Monday, September 17, 2018


Last Sunday Jesus spoke to his disciples about his future sufferings, and invited us to take our cross and follow him. 

Today he teaches us another important lesson about the conditions to follow him, the meaning of taking our cross, the need to be humble, to serve with our own life.

The first reading and the psalm have always the same theme, but today they make a very especial unity. The reading tells us what the sinners are plotting against the just and the psalm is the prayer of the just asking God to protect him/her. 


Ø  The book of Wisdom was written at the beginning of the last century before Christ.  

Ø  It is probably the last Old Testament Book to be written.  

Ø  The author is identified as Solomon to give added stature to the book.   

Ø  The author is a Jew fully acquainted with the Hellenistic culture  

Ø  He knows the Greek Philosophy.  His anthropology is more Greek than Jewish. He knows the teachings of the Greek, man is composed of soul and body.   

Ø  The human being is immortal, but this immortality is due not to the soul but to justice and righteousness.   

Ø  Righteousness or justice, being God’s attribute is immortal.    

Ø  To live a just life is to participate of this eternal quality of God. 

FIRST READING – Wisdom  2:12.17-20

Ø  The wicked are against the just because his actions and his words denouncing them, their evil actions, make them angry. 
Ø  He reproaches them:
o   Because they transgress the law. Maybe they are teachers of the law who should know better, but so many times, the law is a means to oppress those they should be serving.  
o   Because they behave in a way, which is contrary to what they have been told in their formation,   
o   Because they are not responding to their call. 
Ø  The wicked want to see whether the words and the works of the just are true    
Ø  If he considers himself the son of God, let us see what happens when we mistreat him, we put him to the test. Will he keep being faithful? Will God defend him as he hopes and says?   
Ø  If, we did not know that this reading is taken from the Old Testament, we could think that it is the enemies of Jesus who are speaking.
Ø  In a sense this is true, we have always heard that the Old Testament is about Jesus. This does not mean that the authors knew about Jesus, but because, being God who inspires the sacred writers the messages have different levels of revelation. The sacred authors speak of situations of their own time, as time goes on, and we reach the time of Jesus, the church discovers the silent presence of Jesus in Scripture.     

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Ps 54: 3-4.5.6-8

ü  R. The Lord upholds my life.
O God, by your name save me,
and by your might defend my cause.
O God, hear my prayer;
hearken to the words of my mouth.
R. The Lord upholds my life.
For the haughty men have risen up against me,
the ruthless seek my life;
they set not God before their eyes.
R. The Lord upholds my life.
Behold, God is my helper;
the Lord sustains my life.
Freely will I offer you sacrifice;
I will praise your name, O LORD, for its goodness.
R. The Lord upholds my life.

ü  This psalm tells about the conviction of he who trusts unconditionally in the love and goodness of God the Father.  

ü  The man who shares with us his trust in God, knows that there are some who want to do wrong to him. 

ü  But he trusts and hopes in the help of his God.  

ü  And as a consequence of this love he plans to offer to God a sacrifice, and offering of thanksgiving because God has been good to him.    

ü  What a beautiful psalm! Are these our feelings? Is this our trust?  
GOSPEL  Mk 9:30-37
v  Jesus goes with his disciples from the Decapolis to Caesarea of Philippi.  

v  This city is at the foot of Mount Hermon, near to the place where the Jordan River begins, and it is very close to the border between Israel and Syria. 

v  From there Jesus begins to travel around Galilee, and Mark tells us something interesting, he did not want anyone to know. 

v  On the road he tells them, for the second time, about his future passion, his sufferings.  

v  Mark says that they did not understand what he was telling them.  

v  Certainly, they did not understand, because if they had understood, they would not have discussed among themselves, about who was the greatest of all. 

v  When they are at home Jesus asks them what they were discussing on the way.  

v  But they do not want to speak about it, in some way, they know that their Teacher does  not agree with their ambitions.

