Monday, April 18, 2016


  1.  The new heavens and the new earth will become a reality through  the Apostles (Church)  preaching.  
  2. And they will be the mature fruit of the commandment given by Jesus, as the fullness of the Law given at Mount Sinai.    

  • At the beginning of the Easter season I said that I would give more information about the book of the Acts.     
  • The last weeks we have been reflecting on the meaning of the book of Revelation, which we use for the second reading.    
  • Today we will go back to the book of the Acts.    
  • With chapter 13, in which we read that the community of Antioch sends Paul and Barnabas in a mission, we start the third and last part of this book.  
  • The Acts describe for us different communities or local churches with different organization and different names for the leadership or servants. That means that we learn about different models of the Church.   
    • The church of Antioch is presided over by 5 leaders of whom Luke gives the names in chapter 13,1.   
    • This list begins with the name of Barnabas and ends with the name of Paul.  Luke calls them prophets and teachers.   
    • Luis Alonso Schökel in his commentary on the Biblia de nuestro Pueblo says:
      • Luke helps us to see how the movement of the Spirit fashions the different churches,   
      • Calling their members to be leaders, facilitators, responsible of the community with different functions and different titles according to the needs of each community   
      • With a great participation  in decision making.     
    • The Apostles are the leaders in the community of Jerusalem, besides them we hear that some men are called deacons and others elders or presbyters. 
    • Luke does not tell us how the five leaders of Antioch planned the first mission of Paul and Barnabas, but   
    • What they say is that  
      • The initiative comes from the Holy Spirit  
      • The preparation was done through fasting and prayer.
  • Paul and Barnabas continue their mission which they began from Antioch, as we read on the Fourth Sunday of Easter.   
  • We learned that they had difficulties with the Jews and they decided to go to the Gentiles to announce them the Good News of Jesus. We learned also that the Gentiles were happy about that decision.  
  • Today we find them visiting several towns, establishing in them new communities (churches) and appointing elders to lead the community. To select them again they fast and pray, afterwards they command them to the grace of God, and leave to another town.       
  • They continue their way back to Antioch from where they left sent by the community. 
  • On their arrival they reported to the community how the Lord had opened the doors of faith to the Gentiles.   
  • To us, the descendants of those first Gentiles, the doors of faith were opened to us through the sacrament of Baptism
  • This year the universal Church celebrates this gift of faith, received when the doors of faith were opened to us.   
    The Lord is gracious and merciful
    Slow to anger and of great kindness
    The Lord is good to all
    And compassionate toward all his works.   
    Let all your Works give you thanks, O Lord,
    And let your faithful ones bless you
    Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
    And speak of your might.    
    Let them make known your might to the children of Adam,
    And the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
    Your kingdom is a kingdom for all ages
    And your dominion endures through all generations.   .

  •  Many of the psalms are hymns to God who makes himself known through creation and through history.  
  • They are psalms of praise used usually for worship  
  • They may be organized as follows  
    • Hymns to God the Creator and the Lord of the Covenant, the God of history.   
    • Hymns to God as King.    
    • Royal psalms   (about the King )
    • Canticles of  Zion.    
  • Psalm 145 which we will pray on Sunday belongs to the group of  Hymns to the Creator and Lord.  
    SECOND READING   Rev 21:1-5a   

  • Last Sunday we left John contemplating a huge multitude of men and women….  
  • Today almost at the end of the Book of Revelation John sees again something he describes to us. He says that he sees the new heavens and the new earth, and that the sea is no more.   
    • New heavens and new earth, new creation made through the redemption of Christ, where sin is eliminated, and death as well.    
    • This is the fruit of Christ’s death on the cross. This fruit will reach its fullness when all of us, men and women, open up ourselves to the gift  of redemption which Christ wants to give to us. When all of us will be ready to walk together through the way that leads to the Father, led by the hand of Christ the Lord.      
    • The former earth, where sin abides, does not exist anymore, not because God will destroy his wonderful creation, but because he will destroy our sin, to allow the new earth, the new society to develop, where love, peace, justice, brotherhood … will reign.   
    • The sea does not exist anymore, because in the Scriptures the sea is the symbol of sin, and it will not have a place in the new earth, it has already been destroyed by Christ.    
    • John sees also the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven, the city becomes the bride adorned for her husband. She is the new creation, the new earth and the new heavens  
    • From the throne a voice is heard, remember that the Father and also the Lamb are on the throne, the voice invites us to look at, what?  
      • The dwelling of God among men and women  
      • He will dwell with them and  
      • They will be his people     
      • The New Covenant prophesized by Jeremiah becomes a reality (Jer 31,33.)    
      • He will wipe every tear from their eyes, there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain.  

