Tuesday, March 17, 2015

It is the last Sunday of Lent, on the following  Sunday we will begin the Holy Week.  Let us review our Lenten journey:

*      We began with the contemplation of Jesus tempted in the desert after his  baptism in the Jordan river, when he heard the voice of the Father saying “You are my beloved Son…”  

*      In awe, like the disciples who were witnesses of the transfiguration of the Lord, we learned that the beloved son who had been tempted in the desert is God incarnate who allows us to see his glory, and the Father repeats again the same words pronounced at Jesus’ baptism “This is my beloved… listen to him.”  

*      After that we began a series of three Sundays in which the liturgy helps us to contemplate three different themes:  

o   Jesus cleanses the Temple of his Father and says to us that he is the true temple, the true law.  

o   Jesus has to be lifted up on the cross so that whoever looks at him will be saved, like those who looked at the bronze serpent in the desert were cured from the bite of the snakes.  

o   Jesus grain of wheat that falls and dies to give us life, invites us to do the same, if we want to have eternal live and give it to others.   

Let us see what message do the readings bring to us today.    

FIRST READING  – Jer 31:31-34
Ø  Jeremiah is the prophet that was present when the fall of Jerusalem,  when the city felt under the power of the Babylonian empire, in 586 B.C  

Ø  Today’s reading belongs to the part of the book called “the book of consolation” chapters 30 and 31,   considered to be one of the highest points in the spirituality of the Old Testament.   

Ø  Jeremiah dares to propose the substitution of the Covenant on Mount Sinai by a “New Covenant.” 

Ø  The emphasis is on the word “new”, on the newness which this covenant will bring.     

Ø  Jesus fulfills this new covenant announced by Jeremiah, and Jesus himself on consecrating the wine says that this is the new and eternal covenant…  

Ø  What is this new covenant?    

o   First of all it is new, it is not the old one with some changes, no, it is new, completely new.   

o   God says that he will make a new covenant with House of Israel. The church is called the new Israel, which is formed by all who accept the Lord, who turn their eyes to him to be saved 

o   This covenant will not be like the covenant made when God took their “fathers” and led them by his hand from slavery to freedom.  

o   It will not be a law written on cold and hard stones, like the first covenant on Mount Sinai.   

o   It is a covenant in which God repeats “You will be my people” and “I will be your God.”   

o   Under these words we discover the compassionate love of God toward all those men and women who will be his people. 

o   In the New Covenant the law will be written in hearts of human flesh, in the heart of each man and woman who will look at the Lord to be saved.  

o   God will be more than ever “his God” and they will be “his people.”   

o   Something new will happen, each  person (young and old) will know the law  since God will put it in their hearts.   

o   This law will be in the human heart like the rivers of water which Jesus promised the Samaritan woman.   

o   The church has seen in these passages about the living water and the law in the heart, the pouring out and the presence of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, on his church, on each one of its members. 

o   All this wonderful things will happen because he will have forgiven their guilt and their sin. Jesus will fulfill this offering his life on the cross for the glory of the Father and our salvation, both things are the same thing.   

In the  Responsorial Psalm, we will ask God CREATE IN ME A PURE HEART, on which you may write the new law, the new covenant.    

Have mercy on me God in your goodness
In the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
And of my sin cleanse me. 

A clean heart create for me O God
And a steadfast spirit renew within me
Cast me not out from your presence
And your Holy Spirit take not from me 

Give me back the joy of your salvation
And a willing spirit sustain in me
I will teach transgressors your ways
And sinners shall return to you.  

SECOND READING  – Hebrews  5:7-9
«  The author of this letter reflects  in this chapter on  Jesus’ priesthood. 

«  Every priest is formed in prayer which enkindles in his heart the love of God, and helps him to be more and more close to the God whom he loves.  

«  In this process man learns obedience, to become all that God has dreamed for each one of us when he created us.   

«  Jesus, the Word of God, the Incarnate Son of the Father, who partakes in our limited human nature, in prayer, in the events of his life, learns to obey. The Letter says “he learned obedience from what he suffered.”    

«  And when  he will be made perfect, consecrated in obedience,  in suffering and in the giving up of his life.    

«  He will become the source of salvation for all those who obey, who look at him to be saved.   

«  The author sees in all that process of Christ the priest, a new priesthood which gives salvation to all who cling to him, and he takes them to God.   

«  For a new covenant a new priesthood is needed.   

GOSPEL   John  12:20-33
ü  John presents today a group of Greeks. As we have already said in the Gospel of John each person represents a different group of human beings.   

