Sunday, April 29, 2018


v  We are approaching the Ascension of the Lord, which we will celebrate next Sunday     

v  Two weeks ago Jesus told us that he is the good shepherd, that he knows his own and his own know him

v  Last Sunday Jesus said that he is the vine and we are the branches. With this image he wanted to tell us that the life which we have is his own life.  

v  Today we will hear him telling us in the Gospel that we are slaves no more, but sons and daughters.  

FIRST READING – ACTS 10:25-26. 34-35. 44-48

Ø  Peter has had a estrange dream, by means of which the Lord wanted to make him understand that nothing that God has created is profane or impure or bad.   

Ø  At the same time that he awakens from his sleep, some men sent by Cornelius knock at the door.  They have a message for Peter; Cornelius wants him to come to his home.   

Ø  Peter goes to Cornelius home and there God makes the wonders we will read in this text.    

o   On arriving to the house Cornelius greets and pays homage to him.    

o   Peter tells him to stop because he is also a human being and not a God. 

o   Then Peter speaks to all and says that he realizes that God does not show preferences, he treats all of us equally

o   What an encouraging word, God loves all of us equally; he has created us and loves whatever he has made.  When we read the creation account in Genesis we hear over and over the same refrain … and God saw that everything was good, very good.    

o   Anyone who acts honestly pleases God.   

Ø  Peter is still speaking    

o   When the Holy Spirit comes down on all those present  

o   The Jews, who had been converted and had come with Peter, were astonished to see  that   

o   The gift of the Spirit which they had received, was also poured out on Cornelius household      

o   Because they could hear them speak in tongues  

§  I have many times asked myself what is so important about speaking in tongues  

§  Maybe it can be a way to describe the wonders of the presence of the Holy Spirit.  

§  But it could be also that God, in performing this sign, wanted to let the little community of Cornelius household know that they are part of the larger community of faith born after the resurrection of Jesus. 

§  When the Spirit is poured out on us in the sacraments we do not see anything especial, any external sign, but in the interior of each one of us something great is happening, something that makes us speak new languages, that is to say, makes us  act in new and surprising ways.  .

§  But this does not happen overnight, it needs time to change us and shape us into the image of the only Son of the Father.   

Ø  Peter asks 

o   Can we deny baptism to those on whom the Holy Spirit had been poured out?  

o   The answer is that Peter make  them to be baptized 

o   All the people in the household are baptized   

o   Peter does not baptize them but he asks those who have come with him to do it.   

o   Sometimes I think that here we have an  explanation to the difficulty that some of our Christian brothers have about the baptism of children. Probably in that household there were children too and for what it is written, they were baptized.    

Ø  Peter has just admitted the first gentiles into the community of Jesus’ followers.  

Ø  How much we must be grateful to Peter and to the first followers of Jesus that they were attentive to the signs that Jesus, who was not with them in a visible way, was giving to them, to guide them in the formation of the ecclesial community.     

 RESPONSORIAL  PSALM  Ps  98: 1,2-3,3-4

. (cf. 2b) The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
 Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
 The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
 All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.

v  This psalm has the form of a hymn, an invitation to sing the wonders God has made.   

v  Hymns spring from a deep human need: to say in words the admiration before the divine works: creation or the historical events, the city of God and even before God himself.   (commentary to the psalms taken from the official version  of  the Conference of Bishops from Spain, my translation.)    


Tradition says  that John repeated, over and over again to his disciples, that they had to love one another as the Lord has loved us.

*      In today’s reading John invites us to love one another because whoever loves has been begotten by God.   

*      In our mind this is very clear, if God is love whoever is able to love is because he or she has been begotten by God, and wants to be like him, wants to be faithful to his or her nature. The difficulty comes in practice when our limitations interfere with our behavior.   

*      If all of us, who call ourselves followers of Jesus, all who have been reborn in the baptismal waters, made the commitment to live as the Lord has commanded us,  took the resolution  to be faithful to our nature of children of God, what a different world we would have!

*      John continues saying that the love of God has been revealed to us in that he has sent his Son   that the world could have life in him.    

*      This is what love is, not that we have loved God first, but that he has loved us first.  

*      I think that even if we meditate over and over again on this truth, we will never grasp it completely.  

