Thursday, August 17, 2017


ü  The first reading and the Gospel today speak of the universality of salvation, of the love of the Father God toward all his creatures, no matter what nationality, language, culture, religion o lack of religion.    

ü  And Paul in the second reading, taken from the letter to the Romans, speaks about the fidelity of God to his promises.   

FIRST READING   Is 56: 1.6-7

Ø  Chapter 55 at the end of the book of the Second Isaiah or Deutero-Isaiah, also called the Book of Consolation, speaks to us of listening to the Word of God.          

Ø  The book of the Third Isaiah is a call to put in practice the word we have heard.  

Ø  It is a call to practice justice and equity.

Ø  God will treat in the same way those who belong to the people of Israel, the people of the election, as well as those belonging to the gentiles, if both practice justice, that is to say if both allow God to be part of  their lives.   

Ø  The Lord will lead them to his holy mountain, Jerusalem.    

Ø  Here, in his Temple the Lord will fill them with joy.    

Ø  He will accept his/her sacrifices and offerings.     

Ø  Because the House of the Lord is a house of prayer, a house for the loving conversation of the human being with his/her Father, God.    

Ø  Thus it will be called and known by all peoples   

Ø  Later, Jesus will remind the people in the temple that “the house of my Father is a house of prayer…”  

RESPONSORIAL PSALM  Ps  67:  2-3. 5. 6. 8


May God have pity on us and bless us;

May he let his face shine upon us

So may your way be known upon earth

Among all nations, your salvation.


May the nations be glad and exult

Because you rule the peoples in equity

The nations on the earth you guide.


May the peoples praise you, O God

May all the peoples praise you!

May God bless us

And may all the ends of the earth fear him!


Ø  This psalm is a hymn of thanksgiving made of three stanzas separated by a refrain. 

Ø  It is an invitation to all peoples to praise and give thanks to God, to sing his wonderful works for all of us.    

GOSPEL  Mt 15:21-28

v Jesus has withdrawn to the region of Tyre and Sidon.  

o   These two cities were famous in the Ancient Middle East. 

o   Their names are also mentioned in the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament. 

o   They are about 12 or 13 miles apart from each other.  

o   They belong to Lebanon and are situated close to the Israel’s border.  

o   Sidon is called now Saida,  Arabic  word which means “fishing”. 

o   Tyre is called in Arabic language “rock” because it is built on a rocky isle in the Mediterranean Sea.     

v Maybe the Lord has gone to this region seeking some peace and rest.   

v But here his Father is going to speak to him through the mouth of a pagan woman.  

v In this episode, which Matthew has transmitted, we see Jesus as always attentive to what his Father wants to tell him in his interaction with every human being he encounters in his life journey.    

v Jesus says to his disciples, and also to the woman, although in a very strange way, that he has been sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, this is the will of his Father.   

v The gentiles are not included in his mission.  

v The woman is a desperate mother, she does not know what to do, where to go or who to ask for help, her daughter is very ill.   

o   We do not know anything about this woman, only that she is a Canaanite, this is the only thing we need to understand this episode. 

o   Besides being a Canaanite, we are told that she has a daughter who is sick and tormented by an evil spirit; therefore we understand that she is a mother in great need of help.  

o   We do not know if this demon is some of the consequences of her illness, by that time sickness was very often considered as diabolic possession.  

v This woman must have heard about Jesus, about his powers to cure, his goodness and compassion, his unconditional help.  

v And she walks behind Jesus and the disciples shouting and asking for help “Lord, Son of David, have pity on me!”   

v What a beautiful prayer full of trust and humility! Trust in the goodness of Jesus, humility because she asks for help, she acknowledges her poverty and helplessness.   

v Every time I read this Gospel two things call my attention in a especial way:  

o   First the reaction of the disciples which is very much like the reaction they had before the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. Do something to get rid of this problem! 

o   Second the words of Jesus, he has been sent… the bread of the children is not given to the dogs.  