ü  The group today is a group of Greeks, gentiles who do not belong to the people of Israel.   

ü  They approach Philip and say WE WANT TO SEE JESUS.    

ü  When they told Jesus, he teaches the following lesson, which might seem not to respond to what those men were looking for, but Jesus is explaining this situation, some gentiles want to see him, let us remember that whoever looked at the bronze serpent in the desert was cured , whoever looks at Jesus with faith is saved.   

ü  The hour has come, what hour? The hour of Jesus which John mentions several times in his Gospel.   

o   It is not a chronological hour, but a “kayros” a time of salvation.   

o   It is the hour of the glorification of the Son. What glorification? The glorification of his death and resurrection, his Passover.   

ü  He has to die like the grain of wheat in order to give life.  

o   All of us, if we want to give life we have to die like the grain of wheat, like Jesus

o   Jesus invites us, if we want to serve him, to follow him because where “I am” my servant will also be

o   Whoever serves him will be honored by the Father. After all the Father said on the Mountain of the Transfiguration “listen to him.”

ü  Jesus opens his heart to us he tells us “I am troubled.”   

o   Jesus is ready to do the will of the Father which is his food, but as a man that he is, he experiences fear of suffering, abandonment, scorn, death.   

o   How much we have to be grateful to Jesus for opening his heart and letting us know his feelings.    

o   But John continues saying that Jesus acknowledges that he has come for this “hour”  

o   Will he ask the Father to deliver him up from this hour?   

o   No, because he has come for this “hour.” It is the hour to make real in his flesh the “New Covenant” for the salvation of all.   

o   Jesus asks the Father to glorify his name as Father   

o   The Father responds to Jesus, he speaks to him as he did in his baptism and on the transfiguration, “I have already glorified you and will glorify you again”   

o   The glory of Jesus lies in his filial, loving and difficult obedience to the compassionate and loving will of the Father.   

o   Those present do not understand the meaning of the voice, but Jesus explains that this voice did not come for him, but for them, to help them to see Jesus not with the eyes of flesh but of faith.   

ü  And Jesus makes the solemn declaration    

o   Now the judgment of this world has come    

o   Now the prince of this world, the spirit of evil has been driven away, it has no more power.   

o   And once “ I will be lifted up from the earth” I will attract all to me. The cross of Christ has always been the point of attraction of Christians and non-Christians.   

o   Jesus realizes completely the “new covenant” engraved in the human heart, his death seals this covenant made in love and compassion; and thus he attracts all. Only a compassionate and respectful love can make us go back to the heart of our Father.     

ü  John ends this fragment saying that “lifted up from the earth” means Jesus death on the cross.   
GOSPEL OF JOHN  11: 1-45.

«  John narrates the resurrection of Lazarus, interpreted as the resurrection of Israel into the New Israel.  

«  The Jews (according to John these are the Jews who do not accept Jesus, most of the time it refers to the religious authorities) agree to kill Jesus because he has given the life back to a dead man.   

«  For John this is the cause of his condemnation, for the Synoptic Gospels he is condemned because he has made himself like God.   

«  When Jesus hears that his friend is sick he does nothing, he let him die. Israel is also sick but it cannot be cured it has to be resurrected.  

«  The sentence “the one you love is sick” is a reference also to Israel, the beloved and chosen people of God is sick to death. The death of Lazarus will  be the occasion for the manifestation of the glory of God, and as well the resurrection of the people of Israel will make visible the glory and the power of God.  

«  Martha at the beginning represents the group of Jews  who have a pharisaic orientation; but later she does a leap of the new faith in Christ.  

«  The conversation of Jesus with Martha is a theological declaration on life, resurrection and the identity of Jesus.  

«  Lord if you had been here my brother would have not died, but I believe that God will give to you whatever your ask. – Have I not tell you that your brother will rise? – Yes on the last day – I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE … and whoever  BELIEVES IN MI WILL NOT DIE FOREVER. – Do you believe Martha? YES LORD I HAVE COME TO BELIEVE THAT YOU ARE THE MESSIAH, THE SON OF GOD, WHO HAVE COME TO THE WORLD.  

«  Martha goes to call Mary who was still outside the village waiting for the Lord. There is here a connotation to the Song of Songs when the girl is waiting for her beloved. The relationship of Mary with Jesus is different from the one between Jesus and Martha. Mary related to him from her heart.  

«  Mary says to Jesus the same words as Martha said, but probably she meant something different,  because Jesus does not request from her a profession of faith as he did with Martha.  

