Thursday, August 30, 2018


The theme for the  XXII Sunday in Ordinary time is the law given by our God and Father, the law of life and liberty, which requires from us to abide it in freedom, which is the only way to live in the law of love.   
The three readings speak to us about this same theme. It is not enough to hear and to know intellectually, we need to care for the needs of our sisters and brothers.  


Ø  In the Hebrew Scriptures this book is called “These are the words” and in the Greek translation it has been given the name of Deuteronomy: deuterons [second] nomos [law]  
Ø  We find this book after the Book of Numbers and it is the fifth book of the Pentateuch (5 books) which is the name we give to the 5 first books of the Bible, and our Jewish brothers call it the Torah or the Law.  
Ø  “These words” are the words of Moses to the people before the entrance into the promised land, words written in different literary styles, especially in legal vocabulary.  
Ø  The book is organized in 4 speeches pronounced by Moses, who is introduced to us as leader, prophet and legislator.   
Ø  The biblical tradition likes to have important characters say the teachings the author wants to convey in his work, these characters are not necessarily the authors of these teachings. This is the case of the Book of Deuteronomy.     

Ø  The reformation found in the Book of Deuteronomy 

o   Centralization of worship which brings the   

o   Centralization of justice and  of

o   Other religious and social measures.      

FIRST READING : Dt 4:1-2.6-8

«  In the previous chapters, Moses makes a synthesis of the history of the people.  
«  In truth it is not Moses who makes either the synthesis or the speech, but the different authors of the book. 
«  Israel is asked to listen to the commandments and decrees which Moses teaches them in the name of God
«  On fulfilling the precepts and decrees, they will be able to enter and live in the land that God promised their fathers.   
«  Israel cannot take from or add to the law that Moses has taught them in the name of God.    
o   Nothing can be taken from the Law because God is the LAW, which He has given them for their wellbeing, only God knows what is good for us.  
o   Nothing can be added to the law, because whatever we add is the fruit of our pride, which inclines us to be willing “to be like gods.”   
o   The Law is God’s and not ours. We cannot make it either easier or more difficult.  
«  Our wisdom and prudence is found in acting according to the precepts of God.   
«  The author of this part of the book makes a question: what people what nation is there that has gods so close to it as the Lord, our God, is to us?

Yes, anyone who follows the law, which God has put in the heart of every human being, realizes that he or she is very close to God who guides and protects him or her.   

Responsorial Psalm Ps 15:2-3, 3-4, 4-5

  The one who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
Whoever walks blamelessly and does justice;
who thinks the truth in his heart
and slanders not with his tongue.
The one who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord
Who harms not his fellow man,
nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
by whom the reprobate is despised,
while he honors those who fear the LORD.
The one who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord
Who lends not his money at usury
and accepts no bribe against the innocent.
Whoever does these things
shall never be disturbed.
The one who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord

*      The psalmist asks himself LORD WHO CAN ABIDE IN YOUR TENT?  That is, who can be near you abiding in your home, living with you?    
And he answers to his question mentioning a list of behaviors who respond to what God has prescribed in his Law.   This means that those who abide in God and God in them are those who live their lives according to the will of God revealed in the Law.     

GOSPEL OF MARK  7:1-8.14-15.21-23

ü  In this reading, we witness a discussion between the Teachers of the Law and Jesus. 
ü  The Teachers of the law are scandalized, angry, worried because the disciples eat without having previously washed their hand. In truth, they are questioning the behavior of Jesus, but they only mention his disciples.   
ü  Jesus answers with vehemence quoting Isaiah 29:13.   
ü  Jesus attacks the worship that man/woman have invented ignoring what God has said.   
ü  We may discover this same passion against the worship invented to falsely quiet down our hearts, not worshiping our Father in Is 1:10-20.   
ü  We follow very carefully the liturgical laws, which we have invented ourselves; but at the same time, we forget about the fraternal love, in justice and respect for our brothers and sisters who suffer, are exploited, and humiliated.  
ü  We recite prayers, which is a good thing to do, but at the same time we do not question the many discriminations that we have inside our heart, the pride and self-contentment when we judge ourselves better than the rest, because we are in the church, how we ignore those whom we do not like or who are difficult for us.   
ü  But Jesus invites us day after day to be like Him, to act like Him who gave his life for his friends and also for his enemies, for all. Jesus loves all of us, those I like and those I do not like.        
ü  To live as Jesus invites us to, we need to allow him to free us in order to be free, only then we will be able to live according to the commandments.    

