Monday, October 19, 2015


«  Faith is the most precious gift that God has given to us. 

«  Faith enables us to discover the loving presence of God in our life.   

«  Faith is a the  light that illumines our way toward the eternal  embrace of the three divine Persons.   

«  Today’s readings open the eyes of the soul to the meaning of faith.  

FIRST READING : Jer 31:7-9
Ø  Again the liturgy offers a Reading taken from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah. 

o   The reading is taken from chapter 31 which together with chapter 30 are called the little book of consolation.   

o   These chapters have a message similar to that of the Book of Consolation, which tells of the wonders that God will do during the second exodus, the coming  back from the Babylonian exile, the journey of the captives toward Jerusalem, their beloved and long missed homeland.  

Ø  The prophet invites to shout with joy for Jacob, Israel. To shout for joy because the Lord has saved his people, the remnant of Israel, the faithful remnant, the anawin, the little ones, the poor, the oppressed and, marginalized who have been faithful.  

Ø  The prophet puts before our eyes a wonderful sight; it is the huge crowd that God gathers from all the corners of the earth where they had been exiled. The prophet himself exclaims, how large is the multitude that comes back.   

Ø  It is composed by blind and lame people, image of the sufferings from the past, there are  also

among those who  return, pregnant women about to give birth, image of the life which is being born, image of the future.  

Ø  God speaks and says that if they left weeping    

o   Now they come back full of consolation because God leads them and  

o   To running waters, this means that they are not anymore in the desert, they are where water flows and gives life   

o   He leads them through smooth roads, easy to walk on.  

o   We may apply all these images to our spiritual journey.   

Ø  Once more we hear from the mouth of a prophet, Jeremiah,  that God is like a Father for Israel and for Ephraim. Ephraim is the tribe of Joseph which is always mentioned with the name of his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.  

R.   The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy. When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.
The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Then they said among the nations,
"The LORD has done great things for them."
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad indeed.
The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy. Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those that sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.
The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy. Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.
The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

It is a psalm of joy. 

 It speaks of a reality of suffering and sadness in the past, they left weeping, they sowed in tears   

To a situation of happiness and joy such, that their mouth was filled with laughter and songs.   

What God has done is so great that even the nations acknowledge it

God has changed the conditions of their lives in a way that only God can do it. He has changed mourning into dancing.    

The change is such that if they sowed in tears now they come back rejoicing carrying the sheaves.   

GOSPEL  MK 10:46-52
«  In the   two previous Sundays Mark has presented to us two men that could see with their eyes, but were blind in relation to the teachings of Jesus.   

o   The man who wanted to reach eternal life  

o   The disciples who wanted the first seats   

«  Today Mark introduces to us a blind man who cannot see the light of the sun, but in the depth of his being he has the light of faith which makes him cry out Son of David, has pity on me ¡Lord that I may see!     

«  Not to often do the Evangelist give the name of a blind man, but here Mark says that it is Bartimeus the son (Bar) of Timeous  or Timothy.  The Gospels mentioned very often blind persons,  it seems that this was a common condition in Israel.   

«  Jesus calls him, and asks   what do you want from me?  Lord I want to see.  Jesus says to him go your faith has saved you.   

«  The light, the ability  to see  is compared in Scripture with faith, which is the ability to see the truth of God, to discover his presence in our life, in the world.   

«  Jesus does not touch him, he only asks him and then says your faith has saved you.  The Lord is speaking to us of something which goes beyond our natural sense of sight, faith in Jesus, faith or trust that he can give us the salvation.      