    • The One who seats on the throne says: BEHOLD I MAKE ALL THINGS NEW.    
      GOSPEL Jn 13:31-33a, 34-35

  1. The liturgy takes us back to the conversation of Jesus with his Apostles, after the meal at his Last Supper,  before going to the cross. During the meal he gives to us the Sacrament of his Body and blood. He  also gives to his own the most beautiful and sacred teaching from among all his teachings.  
  3. We call this commandment the “new commandment”, as a matter of fact Jesus calls it so 
    • But it is really the fullness of the Law proclaimed by God and given  to Moses on Mount Sinai  
    • And before that He had carved this law in the heart of every man and every woman who comes to this world.
    •  If those of us, followers of Jesus, who have been baptized into  his death and resurrection   
      • Live this commandment, that is we make it a reality in our daily life  
      • And we proclaim it with our words as Paul and Barnabas did  
      • The new earth and the new heaven will be a reality, which we do not have to wait after our death to enjoy it, because it is already among us from the moment that Jesus nailed all our sins on his cross.    
      • Now we have to play our part, we need to open up to his gift, and get ready to work so that others may be able to enjoy what we already enjoy.   
                           CLARETIAN CORNER

 The minister of the Lord should always fear and tremble and think that the sins are like pitch that sticks to whatever it touches, therefore when it is necessary to touch it, he must do it with caution if he does not want to be stained.

The good missionary must believe that after hearing some sins in confession, those sins are more to be cried about before God than to talk about them.

If it is necessary to talk about matters of conscience be it always with fewer as possible words and with as modest as possible terms, he must prefer to be taken as a scrupulous person than as a well informed among his brothers, he must worry to awaken the malice in the very act that he wants to be detested. God will help that what is necessary be understood.

May his modesty shine before good and bad people. This is the virtue that must characterize the missionary of Christ. Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, The Apostolic Missionary 2.13-16.

I have had some consolation in the midst of my sufferings. When I go on tour with Their Majesties and Highnesses, I get to preach to the people in the morning, before Their Majesties leave the house. Afterward I go around preaching in convents to nuns, sisters, priests, seminarians, members of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, etc., so that my whole day is spent in preaching, except for the exact period of time I have to spend in the palace with the royal family..  Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 639.



CLARET, Antonio María , Autobiography.

FLOR SERRANO, Gonzalo, “Introduction and Commentary to the Psalms” en Comentario al Antiguo Testamento II     La Casa de la Biblia, 1997, 3ª. Edición.  

PARIS, María Antonia, Autobiography.  

RAVASI, Gianfranco, Según Las Escrituras, Año C, 2006

SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso, commentary to the  Biblia de Nuestro Pueblo, 2010

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


  1. Today the Liturgy presents for our meditation a beautiful page of the Gospel where Jesus continues to be the Friend he has always been.   
  2. Let our feelings be filled with the beauty of this evangelical scene. 
    FIRST READING – Acts  5:27-32; 40-41

