Monday, August 26, 2013


The theme of our celebration is humility, which is the same as   truth or wisdom. We will listen to the counsels given by Ben Sirach in the first reading, and of Jesus, our teacher, in  the Gospel.   

·        It is a wisdom book which is part of the deuterocanonical books, the books of the second list.  These are the books that the people of Israel do not recognize as revealed, they were written in foreign lands in Greek, not in Hebrew. Our brothers and sisters from other Christian traditions do not acknowledge them either as part of the canonical books.  

·        For us in the Christian Catholic tradition this book (Ecclesiasticus) is counted among the revealed books.  

·        It is part of the wisdom literature, so common in the Middle East.   

·        The original book, was written in Hebrew by a man known as Simon son of Jesus, who was the grand- father of the man who translated the book into the Greek language. (see foreword of the Catholic Study Bible)

·        In chapter 51, the author Simon son of Jesus says that he has looked for wisdom with passion, and this is the wisdom he shares with the reader.  

FIRST READING Sir 3:17-18, 20-, 28-29
The author addresses someone as "my son" It can be his real son or it may be the way an elder person speaks to a younger one. 

v  He gives the following counsels: 
ü  Humility, the reward of conducting oneself with humility will be the love of those who know him or her, they will love him more than they love those who make gifts.  

ü  If you are greater, humble yourself the more.  

ü  Avoid what is over your possibilities  

ü  a listening ear  gives joy to the wise.   

*      this listening is not of anything, not of gossips, not of novelties... 

*      in Scripture a listening ear means to be attentive to what God is saying to us through  the events of life, through other persons and through creation, it has the same meaning as obedience.       

*      The joy comes to us when we listen to God and obey him, even when we experience suffering because of that obedience, there is an inner peace.   

ü  The reading ends with the sentence " water quenches the fire, alms atone for  sin."   

RESPONSORIAL PSAL - Ps  68:4-5, 6-7, 10-11


The just rejoice and exult before God;
they are glad and rejoice
Sing to God, chant praise to his name;
whose name is the Lord.   

The father of orphans and the defender of widows
is God in his holy dwelling.
God gives a home to the forsaken;
he leads forth prisoners to prosperity. 

A bountiful rain you showered down, O God,
upon your inheritance
you restored the land when it languished;
your flock settled in it;
in your goodness, O God, you provided it for the needy. 

GOSPEL - LUKE 14:1,7-14
Ø  Like the lasts Sundays, we hear Jesus teaching what is the Kingdom and how are we supposed to behave in the kingdom, which has already begun on earth. 

Ø  Luke tells us that Jesus recommended humility, as a way to behave in relationship with others. As always Jesus teaches.

Ø  The first reading invited us to live a simple life without ambitions or looking for what goes beyond our capacities.   

Ø  Humility according to St. Therese of Avila, is the same as truth. 

Ø  The root of this word is the Latin word humus which means dust of the earth. We have been made from the same matter as the rest of creation. It is the transforming love of God who has transformed our mud into light, into divine life which he has given to us, and which he is willing to continue giving to all and everyone.  

Ø  Let us listen to the teaching of Jesus, what he tells us as  he sees the guest at the wedding looking for the first seats, those who are closer to the married couple.  

Ø  Jesus says to us:  
·        If you go to a wedding banquet do not sit at the place of honor  

·        Why? Very simple, if these sits have been assigned to other people by the owner of the house, he will ask you to move back and give your sit to the person for whom it has been reserved. 

·        You will feel shame and will have to stand up and go to a lower place.  

·        But if you sit at the last place, then you will have the chance to move to a higher place.   

·        If we think higher of us than what we really are, we will suffer a lot of humiliations, but if we recognize who we are, simple and  lowly persons created and loved by God,  then the Lord will honor us.

·        After that parable Jesus says some words that always make us wonder, because we do not fully understand  what do  they mean.   

·        Do not invite those who can repay you... relatives, friends, important persons... What is wrong about inviting them to a dinner in our home? Does not friendship grow through those celebrations?   

·        Yes, but Jesus does not say that, he is simply saying that we should not take advantage of other people, inviting them to get something from them.

·        The list of guests he mentions is the image of those who cannot pay us back: lame, poor, blind... 

·        Blessed are you because they cannot repay you, it is the heavenly Father who will repay you on the last day, the day of the retribution because you have served your brothers and sisters in need.   

SECOND READING : Heb 12:18-19,22-24a

*      This passage of the letter to the Hebrews, offers to us the contrast between the theophanies of the Old Covenant, and those of the New Covenant.  