§  The seven letters which are not from Paul: James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1,2,3 John and Judas, are called Catholic Letters since the second century.    
§  Apparently, there is no specific reason to call them with this name apart from considering them universal letters addressed to the Church.   

§  In the New Testament we find several characters called James:   

o   James the son of Zebedee and brother of John   (Mk 1:17; 3,17; Hch 1:22)

o   James the son of Alpheus   (Mk 3:18; Hch 1:13

o   James the brother of the Lord    (Gal 1:19; 2:9)


SECOND READING Jas 1:17-18;21-27

o   James reminds all those who have been baptized, that everything  that we have, has  been given by God, the giver of all that is good.   
o   God has chosen us as the first fruits of his creatures.  
o   He invites us also to accept with docility, that is with pleasure and thanksgiving, the word that the same God has sowed in us.  Word, which is the Gospel of Jesus.   
o   The Word is not only to be heard, it is to be put into action, this means according to love (to visit the orphans, the widows in their tribulations…) We may do a list of all those who wait for our love, in our society, in our faith community, in our family, at our work. 
o   God does not need our plans, our programs, our courses, etc. we are the ones who need them. God needs that I love every human being and this will lead me to do good to everyone, according to what every person needs from me.   


Beginning with the day of my profession    (August 27 1855)  I say to Your Most Illustrious Lordship   [Caixal] that when His Illustrious Excellency  [Claret] put the crown  I felt a weight so extraordinary on my head that it make bend, and naturally the crown weighed very little since it was formed by very fine flowers.  As I wondered about the great weight, Our Lord told me “This is my daughter, the burden that you carry of the Reformation of my Church; and His Divine Majesty called me three times “my spouse” with great love making me understand that the Eternal Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit loved me much: And Our Lord said to me “My daughter: from now on I want to be in the midst of your heart as on my own throne:” and he rewarded with so much grace to have been waiting for so many years this sacred betrothal that His Majesty  wanted  to celebrate it for eight days in a row keeping the sacramental species from one communion to another, grace which had my soul as it were away from me  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. Report to Caixal 9.     

His Holiness grants faculty to  His Most Illustrious Excellency who through his discretion and conscience may admit to the Religious Profession the supplicant Virgins, on the twenty seventh  day of August of the present year 1855,  infra Missam (within the Mass), that His Most Illustrious Excellency celebrated having been especially authorized; being forty one years old she made the solemn perpetual vows of Poverty, Obedience, Cloister and Chastity.  And she received the veil of the Order of St. Benedict, adopted as the most appropriate for this Institute, being present the already mentioned Presbyters Rev.  José Manuel Díaz Hevia and Rv.Paladio Curríus. And being the truth, and for the record, the new and first Professed Sister of the Institute signs, with the His Most Illustrious Excellency Archbishop already mentioned.
Anthony Mary Claret, Archbishop of Cuba.     María Antonia de San Pedro   (from the Act of the Profession of María Antonia) 


ALVAREZ, GOMEZ. History of the Religious of Mary Immaculate Claretian Missionary Sisters, ch6 

DESCLÉES DE BROUWER. Biblia de Jerusalén, nueva edición totalmente renovada

PARIS, María Antonia. “Report to Caixa”  

RAVASSI, Gianfranco. Según las Escrituras. Año B. Bogotá Colombia 2005

SAGRADA BIBLIA, versión oficial de la Conferencia Episcopal Española. Madrid 2011


Tuesday, August 21, 2018


*      The readings for this Sunday’s liturgy are an invitation to choose between the true God and the false idols:
o   Joshua asks the Israelites whether they really want to follow the God who liberated them from Egypt, or whether they prefer to go back to the securities of the bondage in Egypt.  
o   Jesus asks his disciples whether they want  to leave him too, because his words are tough.  

o   Who are we going to choose and follow?  


