Thursday, September 29, 2016


The theme of the celebration seems to be “faith”    

Ø  Faith so full of trust that allows  us to  present to  God our complains, because he seems not to listen to  our supplications   

Ø  Faith so strong as to have the strength needed to uproot a strong tree    

Ø  Faith so full of novelty as it would be to plant a tree in the sea   

Ø  Faith so simple which discovers the presence of the God who is behind all reality.  


Ø  The name of this prophet is unique in the Bible, it could come from the name of a plant “basil” 

Ø  We do not know either his origen, or his family, or his place  

Ø  The three chapter of this book are difficult to understand.  

Ø  The content is a proclamation received during a vision   

Ø  The prophet does not understand and, suffers for the social situation,  and asks God for an explanation  

Ø  The time of its composition is between   606 a.C  and the Babylonian exile 587 a.C)

Ø  The message seems to be: we must abandon the traditional  way to understand the retribution from God.  We must understand the intervention of God in our human history in a different way.  

FIRST READING  Habakkuk 1:2-3;2:2-4

ü  The prophet complains because he asks help from God, and it seems that God does not listen  

ü  Why do I have to see violence and destruction?    

ü  The answer from God is to tell the prophet to write the vision   

ü  “If it delays, wait for it, because it will certainly come, without delay.”  

ü  The reading ends saying “the just will live by his faith”  

ü  We have this same reading in the Liturgy of the Hours one of the days of Advent.

ü  To know that He will certainly come, fills our heart with hope and enkindles in it the fire of love.  

ü  And certainly the Lord has come, and He continues to come into our life; sometimes we complain, like the prophet, because we do not realize that He is already here.    

Salmo 94, 1-2. 6-7. 8-9

 R.  If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works.”
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

v  The psalmist invites us   

o   To praise God,  

o   To adore God

o   To listen to God   

GOSPEL  Lk 17:5-10

Ø    This Reading has two parts.    

Ø  In the first part the Apostles ask Jesus to increase their faith   

Ø  Maybe when they heard  the mission that Jesus wanted to entrust to them, they realized that the traditional faith, still childlike, would not help them.  

Ø  Thus their petition, sometimes we do the same petition to the Lord.  

Ø  It does not mean that we do not have faith, but that our faith is still the faith the First Communion Catechesis, or the faith taught to us by our grand-mother, but that we have not made it our own yet, thus it does not help us.  

Ø  And Jesus gives them a surprising answer.   

Ø  It seems that with this comparison He wants to tell them that they need:   

o   A faith as strong as the strength needed to uproot  a mulberry tree, a strong tree, difficult to uproot   

o   A faith able to accept and propose the novelty, as it would be a novelty to plant a tree in the sea.  

Ø  I copy below a fragment from a book of José Antonio Pagola, it has helped me a lot, and I wish to share it with you. (it is my own translation from Spanish)  

The theologian  Karl Rahner said, this “abandonment” proper of faith is the “maximum audacity of man.”  A tiny particle of the cosmos (universe) dares to enter into a relationship with the “incomprehensible and foundational wholeness of the universe,”   and it does it, trusting absolutely in his power and in his love. As Christians we have to be more aware of the audacity of daring  to trust in the mystery of God.  

The original message of Jesus is precisely, to invite the human being to trust unconditionally in the  unfathomable Mystery, which is at the origin of everything.    This is what we hear in his proclamation “do not fear… trust in God…. call Him Abbá, loving Father. He takes care  of you. Even the hears of you head are counted. Have faith in God.”   

SECOND READING  2Tm 1,6-8;13-14

ü  Rekindle the gifts you received with the imposition of my hands. Return to your first love.  

ü  God does not want us to be cowards but daring, motivated by love and not by fear  

ü  Do not be ashamed to witness to Jesus.    

ü  Carry the hard work allotted to you, what work? The proclamation of the Gospel in words and deeds.  

ü  Keep the treasure which is in you, and in all of us, with the help of the Holy Spirit.  

ü  What treasure? The faith we have received at our Baptism, and which we need to make it grow, with the friendship and intimacy with Jesus in our prayer and in our life.   



