Thursday, February 28, 2013


*        To help me to find the main idea in the readings, I read the Gospels of the third Sunday of Cycle A and B.  A: the Samaritan woman; B: the purification of the Temple.  Both Gospels are from John.    

*      I think that one of the themes in the gospels of the three cycles is CONVERSION, seen as FIDELITY to our call. 

   FIRST READING  Ex 3:1-8a, 13-15 

Ø  Today’ reading speaks of the call YHWH makes to Moses.   

Ø  Moses comes with the flock of his father in law to the Horeb, Sinai, the mountain of God.   

Ø  God reveals himself to Moses  

o   as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that is, the God of the fathers.   

o   God is the God of history who takes care of the oppressed, the needy, the one who suffers. This means that he is a God close to human beings who can say “I have seen the oppression of my people in Egypt, I have heard their complaints against their oppressors and I have come to deliver them.”  

o   God besides being so close (immanent) is also a transcendent God:  

§  The burning bush which is not consumed  

§  The order given to Moses to take off his shoes because he is on holy ground. God is present there.  

§  His mysterious name  

o   The name  

§  For the peoples of the Bible the name is the same as the person, it has to be respected like the person is respected.  

§  Also to know the name of a person is in certain measure to have dominion over him or her, to be able to manipulate him or her.   

§  God cannot be manipulated, because he is the totally OTHER. He says to Moses his name which seems enigmatic, or even a way not to say his true name

§  But in reality this is his true name, his true identity I AM WHO AM, it means I am the one who does not depend on others to exist, I exist by myself.   

Ø  And after explaining to Moses why he has come, he tells him to go to deliver his brothers and sisters. 

Ø  You will tell them I AM (YHWH) sends me to you to deliver you from Egypt and to lead you into a fertile land.   

Ø  What a beautiful text which narrates the conversation between God who calls and the one called  that looks for excuses because he is afraid but finally he find his strength in God to be faithful “I am with you.”   


ü  This psalm is a hymn to the mercy of God.   

Bless the Lord, my soul 
May my whole being bless his holy Name 
Bless the Lord, my soul,
And never forget his benefits.    

He pardons all your faults 
And heals all your illnesses 
He rescues your life from the grave 
He crowns you with love and tenderness   

The Lord does works of justice 
And gives the right to the oppressed 
He showed his ways to Moses 
And his mighty deeds to the people of Israel  

The Lord is compassionate and merciful 
As much as the sky is high above the earth 
So is his infinite love toward those who fear him.   

SECOND READING  1 Cor 10:1-6. 10-12
*      Paul reminds the community of Corinth how those who left Egypt and journeyed through the desert had the same experiences: the sea, the cloud, the manna, the Law.  

*      But their fate was different due to the different way each one accepted the gratuitous gifts that God gave them. 

*      And Paul continues to say that this happened to teach us. Teach what? Fidelity to the call we received at baptism.   

*      And it is also a call not only to be faithful but humble and trusting  in the Lord. “Therefore whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall.  

GOSPEL  Lk 13:1-9
ü  Some people came to Jesus and told him about the Galileans that Pilate had them killed. We do not know with what intention they communicated that to Jesus. 

ü  But Jesus takes the opportunity to remind all his listeners that this happened to them not because they were worst sinners than the rest of us, but that we all need to “convert to the Lord” and do good works, be faithful to our call, on the contrary we will perish.  We will not perish because Pilate or somebody else kills us, but because with our sins we will kill us. 

ü  And the Lord continues to tell them a parable to illustrate what he had told them: 
o   A man had a fig tree planted in his orchard. 

o   When he came to pick up fruit there was none.  

o   He called the gardener and told him to cut it down because for three years he had come to search for fruit and had found none.  Why should it exhaust the soil for nothing?   

o   The gardener said to him, leave it for one year I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize.  

o   If it continues not to give fruit you can  cut it down. 