«  This book narrates que conquest of the Promised Land by Israel. 
«  The conquest is described    
o   In a synthetic and simple way 
o   Probably it was neither so easy, nor so straightforward.   
o   The tribes must have conquered different parts of the land of Canaan during a long period of time and not only by fighting. 
o   Some would have come as workers, other as nomad shepherds…   
«  This book is essential to realize the fulfilment of the promises to the Fathers, of giving them the land; otherwise the exodus from Egypt would have been in vain. 
«  The Scripture scholars look at this book in different ways:   
o   Some consider it so much close to the rest of the Pentateuch that they believe it should be part of it, and that would make an Hexateuch (6 books).  
o   Others consider it so much similar to the Deuteronomy but very different from the other four books, thus they speak of a Tetrateuch (4 books). 
«  The composition of this book: 
o   Most of the books seem to have been written by a Deuteronomist author.  
o   Later an author or several authors from the priestly tradition added the following:  
§  The distribution of the land   
§  The sanctuary cities  
§  The levitical cities  
o   The land is a gift from Yahweh to Israel, his chosen people, it is the land promised to the fathers.  
o   This gift comes with a condition: faithfulness. 
o   Whenever Israel forgets about this, it loses the land
o   This was the way that Israel  could   explain  and understand the meaning of the exile to Babylon, because it had  not been faithful to God.  
o   If it dreams to go back, it will have to be faithful and not contaminating itself with the non-believers.  

FIRST READING : Joshua 24,1-2ª,15-17,18b

Ø  Joshua, Moses’ successor, who has led the people in its entrance in the promised   land, now, before his death he assembles the tribes in Shechem , the heart and the center of the promised and conquered land and he asks them the great question: who do you want to serve? 
Ø  In the Old Testament the verb, “to serve” does not have a servile meaning, but it means to adhere joyfully and freely to the project of God.  
Ø  Joshua reminds the people what God has done for them since the call to Abraham, and how he has fulfilled his promises, and he adds AS FOR ME AND MY FAMILY WE WILL SERVE THE LORD.   
Ø  The people answer, “we Will serve the Lord. He is our God!   
Ø  This section of the book is presented in the form of a covenant, as the pacts made among the Hittites between the lords and their vassals: the remembrance of what the Lord had done for his vassals, the terms of the pact and the witnesses.     
This pact has two directions one vertical between the tribes and Yahweh, the other one horizontal, the pact with Yahweh establishes a union pact between the tribes, giving them a sense of being a people. 

Responsorial Psalm Ps 34:2-3, 16-17, 18-19, 20-21

R. (9a) Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
The LORD has eyes for the just,
and ears for their cry.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Many are the troubles of the just one,
but out of them all the LORD delivers him;
he watches over all his bones;
not one of them shall be broken.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Ø  The Lord has eyes and ears for the poor. 

Ø  The Lord is not far from his faithful, from those who are abated.

Ø   Those who trust and hope in the Lord will not perish.  

GOSPEL John, 55.60-69

ü  We have reached the end of chapter 6 of the Gospel of John. Jesus has fed   the crowd, He has called himself the bread come down from heaven, he has said that we have to eat his flesh and drink his blood to have life eternal. Those who heard him were not able to accept this vocabulary and have left. 
ü  Jesus addresses his disciples that have doubts also, with the great question: Do you want  to leave too?  
ü  Peter, as in the confession at Caesarea Philippi, which Matthew presents in his gospel, says: to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and you are the Holy One of God.     
ü  This episode of Jesus’ life has a great importance in the Gospel of John. It has been called the Galilean crisis.  It establishes a before and an after. Afterwards Jesus leaves his native land and travels to the South, toward Jerusalem which will be the end of his earthly life.   
ü  Here the disciples are faced with a decisive choice in their lives, like Israel in Shechem. 
ü  The  liturgy presents to us the same question, who do we want to follow?  Jesus who gives life, but whose following is difficult and his proposals are most of the time incomprehensible? or do we prefer the comfort offered by our society, which is a way that leads to death?   
ü  The choice is ours, we will find at the end of our journey whatever we may have chosen during our life.  