*      In the Old Covenant the  theophanies to the patriarch, during the exodus, to the prophets are always described by means of terrifying natural phenomena. It is a way to explain to us that God is THE OTHER, transcendent, whom we cannot approach or touch.   

*      The description of the presence of God among us in the New Covenant are through the person of a simple man, Jesus, the carpenter of Nazareth, known as the son of Joseph and of Mary, who lived a  life like the life of any Israelite of his time with simplicity and fidelity.  

*      This man so simple is the Second Person of the Trinity who comes to us under kind and attractive signs.  

*      This man is the mediator of the New Covenant which is so different from the Old one in its manifestations. 


Now that I have said something about how much God our Lord is pleased by a disinterested heart, this great king of heaven and earth has protected, guided and governed me since the moment His powerful hand took me out of the convent of Tarragona (which was my first heaven) until he brought me to this new world, Santiago, Cuba city, with so great security in the midst of so many and imminent risks that only your infinite power, my God could save my life.

When God our Lord had decreed from eternity that I would leave the convent, His Divine Majesty disposed, for my greater affliction the coming of the royal permission to accept profession. It has more than 15 years that it was forbidden by the government and almost ten since I was a novice, eagerly expecting the happy day of my profession. A moment of true anguishes!  Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography, 93-94.

Asking and begging for love continuously and incessantly, without flagging or growing tired of asking for it, however late it seems in coming.  Praying to Jesus and Mary and, above all, asking our Father who is in heaven, through the merits of Jesus and Mary, in the sure hope that that good Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who keep asking thus.

 Hungering and thirsting after this love. Just as a man who is physically hungry and thirsty is always thinking of ways to satisfy his craving and asks for food and drink wherever he thinks he can get them, I am resolved to do so by my sighs and burning desires. I turn to the Lord and ask Him with all my heart, "O my Lord, you are my love, my honor, my hope, and my refuge! You are my life, my glory, my goal! O my love, my happiness, my sustainer! O my delight, my reformer, my master, my Father! O my love!"  Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 443-444.  

CLARET, Antonio María Claret, Autobiography.
PARIS, María Antonia, Autobiography
RAVASI, Gianfranco, Según las Escrituras, Año C.
SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso, Commentary to the Biblia de nuestro Pueblo
PAGOLA, José A. Following in the Footsteps of Jesus. Meditations on the Gospels for Year C.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013



Ø  The book that we know as the book of Isaiah is formed by three different books, written by three different authors in three different moments in history.  The First Isaiah called simply Isaiah has been written by the prophet Isaiah from Jerusalem, who lived during the VIII century BC. His religious and theological orientation is the "holiness of God."  We will understand this if we read c.6 his vocational call. For Isaiah any sin is an injustice against God and against our brothers and sisters, and any social injustice is a sin against the holiness of God.    

Ø  From chapter 40 to 55 we find the book of the Deutero-Isaiah written by an anonymous author. The book is called of Consolation, since the prophet announces to the people that their liberation is at hand.  The return of the people to Israel was during the kingship of Cyrus king of Persia more than one century after the exile.  

Ø  The third book or Third Isaiah goes from chapter 56 to the end of the book. The prophets has the mission to encourage the people who has returned from the exile and face new difficulties they did not expect. 

FIRST READING  Is 66:18-21

v  The first reading is taken from chapter 66 of the Third Isaiah. 

v  God says that he will gather all the nations and will show his glory to them.

v  And he will send some from this people to announce his glory to those who do not know him yet. 

v  Those who believe will be brought as gifts to the Lord. 

v  To explain the meaning of bringing before God those who accept the faith in the God of Israel, the prophet uses the image of the Israelites bringing their offerings in pure vessels. 

v  The equality with the people first called will be such, that God will choose from among them, Priests and Levites. 

v  We know from Scripture that those services were performed by the Tribe of Levi. 

v  The prophet inspired by God gives us a wonderful image of the  universality of salvation, of the universality of the election from God, of the universality of the call to serve the community of faith formed by peoples from all the races, nations and languages of the world.  

v  How appropriate this reading is in this time in which we are working so hard to get a new just law of immigration, so that all, no matter from what nation, language or race we may form together a nation.   

ü  This is a psalm of praise. Israel invites all the nations to glorify God 
ü  Because his love is unshaken and his fidelity lasts forever.  
Praise the Lord, all you nations! 
glorify him, all you peoples!    

For steadfast is his kindness toward us
and the fidelity of the Lord endures forever.

GOSPEL  Lk 13:22-30
*      Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem, and goes through different towns and villages proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom
*      Someone comes to him and has a question, a question that many of us  have, and we even dare to give an answer to that question.  
*      Will only a few people be saved? 
Ø  If we pay attention to that question, it is not as innocent as it seems. 

