Monday, March 31, 2014


In our  Lenten  journey we have reached the fifth Sunday, day for the third scrutiny of the Elect who will receive the Sacraments of Initiation on the Easter Vigil. 

The theme of this Sunday is   life. On the third Sunday of Lent, first scrutiny, the symbol was water. The Lord gives to the Samaritan woman the living water which she accepts.  On the fourth Sunday, second scrutiny, the symbol was the light. The blind man allows the light to enlighten his heart and thus he believes.  On the fifth Sunday, third scrutiny,  the symbol is life, the life of grace which the elect will receive on the day of his/her baptism, life symbolized by the white robe they will receive after baptism.    

First Reading. Book of Ezekiel

Ø  This is a prophetic book with a great variety of literary form. 

Ø  This prophet accomplished his ministry, among the Israelites in exile in Babylon, during  very difficult and decisive times in the history of Israel. 

It seems that Ezekiel, like Jeremiah had opposed the political intrigues of his time, that wanted to overthrow the Babylonian power. 

Ø  In our bibles we find this book after Isaiah and Jeremiah. 

Ø  But it has not always been like this. The former order was:  

o   Jeremiah first, he prophesized doom and punishment. 

o   Ezekiel begins with oracles of doom, ends with oracles of consolation. 

o   Isaiah is all about consolation. 

Ø  The oracles in the book of Ezekiel are arranged in the following way: cc 1-24 oracles of judgment against Israel. cc.25-48 there is an abundance variety of words of consolation and hope.      

Ez 37,12-14

«  The passage that we will read this coming Sunday belongs to the second part of the book, the part of consolation.  

«  And truly the text is about consolation.

o   Using the image of the dead raising from their tombs  

o   The prophet announces to the people that the future restoration after the exile will be like the joy of these dead leaving their tombs alive.   

«  When this will happen the people will know that God is the Lord. 

«  In our life, when the suffering is changed into joy, we acknowledge   that God is truly the Lord, the only one who can change our mourning into dancing.  

Rm 8,8-11

*      Paul speaks about flesh and spirit. 

*      Flesh according to Paul is all that belongs to the works of darkness, sin. 

*      While the spirit represents everything that is good in ourselves. 

*      We are called to live in the spirit, that is to say, in the way of good because we have received the Spirit of God who abides  in us. 

*      We all have received this Spirit of God when we were baptized and confirmed. In the whole world many brothers and sisters are preparing themselves to welcome the Spirit of God in their lives, the day of the celebration of the sacraments of initiation on the Easter Vigil.   

*      Every Sunday when we pray the creed we say “I believe in the resurrection of the flesh (dead). This resurrection is only possible if the Spirit of God lives in us. 

*      The Spirit of God abides in me, in the deepest recesses of my being. Am I there to share with him? Where am I?  

Gospel  Jn 11,1-45

ü  This sign, the miracle of Lazarus shows that the Father has given to his Son Jesus power over life and death. 

ü  In the gospels of Mark and of Luke  (Mk 5,22-23; Lk 7,11-16) the Lord gives life back to someone who has just died.  

ü  But in the case of Lazarus four days have already passed, therefore enough time for his soul to have left the body, which has already begun to decompose.      

ü  Thus the power of Jesus over life and death is shown.  

ü  Lazarus, the dead man, is the brother of Martha and Mary. The Gospel of Luke presents these two sisters welcoming Jesus into their home. Mary listens to him and Martha is busy serving him.   

ü  In vv. 9-10 the John  plays with the words light and darkness. Jesus is our light, with him we will not stumble because his light enlightens us, it is daylight, we can do the works of the spirit (Paul talks about in his letter to the Romans), but when we depart from Him, we stumble because we do not see, it is night,  we do the works of the flesh.(Paul says that to the Romans)   

ü  Jesus postpones to go to see Lazarus, he waits until he has died, and he says to his disciples that he is glad for their sake because this will help them on their journey of faith. 

ü  John portrays the two sisters behaving in a similar way that Luke presents them in his gospel. 

o   Martha, the woman of action, goes in haste to meet Jesus who is still on his way. 

o   Mary does not move until her sister  tells her that the Teacher calls her. 