«  For several weeks Mark has presented Jesus in his journey toward Jerusalem where he will give his life for us, and as he travels he teaches his disciples  

o   The hard lesson of how to be a disciple, to be like the Master

o   Lesson which reached its highest pick last week when Jesus taught about service as a service which is given, not doing things, but giving up our own life in service to others,  so that men and women may be able also to see with the eyes of faith.          

o   And this service is the supreme love like the love of Christ on the cross, the call to love every human being as brother and sister in imitation of Christ.  

o   Today, the severity and also the  fear that Jesus’ words on the following after him,  may cause        

o   Becomes lighter, and full of light like the eyes of the blind man Bartimeus,   

o    We have read in the first reading, the exiles return like the reapers singing as they carry their sheaves.    

o   He who gives his life for love will receive the same gift as Bartimeus, the light of the inner eyes, the light of faith which enables us to discover the loving presence of our God, even in the midst of shadows.   

ü   We continue the Reading of the letter to the Hebrews  

ü  We have already said that in this letter the author makes a theological reflection on the priesthood of Christ,   eternal and only high priest of the New Law, the New Covenant.   

ü  The author says that any high priest  

o    Is of the same condition as the rest of his brothers and sisters  

o   That he has not given to himself this priesthood, that he has received it  from God who has called him. 

o   He is called to offer sacrifices for his sins and for the sins of others 

o   Since he is part of the same people, he knows  weakness and  sin because he experiences them too. 

o   Neither Christ did confer to himself the dignity of priesthood, but he received it from the One who said to him:    

§  You are my Son,  today I have begotten you.   And You are priest forever according to the order of Melchisedech, who offered  bread and wine.   

§  The One who said to him at the Jordan River You are my son, in whom I am well pleased,.    


 And when they bought the house they were moved just by Divine impulse, because I had said or asked nothing nor had I planned it because when the Archbishop wrote to my confessor for our coming to Cuba, he said already that we should eat from our work and that he was not to found convents then. But thanks to God, I have never placed my trust in men but in the Divine providence, this Archbishop’s way of speaking did not even call my attention, most certain as I was that what God will was always what happens and not what men think. Venerable Maria Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters,  Autobiography  217. 
The queen made the Spiritual Exercises that first year and has made them annually ever since. She always leaves them with a great sense of contentment and has asked others to make them. She especially likes the text of them that I published, and she has asked me to bring her copies so that she can have the pleasure of giving them as gifts; and she counsels the recipients to at least read them.
All the ladies of the court have a copy of both The Straight Path and the Spiritual Exercises. Their Majesties both enjoyed The Straight Path so much that I had a deluxe edition brought out for them by Aguado Printers in Madrid. At present, both Their Majesties and the ladies of the court lead very edifying lives: they hear Mass, read the lives of the saints daily, recite the Holy Rosary, and frequent the Sacraments. The queen and the infanta, as well as many ladies of the court, come to me for confession. They all keep busy all the time. St. Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 615-16.  
CLARET, Antonio María. Autobiografía.
PAGOLA, José A.  Following in the Footsteps of Jesus. Meditation on the Gospels of Year B. Convivium, Bogotá 2011.
PARIS, María Antonia. Autobiografía  en Escritos.  
Ravassi, Gianfranco. Según las Escrituras- Año B. San Pablo  Bogotá 2005.
Sagrada Biblia, Versión oficial de la Conferencia episcopal española, Madrid 2011.



Thursday, October 15, 2015


The readings again this Sunday are about service, a service accomplished giving our life for the sake of others.   

FIRST READING : Is 53:10-11
Ø  The Servant is faithful to God.  On verso 10 Isaiah says that the Servant has been crushed, tortured not for his own sins but for the sins of others.       

Ø  Through his suffering, and the offering of his life the Servant will see his descendants in a long life.   For the people of Israel and also for other peoples, a long life was a sign of God’s blessing, for those who were pleasing to God and did his will. 

Ø  As a consequence of his affliction, of his offering his life, the Servant will see the light. The light is always a symbol of the presence of God, of everything that is related to God, to love, to the truth.  

Ø  Through his sufferings he will justify many, and will take away their sins.  What a beautiful description of the mission of the Servant. Very soon the Church started to consider Jesus to be that servant, who had given  his life on the cross for  our salvation.

