Wednesday, September 23, 2015

In the Gospel of Mark Jesus continues to teach practical lessons about discipleship.   
In this Sunday’s Gospel he teaches two lessons to his own.  

FIRST READING: Numbers 11:25-29


«  It is the fourth book of the Pentateuch, it comes after the book of Leviticus.  

«  In the books of Exodus and Leviticus we left the people in the Sinai desert where they have received the Law, Aaron has been consecrated priest, the sanctuary has been built and the worship has been  inaugurated. 

«  Now the people is ready to begin the journey toward the land promised to the fathers.  

«  This book is called in the Greek translation     ριθμοί, Arithmoi and in the Hebrew במדבר, Bəmidbar which means “In the desert.”     

«  The text is complex, it indicates the intervention of  diverse authors through different times, during many centuries of composition.  

«  The title numbers fits well to this book since it has a large number of census.   

«  This book so complex, has also a message for us today. 

«  The leading thread is the land promised to the patriarchs, thus the people cannot remain at Sinai, or in any other place of his journey, it has to reach the land. The people receives the guidelines to divide the land among the tribes, and also the borders of the whole land. 

«  We cannot stop during the journey “the land” the Lord has shown to us with our call, we need to continue until we get to the goal he has set for us.   

THIS SUNDAY’S READING , let us listen to its message   

§  The text describes the gift of the spirit of God which God has given to Moses and to the seventy elders.  

§  On receiving the spirit they prophesize. 

§  Two of them remained in the camp, but they also received the gift of the spirit and   prophesized.  

§  The young man, Joshua, goes to Moses and let him know with  indignation about the two elders, because they were not with the rest.  

§  Moses wishes that all could prophesize, that is, that all may have the spirit of God on them.    

RESPONSORIAL PSALM – Ps 19: 8,10,12-13,14


Ø  This is a psalm of praise to the law of God, which is the manifestation  of his will  

Ø  It is a long psalm. 

R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
the decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
the ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
Though your servant is careful of them,
very diligent in keeping them,
Yet who can detect failings?
Cleanse me from my unknown faults!
The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
From wanton sin especially, restrain your servant;
let it not rule over me.
Then shall I be blameless and innocent
of serious sin.
The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.

GOSPEL  Mk 9:38-43.45.47-48

In this passage of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus gives two new lessons to his disciples and to all of us, About discipleship.  

*      John comes to Jesus with indignation because there is “one” who expels demons in the name of Jesus, but he does not belong to  their  group.     

*      In the mind of John this should not be, they are the only ones who can expel demons because they are in the company of the Teacher.  

*      Jesus takes advantage of this situation to teach them a lesson on discipleship  

§  He tells them that it is impossible that someone who performs miracles in his name, be against him.  

§  Because who is not against us is with us.  

§  This reading invites us to reflect on our own attitudes to see if they resemble those of the jealous John.     

§  What Jesus wants to tell us is  that everyone who does good works is because Jesus is with him or her, even if this person does not know or does not accept Jesus.     

§  No one can do good works without God.  God is always the author of good. The only thing we can do is open or close ourselves to his work in us. 

*      And now he is going to teach a lesson on “causing others to sin” and thus hurt the people in their spirit.  

§  Jesus uses very harsh words, which shaken us. Jesus in the Gospel of Mark uses to do this frequently.  

§  All that is in you which is occasion of sin for your brother or sister, eliminate or take it out of your life.    

§  To cause our brothers or sisters to sin may be a cause for us to stray from the way to the Lord.    


Ø  The strong words of James to his community, help us to understand the magnitude of the social evil which derives from our selfishness.  

Ø  On reading these words we realize that the community of the beginnings of the church suffered from the same or similar injustices as our XXI century communities.  

Ø  Our social behavior has to be a consequence of the commandment to love our brothers and sisters, which Jesus left us.   

Ø  The riches are not evil in themselves, because they are a gift of creation, and creation comes from God. What is evil is the wrong way to use them, to use them to abuse our brothers and sisters who are poor.  

Ø  James reminds those who have employees and have become rich abusing them, that the salary they have not paid on time is a voice that cries out to God.   Let us remember that our God hears the cry of the poor, the suffering and the oppressed.   In the book of Exodus God says to Moses that he has heard the cry of his people and has come to deliver them.    

Ø  From the explanation of James  it looks like the employers have kept the salary of his employees to obtain the interest for themselves.  

Ø  James compares the luxury, the entertainments and the banquets of the rich taking advantage of the people in need to the fattening of cows before taking them  to the slaughter house.   

These are very harsh words which makes us tremble perceiving the suffering of God on seeing the selfishness and evil we can do, because this behaviors can lead us to our destruction as human beings.


