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.


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