Friday, December 15, 2017


THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT – CYCLE B – 2017-2018   



The third Sunday of Advent is called “Gaudete Sunday” which means Sunday of Joy. In the midst of the penance, during the time of Advent, in preparation for Christmas that the Church used to do, this Sunday was an invitation to take a break in the journey, the faithful were invited to rejoice because the birth of the Savior was near and, the time of preparation was almost over. As a visible sign of this invitation to rejoice the Church uses in the liturgy of this Sunday the pink color, which is brighter than the violet  we use in the other three Sundays.      



FIRST READING: Is 61: 1-2. 10-11

Ø  Chapter 61  of Isaiah forms a unit which begins and ends mentioning the name of God whom he calls Yahweh Adonai  אֲדֹנָי   which means Lord my God.    

Ø  It has three parts:  

o   Verses  1-3a, the prophet announces his vocation  

o   Verses 3b-9 are about the people and we may think that they are pronounced by the Lord   

o   Verses 10-11 declaration of the holy city’s joy .    

Ø  The Reading for this Sunday is taken from the first and third parts   

o   The prophet says that the Spirit of the Lord is upon him, because he has anointed him   

o   He brings good tidings to the little ones: the poor and those with wounded hearts.   

o   He proclaims the year of grace in terms of the Jubilee   Lv 25,10-17

o   It is a year of liberation for some and of vengeance for others.   

o   Vengeance in the Old Testament has a different meaning from the meaning it has among us. For us it implies hardness of heart and cruelty, but for Israel it meant the vengeance from God which meant defending the rights of the poor and the restoration of injustice.   Without doubt it is experienced as punishment, suffering and deprivation for those who have more material goods that needed.  It is the original justice of God, the Creator. Creation is for all, and if I accumulate more than I need I take it from another human being who will than suffer want.   God comes to restore the original justice of creation, his justice which is always love.   

o   Verses 10 to 11 are words in the mouth of the holy city that rejoices at the presence of God who has adorned her, everything has bloomed in her.  As everything material has been embellished in her also God will make justice and praise florish in her.   

o   Probably the prophet wants to encourage the dwellers of Jerusalem who are discouraged before the ruins in the city; that suffer  because those who come back want to take back what they left, and those who remained in the city want to keep what they acquired.   

o   The season of Advent reminds us that we are in the Great Jubilee since the incarnation and coming among us of the Son of God.  He is the Great Jubilee, the Jubilee of pardon, in him justice and praise become real. And united to him in baptism we can be justice and praise too.   



 RESPONSORIAL: PSALM  Lk 1:46-48; 49-50; 53-54   



 R. (Is 61:10b) My soul rejoices in my God.
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked upon his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
R
. My soul rejoices in my God.
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
R.
My soul rejoices in my God.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy.
R. My soul rejoices in my God.



For the responsorial psalm we will recite the Song of Mary, called also Magnificat for the word at the beginning of the song in the Latin version.   It means “to proclaim.”

«  Mary belongs to the little ones, the poor, the humble.  

«  She rejoices because God has looked on her lowliness and has done great things, wonders in her.   

«  She rejoices because the Mighty One has taken vengeance: he protects the poor and restores justice filling the hungry with good things, and sending away empty the rich.   And this because his mercy endures from one generation to the next. The vengeance of God saves all, the humble and the arrogant. To the poor he gives plenty and to takes away what the powerful have because this helps them to look for the salvation that comes only  from God who  offers it  to all.   

SECOND READING  1 Thes 5:16-24

*      Paul invites the community of Thessalonica to rejoice, praying unceasingly and giving thanks. 

*      He invites them also not to harden their spirit, not to despise the teaching, to test everything and to keep what is good, rejecting what is bad.   

*      Maybe the enthusiasm for the charisms had reached the community of Thessalonica.   

