Monday, January 30, 2017


·       Today, fifth Sunday, Jesus speaks of light and salt. He does not talk about our happiness the emphasis is on the wellbeing of our brothers and sisters. Our life will be salt and light if we live according to the beatitudes proclaimed by Jesus, or if we do not want to listen to him our life will be darkness.

·       Let us reflect on this wonderful Gospel.   

FIRST READING   Is 58: 7-10

Ø  God, through the mouth of the prophet Isaiah, tells us that our life will be light and will shine in the darkness:   

§  If we share our bread, our clothing, our home with those who do not have them.    

§  If this is our life, our behavior, our way to relate with our brothers and sisters: our light will dispel darkness, our wound (sin) will be cured and the glory of God that is God himself will protect us (the glory of God well be your rear guard.)

Ø  The prophets continues saying that if we live in this way, whenever we call on the Lord or invoke his name, or cry out to him, He will answer "Here I am".   

Ø  Yes, he will answer us because our way of living will have prepared us to acknowledge that we need him, and so we had invoked him.   

Ø  The verses that follow are like a repetition of what has already been said.   

Ø  This is a literary technique of the Semitic peoples, and also  of Israel.  

Ø  Let us see how the prophet repeats the same idea in another way. He repeats but adds something new, it is like an spiral we go around but at the end we move to a higher level:  

§  The prophets adds to what he has said about sharing our material needs with our brothers and sisters in need.   

§  We also have to remove from our midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech.  

Ø  When our life will respond to this kind of behavior, then our light will shine in the darkness and its gloom will become like midday.   

Ø  What a wonderful sentence what a poetic way to invite us to live a blessed life, a real human life, full of the wisdom that comes from sharing our goods with the   

o   Hungry – who are those who are hungry in our world? 

o   Who are the oppressed and the homeless?    

o   If you have eyes to see and do not turn your back to those who need you  

o   You will be light  

o   Your wounds will heal, what are these wounds? 

o   God will always walk with you. 

o   You will call him and he will answer “Here I am” 

o   If 

§  You remove from your life   

§  Oppression, whom do you oppress?

§  Do you hurt others with your words? 

Ø  Then your light will be like noon time in the midst of the night. 

RESPONSORIAL PSALM  Ps  112: 4-5, 6-7, 8-9 

R. (4a) The just man is a light in darkness to the upright.
R. Alleluia
Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.
Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice.
R. The just man is a light in darkness to the upright.
R. Alleluia.
He shall never be moved;
the just one shall be in everlasting remembrance.
An evil report he shall not fear;
his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
R. The just man is a light in darkness to the upright.
R. Alleluia
His heart is steadfast; he shall not fear.
Lavishly he gives to the poor;
His justice shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory.
R. The just man is a light in darkness to the upright.
R. Alleluia.

GOSPEL  Mt 5:13-16

ü  Jesus speaks to his disciples saying  to them and also to us that we are the salt and the light of the world   

v  He speaks of something very common in our daily life, salt gives taste to the food, and helps also to preserve them in those places where the technology has not reached.  

v  He asks them, if the salt loses its taste, what is his use? certainly it is of no use anymore, so it is thrown out and trampled underfoot.   

ü  He continues saying, you are the light of the world      

v  Here he gives other comparisons, taken also from the experience of our life  

v  If a city is built on the top of a mountain, it will be very visible, it cannot be hidden

v  The cities were built on the top of the mountains to defend themselves from their enemies, but at the same time this was their danger to be too visible.   

v  He gives another example, when we light a lamp in the house we do not cover it because we have lighted it to give light to all in the house.     

ü  You are salt and light

v  Created, called to live to be salt, to give taste to the realities of this world. Salt that will make life more tasty for our brothers and sisters, our companions in the journey of life.    

v  Called to be light, light that will make life happy and enjoyable.   

ü  Jesus invites us to live in the same way he lived among us, to make real in our life the beatitudes, thus our life will be a copy of his, then and only then we will be salt and light  


*     This page of Paul is a work of art of spiritual life, Christian life, the life of a follower of Jesus

*     He speaks to the community of Corinth, so much loved by him, but that caused so much suffering to him.  

*     The members of the community of Corinth were inclined to what is external, what is admired by the world. They like the famous preachers, who sometimes speak well but say nothing that can help us to change our life.   

*     Paul says to them how he decided to come among them  

·       His mission, his decision was to preach the Kingdom of God  

·       Not with sublime or wise words   

·       Because he had decided 

·       to know but one thing, and this is Jesus and Jesus crucified.   

