Thursday, March 16, 2017


Ø  The third, fourth and fifth Sundays of Lent will teach us about   one of the signs of baptism.

Ø  These readings are found only in the liturgical year A, all of them are baptismal readings.

Ø   During these 3 Sundays the catechumens will  do  the  scrutiny  which are penitential rites to help the catechumens in their journey towards the Sacraments of initiation.


Ø  In chapter 15 there is another scene about water, there they cannot drink because the water is bitter.

Ø  Now they are exhausted and thirsty, they want water.

Ø  They do not attack Moses, but God.  They think that God is not able to take care of them in the wilderness.

Ø  Their concept of God is very primitive; God is he who solves all the difficulties. As the people of   Israel walk the journey of faith they will learn little by little who God is. Their prophets will tell them that  God wants to have a loving personal relationship with the People and with each one of the members of the people of Israel. Still more, God wants to have this relationship with each human being.

Ø  Moses asks God, and God, as always, answers like a loving and caring parent.

Ø  Take the elders, so they will be witnesses of what I will do, and struck the rock with the rod with which you struck the river.

Ø  And water flows in abundance.

Ø  The last sentence of this Sunday’s reading tells us the real meaning of the quarrel, they doubt about God

Ø  Does their behavior resemble ours?


If today you hear his voice, harden not your heart

Come let us sing joyfully to the Lord

Let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation

Let us greet him with thanksgiving;

Let us joyfully sing psalms to him.

If today you hear his voice, harden not your heart

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.

If today you hear his voice, harden not your heart

Oh, that today you would hear his voice

Harden not your hearts as at Meribah

As in Massah in the desert,

Where your fathers tempted me

They tested me though they had seen my works.

If today you hear his voice, harden not your heart

 SECOND READING – Rom 5:1-2. 5-8

« In the preceding chapters Paul has explained how do we reach salvation

« In the chapters which will follow after this reading, Paul will concentrate in explaining what salvation is.

« In this fragment of his letter Paul switches from the word faith to the word life.

« The word life has a physical meaning in Rom 7,1-3

« Apart from those two verses, life has a variety of meanings  which we know through   the words used by Paul:

o   Peace, in the sense of the Hebrew word shalom, which is the fullness of all that is good and the absence of anything bad. The true shalom will be reached only in Heaven.

o   Grace, gift. We called grace the gift   to participate into God’s life during our earthly journey.

o    Hope which enables us to continue with joy our journey even among the hardships of life.

o   Love which God has poured out into our hearts

o   The Holy Spirit whom the Father has given to us.

o   The death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ who died for us when we were still sinners.

GOSPEL:  John 4:5-42

Jesus is going from Jerusalem to Galilee; he had to pass through Samaria.

At the town of Shechem he stops and sits   at the well Jacob had given to his sons.

He is tired, hungry and thirsty. His disciples had gone off to the town to buy food.

Dialogue with the Samaritan woman:

*     The woman comes to the well at noon, this is not the normal time to go to the well, but maybe her life was not accepted by the other women, thus she used to come at  noon when nobody was there.
*     Jesus says “give me a drink”
The woman answers “You are a man and a Jew, I am a Samaritan woman. (A man was not supposed to speak in public with a woman and much less with a Samaritan woman. Jews have nothing to do with Samaritans)
Jesus says: if you knew who it is that is asking for a drink, you would ask him instead.  
*     The woman recognizes something different in this man: Sir, you do not have a bucket…. Jesus is willing to drink from the woman’s bucket. This is truly what the Son of God has done; share our bucket-our life becoming human one like us.
Jesus tells her that anyone drinking the water from the well will continue to be thirsty; he can give her living water, which shall become a spring within her, leaping up to eternal life.
The woman wants this water, but she is still at the material level, if this man gives her that kind of water she will not have to come back to well every day.
Jesus wants to take the woman a step further, “go tell you husband and come back here”
*     The woman is drawn to the light although she is still reluctant, this man knows her life. How much she has been looking to satiate her thirst of love, always in the wrong place.
Jesus tells her you are right you have had 5 husbands and the one you have now is not yours.
The woman says “Sir you are a prophet”
She engages in a conversation over the place of worship, maybe she is embarrassed by what Jesus has told her, she still fights against the light which is given to her.
The true worshiper will worship the Father in Spirit and truth, because God is Spirit.
The woman now talks about the Messiah
Jesus makes to her the greatest revelation “I who speak to you, am he”

