Tuesday, December 24, 2013


HYMN :  Mary Did You Know – Kenny Rogers  

v  Today we will reflect on the meaning of Christmas in our life, following the  story “Christmas Carol” by  Charles Dickens.  

v  The three ghosts represent the Christmas from the past, present and future.  

v  They are an invitation to look at our own life.

v  Asking  ourselves three questions which we may want to share with someone.  


*      What is the best memories I have of Christmas?  

*      What are my worries for this year's Christmas?   

*      How do I wish Christmas be in the future? 


«   Isaiah sings the exuberant joy of the people who has passed from the darkness of suffering and oppression to the light of liberation. 

«  The prophet compares this joy with the joy of the farmer when he collects his crop after months of uncertainty, will it be saved or will it be destroed by some natural disaster or some enemy.   

«  The cause of this joy is that  the oppressor- the rod, the yoke, the boot- have been eliminated. 

«  And this because a child is born, a son is given to us, he has the attributes of an adult, full of wisdom and kindness, he is the Prince of Peace.  

«  He will come from David's line, his kingdom will have no end, his will be a kingdom of justice and respect for the law. 

«  And all of this will be done by the zeal, the love of the  Lord.   

SECOND READING :  Titus 2:11-14

Ø  This is a very beautiful reading which we do every year at the Midnight Mass.

Ø  All that the Prophet Isaiah announced has been fulfilled by the Baby of Bethlehem, God made flesh for love of us. 

Ø  The grace of God, who saves all, has been made visible in Jesus, the Son of Mary, the Baby from Bethlehem.  

Ø  He will teach us how to live as true human beings, images of God the Creator, in justice, that means seeking what is good and eliminating from our life all that is not good.  

Ø  And we live this life awaiting the manifestation of our savior and God Jesus Christ.   

Ø  He will do the liberation that Isaiah announced giving his life for us and in place of us, to free us from evil and to help us to do good in justice and truth.   

GOSPEL  – Lk 2:1-14

Ø  In the Midnight Mass we read this gospel from Luke which tells us of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem

Ø  Mary who is pregnant, and Joseph have traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem  for the census, because Joseph is from David's family.   

Ø  Luke says only that as they arrived in Bethlehem   the time came  for Mary to give birth to  her child.    

Ø  We may use our imagination to make this situation real for us, thus being able to enter more deeply into the mystery. 

Ø  During their journey they had the opportunity to share about the mystery they were involved, in which they found themselves by the will of God which they accepted. 

Ø  They shared the many questions they had in regards to this child, who was like any other child, but at the same time was so different, he was supposedly the Son of God, what does it mean to be son of God? Would they know how to raise him?  

Ø  They shared also their many fears, how  and where would she give birth? Who would help her? She was a very young mother, far from her family, from the women of her town who could help her. Who would help her?  

Ø  Joseph also had his fears, how would he be able to help Mary, his wife, in this situation?    

Ø  I like to think that he was the one who helped her to give birth, and that both were in awe when they saw for the first time the face of that baby, who was crying like any baby, but they knew in faith that he was the Son of the Father, God. 

Ø  I think that in front of this mystery, so sublime and at the same time so close to our own life, the only reaction is to remain in silence adoring, loving, allowing the mystery to overtake us.   

Ø  God is in our midst in human flesh and he will remain with us forever, because he has become one of us, of our own flesh, our own race.  

Ø  With his incarnation and birth he has made of all the races one, eliminating all the differences which keep us apart, he has made of us the race of his brothers and sisters who share with him the same and only Father, God the Father.   

 The Roman Church celebrates the birth and the Eastern Church the epiphany. Both mysteries are 









Then, after living the convent the confessor commanded me to write to his Excellency archbishop Claret , informing him about the decision  of the two confessors, who, after long prayers and very mature deliberation determined my going out  of the convent before the profession in order to avoid the greater inconveniences  after the profession. Because, if now being a novice, there was so great disturbance, what could have happened had I made my profession? For sure that neither the community nor the Archbishop would have ever permitted my leaving. Thus, I was completely free to do whatever his Excellency Archbishop Claret, would see more convenient for the glory of God. Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 117.