v  With love and patience, Jesus sits down and speaks to them, to help them understand what it does it means,  to be his disciple.  

v  And using their same discussion he began to say:   

o   If anyone wishes to be the first,he shall be the last of all, the servant of all.  

o   He does not tell them that it is wrong to wish to be the first, what is wrong is their interpretation of being the first.    

o   The first will have to be the last, the servant of all. 

o   To make this lesson clearer Jesus takes a child, and puts him in the center.  

o   Why a child? Probably because a child in that society was the last of all. A child did not have a legal status, no voice, he did not count.  His existence was always related to an adult: parents, owners.   They could make him work or do whatever they wanted with and to him.   

o   What a good image to help us understand Jesus mind, he wants us to be servants and not masters, this is the only way to be his disciple. 

o   The consequences are clear, but it frightens us, if we have not reached there, if serving in this way is not a real part of our life, if we continue to consider ourselves superiors to others because we go to church and “fulfill” what is prescribed, we have not even started the first steps in the following of Jesus,  no matter how long we have been part of the church. 

o   Jesus gives us one of the most beautiful and, at the same time challenging lessons, we are called to be like him, that, being God like the Father and the Holy Spirit has made himself servant of all, he has become nothing, he has put himself into our hands.  

o   But as human beings, do not have any power over Him, we may want to make him disappear from our world, but he will continue to be always with us because he lives forever, because he is God.  

o   Last Sunday Jesus asked us: who do you say that I am? Who am I for you? Today he asks us: do you understand what it means to serve as I serve? And, he asks us something else: Are you ready and willing to follow me as I am showing you?   
SECOND READING   Jas 3:16-4,3
In his letter James makes a beautiful reflection, which will help us to live up to  the invitation, Jesus makes to us in the Gospel.  

·         Disorder comes from jealousy and selfish ambition. 

·         On the contrary the wisdom, which comes from above, from God produces other fruits,  

·         And James describes those fruits with words, which make us desire to live in such a society.  

·         This is the litany he presents of this way of living: peace, goodness, mercy, good fruits and sincerity.

·         He insists on peace as a fruit of this kind of life.  

·         He asks us: where do wars come from?  

·         They come from our evil desires, which we cannot satisfy: we want to possess for the wrong reasons, and we do not get it, and thus we kill. Remember that we can kill in many different ways. We may kill taking the life of someone, but we may kill also destroying his or her reputation, his/her feelings.           

·         James ends saying that we ask and we do not get what we ask,  because we ask for the wrong reasons, because we ask moved by our selfishness.  

·         In our daily life, do we cultivate and promote peace or division among ourselves, in our families, in our faith community, at work…?  

·         This coming Sunday the Lord, through the liturgy of the Church invites us to peace, joy, and happiness. Are we going to follow him? 

I am sorry in my soul for the suffering of Your Excellency, I would like to alleviate it, thus I have thought about a means, that seems easy to my short understanding; Your Excellency will judge if it is possible.  If Rev. Caixal can accept the foundation in his diocese, we may buy a building, in the town he considers appropriate for the House of Teaching (which in many places are very much needed,) in this way Your Excellency  will already have the place where we have to go, thus point out the document in that direction, as you say in your letter. The Nuncio and  the Minister will not care whether it is here or there, and  for us any place of the Peninsula will be better than this new world  (to gather, and see which  young women are more suitable) and later when the Order will expend, then we will establish the Novitiate in the place we consider more appropriate. Maria Antonia Paris, Foundress of the Religious of Mary Immaculate Missionary Sisters. Letter to Claret, October 31st 1857. 
…no worldly interest has brought me here from Spain. I resisted at the beginning; I insisted in my refusal and the third time I accepted by obedience: I have never had anything; today I see myself vested of a dignity which I repel, and whose weight is very superior to my forces, I continue surrendered in the hands of the Providence.  Under the tinsel of my dignity, I only see my misery; I was poor; I lived poor and I remain poor.  Only obedience has been able to reduce me, I repeat it, but in the hope that I could give more fuel to the charity, to the love of God and to my neighbors in which I want to burn.   The day I see that they put the slightest stumbling block to my mission;  the day I see that they tied my hands to prevent them to do good; or that my voice will not be  heard  when my expectations be founded  in justice and charity, which are the only incentives to work that I acknowledge, that day I will leave my position, and certainly I will lose nothing in relation to my person, because the nature of  missionary is enough to be poor, to love God, to love my neighbors and to gain their souls at the same time that mine. St.Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Religious of Mary Immaculate Claretian Missionary Sisters. Letter to General de la Concha, March 28, 1851.     


