Tuesday, May 30, 2017

             PENTEC0ST  – CYCLE A -  2017
*     With the Solemnity of Pentecost we  have reached the end of the Easter season.   
*     We will see how Pentecost has had different names and meanings over the centuries.  
*     During the Jewish celebration of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was sent by the Father to the Church.

v Every Israelite had to present himself before YHWH, three times a year:  the second of these feasts became Pentecost.  
In Ex 23:16 it is called the Feast of the Grain Harvest.
v In the book of Number 28:26  it  is called the Feast of the First Fruits.
v In the book of Deuteronomy 16:10  it is called the Feast of weeks  because this feast was celebrated seven weeks after the feast of the Unleavened Bread (Passover.)
v It was also called the Feast of the 50th day(Pentecost)  because it was celebrated 50 days after the first grain offering   Lev 23,9-14
v This feast became a historical feast in which the people remembered the Covenant on Mount Sinai, and the New Covenant promised by  God through the prophets Jeremiah 31,31-34 and Ezekiel 36  :22-28, and fulfilled by Jesus in his Paschal Mystery.
v On the day of   Pentecost, the Father sent on the Church the Spirit Jesus had promised.  
FIRST READING: Acts 2:1-11     
Ø  The strong driving wind that filled the house, takes us to the beginning of creation when the Spirit of God as a mighty wind covered the abyss. 
Ø  The noise, the fire, all these strong forces of nature remind us of the theophany on Mount Sinai, when God talked to Moses and made a Covenant with his people, giving them the Law. 
Ø  The tongues of fire: fire, enthusiasm, to proclaim the marvels accomplished by Christ Jesus.  
Ø  The "miracle" of the tongues that made possible for all to understand what the Apostles were announcing to them. This takes us to Babel, where people of one tongue could not understand each other due to greed, pride, sin. Pentecost is the opposite of Babel; the Holy Spirit makes those who are different, opposite, enemies to become brothers and sisters, to love one another.   
Ø  I will copy below two quotations from the Jewish tradition about the event on Mount Sinai: 
·       God did not have mouth or tongue, but by means of a wonderful act he decided that a thunder should be heard in the air and a blast should be articulated into words putting the air in  motion.  This became fire that had the shape of flames... a voice resounded in the midst of the fire and descended from heaven and this voice spoke the  dialect of each one of those who heard it.   (Jewish Philosopher called Filon explained in this fashion the divine theophany on Sinai.) 
·       When the voice of God was pronounced on Sinai it divided itself into seventy voices so that all the nations could understand. The Hebrew people believed that there were 70 nationalities in the world.     
(My translation of both quotations which have been taken from the book   Gianfranco Ravasi  Según las Escrituras- Ciclo C").
Ø  All were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.   

Ø  Through the 2000 years of history since the First Pentecost, the Church has made present the wonderful event of Pentecost among all the nations, sometimes silently, some other times loudly, through the life and mission of men and women from all nations: of parents, missionaries, catechists, priests, sons and daughtets, .... the complete list would be too long.    The enemies become friends, the foreigner and stranger  are welcomed into the local comunity.  
Sequence — Veni, Sancte Spiritus
Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!

Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
Come, within our bosoms shine.

You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul's most welcome guest;
Sweet refreshment here below;
In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.

O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
And our inmost being fill!

Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill.

Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away:
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.

On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore
In your sevenfold gift descend;
Give them virtue's sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end. Amen.

SECOND READING  1 Cor 12:3b-7,12-13

*     Paul says that no one can say "Jesus is Lord" except by the Holy Spirit.  But it is not enough to pronounce words or sounds, but this sentence must come from our faith, our trust, and our love for Jesus. 

*     Paul makes his community realize that there are different gifts, that everyone has his or her own gifts, which God gives to us to accomplish a mission in the community.   

*     And to help his community to understand better, he makes the wonderful comparison of the human body, which has many members but it is one body.

*     Through baptism we are united to Christ  

*     And we were all given to drink of one Spirit.  

*     In the first reading Luke uses the symbol of fire, wind and tongues. In the second reading water is the symbol used to describe who the Spirit is.   

GOSPEL Jn 20:19-23  

v In the first reading we have seen how Luke explains the coming upon the Holy the Church using images taken from the Old Testament, from the traditions of Israel and even of the peoples around it.  

v In the Gospel the Church invites us to reflect on the mystery of the coming of the Holy Spirit in the way  John explains it.   

v According to the Gospel of John, the Lord came and stood in their midst, on the evening of the same day of his Resurrection. 

v And in this meeting with them he gave the Holy Spirit  

·       But before giving them his Spirit  

·       Jesus gives them Peace  thus they will be able to offer it to others. 