ü  Hopefully our answer will be like Joshua’s “I and my family we will follow the Lord, or like Peter, to whom will we go?  You have the words of eternal life, you are the holy one of God.  

SECOND READING Ephesians 5: 21-32

We continue with the letter to the Ephesians.   

«  The author of the letter has spoken up to this point about the union and harmony that have to exist among the members of the Church.   
«  Now he turns his eyes toward the family, the domestic Church, to remind them also about unity and harmony of its members  among them and with Christ. 
«  The author uses the expressions of his time, that he does not want to make it the Word of God, what is the Word of God is the meaning of what it is manifested in human words. Probably in our time we would use other words to convey the same meaning that “submission” conveys. 
The marriage union is called to be the image of the union between Christ and the Church.  The relationship between man and woman united in matrimony has to be the reflection and the image of the relationship existing between Christ and his Church: a union of mutual love and surrendering.   

             Claretian Corner

Thus making use of the apostolic faculties granted to Us in  the already mentioned Rescript   we accept the time they have spent in  strict closure as Novitiate, and we also approve and adopt from now on as more conformable and apt to this Institute, the habit and religious veil of the Order of St. Benedict which they put on when they began the Novitiate  by virtue of the authorization that We gave them, while we elevated to His Holiness our plead;   and indeed we admit them to the Religious Profession, which We will receive in the way established by the same Sacred Rescript, from our  beloved daughter  Ma. Antonia de San Pedro, on the twenty-seven day of the current month of August; and that of her Sisters and our beloved daughters, we will receive it on the third day of next September, and once the profession will be done, we will pronounce them as RELIGIOUS OF THE APOSTOLIC INSTITUTE OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF MARY MOST HOLY MOTHER OF GOD AND OUR LADY.       

Given in our Archbishop’s Palace of Santiago de Cuba, on the twenty-five of August and in the Lord’s year one thousand eight hundred fifty-five. 

Anthony M. Archbishop of Cuba

So, I made my long –awaited profession on August 27 of the same year in the hands of my prelate, to the joy of everybody, and more happiness in my soul-this one cannot be expressed- notwithstanding the difficult preparation with so many cares in the assurance of the foundation, the lower a point in the fervor of my spirit. With my thought fixed in the moment of pronouncing the holy vows, the moment seemed to me like centuries, and even, with so many serious circumstances met in my profession, none of them was sufficient to disturb the peace and calm of my soul.  Venerable María Antonia París, Autobiografía 225.

CLARET, ANTONIO MARÍA, Document of the Foundation of the Religious of Mary Immaculate Claretian Missionary Sisters. 
RAVASSI, GIANFRANCO, Según las Escrituras Año B. San Pablo Bogotá Colombia 2005. 
SAGRADA BIBLIA. Official version of the Spanish Conference of Bishops. B.A.C.  Madrid 2011.
SCHOKEL, LUIS ALONSO, La Biblia de nuestro pueblo. Misioneros Claretianos, Ediciones Mensajero, China 2010. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


v  Wisdom sends her servants to invite to the banquet  of wisdom, of a coherent life.

v  Jesus invites us to eat his flesh, those who hear him are offended.  How can he say that? Why does he say that he has come down from heaven, if he is from our own town and we know him well…?   

v  Paul invites his community from Ephesus to a wise life, a life  guided by wisdom.    

v  In the responsorial psalm, we repeat: TASTE AND SEE THE GOODNESS OF THE LORD!       


«  The first Reading is taken from the book of Proverbs.  