I believed that a certain class of sinners must be caught after the fashion of a man cooking snails. He puts them in a pot of cold water, which they like, and hence they come out of their shells as far as they can. The cook, in the meantime, has to see to it that the water heats up only a little at a time so that the snails die without sensing it and thus are cooked. If the cook were careless enough to throw the snails directly into hot water, they would withdraw into their shells and nobody would be able to get them out. It is much the same with sinners. If a missionary starts by blasting away at them with fire and brimstone, at the sound of that blast those who have come out of curiosity or malice will withdraw into the shell of their obstinacy and, far from being converted, will spend all their time and energy discrediting the missionary and ridiculing everyone who goes to listen to him. But if they are treated with sweetness, kindness, and love, they will be won over. Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 471.



CLARET, Antonio María Claret, Autobiography

PAGOLA, José A.   El camino abierto por Jesús. PPC 2012

PARIS, María Antonia, Autobiography


Saturday, December 21, 2013


v  We have reached the last Sunday before Christmas, we have made the journey of preparation for the celebration of the coming of the Lord among us.  

v  The readings present this reality announced in the Old Testament (First reading) fulfilled in the New Testament (Gospel) and continued in the Church (second reading) 

Ø  The prophet in the name of God says to the king that he can ask for a sign from God.  

Ø  Let us see the meaning of this petition.  

Ø  The prophets look at the political, social and economic situation, and say to the those in leadership and to the people how they are unfaithful to the covenant by the way they live their life, and how to change their ways.   

Ø  Israel is already divided in two kingdoms Northern and Southern.  Ahaz the king of the Southern Kingdom, Judah, is about to become a vassal of the king of Assyria in order to escape the destruction of his country.  

Ø  The prophet not knowing how to make the king understand that what he plans to do will lead all to ruin, tells the king to ask  for a sign from God to know what to do. 

Ø  The king does not want to ask for a sign, apparently moved by reverence.   

Ø  But the answer of the prophet "do not tire my God" helps us to understand that the attitude of the king was not sincere.  

Ø  What is the sign that God will give? It is a sign of life, in spite of  destruction and oppression God always creates and nurtures  life

Ø  It is the announcement of  the birth of a child, the son of a young woman. This child is probably one of the sons of the king, son of one of his wives.  

Ø  What does that sign mean? We will find the answer on verse 16, do not be afraid  Ahaz, and in your desperation do not make covenant with the oppressor, because within a few month, the time for a child to be formed in his mother's womb, the danger will be no more, these powers will no longer be a danger. 

Ø  History tells us that Ahaz made covenant with the foreign powers and it was a total ruin, but for us Christians of the 21st century, what does that mean?  

Ø  The child announced was born in  the  time of Ahaz, but the prophecies, since they come from God, transcend time and space, and have diverse levels of understanding, of interpretation of revelation.  .   

Ø  Very soon the Church understood that this prophecy was the announcement of the coming of the true descendant of David, the Messiah, who was to be born from a virgin mother, a young woman, a young girl.     

Ø  And his name is Emmanuel, this was the name of the child of Ahaz, but the true Emmanuel, God-with-us is Jesus, the son of the true king, the Father God.   



The Lord's are the earth and its fullness  
the world and those who dwell in it  
For he founded it upon the seas    
and established it upon the rivers.    

Who can ascend the mountain of the Lord? 
or who may stand in his holy place?   
One whose hands are sinless,
whose heart is clean    
who desires not what is vain.  

He shall receive a blessing from the Lord
a reward from God his savior
such is the race that seeks for him
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob 

GOSPEL   Mt 1:18-24
*      Today the liturgy of the church explains to us the conception and birth of Jesus, from the point of view of Joseph.   

