Tuesday, April 28, 2015

«  Starting with the 5th Sunday of Easter the church, through her liturgy, prepares us for the approaching celebration of the Ascension of the Lord

«  The Gospels are taken from the discourses of Jesus at the Last Supper.

«  Today the Gospel reminds us that Jesus has told us that with him we can do anything and, that without him we can do nothing.    

«  This is made clear for us in the Acts of the Apostles where the church is faithful to the word of Jesus who invites us to love one another as he has loved us.  

 FIRST READING  – Acts  9: 26-31
-          In the Acts Luke narrates some events of the first  communities.   

-          He is not interested in giving us information about historical deeds, which were already known by the communities.  

-          Luke wants to invite his addressees to look these events and, reinterpret them in  the light of faith and love of Jesus and, discover in them the presence of the Holy Spirit who impels them to live as Jesus lived. 

-          Perhaps it would help all our communities, parishes and groups within them, to look our communal history and discover in them the living presence of the Spirit, who is leading us through the events, which sometimes may seem to us unrelated to our faith and with one another.   

-          And not only the communities as such,  but each one of us could do the same with our life as followers of Jesus and members of an ecclesial community. 

«  In past Sundays we have heard Peter speaking of Jesus to the Jews.  

«  Today Luke introduces to us Paul who has come back from Jerusalem.  

«  As much as he wanted to be part of the community of believers, they were afraid.

«  But there is a disciple who allows the Spirit of Jesus to lead him and, tries to make real in his life the precept of “love one another as I have loved you.” And he trusts in Paul whom he met in Damascus. 

«  Paul continues to be the man full of passion for the cause of God. He used to persecute the new sect called the “way” because, in his heart, he believed that this group offended YHWH, the God of Israel, the only true God.   Now his passion is oriented to make known Jesus, to be his witness. Jesus who encountered Saul on the way and had shown to him how much he will have to suffer for the sake of the Name.”  

«  He already begins to suffer the mistrust of his Christian brothers and also his Jewish brothers.  

«  The former do not trust in him, the others want to kill him.     

«  Today’s reading ends with some words which are the summary that Luke presents  of the Church: 

o   She is in peace and this helps her 

o   To progress and grow in numbers  

o   What is the progress which Luke describes? The church progresses in the fear of the Lord, that is to say, in the loving faithfulness to her Lord, as we have heard in the reading for this Sunday. The little church, which is being born and developing, tries to live the commandment of the Lord “love one another as I have loved you.”   

o   As a consequence of all of this the Church enjoys the consolation of the Holy Spirit, Jesus Spirit whom he has sent to his Church. 

o   This consolation comes from the certainty to be, as a church, immersed in the loving presence of the Spirit thus, although as in a shadow, immersed in the life of the Trinity within the continuous exchange of love among the three Divine Persons.    

Responsorial Psalm. Ps 22:26-27. 28. 30. 31-32
I will fulfill my vows before those who fear the Lord
The lowly shall eat their fill
 They who seek the Lord shall praise him
May your hearts live forever! 

All the ends of the earth
Shall remember and turn to the Lord
All the families of the nations
Shall bow down before him 

To Him alones hall bow down
All who sleep in the earth
Before Him shall bend
All who go down into the dust 

And to Him my soul shall live
My descendants shall serve Him
Let the coming generation be told of the Lord
That they may proclaim to a people yet to be born
The justice he has shown

SECOND READING : 1 Jn 3:18-24
*      John invites his community to truly love and, not only speak of love.  

*      The love we have   assures us that we are dedicated to the truth. Let us remember that Scriptures speaks of God saying that God is love, God is Truth.  

*      The consolation we have when our conscience accuses us, is that God knows us, all that is ours is known to Him. 

*      And on the other hand, if our conscience does not accuse us, we can be sure to obtain whatever we ask for.  

*      What does that mean? Is it something magical?    

*      No, the answer is given to us in the next verse,  it is because we keep his commandments.   

*      Then this means that what is given to us is given as a reward for our faithfulness to the commandments?  

*      No. If we are faithful in keeping his commandments this means that we have allowed the Spirit of the Lord to enter into our heart, the Holy Spirit that makes us like Jesus. We have the same feelings of Jesus, thus we ask only what Jesus would also ask.  

GOSPEL  JOHN 15: 1-8
Ø  The theme of the vineyard reminds us that in the Old Testament Israel is called the “vineyard of the Lord.”    

Ø  Jesus says that He is the vine, he is the fullness of what Israel was called to be “the vine, the vineyard.”    

Ø  John describes God as the vine grower who takes good care of the vine: he takes away what is dead, prunes what is alive so that it may have abundant life.  

Ø  Jesus invites his own to live in Him, as He lives in us.  

