Thursday, January 12, 2017


SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME - JANUARY 15, 2017

Ø  We begin today the ordinary time, which according to a liturgy professor is not so ordinary.    

Ø  During this year we will journey with Jesus in his mission of Messiah and Redeemer.  

Ø  The author of the Gospel of Matthew, Gospel which we will read during this year, writes to a Christian community of Jewish origin.  

Ø  He wants to help his brothers and sisters to discover  in Jesus the Messiah whom the prophets were presenting to us.    

Ø  However today the Gospel will be taken from the Gospel of John.  John the Baptist points out to Jesus as the Lamb of God.  

Ø  This three words "Lamb of God" has a deep meaning for a Jew, the lamb which was immolated and eaten on the night of the Passover of the Lord, the night of their liberation from the slavery in Egypt., 

Ø  Lamb which prefigured the true lamb who would take away the sin of the world and give the true freedom to every human being.   

 

FIRST READING  - Is  49:3,5-6

v  This reading is taken from one of the Servant Poems. . 

v  Servant who has been seen as the faithful servant of Yahweh, could be the people of Israel, one of the prophets, and following the theological reflection of the new people of God, the new Israel, the Church, is Jesus

v  The text has words coming from God, and words coming from the Servant. It is not a dialogue, but an inner reflection, a conversation from the heart.   

v  The Lord says to the Servant:

*      You are my servant through whom I show my glory.   

*      We may ask, what is the glory of God? Is it his power, his greatness or on the contrary it is his love, tenderness, we may say even his weakness, his ability to become vulnerable?  

*      The servant speaks and acknowledges that God has formed him in his mother's womb, has given him the mission to bring his people back to the love of his God.   

*      He continues saying that he has been glorified and God is his strength.   

*      How has he been glorified? In living and accomplishing the mission given to him in his mother's womb. 

*      God speaks again to the Servant and says that he will not only help the tribes to come back to God, but his mission will be wider, universal, he will be the light of the nations.   

*      so that the salvation that the Lord offers may reach  to the ends of the earth.



RESPONSORIAL PSALM - Ps  40 2-4,7-8,8-9,10

HERE AM I LORD, I COME TO DO YOUR WILL

I have waited, waited for the Lord

and he stooped toward me and heard my cry

and he put a new song into my mouth

a hymn to our God.



Sacrifice or offering you wished not  

but ears open to obedience you gave me  

Holocausts or sin offerings you sought not; 

then said I "Behold I come."

y confiarán en el Señor.



 In the written scroll it is prescribed for me  

to do your will, O my God, is my delight   

and your law is within  my heart.     



I announced your justice in the vast assembly

I did not restrain my lips, as you O Lord know.



·         This is a beautiful psalm in thought and in words.  

·         The psalmist says that he has waited trustfully for the Lord, who put in his mouth a new song.  

·         And on hearing him sing the song many will fear and trust in the Lord.   

·         Then he speaks to his God and says that God does not want sacrifices or holocausts.  

·         But the psalmist realizes that he has received ears to listen  

·         and discovers that the sacrifice, the holocaust pleasing to the Lord is to listen attentively and answering to what he listens. His response is "Here I am."

·         What I have to do is found in the book of the Law, the psalmist says that he loves this will of God written in the book, and says "your law is in my heart."  

·         He ends saying that he has not kept his lips in silence but that with joy he has proclaimed the joy and the justice of the Lord to the great assembly

·          Is the justice written in the book of the new Law, the Gospel, what our lips proclaim with joy to our brothers and sisters?   



GOSPEL  Jn 1:29-34 

§  Although we are in cycle A, and we should be reading the Gospel of Matthew, today the liturgy uses instead the Gospel of John.     

§  John points out to Jesus as the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world

§  He  continues saying that Jesus is that man he had spoken about to them, saying that he is above him, because he exists before him.  

§  But this man is the reason for him to had been sent to baptize.   

§  He had been told that the one upon whom the Spirit would come down, was the one who would baptize with the Holy Spirit.    

§  I John have seen and testify that this man is the Son of God.

§  Is our life a testimony of our faith in Jesus son of God?  



SECOND READING  1Co 1:1-3

·         We begin today to read in the Sunday Mass the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians.