ü  The dialogue of each one of these two women with Jesus  has some resemblance: 

o   Both say to Jesus, maybe as a complain,   if you  had been here 

o   As he did with the Samaritan woman, Jesus tries to take Martha a step forward in her journey of faith. From faith in the resurrection on the last day,  to believe that Jesus has the power to bring Lazarus back to life now.   

o   For the miracle to take place Martha has to believe that Jesus is the resurrection and the life. Yes Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God.

o   The Samaritan woman received the precious revelation that Jesus is the Messiah; the blind man received the revelation that Jesus is the Son of Man and Martha  hears Jesus saying I am the resurrection and the life.  

ü  Those who had come to console the two sisters wonder, if this man who opened the eyes of the man born blind, could he not do something so that Lazarus would have not died?   We all have doubts when we do not understand, when things do not go the way we expect. We do not understand the ways of God, but it is not about understanding but about trusting in his infinite and unconditional  love.  

ü  Again the Lord dialogues with Martha to bring her to unconditional faith, in spite of not seeing or not understanding, only then she will see the glory of God.   Only when we surrender ourselves completely in his arms we enjoy freedom which allows us to fly and to break  our chains.

ü  Lazarus comes back to life, transformed and free by the word and power of Jesus. Untie him.. and let him go free. (v.44) 

ü  Those who saw the sign believed, Jesus had already given thanks to his Father because this sign would made them believe in the Father.   (v. 41a-42) 

Monday, March 17, 2014


Ø  The third, fourth and fifth Sundays of Lent will teach us about each Sunday about one of the signs of baptism.

Ø  These readings are found only in the liturgical year A, all of them are baptismal readings.

Ø   During these 3 Sundays the catechumens will  do  the scrutinies  which are penitential rites to help the catechumens in their journey towards the Sacraments of initiation.  

Ø  In chapter 15 there is another scene about water, there they cannot drink because the water is bitter.

Ø  Now they are exhausted and thirsty, they want water.

Ø  They do not attack Moses, but God.  They think that God is not able to take care of them in the wilderness.

Ø  Their concept of God is very  primitive, God is he who solves all the difficulties. As the people of   Israel walks the journey of faith they will learn little by little who God is. Their prophets will tell them that  God wants to have a loving personal relationship with the People and with each one of the members of the people of Israel. Still more, God wants to have this relationship with each  human being.

Ø  Moses asks God, and God, as always, answers like a loving and caring parent.

Ø  Take the elders, so they will be witnesses of what I will do, and struck the rock with the rod with which you struck the river.

Ø  And water  flows in abundance.

Ø  The last sentence of this Sunday’s reading tells us the real meaning of the quarrel, they doubt about God

Ø  Does their behavior resemble ours?


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 greet him 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 Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me
They tested me though they had seen my works.
SECOND READING – Rom 5:1-2. 5-8
«  In the preceding chapters Paul has explained how do we reach salvation

«  In the chapters which will follow after this  reading, Paul will concentrate in explaining what salvation is.

«  In this fragment of his letter Paul switches from the word faith to the word life.

«  The word life has a physical meaning in Rom 7,1-3

«  Apart from those two verses, life has a variety of meanings  which we know through   the words used by Paul:

o   Peace, in the sense of the Hebrew word Shalom,  which is the fullness of all that is good and the absence of anything bad. The true shalom will be reached only in Heaven.

o   Grace, gift . We called grace the gift   to participate into God’s life during our earthly journey.

o    Hope which enables us to continue with joy our journey even among the hardships of life.

o   Love which God has poured out into our hearts

o   The Holy Spirit whom the Father has given to us.

o   The death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ who died for us when we were still sinners.-       

GOSPEL:  John 4:5-42

Jesus is going from Jerusalem to Galilee, he had to pass through Samaria.

At the town of Shechem he stops and sits   at the well Jacob had given to his sons.

He is tired, hungry and thirsty. His disciples had gone off to the town to buy food.

Dialogue with the Samaritan woman:

*      The woman comes to the well at noon, this is not the normal time to go to the well, but maybe her life was not accepted by the other women, thus she used to come at the noon when nobody was there.

