gratings we brought along for that purpose. Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 538.



BIBLIOGRAPHY

CLARET, Anthony Mary. Autobiography.

PARIS, María Antonia. “Memories and Notes” in Writings, with Commentaries by   Juan Manuel Lozano, cmf.

SAGRADA BIBLIA – Official translation of the Episcopal Conference of Spain, 2012.