Sunday, December 16, 2018


Today we want to read in silent prayer and contemplation the Gospels of the birth of Jesus which are read at Christmas.   

Christmas invites us to let the mystery of God, made vulnerable, surprise us. 

Christmas invites us to be silent and to allow the Presence of our Creator and Redeemer fill us.    

Christmas invites us to discover His presence in each human face, especially in the children and in the most vulnerable.    

Gospel of the Midnight Mass – Luke 2:1-14

This Gospel has two different scenes. Let us contemplate each one of them.  

The first scene is the birth of Jesus:  

v  Luke puts the birth of Jesus in the context of the history of his time. He mentions  names and events,  that we can find in any History book. Luke wants to tell us that Jesus is a real human being, not a figment of our imagination.   

v  There is a census, something that all of us are familiar with, because every some years we have a census taken in our country.  A census is always about counting people. How interesting it is, to realize that behind the data of the census there are realities that we do not know, joys and sufferings in the lives of those counted, as it happened with the census of Quirinius.   

v  Joseph belongs to David’s family. According to the way the census was conducted, everyone had to go back to his or her place of origin to be counted.  Therefore, Joseph had to go to Bethlehem the city of David. He goes there with his wife who is with child, at a very late stage of her pregnancy.  

v  The time to give birth came as they arrived in Bethlehem. I leave it to each one’s imagination, especially of the women who have given birth, what this moment means for a woman. Then we may look to Mary and try to discover her feelings.   

v  There is no place for them at the inn. This can be understood in several different ways:  

o   There is no place because they are poor   

o   There is no place because the inn is full.   

o   There is no place because they do not want to be disturbed by a woman in labor.     

o   There is no place, because the inn is full of people and this is not an adequate setting for a woman to give birth. Giving  birth requires privacy, intimacy, sacredness.   

o   And the innkeeper, that I am inclined to look at as a good man, offers them the cave where the animals take refuge at night. There they will be able to be by themselves. 

v  And Luke says very briefly” the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn  son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes.”  

o   An the time came for her, the hour that every pregnant woman expects with joy because she is going to see for the first time the face of her baby;  but at the same time she is overcome by anxiety, she does not know what will happen to her, especially when it is the first child, as in the case of Mary. 

o   Joseph helped Mary to give birth to her son. I like to imagine Joseph, the just man, the good man, with tears in his eyes as the mystery was enfolding in front of him. Tears of thanksgiving and emotion on seeing the face of the Son of God made the Son of man. He would have to be the father of the son of God, his God who had asked him to change the plans he had for his   life with Mary, and thus cooperate in the work of the salvation of the human race.  

o   Mary sees, kisses, and feeds for the first time her baby, who is the Son of the Eternal Father. 

o   I believe that it is impossible for us to understand the fullness of this mystery, so full of joy and suffering at the same time.  Let us contemplate in silence, admiration and unconditional love this mystery.   

Let us contemplate the second scene of this same gospel: There are some shepherds watching their flock during the night.  

v  They live in the fields; they do not live in houses, not even in stables.  They take turns in keeping their flocks.    

v  Shepherds were considered people of not good standing in society: they were poor but they were seen as liars, as thieves, people who had to do many things in order to survive.     

v  To them the angel of the Lord is sent to announce the good news of the birth of the Son of God among us. An angel had also been sent to Mary, to Zechariah, to Joseph.   Let us analyze the message, because it contains several of the dearest  themes of  Luke:    

o   Be not  afraid.  Fear is the natural reaction of the human being in the presence of the Mystery, of God or of his messengers. Jesus will repeat these same words to his apostles on Easter Sunday evening.      

o   I have good news to proclaim to you, which will be the cause of great joy.   The joy of the presence of God in our life, in our society, in our history.  God is always a cause of joy. In the Old Testament, Zion was invited many times to rejoice because “your King comes to you.”  

o   Today, it is the “now” of salvation. Luke uses several titles to describe the child who has been born and who is the cause of joy: Savior, Messiah, and Lord. Jesus is all of that and more, but this is the paradox of God’s work, so different from our works and our parameters, our King comes as a poor and vulnerable baby.    

o   Poverty, although Luke does not mention the word poverty, he says that the baby was wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lay in a manger. These are signs of poverty.  God could only be born in poverty, because riches most of the times are void of meaning, and of truth. Real poverty is the same as truth.  

o   Praise,   many more angels join the first angel and they sang “GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST AND ON EARTH PEACE… to men and women of good will.   Praise and peace, two words that we find more than once in  Luke’s Gospel. After the annunciation Mary sings, in the evening of Easter Sunday Jesus greets his own saying: PEACE.   

