Wednesday, February 29, 2012


«  Last Sunday the liturgy presented to us Jesus tempted in the desert. Jesus vulnerable like any one of us but faithful to the Father.  
«  On the Second Sunday of Lent every year the liturgy presents to us Jesus’ transfiguration. 
«  So with the Liturgy of these two Sundays the Church puts in front of our eyes who Jesus is: the Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity made flesh, made man.    

FIRST READING – Gn 22:1-2.9.10-13.15-18.
Ø  The cycle of Abraham in the book of Genesis ends with this account of the sacrifice of Isaac. A biblical story which awakens innumerable questions in our mind, and most of all in our heart. Probably because sometimes we read the biblical accounts literally, but we must seek the truth hidden in  the story.   
Ø  I am going to mention here three different interpretations by three biblical scholars:
o   According to one of them, the author has used a legend to convey to us a message about the meaning of faith, about the value of human life, and above all that God is the God of life who rejects human sacrifices.   
o   Another commentator thinks that Abraham, in his process of knowing the God who had spoken to him, had called him, and made promises to him, wants  to offer to God what he loves the most. He wants to do that even if in doing so the promises would not be able to be fulfilled, but Abraham thinks that God will provide, that God knows better.
o   A third one says that this story is about a believer who discovers the promise of a total salvation, through the winding road of the silence of God.  
Ø  The Old Testament presents God very often in a contradictory way, sometimes he is compassionate and tender, others he is demanding.
Ø  The truth is that it is not God who is contradictory, but the faith of the human being, who in the process of growing in the knowledge of God gives answers which seem contradictory. The books of the Bible reflect this condition of the human being in his or her relationship with the Living God.  The Bible is the book which tells us the story of God seeking   man and woman, and the slow answer of humankind to God.
Ø  Let us try to reflect on the theological richness of this biblical story. 
Ø  Abraham does not have Ishmael anymore, since he has sent away the mother with the child. His only hope for  numerous discendents  is Isaac.  
Ø  Abraham thinks or believes that God calls him and he answers “Here I am.”
Ø  He thinks that God asks him to give   his dear son, the son that God granted him one day. And in faithfulness he begins to answer to God. 
Ø  This will entail that the promises will not be fulfilled,  Abraham will not have either the large descent, or  the land, or the promises. Everything will be lost.  
Ø  Abraham will lose everything he has, all that has given  strength to his faith, and he begins this new journey in complete darkness to accomplish what he thinks is the will of God. He will become then the father of all those who believe in the promises of God, who hope against hope.
Ø  God stops Abraham.  God detests and condemns  the human sacrifices. 
Ø  Abraham does not sacrifice his son, instead he sacrifices an animal. 
Ø  The people of Israel, probably due to this story, understood that the first born had to be offered to God and redeemed by the offering  of the sacrifice of an animal. The sacrifice  of the lamb on the night of the Passover has the same meaning, the redemption of the first born.  All of this is the image of Christ on the cross, the first born and the real lamb of God offered in sacrifice on the cross. 
Ø  We are called to  live our faith, our loving relationship with God in all the circumstances of our life, those that are luminous and those that are deeply dark.  When we are in darkness it is the time to show our unconditional love,  faith without seeing, without light. These are  the brightest moments of our life. 
Ø  Abraham understands that God does not want human sacrifices. The happiness of Abraham when he realized that he did not have to sacrifice Isaac, is reflected in the sentences  “… because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your beloved son… I will bless you...
Ø  Let us ask ourselves what is our Isaac? Are we ready and willing to give it to the Lord? Even if this entails a radical change in our life?  

