Tuesday, May 16, 2017


VI SUNDAY OF EASTER – CYCLE A - 2017 

It is almost the end of the Easter season. Let us review the message given by the Gospels during these six Sundays of Easter before the Ascension of the Lord. 

·       On Easter Sunday we contemplated Peter and John going to the tomb and on seeing the burial cloths John believed.

·       On the second Sunday we saw the goodness and tender love of Jesus in his dialogue with Thomas, and with the other apostles, and we heard the Lord saying  that those who believe without seeing are blessed.  

·       On the third Sunday we read about the two disciples on their way to Emmaus and how Jesus joined them in their journey. 

·       On the fourth Sunday Jesus said that he is the good Shepherd and the door of the sheep.  

·       On the fifth and Sixth Sundays the Gospels are taken from the conversation of Jesus with his disciples in the Last  Supper: 

·       Fifth Sunday:

-        Heaven is like a house with many rooms, one for each one 

-        Jesus is the way, the truth and the life to get to this “house” 

-        Jesus is the image of God the Father, the sacrament of the Father as we read in the document Lumen Gentium of the Council  Vatican II.  

-        And Jesus tells us that he/she who believes in Him will do greater works than him, because He goes to the Father.  

·       Sixth Sunday:   

-        The promise of the Holy Spirit 

-        We are in Christ   

FIRST READING  – Acts  8:5-8; 14-17

Ø   Last Sunday we heard that, as the community of the church was growing,  they had to create more ministries, and thus the diaconate was established for the first time in the Church.  Deacons were to dedicate themselves to serve the needs of the Church.  This ministry has experienced changes and evolved through history.

Ø  Today Philip, one of the deacons that had been chosen by the community to serve the needs of the widows and other persons in need, goes to Samaria to bring there the Good News.  

Ø  They were suffering persecution for their faith in Jesus, and Paul was more and more against the new faith of the followers of Jesus

Ø  Following what the Lord had told them, they went from one place to another to protect themselves from the persecution, and on so doing they also proclaimed in the different places the good news of Jesus. 

Ø  The Samaritans who  listened to Philip proclaiming the Good News about Jesus, accepted the faith and were baptized.   

Ø  When the news reached the Apostles, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. 

Ø  And impose hands upon them so they could  receive the Holy Spirit.  

Ø  This is a beautiful image of the young church, they take advantage of all situations to announce. The persecution is the occasion to announce  the good news to other brothers and sisters. 

Ø  This little church makes real the mandate of Jesus “go, proclaim, baptize, teach” what? All that I have taught you.

Ø  And what has he taught   by words and deeds? That God is love, and that we are called to love, since we are the image of our Creator who  knows only to love without conditions. To this we are called, and this is what we have to announce by words and deeds.

Ø  Is our enthusiasm for the Lord, like that of this young church? That we do not waste any occasion to live up to this mandate of the Lord, not so much by our words but by our life that cries out that the Lord is alive, and in encountering him in the community every Sunday, our life keeps changing?   

 RESPONSORIAL PSALM. Ps 66: 1-7.16.20.

R. (1) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
 Shout joyfully to God, all the earth,
sing praise to the glory of his name;
proclaim his glorious praise.
Say to God, "How tremendous are your deeds!"
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
 "Let all on earth worship and sing praise to you,
sing praise to your name!"
Come and see the works of God,
his tremendous deeds among the children of Adam.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
 He has changed the sea into dry land;
through the river they passed on foot;
therefore let us rejoice in him.
He rules by his might forever.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
 Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare
what he has done for me.
Blessed be God who refused me not
my prayer or his kindness!
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.

*     This psalm is an invitation to sing the wonderful Works of God 

*     What works?

Ø  Creation 

Ø  Exodus, liberation: he has changed the sea in dry land 

Ø  The Psalmist invites us to listen to what God has done for him  

Ø  What has God done in my life?  Let each one of us dedicate some time in silent prayer and  in solitude with the Lord and, let us think about the wonderful works that the Lord has done in our  life.  