«  We are surprised when we read this book, because it is like a mosaic of literary styles: prose, poetry, sayings…      

«  We do not find in it the theological spirit that we find in other books of the Old Testament; it seems to be absent.   

«  With the books of: Job, Ecclesiastes, Sirach, Wisdom it is part of the wisdom literature. These books try to answer the questions that every human being has on the meaning of:    life, death, sickness, suffering, sin, goodness, evil…      

«  This literature developped after the return from the exile in Babylon, it has a great resemblance to the wisdom literature of the neighboring peoples.      

«  From its fragmentation, we deduce that it has several authors, from different times. The scholars believe that probably around 200 B.C. the book was already completed and included in the groups of Writings.  

«  It was customary in the ancient world to attribute the authorship of some books to important people expert in a given matter.  In Israel they attributed:

o   to Solomon, the wise King, the books of wisdom.   

o   to David the poetic books like the Psalms.   

o   to Moses the law.   

«  But Solomon is not the author of the book of Proverbs, the book has several different authors. 

First Reading: Proverbs 9:1-6  

 Let us use our imagination to understand the message of this passage:

Ø  This fragment presents very beautiful images  

Ø  Wisdom is portrait as a feminine being   

o   That builds her house on seven columns, this number speaks of wholeness and we may think, looking at the New Testament, of the Holy Spirit, who in the book of Revelation is described as the seven spirits of God. 
o   She prepares a table with food, and wine, images that invite us to think about the pleasure in eating and drinking. The gift of Wisdom that the Holy Spirit gives to us  is not only an intellectual knowledge, it  means also to savor the realities that are related to God, to enjoy  the presence of God in our life. 
o   She sends her maid  servants to invite, but as we continue reading we understand that she is the one who invites.  Could it be that it is Wisdom who invites, but by means of her servants?   The same that happens with us, God invites us by means of his messengers.    
o   In this image of the table and the invitation we may discover the overabundance of Wisdom that is given without limits to those who welcome her.   
o   She calls the humble, those who lack knowledge, those who are willing to accept the invitation because they do not have anything, and are invited to eat and drink at her table.   
o   Thus, they will be able to reject   stupidity of evil and sin. 
o   And walk on the way of knowledge and understanding.   

o   Those who accept the invitation of Wisdom will be able to repeat with the psalmist:   

             Psalm  33:2-3. 10-11. 12-13. 14-15

Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

v  The psalms fall into  the literary genre of poetry.

v  The psalms are hymns that are meant to be recited  preferably to the  accompaniment of a musical instrument in the context of worship.   

v  The word “psalm” comes from the Greek word psalmos which means “song,” In Hebrew they are called  mizmor, word that implies that its recitation  is accompanied by the harp or the zither. 

v  The authors of the psalms use the densely packed, image-filled language of poetry to express the yearnings of the human heart. 

v  Like poetry the psalms are not meant to be read quickly. They must be dwelt in, thought about, and meditated on until the words take root and the meaning becomes personal and can be prayed from the heart.

GOSPEL   John 6:51-58
*      We continue with the discourse of the Bread of Life.    
*      John in his Gospel does not intent to narrate events of Jesus’ life as such.  Rather he uses some of the events to make a theological reflection on the event in relation to our faith in the Son of man, the Son of God, the Christ.  
*      Jesus has given them bread to eat in abundance, using the five loaves and the two fishes that a young boy offered to him.    
*      From that event John speaks about the true bread that has come down from heaven, Jesus. 
*      In today’s reading   
o   Jesus proclaims himself the bread that has come down from heaven, he who eats it will live forever.   
o   The Jews argue and get angry, because Jesus speaks of himself as transcendent (come down from heaven) but they know his family.   
o   However, Jesus repeats again: if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of man and do not drink his blood, you will not have life within you.  The verb used here for eating means to chew.   
o   On eating his body and drinking his blood, in the Eucharist, a bond is established between Jesus and the disciple, similar to the union that exists between the Father and Jesus.  

o   The disciple is a child of God because he/she is united to the Son of the Father made flesh for the salvation of the world. Like the Son he/she enters into an intimate and deep relationship with the Father.   