o   Certainly dogs may mean pagan or gentile as it was customary to call them.  

v But looking more deeply into the meaning of the text and trying to find the message we are surprised of what has happened here:  

o   Jesus is honestly convinced of what he says and wants to be faithful to the will of his Father.  

o   The woman does not get angry at Jesus’ answer.  

o   She acknowledges that it is true what Jesus says about the children of the house and the doggies, but she also knows that the doggies, the puppies eat the scraps that fall from the master’s table.  

o   You may translate these words as follows: it is true my Lord that we, pagans, are the dogs, but the puppies receive the scraps, what is leftover by the children, which are you the people of Israel. 

o   Briefly, you can also help us, even having been sent to seek those who are lost of the house of Israel, the children of the household.  

o   Jesus becomes surprised by the faith of this pagan woman, and says to her “O woman, great is your faith!” “Be it done for you as you wish.” Here again Jesus is surprised by the faith of someone pagan, as it happened to him when the Roman centurion approached him.    

o   The Gospel ends with these words “and the woman’s daughter was healed from that hour.  

v What has happened to Jesus?  

o   Many scholars see in that episode that Jesus, although being faithful to what he understands to be the will of his Father over his mission, he is open to whatever the Father wants to reveal to him.  

o   I think that what has happened here is very much like what had happened at the Wedding at Cana. The words of Mary helped Jesus to discover the will of his Father in that situation. At the beginning he did not planned to do anything because his hour had not come yet.   

o   But in both cases, he is open and attentive to his Father. Jesus is humble, as I have read in one of the commentaries to this reading.  

o   I believe that this episode is a strong call to all of us and to the whole Church as a faith community, the Lord speaks to us through the events, many times contrary, and also through any human being, believer or not, walking on the right track or not, on our side or against us. 

o   Because Jesus has not come to do his will but the will of the one who has sent him. We should also repeat over and over again, we have been sent to do the will of the Lord Jesus who has sent us, and we have not been sent to do our own will. 

SECOND READING   Rom 11:13-15.29-32

*     In last Sunday’s Reading Paul said to us that he was suffering for his own people, that if he could he would be willing to be separated from Christ for the sake of his people. 

*     Today he speaks to the gentiles and tells them how proud he is to be their apostle.   

*     And he adds that he glories in his ministry in order to make jealous his own people. 

*     Because if their rejection of the message has brought about the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be?  

*     And he continues as if reflecting aloud, the gifts of God are irrevocable, because our negative responses do not make God change his will over us.    

*     This is cause for a great confidence for all of us, the Lord who calls us, continues to call us to life, to his friendship, to mission, to faith, and he waits for us until we decide to come back after moving away from him.


I humbly  turn to Your Beatitude in supplication that, you may grant me the faculty to admit to the profession some of the mentioned virgins, once their novitiate be approved by Your Holiness.  Thus this so useful Institute will have its beginnings in this region, and thus his spirit, to serve God and to help their neighbors, will be spread very quickly. The new religious house will have the same name as it had in Tarragona and, it will substantially fulfill the same rule of St. Benedict.  

However, I considered necessary to do verbally, as I have already mentioned, some adaptations   responding to the circumstances, time and climate. Because fearing to fall into error, I entrusted this business to the All Powerful before putting in writing such modifications.  What will be established later is now kept in practice.  
   Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Petition to Pius IX   November 20  1854. 

 In view of the good effects produced by the exact observance of our Constitutions, which with great pleasure of our heart we are fulfilling for 24 years, I have the honor to present to Your Holiness a copy of them,  humbly and instantly asking Your Holiness, that as you deigned so benignantly give the Document for the foundation, in the same way, may you deign to put to our Constitutions the seal of your approval.   

Carcagente, November 4 1875.Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Leter to Pope Pius IX, November  4  1875.


