Wednesday, October 31, 2018


Ø  Last Sunday the readings invited us to reflect on the need of faith, as a loving adherence to the will of God, and as the longing to see the face of God, as   the blind man said to Jesus.    
Ø  Today we are reminded of the need to keep, during our entire life, the commandments of the Lord our God.   

Ø  The book of Deuteronomy is placed at the end of the Pentateuch and it is the summary of the  first four books of the Pentateuch and the prologue to the Historical Books.   
Ø  Some scholars consider that this book should not be included in the Pentateuch and should be part of the Historical books, since it shares with them the same Deuteronomist theology. 
Ø  Other scholars, on the contrary, believe that it should be part of the Pentateuch, as   the book of Joshua should also be.    
Ø  The Deuteronomy develops its own  spirituality and a theology which have had a decisive influence on the faith of Israel, which could be summarized as follows:  

Obedience to the Lord brings prosperity; disobedience brings devastation and death.   


Ø  When Israel is about to enter into the land God promised to his ancestors, Moses speaks to the people and tells them to keep the commandments all the days of their live.  
Ø  Commandments, which Moses puts on the people; if they keep them they will have a long life. For the people of the Old Testament, “long life” was a sign of God’s blessing and thus of a just life.   
Ø  The fidelity to the law of the Lord goes together with “to receive and to keep the land from which flows milk and honey” that is the land of abundance.   
Ø  Only in this way could Israel make sense of the Babylonian exile. According to the Deuteronomist theology, when Israel behaves well it prospers and things go well; but when Israel is unfaithful, it suffers defeats, exiles and all sorts of calamities.        
Ø  Many centuries will have to pass until Israel questions the equation: prosperity= just life, and realizes that it is not so easy to explain the sufferings and difficulties in life. They belong to the mystery of life, the mystery of God, and mystery of man.   
Ø  Moses concludes with these words addressed to the people: “Listen Israel, love the Lord your God with all your being.“  These words are also for us Christians from the XXI century, Listen… truly love your God more than anybody or anything else. Maybe we should say: be in love with Jesus, your Lord and Savior.    

R.   I love you, Lord, my strength.
I love you, O LORD, my strength,
O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.
I love you, Lord, my strength.
My God, my rock of refuge,

my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold!
Praised be the LORD, I exclaim,
and I am safe from my enemies.
R. I love you, Lord, my strength.
The LORD lives! And blessed be my rock!
Extolled be God my savior.
You who gave great victories to your king
and showed kindness to your anointed.
R. I love you, Lord, my strength.

Ø  The author of the psalm says that God is our strength, protector, liberator, refuge, shield, hope

Ø  Is this our experience of God? 

Ø  In the third stanza, we bless the Lord for all he does for us.    

GOSPEL Mc 12: 28-34

Ø  Following the theme of the first reading, the Gospel presents a scribe who wants to know from Jesus, which one is the first commandment. 

Ø  Jesus tells him what Is written in the Deuteronomy, and which the scribe knows by heart after repeating it so many times in his life,  

Ø  When he hears Jesus saying that the first is to love God above all, he is very happy.   

Ø  Jesus adds that there is a second commandment, which is as important as the first; it is to love our neighbor.   

Ø  There is no commandment above this two.   

Ø  Jesus summarizes for the scribe all the commandments in these two: the first three that are about God, and the other seven, which are about our neighbor.   

Ø  The scribe says to Jesus that to fulfill these two commandments is more that any holocaust or sacrifice.   

Ø  Jesus says to the scribe: “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”    

Ø  Let us often reflect on these words of Jesus about the law, let us ask ourselves if it is true   that the love of God and the love of neighbor govern our life.   


Ø  Jesus since he remains forever can always intercede   for us. 
Ø  The author of the letter says he is always able to save those who approach God through him
Ø  Jesus does not need to offer constantly sacrifices as other priests do; he only offered one sacrifice once and for all, the sacrifice of his life.  
Ø  These words fill us with trust and invite us to rest peacefully in God’s arms, like the baby sleeps calm in the arms of his or her parent. 


Fragments from letters of  the Founder and Foundress of the Religious of Mary Immaculate Claretian Missionary Sisters.     