SECOND READING  – 1Pt 3:15-18

ü  Peter invites us to have Christ as the Lord of our heart, the Lord of our life.     

ü  He also says that we have to be ready to give an account of our faith when we are asked. This means that we have to know what we believe, to have ownership of the faith we have received from our ancestors.  

ü  Peter tells us also that it is better to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.  

ü  Because Jesus who was innocent suffered for us sinners.  

ü  He was condemned to death, but God brought him to life by the Spirit

ü  How do I react to the unjust suffering in my life? When I suffer without having done the evil I am accused of.    

GOSPEL   Jn 14,15-21

*     Jesus says to his disciples “if you love me, you will keep my commandments” 

*     What are his commandments? In the Last Supper he said that he has only commandment “love one another…” but to learn how to make real this commandment in our life, we have to look at Jesus, his life, his ministry, the way he relates to other persons, because Jesus is the new Law that comes to complete the Old Covenant, the Law given on Mount Sinai.  

*     If we live according to his commandments Jesus will ask the Father for another advocate who will be with us always   

*     Why only with those who live according to his commandments who believe in Him? I have read something that may help us to answer this question:  

ü  The Spirit is the anointing that Jesus receives as Head of the body which is the Church 

ü  From Him, Head, the Spirit overflows as a sacred ointment over his whole body, the Church. 

ü  This Spirit that Jesus pours over his whole Church makes possible, the life, the faith and the ministries of the community of beleivers.  

ü  I think that this can be the explanation to what Jesus says that He will ask for the Spirit for those who keep his commandments.  

ü  That is to say to those who are united with Him the head of the body.  

*     In silent prayer, united to Jesus, let us ask the grace to understand this beautiful image of Christ head of the Church-faith community- body.  

*     The reading ends with these words of Jesus 

·       He who loves Jesus, will be loved by the Father  

·       Jesus too will love him/her and will reveal himself to him/her   in the intimacy of love.  



CLARETIAN CORNER

 O, My Lord and my God, in what way you are the most loving father and the most faithful friend! All left us in the hands of unknown people and not even one had the courage to accompany us, but you my most loving father, carried us on the palm of your hand! O, who could shout all around the world to say how faithful you are to your friends! Since you have been so to the one who has been so great an enemy of yours, and, God grant that she may not continue to be such after receiving so many delicacies of love!  (Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, 140)

On Tuesday, the eighth, I left Vich for Barcelona and Madrid, where the Papal Nuncio, Msgr. Brunelli, invested me with the pallium on the thirteenth. I was presented to Her Majesty and the Ministers of State. During the time it took to arrange all my credentials, I busied myself preaching and hearing confessions in Madrid.  When all was in order I returned to Catalonia. I arrived in Igualada on October 31 and preached there for All Saints' Day. The following day I visited Montserrat, where I also preached. Next I went to Manresa, where Father Mach was conducting an All Souls' Novena.  I preached there in the evening, and on the following morning gave Holy Communion to a large crowd who had heard that I would be there and so had prepared for it. (St. Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, 500)
 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

CLARET, Antonio María. Autobiografía.

PARIS, María Antonia. Autobiografía.

SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso, La Biblia de nuestro Pueblo.

DAILY ROMAN MISSAL – Midwest Theological Forum

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER – CYCLE A - 2017 

As the Easter season moves towards the Ascension,  we read from the farewell discourse of Christ in  St. John’s Gospel chapters 14 to 17. 

FIRST READING – Acts 6:1-7

Ø  Jesus  said to his apostles that the Holy Spirit  would remind them all his words.  In this reading from the Acts,  these words of Jesus become real.  

Ø  This passage is like an image of what the Church has been doing during her journey through history, whenever she is confronted with new problems or issues she has to discern the new situation in order to be faithful  to the  Lord.  

Ø  Those who have the mission to guide the Church, the pastors, will have to look at the problems,   difficulties or   new situations which confront the Christian  community ,  discover  and try to understand the voice of the Spirit.