·       He had come to the community with fear, being conscious of his weakness  

·       He did not use wise words to convince them when he announced the Kingdom  

·       but he wanted to preach in such a way that the strength of the Spirit be visible in Paul's weakness.  

·       And thus their faith would not lean on human wisdom  

·       but on the power of God    

*     How much courage and love for God and the neighbor does that decision show 

*     The first reading tells us to be light, the Gospel invites us to be what the Lord intended when he created us: salt and light; Paul decides to be salt and light preaching in humility and fear so that the light of the Spirit of God will shine through his life.   

*     These three readings give us abundant matter to reflect on our life with joy, enthusiasm and fear; no matter how intense is our darkness, the light will shine if we decide to welcome the Lord in our life.    

The means that the Pastors of the Church should use to fulfill the Lord’s mission are the following as we have jotted down.

The first thing that they should do is renew their lives, houses and families; that is, they should fix their houses with the most essential and absolutely necessary, without allowing superfluous things that serve vanity more than necessity.  For this they should consult Saint Paul who was full of true prudence…

The Bishops should live in community with their associates, and there should not exist a distinction of what is yours and mine between them. He should give them everything, everything that is necessary being very careful that they do not lack all that religious modesty allows; in clothing since they should always dress with much modesty and cleanliness, in food, and especially when they are sick… (Venerable María Antonia Paris, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters. Plan for the Renewal of the Church 15-16.)

The Prelate has to conduct his life in such a way that his behavior will be a continuous lesson for his faithful…     it is advisable that he has a program for his life, and that he does everything with order. In so doing:  1st He will have order in his life, in which the Spiritual Exercises have  proper place, and never neglect…    2nd The Prelate has to love, which is so necessary that Jesus Christ did not require anything else from Saint Peter to put him in charge of his sheep than love.  3rd He must be zealous of the glory of God and of the salvation of the souls, and he will show this zeal preaching, giving good example and praying, and these are the things that are included in the three questions about love that Jesus made to Saint Peter.   4th He must also have prudence, which is the mother of all the virtues; science and kindness, which are the eyes of prudence. 5th May the Prelate have also fortitude, in the imitation of St. Ambrose, Saint Basil and other Holy Prelates; in thus he has always to be aware of these two things, the presence of God and prayer…  6th  As for chastity he has to be like a true angel of God, and thus, he has not only to be chaste, but also that all acknowledge him as such, and that he never give  the slightest motive to be suspicious of his behavior…  7th The Prelate will have the virtue of modesty… how will the Prelate dare to preach against luxury and unnecessary expenses, if he does it himself?  He must imitate Jesus and his Apostles.  8th The Prelate will also have a great love for the virtue of poverty, being satisfied with few things… He will continuously remember that his possessions are the patrimony of the poor, and thus he has to distribute them among the poor…  9th   The Prelate will read frequently and meditate what was decided in the  sacred Councils; let him read and meditate the Sacred Scriptures, especially the letters of St.  Paul, in particular those written to Titus and Timothy;  in his first letter to Timothy he requires of him 10 positive  virtues and 6 negative ones; let the Prelate read them if he wishes to be good, and also the explanations given by the interpreters and the Holy Fathers. (St Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Plan to Restore the Beauty of the Church  “Duties of the Prelate to Himself.”) 


CLARET, Antonio María Claret, Plan to Restore the Beauty of the Church.

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

PARIS, María Antonia, Plan for the Renewal of the Church  

STOCK, Klemens. La Liturgia de la Palabra. San Pablo 2001

Sagrada Biblia - versión oficial de la Conferencia Episcopal Española.

Sunday, January 22, 2017


JANUARY 29, 2017

In this fourth Sunday in ordinary time the Gospel offers to us the proclamation of the Law of the Kingdom, which brings to fulfillment the Law on Mount Sinai, replacing it by the Beatitudes. At the end of his earthly life Jesus will condense the whole Law in his New Commandment “love one another as I have loved you.” 

FIRST READING  – Prophet Zephaniah  2,3; 3,12-13

Ø  This prophet preached around 650 B.C. in the Kingdom of Judah in the South   

Ø  In that time there was in the country religious degradation and political intrigues.

Ø  Zephaniah announces to his people the coming of the Day of Judgment, the Day of the Lord.

o   The Day of the Lord is a day of purification not a day of doom.

o   Little by little through the preaching of the prophets and especially with the coming of Jesus into our world, this day becomes the great day of God, a day of joy and of encounter with him.    

o   The judgment of God takes away what is an obstacle for us to be what the Lord wants for us,  which is our well-being, our happiness and,  our salvation.


