Friday, December 29, 2017


-          A week ago we have celebrated the Solemnity of the Birth of the Lord, and today the readings invite us to contemplate Joseph and Mary bringing their child to the Temple to be presented and offered to the Lord.  

-          His family is a simple family like so many of our families. Together they build their family; they take care of their relationships and are faithful to the Law of God of Israel. 

-          A family that lives from its humble but honest work.  

-          A family that shares its life with the other families in the little town of Nazareth, from where nothing good can come, according to the words of Nathanael.  

-          A family where peace and, the joy of the pure of heart reign, but probably, being like us, they might have also some difficulties even in their relationships.  

FIRST READING  Sir 3:2-6,12-14

The author of this book describes the just relations with the parents, with those who have given us life.   

Ø  God has given us our parents. The author of the book says that to the father we owe honor and to the mother the recognition of her authority at home.  

Ø  He who honors his father, as we read in the book   

o   His sins are forgiven, and when he prays he is heard

o   He will be blessed with children    

o   He will live a long life    

o   And obeying his father he gives consolation to his mother.   

Ø  He who reveres his father gives comfort to his mother.   

Ø  The author  asks  the son  to take care of his   father when he is older and sick.  

Ø  He does not mention the mother anymore, only what has already been said: she has authority over her children at home and deserves to be respected by them.  

Ø  Nothing is said of the mother in her old age.   

Ø  It is a society where only men count, but we may apply whatever has been said for the father to the mother.   


R. (cf. 1) Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.
Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD,
who walks in his ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
blessed shall you be, and favored.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the recesses of your home;
your children like olive plants
around your table.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.
Behold, thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.
The LORD bless you from Zion:
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.

Ø  The author of this psalm sings the blessings of the one who fears the Lord and walks in his ways.   

Ø  The blessing is:  

o   To eat from the fruit of the work of his hands.  

o   To have a  fruitful wife   

o   To have many children around his table    

Ø  What a beautiful image    

o   This man earns his bread working.   

o   When he gets home he finds his wife who, like the vine, gives abundant fruit   

o   We may think the fruit to be the children, but we may think also about the goodness of this woman which is fruitful in good works, in love, in tenderness, in taking care of the household, always serving. O, how many woman we know like this one!  

o   The children are like olive plants around the table. The table where the family shares its experiences, love, sufferings, joys and difficulties; all together they share the “daily bread.”  

o   O how much we need, in our society, to rediscover and recuperate the family values. The family must have priority over the work.    In this psalm, which  is the Word of God, we are told that  the work is a blessing and a source of all that the family needs, but the family is at the center.        

Ø  The psalm ends with a blessing   

o   From God      

o   To see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of our life.   

SECOND READING  : Col 3:12-17

Ø  What a beautiful Reading taken from the letter to the Colossians    

Ø  It is a description of the Christian life in the following of our Teacher Jesus  

Ø  A heartfelt compassion, with kindness, humility which is the same as truth, according to the words of St. Theresa of Avila. If we acknowledge our truth, we can but act with kindness in response to the way God treats each one of us.    

Ø  In this litany which describes a behavior similar to that of God, the author mentions at the end “patience”. Patience to accept the limitations of our brothers, sisters and our own, like God who accepts, forgives and redeems our own limitations.  

Ø  All of this together with the mutual acceptance, forgiving each other as God accepts and forgives us.   

Ø  Everything wrapped in love which the author considers the bond of perfection.   

Ø  Allowing the peace of Christ to control our hearts, and make us one body

Ø  It is interesting how the author asks us to be thankful. What a beautiful custom to say “thank you”   because this transforms little by little our heart, and makes it humble and grateful.

Ø  We are also invited to let the Word of Christ dwell in our heart and,  that this word may be  manifested  in prayer, songs, hymns, psalms our thanksgiving to God.   

Ø  And the author ends inviting us,  that no matter what we do by word or work, we do it in the name of the Lord Jesus.    

Ø  How different would our world be if, in our homes and in our communities, all cultivate these values and heart dispositions!     

GOSPEL   LK 2:22. 39-40.

Ø  The purification of the mother after childbirth. The contact with the blood made the person legally impure, this did not have anything to do with morality, it was only a legal question

Ø  The firstborn child was consecrated to the Lord and at the same time he was redeemed by means of the prescribed offering.    

Ø  Jesus is that firstborn son, and his parents fulfill the law like any other Israelite couple.   

Ø  Once they had fulfilled the law of the presentation of the child and of the purification of the mother, Joseph, Mary and Jesus go back to Nazareth, where Jesus will live until adulthood.   