RESPONSORIAL PSALM  116:10.15.16-17.18-19

This reflection is taken from the book JESUS  of  Nazaret. of Joseph Ratzinger/ Pope Benedict XVI 
Ø  We are told that Jesus took Peter, James and John and led them up onto a high mountain by themselves. We will come across these three again on the Mount of Olives during Jesus’ agony in the garden, which is the counterimage of the Transfiguration. 
Ø  Once again the mountain serves –as it did in the Sermon on the Mount and in the nights spent by Jesus in prayer- as the place of God’s particular closeness.  
Ø  We need to keep together the various mountains of Jesus’ life:
o   The mountain of the temptation
o   The mountain of his great preaching
o   The mountain of his Transfiguration
o   The mountain of his agony
o   The mountain of the Cross
o   The Mountain of the Risen Lord.
In the background we have also the Sinai and Moriah, the mountains of Old Testament Revelation.
Ø  Moses and Elijah appear and talk with Jesus
o   What the Risen Lord will later explain to the disciples on the road to Emmaus is seen here in visible form. The Law and the Prophets speak with Jesus, they speak of Jesus. (the written revelation of the Old Testament and the full revelation JESUS written in the New Testament. 
o   The three disciples are shaken by what they see and experience. They are in ecstasy. They are terrified. Peter says something but without knowing exactly what to say.  It is good… let us make three tents….
o   This event according to some scholars takes place during the Feast of the Tabernacles(the tents.)
Ø  And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice
o   This is my beloved son, listen to him.
o   The holy cloud the shekinab, the sign of the presence of God himself.
o   The scene repeats that of Jesus’ Baptism, in which the Father himself speaking out of the cloud, had proclaimed Jesus as Son: You are my beloved Son.
o   The solemn proclamation of the sonship of Jesus is followed by the command “Listen to Him.”
o   Jesus Himself has become the divine Word of revelation. Jesus himself is the Torah
Ø  This one command brings the theophny to its conclusion and sums up its deepest meaning.
Ø  The disciples must accompany Jesus back down the mountain and learn ever anew to “listen to him.”
Is it not the same thing with our own  experiences of God? The experience, our being on the mountain of the transfiguration will help us to listen to the Lord in our daily life. 

*      With this hymn to the love of God, Paul ends the central section of his letter to the Romans. 
*      The dark faith of Abraham, on his journey to Mount Moriah, the place of the sacrifice of his son, the sacrifice of all his hopes, is the same faith which is sung in this hymn by  Paul. 
o   Who will be against us? Who will accuse us? Who will condemn us? 
*      If God is with us and for us nothing will harm us.     

  • Carta de los Orígenes de las RR. De María Inmaculada Misioneras Claretianas. Madrid 2009.
  • GUILLÉN TORRALBA, Juan, “Génesis” en Comentario al Antiguo Testamento I. La Casa de la Biblia, Estella Navarra, 1997.
  • LA BIBLIA DE NUESTRO PUEBLO, comentarios de Luis Alonso Schökel. Misioneros Claretianos, 2010.
  • LOZANO, Juan Manuel, Escritos(Writings) María Antonia París, Estudio crítico, “El Misionero Apostólico- The Apostolic Missionary.”   Barcelona 1985.
  • RATZINGER, Joseph (Benedict XVI), Jesus of Nazareth. New York, 2007.
  • RAVASI, GIANFRANCO. Según las Escrituras.  Doble Comentario de las lecturas del domingo. Año B.  San Pablo, Bogotá,Colombia 2005.
  • VIÑAS, José María cmf y BERMEJO, Jesús, cmf.  Autobiography of Saint Anthony Mary Claret.   

And so it has happened in this foundation, that though the Archbishop was unwilling to be concerned for this or that,  he has been, by Divine impulse, concerned for everything, because I have never expressed a desire of mine except when I have been asked. I think that my silence itself gave place to them to ask me, and God put in them more desire to advance the work, more than what I manifested, because this is the way of God in this work. I say this for the new ones coming to us, to learn how to hope in God against all hope. (Maria Antonia Paris, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters. Autobiography  218.)
 A man stepped forward, as if to kiss my ring, when suddenly his arm flew back and he brought the razor he was holding down upon me with all his might. I had my head down and was touching a handkerchief to my mouth with my right hand, and so, instead of slitting my throat as he had intended, he slashed my face across the left cheek, from the ear to the chin. The razor also caught and wounded my right arm in passing because I was holding it up to my mouth.
O, Most Holy Father! I do not find words to explain how  much love and tenderness Jesus and Mary gave me that night! (St. Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters. Autobiography 585, Letter to Pius IX, in Carta de los Orígenes 51. Madrid 2009.)   