Ø  In the readings for next Sunday the prophet promises peace and justice for the remnant of the land.

o   The remnant means the ānāwîm = the needy of Israel who prefer to serve God instead of looking for financial privileges. 

o   Jesus in the Gospel will take again this concept and will call the ānāwîm  happy, blessed, not because they are better than the rest, but because God takes care of them in their needs and in their poverty.

o    The promise of peace “Shalom”, which means much more than the lack of conflict, this word speaks of fullness in all the areas of our life and of our human relationships, we might say that in some way it is the synonym of happiness.       

Ø  These poor   

o   Will take refuge in the name of the Lord, that is to say, they will trust in his name above anything or anybody else (the name in the Bible means the  person ) 

o   They will not do any harm to anyone, and they will not lie. The lie is here a synonym of evil, of what is contrary to the truth and therefore harms very much the person.

o   They will live in peace, nobody will take away their peace. 

o   We may conclude that they will enjoy peace, truth and protection because they have put themselves in the hands of the God of Israel who protects them.

o   God is always ready to welcome us with tenderness and love. The problem is not in God, it is in the human person who needs to open him or herself completely to God but very often we close ourselves, and in so doing we are deprived of the benefit of experiencing the tenderness of God in our life.


«  In this fourth Sunday in ordinary time we begin to read   the Sermon on the Mountain which is found on chapters 5,6 and 7 of Matthew’s Gospel. 

«  We begin today reading the Beatitudes 

«  Jesus surprises us, as always.  He calls blessed those whom society considers unfortunate,  those who neither count nor are of interest to society because they do not yield any revenue and they make us uncomfortable. 

«  The text says that Jesus saw the crowd, went up to the mountain-side, he sat down and his disciples sat around him, and he began to teach them:

o   The Lord sees the crowd that was there, but the Lord sees also the crowd of all the times  who suffer, the poor, the afflicted those in need of so many things.  

o   He goes up to… to go up or climb requires an effort; to live the beatitudes will require an effort on our part. 

o   He seats down, as a teacher to teach his disciples who come to seat around him and are anxious to hear his words: 

§  Blessed, Happy!!! Who? And why?  

§  The Catechism of the Catholic Church says in n. 1716: “The Beatitudes are at the heart of Jesus' preaching. They take up the promises made to the chosen people since Abraham. the Beatitudes fulfill the promises by ordering them no longer merely to the possession of a territory, but to the Kingdom of heaven

§  Blessed, happy: the poor, the meek, those who mourn, those who weep, those who hunger and thirst for justice, the merciful, the pure of Herat the peacemakers, the persecuted, when you are insulted and persecuted. 


o   The Catechism in number 1717 “The Beatitudes” 

§  The Beatitudes depict the countenance of Jesus Christ and portray his charity

§  They express the vocation of the faithful associated with the glory of his Passion and Resurrection(baptism)

§   they shed light on the actions and attitudes proper  of the Christian life;

§  they are the paradoxical promises that comfort us in our suffering

§   they proclaim the blessings and rewards already secured, however dimly, for Christ's disciples;

§  they have begun in the lives of the Virgin Mary and all the saints.


§  The Catechism continues in 

§  1719 the beatitudes  

·         Reveal  the goal of human existence; the ultimate end of human acts 

·         God calls us to his own beatitude 

·         This vocation is addressed to each individual personally, but also to the Church as a whole,  

§  1720

·         In the New Testament the authors use different expressions to characterize the beatitudes: 
- the coming of the Kingdom of God;
- the vision of God: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God"  
- entering into the joy of the Lord;
- entering into God's rest:

·         There we shall rest and see, we shall see and love, we shall love and praise. Behold what will be at the end without end. For what other end do we have, if not to reach the kingdom which has no end?

I copy below the beatitudes applied to the church. This text has been taken from the book of Jose Antonio Pagola “El Camino Abierto por Jesús.” (my Spanish translation)

  • Happy the Church with the soul of a poor, because she will have less problems, and will be attentive to the needy, and she will live the Gospel with freedom. The Kingdom of God is hers. 
  • Happy the Church full of meekness. She will be a gift for this world full of violence. She will inherit the promise land.
  • Happy the Church who suffers because of her faithfulness to Jesus. One day she will be consoled by God.
  • Happy the Church who seeks with passion the Kingdom of God and its justice. In her the best of the human spirit will abide. One day her longing will be satisfied.
  • Happy the Church to whom God takes away her stony heart and gives her a heart of flesh. Mercy will be granted to her.
  • Happy the Church that introduces in the world peace instead of discord, reconciliation  instead of confrontation. She will be “daughter of God.”
  • Happy the Church that is persecuted because she follows Jesus. The kingdom of God is hers.