CLARET, St. Anthony Mary. History of the Religious of Mary Immaculate Claretian Missionary Sisters, chapter VII note 126.

PARIS, Venerable María Antonia. History of the Religious of Mary Immaculate Claretian Missionary Sisters, chapter VIII note 9.

Monday, September 10, 2018


§  Last Sunday the readings were about hearing- listening and speaking-proclaiming the Word we have heard.   

§  Today the Lord wants to know if we really know Him, and He invites us also to imitate him taking our cross, as He took his. Let us remember that in the biblical language the verb to know is related to the verb to love.  

FIRST READING : Is 50:5-9a

*      This text is taken from the second part of the book of Isaiah, called Deutero-Isaiah or Second Isaiah. The author is either an Israelite who has come back from exile, or someone who has never left the country. 

*      It is the poet who sings the wonders of the return from exile with exodus imaginary, where God repeats again the marvels he had done, who goes before his people in this joyful return so much waited for.  

*      In the Second Isaiah, we find four poems that have been called the Servant poems or songs. 

*      This servant is considered to be, either Israel-Jacob who represents the people, or another person faithful to God. 

*      These texts, referred to an anonymous servant, open a completely new perspective in the Old Testament and in the religious world in general:

o   Suffering is a road to God  

o   It is not only a reality from which we ask God to be freed, as we find in the psalms. 

o   This suffering may be of value, not only for the person who experiences  it  but, also for other persons

o   That is why, the Church has seen in these Servant Songs, the description of the mission of Jesus, the faithful and suffering Servant who gives his life for his people and for the glory of God. 

Let us see the message of this Sunday reading,    

§  The Servant tells us that, God has open his ears, and that, he has not turned back   

o   I gave my back to those who beat me,

o   my cheeks to those who plucked my beard;

o   my face  from buffets and spitting.

·        This Servant tells us of his great trust in the Lord, and He has been able to do all of these because he knows that the Lord is with him, and that He will not abandon him, and thus he will not be deceived in his hope, in his faith. 

§  The confidence in the presence of the Lord is what makes him able to challenge his enemies, what enemies?  

§  We suffer also during our life, each one in his/her own way, with a different sensibility, but are we confident like the Servant  in the love that God has for us?

§  Confidence which will make us able to challenge all the  enemies which are: the suffering we inflict one another, the poor health, the broken relationships, the lack of work, the chattered dreams, the failures, the abandonments…  

§  Yes, indeed the Lord, the God of Israel is with us through his Son Jesus, the God-with-us.   

RESPONSORIAL PSALM  Ps 116: 1-2. 3-4. 5-6. 8-9

I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
 I love the LORD because he has heard
my voice in supplication,
because he has inclined his ear to me
the day I called.
I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
 The cords of death encompassed me;
the snares of the netherworld seized upon me;
I fell into distress and sorrow,
and I called upon the name of the LORD,
"O LORD, save my life!"
I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
.Gracious is the LORD and just;
yes, our God is merciful.
The LORD keeps the little ones;
I was brought low, and he saved me.
I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
 For he has freed my soul from death,
my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.
I shall walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.

I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.

v  The care the Lord has for me is what makes me love Him   

v  When I am in anguish, in danger, I invoke Him and He saves me.  

v  The Lord is gracious, just, compassionate and He protects the little ones.  

v  The Lord has freed me from death, mi feet from stumbling, my eyes from tears.   

v  For this,  I continue to walk in the presence of the Lord, because He is my God and He helps me.  