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Yesterday we began the season of Lent, a time of grace in which we prepare ourselves as a community and as individual persons for the Celebration of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus.  

Although it seems that every year we do the same, this is not so. We are not the same, every day God makes us new. So as we change,  also the celebration of Lent is different every year, every year God has a new gift for us.  

The readings for this First Sunday of Lent

«  Genesis reminds us about the Covenant that God makes with his creation.
«  The letter of Peter speaks to us about our baptism
«  And in the Gospel Jesus goes to the desert and suffers temptation. When his “retreat” is over he proclaims the good news of the Kingdom and invites us to repent and to believe.    

FIRST READING  – Gen 9:8-15
Ø  This blessing about which we read in the book of Genesis   comes after the story of the flood.  
Ø  The biblical author uses a myth from the countries of Mesopotamia and transforms it in a theological message about human freedom, about the consequences of the wrong use of freedom which leads to destruction of the human being and of the rest of creation. (the flood destroyed every living being) 
Ø  There is no reason to ask if the flood really happened, because the author is not interested in the flood but in the truth about God and human beings.  
Ø  The author uses images, colors, beautiful descriptions which are difficult to forget and which become engraved in our memory, but these images have to lead us to the message intended by the sacred writer. 
Ø  God makes a universal covenant with Noah, who represents the whole human race, the entire creation, thus it is a universal covenant which goes beyond the chosen people, it is for all the peoples on the earth and for everything that has been created by God.   
Ø  As it happened “in the beginning…” God blesses his creation, and in a very special way the human beings” … and God saw that it was good…” “… and God saw that it was very good…”    God offers a new opportunity to the human beings, God   is not tired of beginning anew…   
Ø  The sign of his covenant described by the author is a beautiful image taken from nature; it is an image of an extraordinary beauty, the rainbow: “when I see my bow on the clouds… I will recall the covenant…”   
Ø  God is portrayed in an anthropomorphic way. God needs to see in order to remember, this is the way us human remember things
Ø  When two people were fighting, and one of them did not want to fight anymore, that person would put his bow at the entrance of his tent as a sign of peace.  
Ø  God who has his home beyond the clouds in the sky, according to the belief of the time, will   put his bow at the entrance of his tent, on the clouds. This is the sign of the covenant.  
Ø  The people of that time believed that God did everything; God would punish or bless men sending  the rain, the flood, and the drought because these were his weapons.  
Ø  In the story of the flood God is tired of the human being, and wants to punish them using his weapons, the flood to destroy everything, except Noah and his family.   
Ø  We know that the rainbow appears because of the laws of physics, but even knowing that we are in awe when we see its beauty. It reminds us of the beauty, the truth and the peace  of God.  

RESPONSORIAL PSALM  25: 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
«  The psalmist asks God to show him his ways.  
«  He asks God to remember his compassion and love. 
«  Our good God teaches his ways to the sinner, and leads the humble to justice.  
«  Let us remember that the justice of God is to make us just as He is. It is not like our retributive justice. It is the justice of God who loves and gives without measure to all the just and the sinner alike; and He calls all to love. The God who pays the same salary for the work of the whole day , and for an hour of work; he pays the same to the one who has been on the ways of God his or her entire life and to the one who accepts God in his or her last moments.  

*      Jesus suffered doing what is good for “the unjust” in order to lead him or her to God.  
*      Christ through his sufferings is our savior and our model.
*      Peter mentions the flood narrative.  
*      And he relates this account with the bath of baptism, which is not only for little group like the family of Noah, but for all who accept Christ.  
*      Baptism is not a bath that takes away material stains, but it is a commitment to become like Jesus.  Christ with his death and resurrection has open for us the way that leads to the Father. 
*      Christ is glorified at the right hand of the Father. This image reminds us about the king’s court where the most important person in the kingdom sits at the right hand of the King.   