  SECOND READING   1 Corinthians  1,26-31     We continue the reading of this letter 

*      Paul says to the community of Corinth to look at themselves  

o   They have been called but few of them are influential in society 

o   Few are from a noble origin  

o   Because God chooses what the world considers ignorant to shame the “wise” 

o   He chooses those who are nothing to reduce to nothing those who are something. 

o   Thus the human beings cannot boast before God  

o   God is he who has given us life in Christ Jesus 

o   Whom he has made our wisdom. Our justice, our sanctification and our redemption. 

o   Whoever wants to glory let him or her glory in the Lord. 

*      Paul reminds us of a great truth, whatever is good in us has been put there by God, by ourselves we do not have anything. Why then are we so proud, so vain about ourselves? Our glory is in the Lord who continually creates us and recreates us through his Paschal Mystery. 


We have said to the Bishops that God asks them to conform their lives and customs with those of the Holy Apostles.  Our Lord wants a living copy of his Apostles in his Bishops, for they govern the same Church which they established; it is necessary that they water it with the same water they used to fertilize it… Our Lord does not ask for anything new in his Church; he only asks all of us what we have promised him.  Our Divine Redeemer asks us to observe his Holy Law, and he asks this particularly of the Bishops in such a special way, and with so much eagerness that I do not know how to express… We have said that no one should excuse himself.  The Lord’s Holy Law is one and he orders it to be preached equally in the whole world without exceptions, neither of people, nor kingdoms, nor provinces.  Then his grace is ready to fulfill it in all parts and people.  (María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters. “Plan for the Renewal of the Church” 11-13.)  

The Bishops are the successors of the Apostles and, thus they have to be with their good example the light of the world…   They have to practice the good works, in such a way that their example be as a bright light that may shine before others and move them to glorify their heavenly Father…  The Bishops have to be friends of prayer, in imitation of Jesus…  in the same way the apostles practiced it; so much so that seeing that other responsibilities, even being good, hinder their mission, they left them, and chose seven deacons to perform them … In the fire that burns in meditation all scoria is taken away, men melt and are molded into the image of Jesus, they are filled with the Holy Spirit, and begin to speak  like those that were at the Cenacle; thus the Apostles begin with prayer, thus they continued and persevered faithfully until the end, sealing with the blood of their veins the truth that they had preached; the bishops have to do likewise, if they want to fulfill their sacred duties, be faithful and obtain the crown of glory.   The Bishops have to teach, following the mandate of Jesus to his Apostles… The Bishops have to be the salt of the earth through their doctrine… protecting with the salt of wisdom, instruction and preaching opportunely and inopportunely against the corruption of errors and vices, and even when it seems that the listeners do not  take advantage, do not desist  because of it,  since, at least, always a great good is done, not letting the vices and errors grow;  it is well known that the Word of God never returns fruitless since the just  take root in virtue and   some of the bad ones take advantage from it, and if it is not noticeable at once, it will be known latter. (Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters.   Plan for the Restauration of  the Beauty of the Church, “To the Bishops.”)


Thursday, January 12, 2017


Ø  We begin today the ordinary time, which according to a liturgy professor is not so ordinary.    

Ø  During this year we will journey with Jesus in his mission of Messiah and Redeemer.  

Ø  The author of the Gospel of Matthew, Gospel which we will read during this year, writes to a Christian community of Jewish origin.  

Ø  He wants to help his brothers and sisters to discover  in Jesus the Messiah whom the prophets were presenting to us.    

Ø  However today the Gospel will be taken from the Gospel of John.  John the Baptist points out to Jesus as the Lamb of God.  

Ø  This three words "Lamb of God" has a deep meaning for a Jew, the lamb which was immolated and eaten on the night of the Passover of the Lord, the night of their liberation from the slavery in Egypt., 

Ø  Lamb which prefigured the true lamb who would take away the sin of the world and give the true freedom to every human being.   


FIRST READING  - Is  49:3,5-6

v  This reading is taken from one of the Servant Poems. . 

v  Servant who has been seen as the faithful servant of Yahweh, could be the people of Israel, one of the prophets, and following the theological reflection of the new people of God, the new Israel, the Church, is Jesus

v  The text has words coming from God, and words coming from the Servant. It is not a dialogue, but an inner reflection, a conversation from the heart.   

v  The Lord says to the Servant:

*      You are my servant through whom I show my glory.   

*      We may ask, what is the glory of God? Is it his power, his greatness or on the contrary it is his love, tenderness, we may say even his weakness, his ability to become vulnerable?  

*      The servant speaks and acknowledges that God has formed him in his mother's womb, has given him the mission to bring his people back to the love of his God.   

