Monday, October 28, 2013


  • Today's Gospel reading is again about a tax collector. 
  • Last week's parable was about a tax collector who acknowledged his sinfulness and asked God for forgiveness, and he returned home justified.   
  • Today it is about a real character, not a parable, but a real man called Zacchaeus, the tax collector from Jericho. He wanted to see Jesus, and Jesus surprised him because he also wanted to see him.  
v  Again the liturgy takes the first reading from the wisdom literature, the Book of Wisdom 
v  This book is known as a "deuterocanonical book". In the Catholic tradition the deuterocanonical books are considered revealed by God , but this is not  so among the Jewish community of faith and   the other Christian traditions.  
v  Chapters  11 to 19 are a meditation on the exodus.  
v  Gianfranco Ravassi in his commentary says that chapters 11 to 19 of this jewel of the Jewish Greek literature of Alexandria in Egypt has a chapter on the invincible love of God toward his creatures, even being sinful.
v  FIRST READING: Wis11:22-12,2   
ü  Everything that has been created is small before God, but God takes care of all. 
ü  God takes care especially of the human being, and  the book of Wisdom tells us that this is so because God can do all things.   
ü  and it continues saying something surprising, God overlooks people's sins, he does not want to see our sins, to offer to us the opportunity to repent.     
ü  What a different image of God from the one we project some times with our words and our attitudes!  
ü  Another beautiful expression is found on verse 26 "but you forgive all because they are yours, O Lord the friend of life.     
ü  God is the friend of life, and sometimes  it seems that we are the friends of death, because the society we have built and continue to built is full of the violence of death.   
ü  We have allowed ourselves to be deceived by the evil spirit who has convinced us that what is good is bad, and what is bad is good!  
ü  God does much more, he reprimands us little by little, in the way  only him knows and thus little by little he molds our being, and offers us the opportunity  to discover his presence in our life, and when this happens we cannot   reject his love any longer,  and thus we surrender ourselves to him. 
SALMO RESPONSORIAL 145,1-2. 8-9. 10-11. 13,14
I will extol you, O my God and King
and I will bless your name forever and ever
Everyday will I bless you
and I will praise your name forever and ever.  

 The Lord is gracious and merciful
slow to anger and of great kindness
The Lord is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works. 

Let all your works give you thanks, O Lord
and let your faithful ones bless you
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might. 

  The Lord is faithful in all his words
and holy in all his works
The Lord lift up all who are falling
and raises up all who are bow down.  

Ø  The praises to God for his works has been sung from generation to generation, up to the psalmist time   
Ø  He has to continue this long chain of praises and he does it with his psalm.   
Ø  This praise is the poet's, but also ours.   
Ø  Let us join our voices to this praise, let us sing, dance, joyfully dance because our God loves us and he is great and powerful.  
GOSPEL Lk 19:1-10
*      The Gospel tells the encounter of Jesus with the tax collector, an encounter that brings salvation to that man and his entire household.    
*      Zacchaeus, is his name, it is the Greek  version of his Jewish name Zakkai.  
*      He is short in stature, but he looks for the way to see Jesus.  
*      He had probably heard about this young itinerant prophet who speaks in such a different way than the teachers of  the law, a  man who shows so much love that it is impossible  not to be attracted to him and to follow him.   
*      Zacchaeus climbs a sycamore, maybe he thinks that nobody sees him, because for a prominent man as he is, this action would be very humiliating. 
*      But somebody has seen him, and when he walks under the tree, he lifts up his eyes and calls him "today I want to have dinner with you."  
*       To have dinner is an expression of intimacy, of friendship. Jesus wants to be friend of Zacchaeus,  trully  he is already friend of Zacchaeus. Up to now Zacchaeus does not know it, but today he will discover it and will be happy. 
*       He will be happy to feel himself loved by Jesus, who is the image of the invisible God, his son. After this experience Zacchaeus will love his fellow men and he will realize the wrong he has done, and he will have the determination to amend the evil he has done. 
*      Only the unconditional love of Jesus, manifested in his going to the house of Zacchaeus, will give to this man the willingness to give away the fortune he has made stealing from others.   
*      As it is customary the Gospel shows us the two tendencies  that are always found among the human beings:   
v  he has entered the house of a sinner, it seems that we forget that we all are sinners.
v  salvation has come to this house, yes with Jesus salvation comes to us and renews all the different aspects of our being. 
v  Everything is restored, made a new creation.   
*      This fragment of  Luke's Gospels reveals to us the joy of salvation, of the coming back home, of the paternal embrace.   
*       This is also our experience of forgiveness and conversion.  Is it not?

