Monday, December 26, 2016


JANUARY 1st , 2017


Liturgical evolution of this solemnity.  

«  The solemnity of Mary Mother of God was celebrated in the Eastern Church before the Roman Church. 

«  In the V century France and Spain began to  celebrate  it on the Sunday before Christmas.  

«  In Rome before the VII century it was celebrated on January 1st.  

«  In the XIII and XIV centuries the solemnity of the Circumcision of the Lord replaced on January 1st the celebration of the Motherhood of Mary. 

«  In the XX century the celebration of the Motherhood of Mary was transferred to November 11. 

«  In the renewal of the liturgy promoted by Council Vatican II in 1974, Paul VI   put again the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God on January 1st. 

«  The title Mother of God given to Mary in Greek is   “Theotokos”= bearer of God, title given in the First Council of Ephesus in 431.    

Eight days after the Solemnity of Christmas, the liturgy invites us to celebrate the Motherhood of Mary.  

*      There are several different themes in this liturgy:   

o   The blessings     

o   The Spirit who makes us children of God  

o   Mary who kept all those things in her heart  

o   And holding together all these themes, PEACE. Since 1968 the Pope sends a Message of Peace to the Church and to the whole world. Pope Paul VI established the tradition.    


The book of Numbers is the fourth book of the 5 books of the Pentateuch or Torah or Law. 

Ø  It comes after the Leviticus. 

Ø  It continues to narrate the story begun in the book of Exodus. Israel continues its journey toward the promised land. At the end of the book Israel sees the promised land in front of its eyes. 

Ø  There is a message of hope in this book:  

o   The punishment for the people’s sins is not the last word from God.

o   Punishment follows sin  

o   Repentance follows the punishment  

o   And pardon and peace, and new life follows the punishment. It is manifested in the many different intervention of God in the life of his people. 

Numbers  6:22-27

We begin the civil year with a blessing, which according to the book of Numbers has been given to Aaron by God to bless the children of Israel. 

§  Let us see the elements of this blessing:  

o   May the Lord bless you, may he pronounce good words upon you. God always blesses us, he always says good things upon us. He gives us  his love, his favor and his gifts.  

o   May he keep you, may he count you among his possessions, may he protect you and put you in a secure place. 

o   May he show you his face. To see the face of God is the longing manifested in different places and in different ways in the Old Testament.    

o   His radiant face, gives joy, peace and everything that is good, beautiful and able to fulfill the longing of our heart. 

o   May he have pity or compassion of you. Compassion is the love of God who bends over our lowliness. So many times we manifest this our lowliness by pride, desire of material goods, abuse of power….  

o   Again the author repeats “may God show you his face, and this will bring peace to you.  Peace is the sum of all good things  given by God. 

§  The Church puts this beautiful blessing in the liturgy of the first day of the civil year, in the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God.   


o   R. (2a) May God bless us in his mercy.
May God have pity on us and bless us;
may he let his face shine upon us.
So may your way be known upon earth;
among all nations, your salvation.
R. May God bless us in his mercy.
May the nations be glad and exult
because you rule the peoples in equity;
the nations on the earth you guide.
R. May God bless us in his mercy.
May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you!
May God bless us,
and may all the ends of the earth fear him!
R. May God bless us in his mercy.


o   Psalm 67 is a psalm of praise and  petition of God’s mercy upon us.

o   This psalm has a theme very much alike the message of the first Reading. 


An author says that the letter to the Galatians is one of the most strong and polemic documents among Paul’s writings.  

It is a letter addressed to the communities of Galatia in Asia Minor. 

Ø  Paul writes it to confront the statements made by some of the community who wanted to conform to Jewish teachings, who put first the Sinai Law to the Law of Jesus.  .

Ø  Paul says in this letter that the works of the Law will not save us, that we are justified only  by faith in Jesus.  

Ø  But this does not excuse us to live according to the Law of Christ, that impels us to fight against evil in all its manifestations. 

Ø  Paul will take again many of these ideas about law, salvation, freedom in his letter to the Romans, but in a more systematic and less polemic way. 