Ø  Today’s Gospel ends saying something which makes us reflect: the child, this child is the Word of God made flesh: “the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him. “

Ø  The Son of the Father, God like the Father, eternal like Him, made man follows the same life process as any other human being. I think that we will never be able to truly understand what does that mean, what does the mystery of the incarnation mean.   

Ø  We only can give thanks and adore the mystery which goes beyond our understanding, but that fills us with tenderness, gratitude  and joy.    


One night while praying and in bitter tears, pleading to our Lord that by the merits of His Passion and death to have mercy on the necessities of His church which at that time were many, our Lord told me and pointing at Mgr. Claret as if I saw him between our Lord and me.” This, my daughter, is the apostolic person whom you have asked me for so many years and with so much tears”.

His Divine Majesty showed me the grace He poured on that holy soul for the preaching of the gospel, and our Lord told me that there was no other remedy for the peace of the church. I did not know that person. Only a few days before I heard that a   certain chaplain by the name of Monsen Claret began preaching with much zeal about the honor due to God and the salvation of souls. It seems to me that have been at least eleven or twelve years ago. María Antonia París, Foundress of the Religious of Mary Immaculate Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 19.

I was barely six when my parents sent me to school. My first schoolmaster was a very active and religious man, Mr. Anthony Pascual . He never punished or upbraided me, but I was careful not to give him any cause for doing so. I was always punctual, always attended classes, and always prepared my lessons carefully.

I learned the catechism so well that whenever I was asked to I could recite it from beginning to end without a mistake. Three of the other boys learned it as well as I had, and the teacher presented us to the pastor, Dr. Joseph Amigo. This good man had the four of us recite the whole catechism on two consecutive Sunday nights. We did it without a single mistake before all the people in the church. As a reward he gave each of us a holy card, which we have treasured ever since. . Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Religious of Mary Immaculate Claretian Missionary Sisters,    Autobiography 22-23.


CLARET, Antonio María. Autobiography.

PARIS, María Antonia. Autobiography   



Thursday, December 21, 2017


Today we want to read in silent prayer and contemplation the Gospels of the birth of Jesus which are read at Christmas.   

Christmas invites us to let the mystery of God, made vulnerable, surprise us. 

Christmas invites us to be silent and to allow the Presence of our Creator and Redeemer fill us.    

Christmas invites us to discover His presence in each human face, especially in the children and in the most vulnerable.    

Gospel of the Midnight Mass – Luke 2:1-14

This Gospel has two different scenes. Let us contemplate each one of them:  

The first scene is the birth of Jesus:  

v  Luke puts the birth of Jesus in the context of the history of his time. He gives names and events which we can find in any historical book. Luke wants to tell us that Jesus is a real human being, not a figment of our imagination.   

v  There is a census, something that all of us are familiar with, because every some years we have a census taken in our country.  Census is always about counting people. How interesting it is to realize that behind the data of the census there are realities that we do not know, joys and sufferings in the lives of those counted, as it happened with the census of Quirinius.   

v  Joseph belongs to David’s family. According to the way the census were conducted, everyone had to go back to their place of origin to be counted.  Therefore Joseph had to go to Bethlehem the city of David. He goes there with his wife who is with child, at a very late stage of her pregnancy.  

v  The time to give birth came as they arrived in Bethlehem. I leave it to each one’s imagination, especially of the women who have given birth, what this moment means for a woman. Then we may look to Mary and try to discover her feelings.   

v  There is no place for them at the inn. This can be understood in several different ways:  

o   There is no place because they are poor   

o   There is no place because the inn is full.   

o   There is no place because they do not want to be disturbed by a woman in labor.     

o   There is no place because the inn is full of people and this is not an adequate setting for a woman to give birth. To give birth  birth requires privacy,  intimacy  and   sacredness.   

o   And the innkeeper, that I am inclined to look at as a good man, offers them the cave where the animals take refuge at night. There they will be able to be by themselves. 

v  And Luke says very briefly  ”the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn  son.  She wrapped him in swaddling clothes.”  

o   An the time came for her, the hour that every pregnant woman expects with joy, because she is going to see for the first time the face of her baby. But at the same time she is overcome by anxiety, she does not know what will happen to her, especially when it is the first child, as in the case of Mary. 

o   Joseph helped Mary to give birth to her son. I like to imagine Joseph, the just man, the good man, with tears in his eyes as the mystery was enfolding in front of him. Tears of thanksgiving and emotion on seeing the face of the Son of God made the Son of man. He would have to be the father of the son of God, his God who had asked him to change the plans he had for his own life, and thus cooperate in the work of the salvation of the human race.  

o   Mary sees,  kisses,  and feeds for the first time her baby, who is the Son of the Eternal Father. 

o   I believe that it is impossible for us to understand the fullness of this mystery, so full of joy and suffering at the same time.  Let us contemplate in silence, admiration and unconditional love this mystery.   