CLARET, Antonio María Claret, Letters

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

PARIS, María Antonia, Letters

STOCK, Klemens. La Liturgia de la Palabra. Ciclo A (Mateo)  2007


Wednesday, August 16, 2017


ü  Today’s Gospel is a call to trust in Jesus who says to us “Take courage it is I.”   

ü  In the first Reading the prophet Elijah acknowledges the presence of God in the tiny whispering sound of the wind.   

ü  And Paul in his letter to the Romans tells them how much he suffers for his people, he wishes that all may know Jesus.    


Ø  The two books of Kings are the continuation of the books of Samuel.  

Ø  In the Hebrew Bible they form an only book and the are called   Melakim.

Ø  In the Greek translation (LXX) and in the Latin translation (The Vulgate) they are called thrid and fouth book of Kings, since Samuel are the first and the second.   

Ø  They are part of the Deuteronomistic History which goes from the entrance into the promise land (Josuah) to the exile to Babylon (587 before Christ). This collection of books is called by the Jews: the former prophets.   

Ø  The reading this Sunday is taken form the part of the first book of Kings called the Cycle of Elijah (1K 14-2K 1.  

FIRST READING   1K 19:9ª,11-13a

Ø  Elijah is on the Mountain of God, the Horeb.     

Ø  Since in the Bible we have the repetition of some passages in which Horeb is also called Sinai and vice versa, some have concluded that it is the same mountain. 

Ø  For those who think so Horeb would be the name used by the Madianites and Sinai by the Cannaneans and the Amorites; the name Horeb seems to indicate the dryness of the land while Sinai would indicate its proximity to the desert of Sin. 

Ø  However there is evidence to think that these two names indicate two different places.  

Ø  Elijah has called  a long drought over the land, but he has prayed and the Lord has sent the rain.

Ø   Now he goes to the Horeb and there he waits for the Lord.

Ø  God speaks to him and says I will  be passing by.

Ø  Different atmospheric phenomena happen, but Elijah does not perceive the presence of God through them, only when he experiences a tiny whispering sound.

Ø   In the Scriptures many times the theophany is represented by thunder, lightning and many other meteorological manifestations, but here God teaches Elijah something else about Him. God is in the peace, in the tenderness.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM  Ps 85: 9. 10. 11-12. 13-14

Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.

I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD — for he proclaims peace.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and prepare the way of his steps.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation

Ø  The promise of peace for those who turn to the Lord, for whoever begins a process of conversion, the closeness to God brings him/her  peace and energy.   

Ø  It seems as if the psalmist would want to tell us that love and justice are two similar realities and that truth and peace are also similar or equal.

GOSPEL  Mt 14:22-33

v Jesus asks his disciples to precede him to the other side of the lake. How did he planned to go to the other shore himself? 

v He dismissed the crowds of those he had cured and had fed, and now alone by himself he will go to the mountain top to pray, to talk with the Father. He did not do it when he got there for the first time because he was moved by compassion on seeing so many sick and so many hungry persons.  

v While he is at prayer the disciples are in the midst of the lake tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against them. 

v This continues to be so, we the disciples are immersed in the sea of our life, of our society, of our world and, in the midst of the dangers who assail us.   

v And Jesus moves toward them walking on the sea.

v And Jesus continues walking with us.

v The disciples believe and say it is a ghost, and the same thing will happen on the evening of the resurrection. 

v On both occasions Jesus speaks to them and says it is I, do not be troubled. 

v Peter, practical man inclined to what is concrete and palpable, asks Jesus to be able to walk on the sea as Jesus is doing, and the Lord says “come.”   

v How many times, we, the disciples of the 21st century, act in a similar way, and we ask the Lord for signs.   

v And Peter rushes to the sea led by his heart, and o! What a wonderful thing, he walks on the sea, but suddenly he doubts and,  then he begins to sink.  

v What a man of little faith you are! Yes, the Lord can say the same words to us, women and men of little faith. I have conquered the world why are your hearts troubled? ”It is I.” 

v It is I  when you are in the midst of darkness and you do not know where to go, when you feel lonely, when you believe that nobody listens to you, when you are sick, when you are tired… yes I am with you through it all, even when you do not feel my presence. Take courage, it is I. 

v When Jesus gets to the boat the wind calms down, and those men are amazed, they are troubled, and probably they   feel shame because they have doubted, thus they say to him “truly you are the Son of God!” 