I have just received a letter from our most beloved Nuns of Santiago de Cuba and with great pleasure I send to Your Excellency the copy of the Act of the Holy Visit that the Most Rev. Archbishop ordered to be copied in the book of the House;  because I have no doubt that it will please you very much to see, that Our Lord gives us another father so good that not only likes our Holy Poverty, but that with great love confirms us in it; this is a great consolation for me. Our most beloved Mother Mª Rosa has told me that when he was visiting the different offices he kept saying “everything is poor, everything in order;” I do not have to tell you the satisfaction of all, they keep giving thanks to God to have given them another father who with so much love and concern provides for their spiritual and temporal wellbeing. Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress. Letter to Bishop  Caixal, March 15, 1863, in History of the Religious of Mary Immaculate Claretian Missionary Sisters, chapter X note 29.    

In the Granja and now in Madrid I have met several times the Archbishop of Cuba, and I know he values very much the nuns of Cuba and all the nuns of this Order. His secretary Rev. Ciriaco is a blessed man and he values you very much. S. Antonio María Claret, Fundador. Letter to   M. María Antonia París, Septiembre 27  1967 in History… chapter X note 30.


ALVAREZ, Jesús , History of the Religious of Mary Immaculate Claretian Missionary Sisters, 1980.     

FALEY, Roland J. From Genesis to Apocalypse, Paulist Press 2005.


Monday, October 22, 2018


«  Faith is the most precious gift that God has given to us. 

«  Faith enables us to discover the loving presence of God in our life.   
«  Faith is a the light that illumines our way toward the eternal  embrace of the three divine Persons.   
«  Today’s readings open the eyes of the soul to the meaning of faith.    
FIRST READING : Jer 31:7-9
Ø  Again the liturgy offers a Reading taken from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah. 
o   The reading is  from chapter 31 which together with chapter 30 are called the little book of consolation.   
o   These chapters have a message similar to that of the Book of Consolation or the Second Isaiah, which tells of the wonders that God will do during the second exodus, the return from the Babylonian exile, the journey of the captives toward Jerusalem, their beloved and long missed homeland.  
Ø  The prophet invites to shout with joy for Jacob, Israel. To shout for joy because the Lord has saved his people, the remnant of Israel, the faithful remnant, the anawin, the little ones, the poor, the oppressed and marginalized, who have been faithful.  
Ø  The prophet puts before our eyes a wonderful sight; it is the huge crowd that God gathers from all the corners of the earth where they had been exiled. The prophet himself exclaims, how large is the multitude that comes back.   
Ø  It is composed by blind and lame people, image of the sufferings from the past, there are  also
among those who  return, pregnant women about to give birth, image of the life which is being born, image of the future.  
Ø  God speaks and says that if they left weeping    

o   Now they come back full of consolation because God leads them and  
o   To running waters, this means that they are not anymore in the desert, they are where water flows and gives life   
o   He leads them through smooth roads, easy to walk on.  
o   We may apply all these images to our spiritual journey.   
o   The exiled who return, those who migrate from their homeland seeking peace, bread and a land to call  home, they continue their journey in search of…. As the exiled from the first reading, whom God gathers and guides toward the land that will be their home
Ø  God speaks to us today, in the XXI century,  through these readings he calls us to open our eyes and see the reality around us,  the suffering of so many displaced persons, and to remember that our ancestors  have also been  part of that multitude, which the Lord loves and guides, waiting for us to open our hearts and our arms, as He does for us, welcoming  our brothers and sisters who knock at our doors.          


R.   The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.
. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Then they said among the nations,
"The LORD has done great things for them."
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad indeed.
. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those that sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.
The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.
The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

ü  It is a psalm of joy. 

ü  It speaks of a reality of suffering and sadness in the past, they left weeping, they sowed in tears   
ü  To a situation of happiness and joy such, that their mouth was filled with laughter and songs.   
ü  What God has done is so great that even the nations acknowledge it
ü  God has changed the conditions of their lives in a way that only God can do it. He has changed mourning into dancing.    
The change is such that if they sowed in tears now they come back rejoicing carrying the sheaves.  