SECOND READING  2 Tes 1:11-22
v  We are  not one hundred percent sure that this letter has been written by Paul, the scholars keep looking for answers. It seems that it was written by one of his disciples.     
v  The author prays to God for the community of Thessalonica, that it may be worthy of the call it has received, and thus live its faith responsibly.    
v  All of this for the glory and honor of our Lord Jesus Christ's name. 
v  It seems that the community was upset by things that had been told to them, as if Paul had written them.   
v  The author says to them that he has not written anything of what upsets them.  
v  Afterwards he calms them  explaining that the second coming of the Lord is not so  imminent as some think.
v  On this theme of the second coming there is a great difference between the first letter and the second to the Thessalonians. In the first Paul himself was speaking as if it was imminent.  


This certainty she has because of my behaving in the religious life was an intolerable pain for the one who had such a poor religious spirit. Well, I went to my cell as I could and I needed not a little grace of God to take courage. Here I began to complain to our Lord and said to Him: “Until when my Lord and my God, until when will you wait to put an end to my tears? I know well that it is because of my great sins that I am not worthy to see your Divine light nor to live in your house but, my Lord and my Father, at least show it to your ministers, the interpreters of your will for them to guide my steps according to your Divine pleasure.  Tell me, Lord, what I have to do in this difficult predicament. Do not be anymore deaf to my tears. It is high time already that you manifest your most holy will. It has been nine years of waiting for your divine designs. I cannot wait anymore. Do not permit, my God, that because of my ingratitude, I may loose the happiness I have in my hand and become irremediably unlucky. To leave mothers and sisters so dear is to divide my heart, but to pull me out of your holy house will be to pull out my soul. But, my redeemer, provided that you save my soul, save it, save me by the means You prefer even though suffering martyrdom all my life, that this will be for me to live in the world. Love for the enclosure was invincibly powerful, but love for your most holy will, O Lord, makes me surrender to any sacrifice. You are just, O Lord, and you are equity and justice yourself, and if any sins in your holy house deserved this punishment, may your most holy will be done, O Lord. Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters,  Autobiography 106.
On Sundays and feast days, in many of the towns, the men had to bear arms and take part in military maneuvers and so could not attend Mass or other religious services, as was their custom. Good deeds were hindered and bad deeds of all sorts were encouraged. Everywhere you turned you could see nothing but scandals and outrages and hear nothing but blasphemies and lies. It seemed as if all hell had broken loose.Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 459.     

CLARET, Antonio María Claret, Autobiografía.
PAGOLA, José A.  Following in the Footsteps of Jesus. Meditations on the Gospels for Year C.
PARIS, María Antonia, Autobiografía
RAVASI, Gianfranco, Según las Escrituras, Año C.
The Catholic Study Bible -New American Bible.



  • Once more  the liturgy invites us to meditate on prayer, or maybe it would be better to say to meditate on our inner disposition when we pray.  
  • With whom  do we talk in our prayer, with God or with  ourselves?  
  • Or we may ask another question, in our prayer do we talk to God or do we talk to an idol, which is our own self?   
  • Let us listen with a humble heart the lesson that Jesus wants to teach to us today.    