*      We are very used to think about the conception of Jesus according to what Luke narrates in his Gospel, that is the experience of Mary.   

*      Matthew being a Jew sees the part of the man, Joseph, and sees also in the birth of Jesus the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah, which we have read in the first reading.   

*      Like Luke, Matthew says that the name of the child's mother is Mary, and that she is betrothed to Joseph. 

*      Before they lived together, that is before Joseph took Mary into his home, she became pregnant. Matthew as well as Luke tell us that this is by the power of the Holy Spirit.   

*      Up to now this is the same story that Luke tells us, but Matthew is going to tell us the feelings and the reaction of Joseph

*      He says that Joseph is a just man, this is the greatest praise that a human being may receive from God, yes Joseph is just, his heart is in the image of God's heart.   

*      Joseph does not understand, what he sees now is very different from what he knows of Mary. What has happened? A priest told me many years ago that Joseph, since he could not understand, and was afraid in front of the mystery, decided to leave. 

*      He wanted to leave because he did not want to expose Mary to  shame , and also to spare all the consequences that this situation could bring to her, even death.   

*      That is why he decides to divorce her in secret, in this way the blame would fall on him.   

*      And as always, when we do not know, when we reach the point of being in complete darkness, then God intervenes, and gives us the answer to all our questions:  

ü  Joseph do not fear to receive Mary, the child she carries is from God.   

ü  He is the fulfillment of  Isaiah's prophecy.   

ü  It is God himself who comes to live among us, to be one like us, to be Emmanuel = God-is-with us   

ü  God says that to Joseph in a dream, because  God speaks to us in the way each one can understands.  

ü  When Joseph woke up he took Mary into his home as the angel had told him in a dream.     

ü  His reaction is the same as the one of the young girl from Nazareth. He receives her into his home, Mary says to the angel "I am the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to your words."  

*      Thus these two members of the human race welcome the son of God among us. They dedicate their lives to him, they will be father and mother for this child. They will accompany him in his human journey to become an adult member of the human race. 

*      They participate in the mystery of the redemption accomplished by Jesus, son of God, known in his town as the son of the carpenter, and  of Mary.   

*      This makes me always   realize that when we see someone, his or her attitudes, his or her life, truly we do not know what is going on in that person. The Lord Jesus has told us not to judge, because certainly we will be mistaken. We think that we know but in reality we do not know, each person is a mystery. 

*      Those of Nazareth never knew the great mystery that was unfolding in front of their eyes, they only saw a young girl who had conceived not being married, and that Joseph the fiancé of Mary, was the father of this child. 

§  The letter to the Romans is the master piece of Paul's theology. 

§  Paul says that the grace of the apostolate, of his mission, comes from Jesus, the Son of God, risen full of power and holiness.    

§  This mission of being an apostle is given to lead  the unbelievers to the obedience of faith. 

§  And Paul says that we are among those unbelievers, and this is certainly true since we are descendants from pagan peoples, because we are not Jews.     

§  And we have been called to belong to Christ, this is the grace we have received at Baptism when we were submerged in the life of Christ to become a new creature.   

§  This is our call to holiness   

§  Paul ends saying: Grace and peace to you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.   

 She (Florentina) could not get over of her amazement seeing the residence that God had prepared for us so suited to our taste: even though we had to search for one whole year, it could not be more fitted to our purpose.  Then, my companion (who was very good and the Lord had led her always by ways of comfort) said: “How good it is to throw oneself in the hands of the Divine providence! But how is it that the Lord hid this consolation He had prepared for us?” And, really, nobody can understand the call to religious life but he to whom the Lord had granted this grace. So a religious outside her beloved enclosure is to live apart from all conversation with creatures. God granted us this grace because of the love I had for the holy enclosure and having sacrificed it to fulfill His Divine Will. Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 116.