GOSPEL   Mc 8: 27-35

·        In our reading from the Gospel of Mark, we have reached the end of the first part, and Jesus challenges us with a question.   
·        Let us imagine the scene, Jesus is with his own, those who live with Him, his closest friends, those He has chosen to be sent. At the same time through the context, we realize that there are also other followers, other disciples and even some curious by-standers. 
·        Jesus asks an estrange question which, probably surprised those men who knew Him to be humble, simple, not worried about himself. Who do people say that I am? Why do you want to know that Jesus?  
·        The apostles, like we do when we are taking a class and the teacher asks a question about something we do not know, gave some superficial answers to make believe that they knew what people felt about Jesus.   
·        But Jesus has a surprise for those simple men, and also for us the followers of the XXI century in 2018. And you who do you say?   
·        Now we are in real trouble, because Jesus does not want any response, he does not want an answer from what the Catechism says, or the priest that gave a retreat said or a theologian has said. No, he is not interested in those answers; he wants to know who is he for you?   

·        If we are sincere, we will say that this is the hardest question to answer, and that we need our entire life to get closer to the truth.   

·        Who am I for you: John, Peter, George, Louis, Angel, Sonia, Olga, Sandy, Nancy, Guadalupe….? Do I mean anything for you? Do I make you as happy as you make me happy? 
Think and meditate, y you will see how the answer takes shape little by little through the  years.  
·        After that, Jesus, you explain  to them and to the crowd what does it mean to be the Suffering Servant, and you invite me to be like that Servant,   to collaborate with you in the transformation of our world into your Kingdom “take your cross and follow me.” The accent is not in taking the cross but in “follow me” because the cross without you has no meaning at all.    

SECOND READING – Jas  2: 14-18
*      It would seem that James is discussing with someone about faith and works.   
*      For James faith can be seen only through works, born from love: to clothe the naked, feed the hungry…  
*      James makes us reflect on the truth of our faith,   an invitation to live in truth our life of followers of the Suffering Servant, Jesus, our Teacher.    
*      Let us allow this reflection of James challenge our  our faith and our works.   


From the Writings of the Founder and Foundress of the Religiuous of Mary Immaculate Claretian Missionary Sisters.    

We imagine how happy must Your Excellency be to have been wounded to teach the holy law of our Lord Jesus Christ. I and all these your daughters we want to participate of the great reward that the Lord will give to Your Excellency for this in the eternal life, because Your Excellency might remember that in one of your sermons you said that we will partake of the spoils:  May we have the happy fortune, to seal our life shedding all our blood in confirmation of the holy law of the Lord!  Undoubtedly, our Most Holy Mother wanted to give to Your Excellency this award, on the vigil of her feast, and to her we owe the happy recovery of Your Excellency for what we give thanks to the Lord, wishing to have as soon as possible the pleasure to receive the paternal blessing of Your Excellency;  already from now  I ask it from you for all, receive the most respectful regards of all your religious sisters and count on  this your subject and daughter in Jesus Christ who loves you in Jesus and  Mary as she kisses  the hand of our Excellency.   Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress. Letter to St. Anthony Mary Claret, February 28  1856. 

The persecution has been terrible: in Holguin, in the street, I was wounded without being stopped by the light, or the presence of four priests and two safeguards that accompanied me and of all the authorities of the town who surrounded me…  After I left Holguin the persecution has continued. The enemies believed that we were going to sleep in a country house and instead we stayed in another, which is an hour before, and at twelve thirty at night they burned the house where they thought I was, being that house completely destroyed by the fire while we were saved in the other. What a providence!  We continued our trip and arrived to a farm called   Fraiguan, and we had to watch during the night, because we saw signs that the scene would be reproduced, and to avoid so many dangers and, not to be the cause that the houses of those who have the charity to lodge us, we rush to return to Cuba where we are now. If it continues like this I do not know what  will happened. Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder, letter to Currius March 15  1856.