v  This book  has also been called Ecclesiasticus, and has been very much used in the liturgy of the Church
v  It is the only book of the Hebrew Scriptures of which we know the author, the translator, the time, the language, because all of this is found in the book.   
v  It was written around 132 B.C. a time in which Israel was under the dominion of the Hellenistic culture, which had caused a considerable loss of the Hebrew Tradition and of faith among the new generations. 
v  The author wants to help his Hebrew brothers and sisters, as well as the new generations,  to regain the sense of faith.
v  The book belongs to the group of  Wisdom literature. It is recognized as a canonical revealed book by the Catholic Church, but not by the Jewish religion or the other Christian traditions. It is thus called "deuterocanonical" this word means belonging to the second list. Those accepted by all are called canonical books which means books in the first list.   
FIRST READING :  Sir 35:12-14. 16-18
ü  God is not partial, he always listens, but he has a especial inclination toward the weak and the oppressed. 
ü  God is not deaf to the cry of the orphan and of the widow, which symbolize or are the image of the poor.  
ü  God listens to the prayer of those who serve him, the prayer of the poor reaches and pierces the heavens, and does not rest until it reaches its goal. 
ü  Is it this our experience of prayer? if it is not, would it be possible that we do not speak to and with God our Father, but to ourselves and thus our prayer does not reach to Him?  
 RESPONSORIAL PSALM   Ps 34:2-3. 17-18.19.23
I will bless the Lord at all times
his praise shall be ever in my  mouth
Let my soul glory in the Lord
the lowly will hear me and be glad 

The Lord confronts the evildoers
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth
when the just cry out, the Lord hears them
and from all their distress he rescues them 

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves
the Lord redeems the lives of his servants
no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in him.  

Ø  In a poetic way this psalm conveys the same message as the first reading did. 
Ø  The Lord listens to the humble and poor and he rejects those who do evil.  

GOSPEL Lk 18:9-14
*      Last Sunday we read the first verses of chapter 18 that were about persevering in  prayer

*      Today, again, Luke speaks to us about prayer.  

*      Like all the parables of Jesus, today's parable is short and to the point. It gives to us a message that upsets our way to look at reality, to look at the persons around us.  

*      Two men were to the temple to pray, let us see what happens in their  prayer.  

*      Jesus, like a true artist, with two brushstrokes paints for us a picture worth more than a thousand words or theological explanations .  

*      One of these men, was a Pharisee, that is, he belonged to the holiest group, the group of those who were faithful to the Law, a model of behavior for all who saw them.

*      He tells God, how good he himself is, how he is very different from all the other men who are thieves, liars, evildoers, like that other man who is at the back of the temple praying to God.   

*      He gives to God a list of his good works, maybe God does not know them, or has forgotten about them.  

*      The other side of the picture shows to us the other man, the tax collector, the worst group that could exist in Israel, because that man had become rich with the money he stole from his own people, he was at the service of the oppressor of his people, the Roman Empire.  

*      This man does not have anything to offer, but his extreme poverty, his sins which he acknowledges before God. He asks for forgiveness, for purification, for acceptance even not having anything to offer.  

*      With a great surprise for us and for the people that were listening to Jesus, he says to us that of these two men the one who went home justified was the tax collector. Why? 

*      Probably because he really talked to God, he presented himself before God as he was, he was truthful, he accepted that he had nothing to offer except his sins. And we know that God has a very especial inclination toward the poor and needy. His love cannot resist the cry of the poor

*      On the contrary the Pharisee did not speak to God, he spoke to himself, he made of himself and idol, thus he did not pray and thus he did not get anything from God, because he did not ask for anything, because he was not poor but rich and sinless. 

*      This parable, so beautiful and simple, has to question us, how is our prayer, to whom do we talk to God or to an idol, the idol of our own person.   

*      Let us ask ourselves, how do I see myself before God and before myself?  

*      Our happiness is found in the truth, in the acceptance of who we are, blessed may we be if we acknowledge that we are poor and needy, our Father will bend over us and lift us up to himself like a father does with his child who has fallen.   

SECOND READING  2Tm 4:6-8,16-18
v  How beautiful is this section of the letter to Timothy. 

v  How happy will we be, if when we reach the end of our pilgrimage on earth, we can say that we have finished the race, we have kept the faith, we have accomplish the dream that God had over us when he created us.    

v  We sense in these words of the author of the letter a profound peace in front of his near death, a desire to encounter God his creator.  

v  And the words "the crown of righteousness awaits me... but not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance"  are very comforting.

v  Are we anxious to encounter our God and Father, our God and Redeemer, our God and Sanctifier?  