·       Jesus sends them.   As the Father has sent me, so I send you.  We know that through baptism we have been submerged in Christ to participate of his life and cooperate in his mission "the salvation of all men and women."    

·       Jesus gives to them the power to forgive sins.  He will cooperate with them, he will accept and support the decisions they will make.    

We have seen the two accounts of the coming of the Holy Spirit, one from the Gospel of John, Jesus gives his spirit the same day of his resurrection. In fact in the Gospel of John Jesus gives his Spirit,  on the cross.  

On Pentecost the Church is born,

·       it has been conceived and nurtured in the heart of God the Father from all eternity.

·       Jesus began to form it with his disciples

·       and now it is made visible to the world by the Spirit of God on the day of Pentecost.   

CLARETIAN CORNER                

Since I began to serve my God and Lord, He has always been my counselor and master in everything. And he never neglects me even in the most insignificant and domestic things. And He tells me how I have to deal with certain persons, what I must tell them as well as the time and moment to speak.   Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters , Autobiography 85.

The same Holy Spirit, by appearing in the form of tongues of fire above the Apostles on Pentecost, showed us this truth quite clearly: an apostolic missionary must have both heart and tongue ablaze with charity. One day the Venerable Avila was asked by a young priest what he should do to become a good preacher. His ready answer was, "Love much.''  And both experience and the history of the Church teach us that the greatest preachers have always been the most fervent lovers. Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 440.


CLARET, Antonio María , Autobiography

HAAG, H; VAN DER BORN, A; DE AUSEJO, S. Diccionario de la Biblia (Bible Dictionnary), Editorial Herder 1981.

PARIS, María Antonia, Autobiography

RAVASI, Gianfranco, Según Las Escrituras (According to the Scriptures), Year C, 2006.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


« Forty days ago we celebrated the triumph of Jesus over death, his RESURRECTION.   

« During this time Jesus has made him visible in different ways to his apostles who will be the witnesses of his resurrection.   

« Today we celebrate in the liturgy the passage of Jesus from this way of life similar to ours,  to the Father.   

« He will not be visible anymore; he will be present in his church through the sacrament, the word and the witnesses.  

 FIRST READING  – Act  1:1-11

-        Jesus asks them to remain in Jerusalem until they receive the promise from the Father.   

-        Luke says in this book that the Lord has tried in different ways to convince them that he is alive.  

-        John baptized in water, you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit.  

-        Let us reflect on the meaning of the word “baptism.” To baptize means to submerge into water. Thus when Jesus says they will be baptized in the Holy Spirit, it means that they will be submerged in the Spirit of God that we call the Holy Spirit.

-        And this will happen also to those who will follow him through the centuries.    

-        Thus the Spirit does not come to us in a visible and external way, but we are submerged in the Spirit.  

-        They want to know if the kingdom of Israel will be restored, but Jesus says that this is known only by the Father.  

-        But they will receive the Holy Spirit who will come upon them and make them witnesses of Jesus throughout the entire world.   

-        It is important to enter into the symbolic meaning of the vocabulary used to describe this mystery of faith, the passage or returning of Jesus to the Father.  

o   Lifted up = we always look  at the blue sky when we speak about heaven, the abode of God. Thus to be lifted up means that Jesus goes to the Father.  

o   They continue to look intently, we feel so good when we experience the presence of God   

o   Why are you standing there looking at the sky? He will return  

o   But now “you have to be his witnesses”, now it is the time of the church, our time when we have to do the same works that Jesus did. In our baptism we have been called to do that.   

-        It is not a sad farewell, it is not a day of mourning, it is the day of Jesus’ triumph, that is why the church puts on our lips the responsorial psalm:  

o   We are invited to clap our hands, to shout with cries of joy, to sing the praises of our King, to sing hymns  

o   Because the Lord has established his throne upon the heights, he reigns over the nations and he sits as King on his sacred throne. 

-        It is neither a sad farewell, nor a day of mourning because Jesus has triumphed over evil and death. 

-        This triumph is already ours in hope, now for a little while we have to work with the Lord to invite all to the heavenly banquet for all eternity. 


R. (6) God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
All you peoples, clap your hands,
shout to God with cries of gladness,
for the LORD, the Most High, the awesome,
is the great king over all the earth.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
 God mounts his throne amid shouts of joy;
the LORD, amid trumpet blasts.
Sing praise to God, sing praise;
sing praise to our king, sing praise.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
 For king of all the earth is God;
sing hymns of praise.
God reigns over the nations,
God sits upon his holy throne.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.  