*      Jesus says “give me a drink”

The woman answers “You are a man and  a Jew, I am a Samaritan woman. (I man was not supposed to speak in public with a woman and much less with a Samaritan woman. Jews have nothing to do with Samaritans)

Jesus says: if you knew who it is that is asking for a drink, you would ask him instead.  

*      The woman recognizes something different in this man: Sir, you do not have a bucket…. Jesus is willing to drink from the woman’s bucket. This is truly what the Son of God has done, share our bucket-our life becoming human one like us.

Jesus tells her that anyone drinking the water from the well will continue to be thirsty, he can give her a living water, which shall become a fountain within her, leaping up to eternal life.

The woman wants this water, but she is still at the material level, if this man gives her that kind of water she will not have to come back to well every day.

Jesus wants to take the woman a step higher, “go tell you husband and come back here”

*      The woman is drawn to the light although she is still reluctant, this man knows her life. How much she has been looking to satiate her thirst of love, always in the wrong place.

Jesus tells her you are right you have had 5 husbands and the one you have now is not yours.

The woman says “Sir you are a prophet”

She engages in a conversation over the place of worship, maybe she is embarrassed by what Jesus has told her, she still fights against the light which is given to her.

The true worshiper will worship the Father in Spirit and truth, because God is Spirit.

The woman now talks about the Messiah

Jesus makes  to her the greatest revelation “I who speak to you, am he” 

The scene is changed now.
  • The disciples come back, they do not ask even being surprised to see him talking to a woman.
  • The woman leaves her bucket, she does not need it any more, she has finally found peace and reconciliation within herself, she already has the fountain of water promised by Jesus, her joy is complete. She wants to share it with the people of her town “come to see a man who has told me the things I ever did, could he be the Messiah?”
  • Meanwhile the disciples want Jesus to eat, Jesus like he did with the woman talking to her about the living water, now he speaks to the disciples about another bread, the bread of the will of the Father. (In the first temptation he answered “not only of bread…. But the will of God.)
  • He explains to them that they have been sent to reap what others had worked. In the Church each one has its own mission given by the Lord, and all together we do the will of the Father.
  • The people from the town come and on listening to Jesus, they believe in him.

Fire that always burns, love that is always on fire and is never lukewarm, enkindle in me the fire of your love, so that I may love you. I love you, Jesus, with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my strength. I would like to love you more and that all love you. I would like to love you for me and for all your creatures. Most Holy Virgin Mary, grant me the grace that all be saved and no one  be condemned.  St. Anthony M. Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Prayer

  The more we went into that immense sea of waters the more my spirit plunged into the immense sea of God , when I looked at myself  within the heart of my God  and Lord more clearly than in a mirror. God was so pleased in this way of considering his infinite greatness that often times He made me feel the tenderness of his most holy arms with which His holy Majesty pressed my soul within his sacred heart…. The immensity of the sea reminded me of the immensity of God and those skies so wide brought to my mind the immense spaces of the glory of the saints. María Antonia Paris, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters. Autobiography 159.





Sunday, March 9, 2014



«  In the Liturgy of the First Sunday of Lent, the first Reading was taken from the 2nd and 3rd chapters of the Book of Genesis. 

«  The first 11 chapters of the book of Genesis are not historical, in the way the events are narrated.  

«  However  they are also historical in the sense that they try to explain the process of creation, the reality of sin and temptation.

«  Using a symbolic language full of images they transmit to us a theological reflection on these realities.  

«  In the liturgy of the Second Sunday of Lent, the first reading is taken from chapter 12 of Genesis.  

o   From chapter 12 on there is a change in perspective in the book of Genesis 

o   The first 11 chapters show us the work of God, who gives without measure and looks for men and women over and over again.

o   At the same time these chapters also tell us how men and women respond to the generosity of God by sinning and following the temptation of Paradise “you will be like gods”. Men and women turn away from God, their creator, to follow their own ways of sin and corruption.  

o   In chapter 12 God intervenes again, doing something new. Like in creation when God called man to existence now he calls another man Adam. This man will accept the call and will obey the God of the Mountain, as he calls Him, “El Shaddai” אל שדי. The God of the patriarchs, which is the same God of Moses  YHWH, the only God.  The translation of El Shaddai is God Almighty.  

o   With Abram a new stage begins in  human history in its relationship with its creator. 

o   The Lord tells Abram to leave the land of his kinsfolk and from his father’s house to a land that the Lord will show him.   