Ø  Every Sunday the Church through the readings invites us to follow the way of Jesus, today the invitation is to  offer our life to the Lord  so that he may unite us to his redemptive sacrifice for the sake of men and women, our brothers and sisters.    

Responsorial Psalm Ps 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22
R.  Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
Upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us
who have put our hope in you.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.

ü  God’s project is instantaneous, but it unfolds through history, it takes time, a long time for us to discover it and to accomplish it; but God accompanies us and protects us on our journey.   

ü  As we have recited in the psalm, the Lord loves justice and right, his goodness fills the earth.  How encouraging  are these words!   

ü  The psalmist continues saying words of peace and consolation: the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those who hope in his kindness.  

ü  The last stanza that we will pray this Sunday is like a sigh of the soul: our soul waits for the Lord, who is our help and our shield.  With such a protection whom shall we fear?   

GOSPEL Mk 10:35-45
«  In the verses above today’s Gospel we have encountered the man who wanted to reach eternal life, but was unable to leave behind his many possessions because he had put his security on them, and he went away sad because he had renounced to follow the good master.   

«  The disciples have heard what will be the recompense for those who leave everything behind and follow the Teacher.  

«  Now the two brothers, called in another place “the sons of thunder”  come and ask for a treatment of preference for them. (In Matthew’s Gospel it is the mother who makes this petition to Jesus)  

«  In the glory, in the future kingdom, in the eternal life they want to sit in places of honor, they have not understood the lesson that Jesus wanted to teach to the man who wanted to reach eternal life, neither have they understood the lesson on service which he had given some days before. The first shall be the last, and the one who wants to be the most important shall be the servant of all.  

«  This is the eternal weakness of all us human beings, we want to be unique, the first, the most important, but we look for all of this in the wrong place, away from what God teaches us and away from what can give us happiness.      

«  And Jesus assures them that they will drink from the chalice he will drink, they will accomplish what God has prepared for them.  

«  They will also be baptized, with the same baptism that Jesus himself will be baptized, his death on the cross

«  In a word he is telling them that they will be very close to him, as they have asked, so close that they will share in his cross, but to give the important position they ask for, these are given by the Father.   I suspect that in the kingdom of the Father there are not places of honor, the only important one is God, all the rest we are servants sometimes good, sometimes unworthy.    

«  In the Synod on the New Evangelization celebrated in 2012, a  bishop from the Philippines said something very interesting, something that may help us to reflect  on our mission as a church and as members of the ecclesial community: 

o   He wonders about the indifference toward the church and its message, on the rejection of the church and he says  

o   The new evangelization calls us to a new humility  

o   The Gospel cannot coexist with pride. When pride invades the heart of the church, it hurts the proclamation of the Gospel.  

o   The task of the new evangelization has to begin by a sense of admiration and reverence toward the human race and its cultures.  (This is like and echo of the II Vatican Council that had an optimistic sight on the goodness of the world and on the accomplishments of the human race.) 

o   The evangelization has been hurt and continues to be hurt  by the arrogance of its messengers.   

o   The  hierarchy has to eliminate arrogance, hypocrisy, cannot anymore cover up its faults;  because we are humans in the midst of our flock.  

o   He continues saying “Our mission is to propose not to impose.    

«  Strong words pronounced by one of the teachers and shepherds of the church; but these words are for all and every one of us. How good it is that we acknowledge the need  to be humble, one among many, only then we will be leaven in the dough; only then we will be counted among those who need the doctor, need Jesus, who has come for our salvation.

«  May our good Teacher who is humble teach us the beauty of this virtue which is the truth.

ü  We have a high priest who has passed through the heavens  

ü  This priest is Jesus, the Son of God   

ü  This high priest, Jesus, is able to understand our condition since he has shared it with us, he knows our weaknesses, because he has also experienced the weakness of the flesh, because he has been tested in everything like us, except sin.   