“Migration is another sign of the times to be faced and understood in terms of its negative effects on family life”.30  The recent Synod drew attention to this issue, noting that “in various ways, migration affects whole populations in different parts of the world.  The Church has exercised a major role in this area.  Maintaining and expanding this witness to the Gospel (cf. Mt 25:35) is urgently needed today more than ever…  Human mobility, which corresponds to the natural historical movement of peoples, can prove to be a genuine enrichment for both families that migrate and countries that welcome them.  Furthermore, forced migration of families, resulting from situations of war, persecution, poverty and injustice, and marked by the vicissitudes of a journey that often puts lives at risk, traumatizes people and destabilizes families.  In accompanying migrants, the Church needs a specific pastoral programme addressed not only to families that migrate but also to those family members who remain behind.  This pastoral activity must be implemented with due respect for their cultures, for the human and religious formation from which they come and for the spiritual richness of their rites and traditions, even by means of a specific pastoral care…  Migration is particularly dramatic and devastating to families and individuals when it takes place illegally and is supported by international networks of human trafficking.  This is equally true when it involves women or unaccompanied children who are forced to endure long periods of time in temporary facilities and refugee camps, where it is impossible to start a process of integration.  Extreme poverty and other situations of family breakdown sometimes even lead families to sell their children for prostitution or for organ trafficking”.31  “The persecution of Christians and ethnic and religious minorities in many parts of the world, especially in the Middle East, are a great trial not only for the Church but also the entire international community.  Every effort should be encouraged, even in a practical way, to assist families and Christian communities to remain in their native lands”. (46)  


PAGOLA, José Antonio. El camino abierto por Jesús. Lucas.

SAGRADA BIBLIA. Versión oficial de la Conferecia Episcopal Española.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016


·          Amos continues inviting us to live in justice and compassion towards our brothers and sisters less fortunate.  

·         We will listen to the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. This parable like the words of Amos invite us to take seriously the matter of justice in our relationships.  

·         The author of the letter to Timothy   tells  him how to behave as a follower of Jesus

FIRS READING  Amos  6:1a. 4-7

ü  This reading is taken from the "woes' section" called also "lamentations"  in chapter 5 and 6. 

ü  The reading gives us the third woe.  

ü  If we did not know that we are reading something related to many centuries ago, we would think that the prophet is speaking of our own time and society.  

ü  Amos tells the powerful, the rich men that they live in the opulence and that they are not sensitive to the suffering of those who lack almost everything.  

ü  He gives a very vivid description: they participate in banquets, they sing, they dance... in a word they do nothing useful. 

ü  They take advantage of those who lack almost everything, and they, the rich, take from them the little they have, or they do not give to them  their salary.  

ü  The consequences of this empty and selfish life will be great. When the Assyrians come they will be the first to be deported. This was the policy of the Assyrians, to take the powerful from their own  nation, so that they could not organize a revolt. But they  were  leaving  the poor of the land to care for it. 

ü  It is not difficult to see something similar in our society today.   we are continually invited  to spend    to spend the little we have in futile things for the profit of the business  owners.   We are offered continually "sales" or "two for the price of one," or they make us believe that "we can buy without paying now and  without interest..."  

ü  In a word they play with our  inclination to possess without effort, to spent money without thinking....   

ü  But I do not think that we have to look only to the world of opulence, of the businesses etc... the readings invites all of us to look at our own life and see if there is something in it  similar  to what the prophets describes. 

ü  The great sin of all those Amos is describing in his oracle, and also of the rich man of the parable of Luke is the "indifference" in front of the suffering and the need of whole countries, whole continents…   

RESPONSORIAL  PSALM . Ps 146  7,8-9,9-10     

R.  Praise the Lord, my soul!
 Blessed he who keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
 The LORD gives sight to the blind.
The LORD raises up those who were bowed down;
the LORD loves the just.
The LORD protects strangers.
Praise the Lord, my soul!
The fatherless and the widow he sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!

§  The psalms repeats what Amos has said, God will not forget the wrong we do to others. 

§  The psalm says it by means of song, poetry, but it is the same message, it is a call to justice and compassion = to suffer with...  

GOSPEL  Lk 16: 19-31

*      Before we begin to analyze this parable, let us look at what comes before it in chapter 16 of the Gospel of Luke. 

*      The reason to do so is because the Gospels have an inner order through which the author wants to help us to understand the message.  

*      Chapter 16 of Luke begins with the parable of the "dishonest steward"  then comes the words addressed to the Pharisees, who loved money and power.   

*      In a word we may say that this is a chapter on the need to use money justly.  

*      Let us see now the parable  

§  It is a story we know very well, the story of two human beings  

§  One is rich but does not have a name, his life is empty and Luke says that not giving him a name.   

§  The other man has a name in spite of being a "nobody" for the rich man who does not even see him. He only realizes that Lazarus exists when he needs him, when he wants to use him for his convenience.   

§  This man is called Lazarus = Eliezer which means "God helps", what a beautiful name the name of this beggar, and certainly God helps.      

§  The sin of the rich man is not that he abuses the poor man or takes advantage of him, not even a sin of "social injustice", but a sin  of "indifference"  He does not see the poor man, he does not feel his needs, he is totally indifferent.   

§  The human beings do not help the poor man full of sores, but the dogs, those dogs who are as homeless as he is, take care of his wounds.