ü  After his baptism, the same Spirit of God who descended upon him  leads him now to the desert.     
ü  For the people of Israel the desert was the place of the trial and the place to make decisions, the place of the first love.  
ü  In the desert the people of God will learn d to trust in God.  
ü  Jesus, who has taken our human nature, is tempted.  
ü  He is the perfect Israel, who in the peace and contemplative silence in the desert chooses the way of the Father. He may be seen also as the Adam(man)  of the new creation who lives in harmony with the wild beasts, thus transforming the desert in an inner paradise where the Angels of God are present.  
ü  Mark does not explain to us the content of the temptations or trials of Jesus as Matthew and Luke do.
ü  But Mark makes it very clear the triumph of Jesus over the tempter, and also his complete trust in the providence of the Father.  
ü  Jesus, the new Adam lives peacefully with the rest of creation. This image reminds us of the scene described in Genesis about Paradise when man was in peace with the rest of creation and the animals were subjected to him.  
ü  Jesus in the desert makes true also the prophecy of Isaiah… the lamb and the lion, the caw and the bear…. Jesus makes the dream of God over creation a reality.  
ü  Mark mentions Satan who puts Jesus to the test,
o   In the book  of Job  Satan is the accuser of Job, 
o   In the Book of  Revelation, Satan is the one who opposes the project of God    Rv12:7-9
ü  When John is arrested, Jesus returns to Galilee to begin his ministry of proclaiming the Kingdom.  
ü  Jesus proclaims
o   This is the time. What time? The time of the fulfillment of the promises of Yahweh. In  Jesus the fullness of time has come, the lasts days are here already.  
o   The Kingdom of God is at hand, very close to us because Jesus is the Kingdom.   This kingdom will be ours, or better to say that,  we will be in the kingdom when we make the decision to allow God to be God.
o   What does Jesus requires for this kingdom to be in each one of us, in our society? 
§  To repent, that we feel really sorry for our sins. To change this situation and to begin to act in a new way.  
§  To believe in the Good News, which are sometimes so good, that it becomes difficult for us to believe in it.  
§  To believe is to allow God to enter into our hearts, to change us, to make us in the likeness of his only Son, able to love unconditionally. 
§  He died for all of us; we cannot exclude anyone, if we want to be like Him.  
§  Only in this way the world will believe and change.    