ü  This parable seems like the history of salvation accomplished by Jesus.  
o   He is the one who takes care of the fig tree, wait a little Father, let me go and live among them, and let me tell them how much you love them and how he wishes them to live, and you will see how they change. 

o   I will hand myself over in their hands, loving them unconditionally as you love them, so they can see your love in me, learn and even if they kill me I will continue to love them.    

            CLARET, Antonio María. Autobiography.
            PAGOLA, José A. Following in the Footsteps of Jesus – Gospels Year C
            PARIS, María Antonia. Autobiography
RAVASI, Gianfranco. Según las Escrituras – Ciclo C. San Pablo 2006. 
SCHÖKEL , Luis Alonso, La Biblia de nuestro Pueblo.
SAGRADA BIBLIA, Versión Oficial de la Conferencia Episcopal Española  


One time I was very afflicted praying for a certain person that I knew had committed three or four mortal sins, and my soul was pierced because this was a religious, consecrated to God. One of those days, in which I was most afflicted, our Lord told me with great sadness. This is the way the sons of my church repay my benefits. Let me, my daughter, rest in your heart. I have no place to rest. Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 70.
To give still greater edification, I have refrained from smoking or taking snuff. Furthermore, I have never said or even hinted that I prefer any one thing to another. This, of course, is an old habit with me. The Lord had already given me this heavenly blessing while my dear mother (R.I.P.) was still alive. She died without ever knowing what I liked best. Because she loved me so much and wanted to please me, she would sometimes ask me whether I liked this or that. I would answer that whatever she chose for me was what I liked best. Then she would say, "I know, but there is always something we like better than something else." I would still tell her that what she gave me was what I liked best. Naturally I, like everyone else, prefer some things to others; but the spiritual joy I feel in doing the will of others is far greater than that of any particular physical preference, so that I was telling my mother the truth. Saitn Anthony Mary  Claret, Founder  of the Claretian Missionary Sisters. Autobiography 410.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


*      Every year on the second Sunday of Lent the liturgy invites us to reflect on the Transfiguration of the Lord Jesus. 
*      Last Sunday we reflected on the mystery of Jesus being tempted as any one of us. And learned from him to fight against the temptations with the Word of God.
*      Today, let us be filled with the light of the Transfigured Lord, and let us listen to Him as the Father invites us.  
*      Our reflection on the readings will be from the point of view of the Covenant.    

FIRST READING  Gn 15:5-12; 17-18  

This reading speaks of one of the covenants that God made with Abram. God had not yet changed his name.  

«  The Hebrew word for covenant is   berit (used to describe the relationship between a lord and his servant, it is a unilateral promise, wholly gratuitous and free on the part of the lord). The Greek word for covenant is    diatheke.  With these two words the Bible describes different kinds of covenants. Let us see some of them:

o   The first and the most gratuitous is the covenant of creation. Creation comes from  the gracious and loving initiative of God, who could not even consult us since we did not exist yes. But creation is continuous thus the covenant made by God with his creation is permanent and continuous.   

o   We find different types of covenants in Scripture:  
§  God gives without asking anything in exchange = promise  Gn:8-11; 12-17 
§  God enters into a covenant  through a rite:  Gn 15:7-10.17
§  God enters into a bilateral covenant with his people:   Jos 24:1-28 

«  The covenant we find in the first reading belongs to the second type of covenant: the covenant between God and Abram is made through a rite.
Let us  analyze the biblical story 
«  Before the verses we will read this coming Sunday, God says to Abram “do not be afraid, because your reward will be abundant.” To these words of God Abram replies “what use do these gifts do to me since I do not have children, and my servant is the one who is going to inherit my possessions.”  
«  Let us reflect on the reading for this Sunday

o   The descendants of Abram will be as numerous as the stars in the firmament. Abram believes that YHWH can do what he says and thus he is justified, made just, saved.  

o   The promise is this: I will give to you the land you walk on    

o   God reminds Abram of all that he has done for him up to that moment. The faith of Israel and the Christian faith as well is grounded in tradition, in the memory of God’s mighty deeds for us.  Last week we read how Israel repeats his tradition in prayer “My father was a wandering Aramean” 

o   Abram asks God how will  he know that the land will be his.   