Let us continue now with the Gospel of the Sunrise Mass. 

Gospel of Luke 2:15-20

It has been said that Luke was a painter, and that he painted the portrait of Mary; but some commentators say that the best paintings of Luke were painted with his words, not with brushes.    

The gospel of the Midnight Mass had two scenes. The gospel for the Sunrise Mass has also two different scenes: the shepherds, and Mary.   

v  The shepherds decide to do something about the good news they have received, they go to see the truth of what has been told to them. 

v  Because they go, they see.  What do they see? A newborn baby in a manger, Joseph and Mary.  We have here another of the themes cherished by Luke, faith.   He does not mention the word, but the scene speaks more eloquently than words. They see a baby and they recognize  in that vulnerable baby, as vulnerable as any other baby, the Messiah and  Lord.   

v  The shepherds made know the message that had been told about the baby.   

v  The first scene ends here.     

The second scene is about Mary.   

v  Mary kept all those things, reflecting on them in her heart. 

o   She kept them, these are her memories. The memories of everything that had to do with the baby:

§  At the annunciation; the reaction of her parents, of Joseph and  of the people of Nazareth. 

§   The journey to Bethlehem, during which both Joseph and Mary could share their experience about the baby that was in Mary’s womb. The birth, the shepherds… All of these are her memories.

o   She cherishes them in her heart, meditates on them. Luke does not say that Mary understands, she cannot understand them, they go beyond our human understanding. But she cherishes them, and believes because she trusts in the God who has made the promises to her. Faith is to trust he who has called us to life and has given us his salvation.   

Mass of the Day – Gospel of John 1:1-14

Ø  The Gospel for this Mass is taken from the Prologue of John’s Gospel.  Luke has painted, described for us four different scenes related to the birth of Jesus.   

Ø  John leads us into the mystery, he removes the curtain, this is the meaning of revelation, to see what is behind the curtain like in a theatre. He helps us to discover the mystery hidden behind the events and the different characters. 

Ø  In the two former Masses Luke has narrated the birth of Jesus, called Messiah and Lord.   

Ø  The Church, the community of the believers and followers, led by the Spirit sent by Jesus to her, has deepened into the theological meaning of the events related to the birth of Jesus.  Let us hear what John has to say

o   In the beginning  was the Word… and the Word was God.   If we go to the first book of the Bible, the Book of Genesis the first words are “In the beginning…God created… and God said … God says his Word and the abyss becomes a wonderful and beautiful creation.   

o   John continues his theological reflection and says that the Word existed from the beginning, that without him nothing came to be.  The darkness did not recognize him.  Darkness, our own and   that of our society, and  of our world  cannot understand and accept his light.    

o   John proceeds and says that the light, the Word,  was in the world, but the world did not acknowledge his presence. 

o   He came to his own and they did not welcome him. Sometimes we think that these words are said of the people of Bethlehem; but I believe that we need to enter into our heart, and to discover, in how many ways we do not welcome him into ourselves. Only in this way we will be able to understand the dreadful mystery of the human heart that can refuse to recognize and welcome his or her Creator.  

o   To those who did accept him…   According to some commentators  verses 12 and 13 refer to the virginal birth of Jesus, and also to our baptism.  

o   And we reach now the climax of the prologue AND THE WORD BECAME FLESH  

§  The creating Word, the Word who is the Eternal Father’s Son 

§  Became flesh. Flesh means the condition of the sinful and vulnerable human being. Without having any sin, because God cannot sin, he becomes like us, to be able to nail to the cross, as Paul says, our flesh and in so doing to give us his life, the life of the Father’s Son.   

§  He made his dwelling among us, in some translations he “put his tent among…” This sentence makes us think of the nomads, the pilgrims who do not stay in a same place forever.  We are all pilgrims in this world. He puts his tent and lives like anyone of us.     John Paul II in the document for the preparation of the Third Millennium wrote:  he loved with a human heart, he worked with hands of a man, talked… he was and is one of us.    

§  This gospel ends with the words that John will repeat in his I Letter. He is fascinated in awe by the truth of what they had experienced living with Jesus “and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.”   