GOSPEL  Jn 15: 9-17

·        This reading is taken from the words of Jesus after the Last Supper.  

·        Jesus asks us to remain in his love, as he remains in his Father’s love.   

·        His joy will remain in us, and thus our joy will be complete.  

·        His commandment is this: that we love one another as he has loved us.   

·        Such is his love that he has given his life for us, and in turn we are invited to give our life for others.    

·        Each one of us can look at his or her own life, and discover in it how many ways we have had the opportunity to give our life for others.   

·        The opportunities are always present, the invitations from the Lord are always present too, we only have to listen to, stop, make silence inside of us and, then we will be able to listen to the invitation: love as I have loved you.   

·        It will help you, if you do  not see it as a burdensome commandment, but if instead  you look at me, how I have lived among you, how I have treated you and then go and do the same.     


I never sought any consolation, either interior or exterior, from any creature; I always kept a profound silence of the graces that Our Lord put in my soul. And I kept this silence even with my confessors, because I did not have as a matter of consultation the Holy Law of the Lord; thus on speaking of the acts I practiced, to fulfill with perfection the Divine Commandments, it always seemed to me vanity or idle words, because I had the duty to fulfilled them;  and on the contrary it would have given me great remorse of conscience to hide the smallest thing that I had omitted due to my neglect or laziness, which, by the mercy of God, I was always very careful to confess with clarity. María Antonia París, Foundress.  Memories and Notes 9.  

During the first two years, despite the earthquakes and the cholera epidemic, we managed to visit all the parishes in the archdiocese. In every one of them a mission was led either by myself or my companions, and in rural parishes with a very large territory, several missions were given. Every two or three leagues we would hold a mission in one of the many large tobacco sheds. We would set up an altar, a pulpit, and a confessional with the help of some chairs and gratings we brought along for that purpose. Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 538.


CLARET, Anthony Mary. Autobiography.

PARIS, María Antonia. “Memories and Notes” in Writings, with Commentaries by   Juan Manuel Lozano, cmf.

SAGRADA BIBLIA – Official translation of the Episcopal Conference of Spain, 2012.

Monday, April 23, 2018


«  Starting with the 5th Sunday of Easter the church, through her liturgy, prepares us for the approaching celebration of the Ascension of the Lord.

«  The Gospels are taken from the discourses of Jesus at the Last Supper.

«  Today the Gospel reminds us, that Jesus has told us, that with him we can do anything and, that without him we can do nothing.     

 FIRST READING  – Acts  9: 26-31

-          In the Acts Luke narrates some events of the first  communities.   

-          He is not interested in giving us information about historical deeds, which were already known by the communities.  

-          Luke wants to invite his addressees to look these events and, reinterpret them in the light of faith  and,  discover in them the presence of the Holy Spirit, who impels the church to live as Jesus lived. 

-          Perhaps it would help all our communities, parishes and groups within them, to look our communal history and discover in them the living presence of the Spirit, who is leading us through the events, which sometimes may seem to us unrelated to our faith and with one another.   

-          And not only could the communities as such, but each one of us do the same with our life as followers of Jesus and, members of an ecclesial community. 

«  In past Sundays we have heard Peter speaking of Jesus to the Jews.  

«  Today Luke introduces to us Paul who has come back from Jerusalem.  

«  As much as he wanted to be part of the community of believers, they were afraid.

«  But there is a disciple who allows the Spirit of Jesus to lead him and, tries to make real in his life the precept of “love one another as I have loved you.” And he trusts in Paul whom he met in Damascus. 

«  Paul continues to be the man full of passion for the cause of God. He used to persecute the new sect called the “way” because, in his heart, he believed that this group offended YHWH, the God of Israel, the only true God.   Now his passion is oriented to make known Jesus, to be his witness.  

«  He already begins to suffer the mistrust of his Christian brothers and also his Jewish brothers.  

«  The former do not trust in him, the others want to kill him.     