*      What is new causes always difficulties, there are always frictions with the tradition, but Paul gives a good rule, to test everything, that means to listen and to  discern.  To discern means to listen to the official teaching of the Church to know what comes from God and what comes from the evil spirit, even if sometimes it comes disguised as piety, spirituality and austerity.   

*      This fragment ends wishing that the God of peace make us perfect, and assures us that the one who calls us, is God, he is faithful and thus He will make us perfect. Our task is to open up to his action, because He is the one working on us.    



GOSPEL  Jn 1:6-8; 19-28

ü  The Church puts again in front of  John the Baptist.  

ü  Verses 6 to 8 are inserted in the prologue of John’s Gospel, breaking the harmony of the prologue. 

ü  It is a commentary to clarify that in spite of how great his disciples see him, he is not the light, but the witness to the light, so that through his preaching men and women could believe in the true light, which is the Logos(Word) made flesh, Christ.    

ü  In verses  19 to 28 we read the testimony that John the Baptist gives about himself:  

o   He is not Elijah, the Judaism before and after the New Testament considers Elijah, not as the precursor of the Messiah, but of God himself. 

o   He is not either the prophet they expected. The prophet is the one that brings salvation at the end of times: King, priest and prophet realities never applied to John and that apply to Jesus.  

o   He is a voice that cries out in the desert “prepare the way.”  

o   He announces the presence of one greater than he. 

Let us end this reflection with the words of a prayer from the Brazilian Bishop Helder Camara:



Make me, O God, a rainbow of goodness, hope and peace.   

Rainbow which may never announce false goodness, 

vain hopes, false peace. 

Rainbow, send by You to announce that your Fatherly love, the death of your Son and the wonderful action of the Spirit, O Lord, will never fail.    



CLARETIAN CORNER  

 Many times, Christ our Lord has manifested Himself to me as a young man with all His majesty. Some times I have seen His Divine Face and all His Scared Humanity and it always broke my heart because I have never seen him glorious but always suffering the most atrocious tortures as if wanting to choke the Sacred Heart in His Holy Breast, more than once our Lord has told me, “ cry, my daughter cry for the evils in the church that pierce My Heart”, and with this, as if His Majesty would open His breast to show me His Heart surrounded by thorns. Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Religious of Mary Immaculate Claretian Missionary Sisters.  Autobiography 14.

I was barely six when my parents sent me to school. My first schoolmaster was a very active and religious man, Mr. Anthony Pascual . He never punished or upbraided me, but I was careful not to give him any cause for doing so. I was always punctual, always attended classes, and always prepared my lessons carefully.

I learned the catechism so well that whenever I was asked to I could recite it from beginning to end without a mistake. Three of the other boys learned it as well as I had, and the teacher presented us to the pastor, Dr. Joseph Amigo. This good man had the four of us recite the whole catechism on two consecutive Sunday nights. We did it without a single mistake before all the people in the church. As a reward he gave each of us a holy card, which we have treasured ever since.. Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Religious of Mary Immaculate Claretian Missionary Sisters.   Autobiography 22 and 23.



BIBLIOGRAPHY

Comentario al Antiguo Testamento II.(Commentary to the Old Testament) Casa de la Biblia 1995.

Comentario al Nuevo Testamento. (Commentary to the New Testament) Casa de la Biblia 1997.
PARIS, María Antonia, Autobiography.  
CLARET, Anthony Mary . Autobiography.  

RAVASI, Gianfranco.    Segun las Escrituras: double commentay to the  Sunday’s readings.   San Pablo 2005.

SCHÖKEL Luis Alonso. La Biblia de Nuestro Pueblo, adaptation of the texto & commentaries:   International Team.





Friday, December 8, 2017


SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT  – CYCLE B – 2017-18

Last Sunday, First Sunday of Advent, the liturgy invited us to be awake, to be watchful.”  In the Second Sunday of Advent we are invited to prepare the way.” Only those who are watchful will be able to prepare the way.     

