Thursday, October 25, 2012


«  Faith is the most wonderful gift that God has given us. 
«  Faith enables us to discover the loving presence of God in our life. 
«  Faith is the light which illumines our journey toward the eternal embrace of the Three Divine Persons. 
«  The readings for this Sunday teach us the meaning of faith. We are celebrating the Year of Faith.    

FIRST READING : Jer 31:7-9
Ø  We have already met Jeremiah in former Sundays, let us try to know a little bit more about his book. 
o   The text we will read is taken from what is called “the small book of Consolation = chapters 30 and 31.”  

o   These chapters have a parallel in the book of the Second Isaiah called the Book of  Consolation. The Second Isaiah speaks of the marvels God will do again in the second Exodus, the return of the exiles from Babylon to their beloved country, to the city of God  Jerusalem. Wonderful works of God which will remind the people of the wonders of the first Exodus.     

Ø  The prophet invites to shouting of joy for Jacob – Israel.  To shout with joy because the Lord has saved his people, the remnant of Israel, the anawin, the little, the poor, the marginalized, the oppressed who have remained faithful.   

Ø  The prophet puts in front of our eyes a wonderful vision, they are a multitude coming from all the corners of the earth where they were exiled. 

Ø  This large crowd is formed by the blind, the lame symbols of the past sufferings and also by   

Ø  Pregnant women who are about to give birth, image of the future, symbolizing the new life, 

Ø  God speaks and says “if they left in tears
o   Now they come back full of the consolation of God who leads them and  
o   Brings them to fountains of water, they are no longer in the desert, 
o   We can apply all these images to our spiritual journey.   
Ø  Again we hear from the voice of the prophet that God is a Father, he is a father to Ephraim,  one of the tribes, the tribe of Joseph whose territory was distributed between the two sons(Ephraim and Manasseh)  who had been born to him in Egypt.  



ü   It is a psalm of joy    
ü  It speaks of the passage from sorrow to joy; they left in tears, they sowed in tears. 
ü  But now there is joy, their mouth is filled with laughter and songs. 
ü  What God has done for them is so extraordinary that even the nations are surprised on seeing it.  
ü  God has changed the sorrow into dancing. 
If they sowed in sorrow now they return carrying their sheaves with joy.  

GOSPEL MK 10:46-52
«  In the last two Sundays Mark has presented to us some men who even having eyes were blind. They could see the light of the sun but they could not understand the teachings of Jesus. 
o   The rich man who wanted to know how to get to eternal life 
o   The two disciples who wanted the first places in the Kingdom   

«  Now Mark presents to us a blind man who cannot see the light of the sun, but he has inside of his heart the light of faith which enables him to cry out “ Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me” “Master I want to see”       

«  This man is called Bartimaeus   which means son of Timaeus.  

«  Jesus calls him, and after hearing what he wants, Jesus tells him “Go your way, your faith has saved you.”     

«  The light, the possibility to see, is compared in the Scriptures with having faith, which is the possibility to see the truth of God, to discover his presence in our life and in the world. 

«  Jesus does not touch the man, he only speaks and says “your faith has saved you.” With these words Jesus is speaking about a reality which goes beyond the natural sight, he speaks of the faith of the man in Jesus, faith which can save us.  

«  During several Sundays Mark has spoken to us about the journey of Jesus to Jerusalem and his teachings to the disciples.  

o   He tries to teach them the difficult lesson about discipleship, how to be like the Teacher 
o   These series of lessons reached their culmination last Sunday when Jesus spoke of service, not as doing things, but as giving up our life for the salvation of others. 
o   And this service is the ultimate love of Jesus on the cross, the call to love, like Jesus did, any man and any woman as brother and sister.   

«  Today this severity and the fear that these words of the Teacher may awake in us 
o   Is changed in a vision of light as the eyes of the blind man were open to see  
o   As we read in the first Reading the exiled come back singing like the harvesters carrying their sheaves with joy. 
o   He who gives his own life for the sake of love receives the same gift as Bartimaeus, the inner light of faith that enables us to discover the loving presence of our God, even in the midst of darkness.   