In each of the towns I mentioned, one or more of these services had been held that year or some recent year and had always been quite fruitful. There had been conversions of all sorts everywhere--mass conversions, great and extraordinary conversions. At the beginning of the mission everyone would come to hear me: some in good faith, others out of curiosity, and others out of sheer malice, to see if they could trap me in my speech.
During the opening service I never made a frontal attack on the vices and errors of the town I was visiting. Instead I always talked to them about the Blessed Virgin, the love of God, etc. As the wicked and corrupt saw that I was not attacking them, but was all love, sweetness, and charity in my speech, they were interested and felt like coming again. As I started talking about the last things that pertain to all of us, they were not offended. Finally, they underwent a complete change of heart. During the last days of the mission I was able to speak with complete freedom about their predominant vices and failings. Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 469-470.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Today the liturgy invites us to rejoice because the Lord is near.   

FIRST READING  - Is 35:1-6a, 10
v  We hear again the prophet Isaiah who comes with a message of hope and joy.    

v  The text has three different parts, but all of them invite us to rejoice. 

v  Verses 1 and 2 give a description of how nature will show this joy, it will flourish, its beauty will be like the Carmel, they will see the beauty of our God.  

v  Verses 3 and 4 are an invitation to all those who feel themselves humiliated, oppressed, cowards in front of   suffering, those who are afraid, who doubt, to get back their strength, because God himself comes to set them free. 

v  Verses 5 and 6a describe what will happen to all of them when the presence of God will be a reality: the blind shall see, the ears that are close will be open, the tongue that does not know how to speak, will sing. 

v  Verse 10 is like the finale of a great opera, when all the characters come together,  the prophet Isaiah repeats his theme about joy, which has become an exuberant joy, because those that have been ransomed  come back singing, dancing,   then suffering and evil will be no more.   

v  The Gospel will tell us that this presence of God among us is Jesus.   

v  Each one of us may enter in his or her own heart and remember the joy when our life changed. Peace and joy came when we welcomed the Lord and allowed him to be part of our personal history.    


The Lord God keeps faith forever
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets captives free. 

The Lord gives sight to the blind
the Lord raises up those who were bowed down
the Lord loves the just.
the Lord protects  strangers  

The fatherless and the widow he sustains
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The Lord shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations. 

*      This psalm sings the tender love of God and the care he takes of all of us his children of all times.  

*      The Lord loves the just, the just who is like Him, and the Lord thwarts the way of the wicked. We know looking at Jesus that this sentence of the psalm does  not mean that God takes revenge or to destroy, on the contrary,  like a good father God looks for ways to have his children come back to the father's home, even if these may cause suffering.       

*      The Lord reigns loving all of us.  

GOSPEL  Mt 11:2-11
Ø  We see again John the Baptist.      

Ø  John is no more at the Jordan baptizing.       

Ø  It is the sunset of this prophet of fire, he cannot go from one place to another, but his tongue continues to challenge Herod and all of us as well.    

Ø  In prison he hears about Jesus, and he is confused, he does not understand, this is not what he understood God had communicated to him. This is not what Isaiah had foretold about the coming of the Lord among us.   

Ø  When God would come he would destroy the designs and the ways of the wicked.   

Ø  But on the contrary he hears that Jesus is different, this young prophet sits at table with sinners, allows prostitutes to get close to him, he allows also sick women to touch him to be cured, he hugs the children... John does not understand Jesus' behavior.   

Ø  At the beginning when he baptized Jesus, John was happy because the one who had to come was already present, but now he is not sure about that. 

Ø  He sends some of his disciples to Jesus to ask him "Are you the one who has to come o should we look for another?   

Ø  Jesus does not give a direct answer, but he tells them to report to John what they have seen, so that may understand that what Isaiah had prophesized is taking place already.   

Ø  The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are made clean, the deaf hear, the dead come back to life, the good news is preached to the poor.   