Something happened one of these last days to show how God was refining  these two hearts with the gall of bitterness: hers because of the affliction she had to feel at my leaving due to the love and trust she showed to me, even without any merit on my part – as it is clear in the case I will say - , and I myself suffered most terribly for being the cause of her pain.
And the case was that one of these days, this good mother lavishly weeping, called me and told me that a novice – she mentioned the name wanted to leave the convent because of a strong temptation without paying attention to the advises of the confessors  nor to her own reasoning.   She told me to take charge of her since that novice used to pay great attention to me. “Maybe, with the grace of God, she could be convinced by reflection of yours as it happened in other occasions. Thus you will soften my disgust caused by seeing that, after so many years expecting the desired profession, I cannot be sure of so inconstant characters. So, my daughter, recommend her to God so that she may not embitter the celebration because of the caprice.” My Lord and my God, what a hard test you gave to my heart in this occasion! I loved that good mother like the apple of my eyes since she had given me so many proofs of love throughout almost ten years I lived under her motherly care and in her loving company. This was the strongest blow I was expecting, if they decide on my leaving. But what I felt on this occasion cannot be explained. I felt an immense pain hearing the expression of trust and suffering by which this my mother consoled herself with the one blow imaginable if she would loose her most beloved daughter. Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 104-105
General Manzano  himself told me later, when we were both in Cuba (I as Archbishop and he as Governor General of the city of Santiago), that he had been commissioned to arrest me, not because the government had any charge against me--since I never meddled in politics--but because they were worried at the crowds that gathered from all over whenever I preached. Furthermore they were afraid that, because of the immense prestige in which I was held, my least insinuation might cause a general uprising. Hence they sought to take me but could never catch me, either because of my strategy of moving so far away or because our Lord didn't want them to--and this was the main reason. The Lord wanted me to preach the Word of God to these people, while the devil was hard at work trying to corrupt them with dances, theatres, military maneuvers, platoons, books, evil magazines, etc.  Saint Antonio María Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 458. 
CLARET, Antonio María Claret, Autobiografía.
PAGOLA, José A.  Following in the Footsteps of Jesus. Meditations on the Gospels for Year C.
PARIS, María Antonia, Autobiografía
RAVASI, Gianfranco, Según las Escrituras, Año C.
The Catholic Study Bible -New American Bible.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


·         The theme of the liturgy is prayer, never get tired be persevering.  

·         However, like all the parables that the Lord tells us have more than one interpretation, more than one message.  

·         In the Gospel we read also that the widow asks for justice, her prayer is very concrete, she asks the judge to render a just decision for her.  

·         Our world is full of brothers and sisters who day and night cry out for justice, to be treated as human beings, to enjoy the same benefits as the rest of the population. Let us think about situations close to us, all those who do not have legal status in the countries where they live, and ask to be accepted officially in the country.

·         In a commentary the author asks this question: when we approach the Lord to pray, do we discover in the heart of our Father the suffering of so many brothers and sisters, do we hear the cry that comes from all the parts of the earth asking for justice, equality, brotherhood and solidarity? 

·         Or on the contrary our prayer is only about us, or being worried of what we call "spiritual", forgetting that the Son of God became flesh to live among us.    

FIRST READING  Exodus  7:8-13
ü  This is an interesting reading from the book of Exodus

ü  The effectiveness of Moses prayer is based on   having his hands raised.  i . 

ü  So when he gets tired he has to be helped by two men.   

ü  This is what we read.  Let us try to discover the meaning of this.

ü  The support Moses receives may  mean also the communal prayer as Jesus said "when two or three... I am there with them. 

ü  The effectiveness of our prayer does not depend on us, or on those who support us, but in the presence of Jesus, the only Son of the Father who prays with us and is always heard by the Father.

ü  The fact that Joshua won the battle destroying Amelek, is not the message the Lord wants us to get from this reading. The message is the perseverance in prayer, not the destruction of the enemy  because Jesus himself taught to love our enemies.  

ü  Jesus does not destroy us for the evil we do, but he allows evil to destroy him and in so doing he wins evil forever, saving us all and earning life eternal for us. 

ü  It depends on us to accept this salvation which he has already accomplish for all of us.   