«  He has been dead for 4 days. After four days the person was considered really dead.  

«  Israel is also dead in its faith, but Jesus has the power to give life again, because he is the Life.  

«  And Jesus raises Lazarus from the tomb, he also gives new life to  the faithful Israel that opens its heart and puts its faith in  him.  

«  The man comes out with hands and feet tied, are these the ties of the old Law? Jesus orders them to free him, I think that Jesus has been doing that all his life long and continues to do it for all of us.   

«  A good work may have different results according to who receives it or sees it:  

o   For some it helps them to believe, to put their faith in him.   

o   For others it separates them from him, and they agree to put him to death. What an irony! to kill the one who gives life, who is life himself. How much darkness can the human heart harbor.   

«  Do I believe in the resurrection?  Do I believe that Jesus is risen? Do I believe that he can raise me up, give life to me? Let  us say with Martha LORD I HAVE COME TO BELIEVE THAT YOU ARE THE MESSIAH.  
  • CASTRO SÁNCHEZ, Secundino. Evangelio de Juan – Compendio exegético-existencial. Madrid 2002.
  • LOZANO, Juan Manuel. Escritos(Writings) María Antonia París, Estudio crítico, “El Misionero Apostólico- The Apostolic Missionary.”   Barcelona 1985.
  • RAVASI, GIANFRANCO. Según las Escrituras.  Doble Comentario de las lecturas del domingo. Año B.  San Pablo, Bogotá,Colombia 2005.
  • RUBIO MORÁN, Luis. “Escrito a los Hebreos” en Comentario al Nuevo Testamento. Estella (Navarra) 1995.  
§  VIÑAS, José María cmf y BERMEJO, Jesús, cmf.  Autobiography of Saint Anthony Mary Claret.  

For us the Claretian Missionary Sisters the first reading has a very especial and dear meaning. We believe that the new covenant was made real in the heart of our Foundress on her Initial Experience, when the Lord engraved his law in her heart.  

            I was very attentive, overwhelmed to what was happening, and it seemed to me that I was reading the Holy Law of God, but without seeing any books nor letters; I  was seeing it written, and I was understanding it so very well, that it seemed to me it was imprinting in my soul but in a particular way the book of the Holy Gospels, which till then I had never read, neither  the Sacred Scripture (O.T). After, by God’s grace, I have read something and I have seen it written word by word, as our Lord taught it to me from the holy tree of the cross. It seems to me that the words I understood were coming out from his host holy mouth. (María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 5) 
 I tell myself: A Son of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a man on fire with love, who spreads its flames wherever he goes. He desires mightily and strives by all means possible to set the whole world on fire with God's love. Nothing daunts him; he delights in privations, welcomes work, embraces sacrifices, smiles at slander, and rejoices in suffering. His only concern is how he can best follow Jesus Christ and imitate Him in working, suffering, and striving constantly and single-mindedly for the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls.(Anthony Mary Claret, Fpounder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography  494)




Thursday, March 12, 2015


The readings today invite us to look into our heart, and see how is our Lenten journey.  

Truly that conversion is a matter of our entire life, but the church offers us some especial times, in which we may help us as a community to walk toward the Lord, to renew our enthusiasm and our mutual love.   

FIRST READING: Chr 36:14-16. 19-23.
Ø  The people of Israel represented by their leaders have accumulated sin over sin, infidelity over infidelity.  

Ø  The prophets which God has sent them have invited the people to conversion, to change their ways, to be faithful, but all had been in vain.  

Ø  A powerful king of a great nation: Babylon has defeated them and taken them as prisoners to exile. The text says that it is God who has done this, this is the way the people of the bible understood life, for them good and bad came from God.   

Ø  If we reflect on this we will realize that what  was happening to the people is the consequence of their actions, of their behavior: they lived as if God did not exist, as if the Law had not been given to them for their happiness and freedom.   

Ø  And in the same way that a powerful king took them to exile, another powerful king gave them the permission to go back to their country, to rebuild it and the temple as well.   

Ø  What are our infidelities to the love of our God and savior?  

Ø  What are the difficult moments in our life, and what caused them?  

Ø  What are the happy moments which we have experienced, and what caused them?   

Ø  Have we been able to acknowledge in our life the loving and provident presence of our Father?   

RESPONSORIAL PSALM:   Ps  138:1-2,3,4-5,6
This is the psalm of of those exiled in Babylon who remember their beloved country.   