The scene is changed now.
  • The disciples come back; they do not ask even being surprised to see him talking to a woman.
  • The woman leaves her bucket, she does not need it any more, she has finally found peace and reconciliation within herself, she already has the fountain of water promised by Jesus, her joy is complete. She wants to share it with the people of her town “come to see a man who has told me the things I ever did, could he be the Messiah?”
  • Meanwhile the disciples want Jesus to eat, Jesus like he did with the woman talking to her about the living water, now he speaks to the disciples about another bread, the bread of the will of the Father. (In the first temptation he answered “not only of bread…. But the will of God.)
  • He explains to them that they have been sent to reap what others had worked. In the Church each one has its own mission given by the Lord, and all together we do the will of the Father.
    The people from the town come and on listening to Jesus, they believe in him.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017


v On the First Sunday of Lent we contemplate Jesus tempted , and at the same time how he affirms the dominion of God over all, we shall submit only to Him. 

v Next Sunday we will have a glance to the glory of Jesus, the son the beloved,  whom we have to listen to. 


« In the Liturgy of the First Sunday of Lent, the first Reading was taken from the 2nd and 3rd chapters of the Book of Genesis. 

« The first 11 chapters of the book of Genesis are not historical, in the way the events are narrated. 

« However they are also historical in the sense that they try to explain the process of creation, the reality of sin and temptation.

« Using a symbolic language full of images they transmit to us a theological reflection on these realities.  

« In the liturgy of the Second Sunday of Lent, the first reading is taken from chapter 12 of Genesis. 

o   From chapter 12 on there is a change in perspective in the book of Genesis 

o   The first 11 chapters show us the work of God, who gives without measure and looks for men and women over and over again.

o   At the same time these chapters also tell us how men and women respond to the generosity of God by sinning and following the temptation of Paradise “you will be like gods”. Men and women turn away from God, their creator, to follow their own ways of sin and corruption. 

o   In chapter 12 God intervenes again, doing something new. Like in creation when God called man to existence now he calls another man Adam. This man will accept the call and will obey the God of the Mountain, as he calls Him, “El Shaddai” אל שדי. The God of the patriarchs, which is the same God of Moses  YHWH, the only God.  The translation of El Shaddai is God Almighty. 

o   With Abram a new stage begins in  human history in its relationship with its creator.


o   The Lord tells Abram to leave the land of his kinsfolk and from his father’s house to a land that the Lord will show him.  

§  He is asked to leave without knowing the destination, with the sole trust in the word of the God who spoke to him from the mountain  

o   God makes 7 promises to Abram  

§  I will make of you a great nation 

§  I will bless you 

§  I will make your name great  

§  So that you will be a blessing 

§  I will bless those who bless you  

§  I will curse those who curse you  

§  All the communities of the earth shall find blessing in you. 

o   Abram leaves as God has asked him 

§  His reaction to the word of God is completely different from that of the first fathers: Adam and Eve, the people of Noah’s time, the people of the tower of Babel. These did not obey the word of God, Abram goes forth as God has told him, he does not know where, but he trusts the word of the Lord God Almighty

§  Thus he will be a blessing and not a curse as our first fathers were. 

§  A new adventure begins for the human race.


Ø  The letters to Timothy are considered “deutero-paulines”. The name deutero is given to a group of letters which scholars think have not been written by Paul but by some of his disciples. The letters written by Paul are called Proto-Paulines.

Ø  The Letter to Timothy seems to have been written after the death of Paul. 

Ø  These letters belong  also to the group of letters called Pastoral letters, which are addressed to Bishops: Titus and Timothy who had been collaborators of Paul in his ministry. 

« God has called us also to a life of holiness. Holiness is to live our life according to the will of God. 

« We have seen   the answer of Abram to the call of God. 

« We have been called to a life of holiness in Christ Jesus. 

« The Father has called us to this holiness of life before the creation of the world. 

« Christ has brought   us salvation and immortality by despoiling death of its power.

GOSPEL  Mt. 17,1-9

 I will copy below two paragraphs from the Apostolic Exhortation  of John Paul II Vita Consecrata.