ü   This letter is a theological meditation on the Priesthood of Christ. He is the High Priest of the New Covenant, of the New Law.  
ü  The author says that any High Priest   
o    Is of the same human condition as his brothers and sisters  
o   That he has not conferred on himself the priesthood, on the contrary, he has been called by God to the priesthood  
o   He is called to offer sacrifices for his sins and the sins of others  
o   Being member of the human race, he knows the weaknesses and the sins of his people,  because he has experienced them  himself. 
o   Christ did not conferred on himself the dignity of the priesthood, He received it from the One who said to Him:  
§  “You are my son, today I have begotten you” “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”  
§  And in the Jordan “You are my Son, in whom I am well pleased.”   


This time, it happened to me while I was so afflicted for the things I have mentioned above – and many other more who made me so disgusted – Our Lord told me with great affection: “Why are you so afflicted, my poor daughter? “Then it came to my mind how well this great, omnipotent Lord fulfills his words, and that the one who took care of maintaining four little ants that we were before has the power to sustain four thousand spouses of His and the whole world as he is actually doing. O, what consolation and trust these words give! Venerable Maria Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters,   Autobiography 90.  

I have learned that zeal is an ardent and violent love that needs to be wisely controlled. Otherwise it might go beyond the limits of modesty and discretion. Not because divine love, however violent, can be excessive in itself, nor in the movements and inclinations it gives to our spirits, but because our understanding fails to choose the proper means or else uses them in a disorderly manner. Uncontrolled zeal takes us over rough and wild roads; moved by anger it fails to keep within the bounds of reason and pushes the heart into disorder. This is how zeal acts indiscreetly, intemperately, so that it becomes evil and reprehensible. Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 381.

CLARET, Antonio María. Autobiografía.
PAGOLA, José A.  Following in the Footsteps of Jesus. Meditation on the Gospels of Year B. Convivium, Bogotá 2011.
PARIS, María Antonia. Autobiografía  en Escritos.  
Ravassi, Gianfranco. Según las Escrituras- Año B. San Pablo  Bogotá 2005.
Sagrada Biblia, Versión oficial de la Conferencia episcopal española, Madrid 2011.


Thursday, October 18, 2012



«  This coming Sunday is Mission Sunday traditionally called “DOMUND”.  
«  The readings speak again of service, but a service given by offering  our own life, like the mysterious servant of Isaiah and Jesus in the Gospel of Mark.   

FIRST READING: Is 53:10-11
Ø  The servant is faithful to God; verse 10 says that the Servant has been crushed in sufferings, but not for his own sins but for the sins of others.      

Ø  Through his suffering, through the offering of his life the Servant shall see his descendants in a long life. For Israel and also for the other countries surrounding Israel, to have many descendants was a sign of blessing from God, a sign that the person was pleasing to God. 

Ø  As a consequence of his affliction and of his offering of his life, the Servant will see the light. The light is always the symbol of the presence of God, of love and of truth. 

Ø  Through his sufferings he will justify many, and will take away their sins. His sufferings are redemptive, for this he will be able to justify many.   

Ø  Beautiful image of the mission of the Servant, whom the Church, through its theological reflection over the centuries, has recognized the person of Jesus,  his mission, his giving up his life, his unconditional surrendering  on the cross for the salvation of many, of all.  

Ø  The Church invites us every Sunday, through the liturgical readings, to follow the way of Jesus. Today the Church invites us to offer our life to the Lord, so He may unite our sacrifice to his sacrifice for the good of men and women, our brothers and sisters.   

ü   The plan of God is eternal, but for us human beings it is unfolded in history, it takes time for us to discover it, and to accomplish it. But the Lord accompanies us and protects us through our journey in history.  

ü  The Lord, as the psalm says, loves justice and right, and his kindness fills the earth. What a consolation from these words! 