Ø  All the groups in the Church will have to do the same, under the guidance of their pastors.  

Ø  And also all the members of the Church will have to do the same if they want to be faithful to the words of Jesus.   

Ø  Chapter 6 of Acts presents a very concrete situation.  There are differences among them, they did not take care of all the poor in the same way.  

Ø  At the beginning the first community of the followers of Jesus was formed by persons converted from the Jewish faith. They took good care of their widows and orphans. That was not difficult, since they had been doing that long before in response to the law of Israel.   

Ø  But now there are also other widows who come from other countries, speak other languages.   

Ø  The community is too large now, and the apostles cannot take care of all the needs that the community has. They decide to look for help among the men of the community. A new ministry is born in the Christian community: the deacons whose main mission will be to take care of those in need. 

Ø  They choose 7 men deeply spiritual and prudent, faithful to the teachings of the Lord.  

Ø  The first community of the young Church that the book of Acts presents as a model has its problems too.  

Ø  There are two groups, those who want to continue with the old way of the Jewish traditions. We could call them conservatives.  

Ø  The second group was formed by persons converted from the pagan world. They were open to new ways in the interpretation of the teachings of Jesus.  

Ø  Faced with this situation the community of the believers, the Church,  has to listen to the voice of the Spirit of Jesus who will remind her the words of Jesus “love one another as I have loved you….” 

Ø  This will give birth to the local or ecumenical councils. The pastors assembled in council will look at the different problems that the Church experiences in different times, and they will look for answers listening in community to the Spirit of Jesus. 

Ø  Let us reflect on our community, our apostolic movements and see if we are faced   with  problems similar to those of the first community of Jerusalem.    

RESPONSORIAL PSALM. Ps 33: 1-2. 4-5. 18-19 
R. (22) Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
 Exult, you just, in the LORD;
praise from the upright is fitting.
Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten-stringed lyre chant his praises.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
 Upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
 See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
*     The second stanza ends with these words: the earth is filled of the goodness of our Gpd and Lord.  What a wonderful sentence, very comforting for us who are so many times afraid and fearful of our Good Father God.   
SECOND READING – First letter of Peter

Since the second Sunday of Easter we are reading from this letter. What do we know about this letter?  

ü  If we read the first verse of the letter  

ü  We know that Peter is the author of the letter 

ü  That he writes for the elect, the baptized-consecrated, from a very large region of Asia.  

ü  And let us go now to the last chapter 5,12, Peter says to us that the letter has been written by Silvanus. This means that Sylvanus has been the secretary who has write down what Peter was dictating

ü  The addressees are people from different countries who live all over the region. It is a letter addressed to migrant persons, who work and live far from home and from country. People discriminated against by those who are in a better economic position. People considered like objects of production, not as persons. Men and women who work to produce and thus increase the wealth of the owners, who have forgotten that we are all equals.   

ü  This reality might as well explain the central theme of the letter, the sufferings of Christ that give meaning to our own sufferings. 

ü  The verb suffer and the word suffering is repeated over and over throughout  this entire  letter.       1Pt 2:4-9
« The message of this fragment of the letter of Peter is very rich. 

« Peter describes the Young Church, the community of the believers as a temple and each one of us is one of the  stones. This  is a beautiful image, the more beautiful the stone the more beautiful the temple. 

« This passage also reminds us the words of Jesus to the Samaritan woman. Jn 4,23-24.  

« In the book of Revelation there is another image of the Church as the Holy City which is at the same time the bride of the Lamb 21,10-27. 

« Peter describes Jesus as the cornerstone. The cornerstone holds the building together. 

« Jesus is this stone. This stone is of value for those who have faith 

« But it is a stumbling  blog for those who oppose it ( Is 28,16). 

« These words remind us the words of Simeon when Jesus was presented in the Temple by Joseph and Mary 

 Lk 2,34-35

« Peter tells us that we are a priestly nation consecrated to proclaim the wonderful works of God. 

« Let us discover in our life the marvels God has done in the past, is doing now and will continue to do  for us.    