*      He continues saying that he has been glorified and God is his strength.   

*      How has he been glorified? In living and accomplishing the mission given to him in his mother's womb. 

*      God speaks again to the Servant and says that he will not only help the tribes to come back to God, but his mission will be wider, universal, he will be the light of the nations.   

*      so that the salvation that the Lord offers may reach  to the ends of the earth.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM - Ps  40 2-4,7-8,8-9,10


I have waited, waited for the Lord

and he stooped toward me and heard my cry

and he put a new song into my mouth

a hymn to our God.

Sacrifice or offering you wished not  

but ears open to obedience you gave me  

Holocausts or sin offerings you sought not; 

then said I "Behold I come."

y confiarán en el Señor.

 In the written scroll it is prescribed for me  

to do your will, O my God, is my delight   

and your law is within  my heart.     

I announced your justice in the vast assembly

I did not restrain my lips, as you O Lord know.

·         This is a beautiful psalm in thought and in words.  

·         The psalmist says that he has waited trustfully for the Lord, who put in his mouth a new song.  

·         And on hearing him sing the song many will fear and trust in the Lord.   

·         Then he speaks to his God and says that God does not want sacrifices or holocausts.  

·         But the psalmist realizes that he has received ears to listen  

·         and discovers that the sacrifice, the holocaust pleasing to the Lord is to listen attentively and answering to what he listens. His response is "Here I am."

·         What I have to do is found in the book of the Law, the psalmist says that he loves this will of God written in the book, and says "your law is in my heart."  

·         He ends saying that he has not kept his lips in silence but that with joy he has proclaimed the joy and the justice of the Lord to the great assembly

·          Is the justice written in the book of the new Law, the Gospel, what our lips proclaim with joy to our brothers and sisters?   

GOSPEL  Jn 1:29-34 

§  Although we are in cycle A, and we should be reading the Gospel of Matthew, today the liturgy uses instead the Gospel of John.     

§  John points out to Jesus as the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world

§  He  continues saying that Jesus is that man he had spoken about to them, saying that he is above him, because he exists before him.  

§  But this man is the reason for him to had been sent to baptize.   

§  He had been told that the one upon whom the Spirit would come down, was the one who would baptize with the Holy Spirit.    

§  I John have seen and testify that this man is the Son of God.

§  Is our life a testimony of our faith in Jesus son of God?  


·         We begin today to read in the Sunday Mass the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians.

·         Paul is aware that he has received a call to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.   

·         Together with Sosthenes he writes to the church, the community of the faithful who live in Corinth.  

·         Community that has been sanctified in baptism and called to be holy.    

·         The letter is not only addressed to the Corinthians, but to all of us who in some place of the world invoke the name of the Lord Jesus.     

·         This letter is thus addressed to us the church of Miami, of Madrid, of Rome, of Milan, of Kimwenza, of Mysore, of Indonesia, of Japan.... all called to be holy as the Father in heaven who makes the sun shine on the good and the bad, who makes the rain fall on the just and on the sinner as well.   

·         All called to be servant in the way of the great Servant Jesus. 


Here, once more our Lord put, as of what I can understand, before the eyes of my soul, because with my bodily eyes I did not see anything, His most Holy Law and Evangelical Counsel.

I was very attentive, overwhelmed to what was happening, and it seemed to me that I was reading the Holy Law of God, but without seeing any books nor letters; I  was seeing it written, and I was understanding it so very well, that it seemed to me it was imprinting in my soul but in a particular way the book of the Holy Gospels, which till then I had never read, neither  the Sacred Scripture (O.T). After, by God’s grace, I have read something and I have seen it written word by word, as our Lord taught it to me from the holy tree of the cross. It seems to me that the words I understood were coming out from his host holy mouth.

Beside what I saw in these sacred letters (without seeing anything with my bodily eyes as I have said above) an interior voice in the depths of my soul, was explaining me their meaning and the way to practice (…)  To my understanding I saw everything in Christ Crucified who, as he was teaching me the divine letters, was explaining me their meaning. Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 4-6.

The world has always striven to hinder and persecute me, but our Lord has taken care of me and frustrated all its evil designs. During the month of August, 1847, a number of bands of men called "The Early Risers" began to spring up all over Catalonia.The newspapers put it out that the leaders of these groups would do nothing without consulting Father Claret first. This was only a move of theirs to discredit my name and to invent some pretext for apprehending me and putting an end to my preaching. But God our Lord arranged matters so as to snatch me from their clutches. He sent me to preach in the Canary Islands, as I shall now relate. Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 477. 


CLARET, Antonio María Claret, Autobiografía.

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

PARIS, María Antonia, Autobiografía