ü  The psalmist continues to say words of peace and consolation: the eyes of the Lord are upon those who hope in his kindness.  

ü  The last verse that we will say this coming Sunday is: our soul waits for the Lord, who is our help and our shield. With this protection, whom do we fear?   

GOSPEL MK 10:35-45
«  Last Sunday we read the story of the man who wanted to know how to get eternal life. But he was so much attached to his possessions that he was unable to leave them behind and follow the Lord Jesus.  He lost the opportunity to follow the good Teacher.

«  The disciples have heard what will be the recompense of those who leave everything behind and follow the Lord, the Teacher. 

«  But now two brothers,  called also the Sons of thunder, come to request a place of honor a distinction for them. (In the Gospel of Matthew the request is made by their mother) 

«  In the future kingdom, in eternity they want to sit at the places of honor, they have not understood  either the lesson that Jesus has taught to the man who wants to get to  eternal life, or the lesson that Jesus taught them some days before on service. The first will be the last, the leader will be the servant.  

«  This is the eternal weakness of us humans, we want to be different, the first, the one distinguished from the rest, but we look for this in the wrong place, we should look for it in God who will make us happy. 

«  And Jesus assures them that they will drink the cup he is going to drink, and will be baptized with his same baptism, which is the death on the cross. It can be any death suffered to  give witness to God. 

«  This means that he assures them that they will be very close to him, so close that they will share his own cross, but the seats of honor is the Father who decides. For my part I think that there are no seats of honor in the future kingdom, no one will be more important than some body else, because the only important is God, the only who is unique is God.  All of us are servants, sometimes useless servants, some other times  good servants.  

«  In the Synod on the New Evangelization which is being celebrated at the Vatican, a Bishop from the Philippines had a very interesting and challenging intervention. I am going to transcribe some of it here because I think it can help us to reflect on our Christian life as a community and as individuals.             

Why is there a strong wave of secularization, a storm of antipathy or plain cold indifference towards the church in some parts of the world necessitating a new wave of evangelization programs?”

The new evangelization calls for new humility. The Gospel cannot thrive in pride. When pride seeps into the heart of the Church, the Gospel proclamation is harmed. The task of new evangelization must begin with a deep sense of awe and reverence for humanity and her culture. Evangelization has been hurt and continues to be impeded by the arrogance of its messengers. The hierarchy must shun arrogance, hypocrisy and bigotry. We must punish the errant among us instead of covering up our own mistakes. We are humans among our human flock. All our beauty and holiness we owe to God. This humility will make us more credible new evangelizers. Our mission is to propose humbly not to impose proudly

Secondly, the new evangelization must be done by new saints and we must be those saints. The great poverty of the world now is the poverty of saints. Whether we come from the first world or third world countries, everybody is looking for models to inspire and emulate. Our youth need models to inspire them. They need living heroes to ignite their hearts and excite them to know Jesus and love Him more. Our experience in the Third World tells me that the Gospel can be preached to empty stomachs but only if the stomach of the preacher is as empty as his parishioners.

Lastly, the new evangelization must be a call for new charity. We will be credible bringers of Gospel joy if the proclamation is accompanied by its twin messenger of charity. The charity of Jesus is the gift of Himself. The charity of the new evangelization must be the gift of Jesus.

The new evangelization needs a new humility; a renewal in holiness and a new face of charity for it to be credible and fruitful.

«  These are strong words pronounced by one of the bishops, one of the leaders, one the teachers of our Church. But they are words for all of us, how wonderful that we acknowledge as a Church that we need to be humble, little, one among others, only then and only then we will be able to be the yeast that transform the world from inside.   

«  May our good Teacher, who is humble of heart, teach us the beautiful virtue of humility. 

ü  We have a high priest who has entered the sanctuary of heaven 

ü  This high priest is Jesus, the Son of God  

ü  This high priest, Jesus, i sable to understand our human condition because he has shared it with us. He knows our weaknesses because he has experienced them, except sin. 