  • CERVANTES GABARRÓN, Juan, “Primera Carta de Pedro” en Comentario al Nuevo Testamento. La Casa de la Biblia. Estella, Navarra 1995.
  • GUILLÉN TORRALBA, Juan, “Génesis” en Comentario al Antiguo Testamento I. La Casa de la Biblia, Estella Navarra, 1997.
  • LA BIBLIA DE NUESTRO PUEBLO, comentarios de Luis Alonso Schökel. Misioneros Claretianos, 2010.
  • LOZANO, Juan Manuel, Escritos María Antonia París, Estudio crítico, “El Misionero Apostólico .”  Barcelona 1985.
  • RAVASI, GIANFRANCO. Según las Escrituras.  Doble Comentario de las lecturas del domingo. Año B.  San Pablo, Bogotá,Colombia 2005.
  •  VIÑAS, José María cmf y BERMEJO, Jesús, cmf.  “Autobiography” of St. Anthony Mary Claret. 
Do not kill the spirit of the holy prayer no matter the many things he has to do.
Jesus Christ our Lord and most perfect Master during the day did mission work and at night he prayed.
 If the words of the missionary will not come from the forge of prayer, they will not soften hearts.
Be careful the missionary to be too emotional with the enthusiasm of the homily; he must not immediately say his feelings about any matter but wait for the proper time and it will be better.
Strive prudence when in silence and temperance when speaking. (María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters. The Apostolic Missionary, 2.19-20; 22-24) 
My God, how good you are! You use the very weaknesses of the body to cure those of the soul. You make use of this miserable sinner to heal both bodies and souls. What the prophet said could clearly be seen: Domini est salus.  Yes, Lord, health was yours and you were giving it. (St. Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters.  Autobiography 182)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Ø  The first Reading and the Gospel speak of forgiveness. Jesus forgives the sins of the paralytic and restores him back to life in its fullness.    
Ø  Paul says to the community of Corinth that Jesus is the Yes, the Amen of God. 
Ø  It is the second part of the book of Isaiah, chapters 40, 1-55, 13, is called the book of Consolation.   
Ø  Until the XVIII century it was believed that Isaiah from Jerusalem was the author of all 66 chapters of the book.  
Ø  The decision to separate chapters 40-55 from the firsts chapters 
o   Was historical: the author addresses not anymore the inhabitants of Jerusalem but a community in exile in Babylon.  
o   The tone is also different: the tone of menace, destruction and punishment of Isaiah from Jerusalem, is transformed here in a tone of great tenderness, hope for a better future, and of great consolation for a people who suffers the consequences of having departed from God. Maybe they did not abandon God, but their ancestor probably. Yahweh does not punish them; they suffer the consequences of the sinful decisions of their ancestors and their own decisions.   
Ø  The author   
o   He uses a poetry which makes us think of a serious, fervent, optimistic and sympathetic person. 
o   His faith in the God of history is so strong, that he believes that the historical events contribute to the redemption of Israel.  
o   The author discovers the cosmic dimension of the work of God 
§  The mosaic covenant reaches the whole of the human race on mentioning the covenant with Noah and with Abraham. 
§  All in his book reaches to the whole creation 
§  The reflection done by Israel in their sufferings in the exile has helped the people to trust in Yahweh, in a lager way than when they were in their own country. 
Ø  The Religious Message of the Book:
o   The new exodus  
o   Yahweh as creator. The author wants to make known the wonderful things that God is going to accomplish, to create, to make anew in a near future, for the people in exile. 
o   The justice of God, his promises are about to be fulfilled.  
o   The power of the Word of God, a word not only written by transformed in action, in wonderful events. 
o   Jerusalem is seen, not so much as a city, but as a community of the faithful people of Yahweh. 
FIRST READING ISAIAH 43:18-19, 21-22, 24-25
«  The author puts these words in the mouth of God 
o   Do not look back to the past, what happened long ago 
o   Because I am doing something new, do you not see it? 
o   In the desert I open a way, and in the desolated places rivers will flow 
o   These images bring to our memory the first exodus from Egypt, so full of wonder deeds from God, but now the new exodus from the exile in Babylon is something new, full of wonders  
§  In the desert there is a way, it is not anymore a wandering without knowing where to go  
§  There are rivers in the desert in place of the thirst experienced during the first exodus.
o   God says that he has formed a people for himself to announce  his praises, but the people has not seek God, has not called upon him  
o   And God as a lover, or as a loving mother exclaims 
§  “Did you grow weary of me? 
§  You burdened me with your sins and wearied me with your crimes. 
o   And God continues to say 
§  However, in spite of all that you do, I am the one who wipes out your sins, your evil. 
§   I do not remember anymore your sins. If God does not remember them anymore, it means that they are no more, they have been destroyed forever. 
o   This section from verse 22 to 25 is like a trial in which God presents his accusation against his people Israel. But his loves absolves its evil doing. 
o   These verses speak in a beautiful way the reality of the merciful and compassionate love of our God. This love is made manifested in the work of our salvation, our redemption.  Jesus, in his compassion, will make visible the salvation from God, when he cures the paralytic.   

*      The response to psalm 41 presents clearly the trust of the sinner in the loving and compassionate love of our God and father. 
*       We are sure that he will forgive us and restore us to life, because of his great love for us.   