GOSPEL  MK 10:46-52
«  In the   two previous Sundays Mark has presented to us three men that could see with their eyes, but were blind in relation to the teachings of Jesus.   
o   The man who wanted to reach eternal life  
o   The disciples who wanted the first seats   
«  Today Mark introduces to us a blind man who cannot see the light of the sun, but in the depth of his being he has the light of faith which makes him cry out Son of David, has pity on me, Lord that I may see!     
«  Not too often do the Evangelists give the name of a blind man, but here Mark says that it is Bartimeus the son (Bar) of Timeous or Timothy.  The Gospels mentioned very often-blind persons, it seems that this was a common condition in Israel.   
«  Jesus calls him, and asks   what do you want from me?  Lord I want to see.  Jesus says to him go your faith has saved you.   
«  The light, the ability to see is compared in Scripture with faith, which is the ability to see the truth of God, to discover his presence in our life, in the world.   

«  Jesus does not touch him; he only asks him and then says your faith has saved you.  The Lord is speaking to us of something, which goes beyond our natural sense of sight, faith in Jesus.   
«  For several weeks Mark has presented Jesus in his journey toward Jerusalem where he will give his life for us, and as he travels he teaches his disciples  
o   The hard lesson of how to be a disciple, to be like the Master
o   Lesson which reached its highest pick last week when Jesus taught about service as a service which is given, not doing things, but giving up our own life in service to others,  so that men and women may be able also to see with the eyes of faith.          
o   And, this service is the supreme love, like the love of Christ on the cross, the call to love every human being as brother and sister in imitation of Christ.  
o   Today, the severity and also the  fear that Jesus’ words on the following after him,  may cause        
o   Becomes lighter, and full of light like the eyes of the blind man Bartimeus,   
o    We have read in the first reading, the exiles return like the reapers singing as they carry their sheaves.    
o   He who gives his life for love will receive the same gift as Bartimeus, the light of the inner eyes, the light of faith, which enables us to discover the loving presence of our God, even in the midst of shadows.  


ü   We continue the Reading of the letter to the Hebrews  
ü  We have already said that in this letter the author makes a theological reflection on the priesthood of Christ,   eternal and only high priest of the New Law, the New Covenant.   
ü  The author says that any high priest  
o    Is of the same condition as the rest of his brothers and sisters  
o   That he has not given to himself this priesthood, that he has received it  from God who has called him. 
o   He is called to offer sacrifices for his sins and for the sins of others  
o   Since he is part of the same people; he knows  weakness and  sin because he experiences them too. 
o   Neither Christ did confer to himself the dignity of priesthood, but he received it from the One who said to him:    
§  You are my Son, today I have begotten you.   And You are priest forever according to the order of Melchisedech, who offered bread and wine.   
§  The One who said to him at the Jordan River You are my son, in whom I am well pleased,.    


 One night while praying and in bitter tears, pleading to our Lord that by the merits of His Passion and death to have mercy on the necessities of His church which at that time were many, our Lord told me and pointing at Mgr. Claret as if I saw him between our Lord and me.” This, my daughter, is the apostolic person whom you have asked me for so many years and with so much tears”.
His Divine Majesty showed me the grace He poured on that holy soul for the preaching of the gospel, and our Lord told me that there was no other remedy for the peace of the church. I did not know that person. Only a few days before I heard that a   certain chaplain by the name of Monsen Claret began preaching with much zeal about the honor due to God and the salvation of souls. It seems to me that have been at least eleven or twelve years ago.  Venerable María Antonia Parías, Foundress,   Autobiography  19.  

The queen made the Spiritual Exercises that first year and has made them annually ever since. She always leaves them with a great sense of contentment and has asked others to make them. She especially likes the text of them that I published, and she has asked me to bring her copies so that she can have the pleasure of giving them as gifts; and she counsels the recipients to at least read them.

All the ladies of the court have a copy of both The Straight Path and the Spiritual Exercises. Their Majesties both enjoyed The Straight Path so much that I had a deluxe edition brought out for them by Aguado Printers in Madrid. At present, both Their Majesties and the ladies of the court lead very edifying lives: they hear Mass, read the lives of the saints daily, recite the Holy Rosary, and frequent the Sacraments. The queen and the infanta, as well as many ladies of the court, come to me for confession. They all keep busy all the time. St. Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 615-16.    