·         Paul is aware that he has received a call to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.   

·         Together with Sosthenes he writes to the church, the community of the faithful who live in Corinth.  

·         Community that has been sanctified in baptism and called to be holy.    

·         The letter is not only addressed to the Corinthians, but to all of us who in some place of the world invoke the name of the Lord Jesus.     

·         This letter is thus addressed to us the church of Miami, of Madrid, of Rome, of Milan, of Kimwenza, of Mysore, of Indonesia, of Japan.... all called to be holy as the Father in heaven who makes the sun shine on the good and the bad, who makes the rain fall on the just and on the sinner as well.   

·         All called to be servant in the way of the great Servant Jesus. 

CLARETIAN CORNER  





Here, once more our Lord put, as of what I can understand, before the eyes of my soul, because with my bodily eyes I did not see anything, His most Holy Law and Evangelical Counsel.

I was very attentive, overwhelmed to what was happening, and it seemed to me that I was reading the Holy Law of God, but without seeing any books nor letters; I  was seeing it written, and I was understanding it so very well, that it seemed to me it was imprinting in my soul but in a particular way the book of the Holy Gospels, which till then I had never read, neither  the Sacred Scripture (O.T). After, by God’s grace, I have read something and I have seen it written word by word, as our Lord taught it to me from the holy tree of the cross. It seems to me that the words I understood were coming out from his host holy mouth.

Beside what I saw in these sacred letters (without seeing anything with my bodily eyes as I have said above) an interior voice in the depths of my soul, was explaining me their meaning and the way to practice (…)  To my understanding I saw everything in Christ Crucified who, as he was teaching me the divine letters, was explaining me their meaning. Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 4-6.



The world has always striven to hinder and persecute me, but our Lord has taken care of me and frustrated all its evil designs. During the month of August, 1847, a number of bands of men called "The Early Risers" began to spring up all over Catalonia.The newspapers put it out that the leaders of these groups would do nothing without consulting Father Claret first. This was only a move of theirs to discredit my name and to invent some pretext for apprehending me and putting an end to my preaching. But God our Lord arranged matters so as to snatch me from their clutches. He sent me to preach in the Canary Islands, as I shall now relate. Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 477. 



BIBLIOGRAFÍA

CLARET, Antonio María Claret, Autobiografía.

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

PARIS, María Antonia, Autobiografía  


Tuesday, January 3, 2017


SOLEMNITY OF THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD

JANUARY 8, 2017

INTRODUCTION

·         In this  Sunday of 2017 we recall the Magi who went to Bethlehem to pay homage to the New Born King of the Jews. 

FIRST READING  – Is 60:1-6

«  This passage is taken from the book of the Third Isaiah. It is full of optimism, joy and light. 

«  The theme of light dominates the scene; the glory of God is the light that enlightens the city of Jerusalem.  

«  The earth is covered with darkness, but the glory of God shines upon the earth.  

«  This light is a lighthouse that leads the nations toward Jerusalem.  

«  Look with joy, with overwhelming happiness all the nations come to you, the foreigners but also your children, those who were once dispersed, now return.   

«  They will bring to you the wealth of the nations, caravans of camels bringing  gold, incense and myrrh, and proclaiming  the praises of God.    

RESPONSORIAL PSALM   Psalm 72    

R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king's son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R.
Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R.
Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
The kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts;
the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute.
All kings shall pay him homage,
all nations shall serve him.
R.
Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

*      This psalm is a prayer for a king or for the crown heir. 

*      The theme of justice is present in the petitions for the king, so he will be able to govern with equity. 

*      Like in the first reading the psalm mentions the kings of foreign nations who will come to bring gifts to the king. 

*      The justice of this King will be to take care of the poor and marginalized, being like God whose justice is manifested through his compassion and mercy.   

SECOND READING  LETTER TO THE EPHESIANS

Ø  The letter to the Ephesians, together with the letters to the Colossians, to the Philippians, and to Philemon, belongs to the group of the Captivity Letters. 

Ø  For those authors who believe that the letter was written by Paul himself, the date of the letter has to be before his death, before 67.