Letter to the Galatians  4:4-7

ü  The fullness of time announced by the prophets, the time of the Messiah has come.

ü  The Messiah came born of a woman 

o   This is the only time that Paul mentions Jesus’ mother, he does not say her name, but he says that he was born of a woman. 

o   This is another way to say what John writes in the prologue “the Word was made flesh…” 

ü  Born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the Law  

ü  So that we might receive adoption as children, and be no longer slaves under the Law of Mount Sinai. 

ü  In so doing he will give us the possibility to speak to God in the same way Jesus does, calling him “Abba” Father. 

ü  Paul continues saying, if we are children we are also heirs, because God has wanted it so. It does not depend on our will, it is gift.  Our only answer to the gift is to accept it with love and to try to respond to this surprising love of our God, which has been manifested to us in the Word made man.    

GOSPEL – Luke  2:16-21

In this gospel we have several scenes: 

«  The shepherds

o   Who go in haste because they are happy, they want to see what has been told to them 

o   They found the Holy Family  

o   And they tell Mary and Joseph what the Angels had told them about the baby  

o   Afterwards they returned filled with joy, glorifying God and telling everyone what they had seen and heard.  

«  Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.  

o   She has many things to remember and to meditate in her heart  

§  Things about the baby 

§  Things about herself, about  God, the annunciation with her joys and her fears. 

§  Things about Joseph, his doubts about her, his decision to leave her, his willingness to take her into his home.  

§  Her conversations with Elizabeth about the blessings that each one had received from God.

§  Her conversations with Joseph about the child, and how to fulfill the mission that God had given them and communicated through the Angel. 

«  The Circumcision of Jesus 

o   The rite prescribed to Abraham (Gn 17)

o   Through this rite Jesus was officially incorporated into the people of Israel, the people of the promises, the people of God. 

o   And he is given the name of Jesus as the Angel had told them.  

o   This rite is another way to say what Paul says in the letter to the Galatians “born of a woman”, member of the human family. 

Message of Pope Francis for the Celebration of the Fiftieth World Day of Peace

January 2017

Jesus himself lived in violent times. Yet he taught that the true battlefield, where violence and peace meet, is the human heart: for “it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come” (Mk 7:21). But Christ’s message in this regard offers a radically positive approach. He unfailingly preached God’s unconditional love, which welcomes and forgives. He taught his disciples to love their enemies (cf. Mt 5:44) and to turn the other cheek (cf. Mt 5:39). When he stopped her accusers from stoning the woman caught in adultery (cf. Jn 8:1-11), and when, on the night before he died, he told Peter to put away his sword (cf. Mt 26:52), Jesus marked out the path of nonviolence. He walked that path to the very end, to the cross, whereby he became our peace and put an end to hostility (cf. Eph 2:14-16). Whoever accepts the Good News of Jesus is able to acknowledge the violence within and be healed by God’s mercy, becoming in turn an instrument of reconciliation. In the words of Saint Francis of Assisi: “As you announce peace with your mouth, make sure that you have greater peace in your hearts”.
·         To be true followers of Jesus today also includes embracing his teaching about nonviolence. As my predecessor Benedict XVI observed, that teaching “is realistic because it takes into account that in the world there is too much violence, too much injustice, and therefore that this situation cannot be overcome except by countering it with more love, with more goodness. This ‘more’ comes from God”.  He went on to stress that: “For Christians, nonviolence is not merely tactical behaviour but a person’s way of being, the attitude of one who is so convinced of God’s love and power that he or she is not afraid to tackle evil with the weapons of love and truth alone. Love of one’s enemy constitutes the nucleus of the ‘Christian revolution’”. The Gospel command to love your enemies (cf. Lk 6:27) “is rightly considered the magna carta of Christian nonviolence. It does not consist in succumbing to evil…, but in responding to evil with good (cf. Rom 12:17-21), and thereby breaking the chain of injustice(From the Message of Pope Francis for the Celebration of the Fiftieth World Day of Peace. January 1st  2017.)  