CLARET, Anthony Mary . Autobiography.

PAGOLA, José A.  Following in the Footsteps of Jesus. Meditation on the Gospels of Year B. Convivium, Bogotá 2011.

PARIS, María Antonia. Autobiography, in Writings      

Ravassi, Gianfranco. Según las Escrituras- Año B. San Pablo  Bogotá 2005.

Sagrada Biblia, Versión oficial de la Conferencia episcopal española, Madrid 2011.


Monday, October 15, 2018


Ø  The readings again this Sunday are about service, a service accomplished giving our life for the sake of others.  
Ø  Pope Francis says: All these saints, in different contexts, put today’s word into practice in their lives, without lukewarmness, without calculation, with the passion to risk everything and to leave it all behind. Brothers and sisters, may the Lord help us to imitate their example. (Homily of Pope Francis during the Mass of Canonization, Sunday 14  2018.)          

FIRST READING : Is 53:10-11

Ø  The Servant is faithful to God.  On verso 10 Isaiah says that the Servant has been crushed, tortured not for his own sins but for the sins of others.       
Ø  Through his suffering, and the offering of his life the Servant will see his descendants in a long life.   For the people of Israel and for other peoples, a long life was a sign of God’s blessing, for those who were pleasing to God and did his will. 
Ø  Because of his affliction, of his offering his life, the Servant will see the light. The light is always a symbol of the presence of God, of everything that is related to God, to love, to the truth.  
Ø  Through his sufferings, he will justify many, and will take away their sins.  What a beautiful description of the mission of the Servant. Very soon the Church began to consider Jesus to be that servant, who had given  his life on the cross for  our salvation.
Ø  Every Sunday the Church, through the readings, invites us to follow the way of Jesus; today the invitation is to  offer our life to the Lord,  so that he may unite us to his redemptive sacrifice for the sake of men and women, our brothers and sisters.   
Ø  Jesus invites us to return to the source of joy, which is the encounter with him, the courageous choice to risk everything to follow him, the satisfaction of leaving something behind in order to embrace his way. The saints have travelled this path. (Homily of Pope Francis during the Mass of Canonization, Sunday 14  2018.)

Responsorial Psalm Ps 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22

R.  Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
Upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us
who have put our hope in you.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.

ü  God’s project is instantaneous, but it unfolds through history, it takes time, a long time for us to discover it and to accomplish it; but God accompanies us and protects us on our journey.   
ü  As we have recited in the psalm, the Lord loves justice and right, his goodness fills the earth.  How encouraging are these words!   
ü  The psalmist continues saying words of peace and consolation: the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those who hope in his kindness.  
ü  The last stanza that we will pray this Sunday is like a sigh of the soul: our soul waits for the Lord, who is our help and our shield.  With such a protection whom shall we fear?  