ü  He cannot sin because to sin is to go back to nothingness, this cannot happen to him because he is the life, he is God himself

ü   The author of the letter invites us to come close to the throne of grace, of mercy to find help.   

o   The throne is the symbol of the authority of our high priest, symbol because in the eternal life there are no thrones, but Scripture uses these images  to help us understand the message.  

o   It is a throne of grace, mercy, kindness, words used in the Old Testament to describe God who is compassion and mercy.    


In this affliction that only my God knows how deeply was piercing my soul, HIS Divine Majesty deigned to console me from that sacrament of love  and told me very lovingly to have courage, that I might proceed to the profession, that the clause in Bull did not impede my profession since we had already the monastery and the rents were most sure  for the capitals were in the hands of truth itself and, in consequences, never would they be lacking, to admit the foundation in those terms since it would never be done another way. And to tell my prelate that thus the sacred letters of the Bull were fulfilled and not to be afraid. With this I was very consoled and with a certain hope that it would happen this way. And the Lord infused in me a great courage to tell it to my prelate. Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 214.  

At the beginning of June, 1857, we arrived in Madrid, where I was presented to Her Majesty, the Queen. On the fifth of that month the royal decree of my appointment as the queen's confessor was approved and published.  A few days later the queen told me that one of my duties would be to attend to the religious instruction of the Infanta Isabel, then five years old.  I always took personal charge of her lessons and on April 11, 1862, when she was ten years old, she made her First Holy Communion, in the company of her mother. I had been hearing her confession since she was seven. Presently, in addition to her instructions, she has made a ten-day retreat. Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 614.
CLARET, Antonio María. Autobiografía.
PARIS, María Antonia. Autobiografía  en Escritos.  
SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso. LA BIBLIA DE NUESTRO PUEBLO. Misioneros Claretianos. China 2008.
The Catholic Study Bible, second edition.
Información sobre el Sínodo de la “Nueva Evangelización” tomada de Whispers in the Loggia.

Thursday, October 8, 2015


«  The readings for the liturgy of this Sunday speak to us of  the true wisdom, the wisdom that comes from God.   
«  In the Gospel we will read how Jesus shows to the young man who asks him about eternal life, the way to perfect happiness and true wisdom  

Ø  In the verses 1 to 6 of this chapter, the King introduces himself and confesses that he is like everybody else.    

Ø  And thus he prays to obtain the wisdom he needs to live his mission of king of Israel.  

Ø   The text that follows beginning on verse 7 is very similar to what we find in 1 Kg 3 about the dream of Solomon at Gabaon, where God tells him to ask whatever he wishes, and the only thing Solomon wishes is wisdom to govern his people.  

Ø  He mentions first prudence and afterwards he speaks of wisdom.  

Ø  He prefers it to   

o   royal power, 

o   wealth which is nothing compared to her  

o   the most precious stones   

o   gold which compared to wisdom is like the sand  

o   silver which is like mud compared to wisdom  

Ø  He prefers her to health and beauty 

Ø  He chose her as the light to guide him   

Ø  And he says that with her came all that is good for him.   

Ø  Because in her hands there are innumerable riches.   

Ø  What a beautiful text, which describes the wisdom that comes from God.  

Ø  Alonso Schökel writes in his commentary found on the Bible of our People:  

The wisdom of God cannot be recognized if we do not become reconciled with our human nature, and from there to consider it as a gift from God, a gift which surpasses all the other goods which man might acquire. It is a gift which as every gift grows as we share it.    

ü  This psalm is a meditation on the value of time.      

ü  In the verses we will sing on Sunday, we ask God to have mercy on us, that his kindness may descend upon us.  

ü  The last verse helps us to understand that at the end, man will be what he had worked on himself and what God had done on him.    

R Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
Make us glad, for the days when you afflicted us,
for the years when we saw evil.
Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
Let your work be seen by your servants
and your glory by their children;
and may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours;
prosper the work of our hands for us!
Prosper the work of our hands!
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy! 