Let us contemplate the second scene of this same gospel: There are some shepherds watching their flock during the night.  

v  They live in the fields; they do not live in houses, not even in stables.  They take turns in keeping their flocks.    

v  Shepherds were considered to be people of not good standing in society: they were poor but they were seen as liars, as thieves, people who had to do many things in order to survive.     

v  To them the angel of the Lord is sent to announce the good news of the birth of the Son of God among us. An angel was also sent to Mary to Zechariah, to Joseph.   Let us analyze the message, because it contains several of the themes so dear to Luke:    

o   Be not  afraid.  Fear is the natural reaction of the human being in the presence of the Mystery, of God or of his messengers. Jesus will repeat these same words to his apostles on Easter Sunday evening.      

o   I have good news to proclaim to you, which will be the cause of great joy.   The joy of the presence of God in our life, in our society, in our history. God is always a cause of joy. In the Old Testament Zion was invited many times to rejoice because “your King comes to you.”  

o   Today, it is the “now” of salvation. Luke uses several titles to describe the child who has been born and who is the cause of joy: Savior, Messiah, and Lord. Jesus is all of that and more, but this is the paradox of God’s work, so different from our works and our parameters, our King comes as a poor and vulnerable baby.    

o   Poverty, although Luke does not mention the word poverty, he says that the baby was wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lay in a manger. These are signs of poverty.  God could only be born in poverty, because riches many times are void of meaning, and of truth. Real poverty is the truth.  

o   The praise,   many more angels join the first angel and they sing “GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST AND ON EARTH PEACE… to men and women of good will.   Praise and peace, two words that we find more than once in the Gospel of Luke. After the annunciation Mary sings, in the evening of Easter Sunday Jesus greets his own saying: PEACE.   

Let us continue now with the Gospel of the Sunrise Mass. 

Gospel of Luke 2:15-20

It has been said that Luke was a painter, and that he painted the portrait of Mary; but some commentators say that the best paintings of Luke were painted with his words, not with brushes.    

The gospel of the Midnight Mass  had two scenes. The gospel for the Sunrise Mass has also two different scenes: the shepherds, and Mary.   

v  The shepherds decide to do something about the good news they have received, they go to see the truth of what has been told to them. 

v  And because they go they see. But, what do they see? A new born baby in a manger, Joseph and Mary.  We have here another of the themes cherished by Luke, faith.   He does not mention the word, but the scene speaks more eloquently than words. They see a baby and they recognized in that vulnerable baby, as vulnerable as any other baby, the Messiah and  Lord.   

v  And the shepherds made know the message that had been told about the baby.   

v  The first scene ends here.     

The second  scene is about Mary.   

v  Mary kept all those things, reflecting on them in her heart. 

o   She kept them, these are her memories. The memories of everything that had to do with the baby:

§  at the annunciation, the reaction of her parents, of Joseph and  the people of Nazareth. 

§   The journey to Bethlehem, during which both Joseph and Mary could share their experience about the baby that was in Mary’s womb. The birth, the shepherds… All of these are her memories.

o   She cherishes them in her heart, meditates on them. Luke does not say that Mary understands, she cannot understand them, they go beyond our human understanding. But she cherishes them, and believes because she trusts in the God who has made the promises to her. Faith is to trust he who has called us to life and has given us his salvation.   

Mass of the Day – Gospel of John 1:1-18

Ø  The Gospel for this Mass is taken from the Prologue of John’s Gospel.  Luke has painted, described for us four different scenes related to the birth of Jesus.   

Ø  John leads us into the mystery, he removes the curtain, this is the meaning of revelation, to see what is behind the curtain. He helps us to discover the mystery hidden behind the events and the different characters. 

Ø  In the two former Masses Luke has narrated the birth of Jesus, called Messiah and Lord.   