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


HYMN :  Mary Did You Know – Kenny Rogers

v  Today we will reflect on the meaning of Christmas in our life, following the  story “Christmas Carol” by  Charles Dickens.  

v  The three ghosts represent the Christmas from the past, present and future.  

v  They are an invitation to look at our own life.

v  Asking  ourselves three questions which we may want to share with someone.


*      What is the best memories I have of Christmas?  

*      What are my worries for this year's Christmas?   

*      How do I wish Christmas be in the future? 


«   Isaiah sings the exuberant joy of the people who has passed from the darkness of suffering and oppression to the light of liberation. 

«  The prophet compares this joy with the joy of the farmer when he collects his crop after months of uncertainty, will it be saved or will it be destroyed by some natural disaster or some enemy.   

«  The cause of this joy is that the oppressor- the rod, the yoke, the boot- have been eliminated. 

«  And this because a child is born, a son is given to us, he has the attributes of an adult, full of wisdom and kindness, he is the Prince of Peace, but he is also a baby.  

«  He will come from David's line, his kingdom will have no end, his will be a kingdom of justice and respect for the law. 

«  And all of this will be done by the zeal, the love of the  Lord.  

SECOND READING :  Titus 2:11-14

Ø  This is a very beautiful reading which we do every year at the Midnight Mass.

Ø  All that the Prophet Isaiah announced has been fulfilled by the Baby of Bethlehem, God made flesh for love of us. 

Ø  The grace of God, who saves all, has been made visible in Jesus, the Son of Mary, the Baby from Bethlehem.  

Ø  He will teach us how to live as true human beings, images of God the Creator, in justice, that means seeking what is good and eliminating from our life all that is not good.  

Ø  And we live this life awaiting the manifestation of our savior and God Jesus Christ.   

Ø  He will do the liberation that Isaiah announced giving his life for us and in place of us, to free us from evil and to help us to do good in justice and truth. 

GOSPEL  – Lk 2:1-14

Ø  In the Midnight Mass we read this gospel from Luke which tells us of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem

Ø  Mary who is pregnant and Joseph have traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the census, because Joseph is from David's family.   

Ø  Luke says only that as they arrived in Bethlehem   the time came for Mary to give birth to her child.    

Ø  We may use our imagination to make this situation real for us, thus being able to enter more deeply into the mystery. 

Ø  During their journey they had the opportunity to share about the mystery they were involved with, in which they found themselves by the will of God which they accepted. 

Ø  They shared the many questions they had in regards to this child, who was like any other child, but at the same time was so different, he was supposedly the Son of God, what does it mean to be son of God? Would they know how to raise him?  

Ø  They shared also their many fears, how  and where would she give birth? Who would help her? She was a very young mother, far from her family, from the older women of her town who could help her. Who would help her? 

Ø  Joseph also had his fears, how would he be able to help Mary, his wife, in this situation?    

Ø  I like to think that he was the one who helped her to give birth, and that both were in awe when they saw, for the first time, the face of that baby, who was crying like any other baby, but they knew in faith that he was the Son of the Father, God. 

Ø  I think that in front of this mystery, so sublime and, at the same time, so close to our own life, the only reaction is to remain in silence adoring, loving, allowing the mystery to overtake us.   

Ø  God is in our midst in human flesh and he will remain with us forever, because he has become one of us, of our own flesh, our own race.  

Ø  With his incarnation and birth he has made of all the races one, eliminating all the differences which keep us apart, he has made of us the race of his brothers and sisters who share with him the same and only Father, God the Father. 

 The Roman Church celebrates the birth and the Eastern Church the epiphany. Both mysteries are 







Pope Francis

Love is generous
101. We have repeatedly said that to love another we must first love ourselves.  Paul’s hymn to love, however, states that love “does not seek its own interest”, nor “seek what is its own”.  This same idea is expressed in another text: “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil 2:4).  The Bible makes it clear that generously serving others is far more noble than loving ourselves.  Loving ourselves is only important as a psychological prerequisite for being able to love others: “If a man is mean to himself, to whom will he be generous?  No one is meaner than the man who is grudging to himself” (Sir 14:5-6).