CLARET, St. Anthony Mary . Letter to Currius in the History of the RR. of Mary Immaculate Claretian Missionary Sisters  by  Jesús Alvrez Gómez, cmf. 1980

PARIS, Venerable María Antonia. Letter to Claret in the History of the RR. of Mary Immaculate Claretian Missionary Sisters by Jesús Alvrez Gómez, cmf. 1980  

SAGRADA BIBLIA. Versión oficial de la Conferencia de Obispos de España. 2010



Monday, September 3, 2018


Last Sunday’s readings   

Ø  told us that it is not enough to listen to or to read the Law, we have to practice it. 

Ø  And it described also on what is the true Law that God has given us:    

o   To love and to serve those in need    

o   To love one another as Jesus has commanded us    

o   To even love our enemies.   

This  Sunday the liturgy offers readings that speak to us about  

Ø  Opening ears and mouth (EPHETAH = OPEN  ) to be free, to live and to proclaim the Law, the Good News of Jesus Christ.  

Ø  Allow God, Jesus, to liberate us from everything that prevents us to be free. 


*      The section of the book of Isaiah from chapter 34:1 to 35:10 has the same style that the part of the book called Second Isaiah (Deutero-Isaiah), thus it seems  that these chapter have been written by the same author, poet and cantor of Israel’s return to the promise land. 
*      Tell those who fear, do not fear your God, himself, comes to liberate and save you. 
*      This liberation is described in a poetic, beautiful and graphic language.    
o   The eyes of the blind will be opened, as if they had been closed,  and that was the reason they could not see. 
o   The ears of the deaf will be opened too,  thus the sound will be able to go through and thus  
o   The tongue of the mute will sing    
o   The lame will jump around as does the most agile animal the deer.   
o   What will the tongue, that was mute until then, sing? It will sing the wonders that God has made, makes and, will make in the desert.    
o   Not only in the natural desert, but also in the desert of the human heart, that lives closed to the beauty of our God.   
o   On God’s path, everything will recover its original beauty, and even more.  

*      This reading is in the liturgy for us, men and women, from the XXI century.  

o   Regardless of our deafness, muteness, paralysis, regardless of what we are lacking, our God will transform it in freedom, in joy, if we allow him.    

o   Our job will be to allow him to make us able to walk on his ways. 


This psalm is a hymn to God creator and protector of the poor. It is psalm of praise.    

 Praise the Lord, my soul!
 The God of Jacob keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
 The LORD gives sight to the blind;
the LORD raises up those who were bowed down.
The LORD loves the just;
the LORD protects strangers.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
 The fatherless and the widow the LORD sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations

R. Praise the Lord, my soul!

*      The God of Jacob keeps his fidelity forever.