SECOND READING   Ephesians  1:17-23

-        The author of this letter asks that the Father of Lord  Jesus     

o   May give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in  knowledge of  him  

o   May enlighten the eyes of our heart to know

§  What is the hope that belongs to his call   

§  What are the riches of his glory, the inheritance among the holy ones, destined to be distributed to the members of the Church.    

o   So we may experience his power in our life

§    Which is the same power that the Father has revealed in the resurrection of Jesus from among the dead and,  in giving to Jesus a glory which is above all that has been created.  

o   He has put all things beneath the feet of Jesus, this means that he has made of Jesus Lord and Head of the church which is his body.   

o   Alonso Schökel asks a question in his commentary, a question which we may keep and meditate in our hearts over and over again: Does Paul mean that the Church is more than an earthly reality, being already united to Christ in his triumph and in his glory, being already inhabited by the fullness of the divinity?  

o   We glimpse the true nature of the Church: the fullness of Christ, and imperfection of this body which is being shaped through the process of life. The perfect reality and the process through the unfinished journey of the community and of each one of its members.   

-        A good preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ triumph will be to reflect and try to answer this question:  

o   Do I really know Jesus? do I know him in such a way that this knowledge fills me with hope, joy, strength and trust without limits?

-        Let us have a heart to heart conversation with the Lord.  

GOSPEL  Matthew 28:16-40

Ø  Matthew writes at the end of his gospel the missionary commission of the apostles by Jesus. 

Ø  The eleven, the new born Church, has gone to Galilee 

Ø  In the morning of the resurrection Jesus had commissioned the women to go and tell his disciples to go to Galilee, there they would see him.  

Ø  Why Galilee and not Judea where they were?  

Ø  Galilee was the place of their first encounter with Jesus, we could call it “their first love” when they got excited about the young man who proclaimed a kingdom of love, peace and fraternity,  they were excited about him and about his project.   

Ø  Now after all that had happened with the crucifixion of Jesus, their cowardice, their leaving him alone, Jesus invites them to go back, we could say to go back home.  

Ø  They go to Galilee, when he comes in their midst, they adore him, although some still doubt   

o   In the Gospels and in the Acts we see how the community of the followers, after the resurrection, gives to Jesus the honor due to God, they adore him.   

o   It is interesting what Matthew says, “they doubted” why? They doubted because the joy was so overwhelming that they could not believe it to be true? They doubted because they did not believe it was he? 

o   We do not know, but certainly this sentence from Matthew is uplifting for us, the followers of the XXI century, we doubt also during the journey of our life, we doubt about our relationship with Him. 

Ø  The fact that they doubt is not an obstacle to be sent by Jesus. We are sent in spite of our doubts, our infidelities, our laziness, and our many temptations against our mission as missionaries.  

Ø  The one who sends us is Jesus and his will is not conditioned by our feelings or our actions.  

Ø  As a consequence of our baptism we have been sent 

o   Go and make disciples, that is to say, inspire others to follow me  

o   Not to a select group, but to all the nations, no one is excluded from this proclamation, from this happiness; we cannot put obstacles with our life to what Jesus wants: all the nations. 

o   Once they had become disciples, once they had gotten excited and are ready to follow me, baptize them in the name of the Trinity, in the name of God.   

o   That is submerging them into the waters of life, which is to be deeply submerged in the life of our God. 

o   Teach them all that I have taught you. What we have to teach is what Jesus has taught us and the Spirit with his light explains to us, as John says in his Gospel “the Spirit will remind you all that I have taught you.” 

o   If this responsibility frightens us, if we think that we cannot do it, let us continue to listen to Jesus who says to us 


Ø  No fears, no laziness, no excuses the Risen Jesus who sends us is also always with us. 

Ø  THANK YOU  Lord to be the Emmanuel, God with us, as the angel had said to Joseph who doubted when he knew that Mary was pregnant, do not fear he will be called Emmanuel.    

I transcribe below a text taken from a commentary I have read:  

We need, above all, an absolute faith in the protecting care of God. God continues to work in the heart and in the consciences of all his children, although we think they are “lost sheep”    

He continues working in and outside the Church. God does not abandon anyone, even if they have never heard the Gospel of Jesus. 

But this does not release us of our responsibility. How does God want to offer the good news of Jesus to the men and women of our time?  