FIRST READING :   ISAIAH 40:1-5. 9-11

Ø  This Reading is taken from  the beginning of the book of the Second or Deutero-Isaiah. This prophet speaks to the people exiled in Babylon, and announces that they will soon return to their beloved country.   

Ø  The fragment we are going to read offers several images of a unique beauty, images of peace and consolation.   

o   First Image verses  1 &2.

§  He has served his sentence, these words bring to our imagination the feelings of the prisoner who has completed his sentence, and he is told  that he will soon be free.     

§  Another translation of the same sentence says: his service is completed. These words bring to our mind the soldier who is allowed to return to his country after having served his country during  the designated time.  

o   Second Image  versos 3 & 5

§  A voice cries out, what does it cry out? PREPARE THE WAY! how?   Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!  This image brings to our mind the preparations that were made in ancient times for the arrival of important persons: kings, emperors, war conquerors…     

§  The crooked way has to be made straight for the road to be safe for the journey.  

§  Thus the Lord will reveal himself and all human beings will see his glory.   

§  This text reminds us also of the crossing of the sea, when the slaves from Egypt walked through a safe path in the midst of the waters.  

§  Or the journey of these same slaves, being now a nation, in their way through the desert,  with them goes Yahweh, the Lord of Hosts, as the Old Testaments call him so many times.    

o   Third Image  versos  9 &10

§  The Messenger who brings good tidings; in ancient times the messages were sent personally by means of messengers.  

§  This messenger is asked to go up to a high mountain and cry out at the top of his voice.  

§  What does he has to announce? That God is here.   

§  God comes with power and he brings the salary with him, but his recompense comes before him.  What does that mean? Is he talking  about the salary that Christ has gained on the cross and which he transform in recompense freely given to us?     





Fourth Image  verse 11

§  The shepherd who feeds the sheep with kindness, is an idyllic image.  

§  The shepherd feeds the flock, he carries in his arms the little lambs and takes care of the ewes.   

This reading is filled with themes for our meditation and for our personal reflection on our own life. Let us prepare, in the desert of our heart, a way for the Lord, a way smooth so that our  brothers and sisters will not find any difficulty in the relationship with us. And thus we may be able to announce to all that the Lord is near, that he comes,  but more than that, that he is already in our midst and takes care of us as the shepherd takes care of each one of the sheep according to its needs.   



SALMO RESPONSORIAL – SALMO 85, 9-10. 11-12. 13-14.



R. (8) Muéstranos, Señor, tu misericordia y danos al Salvador.
Escucharé las palabras del Señor,
palabras de paz para su pueblo santo.
Está ya cerca nuestra salvación
y la gloria del Señor habitará en la tierra.
R. Muéstranos, Señor, tu misericordia y danos al Salvador.
La misericordia y la fidelidad se encontraron,
la justicia y la paz se besaron,
la fidelidad brotó en la tierra,
y la justicia vino del cielo.
R. Muéstranos, Señor, tu misericordia y danos al Salvador.
Cuando el Señor nos muestre su bondad,
nuestra tierra producirá su fruto.
La justicia le abrirá camino al Señor
e irá siguiendo sus pisadas.
R. Muéstranos, Señor, tu misericordia y danos al Salvador.



*      This psalm is a   supplication of the community in three parts:  

o   God’s actions   verses 2-4

o   A supplication   verses 5-8

o   A divine Oracle that is fulfilled   verses 9-14

*      The responsorial psalm of the Mass is taken from the third part.   

*      Let us reflect on the word peace =  SHALOM  in Hebrew.

o   Shalom has a wider and deeper meaning than our word peace   

o   Among us the word Peace frequently means absence of conflict, of differences, of confrontations, of war.   

o   But the meaning of shalom goes beyond this, maybe we could translate it as harmony.   

o   According to the dictionary the word harmony when it refers to music means the combination of simultaneous and different sounds, but  consistent. This means that peace understood as harmony is the combination of what is different to make a whole accord  and beautiful.   

o   Shalom speaks of peace and harmony in the relationships between creation and its Creator. This entails:    

§  The relationship of the human being with his/her creator.  Relations of peace and harmony in which we are filled with the joy of experiencing  and of knowing  that we are cared for, loved and fondled by our God, who is  our Father.    