Ø  The Church, the community of the believers and followers, led by the Spirit sent by Jesus to her, has deepened into the theological meaning of the events related to the birth of Jesus.  Let us hear what John has to say

o   In the beginning  was the Word… and the Word was God.   If we go to the first book of the Bible, the Book of Genesis the first words are “In the beginning…God created… and God said … God says his Word and the abyss becomes a wonderful and beautiful creation.   

o   John continues his theological reflection and says that the Word existed from the beginning, that without him nothing came to be.  But the darkness did not acknowledge it. Our darkness, our own and the that of our society, and  of our world  cannot understand and accept his light.    

o   John proceeds and says that the light, the Word was in the world, but the world did not acknowledge the Word. 

o   He came to his own and they did not welcome him. Sometimes we think that these words are said of the people of Bethlehem; but I believe that we need to enter into our heart, and to discover in how many ways we do not welcome him into ourselves. Only in this way we will be able to understand the dreadful mystery of the human heart that can refuse to recognize his or her Creator.  

o   To those who did accept him…   According to some commentators  verses 12 and 13 refer to the virginal birth of Jesus, and also to our baptism.  

o   And we reach now the climax of the prologue AND THE WORD BECAME FLESH  

§  The creating Word, the Word who is the Eternal Father’s Son 

§  Became flesh. Flesh means the condition of the sinful and vulnerable human being. Without having any sin, because God cannot sin, he becomes like us, to be able to nail to the cross, as Paul says, our flesh and in so doing to give us his life, the life of the Father’s Son.   

§  He made his dwelling among us, in some translations he “put his tent among.” This sentence makes us think of the nomads, the pilgrims who do not stay in a same place forever.  We are all pilgrims in this world. He puts his tent and lives like anyone of us.     John Paul II in the document for the preparation of the Third Millennium wrote:  he loved with a human heart, he worked with hands of a man, talked… he was and is one of us.    

§  This gospel ends with the words that John will repeat in his Ist  Letter. He is fascinated in awe by the truth of what they had experienced living with Jesus “and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.”   




Friday, December 15, 2017


The third Sunday of Advent is called “Gaudete Sunday” which means Sunday of Joy. In the midst of the penance, during the time of Advent, in preparation for Christmas that the Church used to do, this Sunday was an invitation to take a break in the journey, the faithful were invited to rejoice because the birth of the Savior was near and, the time of preparation was almost over. As a visible sign of this invitation to rejoice the Church uses in the liturgy of this Sunday the pink color, which is brighter than the violet  we use in the other three Sundays.      

FIRST READING: Is 61: 1-2. 10-11

Ø  Chapter 61  of Isaiah forms a unit which begins and ends mentioning the name of God whom he calls Yahweh Adonai  אֲדֹנָי   which means Lord my God.    

Ø  It has three parts:  

o   Verses  1-3a, the prophet announces his vocation  

o   Verses 3b-9 are about the people and we may think that they are pronounced by the Lord   

o   Verses 10-11 declaration of the holy city’s joy .    

Ø  The Reading for this Sunday is taken from the first and third parts   

o   The prophet says that the Spirit of the Lord is upon him, because he has anointed him   

o   He brings good tidings to the little ones: the poor and those with wounded hearts.   

o   He proclaims the year of grace in terms of the Jubilee   Lv 25,10-17

o   It is a year of liberation for some and of vengeance for others.   

o   Vengeance in the Old Testament has a different meaning from the meaning it has among us. For us it implies hardness of heart and cruelty, but for Israel it meant the vengeance from God which meant defending the rights of the poor and the restoration of injustice.   Without doubt it is experienced as punishment, suffering and deprivation for those who have more material goods that needed.  It is the original justice of God, the Creator. Creation is for all, and if I accumulate more than I need I take it from another human being who will than suffer want.   God comes to restore the original justice of creation, his justice which is always love.   

o   Verses 10 to 11 are words in the mouth of the holy city that rejoices at the presence of God who has adorned her, everything has bloomed in her.  As everything material has been embellished in her also God will make justice and praise florish in her.   

o   Probably the prophet wants to encourage the dwellers of Jerusalem who are discouraged before the ruins in the city; that suffer  because those who come back want to take back what they left, and those who remained in the city want to keep what they acquired.   

o   The season of Advent reminds us that we are in the Great Jubilee since the incarnation and coming among us of the Son of God.  He is the Great Jubilee, the Jubilee of pardon, in him justice and praise become real. And united to him in baptism we can be justice and praise too.   

 RESPONSORIAL: PSALM  Lk 1:46-48; 49-50; 53-54   

 R. (Is 61:10b) My soul rejoices in my God.
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked upon his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
. My soul rejoices in my God.
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
My soul rejoices in my God.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy.
R. My soul rejoices in my God.