ü  He cannot sin because he is God, he is life, and sin is death.  

ü   The author of the letter invites us to approach the throne of grace and mercy to find help in due time.  

o   The throne beautiful symbol of the authority of our high priest. It is a symbol because in the kingdom of heaven there are no thrones, this is a figure of speech.   

o   It is a throne of grace, mercy, kindness, all these words the Old Testament uses to describe God, who is compassionate and merciful.  

The   mistress of novices should found the novices from the beginning in the three virtues of faith, hope and charity, from  which are  born all the other virtues and evangelical perfection and without them, all the others are like a body without a soul.”

            “Faith enables them to walk without stumbling in the darkness and night of ignorance; hope teaches them to live always in the arms of divine providence […] and charity encourages them   to undertake the most arduous and perfect works, and enkindles within them living wishes  to work for the sanctification of their neighbours, without neglecting their own. Words of Maria Antonia París, Foundress, quoted  in the  Constitutions of the Claretian Missionary Sisters,  82.
The Church Fathers illustrate this matter by a comparison with the hen. Consider, they tell us, the great love, care, and zeal a hen has for her chicks. The hen is by nature a timid, cowardly, and fearful animal, but when she is brooding she has a lion's heart; her head is always aloft, her eyes are always on the alert, always looking about for the least sight of danger to her chicks. No matter how great the foe, she rushes to their defense. She lives in a perpetual state of care that she shows by her constant clucking. So great is her love for her brood that she always goes about looking sick and discolored. Lord, what a curious lesson of zeal you teach me in this example of the hen! Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters. Autobiography, 380.
CLARET, Antonio María. Autobiografía.
PARIS, María Antonia. Autobiografía  en Escritos.
SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso. LA BIBLIA DE NUESTRO PUEBLO. Misioneros Claretianos. China 2008.
The Catholic Study Bible, second edition.
Information on the Synod on the “New Evangelization” taken from  “Whispers in the Loggia.”

Thursday, October 11, 2012


«  We may say that the readings speak of the true Wisdom, the wisdom that comes from God. The wisdom that helps  us to see everything  in perspective.  

«  In the Gospel, Jesus answers the man who wants to know about eternal life, by telling him where he will find true wisdom that will lead him to eternal life.     

FIRST READING : Wis  7:7-11
Ø  In verses 1-6 of this chapter 7, the King introduces himself and says that he is like any other man.    
Ø  And thus he prays to get the wisdom he needs to fulfill his mission as King of his people. 
Ø  The text that begins with verse 7 is very similar to the text we find in 1 Kgs 3, where we are told about a dream of Solomon at Gibeon, where God tells him to ask anything from him, and Solomon asks only for wisdom to govern his people. 
Ø  After mentioning prudence he speaks of the spirit of Wisdom 
Ø  Which he prefers to  
o   all royal power, 
o   wealth which is nothing compared to wisdom  
o   precious stones
o   gold which compared to wisdom is nothing more than dust 
o   silver which is like clay compared to wisdom. 

Ø  He prefers it more than health and beauty 
Ø  He wanted it to be his mentor
Ø  He adds that with it all good things came to him  
Ø  What a beautiful text which describes for us the wisdom that comes from God. Whoever has it, leaves  behind everything he has,  which he considers to be garbage  and nothing. 
Ø  In a commentary by the biblical scholar  Alonso Schökel found in the Biblia de Nuestro Pueblo, we read:
The wisdom of God cannot be recognized until we become reconciled with our own human nature, and from there, contemplate wisdom as a gift which surpasses all the good things we may obtain. It is a gift which, as any other true gift, increases as we share it.   

ü  This psalm  is a meditation on the meaning of time.  
ü  In the verses the liturgy uses, we ask God that he may have compassion, that his kindness may come upon us.   
ü  The last verse makes us understand that, at the end man will be what he has done of himself, and what he has allowed God to do in him.   