o   And now God enters into a covenant with Abram. God relates to us in the way we understand according to our own culture, so that we may understand his message given to us.  

o   In the ancient religions the divinities were the witnesses to the covenants made by men, here in this text of the Bible YHWH himself is the witness and at the same time the one who makes the covenant. 

o   Abram prepares everything for the ceremony of the covenant God is going to make with him.    

o   He prepares the wood for the fire and on it in two separate  piles of wood they put the cow that had previously being cut in two. Each part was put on a different pile of wood facing each other.   

o   The persons who entered into the covenant   had to walk between the two parts of the animal and say: let it be done to me as it has been done to this animal, if I am not faithful to the covenant I am about to enter.   

o   Abram feels asleep, and at the same time terror invades him.  

o   The presence of God is very much attractive to the human being, but at the same time it is terrifying, because God is the OTHER, completely different from us.   

o   Then Abram sees in the midst of the darkness of night something like a burning torch passing between the two parts of the cow. 

o   In the burning torch he discovers the symbol of the presence of YHWH who is passing by   between the two parts of the animal. God commits himself to be faithful to the  covenant.  

o   As we can see this type of covenant is unilateral, only God commits himself, Abram is only an observer.

o   And after that YHWH pronounces the words of the covenant which he makes with Abram on that day “To your descendants I will give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the Great River Euphrates.” 

SECOND READING : Phil 3:17- 4:1
ü  Paul invites o exhorts the community of Philipi to be faithful and to look towards those who live according to the teachings he (Paul) has given them. 

ü  He repeats with words full of tenderness and love “copntinue to be faithful to the Lord”   

ü  We are in the season of Lent, in which we reflect more deeply in the meaning of the Paschal Mystery of Christ, the New Covenant sealed in his blood on the Cross. On the cross he forgave our sins, he paid for us the price of the covenant to which we have not been faithful.

ü  In the same way as the ancient prophets Paul reminds them the need to be faithful to the New Covenant. 

o   Covenant in which the land that is given to us is heaven, eternal life forever.  

o   Here the faithful is to the gloried Christ who has in the New Testament the place that   YHWH, had in the Old Testament, because he is God.
GOSPEL  Lk 9:28-36
§  Before the event of the transfiguration Jesus makes the first announcement of his passion and explains the conditions to be his disciple. 

§  Luke says that 8 days later, probably it refers to the announcement Jesus makes of his passion.   

§  Jesus goes up to a high mountain to pray and takes with him the three clsest disciples, the same that went with him to Jairus’  home and were witnesses of how Jesus gave back the life to the girl. They will be also invites by Jesus to be witnesses of his greatest weakness and vulnerability in Gethsemane. These disciples are: Peter, James and John.  

§  While he is praying Jesus changes in his aspect and at the same time Moses and  Elijah appear talking to him

o   Moses en Elijah the whole Old Testament, the Law and the Prophets.   

o   They speak with him about his exodus which will be consummated in Jerusalem. 

§  Jesus as well as the two men are radiant and their clothes are white, all this are signs of the divinity.   

§  Luke says that the disciples felt asleep, would that be the same thing that happened to Abram in the presence of YHWH? Or what happened to the disciples at Gethsemane? 

§  When they awake they see the glory of Jesus.  

§  But they do not understand the true meaning of what is happening on the mountain. Peter speaks for the three of them, he wants to remain in that situation which is so marvelous, he has forgotten the invitation of the Lord to follow the Master in his passion.   

§  The cloud covers them, the cloud is a symbol of the presence of God throughout the Old Testament and also in the New Testament in the narrative of the Annunciation. 

§  Like Abram who felt fear the disciples are afraid when the cloud covers them and they hear the voice of the Father. 

§  What does the voice say? THIS IS MY CHOSEN SON, LISTEN TO HIM.    

§  This voice of the Father relates the two narratives of the transfiguration and of the baptism. 

