· If it delays wait for it, it will surely come. How wonderful, comforting and reassuring are these words which we will hear this coming Sunday. We hear these same words on one of the weeks before Christmas in the prayer of Lauds, but there instead of saying wait for it, it says wait for him (Jesus). Yes he will come!
· In the Gospel we will hear the petition of the Apostles "increase our faith." If you have faith the size of...
· Timothy is invited to stir into flame the gift he has received from God on the imposition of hands, when he was consecrated for the ministry.
Ø In the commentary to the Biblia de nuestro Pueblo Luis Alonso Schökel says that Habakkuk is a prophet without a country and without a last name.
Ø But this almost anonymous prophet has a powerful message for that time of oppression and violence in which Israel finds itself. Israel is between two powers -Assyria and Babylon- that take turns in oppressing it. We are in the years 622-612 B.C.
Ø As the prophet contemplates so much violence and injustice in his time he cries out to God a very daring question "How long, O Lord? ... but you do not listen.
Ø We also have these two questions of the prophet: how long...? Why?
Ø When God answers the prophet is able to help his people to look toward a new horizon with trust, perseverance and hope in the Lord.
Ø The great message of this prophet, who in words of the scholar Luis Alonso Schökel is called the watchtower of history is "the just one because of his faith shall live."
FIRST READING Hb 1:2-3;2:2-4
ü Habakkuk cries out to God "How long O Lord? I cry for help but you do not listen.
ü And, "why do you let me see violence, injustice, crime, ruin... if I cannot alleviate it? Why do you keep being silent?
ü Finally God answers, he answers when it is the right time. When the people and its prophet are ready to accept the vision which the prophet has to write down.
ü The message of the vision is true and will be fulfilled, however they will have to wait but it will surely come.
ü During the Christmas Season there is an antiphon for the Lauds of one of the weeks that says "if he delays, wait because he will surely come" Who will come? the Lord will come, he always comes, we need to keep vigil for him as the bride waits for the bridegroom.
ü This reading ends with the sentence which summarizes Habakkuk message "the just one, because of his faith, shall live."
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Ps 95: 1-2. 6-7.8-9
IF TODAY YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, HARDEN NOT YOUR HEART
Come, let us sing joyfully to the Lord!
let us acclaim the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving
let us joyfully sing psalms to him!
Come, let us bow down in worship!
Let us kneel before the Lord who made us!
For he is our God
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice
"Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert
When your fathers tempted me
they tested me though they had seen my works."
§ This psalm is an invitation to listen to the voice of God, the voice the prophet longed to hear and for a long time did not.
§ We are asked not to harden our heart while we wait for the Lord, because a hardened heart cannot hear the whisper of God.
GOSPEL Luke 17:5-10
The Apostles ask the Lord that he may increase their faith.
And Jesus answers with a comparison, making them realize how little was their faith.
To do this he uses one of the exaggerations of the culture and language proper of Israel. Jesus uses this kind of language some other times, it is like an invitation to reflect and to look for its meaning.
The mustard seed is the smallest seed, the strong roots are difficult to pull up; these are images of the meaning of faith.
Afterwards he tells them a parable which has to be understood in its totality not in its details.
The meaning is that who does what he or she is supposed to do, cannot wait for a reward, because he or she did his duty.
Would that be that Jesus wants us to realize that faith is a gift, not something we can obtain through our efforts?
The reading ends with the invitation that Jesus makes to us "we are unprofitable servants, we have done what we were obliged to do."
In regards to the meaning of faith I remember two comparisons that our formator told us during our novitiate. Faith was like signing a blank check in which the Lord would write the amount..." or "it is like jumping into the open sea without knowing how to swim, because there will always be his loving hands to receive, to welcome us.
Faith can be a trusting experience, only when there is a personal relationship with the person of Jesus or with the Trinitarian God.
SECOND READING 2 Tm 1:6-8,13-14
v The author of the letter invites Timothy to stir into flame his love, which ,maybe, he had allowed it to be covered with ashes as a result of difficulties in his daily life.
v He reminds him that God has not given him a spirit of cowardice, but rather of power, love and self-control.
v He invites him not to be ashamed of his witnessing to the Lord Jesus.
v He recommends him that with the help from the Holy Spirit he keep this treasure which already dwells in him.
v What is that treasure? It is the Most Holy Trinity dwelling in each one of us.
a Dominican Father, a great servant of God, very learned and of great virtue, Rev. Fr. Tomas Gatell who was the confidant of my confessor in the matter because I had opened to him my soul many times and he had always said to me that I would not take my profession in that convent – now he was also fearful to decide in the case because my confessor left it in his hands trusting more in the great experience of this Fr. Master Gatell than in himself, and because he was also director of my companions, the one who wanted to leave with me. This father was more inclined to see it God’s will to forgo the profession and leave the convent, but the great difficulties expected frightened him so much as not to have the courage to assume the responsibility. He knew the disturbance the whole community would suffer and, no less than the community, the Archbishop since he knew well how much we were loved by all of them. He said we were going to make such a toll of the bell that it would be heard not only in the whole city but in the entire Archdiocese. Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 101.
The right to speak out and teach the nations, which the Church received from God himself in the person of the Apostles, has been usurped by a mob of obscure journalists and utterly ignorant charlatans.
The ministry of the Word--at once the most exalted and invincible of all ministries because it has overcome the world --has been converted everywhere from a ministry of salvation into a wretched ministry of ruin. And just as nothing or no one could hold back its triumphs in apostolic times, so nothing or no one can hold back its ravages today unless it is confronted by the preaching of priests and a flood of good books and other holy and wholesome writings.Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 451-452.
CLARET, Antonio María Claret, Autobiografía.
JENSEN, Joseph, Ethical Dimensions of the Prophets.PAGOLA, José A. Following in the Footsteps of Jesus. Meditations on the Gospels for Year C.
PARIS, María Antonia, Autobiografía
SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso, Comentario a La Biblia de nuestro Pueblo.