GOSPEL  Mk 10:17-30
«  Jesus continues his journey to Jerusalem.
«  A man approaches him, he is very much interested in talking to Jesus: 
«  He wants to know what he has to do to get eternal life. This is a quite reasonable question. 
«  John Paul II in the encyclical Veritatis Splendor (The Splendor of Truth) says,  that the question this man  has is a vital question,  which any human being has and wants to know the answer.  
«  It is not a question about laws and rules; it is an existential question about life. 
«  Jesus reminds this man that only God is good. 
«  And gives him the answer according to the teachings of the Law, to enter eternal life, fulfill the commandments. 
*      What commandments? All those related to the relationship with your neighbor: you shall not kill (5), you shall not commit adultery (6); you shall not steal (7) you shall not lie (8) you shall not defraud (9-10), honor you father and your mother (4)  
*      This man is very much satisfied with himself because he has fulfilled these commandments since his young years. 
«  Now the dialogue takes another turn   
*      Jesus looks at the man with love and offers him something else, he reveals to him the wealth he is lacking: 
§  Leave everything, but do not throw it away, sell it
§  Give the money to the poor, so that others may profit from what you have 
§  Then, only then, after leaving, selling and giving, follow me. 
§  To leave, sell and give have meaning only in relation to the following of Jesus
*      We have been told that this man is rich; wealth is not something bad in itself, because it comes from the goods that God has given us in creation. 
*      Riches are evil when we make of them our God, and we cannot live without them.  
*      This man is truly rich in the earthly meaning; he is not able to discover the beauty, the wisdom about what Jesus is proposing to him. 
*      Thus he leaves sad, he came with joy and decision to follow the road to eternal life, but he did not hear what he wanted to hear. 
«  Now Jesus looks at his disciples and  
*      Says to them how difficult it is for whomever has the heart fixed on earthly riches to enter the kingdom of God.  
*      They are astonished, but Jesus calms them, they cannot but God can everything if we allow him to.   
*      Jesus makes a comparison which seems to us an exaggeration, to make his point: the camel and the needle. 
*      Peter asks, probably representing all the others, at the end what will we have, since we have left everything to follow you. 
*      You will have one hundred fold during this life, but this will be among persecutions and sufferings. 
*      Eternal life will come afterwards in the “future age. “ 
SECOND READING : Heb 4:12-13
ü  The Word of God is not like the human word, which changes and is false.  
ü  The Word of God is living and effective. It is the creative Word.   
ü  It is sharper than a two-edged sword, it means that the Word discerns between good and evil. And it does not do it based on appearances, but from the depth of truth.  
ü  Nothing is hidden from it, its light illumines everything.  
ü  Verse 13 says that we must render an account to the Word, an account of our truth and of our falsehood.  


Very soon the Lord consoled me, because His Majesty always acts in this way: He made me reach the peak of tribulation and then , when nobody can help me, His divine majesty puts his powerful hand and, in a moment, the tribulation stops because the Lord has this art, to interchange pain and joy.  Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters,  Aut. 89.

The first time I read these words of the Apostle I was horrified to learn that he called knowledge without meekness "devilish." Good God! Devilish! Yes, it is devilish, for experience has taught me that a bitter zeal is a weapon that the devil uses, and that the priest who works without meekness serves Satan, not Christ. When such a man preaches, he frightens away his listeners; when he hears confessions, he frightens away his penitents (and if they do confess their sins they do so badly because they are embarrassed and hide their sins out of fear). I have listened to many general confessions of penitents who had hidden their sins because of so-called confessors who had harshly reprimanded them. Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 376.


CLARET, Antonio María. Autobiography
PARIS, María Antonia. Autobiography  
PAGOLA, José A. Following in the Footsteps of Jesus – Meditations on the Gospel for Year B.
RAVASI, GIANFRANCO. Según las Escrituras – Año B. Traducido por Justiniano Beltrán. Bogotá 2005.
SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso. LA BIBLIA DE NUESTRO PUEBLO. Misioneros Claretianos. China 2008.