102. Saint Thomas Aquinas explains that “it is more proper to charity to desire to love than  to desire to be loved”; indeed, “mothers, who are those who love the most, seek to love more than to be loved”. Consequently, love can transcend and overflow the demands of justice, “expecting nothing in return” (Lk 6:35), and the greatest of loves can lead to “laying down one’s life” for another (cf. Jn 15:13).  Can such generosity, which enables us to give freely and fully, really be possible?  Yes, because it is demanded by the Gospel: “You received without pay, give without pay” (Mt 10:8).


PAGOLA, José A.   El camino abierto por Jesús. PPC 2012


Sunday, December 11, 2016


v  We have reached the last Sunday before Christmas, we have made the journey of preparation for the celebration of the coming of the Lord among us.  

v  The readings present this reality announced in the Old Testament (First reading) fulfilled in the New Testament (Gospel) and continued in the Church (second reading) 


Ø  The prophet in the name of God says to the king that he can ask for a sign from God.  

Ø  Let us see the meaning of this petition.  

Ø  The prophets look at the political, social and economic situation, and say to those in leadership and to the people, how they are unfaithful to the covenant by the way they live their lives and how to change their ways.   

Ø  Israel is already divided in two kingdoms Northern and Southern.  Ahaz the king of the Southern Kingdom, Judah, is about to become a vassal of the king of Assyria in order to escape the destruction of his country.  

Ø  The prophet, not knowing how to make the king understand that what he plans to do will lead all to ruin, tells the king to ask  for a sign from God to know what to do. 

Ø  The king does not want to ask for a sign, apparently moved by reverence.   

Ø  But the answer of the prophet "do not tire my God" helps us to understand that the attitude of the king was not sincere.  

Ø  What is the sign that God will give? It is a sign of life, in spite of  destruction and oppression, God always creates and nurtures  life

Ø  It is the announcement of  the birth of a child, the son of a young woman. This child is probably one of the sons of the king, son of one of his wives.  

Ø  What does that sign mean? We will find the answer on verse 16, do not be afraid  Ahaz, and in your desperation do not make covenant with the oppressor, because within a few month, the time for a child to be formed in his mother's womb, the danger will be no more, these powers will no longer be a danger. 

Ø  History tells us that Ahaz made the covenant with the foreign powers and it was a total ruin, but for us Christians of the 21st century, what does that mean?  

Ø  The child announced was born in the  time of Ahaz, but the prophecies, since they come from God, transcend time and space, and have diverse levels of understanding, of interpretation of revelation.  .   

Ø  Very soon the Church understood that this prophecy was the announcement of the coming of the true descendant of David, the Messiah, who was to be born from a virgin mother, a young woman, a young girl.     

Ø  And his name is Emmanuel, this was the name of the child of Ahaz, but the true Emmanuel, God-with-us is Jesus, the son of the true king, the Father God.   


R. Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.
The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
. Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.
Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
One whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain.
Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks for him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.

GOSPEL   Mt 1:18-24

*      Today the liturgy of the church explains to us the conception and birth of Jesus, from the point of view of Joseph.   

*      We are very used to think about the conception of Jesus according to what Luke narrates in his Gospel,  that is the experience of Mary.   

*      Matthew, being a Jew, sees the part of the man, Joseph, and sees also in the birth of Jesus the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah, which we have read in the first reading.   

*      Like Luke, Matthew says that the name of the child's mother is Mary, and that she is betrothed to Joseph. 

*      Before they lived together, that is before Joseph took Mary into his home, she became pregnant. Matthew as well as Luke tell us that this is by the power of the Holy Spirit.   

*      Up to now this is the same story that Luke tells us, but Matthew is going to tell us the feelings and the reaction of Joseph

*      He says that Joseph is a just man, this is the greatest praise that a human being may receive from God, yes Joseph is just, his heart is in the image of God's heart.   

*      Joseph does not understand, what he sees now is very different from what he knows of Mary. What has happened? A priest told me, many years ago, that Joseph, since he could not understand and was afraid in front of the mystery, decided to leave. 