§  These two men die like everybody does. None of us takes anything when we die: neither the riches, nor the sores... nothing. At this time we are all equals, simple human beings poor and naked before our Creator and Father.   

§  The fate these two men changes immediately: the rich man is buried, why do they tell us something which is so normal to be buried? because he is buried in the abyss of the dead, he is forgotten forever, nobody remembers him.  

§  the poor man is taken to the bosom of Abraham, which is the image of peace and consolation reserved for those who die in the Lord, who will enjoy happiness for all eternity. 

§  The reaction of the rich man, as Luke describes it, is very interesting. On one side he is as selfish as always "tell Lazarus to come to alleviate my suffering..." on the other side he is able to act moved by love for his brothers.   

§  The words of Abraham make us think "between you and us there is a great chasm that nobody can cross."  

§  Maybe this is the best description of what happens between selfishness and unconditional love.  

§  This parable does not need more explanation, let us enter into our heart and let us see in it how much of the rich man we have and how much of the poor. From there let us make our own reflection.   

SECOND READING  1 Tm 6:11-16

v  The author of the letter continues to tell Timothy how to behave as a man of God called to the pastoral  ministry. 

v  He invites Timothy to live according to the commandments and to exhort him to do it he reminds him that Jesus gave witness in front of Pilate. 

v  We know that because of this witnessing, he died, but his death was redeeming us.   

v  It is an invitation to Timothy to live a good life.  

v  Until Christ  the Lord  of Lords comes again.   

v  His is the honor and glory.


“At the risk of oversimplifying, we might say that we live in a culture which pressures young people not to start a family, because they lack possibilities for the future.  Yet this same culture presents others with so many options that they too are dissuaded from starting a family”.14  In some countries, many young persons “postpone a wedding for economic reasons, work or study.  Some do so for other reasons, such as the influence of ideologies which devalue marriage and family, the desire to avoid the failures of other couples, the fear of something they consider too important and sacred, the social opportunities and economic benefits associated with simply living together, a purely emotional and romantic conception of love, the fear of losing their freedom and independence, and the rejection of something conceived as purely institutional and bureaucratic”.15  We need to find the right language, arguments and forms of witness that can help us reach the hearts of young people, appealing to their capacity for generosity, commitment, love and even heroism, and in this way inviting them to take up the challenge of marriage with enthusiasm and courage. (40)


 JENSEN, Joseph, Ethical Dimensions of the Prophets.

PAGOLA, José A.  Following in the Footsteps of Jesus. Meditations on the Gospels for Year C.

POPE FRANCIS. Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Amoris Laetitia”

 RAVASI, Gianfranco, Según las Escrituras, Año C.

SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso, Comentario a La Biblia de nuestro Pueblo.

The Catholic Study Bible, Second Edition. New American Bible.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


The liturgy of the Church continues to put before our eyes the teachings of Jesus that Luke left for us in his Gospel. Today Jesus teaches us a lesson which may help us in our society: the use of riches 

Ø  This prophet lived during the VIII BC. He was born in the Southern Kingdom, Judah; but the Lord called him to do his ministry as a prophet in the Northern Kingdom, Israel. 

Ø  He has been called the prophet of the justice of God.  

Ø  Justice as the Scripture understands it, not in the way our modern states understand it. We say that justice is to give to each one what is his or hers. We also say that justice is to abide the law.   

Ø  But for the people of the Bible, justice has to do with human relationships and also later on with human and divine relationships.  

Ø  It has to do with the mercy and the generosity that we discover so abundantly and, surprisingly in the relationship of God with us.   

Ø  The just deeds of God are acts of liberation of his people from slavery.   

Ø  Jesus has manifested to us in a very clear and surprising way this justice of God, in the fact that the Son of God personally has come to live among us, in order to make us just, with the justice of God, liberating us from the greatest of the slaveries: sin.  

Ø  Thus we may truly say that the book of Amos is about justice, not the justice of God but the lack of justice of the people. 

Amos 8:4-7

ü  Amos describes the lie, the lack of truth in the behavior of those who accumulate riches, to enjoy them without worrying about those less fortunate. 
ü  He describes persons who "abide" the law, with a fake repose, but God sees something else, he sees the lack of truth of his creature,  those persons rest on the Sabbath because they are constraint to do it, but while they apparently do nothing, they are planning their businesses.     
ü  They not only plan their business, they also think how they will cheat, take advantage  and trick those more vulnerable.   
ü  The prophet Amos, who defended strongly the rights of all, puts in the mouth of God a sentence which terrifies us, if we take it seriously, "never will I forget a thing they have done!"  
ü  It does not frighten us, that God who "forgets and erases" all the sins we have committed, says that he will never forget the injustice that we do to our brothers and sisters?  
ü  What will he say to our generation, to our society, to our church, to our communities, to our families about the millions of our brothers and sisters who die every day in grat numbers, from lack of what is most essential for the human life, while we waste money and possessions buying worthless things and making devices to kill?   
ü   Each one of us will give his or her own answer to that question.   
ü  I think that this is the purpose to choose these readings for the liturgy  