Ø  But for those who think it was written by another person, probably a disciple of Paul, the date may be around the 80’s. 

Ø  This letter has many themes that we find also in the letter to the Colossians. 

Ø  It is a doctrinal and theological letter.  

Ø  The first part (ch.1-3) is dedicated to the Church, which has been prepared from eternity by God. There has been a progressive revelation whose culminating point is the Incarnation of the Word of God.  

Ø  In the second part what has been said in the first about the Church is applied to the behavior of the individual Christian.  

EPHESIANS 3:2-3a; 5-6

Ø  Paul says that the mystery hidden in God has been revealed to him, and he announces it to us through his preaching.   . 

Ø  This mystery has been revealed to the Apostles by the Spirit. 

Ø  The mystery hidden in God and revealed now is 

o   that through the Good News, the Gospel, the gentiles are coheirs, copartners   in Christ Jesus

o   and members of the same body.    

GOSPEL-  Matthew 2:1-12

ü  Chapters 1 and 2 of the Gospel of Matthew and of the Gospel of Luke are called the “The Infancy Narrative.” 

ü  They are, according to an author, the summary of Jesus’ life and of the evangelist’s theology. 

ü  The verses we will read on Sunday give us the synthesis of the theology of Matthew: there is a conflict between two kingships: Herod and Jesus, between evil and good.  

ü  Who was Herod? He came from Idumea (Edom. South of Judea and near the Dead Sea.) He was an ambitious and bloodthirsty man. 

ü  We find at least 5 different scenes or settings in this gospel. 

o   The Magi have followed the star and arrive to Jerusalem where they hope to find directions to find the New Born King of the Jews. 

o   Herod, the High priests and the scribes know about the prophecy and look in the Scriptures to find the exact place, which is Bethlehem. 

o   Herod speaks to the Magi and he inquires from them about the exact time they had seen the star. He tells them that, according to the Scriptures, he has to be born in Bethlehem. He wants them to come back and tell the exact place so he can go and adore him too. 

o   The Magi continue their journey and see again the star which they had lost when they arrived in Jerusalem. 

o   The Magi arrive to the place where the holy family lives, and find Jesus with his Mother. Full of joy they offer him gold, frankincense and myrrh. Afterwards they take another road to go back home as the angel had told them.  

ü  There are many contrasts in these scenes,   

o   The Magi do not know the prophecies of Israel, but they know how to read the stars and seek with an open heart without ambition or power. 

o   Herod and the priests know the prophecies thus they fear, because they believe that this new born King is going to take away their power, to change their life style filled with hate and lies.    

o   The Magi found God without knowing him. The leaders of the Jewish people do not find or recognize him, in spite of having the information.   

POST-SYNODAL APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION AMORIS LAETITIA 
Love forgives
105. Once we allow ill will to take root in our hearts, it leads to deep resentment.  The phrase
ou logízetai to kakón means that love “takes no account of evil”; “it is not resentful”.  The opposite of resentment is forgiveness, which is rooted in a positive attitude that seeks to understand  other people’s weaknesses and to excuse them.  As Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34).  Yet we keep looking for more and more faults,  imagining greater evils, presuming all kinds of bad intentions, and so resentment grows and deepens.  Thus, every mistake or lapse on the part of a spouse can harm the bond of love and the stability of the family.  Something is wrong when we see every problem as equally serious; in this way, we risk being unduly harsh with the failings of others.  The just desire to see our rights respected turns into a thirst for vengeance rather than a reasoned defense of our dignity.

106. When we have been offended or let down, forgiveness is possible and desirable, but no one can say that it is easy.  The truth is that “family communion can only be preserved and perfected through a great spirit of sacrifice.  It requires, in fact, a ready and generous openness of each and all to understanding, to forbearance, to pardon, to reconciliation.  There is no family that does not know how selfishness, discord, tension and conflict violently attack and at times mortally wound its own communion: hence there arise the many and varied forms of division in family life”.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
POPE FRANCIS, POST-SYNODAL APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION AMORIS LAETITIA

SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso, La Biblia de nuestro Pueblo.

SAGRADA BIBLIA, Versión Oficial de la Conferencia Episcopal Española.

THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE, Donald Senior and John J. Collins, Editors. Second edition

Monday, December 26, 2016


SOLEMNITY OF MARY, THE HOLY MOTHER OF GOD

JANUARY 1st , 2017

INTRODUCTION

Liturgical evolution of this solemnity.  

«  The solemnity of Mary Mother of God was celebrated in the Eastern Church before the Roman Church. 

«  In the V century France and Spain began to  celebrate  it on the Sunday before Christmas.  

«  In Rome before the VII century it was celebrated on January 1st.  

«  In the XIII and XIV centuries the solemnity of the Circumcision of the Lord replaced on January 1st the celebration of the Motherhood of Mary. 

«  In the XX century the celebration of the Motherhood of Mary was transferred to November 11. 

«  In the renewal of the liturgy promoted by Council Vatican II in 1974, Paul VI   put again the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God on January 1st. 

«  The title Mother of God given to Mary in Greek is   “Theotokos”= bearer of God, title given in the First Council of Ephesus in 431.    

Eight days after the Solemnity of Christmas, the liturgy invites us to celebrate the Motherhood of Mary.  

*      There are several different themes in this liturgy:   

o   The blessings     

o   The Spirit who makes us children of God  

o   Mary who kept all those things in her heart  

o   And holding together all these themes, PEACE. Since 1968 the Pope sends a Message of Peace to the Church and to the whole world. Pope Paul VI established the tradition.    

FIRST READING  

The book of Numbers is the fourth book of the 5 books of the Pentateuch or Torah or Law. 

Ø  It comes after the Leviticus. 

Ø  It continues to narrate the story begun in the book of Exodus. Israel continues its journey toward the promised land. At the end of the book Israel sees the promised land in front of its eyes. 

Ø  There is a message of hope in this book:  

o   The punishment for the people’s sins is not the last word from God.

o   Punishment follows sin  

o   Repentance follows the punishment  

o   And pardon and peace, and new life follows the punishment. It is manifested in the many different intervention of God in the life of his people. 

Numbers  6:22-27

We begin the civil year with a blessing, which according to the book of Numbers has been given to Aaron by God to bless the children of Israel. 

§  Let us see the elements of this blessing:  

o   May the Lord bless you, may he pronounce good words upon you. God always blesses us, he always says good things upon us. He gives us  his love, his favor and his gifts.  

o   May he keep you, may he count you among his possessions, may he protect you and put you in a secure place. 

o   May he show you his face. To see the face of God is the longing manifested in different places and in different ways in the Old Testament.    

o   His radiant face, gives joy, peace and everything that is good, beautiful and able to fulfill the longing of our heart. 

o   May he have pity or compassion of you. Compassion is the love of God who bends over our lowliness. So many times we manifest this our lowliness by pride, desire of material goods, abuse of power….  

o   Again the author repeats “may God show you his face, and this will bring peace to you.  Peace is the sum of all good things  given by God. 

§  The Church puts this beautiful blessing in the liturgy of the first day of the civil year, in the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God.   

RESPONSORIAL PSALM – Psalm  67

o   R. (2a) May God bless us in his mercy.
May God have pity on us and bless us;
may he let his face shine upon us.
So may your way be known upon earth;
among all nations, your salvation.
R. May God bless us in his mercy.
May the nations be glad and exult
because you rule the peoples in equity;
the nations on the earth you guide.
R. May God bless us in his mercy.
May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you!
May God bless us,
and may all the ends of the earth fear him!
R. May God bless us in his mercy.

o    

o   Psalm 67 is a psalm of praise and  petition of God’s mercy upon us.

o   This psalm has a theme very much alike the message of the first Reading. 

SECOND READING   – LETTER OF PAUL TO THE GALATIANS  

An author says that the letter to the Galatians is one of the most strong and polemic documents among Paul’s writings.  

It is a letter addressed to the communities of Galatia in Asia Minor. 

Ø  Paul writes it to confront the statements made by some of the community who wanted to conform to Jewish teachings, who put first the Sinai Law to the Law of Jesus.  .

Ø  Paul says in this letter that the works of the Law will not save us, that we are justified only  by faith in Jesus.  

Ø  But this does not excuse us to live according to the Law of Christ, that impels us to fight against evil in all its manifestations. 