For the responsorial psalm we will recite the Song of Mary, called also Magnificat for the word at the beginning of the song in the Latin version.   It means “to proclaim.”

«  Mary belongs to the little ones, the poor, the humble.  

«  She rejoices because God has looked on her lowliness and has done great things, wonders in her.   

«  She rejoices because the Mighty One has taken vengeance: he protects the poor and restores justice filling the hungry with good things, and sending away empty the rich.   And this because his mercy endures from one generation to the next. The vengeance of God saves all, the humble and the arrogant. To the poor he gives plenty and to takes away what the powerful have because this helps them to look for the salvation that comes only  from God who  offers it  to all.   

SECOND READING  1 Thes 5:16-24

*      Paul invites the community of Thessalonica to rejoice, praying unceasingly and giving thanks. 

*      He invites them also not to harden their spirit, not to despise the teaching, to test everything and to keep what is good, rejecting what is bad.   

*      Maybe the enthusiasm for the charisms had reached the community of Thessalonica.   

*      What is new causes always difficulties, there are always frictions with the tradition, but Paul gives a good rule, to test everything, that means to listen and to  discern.  To discern means to listen to the official teaching of the Church to know what comes from God and what comes from the evil spirit, even if sometimes it comes disguised as piety, spirituality and austerity.   

*      This fragment ends wishing that the God of peace make us perfect, and assures us that the one who calls us, is God, he is faithful and thus He will make us perfect. Our task is to open up to his action, because He is the one working on us.    

GOSPEL  Jn 1:6-8; 19-28

ü  The Church puts again in front of  John the Baptist.  

ü  Verses 6 to 8 are inserted in the prologue of John’s Gospel, breaking the harmony of the prologue. 

ü  It is a commentary to clarify that in spite of how great his disciples see him, he is not the light, but the witness to the light, so that through his preaching men and women could believe in the true light, which is the Logos(Word) made flesh, Christ.    

ü  In verses  19 to 28 we read the testimony that John the Baptist gives about himself:  

o   He is not Elijah, the Judaism before and after the New Testament considers Elijah, not as the precursor of the Messiah, but of God himself. 

o   He is not either the prophet they expected. The prophet is the one that brings salvation at the end of times: King, priest and prophet realities never applied to John and that apply to Jesus.  

o   He is a voice that cries out in the desert “prepare the way.”  

o   He announces the presence of one greater than he. 

Let us end this reflection with the words of a prayer from the Brazilian Bishop Helder Camara:

Make me, O God, a rainbow of goodness, hope and peace.   

Rainbow which may never announce false goodness, 

vain hopes, false peace. 

Rainbow, send by You to announce that your Fatherly love, the death of your Son and the wonderful action of the Spirit, O Lord, will never fail.    


 Many times, Christ our Lord has manifested Himself to me as a young man with all His majesty. Some times I have seen His Divine Face and all His Scared Humanity and it always broke my heart because I have never seen him glorious but always suffering the most atrocious tortures as if wanting to choke the Sacred Heart in His Holy Breast, more than once our Lord has told me, “ cry, my daughter cry for the evils in the church that pierce My Heart”, and with this, as if His Majesty would open His breast to show me His Heart surrounded by thorns. Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Religious of Mary Immaculate Claretian Missionary Sisters.  Autobiography 14.

I was barely six when my parents sent me to school. My first schoolmaster was a very active and religious man, Mr. Anthony Pascual . He never punished or upbraided me, but I was careful not to give him any cause for doing so. I was always punctual, always attended classes, and always prepared my lessons carefully.

I learned the catechism so well that whenever I was asked to I could recite it from beginning to end without a mistake. Three of the other boys learned it as well as I had, and the teacher presented us to the pastor, Dr. Joseph Amigo. This good man had the four of us recite the whole catechism on two consecutive Sunday nights. We did it without a single mistake before all the people in the church. As a reward he gave each of us a holy card, which we have treasured ever since.. Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Religious of Mary Immaculate Claretian Missionary Sisters.   Autobiography 22 and 23.


Comentario al Antiguo Testamento II.(Commentary to the Old Testament) Casa de la Biblia 1995.

Comentario al Nuevo Testamento. (Commentary to the New Testament) Casa de la Biblia 1997.
PARIS, María Antonia, Autobiography.  
CLARET, Anthony Mary . Autobiography.  

RAVASI, Gianfranco.    Segun las Escrituras: double commentay to the  Sunday’s readings.   San Pablo 2005.

SCHÖKEL Luis Alonso. La Biblia de Nuestro Pueblo, adaptation of the texto & commentaries:   International Team.