§  The relationships among the human beings,  this harmony in the relationship is translated into justice. Relationships through which we acknowledge each other as brothers and sisters, all created by the same God who is Father and Mother of all.    

§  The relationship between the human beings and the rest of creation, and this also entails justice. As the psalm says justice and peace shall   kiss. Relationships in which we acknowledge ourselves as part of the same creation together with the rest of the beings.   

GOSPEL  – MARK 1:1-8

*      At the beginning of his Gospel, Mark says that he will tell us the Good News of Jesus, the Son of God.     

*      Good News because Jesus is always newness and goodness; and also because it is a new period in  salvation history.   

*      The person of Jesus will be revealed more and more clearly, as we go further into the Gospel of Mark until we reach the climax of Jesus death, when a Roman soldier, a pagan, on seeing how he dies will recognize him as the Son of God.     

*      The biblical quotation which follows after the prologue is a combination of different texts taken from   Exodus 23:20; Isaiah 40:3 y Malachi 3:1,   

*      Mark introduces John the Baptist as the Herald of good news who can point out the Messiah as present.   

*      After explaining the mission of John in verses 2 and 3; his preaching in verse 4, his success in verse 5 and his life style in verse 6; in verses 7 and 8 the Baptist introduces Jesus to us.  

*      He tells us that he does not feel himself worthy to loosen the thongs of Jesus sandals. That he, John baptizes in water, but Jesus will baptize them in the Holy Spirit.  



 CLARETIAN CORNER 
            

 But God, who had given the idea for everything, disposed that the procurator came that morning to
celebrate the mass. I saw clearly in this the Divine disposition, and was encouraged to speak to him after mass (after the time of the mass I had been praying to God- if He was pleased – to prepare the procurator to accept it well and that everything could be done without any disappointment. This would be the most painful for me.)    Everything came out as prepared by the hand of God. Because, after the mass, I explain to Him the motives and inconveniences I had for not leaving the house. And how the Lord had enlighten me that night in that same way, that it was alright and that he would take care to send a message not to go on with the other house. I gave thanks to the Lord who, as a good father, remedies the necessities of his children and provides for their economy. (Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Religious of Mary Immaculate Claretian Missionary Sisters , Autobiography 187)



From the opening to the closing days of my tenure in office, I wrote a number of circular letters; but I had no desire to write a properly pastoral letter until I had finished my first pastoral visitation of the whole archdiocese, so that my words would apply to the real situation and not be just so much idle talk.
My first pastoral letter, written and signed on September 20, 1852, was addressed to the clergy. This letter was reprinted and expanded to include declarations on the following: (1) clerical dress, (2) duties of vicars forane, (3) duties of pastors and other priests, (4) arrangements for pastors and assistants, (5) style of life, (6) chaplains, (7) marriage regulations, (8) marriage dispensations.
My second pastoral letter of March 25, 1853 was addressed to the laity, reminding them of what we had taught them in the missions and pastoral visits we had just completed.  The third pastoral was in protest against a shipment of evil books brought in by boat. The fourth was an invitation to prayer and other pious works in order to obtain the declaration of the dogma of Mary's Immaculate Conception.  The fifth was written on the occasion of the declaration of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. This was published in Cuba, Barcelona, and Paris. May it all be for the greater glory of God and Mary Most Holy, and for the good of souls, as this has always been my intention. (Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder de the  Religious of Mary Immaculate Claretian Missionary Sisters   Autobiography 546,547,549.

Friday, December 1, 2017


FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT- CYCLE B   - 2017



We begin a new liturgical year, the year of Mark. The Church invites us every year to contemplate Jesus through the eyes and the experience of a different evangelist.  Let Mark guide us during this new year to experience Jesus in the way he experienced him.    