*      Paul confesses with simplicity to the community of Rome that he is suffering for his people, because his people does not acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah, they have waited for such a long time.   

*     He suffers so much that he wishes, if this could be possible, to be separated from the Lord for the sake of his people

*     He thinks aloud on who his people is, and mentions all that makes of it the people of the election, the people of the promise, but  they are not aware of this reality.  

*     We need to abandon ourselves into the arms of our God, of our Lord Jesus and let us never boast of our own strength, our vanity and our pride. Faith is a gift, a precious gift which may wither like a flower, break as the crystal, get lost like we lose  what the thieves steal.    

*     The Lord is always with us, “it is I.”  


 When the ship was so full with the water which was entering in (by the crack that I mentioned above), and it was impossible to resist (humanly speaking), without sinking, then the butler went to Santa Barbara (store room) to look for sugar. An interior force moved him, as he himself confessed, because he had no need of that sugar and at that time – it was 4:30 in the morning (no body used to go to that place). But God our Lord who took this navigation under his grace, wanted to announce the danger when there was no more human remedy for the prodigy to be more manifested. When the butler entered the store room he found himself in an immense pond of water since this had entered already in very great quantity that reach up to a man’s height.

Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 146. 

We continued our voyage to Cuba in high spirits and excellent order. The ship's cabin space was divided into two parts: I and my companions were quartered in the space between the main mast and the poop; the nuns were quartered all to themselves in the space between the main mast and the bow, and separated from the rest of us by shuttered doors. My group got up every day on schedule, I washed, and made a half-hour's meditation together. The nuns did the same in their quarters. After meditation I celebrated Mass in our quarters, where an altar had been set up. I said Mass every day of our voyage. It was attended by all in my group as well as by the sisters, who heard it from their own quarters by pushing back the shuttered doors that formed the dividing line between them and us. The sisters and priests all received Communion, except for one of the priests who celebrated a second Mass, during which we made our thanksgiving. There was a system of rotation for the priest who said the second Mass, so that every day we had two Masses--one said by me, the other by the priest whose turn it was that day.  Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, 506.     


CLARET, Antonio María Claret, Autobiography.

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

PARIS, María Antonia, Autobiography

STOCK, Klemens. La Liturgia de la Palabra. Ciclo A (Mateo)  2007

ENCICLOPEDIA DE LA BIBLIA, cuarto volumen. Editorial Éxito 1963. 
SAGRADA BIBLIA. Versión oficial de la Conferencia Episcopal Española, Madrid 2012.    


FIRST READING - Dn 7: 9-10, 13-14.

v  The book of Daniel belongs to the prophetic-apocalyptic  tradition. It uses images which we will find later in the New Testament in the book of Revelation.   

v  The apocalyptic literature uses fantastic and spectacular images, some taken from nature, some from the human imagination.   

v  Whenever God makes him present, there are grandiose signs that cause fear and respect in those who are present, and at the same time we feel attracted to him.   

v  The sacred author wants to tell us how great God is, how different from us.   

v  The white color is always associated with God, maybe because we say that God is light and the color closest to the light is the white color.   

v  Fire is also an element present in the theophany  or manifestations of God. The fire is powerful, strong;  through this signs we are reminded  that God is Almighty.     

v  Daniel  keeps contemplating the vision, and he sees someone  like a son of man, that means  human but at the same time   participating of the divine being.   

v  This  son of man comes in the clouds. In the book of Genesis, after the flood God makes peace with the human race and the sign of this peace is the rainbow which he hangs on the clouds.  On those days when people were fighting against each other in war, when they wanted to end the war and make peace they would hang their bow at the entrance of their tents. 

v  What a wonderful and beautiful image of peace and beauty  is the rainbow.   

v  This son of man receives all authority and sovereignty.   

v  It is the image of  Jesus risen and glorified.   

v  Yes Jesus receives our praise and our love.    