GOSPEL  Mk 10:17-30
«  Jesus continues on the road  to Jerusalem.   

«  A man approaches him; he is very much interested in speaking to Jesus.   

«  He wants to know what he has to do to obtain eternal life. It is a very valid  question.   

«  John Paull II in his encyclical Veritatis Splendor (the Splendor of Truth) says that this is a vital question which every human being has, and wishes to find an answer.     

«  It is not a question about laws and rules; it is an existential question on the way how to live.   

«  Jesus reminds the man that only God is good. Yes we are faced with a God which is incredibly good and kind.   

«  The answer of Jesus is about the teaching of the Law, to enter eternal life keep the commandments.  

*      What commandments? All those we call the commandments of the second stone which have to do with our relationship with our neighbor: you shall not kill (5) you shall not commit adultery (6) you shall not steal (7) you shall not bear false witness (8) you shall not covet what belongs to you neighbor (9-10) you shall respect your  father and mother(4).    

*      The man has lived according to these commandments since his young age. We do not know if this man is a mature man or a young man.    

«  The dialogue takes a different turn now:    

*      Jesus looks at the man with love and offers him something else, he reveals to the man the true richness that he is missing:  

§  Leave all that you have, but do not throw it away, instead, sell it   

§  Give this money to the poor, so that your possessions will help others  

§  Afterwards come and follow me. You can only follow me if you leave everything behind.   

§  Only the following of  Jesus is what gives meaning to “leave, sell and give”.   

*      We have been told that this man is rich. The riches are not bad since they come from the goods of creation which have God as the author.   

*      The riches are bad when they become our god, and we cannot live anymore without them.   

*      This man is really rich, he is unable to discover the beauty, the wisdom that Jesus offers him.   

*      Thus he goes away sad, he was joyful and ready when he came but he heard what he did not want to hear.

«  Now Jesus looks at his disciples and  

*      He tells them how difficult it is for he who has his heart fixed on riches to enter the kingdom of God.  

*      They are surprised, but Jesus says to them that man cannot do this, but God can do it.   

*      Jesus uses one of his exaggerations to help us understand his point, the camel and the needle.  

*      Peter asks, probably in the name of all of them, what will we have at the end  since we have left everything behind to follow you.   

*      You will have one hundred fold in this life for each thing you have left behind, but this will be accompanied by persecutions, that are difficulties and sufferings.  

*      You will have eternal life in the “future world.”    

ü  The Word of God is not like man’s word, which is changing and sometimes false. 

ü  The Word of God is living and effective; it does what it says, the Word is creative.   

ü  Sharper than any two edged sword, the word discerns between good and bad. It does not act on appearances but from the deepest recesses of our truth.      

ü  Nothing is concealed for her, her light illumines everything;  nothing and nobody can escape from her. 

ü   Verse 13 ends saying that we will give an account of our life to her. Yes, we will give an account of our truth and our lie, to her. 

Very soon the Lord consoled me, because His Majesty always acts this way: He made me reach the peak of tribulation and then , when nobody can help me, His divine majesty puts his powerful hand and, in a moment, the tribulation stops because the Lord has this art, to interchange pain and joy.Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Aut. 89. 

The first time I read these words of the Apostles I was horrified to learn that he called knowledge without meekness "devilish." Good God! Devilish! Yes, it is devilish, for experience has taught me that a bitter zeal is a weapon that the devil uses, and that the priest who works without meekness serves Satan, not Christ. When such a man preaches, he frightens away his listeners; when he hears confessions, he frightens away his penitents (and if they do confess their sins they do so badly because they are embarrassed and hide their sins out of fear). I have listened to many general confessions of penitents who had hidden their sins because of so-called confessors who had harshly reprimanded them. Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters. Autobiography 376.

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.
SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso. LA BIBLIA DE NUESTRO PUEBLO. Misioneros Claretianos. China 2008.