From the first day that the sea sickness of my companions got milder (as for me, it lasted for the whole travel and so terrible that they thought that I would die) I allotted all the time for spiritual exercises: prayer, reading, examination and devotion, etc. We recited the holy Rosary at the lower deck and the crew answered from the upper deck with great devotion and often with tears of tenderness, , especially at the singing of the “Holy God”, that I did with such a fervor as in a rapture..  Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of Claretian Missionary Sisters,  Autobiography 141.     

That afternoon I went to my home town, Sallent, where everyone came out to meet me. In the evening I preached to them from a balcony overlooking the town square because the church wasn't large enough to hold the crowd. Next day we celebrated a Solemn High Mass, and in the afternoon I left for Sanmarti. The following morning I traveled to the shrine of Our Lady of Fussimanya, the scene of my great childhood devotion. I said Mass in the shrine and preached on devotion to Mary. From there I went on to Artés, where I also preached, as I did at Calders, as well. I ate at Moyá and preached there that night. The following morning I was off to Collsuspina, where I preached; then I went on to Vich where I had dinner and preached that night. Next I went to Barcelona, where I preached every day in various churches and convents[1] until December 28, when we sailed on the frigate La Nueva Teresa Cubana, under the command of Captain Manuel Bolivar.Su capitán, don Manuel Bolívar.  Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters. Autobiography 501. 


CLARET, Antonio María. Autobiografía.  

PARIS, María Antonia. Autobiografía en Escritos, con Comentarios por   Juan Manuel Lozano.

PÉREZ HERRERO, Francisco. “Evangelio Según San Marcos” en Comentario al Nuevo Testamento. Casa de la Biblia 1995. 

RAVASI, Gianfranco. Según las Escrituras – Año B. San Pablo-Bogotá, Colombia 2005.

SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso. LA BIBLIA DE NUESTRO PUEBLO (comentarios). Misioneros Claretianos. China 2010.   

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


It is almost the end of the Easter season. Let us review the message given by the Gospels during these six Sundays of Easter before the Ascension of the Lord. 

·       On Easter Sunday we contemplated Peter and John going to the tomb and on seeing the burial cloths John believed.

·       On the second Sunday we saw the goodness and tender love of Jesus in his dialogue with Thomas, and with the other apostles, and we heard the Lord saying  that those who believe without seeing are blessed.  

·       On the third Sunday we read about the two disciples on their way to Emmaus and how Jesus joined them in their journey. 

·       On the fourth Sunday Jesus said that he is the good Shepherd and the door of the sheep.  

·       On the fifth and Sixth Sundays the Gospels are taken from the conversation of Jesus with his disciples in the Last  Supper: 

·       Fifth Sunday:

-        Heaven is like a house with many rooms, one for each one 

-        Jesus is the way, the truth and the life to get to this “house” 

-        Jesus is the image of God the Father, the sacrament of the Father as we read in the document Lumen Gentium of the Council  Vatican II.  

-        And Jesus tells us that he/she who believes in Him will do greater works than him, because He goes to the Father.  

·       Sixth Sunday:   

-        The promise of the Holy Spirit 

-        We are in Christ   

FIRST READING  – Acts  8:5-8; 14-17

Ø   Last Sunday we heard that, as the community of the church was growing,  they had to create more ministries, and thus the diaconate was established for the first time in the Church.  Deacons were to dedicate themselves to serve the needs of the Church.  This ministry has experienced changes and evolved through history.

Ø  Today Philip, one of the deacons that had been chosen by the community to serve the needs of the widows and other persons in need, goes to Samaria to bring there the Good News.  

Ø  They were suffering persecution for their faith in Jesus, and Paul was more and more against the new faith of the followers of Jesus

Ø  Following what the Lord had told them, they went from one place to another to protect themselves from the persecution, and on so doing they also proclaimed in the different places the good news of Jesus. 

Ø  The Samaritans who  listened to Philip proclaiming the Good News about Jesus, accepted the faith and were baptized.   

Ø  When the news reached the Apostles, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. 

Ø  And impose hands upon them so they could  receive the Holy Spirit.  

Ø  This is a beautiful image of the young church, they take advantage of all situations to announce. The persecution is the occasion to announce  the good news to other brothers and sisters. 

Ø  This little church makes real the mandate of Jesus “go, proclaim, baptize, teach” what? All that I have taught you.

Ø  And what has he taught   by words and deeds? That God is love, and that we are called to love, since we are the image of our Creator who  knows only to love without conditions. To this we are called, and this is what we have to announce by words and deeds.