In the countenance of Jesus, the "image of the invisible God”  and the reflection of the Father's glory, we glimpse the depths of an eternal and infinite love which is at the very root of our being. Those who let themselves be seized by this love cannot help abandoning everything to follow him. Like Saint Paul, they consider all else as loss "because of the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus Christ", by comparison with which they do not hesitate to count all things as "refuse", in order that they "may gain Christ". They strive to become one with him, taking on his mind and his way of life. This leaving of everything and following the Lord is a worthy programme of life for all whom he calls, in every age (18)

A whole ancient spiritual tradition refers to this "icon" when it links the contemplative life to the prayer of Jesus.  Even the "active" dimensions of consecrated life can in a way be included here, for the Transfiguration is not only the revelation of Christ's glory but also a preparation for facing Christ's Cross. It involves both "going up the mountain" and "coming down the mountain". The disciples who have enjoyed this intimacy with the Master, surrounded for a moment by the splendour of the Trinitarian life and of the communion of saints, and as it were caught up in the horizon of eternity, are immediately brought back to daily reality, where they see "Jesus only", in the lowliness of his human nature, and are invited to return to the valley, to share with him the toil of God's plan and to set off courageously on the way of the Cross.(14)

Many times God has revealed to me, and some with much sorrow and anguish, that the cause of all the wrongdoings of the Holy Church, is because its Prelates neglect giving the pasture that their beloved sheep need, failing to distribute the bread of the Divine Word among such a great multitude of ignorant people.  Because of their character they do not appear to do so, but in reality they ignore what is most essential of the Lord’s Holy Law such as what is necessary for their sanctification.  The Pastors’ neglect loses the Lord’s sheep.  Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian MIssionary Sisters, Notes for the Renewal of the Church, 39.

The Prelate, has not only to try to be good, but he has to help and be vigilant that his employees of the curia and of his house be also good, because, it might be that what he builds the others destroy, and will even cause him to lose his reputation, thus he will procure that his employees have the following qualities. 

            The Vicar General will be learned; spiritual, impartial, kind, sweet, and he will give appointments to any one; he will  speedily  take care of the businesses; every day or more frequently he will inform the Prelate of the main businesses he is taking care of, as Saint Charles required.   The Promoter of Justice has to be wise, virtuous, and  hardworking. The notary must also be wise, virtuous and hardworking.   The clerks will be virtuous and hardworking;   they have to receive frequently the holy sacraments; Saint Charles said that if they are not exemplary, they are the discredit of the Prelate, and thus whoever does not want to be exemplary let him be fired. All of them have to be enemies of receiving gifts; Saint Charles  forbid it completely to his employees, and he fired one who had received a gift.  St. Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters. Notes of a Plan to Restore the Beauty of the Church: “Duties of The Employees of the Curia.”   

Thursday, March 2, 2017


March  5, 2017


« This book, the first of the Pentateuch or Torah, tells us about the origins of the world and also the story of the patriarchs. 

« The authors of the 11 first chapters of the book of Genesis, are interested in the origins of the world. According to the calculations of the scientists the world is 4 billion years old and, the human beings have lived in this world for about 2 million years. In Scripture the origins of the world are presented by means of stories and legends that were present also in the cultures of the peoples surrounding Israel. Israel transforms these stories into a message of the revelation of God as creator who gives life, always ready to forgive and, to take care of the people He has created. 

« These stories from Genesis are not historical, they are theological reflections on the great truths and questions that the human beings have always had and, have tried to solve in different ways according to their beliefs and cultures.  

« There are 4 authors, or groups of authors, or sources(traditions) in the book of Genesis: Yahwist (J) Elohist (E) Deutoronomist (D) and the Priestly (P) 

« The text of the first Reading for next Sunday belongs to the Yahwist tradition, which is the most ancient tradition. The main themes of this source are:

o   Creation of the human race – life 

o   Sin and the lost of Paradise -   human suffering  

o   The sin of Cain – violence, hate, wars.                                              

o   The story of the giants 

o   The story of the flood – Natural catastrophes. 

o   The list of the nations  

o   The tower of Babel – human pride that       ignores God                             

o   After Babel we enter into the second part of Genesis, the story of Abraham and of the other patriarchs. 

« For the Yahwist  the primeval history of the human race has 4 points which are repeated over and over again: 

o   God lets  us know what  sin  is,

o   and its consequences, punishment for sin  

o   The mercy of God  

o   The human being continues to sin. 