Ø  He says that if we are not united to Him we will not give fruit.    

Ø   When we become disciples of Jesus and we give fruit, we glorify the Father. The image of the vine should  fill us with so much trust in the Lord, whom we contemplated last week as the Good Shepherd.

Ø  José A. Pagola says: The church will not be able to fulfill his mission in the world today, if those who called themselves Christians do not become disciples of Jesus, encouraged by his spirit and his passion for a more human world.   

Ø  Karl Rahner said that in the future to be Christian will require to be a mystic. A mystic is someone who has entered into the deep intimacy of the Shepherd, of the Teacher, allowing the  sap of the vine to circulate through his/her  veins thus having abundant life.    

Ø  All the Gospels during the Easter Season remind and invite us to enter into the intimacy of the Lord, and to find our joy in this same intimacy with Him.  


God was preparing me with so many troubles to receive the great, the indescrcribable joy which had to flood my soul with the arrival of the Bull from Rome on July 16, 1855, as rapidly as I was expecting and I had told the Archbishop every time he presented me so many difficulties.

            The fights and quarrels, tears and sighs that the foundation of this first house is costing me. Only God, who is pleased with the sighs of a heart distressed for his love, knows them. María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters. Autobiography 202.    

These were the helpers who accompanied me in my apostolic labors amid the thorns and thistles of my diocese. I owe God endless thanks for providing me such good companions. The conduct of all of them was above reproach. They never caused me a moment's pain; on the contrary, they were all a great comfort to me. All had good dispositions and solid virtue, and they were so detached from worldly cares that they never once spoke or thought of self-interest or honors. Their only concern was for God's greater glory and the conversion of souls. Antonio María Claret, founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters. Autobiography 606.      

CLARET, Antonio María. Autobiografía.
FLOR SERRANO, Gonzalo. Los Salmos en Comentario al Antiguo Testamento II. La Casa de la Biblia 1997.
PAGOLA, JOSE A. Following in the Footsteps of Jesus. Meditations on the Gospels for Year B. Miami 2011
PARIS, María Antonia. Autobiografía en Escritos, con Comentarios por   Juan Manuel Lozano.
RAVASI, Gianfranco. Según las Escrituras. Año B. Ediciones San Pablo. Bogotá 2005.
SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso. Comentarios en la BIBLIA DE NUESTRO PUEBLO. Ediciones Mensajero. China 2010