«  Today’s reading ends with some words which are the summary that Luke presents  of the Church: 

o   She is in peace and this helps her 

o   To progress and grow in numbers  

o   What is the progress which Luke describes? The church progresses in the fear of the Lord, that is to say, in the loving faithfulness to her Lord, as we have heard in the reading for this Sunday. The little church, which is being born and developing, tries to live the commandment of the Lord “love one another as I have loved you.”   

o   As a consequence of all of this the Church enjoys the consolation of the Holy Spirit, Jesus Spirit whom he has sent to his Church. 

o   This consolation comes from the certainty to be, as a church, immersed in the loving presence of the Spirit thus, although as in a shadow, immersed in the life of the Trinity within the continuous exchange of love among the three Divine Persons.   

Responsorial Psalm. Ps 22:26-27. 28. 30. 31-32

 R. Alleluia.
I will fulfill my vows before those who fear the LORD.
The lowly shall eat their fill;
they who seek the LORD shall praise him:
"May your hearts live forever!"
 R. Alleluia.
All the ends of the earth
shall remember and turn to the LORD;
all the families of the nations
shall bow down before him.
 R. Alleluia.
To him alone shall bow down
all who sleep in the earth;
before him shall bend
all who go down into the dust.
 R. Alleluia.
And to him my soul shall live;
my descendants shall serve him.
Let the coming generation be told of the LORD
that they may proclaim to a people yet to be born
the justice he has shown.
R. Alleluia.

SECOND READING : 1 Jn 3:18-24

*      John invites his community to truly love and, not only speak of love.  

*      The love we have   assures us that we are dedicated to the truth. Let us remember that Scriptures speaks of God saying that God is love, God is Truth.  

*      The consolation we have when our conscience accuses us, is that God knows us; all that is ours is known to Him. 

*      And on the other hand, if our conscience does not accuse us, we can be sure to obtain whatever we ask for.  

*      What does that mean? Is it something magical?    

*      No, the answer is given to us in the next verse; it is because we keep his commandments.   

*      Then this means that what is given to us is given as a reward for our faithfulness to the commandments?  

*      No. If we are faithful in keeping his commandments this means that we have allowed the Spirit of the Lord to enter into our heart, it is the Holy Spirit that makes us like Jesus. We have the same feelings of Jesus, thus we ask only what Jesus would also ask.  

GOSPEL  JOHN 15: 1-8

Ø  The theme of the vineyard reminds us that in the Old Testament Israel is called the “vineyard of the Lord.”    

Ø  Jesus says that He is the vine; he is the fullness of what Israel was called to be “the vine, the vineyard.”    

Ø  John describes God as the vine grower who takes good care of the vine: he takes away what is dead, prunes what is alive so that it may have abundant life.  

Ø  Jesus invites his own to live in Him, as He lives in us.  

Ø  He says that if we are not united to Him we will not give fruit.    

Ø   When we become disciples of Jesus and we give fruit, we glorify the Father. The image of the vine should fill us with so much trust in the Lord, whom we contemplated last week as the Good Shepherd.

Ø  José A. Pagola says: The church will not be able to fulfill his mission in the world today, if those who called themselves Christians do not become disciples of Jesus, encouraged by his spirit and his passion for a more human world.   

Ø  All the Gospels during the Easter Season remind and invite us to enter into the intimacy of the Lord, and to find our joy in this same intimacy with Him.  

The presence of God was continuous and without becoming tired and without doing anything from my part, being clearly everything  grace of God: and not even in the conversations I was distracted from my purpose, because if they did not speak directly to me , I did not hear  

God gave me such an attractive virtue, and a sobriety in all my works, and in the relationship with people that I stole the hearts for God and  all that treated me  had  much love for me.  God might have done it because he wanted to steal many hearts for himself by means of this sinner, as in the past God said to Thais the sinner. María Antonia París, Foundress. Memories and Notes (First series)   7-8.   
The first thing I did on arriving in Puerto Principe was to lead the local clergy in the Spiritual Exercises. So as not to leave the parishes unattended, I gave the Exercises in two different shifts. I rented a house big enough for all of us to live in. Then I organized one group of 20 and another of 19. We ate together and lived under the same roof day and night. Our schedule included lectures, meditations, recitation of the Divine Office, and the talks I gave. Everyone made a general confession, drew up a plan of life, and everything was put in order Antonio María Claret, founder. Autobiography 525.      


CLARET, Antonio María. Autobiografía.