« We may see this in the stories of: 

o   Adam and Eve 

o   Cain and Abel 

o   The flood 

o   The tower of Babel  

« As we begin the season of Lent let us reflect on this constant behavior of God and, of the human being.  This mercy and forgiveness of God will become flesh, in Jesus of Nazareth. For our sake and for our salvation he has pitched his tent among us, and has become one of us.   

FIRST READING:   Gn 2,7-9; 3,1-7.  

Ø  God formed “man-Adam” name which some authors translate as “creature from dust” (hā’ ādām), man is formed out of the clay of the ground and lives because God blows into his nostrils the breath of life. 

Ø    Before making his creature God planted a garden in Eden. This garden is the earth which God gives to man so he can live on it. He will not only live in the garden but, he must take good and tender care of it. He has to take care of the earth  in the same way God takes care of creation.  

Ø  After the creation of man God continues to decorate the garden creating trees, fruit trees, rivers everything that will delight man, because God has created us to be happy.

Ø  Among the trees God puts two especial trees, the tree of knowledge of good and bad and the tree of life. 

Ø  In the text which we will read this coming Sunday the Church has omitted the story of the creation of the woman. This passage is the first reference to the institution of marriage from the very beginning of human existence on earth. 

Ø  After telling what God has done for his creature, the author tells the first answer of this creature to his/her Creator.  The story of the temptation of our first fathers is the story of our own temptations. It is described in a very clear and graphic manner.  Let us try to discover the real message which is found beneath the images: 

o   The trees were delightful to look at and good for food  

o   Temptation is usually about something which is attractive and pleasant, but which is forbidden “you shall not eat it or even touch it, lest you die.”  

o   The woman allows the serpent to talk to her. She has not understood the precept God has given them, she sees it as something arbitrary, something  she cannot do because God said so,  but  not as something God has said for their wellbeing. She says “God has said…” 

o   The serpent is right they will know what is good and what is bad. 

o   But it is not enough to know intellectually but to know from the depth of our heart and soul. To know what is good and what is evil does not help us, unless we love the truth. If this is not so it happens to us what we read in the story of the first sin; the fruit looks good… why should I not eat it? God does not know how good   this is!!! 

o   The woman finally takes the fruit in her hands and shares it with her husband who becomes her accomplice, because he does not remind her about the words God has said to them. 

o   To help us to  understand that something has changed for Adam and Eve  with the disobedience or sin, the Bible says that their eyes are opened and they realize that  they are naked. Yes now they realize how poor they are, how vulnerable, how weak and they are ashamed. Before the sin they were able to look at creation with the same eyes of God and discover the beauty and the goodness in all, they were able to look at reality as God sees it. They have lost their innocence, their happiness, their peace; they have lost it for them and for the whole human race. 

o   In the next chapter of Genesis we   read about the first fight between brothers, a fight that ends with the death of one of them.  In a very simple way by means of a story the Bible puts in front of our eyes the reality of all our hate, violence, fights, wars… 


RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Ps 51,3-4. 5-6. 12-13.17
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness
In the greatness of your compassion
Wipe out my offense
Throroughly wash me from my guilt
And of my sin cleanse me
For I acknowledge my offense
And my sin is before me always
Against you only have I sinned
And done what is evil in your sight.
A clean heart create for me, O God
And a steadfast spirit renew within me
Give me again the joy of your salvation
And a willing spirit sustain in me
O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall proclaim your praise.

v Psalm 51 is a penitential psalm composed by David after he repented from his double sin of adultery and murder.

v A psalm that reflects also our feelings when we are faced with our sinfulness.

v We implore the help that comes only from God, and that He is willing to give to us, even more He always has the initiative, and he offers continually his help  we ask for it.

v The last verse we will recite this coming Sunday is the invocation of the Church at the beginning of the liturgical hours.  


During the seasons of Lent and Easter until Pentecost, the second reading will have the same theme as the First Reading and the Gospel. 