§  But here the Father adds “Listen to him” 

§  The three of them have been invited to follow the Master as disciples, and one thing that a disciple has to do is to listen and to obey. 

§  They do not say anything to anyone, probably because before the resurrection this event could not be understood correctly.   


            CLARET, Antonio María. Autobiografía.
            PARIS, María Antonia. Autobiografía
RAVASI, Gianfranco. Según las Escrituras – Ciclo C. San Pablo 2006. 
SCHÖKEL , Luis Alonso, La Biblia de nuestro Pueblo.
SAGRADA BIBLIA, Versión Oficial de la Conferencia Episcopal Española



August 27 1856. During the thanksgiving to God after the Holy Communion, when I made my profession, our Lord told me to take rest from my fears, that I had written well what he had commanded me. And that my prelate was holy but he had to sanctify himself more by the means His majesty commanded me to write, that this was His will.  Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters,  68.

I have been told that before I arrived in Madrid there were some excesses at table. Indeed, it is no wonder because such a variety of rich courses, exquisite dishes, and excellent wines were served, all an invitation to over-indulgence. But since I have been forced by duty to attend I have not noticed the slightest display of intemperance. On the contrary, it seems to me that the other guests take less than they need when they see that I am not eating. Often while we are still at table the guests seated on either side talk to me about spiritual matters and want to know what church I hear confessions in so that they can go to confession there.  Saint Anthony Mary  Claret, Founder  of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 409.  


Tuesday, February 12, 2013



*      On Ash Wednesday we have begun our Lenten Journey, walking with Jesus up to Jerusalem. 

*      In his Gospel Luke tells us that Jesus resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, the holy city.  

*      Have we begun our Lenten journey with the same enthusiasm, ready to give   our life to our Master for the good of our brothers and sisters?      

*      Let us see what does the Lord have to say to us in the readings for next Sunday. 

*      Since Lent is one of the special seasons of the Church’s liturgy, the three readings have a common theme. 

*      I have read the commentary on the readings, made by Gianfranco Ravassi,  and I like the way he looks at them. For him the three readings speak of the profession of faith, made in different ways.    

*      I have decided to use this point of view to make my own commentary.  

FIRST READING  Dt 26: 4-10. 

Ø  In  the Hebrew Bible this book is called “These are the words…” because the book begins with this phrase.     

Ø  In the Greek translation it has been given the name Deuteronomy = second law. 

Ø  The book is completely oriented to the words that Moses addresses to his people on the threshold of the promise  land. 

Ø  These words of Moses are written in different literary genres: narrations, laws, counsels and poetry having the LAW as a backdrop. 

Ø  Chapter 26 is about the first fruits offered to God.  

Ø  Moses tells his people that whenever they go before the Lord to offer the first fruits of their crops, they will say : My father was a wandering Aramean…  

Ø  These are the first words of Israel’s profession of faith.   

o   It is the confession of their own origin  wandering Aramean…They  went down to Egypt and established themselves there, they increased in numbers.    

o   As a consequence to be so numerous they were oppressed by the Egyptians who made them suffer   

o   They cried out to their God and he listened to them, taking them from the land of slavery.  He gave them freedom and led them with strong hand and outstretch arm to the land where they are now.  

Ø  With these words the faithful Israelite confesses that God is great, that God listens to the cry of the suffering and of the poor, and that God led them to the Land.   

Ø  He confesses that God is a God who is near, who walks with us, who guides  us. 

Ø  Together with the profession of faith, he will offer the first fruits of his crop. He is no more a wandering Aramean, now he is an Israelite who inhabits the land, he is not a nomad anymore. He does not go wandering with his animals, but he has now settled in the Land, and thus offers the first fruits.  

Ø  What a beautiful profession of faith, short and at the same time so respectful, so full of love and trust in the Lord his God.      


«  Paul invites the members of his community to believe in Jesus Christ, to profess with the mouth, and to believe with the heart that Jesus is the Lord. 

«  The Israelite was invited to profess his faith in the Almighty God, YHWH, who had freed them from slavery. 