GOSPEL  Jn 14:1-12

*     Jesus says to his apostles and to us “do not let your hearts be troubled.”  

*     He also invites them to believe in God and in Him.  

*     Heaven is presented as a home with many rooms which Jesus himself prepares for each one of us.  When we expect someone to visit us to stay for some days, we prepare the room and everything so that person feels at home.  Let this powerful image that John offers to our contemplation help us to dream, to imagine the beauty of heaven, our home; knowing that Jesus prepares an eternal room for us with the Most Holy Trinity.  

*     There are two other images in this text  

ü  Jesus is The way to go to this “home”     

He is also the truth and the life.  

 The way to discover the truth in order to have abundant life.

ü  Whoever sees Jesus  sees the Father   

Jesus is in the Father and the Father in him.

The words of Jesus are the words the Father says to him. 

The works Jesus does are the works the Fathers does in him. 
The passage began  with the words of Jesus “do not let your hearts be troubled,”  and ends with these powerful words which will help us “not to be troubled”:
I SOLEMNLY ASSURE YOU, THE MAN WHO HAS FAITH IN ME WILL DO THE WORKS I DO,

AND GREATER FAR THAN THESE, WHY? BECAUSE I GO TO THE FATHER.


Friday, May 5, 2017


FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER – CYCLE A - 2017  

INTRODUCTION

Ø  The central theme of today’s Gospel is Jesus, the good Shepherd, who is the gate of the sheep  and for the sheep. 

Ø  In the first and second readings Peter reminds us that Jesus has suffered in the hands of sinners.  

Ø  He who did not know sin, and in whose mouth no evil was found, suffered silently.  

Ø  His wounds have cured us   

Ø  The theme of Jesus’ suffering is present during the whole time of Easter.  

Ø  The Risen Lord has the marks of the nails and of the spear, so that we do not forget his death even during the joyful time of Easter.   

Ø  Today the universal Church prays for vocations of special consecration, let us ask the Lord to send laborers into his field. Let us ask the Lord that young men and women may follow his call to work in his vineyard as priests, deacons, religious men and women.    

FIRST READING  – Acts 2: 14a, 36-41

« Peter is with the eleven, this means that Matthias had already been elected in the place of Judas. 

«  He stands up and proclaims the kerygma, the proclamation of Jesus as Lord and Christ.   

« Peter announces solemnly that they crucified Jesus whom the Father has made Lord and Christ, 

« On hearing that they were deeply distressed.   

« Are we so distressed when we hear these words? We have also crucified the Lord many times during our life, especially when we have hurt anyone of our brothers and sisters. 

« But we always have hope; Peter invites them to repent, to be sorry for their sin and to be baptized.  

« Many of us are already baptized, but we always have the opportunity of the “second baptism”, the sacrament of reconciliation.  

« The promise of the Holy Spirit made to the people of Israel is also for his descendants.   

« We are the new people of Israel; we also participate in this promise.  

« Peter continues to proclaim, and many accept and are baptized.   

« Those who have been baptized become part of the little community of believers in Jesus, the Lord and Christ.   

RESPONSORIAL PSALM  Ps  23 

The Lord is my shepherd there is nothing I shall want

The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want

In verdant pastures he gives me repose

Besides restful waters he leads me

He refreshes my soul.

The Lord is my shepherd there is nothing I shall want

He guides me in right paths

For his name’s sake

Even though I walk in the dark valley

I fear no evil; for you are at my side

With your rod and your staff

That give me courage

The Lord is my shepherd there is nothing I shall want

You spread the table before me

In the sight of my foes

You anoint my head with oil

My cup overflows

The Lord is my shepherd there is nothing I shall want

Only goodness and kindness follow me

All the days of my life

And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord

For years to come.



v Psalm 23 is one of the most beautiful psalms. 

v It speaks about unbound and filled with peace trust in the shepherd.  

v The shepherd is always there, with his staff which gives security and trust.   

v The shepherd who leads the sheep to peaceful places of repose, where pasture and water are abundant.   

v The shepherd who accompanies the sheep until the end of its life.  

v Do we trust in this same way in our shepherd, Jesus?   