*     Paul compares Jesus with Adam. Jesus is the second Adam, with his obedience he obtains for us our justification. He gives back to us what the first Adam had lost and, He gives to God the worship of obedience which the first Adam did not give to Him.
GOSPEL  Mt 4,1-11
In this fragment of the Gospel according to Matthew Jesus is portrait as the new Adam, whom Paul mentioned in his letter to the Romans. Jesus is faced with the worst of the temptations that confront the human being. He is victorious because he remains firm on the word of God and to the loving and reverend obedience to the Father.    

« Let us remember that temptation is always about something we like and we are not supposed to have or do; or about something we fear and we are supposed to do. 
« In the gospel we read that Jesus after his baptism is led by the Spirit to the desert.  After his baptism Jesus heard the voice of the Father saying “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.” 
« With these words the Fathers confirms Jesus in his being and in his mission. 
« Jesus’ mission is going to be difficult, he will have to teach who the Father, the God of Israel, really is. The Father, is  a loving and forgiving God.  Jesus will have to interpret the Law, to let us know the real will and purpose of the Father in giving the law. All of this and many more things will not please the teachers of Israel.   His, is a fearful mission. On the other hand he feels in himself a power which may be an opportunity for the tempter to tempt him.  
« In the loneliness of the desert the tempter approaches him and questions what Jesus has heard after his baptism. The tempter says “if  you are the son….” 

o   Change the stones into bread to satiate your hunger. Take advantage of your power, you can do it and you will not be hungry anymore. The temptation to use the power He has for his own good and not for the good of others, not to serve others but to serve himself. If we look at Jesus when we are tempted we will be able to overcome like He overcame leaning on the Word of God “… we do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” 

o   Throw yourself from the Temple, make something that will attract a huge crowd. If you want to do your mission being humble or in the way the Father will show you, very few people will follow you. “You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”  God is sublime, awesome, and totally different from us, we cannot use Him, trick Him, not even think that He is going to do whatever we want, we cannot blackmail Him. All of this is an offense against God.    

o   The third temptation is very strong, the tempter has not been successful with the hunger or the pride, and he will try the temptation of power. “all these I shall give to you, if you prostrate yourself and worship me  the same temptation of Adam and Eve “your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods”. This is a lie! And Jesus gives a strong answer to the tempter “Go away, Satan! It is written: the Lord, your God shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.”    

o   The tempter leaves him and the angels serve him. What might be the meaning of this sentence?   Once we overcome our temptation, the reward is peace, joy, and we acknowledge the continuous presence of God in our life.

The evangelists has reduced the temptations that Jesus had during his life in three categories. But Jesus was tempted many more times; after the multiplication of the loaves, probably whenever they praised him for his words, his miracles, his good deeds, his power over nature… He also suffered the temptation of tiredness in his mission “until when will I be with you Mc 9:19?; the temptation of God’s abandonment “why have you abandon me?” Mc 15:34. But Jesus overcomes temptation leaning on God his Father, He trusts in Him unconditionally.

I dare to say that these temptations are in reality temptations of power, the great human temptation, which is with us since our birth “you will be like gods… Gn:4” It is true that Jesus is God but He wanted to do our human experience, experience of limitation, complete dependency on God “… He did not regard equality with God something to be grasped, rather He emptied himself taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness… Phil 2:6-7.


Be careful that they do not lack what is necessary, both in the spiritual as in the temporal, especially the first, because with this they will have the second.  May all, both religious men as well as religious women, never lack the bread of the Divine Word, at least once every eight days.  For the Word of God is bread of life and light that dispels the darkness of the soul.  There are many wise people in my Church, but none who understands true wisdom.  These, the religious, clergy and nuns, say “what need do they have of sermons?”  Some preach everyday, and the others can take a good book where they will find a sermon continued.  They say this without reflecting over priestly dignity and that the words of the Holy Law pronounced by their Ministers open the meaning of the Scriptures, and as light of the soul, guide our steps toward God’s altar. Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters. Plan for the Renewal of the Church 38.

How will the Prelate dare to preach against luxury and unnecessary expenses, if he does it himself?  He must imitate Jesus and his Apostles.  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.  Saint Ambrose, Saint Augustine, and others, when it was needed gave to the poor even the jewels of the church.  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. Notes of a Plan to Restore the Beauty of the Church: “Duties of The Prelate to Himself.”   

Claret, Saint Anthony Mary, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Notes of a Plan to Restore the Beauty of the Church.

Paris, Venerable María Antonia, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Plan for the Renewal of the Church.