PAGOLA, JOSE A. Following in the Footsteps of Jesus. Meditations on the Gospels for Year B. Miami 2011

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

RAVASI, Gianfranco. Según las Escrituras. Año B. Ediciones San Pablo. Bogotá 2005.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Ø  Today the Church celebrates de 55th World Day of Prayer for Vocations  

Ø  In the liturgy of this 4th Sunday of Easter:   

o   Peter explains how the paralytic has been cured by the power of Jesus.  

o   John, in his first letter, says that we are children of God.    

o   And, in his Gospel he speaks of Jesus as the Good Shepherd.  

FIRST READING  – Acts 4: 8-12

·         Theology of the book of Acts:  Luke continues in this book   the theological presentation of the prophetic and saving journey that started in the Gospel.   

·         Emphasizing how, this journey   programmed and guided by God the Father  and,

·         Walked during his earthly life by Jesus, the Son of God, prophet and savior,   is now continued by the Glorious Christ through the Spirit and by means of the prophetic witness of the Church.  

Let us reflect on today’s message:

v  Peter speaks to the religious authorities of Israel and says with courage  

o   That the paralytic has been cured in the name of Jesus  

o   Whom “you crucified” but God raised him  

v  This Jesus of Nazareth is 

o   The stone rejected by the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 

o   Peter openly denounces how they, who were supposed to help the people to know God, rejected Jesus, the cornerstone.  But

o   God has given him a name above every other name, a name which saves us  

v  It is a pleasure to see how Peter denounces and at the same time announces to the authorities, those in power, their wrong behavior; and how God has manifested to the whole world that they were wrong, even having the authority,  and how, on the contrary,  Jesus was doing the will of the Father.  

Responsorial Psalm: Ps  118: 1 y 8-9. 21-23. 26 y 28cd y 29

R. (22) The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in princes.
R. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
and have been my savior.
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
R. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD;
we bless you from the house of the LORD.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
and have been my savior.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
for his kindness endures forever.
R. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone. 

·         In the first stanza we will say to God   “I give you thanks because you are good. I think that this the general experience of those who invoke the Lord and get closer to Him.  

·         And in the next stanza we will repeat again “I thank you, because you have heard us.” When we feel that God pays attention to us we are filled with joy and we feel moved to sing and to repeat   words of thanksgiving to him. 

·         In the last verse we will say “You are my God, I thank you. 

Let us sing with enthusiasm and with a thankful heart this psalm to our God –Father, Son and Holy Spirit.     


*      John says that the Father loves us so much that he calls us his children.  

*      And this is the reason that the world does not recognize us: what that mean? It does not recognize us: as persons? In what we do? In what we say? … They did not recognize Him either.    

*      But when he will appear we will be like him because we will see him. Does that mean that  to see him helps us to be transformed in his likeness?  

GOSPEL Jn 10: 11-18

Jesus addresses the Pharisees and tells them:    

v  I am the Good Shepherd, he had once narrated to us when he lived among us, the story of that shepherd who left the 99 sheep he had and went in search of the lost one, which he might not find. But our Shepherd does not stop until he finds us.  

v  He has called us all, to be shepherds of our sisters and brothers, servants like Him.   

v  In the next paragraph  John uses in different ways the verb “to know” which in Hebrew does not mean only intellectually but by experience, and it embraces the whole person. This verb is used to talk about the relation of intimacy in marriage.   

v  And the last message is “I have other sheep” they do not belong to this fold, we might say they do not belong to our parish, to our apostolic group, they belong to another church, another religion, they do not believe in God… But it seems that Jesus wants to tell us that nothing of this matters, that these sheep will also listen to him, listen to his voice, and that together with us we will make the only fold of Christ.  I think it means also that we are called to go and seek these sheep and love them.


Our Lord gave me always the greatest love for my neighbor, and much love to endure his defects and bad condition, and always the conviction that they suffer me more. Thus I always was happy with everyone.  (Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress. Memories and Notes 6.)    

Beside the visitation and confirmations, I preached on all Sundays and holy days of obligation. I never failed to preach, no matter what part of the diocese I happened to be in at the time.  Toward the beginning of June I left the city and went to Caney, to conclude the mission that Father Stephen and Father Curríus had started and were very successfully carrying on. After confirming everyone, I preached the closing service of the mission. Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder. Autobiography  516).