 RESPONSORIAL PSALM:  Ps 121: 1-2,3-4, 5-6, 7-8

I lift up my eyes toward the mountain
whence shall help come to me?
My help is from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

May he not suffer your foot to slip
may he slumber not who guards you
indeed he neither slumbers nor sleeps
the guardian of Israel 

 The Lord is your guardian, the Lord is your shade
he is beside you at your right hand
the sun shall not harm you by day
nor the moon by night. 

The Lord will guard you from all evil
he will guard your life
the Lord will guard your coming and your going
both now and forever. 

§  The psalmist sings that his help comes from the Lord. 

§  And, in the verses that come after this sentence, he describes the protection from   God with beautiful images: your foot will not slip... he does not sleep... his shade protects you...

§  What a beautiful way to describe  trust in the unconditional and tender love of our God and Father.    

GOSPEL  Luke 18:1-8
*      Luke tells us one of the parables of Jesus which is found only in his Gospel

*      As it is the case with all the parables we need to find the real meaning, not the meaning of the material words.  

*      There are two characters: the corrupt judge who has all power, and the woman who is powerless and suffers injustice from her oppressors.  

*      As the parable unfolds this roles are changed, the judge loses his power in front of the insistence of the woman, who ends up having power over the judge. 

*      A judge should always dictate judge sentences, this is his mission.  

*      Thus there is nothing worse than a corrupt judge. Amos in his book speaks about that.  

*      Power always corrupts those who have it, no matter what kind of power we might have: in society, in politics, in finances, at work, in the church, at home, in the school.... Power intoxicates us, like  wine when we drink it in excess.   

*      But the woman, who like any poor does not have anything else to lose, comes over and over bothering the judge until the day when he imparts justice to her, so that she will not come   anymore. 

*      Jesus tells us that if this unjust judge is able to make justice to the woman, God will do much more for us. 

*      But he does not want to compare the behavior of the judge with God's behavior.  

*      What Jesus wants to teach us with this parable is the perseverance in prayer without getting tired. 

*      The insistence in prayer is not because God does not listen to us at the first time, it is because we are not ready, our heart is still hard and we do not allow the Lord to transform us, we take our time to accept his action in us.    

*      The more  our heart is closed to be soften, longer  will be the time to receive what we ask for.  

*      It is not God who takes time, it is us.     

SECOND READING  2 Tm 3:14-4,2.
v  We continue listening to what the author of the letter tells to his disciple Timothy: 

§  remain faithful to what you have learned 

§  remember what you have known of the Scriptures since your childhood 

§  Scripture is capable of giving you wisdom for salvation, through faith in Jesus Christ. 

§  All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching 

§  I charge you to proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient, using all the means at your hand.     



. as for me, everything was to cry and to pray day and night to my God and most blessed Mary to deign to enlighten them so we could go out at once from the situation. I said to myself what will they say at home if I make them spend uselessly and I will not profess? And what will Mo. Prioress say except that all is a fiction and a lie? How I can repay her delicacies with such ingratitude? So many proofs of love especially in those last days that she was overflowing with joy (foreseeing me already professed, as she said, for the great desires she had, that I do not know why she loved me so much) every loving expression in her was for me like a dart penetrating my soul thinking of the pain that my separation would give her, because as for me, the Lord was already giving me grace for any sacrifice. So I said to God: “This, Lord, makes me multiply my tears and nag you more with my pleas.”   Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography  103.

At each town I preached in, the first half of the service was marked by persecutions and calumnies by the wicked of the town. Halfway through the mission these people would be converted and everyone would sing my praises. Then the government and the higher officials would begin persecuting me. This is why my bishop made me go from one town to another town far away. In this way, the government's persecution of me became something of a joke because by the time a warrant had been put out against me in one province of Catalonia, I had already finished the mission there and gone off to another province. And by the time they got around to persecuting me there, I was already off to yet another province. Despite all the government's efforts to pursue and apprehend me, they were never able to succeed. St. Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography, 457.    

CLARET, Antonio María Claret, Autobiografía.
PAGOLA, José A.  Following in the Footsteps of Jesus. Meditations on the Gospels for Year C.
PARIS, María Antonia, Autobiografía
RAVASI, Gianfranco, Según las Escrituras, Año C.