ü  Mark continues to put in from of our eyes Jesus proclaiming the Kingdom of his Father. His Father, the God of Israel, whom the Jews call Yahweh and Jesus calls him Abba, Dad. 
ü  In this second chapter of his gospel Mark presents five discussions of Jesus with his opponents: the scribes, the Pharisees, the disciples of John the Baptist and the Herodians. 
ü  In the reading for next Sunday we will read one of these controversies when Jesus heals the paralytic man.  
ü  In his first chapter Mark had said that Jesus could not come to any town or village because of the number of persons who would look for him. Here Mark says that Jesus is in Capernaum the town where he would come back after his missionary journeys.  
ü  The people fill completely the house, and Jesus is teaching them. Mark does not say that Jesus is healing anyone from their ailments; he is healing their souls, their spirit with his living word.  
ü  Four friends bring a paralytic friend of them; they want Jesus to cure the man. 
ü  Something amazing happens, Jesus looks at the man and says to him: your sins are forgiven my son 
ü  Did Jesus know what tormented the soul of that man? Did Jesus know what that man was keeping for himself? We do not know, but whatever was the reality, Jesus gives to him the most valuable gift: the pardon, compassion, the gentleness of his Father made visible in Him.
ü  Here begins the discussion with the scribes  
o   They cannot rejoice as the simple people do, a sick man has been healed, a person who was suffering is now free from his ailment  
o   Where others see grace, gift from God, they only see blasphemy. They are so full of themselves because they think they know God through the interpretation they have made of Scripture, that they are unable to discover his presence. They have forgotten that God is not made in our image, but we are made in his image.  
o   His mind is so full of human interpretations of the Law of Yahweh, that they are incapable to see him when he acts in a different way than that they were use to.   It seems that they are not aware that God is completely free, he does not fit into our schemes, laws and plans.
o   Their heart is paralyzed like the body of the paralytic man. The difference is that the paralytic gets up and walks, while they remain paralyzed in their knowledge, in themselves. 
o   They say something which is really true, only God can forgive sins. 
o   And Jesus to help them to discover that he can forgive sins says to the man “walk”.  
ü  Let us ask ourselves if sometimes our attitude is similar to that of the scribes. Maybe we have carved an image of God which is very different from the revelation of God made by Jesus.   

ü  The passage ends saying: WE HAVE NERVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THIS! 
ü  Let us ask our Lord, that we may regain, if we have lost it, the ability to be in awe on contemplating the wonders God is doing now in us and around us.  

SECOND READING: 2 Co 1:18-22
  • Paul has suffered because the Community of Corinth does not believe in his ministry or in the ministry of his companions. 
  • Paul says to them that when he has said “yes” he meant yes, and when he said “no” he meant no. 
  • And this because the Son of God who they have announced to them was not yes and no, but He is the YES of God. In Jesus the Son has made real the promises of Yahweh.  
  • As followers of Jesus, the beloved Son of the Father, we say AMEN, for the glory of God.  
  • Our life must be like the life of our teacher. He is the YES of God to his creation, and the AMEN of creation to its Creator.  
  • For this the Father has sealed us, to seal means to make something our own possession.  We belong to God the Father, who, besides sealing us, has anointed us with his Spirit which he has put into our hearts as the first payment of the fulfillment of the promises, now as the beginning and in the future kingdom in full.   
  • This is a call to us to trust unconditionally in God who has given us his Spirit in our baptism and in our confirmation. 
HARRINGTON, DANIEL S.J. “The Gospel According to Mark” in The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey 1988.

LOZANO, Juan Manuel, Escritos María Antonia París, Estudio crítico, “El Misionero Apostólico”.   Barcelona 1985.

RAVASI, GIANFRANCO. Según las Escrituras.  Doble Comentario de las lecturas del domingo. Año B.  San Pablo, Bogotá,Colombia 2005.

STUHLMUELLER, CARROLL C.P. “Deutero-Isaiah and Trito-Isaiah” in The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey 1988.

VIÑAS, José María cmf y BERMEJO, Jesús, cmf.  “Autobiography” of St. Anthony Mary Claret.  


The good missionary must adjust himself to the disposition of the persons with whom he relates and be all for everybody in order to gain them all.

The whole world must be country for the missionary of Christ, because our Divine Redeemer came to redeem all, sending to preach the same Gospel all over the world.

May his modesty shine before good and bad people. This is the virtue that must characterize the missionary of Christ.  María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters. The Apostolic Missionnary .   2,8;2,10;2,16.

I am of the opinion that these people were cured through the faith and trust with which they came, and that our Lord rewarded their faith with both bodily and spiritual health, for I would also exhort them to make a good confession of all their sins, and they did. Furthermore, I believe that the Lord did all this not because of any merits of mine--I don't have any--but to show the importance of the Word of God that I was preaching. Because these people had been so long accustomed to hearing nothing but evils, blasphemies, and heresies, our Lord God was calling their attention to His Word by means of these bodily healings. And indeed people came in droves, listened fervently to the Word of God, and made general confessions in their own towns, or even in others, because often it was impossible to hear the confessions of the many who wanted to confess. Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters. Autobiography 181.