*       He does justice to the oppressed, give food to the hungry, frees the captive and protects the foreigner.   
*      He gives sight to the blind; he lifts up those who are bowed down.    
*      He protects the widow and the orphan.   
*      However he removes from him the wicked who goes through crooked ways.  
*      Here we found the same theme as in the first reading; our God is not only  Creator and Liberator, but King as well.    
GOSPEL Mark 7:7.31-37
ü  Jesus leaves the region  of Tyre  goes through  Sidon toward Galilee, and from there to the Decapolis
The Decapolis = Ten cities: [deka=ten and polis=city]  was formed by a group of cities in the Eastern border  between the Roman Empire, Judea and Syria. They did not constitute a unity among themselves, but they were considered together for their language, culture, geographical and political situation.  All of them are situated now in what are Jordan, Syria and Israel.  
ü  Jesus is ministering in these pagan cities.     
ü  He adapts himself to the traditions and beliefs of the inhabitants of the region. They need the miracle worker to touch the place that hurts or to touch the sick person, and that he be alone with the one that need to be healed.  
ü  Jesus answering to this need of the people of the region, takes the man apart from the crowd, puts his fingers in the ears of the man, and touches his tongue with his saliva. There was a common belief that the saliva had medicinal properties.  
ü  Afterwards he pronounces the Word “EPHPHATHA” BE OPENED.”
ü  And immediately the man could hear and speak.    
ü  Jesus gives them the order not to say anything about that. We are again confronted with Mark’s “messianic secret.” 
ü  This secret is now necessary because this miracle cannot be understood, in due form, until after the resurrection of Jesus. 
ü  The Church has introduced at the end of the celebration of the sacrament of baptism an optional rite, in which the celebrant says  “EPHPHAHA” BE OPENED!
ü  Why? To listen to the Word and to proclaim it.   
SECOND READING . James  2:1-5
«  Brethren do not show any preferences  or distinctions  or discrimination, if you have accepted the faith in Christ Jesus. 
«  Because if, someone comes to you assembly well dressed and wearing rings, while another comes with dirty and old clothes. If you believe in Christ you cannot treat them differently. 
«  You cannot give to the rich a place of honor and forget about the poor. 
«  Is it not that, what you have done, says James? You have allowed yourselves to judge between those two persons.  
«  Listen and reflect my dear brethren, does not God choose the poor of this world to make them rich in faith and heirs of his Kingdom, Kingdom promised to those who love him?   
«  This reflection of James challenges us Catholic Christians from the XXI century, on behaviors and on our heart.  
«  We, like those members of the community of Jerusalem, make differences, but we do not bend over those that God has bend himself over, but we bend ourselves toward our selfishness and our sins.   
«  Let us not forget that:   
o   We have all been created by the same God   
o   All redeemed, by the same Christ Jesus.    
o   All brethren,  by creation and by redemption.  
o   All called to the Church by the same baptism and sealed by the same Spirit.   
o   All sent to the same mission: to proclaim the Good News of Salvation.   
o   Each one of us according to his/her way of life must accomplish the mission of the followers of Jesus, of the Church. The responsibilities in the Church are services and not honors, for which they had to treat us differently, better than the rest.  


Fragments of the Writings of the Founder and of the Foundress of

the Religious of Mary Immaculate  Claretian  Missionary Sisters.

I was very attentive, overwhelmed to what was happening, and it seemed to me that I was reading the Holy Law of God, but without seeing any books nor letters; I  was seeing it written, and I was understanding it so very well, that it seemed to me it was imprinting in my soul but in a particular way the book of the Holy Gospels, which till then I had never read, neither  the Sacred Scripture (O.T). After, by God’s grace, I have read something and I have seen it written word by word, as our Lord taught it to me from the holy tree of the cross. It seems to me that the words I understood were coming out from his host holy mouth.
Beside what I saw in these sacred letters (without seeing anything with my bodily eyes as I have said above) an interior voice in the depths of my soul, was explaining me their meaning and the way to practice (…)  To my understanding I saw everything in Christ Crucified who, as he was teaching me the divine letters, was explaining me their meaning… Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress. Autobiography 5-6.  
            Furthermore, this lack of resources abates pride, banishes arrogance, clears a path for humility, and disposes the heart to receive new graces. Thus it makes us ascend in perfection, just as lighter liquids rise to the top and heavier liquids sink to the bottom. O my Savior, make your ministers understand the worth of the virtue of poverty. Make them love it and practice it as you have taught us to, in deeds as well as in words. How perfect we would all be if only we practiced it well. What a great deal of good we would do and how many souls would be saved! On the other hand, if your ministers do not practice poverty, souls are not saved and the ministers themselves bring about their own condemnation out of avarice, as Judas did.  Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder. Autobiography 371.   


CLARET, Antonio María . Autobiography.

PAGOLA, José A. Following in the Footsteps of Jesus.  Convivium Press 2011.

PARIS, María Antonia. Autobiography

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

SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso. LA BIBLIA DE NUESTRO PUEBLO. Misioneros Claretianos. China 2008.