*      He wanted to leave because he did not want to expose Mary to shame , and also to spare all the consequences that this situation could bring to her, even death.   

*      That is why he decides to divorce her in secret, in this way the blame would fall on him.   

*      And as always, when we do not know, when we reach the point of being in complete darkness, then God intervenes, and gives us the answer to all our questions:  

ü  Joseph do not fear to receive Mary, the child she carries is from God.   

ü  He is the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy.   

ü  It is God himself who comes to live among us, to be one like us, to be Emmanuel = God-is-with us   

ü  God says that to Joseph in a dream, because God speaks to us in the way each one can understands.  

ü  When Joseph woke up he took Mary into his home as the angel had told him in a dream.     

ü  His reaction is the same as the one of the young girl from Nazareth. He receives her into his home, Mary says to the angel "I am the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to your words."  

*      Thus these two members of the human race welcome the son of God among us. They dedicate their lives to him, they will be father and mother for this child. They will accompany him in his human journey to become an adult member of the human race. 

*      They participate in the mystery of the redemption accomplished by Jesus, son of God, known in his town as the son of the carpenter, and of Mary.   

*      This makes me always   realize that when we see someone, his or her attitudes, his or her life, truly we do not know what is going on in that person. The Lord Jesus has told us not to judge, because certainly we will be mistaken. We think that we know but, in reality, we do not know, each person is a mystery. 

*      Those of Nazareth never knew the great mystery that was unfolding in front of their eyes, they only saw a young girl who had conceived not being married, and that Joseph the iancé of Mary, was the father of this child.   


§  The letter to the Romans is the master piece of Paul’s theology. 

§  Paul says that the grace of the apostolate, of his mission, comes from Jesus, the Son of God, risen full of power and holiness.    

§  This mission of being an apostle is given to lead  the unbelievers to the obedience of faith. 

§  And Paul says that we are among those unbelievers, and this is certainly true since we are descendants from pagan peoples, because we are not Jews.     

§  And we have been called to belong to Christ, this is the grace we have received at Baptism when we were submerged in the life of Christ to become a new creature.   

§  This is our call to holiness   

§  Paul ends saying: Grace and peace to you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.   


Love is not rude

99. To love is also to be gentle and thoughtful, and this is conveyed by the next word, aschemonéi.  It indicates that love is not rude or impolite; it is not harsh.  Its actions, words and gestures are pleasing and not abrasive or rigid.  Love abhors making others suffer.  Courtesy “is a school of sensitivity and disinterestedness” which requires a person “to develop his or her mind and feelings, learning how to listen, to speak and, at certain times, to keep quiet”. 

Christian may accept or reject.  As an essential requirement of love, “every human being is bound to live agreeably with those around him”   Every day, “entering into the life of another, even when that person already has a part to play in our life, demands the sensitivity and restraint which can renew trust and respect.  Indeed, the deeper love is, the more it calls for respect for the other’s freedom and the ability to wait until the other opens the door to his or her heart” 

100. To be open to a genuine encounter with others, “a kind look” is essential.  This is incompatible with a negative attitude that readily points out other people’s shortcomings while overlooking one’s own.  A kind look helps us to see beyond our own limitations, to be patient and to cooperate with others, despite our differences.  Loving kindness builds bonds, cultivates relationships, creates new networks of integration and knits a firm social fabric.  In this way, it grows ever stronger, for without a sense of belonging we cannot sustain a commitment to others; we end up seeking our convenience alone and life in common becomes impossible.  Antisocial persons think that others exist only for the satisfaction of their own needs.  Consequently, there is no room for the gentleness of love and its expression.  Those who love are capable of speaking words of comfort, strength, consolation, and encouragement.  These were the words that Jesus himself spoke: “Take heart, my son!” (Mt 9:2); “Great is your faith!” (Mt 15:28); “Arise!” (Mk 5:41); “Go in peace” (Lk 7:50); “Be not afraid” (Mt 14:27).  These are not words that demean, sadden, anger or show scorn.  In our families, we must learn to imitate Jesus’ own gentleness in our way of speaking to one another.