Saturday, April 25, 2015

«  On This fourth Sunday the Church will meditate and pray for vocations. 
«  The vocation comes from the unconditional love of God our creator. He invites us to pass on this message to the new generations.
«  The readings remind us that Jesus has given his life for us.  
«  He is the corner stone rejected by the builders, as we read in the psalm.  
FIRST READING  – Acts  4:8-12
«  Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit speaks to the leaders of his people to explain the miracle which they just have witnessed. They did not do the miracle in their own name, but in the name of Jesus.  
«  He reminds them also that they condemned Jesus to death, but God raised him.   
«  All these Easter Sundays we hear a refrain, as if it was a background melody: Christ Jesus whom you killed and the Father has raised.    
«  This Jesus is the cornerstone which the builder rejected, and which is now the stone which supports the building, the church.     
«  Peter repeats over and over again “there is no salvation in any other name,  but only in the mane of Jesus.  
Psalm  118:1.8-9,21-23,26,21,29
Ø  This is a psalm of thanksgiving and praise for the wonderful works which God has made. 
Ø   In this psalm we find individual and also communal expressions.  
Ø  It seems to be a liturgical psalm.    
Ø  The psalmist gives thanks to God FOR HE IS GOOD, FOR HIS MERCY IS EVERLASTING.   
Ø  For what wonderful work of God in our life, do we want to thank him and sing his mercy toward us?  
Give thanks to the Lord for he is good
For his mercy endures forever 
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
Than to trust in man
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
Than to trust in princes. 
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
And have been my savior
The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the cornerstone.
By the Lord has this been done
It is wonderful in our eyes 
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord
We bless you from the house of the Lord.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
And have been my savior
Give thanks to the Lord for he is good
For his kindness endures forever.  
*      This reading is very short but very rich in meaning.  
*      The author speaks of how great is the love that  the Father has shown to us. 
*      Because he has called us his children, because we really are. 
*      For this same reason the world does not know us, and does not accept us, as it did neither  recognized nor accept Him as Father.    
*      We already are children of God.  
*      But all of this is like in a shadow; we cannot see him clearly.  
*      When he appears, we will be like him and we will see him as he is.   
*      “When he appears” may be a reference to the second coming of the Lord or to the encounter of each one of us with him at the end of our earthly journey.  
«  The reading for this coming Sunday is taken from the speech of Jesus  on the Good Shepherd.
«  In the first part, which we will not read today,   Jesus speaks of the gate for the sheep.
«  In the second part he says “I am the good shepherd”  
«  And he continues saying what to be a good shepherd means:  
o   The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. This is precisely what Jesus has done; so much great is his love for us, his sheep. Like the good shepherd who lies down  at the entrance of the  gate becoming himself the gate, to protect the sheep from the wolf, because the  sheepfold did not had a gate to protect the flock.    
o   The next two verses describe the difference between the mercenary and the shepherd.   
o   He says again “I am the good shepherd”  
o   The Good Shepherd defends the sheep and gives his life for them   
o   He knows his sheep, the sheep know him.   
o   Let us reflect on the biblical meaning of the verb “to know”
§  To know someone is not only to know intellectually    
§  In this knowing the mind, the heart, the passion, the feelings, the will, the imagination   are involved.  
§  This verb is used when the bible speaks about the deep love and relationship in marital life
o   The sheep have an intimate and deep relationship with their shepherd Jesus; very similar to the relationship between the Father and his Son (Jesus)  
o   As a consequence of this knowledge, this intimate love between Jesus and his sheep, He gives his life so that they may have abundant life.    
o   What a wonderful image! Our shepherd invites us to enter into the deep intimacy which he has with the Father in the Trinity.   
o   For this he has died, he is risen and he has ascended into heaven taking us with him, as a warrior takes the spoils of war with him.   
«  In the next section Jesus says that he has other sheep which do not belong to the same fold.  
o   These are all our brothers and sisters who do not know yet our Shepherd, they are not yet part of the flock.  
o   But the Good Shepherd has to find them and they will listen to his voice  
o   The voice of the Shepherd, it does not mean only a voice heard with our ears. It is the voice which resonates in our heart, and which leads us to the knowledge of the Shepherd.     
o   In the same way as the human love between a man and a woman.  It begins with an external attraction between the two of them, and as they relate to each other this attraction leads to the intimate knowledge between them.    
o   All the sheep that hear, listen to and know the Shepherd form one flock, because the knowledge of the Shepherd, his voice resonates in their most inner being, and bonds us to the Shepherd and among ourselves. We are strangers no more, we are enemies no longer, we are BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF THE RISEN LORD AND AMONG OURSELVES.   
«   Jesus tells something that makes us wonder: the Father loves him because he gives his life to get it back again.   
«  Nobody takes his life from him; He himself gives it because he has the power to give it and to take it back. He is the Lord.   
«  This is the mission he has received from the Father.    
«  We have a long way in front of us, as followers of Jesus, our Teacher and Shepherd.   
o   The openness of our heart, to seek, with him, the sheep who are not yet with the Shepherd and with us
o   The welcoming so that they feel part of our faith family.    
o   This openness and welcoming cannot have any limits caused by resentments, vengeance, judgments on the life of our brothers and sisters who are not yet with us.   
o   The joy experienced when a brother or a sister comes back or comes for the first time to our family.    
o   Each one of us may look into his or her own heart to discover the doors closed so often by our vindictive justice.  
o   Each one of us needs to work in a close relationship with our Shepherd to learn how to give life, like he has given his life for the lost sheep, which all of us are.    
o   The reality is that each one enters into the flock at our own pace, time and process. Who welcomes us is the Shepherd who invites all of us to be also welcoming of those who have not yet begin the journey or are at the beginning or at any other moment of their journey.  
I had made many  acts of abandonment and self- offering in the arms of the Divine providence in
the midst of so many perils, being certain and most sure  that God is never short of means to help his children in their necessities even in that immense space of waters where we had no other refuge than the violent waves . This faith so alive, that God has put in my soul made me rest in the midst of so many fights. And in this way God willed to show that the one who puts all his hope in his infinite power would never be confounded.
María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian MIssionary Sisters. Autobiography 152.   
Then, speaking of infidels in general, she would say, "If I could, I would gather them all together and bring them to the bosom of the Church, that She might purify them of all their infidelities and regenerate them as her children, drawing them to her breast and nourishing them with the milk of the sacraments. How well she would feed and nurse them at her breasts! Ah, if I could bring them to her, how gladly would I do it!" Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters. Autobiography 260.  
CLARET, Antonio María. Autobiografía.
FLOR SERRANO, Gonzalo. Los Salmos en Comentario al Antiguo Testamento II. La Casa de la Biblia 1997.
PARIS, María Antonia. Autobiografía en Escritos, con Comentarios por   Juan Manuel Lozano.
RAVASI, Gianfranco. Según las Escrituras. Año B. Ediciones San Pablo. Bogotá 2005.
SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso. Comentarios en la BIBLIA DE NUESTRO PUEBLO. Ediciones Mensajero. China 2010