Ø  And happy those who take no offense at him., but are able to discover en him the presence of the God who saves loving. 

Ø  When the messengers left Jesus speaks about John:  

v  He is not a reed that moves according to the direction of the wind, John does not change his message or his life, even faced with death.     

v  He does not dress in fine clothes, those who do so live in palaces, but John lives in the desert.   

v  John is more than a prophet, he is the prophet foretold in the Old Testament, the one who was going to prepare the way of the Lord.    

v  he is the greatest of those born of woman, but the least in the kingdom is greater than John. 

Ø  When we allow the Lord to be our king, to be the Lord of our life, to lead our life, what the Lord told the disciples of John take place in us.    

v  We begin to look at reality, the human beings, at ourselves in a different way, we see our truth and thus we begin a journey of conversion.  

v  We journey seeking justice and truth.   

v  We come to the Lord to be cleaned from our leprosy.   

v  And even more, we have ears to listen to the cry of our brothers and sisters who are suffering in any way.  

v  We accept our poverty and seek to live in poverty, with what is necessary, so that we may listen to the Gospel  message of salvation.    

v  Blessed are we if Jesus can say of us that we are not a reed that moves according to the wind, and also blessed are we if what Jesus preaches does not cause us offense at him  

Before we look at the reading itself, let us say a few words about this letter

*      Due to his name the author could be any of the three men with this name in the New Testament. James the brother of John, James the son of Alpheus. It is not probable that they could be the authors. There is the third one called the brother of the Lord.  

*      For a certain time the theory of his authorship of the letter was accepted, however after much research this theory does not seem to be possible. Why?  

*      The Hellenistic  language and the literary style used in the letter, the Bible quotations taken from the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. Being a Jew, even being a follower of Jesus, he would not have used this Greek translation of the Bible.   

*      It is believed to be a letter written by someone who use the name of James as a pseudonym 

*      The addressees are probably the communities or churches from Asia and Europe.   

*      The literary style, although this work is called a letter, is more like one of the wisdom books of the Old Testament.     

*      The content is a series of instructions on the Christian life and behavior.   

Let us see what the passage for this Sunday tells us:  

ü  The author invites the community to be patient, and gives the comparison of the farmer's patience, waiting for the appropriate time to get the fruit of his labor.  

ü  He invites them also to strengthen their heart, to be firm, why? Because the LORD IS NEAR. 

ü  Do not complain about one another, because the Judge of all is at the door.   

ü  He ends with an invitation to look at the hardships endured by the prophets from the past, who spoke in the name of the Lord.   

ü  All these advices will help us to make real what the prophet Isaiah announced and Jesus accomplished.   


I chose a room totally separated from the family, in the most hidden part of the house. It cost me a little to get it because they said it was very uncomfortable, too warm during summer and very cold in winter, and so it was: but as I desired so much quietness and I had already left the space and comfort of the convent, I did not mind the room to be wide or narrow: what I desire then, was to be far from dealing and communicating with people, and I succeeded  so perfectly that I lived with my companion all that time a life more of angels than of human creatures. María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 115. 
In all of the towns I mentioned in the last chapter, and in others I have not mentioned, I preached various services under different titles. Although they weren't called "missions," because we weren't allowed to call them that, nevertheless the subjects I preached on were really mission topics. The services were labeled, variously, Lent, Month of Mary; Fortnight of the Rosary; Novena for All Souls; Octave of the Blessed Sacrament; Septenary of the Seven Sorrows; etc. Such were the titles we usually gave these services, and although they were nominally a "novena," we lengthened the number of days if we needed to. St. Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 468.    

CLARET, Antonio María , Autobiografía.
NOLAN, Albert, Jesus Before Christianity,   1976.
PARIS, María Antonia, Autobiografía
PAGOLA, José Antonio. El Camino abierto por JESUS. 2012.
SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso, Comentarios en la Biblia de Nuestro Pueblo.  2010.