Ø  Is our enthusiasm for the Lord, like that of this young church? That we do not waste any occasion to live up to this mandate of the Lord, not so much by our words but by our life that cries out that the Lord is alive, and in encountering him in the community every Sunday, our life keeps changing?   

 RESPONSORIAL PSALM. Ps 66: 1-7.16.20.

R. (1) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
 Shout joyfully to God, all the earth,
sing praise to the glory of his name;
proclaim his glorious praise.
Say to God, "How tremendous are your deeds!"
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
 "Let all on earth worship and sing praise to you,
sing praise to your name!"
Come and see the works of God,
his tremendous deeds among the children of Adam.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
 He has changed the sea into dry land;
through the river they passed on foot;
therefore let us rejoice in him.
He rules by his might forever.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
 Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare
what he has done for me.
Blessed be God who refused me not
my prayer or his kindness!
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.

*     This psalm is an invitation to sing the wonderful Works of God 

*     What works?

Ø  Creation 

Ø  Exodus, liberation: he has changed the sea in dry land 

Ø  The Psalmist invites us to listen to what God has done for him  

Ø  What has God done in my life?  Let each one of us dedicate some time in silent prayer and  in solitude with the Lord and, let us think about the wonderful works that the Lord has done in our  life.  

SECOND READING  – 1Pt 3:15-18

ü  Peter invites us to have Christ as the Lord of our heart, the Lord of our life.     

ü  He also says that we have to be ready to give an account of our faith when we are asked. This means that we have to know what we believe, to have ownership of the faith we have received from our ancestors.  

ü  Peter tells us also that it is better to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.  

ü  Because Jesus who was innocent suffered for us sinners.  

ü  He was condemned to death, but God brought him to life by the Spirit

ü  How do I react to the unjust suffering in my life? When I suffer without having done the evil I am accused of.    

GOSPEL   Jn 14,15-21

*     Jesus says to his disciples “if you love me, you will keep my commandments” 

*     What are his commandments? In the Last Supper he said that he has only commandment “love one another…” but to learn how to make real this commandment in our life, we have to look at Jesus, his life, his ministry, the way he relates to other persons, because Jesus is the new Law that comes to complete the Old Covenant, the Law given on Mount Sinai.  

*     If we live according to his commandments Jesus will ask the Father for another advocate who will be with us always   

*     Why only with those who live according to his commandments who believe in Him? I have read something that may help us to answer this question:  

ü  The Spirit is the anointing that Jesus receives as Head of the body which is the Church 

ü  From Him, Head, the Spirit overflows as a sacred ointment over his whole body, the Church. 

ü  This Spirit that Jesus pours over his whole Church makes possible, the life, the faith and the ministries of the community of beleivers.  

ü  I think that this can be the explanation to what Jesus says that He will ask for the Spirit for those who keep his commandments.  

ü  That is to say to those who are united with Him the head of the body.  

*     In silent prayer, united to Jesus, let us ask the grace to understand this beautiful image of Christ head of the Church-faith community- body.  

*     The reading ends with these words of Jesus 

·       He who loves Jesus, will be loved by the Father  

·       Jesus too will love him/her and will reveal himself to him/her   in the intimacy of love.  


 O, My Lord and my God, in what way you are the most loving father and the most faithful friend! All left us in the hands of unknown people and not even one had the courage to accompany us, but you my most loving father, carried us on the palm of your hand! O, who could shout all around the world to say how faithful you are to your friends! Since you have been so to the one who has been so great an enemy of yours, and, God grant that she may not continue to be such after receiving so many delicacies of love!  (Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, 140)

On Tuesday, the eighth, I left Vich for Barcelona and Madrid, where the Papal Nuncio, Msgr. Brunelli, invested me with the pallium on the thirteenth. I was presented to Her Majesty and the Ministers of State. During the time it took to arrange all my credentials, I busied myself preaching and hearing confessions in Madrid.  When all was in order I returned to Catalonia. I arrived in Igualada on October 31 and preached there for All Saints' Day. The following day I visited Montserrat, where I also preached. Next I went to Manresa, where Father Mach was conducting an All Souls' Novena.  I preached there in the evening, and on the following morning gave Holy Communion to a large crowd who had heard that I would be there and so had prepared for it. (St. Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, 500)


CLARET, Antonio María. Autobiografía.

PARIS, María Antonia. Autobiografía.

SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso, La Biblia de nuestro Pueblo.

DAILY ROMAN MISSAL – Midwest Theological Forum