GOSPEL Mk 10:35-45

«  In the verses before the text of today’s Gospel we have encountered the man who wanted to reach eternal life, but was unable to leave behind his many possessions because he had put his security on them, and he went away sad because he had renounced to follow the good master.   
«  The disciples have heard what will be the recompense for those who leave everything behind and follow the Teacher.
«  Do we content ourselves with a few commandments or do we follow Jesus as lovers, really prepared to leave behind something for him? (Homily of Pope Francis during the Mass of Canonization, Sunday 14  2018.)
«  Now the two brothers, called in another place “the sons of thunder”  come and ask for a treatment of preference for them. (In Matthew’s Gospel it is the mother who makes this petition to Jesus)  
«  In the glory, in the future kingdom, in the eternal life they want to sit in places of honor, they have not understood the lesson that Jesus wanted to teach to the man who wanted to reach eternal life, neither have they understood the lesson on service, which he had given some days before. The first shall be the last, and the one who wants to be the most important shall be the servant of all.  
«  This is the eternal weakness of all us human beings, we want to be unique, the first, the most important, but we look for all of this in the wrong places, away from what God teaches us and away from what can give us happiness.      
«  Jesus assures them that they will drink from the chalice he will drink; they will accomplish what God has prepared for them.  
«  They will also be baptized, with the same baptism that Jesus himself will be baptized, his death on the cross
«  In a word, he is telling them that they will be very close to him, as they have asked, so close that they will share in his cross, but to give the important position they ask for, this is given by the Father.   I suspect that in the kingdom of the Father there are not places of honor, the only important one is God, all the rest we are servants sometimes good, sometimes unworthy.    
«  In the Synod on the New Evangelization celebrated in 2012, a  bishop from the Philippines said something very interesting, something that may help us to reflect  on our mission as a church and as members of the ecclesial community: 
o   He wonders about the indifference toward the church and its message, on the rejection of the church and he says  
o   The new evangelization calls us to a new humility  
o   The Gospel cannot coexist with pride. When pride invades the heart of the church, it hurts the proclamation of the Gospel.  
o   The task of the new evangelization has to begin by a sense of admiration and reverence toward the human race and its cultures.  (This is like and echo of the II Vatican Council that had an optimistic sight on the goodness of the world and on the accomplishments of the human race.) 
o   The evangelization has been hurt and continues to be hurt by the arrogance of its messengers.   
o   The hierarchy has to eliminate arrogance, hypocrisy, cannot anymore cover up its faults; because we are humans in the midst of our flock.  
o   He continues saying “Our mission is to propose not to impose.“   
«  Strong words pronounced by one of the teachers and shepherds of the church; but these words are for all and every one of us. How good it is that we acknowledge the need  to be humble, one among many, only then we will be leaven in the dough; only then we will be counted among those who need the doctor, need Jesus, who has come for our salvation.
«  May our good Teacher, who is humble, teach us the beauty of this virtue which is the truth.  


ü  We have a high priest who has passed through the heavens  

ü  This priest is Jesus, the Son of God   

ü  This high priest, Jesus, is able to understand our condition since he has shared it with us; he knows our weaknesses, because he has also experienced the weakness of the flesh, because he has been tested in everything like us, except sin.   
ü  He cannot sin because, to sin is to go back to nothingness, this cannot happen to him because he is the life, he is God himself.
ü   The author of the letter invites us to come close to the throne of grace, of mercy to find help.   
o   The throne is the symbol of the authority of our high priest, symbol because in the eternal life there are no thrones, but Scripture uses these images  to help us understand the message.  
o   It is a throne of grace, mercy, kindness, words used in the Old Testament to describe God who is compassion and mercy.    

I am seeing in this church the Most Holy Sacrament, Mary Most Holy, Saint Joseph, St. Bonaventure and the holy angels. Yes I see the grotto of Bethlehem, and you must represent the small donkey for your humility […]  The community has to imitate the ox for its patience, constancy and love for work, and with the breath of the love of God has to warm Baby Jesus, who is shivering of cold. 
Truly, you will laugh at my simplicity. That is ok. I am happy; like David who jumped in front of the Holy Ark, I also say these simplicities before the Most Holy Sacrament that is in that little grotto. May you have the kindness to greet from me Rev. Pastor and all the other subjects who have worked so much for that foundation.  Also to all the nuns.  Sincerely, your servant and chaplain. (St. Anthony Mary Claret, Founder. History ch. IX note 43.)

 This architect wants to direct our whole work of construction; he had put on the façade  a lot of gadgets, and after much supplication we could get him to agree to remove them, and he promised that he would do it;  but today we have sent a note for him to bring the plans to us, I have had a  hard time on seeing that he has done so many nonsense;[…]   You can imagine my indignation or displeasure, because, either we have to abandon  the work of construction because we can  appeal to no one, or it has to be left to the caprice of this architect, of whom all the master builders say that they tremble to deal with such a harsh  person and, since he is the architect of the city, he makes himself to be respected anyway.  I assure you that I am very overwhelmed, without knowing what to do, because, since the whole world is crazy for pride, all say to me that this is nothing, and with good conscience I can and ought to accept the laws because there is no other way. I assure you that if I had known this, I think I would   have not founded here, because I am so upset. (Venerable Maria Antonia Paris, Foundress. History ch IX note 44)


 ALVAREZ, Jesús, cmf. Historia de las Religiosas de María Inmaculada Misioneras Claretianas, 1980.

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

The Catholic Study Bible, second edition.

Information of the Synod on the  “New Evangelization” from the Whispers in the Loggia.