§  He is asked to leave without knowing the destination, with the sole trust in the word of the God who spoke to him from the mountain   

o   God makes 7 promises to Abram   

§  I will make of you a great nation  
§  I will bless you  
§  I will make your name great  
§  So that you will be a blessing 
§  I will bless those who bless you   
§  I will curse those who curse you  
§  All the communities of the earth shall find blessing in you. 
o   Abram leaves as God has asked him 
§  His reaction to the word of God is completely different from that of the first fathers: Adam and Eve, the people of Noah’s time, the people of the tower of Babel. These did not obey the word of God, Abram goes forth as God has told him, he does not know where, but he trusts the word of the Lord God Almighty

§  Thus he will be a blessing and not a curse as our first fathers were. 
§  A new adventure begins for the human race. 

Ø  The letters to Timothy are considered “deutero-paulines”. The name deutero is given to a group of letters which scholars think have not been written by Paul but by some of his disciples. The letters written by Paul are called Proto-Paulines.

Ø  The Letter to Timothy seems to have been written after the death of Paul. 

Ø  These letters belong  also to the group of letters called Pastoral letters, which are addressed to Bishops: Titus and Timothy who had been collaborators of Paul in his ministry.  

«  God has called us also to a life of holiness. Holiness is to live our life according to the will of God.  

«  We have seen   the answer of Abram to the call of God.  
«  We have been called to a life of holiness in Christ Jesus. 
«  The Father has called us to this holiness of life before the creation of the world. 
«  Christ has brought   us salvation and immortality by despoiling death of its power.

GOSPEL  Mt. 17,1-9
§  This text narrates the transfiguration of the Lord, the revelation of the Lord to his disciples. 

§  Not to all the disciples but only to three, the same who will be the witnesses of his agony in the garden of Getsemani. 

§  From the Mountain Jesus gives them a glimpse  of his glory, he reveals in some way to them who He really is. After the resurrection the disciples, as they remember the vision on the mountain, will understand that Jesus is the Lord.   In the garden Jesus will show to them another side of who he is, one like us, vulnerable and weak.   

§  His face was dazzling as the sun, his clothes as radiant as light. These are signs of life, majesty and power.   

§  Moses-the Law and Elijah-the Prophets are speaking to him. The whole Old Testament speaks of Jesus, announces him to us without giving his name. 

§  The cloud is in the Old Testament the image of the presence of God. The cloud of the exodus, the cloud over the tent of the meeting in the desert

§  The voice of the Father, like at Jesus’ baptism, says that He is the Son in whom the Father is well pleased. And the Father invites us to listen to him (his beloved son).  

§  The disciples are overcome with fear. The presence of God awakes  two different feelings in the human being: on one hand a strong attraction to God on the other hand fear because God is Awesome and Mysterious.

§  Jesus touches them, do not be afraid!  In order that  we might not be afraid of God, the Son has taken our flesh so that we will not be afraid to approach Him. Jesus is the Word incarnate, made flesh,  who gently touches each one of us.

§  Jesus will repeat the same words in his apparitions after the resurrection. He had said these words also in other occasions,  as during the storm on the lake.   

§  The disciples cannot tell, before the Resurrection of the Lord,  what has happened on the mountain, it could  be misunderstood.  


On August 26,1861, at 7:00 in the evening while I was at prayer in the church of the Rosary at La Granja (Spain) the Lord granted me the great grace of keeping the sacramental species intact within me and of having the Blessed Sacrament always present, day and night, within me. Because of this I must always be very recollected and inwardly devout. Furthermore I must pray and confront all the evils of Spain, as the Lord has told me.” Saint Anthony M. Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 694.  


The Lord said to me “ask whatever you want, my daughter because I want to reward you for the tears that with so much love and suffering, you have shed to defend the treasures of my Church…” I answered him “My Lord I do not want any other reward  than the restoration of the holy Church. If I could, my Lord, with blood tears repair the many evils of the Church,  my God I will be ready to shed my blood to the last drop in the same way you shed yours for me on the holy tree of the cross. I cannot describe the consolation that my soul felt on this occasion.”   Venerable  María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Diary 82.