The Gospels tell us real events of the life of Jesus, but the evangelists are less interested in the events themselves than in the meaning of the events under in the light of faith. Thus each one uses the parables, the events, and the miracles that better help to convey their message about the person of Jesus.  The Gospels are in reality theological reflections on the life, actions and, words of our Lord Jesus. 



Ø  Mark presents Jesus more human but, at the same time, he says from the very beginning of  his Gospel that Jesus is the Son of God.  He will repeat this again in chapter 8 when he narrates the confession of Peter and at the end of the Gospel the Roman centurion will exclaim “truly this man was the son of God.”    

Ø  The Gospel of Mark is the shortest of the four Gospels and he has been the base for the composition of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.   

Ø  This Gospel is also called the gospel of the disciple, because it is like a handbook for the disciple to learn to be like the Master.   

 THIRD ISAIAH – TRITO-ISAIAH  

*      The first Reading is taken from the third part of the book of Isaiah called Third Isaiah. 

*      This prophet has the difficult mission to sustain the hope of the people that has come back from exile, and do  not see the promises fulfilled in the way they expected. 

*      In this section of the book of Isaiah there is a tension between the present worries and the future hope; the accusation for the crimes committed and the messages of encouragement; the present disappointment and the messianic expectation, the openness to the foreigners and the condemnation of these foreigners.   Toward the end of the book we find the theme of the future Jerusalem, the transfigured city as the fulfillment of the promises.     

.

  Is 63,16-17.19.64,2-7

o   In the liturgy of Israel, as well as in the liturgy of the Church, we celebrate the memorial of the intervention of God in our history, we make these events present, we do not repeat them today and, we do not remember them as past events, but with our celebrations and worship we make present their salvific meaning for us today.  

o   In the beautiful reading of this Sunday the author and we with him remind God how our experience of him has been in the past.  

§  You are our Father and our Redeemer, this will be  your name for ever   (63, 16)

§  Neither eye, nor ear have heard of a god who does so many wonders as you do for those who hope in you. (64,3)   

§  At the end of the Reading for this Sunday the prophet repeats to God, You Oh Lord are our father; we are the clay and you are the potter; we are the work of your hands.   

§  How a trust and confidence in these hands that have fashioned us, caressing us and protecting us even without being aware of it, and spite of our sins and imperfections. His love does not have either limits or conditions.  

o   The prophet  remembers  also the wonders God did for his people in the past.  It is another way to remind God  again who he is and who he has been for us.    

§  In this remembrance we wish  that God do the same wonders now 

§  That he protect us so that we do not go back to our evil ways 

§  The prophet mentions what are these evil ways and he asks God that in spite of all of these He continues to be our Redeemer and Creator.  

  Responsorial Psalm -  Ps 80, 2ac y 3b. 15-16. 18-19

R. (4) Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
O shepherd of Israel, hearken,
from your throne upon the cherubim, shine forth.
Rouse your power,
and come to save us.
R. Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
Once again, O LORD of hosts,
look down from heaven, and see;
take care of this vine,
and protect what your right hand has planted
the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
R. Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
May your help be with the man of your right hand,
with the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
Then we will no more withdraw from you;
give us new life, and we will call upon your name.
R. Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved



This psalm is at the same time a lamentation and a supplication.  

We may distinguish three parts in it   

§  An initial invocation  vv. 2-4

§  A lamentation (vv. 5-8)

§  A plea  (vv. 6.9-20)

The responsorial psalm is taken from the initial invocation and from the plea. 

§  We invoke God as shepherd, as Lord of Hosts, as vinedresser, as creator… 

§  We tell him that if he helps us and if he continues to be with us, we will never abandon Him. 

§  The new life has been given us in baptism, we can invoke him with complete trust, but at the same time with responsibility, being aware of what we say, and thus live according to the words we pronounce.   