Ø  Paul will take again many of these ideas about law, salvation, freedom in his letter to the Romans, but in a more systematic and less polemic way. 

Letter to the Galatians  4:4-7

ü  The fullness of time announced by the prophets, the time of the Messiah has come.

ü  The Messiah came born of a woman 

o   This is the only time that Paul mentions Jesus’ mother, he does not say her name, but he says that he was born of a woman. 

o   This is another way to say what John writes in the prologue “the Word was made flesh…” 

ü  Born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the Law  

ü  So that we might receive adoption as children, and be no longer slaves under the Law of Mount Sinai. 

ü  In so doing he will give us the possibility to speak to God in the same way Jesus does, calling him “Abba” Father. 

ü  Paul continues saying, if we are children we are also heirs, because God has wanted it so. It does not depend on our will, it is gift.  Our only answer to the gift is to accept it with love and to try to respond to this surprising love of our God, which has been manifested to us in the Word made man.    

GOSPEL – Luke  2:16-21

In this gospel we have several scenes: 

«  The shepherds

o   Who go in haste because they are happy, they want to see what has been told to them 

o   They found the Holy Family  

o   And they tell Mary and Joseph what the Angels had told them about the baby  

o   Afterwards they returned filled with joy, glorifying God and telling everyone what they had seen and heard.  

«  Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.  

o   She has many things to remember and to meditate in her heart  

§  Things about the baby 

§  Things about herself, about  God, the annunciation with her joys and her fears. 

§  Things about Joseph, his doubts about her, his decision to leave her, his willingness to take her into his home.  

§  Her conversations with Elizabeth about the blessings that each one had received from God.

§  Her conversations with Joseph about the child, and how to fulfill the mission that God had given them and communicated through the Angel. 

«  The Circumcision of Jesus 

o   The rite prescribed to Abraham (Gn 17)

o   Through this rite Jesus was officially incorporated into the people of Israel, the people of the promises, the people of God. 

o   And he is given the name of Jesus as the Angel had told them.  

o   This rite is another way to say what Paul says in the letter to the Galatians “born of a woman”, member of the human family. 

Message of Pope Francis for the Celebration of the Fiftieth World Day of Peace


January 2017


Jesus himself lived in violent times. Yet he taught that the true battlefield, where violence and peace meet, is the human heart: for “it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come” (Mk 7:21). But Christ’s message in this regard offers a radically positive approach. He unfailingly preached God’s unconditional love, which welcomes and forgives. He taught his disciples to love their enemies (cf. Mt 5:44) and to turn the other cheek (cf. Mt 5:39). When he stopped her accusers from stoning the woman caught in adultery (cf. Jn 8:1-11), and when, on the night before he died, he told Peter to put away his sword (cf. Mt 26:52), Jesus marked out the path of nonviolence. He walked that path to the very end, to the cross, whereby he became our peace and put an end to hostility (cf. Eph 2:14-16). Whoever accepts the Good News of Jesus is able to acknowledge the violence within and be healed by God’s mercy, becoming in turn an instrument of reconciliation. In the words of Saint Francis of Assisi: “As you announce peace with your mouth, make sure that you have greater peace in your hearts”.
·         To be true followers of Jesus today also includes embracing his teaching about nonviolence. As my predecessor Benedict XVI observed, that teaching “is realistic because it takes into account that in the world there is too much violence, too much injustice, and therefore that this situation cannot be overcome except by countering it with more love, with more goodness. This ‘more’ comes from God”.  He went on to stress that: “For Christians, nonviolence is not merely tactical behaviour but a person’s way of being, the attitude of one who is so convinced of God’s love and power that he or she is not afraid to tackle evil with the weapons of love and truth alone. Love of one’s enemy constitutes the nucleus of the ‘Christian revolution’”. The Gospel command to love your enemies (cf. Lk 6:27) “is rightly considered the magna carta of Christian nonviolence. It does not consist in succumbing to evil…, but in responding to evil with good (cf. Rom 12:17-21), and thereby breaking the chain of injustice(From the Message of Pope Francis for the Celebration of the Fiftieth World Day of Peace. January 1st  2017.)