 Responsorial Psalm. Ps. 96:1-2.5-6.9

R. (1a and 9a) The Lord is king, the Most High over all the earth.
The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice;
let the many islands be glad.
Clouds and darkness are round about him,
justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne.
R. The Lord is king, the Most High over all the earth.
The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
before the LORD of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his justice,
and all peoples see his glory.
R. The Lord is king, the Most High over all the earth.
Because you, O LORD, are the Most High over all the earth,
exalted far above all gods.
R. The Lord is king, the Most High over all the earth.  

Ø  This psalm is the response to the first reading and gives the same message about the majesty of God.   

Ø  But it mentions also the “gods.” Who or what are our gods

GOSPEL- Mt 17: 1-9
    The narration of the transfiguration is found in the three synoptic gospels.  

*     Jesus takes three of his disciples to a mountain; the mountain is the symbol of the closeness of God. If God lives in heaven beyond the blue sky which we see, naturally that the high mountains will take us closer to the abode of God.  

*     And there in the mountain, Jesus shows to them the true abode of God, God himself; Jesus who is the only begotten son of the Father.   

*     The author of the Gospel describes the Jesus, with all the signs we use to describe God in the theophany of the Old Testament.     

*      In this so beautiful vision two characters of the Old Testament the prophet Elijah and the legislator Moses appear besides Jesus speaking with him.  

*     Jesus had told his disciples and the people that he had not come to abolish the law and the prophets.    

*     For the Jews what we call the Old Testament is called the Law=Torah=the first five books of the Bible which we call the Pentateuch; and all the other books are the Prophets. 

*     The Law which they believed was written by Moses.   

*     Here the Law and the Prophets are dialoguing with Jesus about what he is going to suffer.   

*     Jesus enters into a dialogue with the law, not only in this occasion but through his entire ministry. He has tried by all possible means to help us understand the law, that is, to make us understand the real being of God, not the god we have made according to our convenience.   

*     And Jesus dialogues with the prophets, that is, with the characters of the Old Testament who spoke to the people about God and about the need to be faithful.  

*     The disciples are happy; overwhelmed with joy, as we are when we have an experience of God. 

*     And Peter speaks in the name of all “Lord, it is good to be here! If you want, we will build three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.   

*     At that moment the voice of the Father was heard. He repeats the same words He said at the Jordan when his son Jesus was baptized “Here is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, listen to him” 

*     Jesus is the beloved son of the Father, all his joy, and God calls us as a community to become the image of the Son “listen to Him”.   

*     All of us when we have an experience of God, of the supernatural, we wish it last long, forever o that it may be repeated, but the Lord says to us “Rise and do not fear.”

SECOND READING  : 2 P  1: 16-19

Ø  Peter remembers in this letter the unforgettable experience of the transfiguration.   

Ø  And thus he explains it to the faith community.  

Ø  And Peter tells us that besides his words which he has shared with us we have the experience and testimony of the prophets to encourage us and help us to grow in our faith.     
Peter, the prophets and many others have shared with us their experience of God, the experience of the change they have undergone in their life and they encourage us to do the same. What has our experience been? Are we ready to share it with others?  

…and it seemed that it had its resting place and dwelling in the center of the Sacred Heart of my God and Lord.     I say  «in the center of my God’s Heart»,  because it did not seem to me that God was in my heart, but I saw as if myself, body and soul, was within the Sacred Heart of my God and Lord.  . (Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters. Report to Caixal 9).

O my God, I give you my word that I shall do this: I shall preach, write, and circulate good books and pamphlets in abundance, so as to drown evil in a flood of good.(St. Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters.  Autobiographya 453).