  • We are invited to look at the first disciples, the 11 who had followed Jesus, had eaten with him, touched and heard him, experienced his friendship and his closeness. 
  • They begin to experience the persecution for the sake of the Name, because they choose to follow the Lord and obey him. 
  • Let  us enter into the text, and let  us try to grasp what Luke wants to convey to us:  
    • The Apostles were put in jail and, as God by means of his angel frees them, they continue to teach the good news of Jesus, to tell the people what they, the Apostles, had seen and heard. 
    • When the guards  did not find them in the jail they looked for them and found them teaching the people in the Temple. They arrested them without using force, and brought them to the authorities.  
    • The High Priest reminded them:  
      • We had forbidden you to speak about this man, and you, not only do this, but you made us responsible for his death.    
      • Peter and the other Apostles answered him with words that have been repeated by all the martyrs through the centuries:  We must obey God rather than men.    
      • The Apostles remind the authorities again that even if they had put to death Jesus, the God of the fathers has raised him from the dead and glorified him at his right hand. 
      • All this has happened to offer to his chosen people and to all the peoples  repentance and forgiveness.  
      • Of all these events they say we are together with the Holy Spirit witnesses. God gives his Spirit to everyone who believes. They cannot stop proclaiming with words and deeds the marvels God has done   for them and for all.   
  • Today’s reading ends saying that after the authorities had reached  the sentence, they called the Apostles that:  
    • They will be flogged, and  are forbidden to speak in the name of Jesus. Afterwards they let them go free.  
    • They are happy to have been found worthy to suffer dishonor and humiliation  for the sake of the Name. 
  • If we pay close attention to the way Luke describes the trail of the Apostles it is very similar to the trail of Jesus, and also to the trail of all those persecuted for the sake of the Name, the martyrs of all the times:
    • Prohibition to speak, to follow Jesus and to invite others to do the same.   
    • The acknowledgment by the judges, if not verbally but in their mind, that they are condemning innocent men or women, but men/women  who are dangerous who are a thread for the establishment and for their power.     
    • Some kind of torture to frighten them.   
  • What the persecutors do not know is:  
    • That the Holy Spirit gives to the witnesses words and wisdom who are not theirs,but come from God, and which are invitations to the persecutors to repent and accept the love God offers them, because God is never tired to forgive no matter how great are our sins.  
    • And they do not know either that those who are able to confess Jesus, even to the point of suffering torture and even death, is because they have been conquered by the love of Jesus, whom they love more than their lives. This is the reason why they can be happy to suffer for the sake of the Name.  

Responsorial Psalm   - PS 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11-12, 13
  • R. (2a) I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
    R. Alleluia.
    I will extol you, O LORD, for you drew me clear
    and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.
    O LORD, you brought me up from the netherworld;
    you preserved me from among those going down into the pit.
    R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
    R. Alleluia.
    Sing praise to the LORD, you his faithful ones,
    and give thanks to his holy name.
    For his anger lasts but a moment;
    a lifetime, his good will.
    At nightfall, weeping enters in,
    but with the dawn, rejoicing.
    R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
    R. Alleluia.
    Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me;
    O LORD, be my helper.
    You changed my mourning into dancing;
    O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.
    R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
    R. Alleluia.
  • The author of this psalm praises God because God has rescued him, has protected him, has saved him
  • He says that the goodness of God endures forever.  
  • In the last stanza he asks God to have compassion on him, to transform his suffering in joy.   
  • This is so many times our prayer in our weakness, in our limitations.   
    SECOND READING   Rev  5: 11-14