Praise, you servants of the Lord
praise the name of the Lord
blessed be the name of the Lord
both now and forever.
High above all nations is the Lord
above the heavens is his glory
who is like the Lord, our God, who is enthroned on high
and looks upon the heavens and the earth below?
He raises up the lowly from the dust
from the dunghill he lifts up the poor
to seat them with princes
with the princes of his own people. 

v  This psalm describes the works of the power of God, who bends towards the needy, the poorest, thus showing his mercy and justice.   

GOSPEL Lk 16:1-3
*      This is a very interesting parable of Jesus. 

*      It describes the situation of an employee, one who works for a salary, a steward to whom the master asks him to give an account of his administration, before he is fired from his job.  

*      The reason to fire him is that he has been dishonest, he has not been faithful to his master, but has used his position for his own benefit, cheating.   

*      Let us look more closely to the situation of that man: 
·         On one hand we realize that the behavior of this man is as dishonest as the behavior of those men described in the first reading. His life  is a lie. He has the appearance of honesty and fidelity, while the truth is that he is dishonest and     a liar. 
·         On the other hand we realize also that in some way he is able to be honest sometimes. He says the truth about himself: he cannot work because he has never worked, he is not able to beg, to ask for help, but he finds the way. He will lower the debts of all the debtors of his master. In this way he will continue to be in charge, he will not be subjected to them, because he knows that they are also dishonest, as much as he is.  In a word he is blackmailing them.  
*      Sometimes as I meditate on the situation of injustice in which we live in our societies, it seems to me that it is very similar to what the parable explains to us:   

§  Those who "sell" to us, they really "buy" us instead, lowering the prices and giving two for one  
§  Then our greed makes us  blind and we do not see anymore the injustice around us.
§  Thus we do not denounce because if we do so, it we will be left without the benefits that they offer to us.    
*      Jesus continues saying that the "children of the world", world understood as unjust society, are wiser than those who try to live according to the values of the Kingdom.   

*      Jesus continues saying that we use what the unjust riches produce to help others,  and in so doing we will transform them in just riches if we share them  with those less fortunate than us, with our employees ...  

*      Something very interesting is that riches are presented as something we do not own we only are the stewards of it.   

*      And this is the truth, none of us owns the riches, we only administer them. The call here is to administer with the justice of God, which is the same as the truth of God.   

*      Strong message, this one, it knocks at the door of our heart strongly inviting us to live in the truth of God, in his justice which is made of mercy.  

SECOND LETTER   1 Tm 2:1-8
v  The author of this letter invites us to personal and community prayer 
v  A prayer with external movements. 
v  A prayer for those who govern us  
v  And not only pray for them for their own good  
v  But also for the good of all, so that we will be able to live in peace.   
v  The reason for this is the only mediator that we have, Christ Jesus who wants to save us.
v  This second reading has something in common with the other two readings: peace and justice.     

 JENSEN, Joseph. Ethical Dimension of the Prophets. Collegeville, Minnesota  2006. 
PAGOLA, José A.  Following in the Footsteps of Jesus. Meditations on the Gospels for Year C.
RAVASI, Gianfranco, Según las Escrituras, Año C.
SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso, Comentario a La Biblia de nuestro Pueblo. 

We must be grateful that most people do value family relationships that are permanent and marked by mutual respect.  They appreciate the Church’s efforts to offer guidance and counselling in areas related to growth in love, overcoming conflict and raising children.  Many are touched by the power of grace experienced in sacramental Reconciliation and in the Eucharist, grace that helps them face the challenges of marriage and the family.  In some countries, especially in various parts of Africa, secularism has not weakened certain traditional values, and marriages forge a strong bond between two wider families, with clearly defined structures for dealing with problems and conflicts.  Nowadays we are grateful too for the witness of marriages that have not only proved lasting, but also fruitful and loving.  All these factors can inspire a positive and welcoming pastoral approach capable of helping couples to grow in appreciation of the demands of the Gospel.  Yet we have often been on the defensive, wasting pastoral energy on denouncing a decadent world without being proactive in proposing ways of finding true happiness.  Many people feel that the Church’s message on marriage and the family does not clearly reflect the preaching and attitudes of Jesus, who set forth a demanding ideal yet never failed to show compassion and closeness to the frailty of individuals like the Samaritan woman or the woman caught in adultery.(38)