SECOND READING  1Pe 2:20b-25

Ø  We continue reading the first letter of Peter.     

Ø  Peter says to his community that to suffer being innocent is a grace, is a gift.  

Ø  Because to this we have been called in order to be like Christ.  

Ø  He suffered and has left us and example so that we may also learn to suffer like him.   

Ø  He did not insult, or threaten, but he handed himself over to those who judged him unjustly, and for whom he also offered his sufferings.  

Ø  Is this our behavior when we are treated or judged unjustly?  

Ø  He carried our sins in his body nailed to the cross, so that on being liberated from our sin we could serve God faithfully.   

Ø  If Jesus had not accepted the cross, we would never have been able to offer our works to God, we would not even had been able to do good works.   

Ø  We were going astray as sheep and we have come back to the shepherd and guardian of our souls, Christ our Lord and Shepherd.  

Ø  Do we remember to give thanks for all that our shepherd and king has done for us?  And for his continuous care for us?   

GOSPEL – Jn 10:1-10

ü  Jesus says that whoever does not enter through the gate of the sheepfold is a thief and a robber.  

ü  The shepherd enters through the gate     

ü  The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice.   

ü  The shepherd calls them by name; each one is especial for him. Let us remember that someplace else in the Gospel of Luke Jesus tells the story of the shepherd who leaves the 99 sheep and goes in search of the one that went astray.   

ü  The shepherd goes before the sheep and leads them, they know his voice and they follow him.  

ü  Jesus says clearly that he is the gate of the sheep.   

ü  That the sheep do not follow strangers, but they follow him because they know him.   

ü  On Reading this it came to my mind the question, those who leave the church, the community and do not come back, is it because in our words and actions they do not recognize the shepherd, Jesus?   

ü  Jesus repeats again that he is the door, who enters through him, will be saved and will enter and come back and will find good and abundant pastures.    

ü  The image of the door is very eloquent and very beautiful:  

o   The sheepfold did not have a gate 

o   It was a circular place with an opening to enter and to leave.   

o   The shepherd allowed the sheep to enter at night and he slept at the entrance thus being the gate himself. 

o   If a robber or a wild animal wanted to enter into the sheepfold, it would have to be through the shepherd.   

o   This is the image which Jesus presents to us when he says that he is the gate.   

o   We may be at peace and secure because our shepherd takes care of us, and he has come so that we may have abundant life.      

o   Are we at peace when we are with him?    

ü  The whole passage has an exceptional beauty, and it transmit a peace which only the Lord can give.   

ü  Why do we still fear? Has he not given us enough proofs that he loves us? 

ü  Some time ago the Pope in one of his short daily messages said:   “Do not be afraid, open  the doors to Christ.”  

 CLARETIAN CORNER


My companion and the three young ladies were firm in this conviction so that they were admired by everybody on the ship at the moment of saying goodbye to their parents. The latter, full of pain for the separation, were not able to hide their tears, and the daughters, with the joyful modesty shown by the smile on their lips more than by the tears in their eyes, bit them the last farewell. Those who said that they were handing five doves up to the hands of wild wolves were not wanting. But, O the infinite power of God who turns wild wolves to mildest lambs. Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 137. 

O my Jesus, give me your holy grace so that I may imitate you perfectly in practicing all the virtues. As you well know, I can do all things with you and absolutely nothing without you.

Love is the most necessary of all the virtues. Yes, I say it and will say it a thousand times: the virtue an apostolic missionary needs most of all is love. He must love God, Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and his neighbors. If he lacks this love, all his talents, however fine in themselves, are for nothing. But if, together with his natural endowments, he has much love, he has everything. Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 437-38.

BIBLIOGRAFÍA

CLARET, Anthony Mary . Autobiography.

PAPA FRANCISCO, Vatican web page.

PARIS, María Antonia. Autobiography.

STOCK, Klemens. La Liturgia de la Palabra – Ciclo A