«  Paul invites his community to profess their faith in Jesus as Lord and God, who giving up his life on the cross has liberated us from the greatest slavery, sin. 

«  And to profess this faith we do not need to be descendants of the wandering Aramean, but all of us without distinction of race, color, nationality, genre we are invited to make this profession of faith in Jesus dead and risen for the liberation of all.  

GOSPEL  LK 4:1-13

*      Luke introduces Jesus to us, the Jesus whom Paul invites us to believe in, the Jesus who is tempted before beginning his mission, which will lead him to the cross and resurrection, and  that will be our salvation. 

*      After his baptism Jesus goes away and allows himself to be guided by the Spirit   into the desert. The desert which will be  the place of the temptation, solitude, struggle and encounter face to face with God and with himself.

*      Jesus, after his baptism in the Jordan River, hears the voice of the Father saying: You are my beloved son; with you I am well pleased.   

*      Now he is alone reflecting and meditating on the mission that  the Father has for him, he is afraid like all of us when we think that the mission God has for us will be difficult, and as a consequence we will suffer rejection and scorn. 

*      Surely that the temptations that the evangelists narrate are a composition of the temptations he suffered during his lifetime. 

*      The temptations as Luke describes them will always begin with the words or the thought: If you are the son of God. As if the temptation was oriented toward the nature of whom Jesus is.   

o   I do not believe that the temptation of the bread is only about bread, or food, but it is the temptation to use his power for his own benefit not for the service of others. Is it not one of our strongest temptations, to put ourselves before anyone else?   

o   Luke changes the order of the temptations, and puts as the second temptation the one about the kingdoms of the world.  It is the temptation to do what we are called to do but in our own way, in an easy way. Why should Jesus have to suffer humiliation, scorn, rejection and death to follow the will of the Father, if he can do the things in another way more reasonable?   

o   For Luke the last temptation is the most dangerous, it happens in  the Temple of Jerusalem. The greatest temptation happens in the city of Jerusalem.   This is the temptation to provoke God, to manipulate God so that he will do what we want, we will not do his will, but he will do our will.  It is the temptation of making an idol of the true God.   

o   Through all these temptations Jesus uses the words from Scripture to defeat the evil spirit. 

o   The answer of Jesus to the temptations is his profession of faith, trust, surrendering in the hands of God, his Abba whom he loves unconditionally.    


            CLARET, Antonio María. Autobiografía.
            PARIS, María Antonia. Autobiografía
RAVASI, Gianfranco. Según las Escrituras – Ciclo C. San Pablo 2006. 
SCHÖKEL , Luis Alonso, La Biblia de nuestro Pueblo.
SAGRADA BIBLIA, Versión Oficial de la Conferencia Episcopal Española



One night I saw (I think it was in dreams) a very beautiful in the sky, composed of very resplendent stars that I couldn’t explain its attractiveness and beauty, what a charm! With that splendor it was radiating!  How many things I saw in it! But at the moment I saw it formed, its arms were destroyed with only the pole intact, the stars with the same beauty. It lost only the shape of a cross, which, according to my vision, was the most precious to see.
 It was revealed to me that that cross symbolized this holy order and that its sons would shine as stars; that I saw it in the form of a cross because they have to preach the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ since the time is ending and the guiding sign of the cross of Christ will go ahead. And I understood other things that I cannot explain. Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters. Autobiography 64-65.

Whenever I did eat what was set before me, I always took very little and the poorest that was offered. If I arrived at a rectory at an inconvenient hour, I asked the cook for a little soup and an egg--nothing more. For I never ate meat then and I still don't. Not that I wouldn't like it, but I know that abstaining from it is very edifying. The same goes for wine. Of course I like wine, but I haven't taken any for years, outside of the ablutions at Mass. I never drink spirits or liquor, either, although I like them and have tasted them in the past. I have come to know that abstaining from food and drink is very edifying and is much needed to counteract the sad excesses that take place at table nowadays. St. Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters. Aubiography 405.