SECOND READING: 1 Cor  1:3-9

«  We begin the reading of the letter of Paul to the community of Corinth  

«  In the first two verses Paul introduces himself as apostle and introduces also his companion  Sosthenes.

o   Sosthenes was well known in Corinth. He had been the chief of the Synagogue of the city. His conversion, awaken a great interest, and maybe he even was a good preacher.  All these circumstances were probably the reason for Paul to associate this man to his ministry.  To mention his name in his letter could help Paul in his relationship with the community of Corinth, that so many times manifested itself cold and dry with the apostle.   

«  Today’s Reading begins with a greeting wishing  the grace and peace of the God for the community. 

«  He continues saying that he gives thanks to God for the community  

«  The Lord will strengthen them until his day, the day of the Lord Jesus, called by the first communities “parousia” 

o   This word is not of Christian origin, it was used in the Greek world. Its initial meaning “the coming of someone” was used mainly for the coming of the emperor or a prince. 

o   Although in this passage of his letter Paul does not use the word “parousia” but “apocalypse” which means “revelation, manifestation.”  Paul uses both words in his letters.   

o   The use here of the Word “apocalypse=revelation” for the day of the Lord, instead of using parousía=coming, helps us to understand the meaning of the second coming of the Lord, as a manifestation at the end of human history.    



GOSPEL: MARK 13:33-37

Ø  The theme of this first Sunday of Advent is the follow up of what we read the last Sundays of last year: “be alert” 

Ø  Be alert, but without fear, with unlimited trust and longing for his salvation which is the fruit of his kindness.   

Ø  He who loves is always waiting for the beloved.  Jesus must truly become the beloved for each one of us and for the community.  

Ø  Let us await the complete fulfillment of the promises of new heavens and new earth where fear, doubts, tears, suffering will be no more; everything will be peace and harmony.   

LET US REPEAT WITH THE FIRST COMMUNITIES OF FOLLOWERS OF JESUS:   



COME LORD JESUS! MARANATA! 



  And let us listen to the Lord who says   

YES, I AM COMING SOON!    



CLARETIAN CORNER

 I always felt the present of His Divine Majesty at my right hand side. This divine presence was so real and true that it seemed that a person was at my side. When I would lift my heart to God in order to defend myself from the fury of hell (which were many),  I would incline my eyes toward the Lord as is usually done when talking respectfully to a person, and I was so sure of the divine presence that I did not  dare to look at that part where I   was sure His Divine Majesty was. I would only lift my eyes to an image of Christ crucified, that I had before me and then I would seen an extraordinary clarity in my cell that I do not know to what to compare it. The wall that was before me became whiter than snow, without any comparison; and it seemed that whiteness came from a reflector whose light was so clear and bright that I seemed like the rays of the sun, but cleared and soothing. Venerable María Antonia Paría, Foundress of the Religious of Mary Immaculata Claretian Missionary Sisters. Autobiography 21

I couldn't stand for anyone to make fun of them, as young boys are often wont to do, despite the exemplary punishment meted out to the boys who made fun of Elisha .

      Moreover I remember that when I was seated in church and an old man would come in, I would stand up gladly and give him a seat. I would always greet old people on the street, and if I had the pleasure of talking with one of them, I enjoyed it immensely. God grant that I have known how to use the advice of these elderly gentlemen to advantage

My God, how good you are! How rich in mercy you have been to me! If you had given others the graces you have given me, they would have cooperated with them so much more. Mercy, Lord: I'll begin to be good from now on, with the help of your grace. St. Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Religious of Mary Immaculate Claretian Missionary Sisters. Autobiography 20-21

   

BIBLIOGRAPHY

CLARET, St.Anthony Mary  Claret, Autobiography.

PARIS, María Antonia, Autobiography

SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso, La Biblia de nuestro pueblo, adaptación del texto y comentarios. (The Bible of our People, adaptation of the text and commentaries)

Sagrada Biblia, versión oficial de la Conferencia Episcopal Española. (Sacred Bible, official edition of the Spanish Conference  of Bishops)