  • We continue to read from the Book of Revelation, which, as we have already said, is a book of hope
  • that speaks to us about Jesus, the Glorified Christ, the Lord of Lords, King of Kings. 
  • This Christ, who is Jesus of Nazareth himself that the Gospels presented in his earthly life, is now glorified, full of power and majesty.
  • He is no longer the young carpenter of Nazareth,    vulnerable and limited like all of us.  
  • He did not have any earthly power because his power is superior to all other powers, but it is found in the lowliness, humiliation and love. 
    Let us submerge ourselves into the scene which the liturgy offers to us today. Many experts in the book of Revelation say that the best way to understand its message is trying to be part of what the scene is representing.   
  • The scene today shows us the adoration of the Lamb  by all the heavenly creatures. 
    • The image of the lamb, which obviously represents Jesus, reminds us of the lamb the Israelites had to immolate the night of the Passover of YHWH through the land of Egypt liberating his people.  
    • But there is in the Scripture (Lev. 16)  another image of the lamb. Every year the people of Israel on the day of the Atonement separates two goats  
      • One will be immolate in expiation for the sins of the people.     
      • On the second one the high priest will put all the sins of the people, and have some one take it to a deserted place where he will be abandoned there  without food or drink.  Symbolically the sins of the people were taken away thanks to these two goats.   
      • I think that Jesus is what these two goats symbolized: he immolates himself to the Father for the forgiveness of our sins and he takes on himself our sins and nails them to the cross and destroys them dying for us; and that once and forever. 
    • In the vision of the glory of the lamb in the book of Revelation, the Risen Jesus, receives the same praise, honor, glory and power as the one seated on the throne, God the Father. 
      • After the resurrection and the glorification of Jesus of Nazareth, the Church has given to him the same adoration and glory that the Israelites had given to YHWH.  
  • GOSPEL JN 21,1-19
  • The liturgy presents to us the third apparition of Jesus to his disciples after the resurrection. Let us follow step by step what the gospel is telling us:  
  1. Peter takes the initiative to go fishing, and other six disciples join him: Thomas, Nathanael, the two brothers James and John and other two disciples whose names are not given. 
  2. They go at night which is the appropriate time for fishing. 
  3. But they do not catch any fish, in the morning they come back tired and probably disappointed, they had lost the night for nothing. 
  4. While they are coming back to the shore, a surprise is awaiting for them, a surprise which will take away their sadness and disappointment.   
    • Jesus is standing on the shore and asks them if they have caught any fish  
    • As they say no, he invites them to cast the net to the right side of the boat  
    • They had experienced something like this during Jesus earthly life  
    • It is not the time for fishing, but they follow the directions of that man standing on the shore.   
    • And, what a surprise! They catch a great number of fish.  This continues to be true in the Church, when we cast the nets in Jesus’ name we succeed. We never succeed when we follow our own plans ignoring the presence of the Lord and of his Spirit.   .
    • When they climbed out on the shore they find a fire and bread being cooked on it. They have only to put the fish and the breakfast is ready, Jesus has prepared it for them.  
    • The Gospel says that all of them knew he was Jesus, but did not ask  him
    • They continue to be the same, they do not dare to ask   
    • And Jesus also continues to be the same, although he is now glorified: he is the friend as always, the friend who knows the needs of his disciples, his friends.  And Jesus continues to be the same through the centuries, he knows my needs, my sadness, my sorrows, my difficulties, my dreams which he helps me to follow, he gives me the surprise to discover through very little and simple things that he is with me. (I have written this section in the first person because I think that it will help us to realize that he has come for each one of us and each one can say he has come for me.)     
  5. The second part of this gospel is between Jesus and Peter. After the meal there is a dialogue between Jesus and Peter.   
    • Do you love me more than these? Yes, you know…  
    • Do you love me?  Yes you know…   
  6. These three questions seem to be the opposite of the three denials of Peter. 
  7. But now we see a humble Peter, he is not so sure of himself, of his love, but now he really loves his Lord, because he does not lean on himself but on Jesus who know how much Peter loves him. 
  8. Peter will have the mission to take care of the sheep and the lambs,  that is the Church of all times, and the only condition that the Lord requires from him is love, but a love full of tenderness and compassion: tend. Every shepherd knows what to tend means, it means to feed, to protect, to carry on his shoulders the little ones, the sick….   
  9. Afterwards Jesus tells Peter that his death will be similar to the death of Jesus himself, he will be led where he does not want to go. Then Jesus says to  Peter:   FOLLOW ME.  
10. This call is for all of us, the only condition to follow the Lord, is to take care of each other with tenderness. 

 The good missionary must adjust himself to the disposition of the persons with whom he relates and be all for everybody in order to gain them all.

Never speak ill of the country God will send him; nor tolerate that his brothers or companions speak ill of those poor people that God has entrusted them.

The whole world must be country for the missionary of Christ, because our Divine Redeemer came to redeem all, sending to preach the same Gospel all over the world.(Venerable Maria Antonia Paris, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, The Apostolic Missionary 2.8-2.10)

I know that in a single act of mortification one may practice many other virtues, depending on the different intentions one has in performing each act. Thus, for example:

1. One who mortifies his body to check concupiscence performs an act of the virtue of temperance

2. If he does so to set his life in proper order, he performs an act of the virtue of prudence.

3. If he does so to make satisfaction for his past sins, he performs an act of justice.

4. If he does so to overcome difficulties in his spiritual life, he performs an act of fortitude.

5. If he does so to offer sacrifice to God by depriving himself of something pleasant and doing something bitter or repugnant to himself, he performs an act of the virtue of religion. Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 414.



CLARET, Antonio María , Autobiografía.

PARIS, María Antonia, Autobiografía

RAVASI, Gianfranco, Según Las Escrituras, Año C, 2006

SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso, comentario a la Biblia de Nuestro Pueblo, 2010