The union that is formed through the bread and the wine –the body and blood of Jesus- is not meant to be static. The disciple is meant to be sent to share this intimate life with others. 

SECOND READING: Ephesians 5:15-20

§  In the Sunday’s liturgy of the ordinary time the first reading and the Gospel have the same theme, and usually the second reading has another theme

§  However, today the second reading has also the theme of wisdom, wisdom as life for those who welcome Jesus.  

§  Paul invites the community of Ephesus to live wisely, making the most of the present time.   

§  Seeking to know the will of God  

§   Instead of the excesses in eating and drinking, the author invites the community to prayer, praise, thanksgiving, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

§   What a wonderful program of life for those who want to begin anew every day in the following of our God and Lord!   

CLARETIAN CORNER (From the documents of the Founder and the Foundress of the Religious of Mary Immaculate Claretian Missionary Sisters)  

… many parents, from the best considered among the population for their social situation and
profound religiosity, manifested strong wishes that as soon as possible we requested the due authorization for the canonical and legal establishment of the Holy Institute for the education that we want to profess.   One of us, Most Excellent and Illustrious Sir,  has already received the crown that she was looking for, having God   disposed it in his inscrutable judgement which we obey;  this and the other proofs with which the Lord has visited us, and tested our vocation, which far from  becoming lukewarm, has been boosted because in the distress we know very well that the works of God are better manifested.  In the Peninsula there are many companions who want to be associated to our holy enterprise and they are only waiting to be called in order to come to our aid and share with us our works and our glories -   May Your Excellency. kindly receive our petition which with reverence we formulate, trusting that in your religiosity you will authorize our foundation in due form by the means established by the sacred canons and the laws of the kingdom which govern these overseas possessions.    Sr. Ma. Antonia París, Sr. Ma. Josefa Caixal, Sr.  Ma. Rosa Gual, Sr.  Ma. Encarnación Gual  kiss the ring of Your Excellency (from the petition for the foundation to St. Anthony Mary Claret of the sisters,  Ma. Antonia París, Hermana Ma. Josefa Caixal, Hermana Ma. Rosa Gual, Hermana Ma. Encarnación Gual).

Anthony Mary Claret, Archbishop of Cuba, kneeling at the feet of Your Holiness, reverently explains:   That certain maids who had offered themselves to the service of God   in the religious life, began their novitiate   in a monastery     dedicated to the education of girls in the city of Tarragona, in Catalonia,   they could not profess their solemn religious vows due to the current political circumstances in the Spanish Government.   Two sisters among them:  Antonia and Florentina had been in the novitiate of that monastery for ten years, practicing the religious virtues.   By the Divine Providence and with the approval of Your Holiness, by virtue of the presentation by the Royal Patronage, I was promoted and consecrated, although being unworthy, to this Archdiocese.  As soon as these novices knew this, moved by the desire of a greater perfection, they did not hesitate to leave their motherland, and dedicate themselves to a greater perfection than that of their monastery.  Burning for love toward their brethren, wishing to take care of the education of the girls of this new world, who were lacking such remarkable Institute; after having asked fervently to God, and completely submissive to the opinion of their spiritual director,  who  they had humbly consulted; and having  examined and meditated such huge enterprise, they pleaded with me to kindly receive them,  accompanied by other three young women, who, being very much inclined to the religious state, were moved by similar impulses of charity and wished to come to these regions (St. Anthony Mary Claret, from the petition sent to Pope Pius IX)  


BIBLIA, versión de la Conferencia Episcopal Española, 2010 

BIBLE, oficial translation United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. (website)

CAVINS, Jeff, CHRISTMYER, Sarah & GRAY, Dr. Tim. Psalms. The School of Prayer, 2009.

CLARET, Anthony Mary. Letters.

PARIS, María Antonia. Letters.