«  Far away from their country the Israelites remember their country and weep.   

«  Their oppressors make fun of them and ask them to sing their sacred songs to entertain them.  

«  But, how can they sing a canticle to God in a foreign land, a land of gentiles?   

«  If we were capable of profaning our love to God, may we become mute and paralyzed. 
GOSPEL:  JOHN 3: 14-21*      The reading is taken from the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus. 

*      Nicodemus is a Pharisee who is in the Sanhedrin, the religious government of the people of Israel.  

*      In the Gospel of John each character represents a given human group. 

*      Nicodemus represents the Jewish religion closed to the newness of the Messiah.  

*      John the Baptist on the contrary represents the Jewish religion open to that newness which Jesus brings to the world. 

*      Nicodemus is a historical person, but the conversation with all its details is a composition of the evangelist.  

*      Let us go back to Nicodemus  

o   In the passage before today’s reading Nicodemus is surprised and does not understand how one can be born again. Does he really needs to be born again to be able to accept the Jesus as the Messiah?   

o   Jesus tells him that as the bronze serpent was lifted up in the desert, and all those who looked at it were healed, thus the Son of man will be lifted up, and who believes in him (= look at the serpent in the desert) will have eternal life.   

o   John continues to narrate the conversation  

§  God loves so much the world, created by him, that he has sent his Son.  

§  The Son has come not to condemn but to save the world.  

§  The separation between saved and condemned is faith (in the desert it was to look at the bronze serpent)  

§  There is a constant trial in this world: the light has come to the world, but men have preferred darkness. 

§  Because who does evil looks for darkness, and who does good comes to the light.  

o   The main dimension in the gospel of John has a vertical orientation. Something goes from us to God.  

§  The cross of Jesus on Mount Calvary has this vertical orientation toward the sky, toward heaven. 

§  This cross makes the division between the two sides of the mountain.  

§  On one side are all those who accept and acknowledge him Christ Jesus as the Messiah and thus follow and come to the light.   

§  On the other side are all those who avoid the light and seek darkness, close themselves to the Messiah, do not accept the salvation which Christ Jesus offers us.    

SECOND READING:   Eph 2:4-10
ü  God is rich in mercy, someone has said that the only thing that God know how to do is to love and to be compassionate. 

ü  God gave us life in Christ when we were dead due to our sins

ü  He raised us up, in Christ.

ü  All of this for pure love, pure gift, through faith all those wonders that God does can be ours.  

ü  It is neither our doing, nor a recompense for what we might have done, IT IS GOD’S GIFT, thus no one can boast.   

ü  We are his masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus, to lead us to a life of good deeds. A life which he has prepared for us.    
CASTRO SÁNCHEZ, Secundino. Evangelio de Juan, compendio exegético-existencial, 2da. Edición. Comillas, Madrid 2001.
  • LA BIBLIA DE NUESTRO PUEBLO, comentarios de Luis Alonso Schökel. Misioneros Claretianos, 2010.
  • LOZANO, Juan Manuel, Escritos(Writings) María Antonia París, Estudio crítico, “El Misionero Apostólico- The Apostolic Missionary.”   Barcelona 1985.
  • RAVASI, GIANFRANCO. Según las Escrituras.  Doble Comentario de las lecturas del domingo. Año B.  San Pablo, Bogotá,Colombia 2005.
  • VIÑAS, José María cmf y BERMEJO, Jesús, cmf.  Autobiography of Saint Anthony Mary Claret. 



 Our Lord was very pleased with this act of humiliation that he infused in me since my first years and the next day He deigned to wipe my tears because very in the morning they called me to the parlor for my confessor, Rev. Fr. Currius sent by the archbishop had told him that he was commanding me in virtue of holy obedience to tell him if I like it as it was  or it was necessary to add or to remove something. God has always consoled my soul according to my taste, that supplication which was directed by the finger of God. María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 208.

 I remained in the capital, where I inaugurated the pastoral visitation, starting in the cathedral and then going through the parishes Every day administered the Sacrament of Confirmation. There were a great many to be confirmed, and so, to avoid confusion, I had some forms printed and distributed the right quantity of them to the rectories the day before confirmations. These forms were then filled in with such data as the names of those to be confirmed, their parents, and their sponsors. This helped avoid confusion and crowding and made it easier to record the data later with greater accuracy and leisure. I always followed this procedure, and it worked quite well with all those I confirmed – and that came to no less than 300,000 persons during my stay of six years and two months on the island. St. Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters. Autobiography 515