In this situation, being – as I said- anxious and full of fears for the excessive care of my body, His majesty was pleased to console me making me understand that it was his will for my life to be of some utility in these times for the glory of His Divine Majesty. This advice of the Lord that gave me some consolation, made me very confused because I was so far from thinking that my life could be useful that I was even considering myself unworthy of life itself. And this was not because of humility, like St. Catherine of Siena and others, but because of the multitude of my sins. And on the other hand, since what the Lord was telling me was a thing of less mortification, it made me suspect that it comes from the bad spirit. Thus, I immediately consulted my confessor, and he told me that his opinion was the same, and not to doubt that it was what our Lord had told me. Let the reader not believe that that I have abhorred very much my body! I have taken too much care of it. Venerable Maria Antoni París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters. Autobiography 87  

 Meekness is one sign of a vocation to be an apostolic missionary. When God sent Moses, he gave him the grace and virtue of meekness. Jesus Christ was meekness itself, and because of this virtue He is called the Lamb. The prophets foretold that He would be so mild that He would neither break the bruised reed nor quench the smoking flax  that he would be persecuted, calumniated, and covered with reproaches and yet remain as one without a tongue and say nothing. What patience and meekness! Yes, by his labors, his suffering, his silence and death on the Cross, He redeemed us and taught us how we must act to save the souls He has entrusted to us. Saint Anthony Mary Claret Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters. Autobiography 374.  


CLARET, Antonio María. Autobiografía.
PARIS, María Antonia. Autobiografía  en Escritos.
PAGOLA, José A. Following in the Footsteps of Jesus – Meditations on the Gospel for Year B.
RAVASI, GIANFRANCO. Según las Escrituras – Año B. Traducido por Justiniano Beltrán. Bogotá 2005.
SAGRADA BIBLIA. Versión oficial de la Conferencia Episcopal Española.
SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso. LA BIBLIA DE NUESTRO PUEBLO. Misioneros Claretianos. China 2008.


Friday, September 11, 2015


The past two weeks the liturgy presented  readings that invited us to listen to the Law, but also to put it into practice. That is why the Lord  orders the ears and the tongue of the deaf and mute man “Be opened” 
This week  Jesus says that whoever wants to follow him has to take his cross, walk and follow him. This is the only way to be faithful like Him.   

*      This text is taken from the second part of the book of Isaiah, called Deutero-Isaiah or Second Isaiah. The author is either an Israelite who has come back from exile, or someone who has never left the country. 

*      It is the poet who sings the wonders of the return from exile with exodus images, where God repeats again the marvels he had done, who goes before his people in this joyful return so much waited for.   

*      In the Second Isaiah we find four poems that have been called the Servant poems or songs.  

*      This servant is considered to be either Israel-Jacob who represents the people, or another person faithful to God.  

*      These texts referred to an anonymous servant open a completely new perspective in the Old Testament and in the religious world in general:

o   Suffering is a road to God  

o   It is not only a reality from which we ask God to be freed, as we find in the psalms.  

o   This suffering may be of value not only for the person who experiences  it, but also for other persons

o   That is why the Church has seen in these Servant Songs, the description of the mission of Jesus, the faithful  and suffering servant who gives his life for his people and for the glory of God.   

Let us see this Sunday’s text:  
*      The Lord has opened my ears that I may hear and I have not turned back.  

*      These words at the beginning of the liturgical text make us understand that the word pronounced by God over his Servant will cause pain to the Servant, but he will not oppose resistance.  

*      As we continue reading we realize that the Word pronounced on the Servant, that he will communicate will cause to him insults, ill treatments and tortures. 

*      However the Servant says that the Lord is his help and thus he will not be destroyed.   

*      Meanwhile the Servant accepts the Word as well as the ill treatments, because he knows that he will not be ashamed of having been faithful to his God. 

*      His trust is such,  that he challenges those who want to fight with him, because God is with him.  

*      And if God is with him, who can harm him?   

*      This word is said also for us, if God is with us, who can be against us?  

*      Maybe it will be good this coming week to dedicate some time to silent prayer in the presence of our God and Lord, and ask ourselves if we really believe that “if God is with us, who can be against us?”  And also that anything painful that might happen in our life may have a redemptive value, if we are united to Him.  

It is song of trust and thanksgiving       

R.   I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
 I love the LORD because he has heard
my voice in supplication,
Because he has inclined his ear to me
the day I called.
I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
The cords of death encompassed me;
the snares of the netherworld seized upon me;
I fell into distress and sorrow,
And I called upon the name of the LORD,
“O LORD, save my life!”
I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living. .
Gracious is the LORD and just;
yes, our God is merciful.
The LORD keeps the little ones;
I was brought low, and he saved me.
I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living. .
For he has freed my soul from death,
my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.
I shall walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.
I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.

*      This psalm is used very often in funeral masses, the land of the living is understood as the life of all those who are already in the eternal embrace with God. 

*      The psalmist says that he loves the Lord because he has listened to him.  

*      He says that the darkness of physical, psychological and spiritual pain surrounded him, but he cried out to the Lord asking for help and God heard him.     

*      God cares for the little ones.  