Ø  First of all, none of us saves him or herself. We have been saved by Jesus who lived with us, died and rose from the dead for the glory of God and for us.  

Ø  My good works are my response, my loving gift  to Jesus for the salvation which I have already received. 

Ø  Few, why few? maybe we ask that because we are very used to make differences and distinctions, and surely we think that we are of the few that are saved because we are so good.  
*      But Jesus does not give any answer to that questions, instead he tells us how we are supposed to live our life   
Ø  Let us enter through the narrow gate   
·         What is the meaning of the narrow gate? It means the difficulty. When we are too fat, or carry a large suitcase we cannot go through a narrow gate, or it will be hard for us to do it.  

·         The prophet Isaiah compares the rich women of the high class of Israel to fatten cows, because they accumulate riches from what belongs to the poor.  

·          In last Sunday's Gospel the Lord Jesus spoke of the difficulty with the image of war or division. Today he presents this same reality with the image of the narrow gate.  

Ø  When the door of the house is closed at night, this is the second image,   
·         to the one who knocks from the outside the master of the house will say "I do not know you"  

·         Those outside will tell him, don't you remember that we have eaten and drank at the same table with you. To eat and drink in the Scriptures has the meaning to share life together. 

·         They will also add, we have taught, preached in your streets.  

·         The master from the inside will respond again "I do not know you" and he will also add "Depart from me all you evildoers" 

·         And outside there will be wailing and grinding of teeth, when they will see the prophets and the poor and ignorant, those who do not count in society, together with God in the Kingdom.  

·         In the following of Jesus, to be from the same country and the same town of Jesus does not mean anything. Not even to belong to the Church, unless we live according to Jesus' life and teaching, unless we are faithful to our baptismal commitment. What counts is our personal relationship with Jesus, loving and serving our brothers and sisters who most need us, accepting his salvation in our life.  
Ø  The third image is the peoples that will come to be part of the Kingdom 
·         They come from the four corners of the earth to form together with the people first chosen the new people of the new Covenant.   

·         Heaven is portrayed as a banquet, that is, as a happy experience of life in communion, and the Kingdom begins here on earth, and all of those who do good deeds belong to it.      

Ø  Today's reading ends with the sentence that we repeat very often "The last will be first, and the first will be last." 
·         This image has the same meaning as the image of division and war of last Sunday's Gospel.    

·         Maybe it wants to tell us that to enter into the Kingdom does not depend so much on our effort, as on accepting lovingly and with humility this gift from  the Lord.   In the Kingdom there is a real and true equality among all those who are in the Kingdom, no distinction between first and last.    

·         Let us remember that in the first reading, all the peoples are invited to enter into the city of Jerusalem, mount Zion, symbol of the Kingdom.   

SECOND READING   Heb 12:5-7. 11-13
§  The author of the letter to the Hebrews compares the difficulties of our life to the correction a good parent gives to his or her child, to help him or her to become a responsible human being.   

§  It is not a punishment because the parent is upset, on the contrary, he or she has to seek the wellbeing of the child.   

§  God does not give the hard times to us, but he helps us to go through them and to find their meaning.    

§  If a child is sick the parent will give him or her the medicine which will help to cure, even if it is painful, because this is for the sake of living.  The child very often experiences this as a evil or a punishment from the parent. We do the same with respect to God in the hardships of life. 


These words cause such a consolation and confusion in the soul, that only the one who has at any time heard them will be able to understand. How will it be compared to this most ungrateful creature to whom our Lord has done this grace so many times? I confess, for the glory of God, that this is the grace, which gives my soul more detachment not only from all the things of the earth and from me, but even from my own soul. And this humiliation that, in these occasions, I do not know what to tell Him: only to be ashamed and to shrink as if I would like to hide not to see the Majesty of God so humiliated, giving thanks with so great love to the least of his creatures for a little service she, helped by his divine grace, does to Him. Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 92.

Thoroughly convinced that to be a good missionary it is both useful and essential to have love, I have searched for this hidden treasure and would sell everything in order to find it. I studied the means to acquire it and discovered the following: (1) keeping the commandments of God's law, (2) practicing the evangelical counsels, (3) corresponding faithfully with divine inspirations, (4) making one's meditation well. Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 442.  

CLARET, Antonio María Claret, Autobiografía.
PARIS, María Antonia, Autobiografía
RAVASI, Gianfranco, Según las Escrituras, Año C.
SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso, Comentario a La Biblia de nuestro Pueblo
PAGOLA, José A. Following in the Footsteps of Jesus. Meditations on the Gospels for Year C.