*      Because he has been heard by his God the psalmist says that he will walk in the presence of the Lord in the land of the living.  

We are all invited to do the same TO WALK IN THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD ALL THE DAYS OF OUR LIFE  

GOSPEL OF MARK  8,27-35 
Jesus was last week in the Decapolis, this week he is with his disciples in the territory of Caesarea of Philippi 

ü  As we can see in the map this city is located to the North, outside of Galilee in the land of Batanea.  This region was govern by Philippe the son of Herod the Great.   

ü  Jesus is outside his land. He walks with his disciples, he knows that people talk about him,  but Jesus is interested in asking his disciples and thus  help them to realize who do they really follow? Because they are the ones who are going to continue his mission.   

ü  Jesus invites his own to answer the question: who do you say that I am? And  also ask themselves: who do I follow?    

ü  Peter answers the question for all of them YOU ARE THE CHRIST, which means YOU ARE THE MESSIAH.  

ü  Does Peter know the meaning to call Jesus the Christ?  Is this a living truth in his life? Or it is a word which does not have any real meaning or power to transform his life? 

ü  In the Gospel of Mark this event is in the middle of the Gospel, not only in relation to the number of chapters, but also in relation to its content.   

o   Up to this moment Jesus has called them and has tried to teach them what he wants to teach to all of us.    

o   Now he is going to teach them the meaning of him being the Christ.

o   It means that he is the mysterious Servant of Isaiah, the servant who gives his life so that others will live.   

ü  Peter   understands the messiah in the human way, he believes that the Messiah is so powerful that he can do whatever he wants, he can  destroy his enemies and take the leadership. 

ü  But Peter will learn through suffering    

o    he will have to hear Jesus calling  him Satan, tempter  

o   Jesus orders him to go behind him not before him, because who walks first is the Teacher and not the disciple.   

ü  And Jesus tells the crowd, and also  all of us that we have to take our cross and follow the way he is going to walk because  

ü  Whoever wants to save his life will lose it and whoever loses it will save it. 

ü  We, like Peter, will learn to be disciples through suffering.   

o   Because we need to learn to follow the Teacher  and not to go before him with our own plans,  

o   Because this means to take up the daily cross with joy in spite of suffering, because the cross is not bare, this cross has the Teacher on it, embracing it we embrace the Teacher, the love of our life.   

«  James faces here a problem  which is as old as the church and even as old as the human race.   

«  What does it mean to believe?  

o   If it is only an  empty word, a high concept  that does  not lead anywhere,  certainly faith has no worth as James says.  .

o   Because if someone needs my help, my love, my time, my clothing, my food etc… and I say to him or her, go in peace and I do not help him or her, this faith is dead, it does not even exist, it is an empty word.  

«  This has always been the difficulty between Christians: Protestants and Catholics.  

«  But the truth is that faith cannot exist, which is the same as to say love for Jesus cannot exist, if this loving relationship does not lead us to forget ourselves, to take our cross and try to help our brothers and sisters in need.  

«  It is not enough to say I will pray for you, if at the same time we do not do something to alleviate the suffering.   

«  The Pope has proclaimed a Year of Mercy, and invites us during this year to question ourselves about our faith transformed in love, tenderness, mercy.   During this year which will begin in a few months, let us ask the Lord the ability to recognize him, to dialogue with him like the Samaritan woman did. This friendly relationship and the intimacy with him will help us to have eyes, like the Samaritan man, to see the suffering along the road of life, hands to alleviate this suffering and enthusiasm to move others to do the same.      

“They shall join action with contemplation, the most necessary point for our Institute.”

“During this time they should exercise themselves in the practice of prayer, in accepting day by day the vicissitudes of this life, as coming form the hand of God. Thus they will not depend on times and happenings, but they will fix their souls in God, who never changes.”     María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Relación a Caixal 20, Constitutions 97. 
 I knew that the virtue an apostolic missionary needs most, after humility and poverty, is meekness] Jesus told his beloved disciples, "Learn of me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls."Humility is like the root of the tree, and meekness is its fruit. St. Bernard tells us that we please God by humility and our neighbor by meekness. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the land--and not just the promised land of those living in heaven but also the earthly hearts of men. Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 372.

CLARET, Antonio María . AutobiographyPAGOLA, José A. Following in the Footsteps of Jesus.  Convivium Press 2011.
PARIS, María Antonia. Relación a Caixal.
SAGRADA BIBLIA. Official translation of the Conference of Catholic Bishops from Spain.  
SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso. LA BIBLIA DE NUESTRO PUEBLO. Misioneros Claretianos. China 2008.


[]  Christ announced the reign of God in meekness and humility, not power and violence. (Cf. pars. 372-375.) The missionary is a man of zeal--vehement love--and needs to be held in check by prudence and kindness (par. 381). Meekness is so necessary that it is a sign of a call to the ministry (par. 374). Claret made a particular examen of meekness from 1862 to 1864.
[2]  Matt. 11:29.
[3]  Matt. 5:4.