Wednesday, December 12, 2018


-          This third Sunday of Advent has traditionally been called Gaudete, from the first Latin word of the entrance antiphon of the Mass.  Gaudete means rejoice.  

-          Joy because Christmas is now at hand.   

-          The celebration of the beginning of our salvation, the birth of Jesus, the Son of God made man in the womb of the Virgin Mary.  

-          Joy because every year we understand a little bit better, what it means that the Word was made flesh.  

-          Let us contemplate the message the readings bring to us. 


Who is Zephaniah? And what is his message?  

v  He is a  prophet during the kinship of Josiah, the King who restored the true worship, the fidelity to the covenant, the morality among the people of Israel. 

v  Josiah was a King of  Judah, the Southern Kingdom.   

v  He died in battle, and this event discouraged the people, because they understood the death of the king as abandonment from God. The king had worked for the honor of God and now God allowed the enemies to kill the king.   

v  Thus, they went back to the pagan cult and customs. 

v  Zephaniah is the prophet who has reflected and deepened more than any other in the true meaning of the fidelity to the covenant.   

o   Fidelity not made of laws, of fulfilment, but fidelity from the heart, from the truth of every human being before God.   

o   Fidelity made of   relationship with God and with the other human beings.   

o   Zephaniah goes to the root of what causes the sin.   

o   For him the day of Yahweh will be a day of destruction of sin, of burning like in a crucible all the evil, which surrounds the human heart, like gold is purified in the crucible.   

o   But this is not the end, afterwards salvation will come and the rest that will remain will live in humble fidelity.   


Ø  Zion, Jerusalem, is invited to shout with joy, to celebrate.  

Ø  Why? Because the Lord has driven out the oppressors, and he is “Your God who lives in your midst.” 

Ø  When this things happen, the Lord, will not only be in you, but he will rejoice because of you. 

Ø  God will rejoice over each one of us, because He, who has created us, loves us with a love without limits, unconditional, that does whatever it takes to attract us to him, so that we may be able to rejoice with his love and his peace.   How wonderful are these words!

Ø  It will be a day of celebration, because he will remove from us the sadness and the shame.  

Ø  We are also invited to rejoice, to leap for joy, our salvation has come, and now,   through the liturgy,  we make  his grace among us. 

Ø  Let us be filled with joy, God has come among us, and he continues to live in our midst and within each one of us.   


R.   Cry out with joy and gladness:

for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
With joy you will draw water
at the fountain of salvation.

R. Cry out with joy and gladness:

for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name.

R. Cry out with joy and gladness:

for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement;
let this be known throughout all the earth.
Shout with exultation, O city of Zion,
for great in your midst
is the Holy One of Israel!
R. Cry out with joy and gladness:

for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.

  • This week the responsorial psalm is taken from the book of the Prophet Isaiah.
  • More than a psalm it is a hymn. 

SECOND READING   Phillippians  4:4-7

§  We are invited to be joyful in the Lord. 

§  That our kindness be visible. If it is true kindness it will be visible.  

§  All of this because the Lord is near, and this is the cause of joy and kindness in our life.  

§  Let us hand over to the Lord our worries, He takes care of us. 

§  The fruit   will be peace.


 Last week Luke introduced to us John who was preaching near the river Jordan.      

His message is the answer to three questions and it is also a call to cultivate three attitudes in our life:  

v  The crowds, the people asked: what do we have to do?   

o   Share what you have, it is an attitude of fraternal love with everyone.  

v  The tax collectors, that is those in public office, want also to know 

o   Do not demand,  do not ask more than what is required by the law. Do not steal, do not defraud , it is an attitude of fulfilling our duties honestly, as simple and true human beings.    

v  The soldiers, the man dedicated to war, to defend the country want to know also:  

o   Do not abuse, do not denounce,  do not use your power to oppress.    

v  We can say that what John is telling them is to live their life serving and loving  their neighbors. This will be also the message of Jesus.  

v  Let us do the same, this will be the best preparation, not only for Christmas, but also to go to meet the Lord when he calls us. 

v  John announces the presence of Jesus, as the one whom John is not worthy to untie his sandals.   

v  He will baptize in the Holy Spirit and fire. His baptism will take possession of  our being, like the fire that burns the wood. 

v  This is the way of John to preach the good news.  


 After 8 days of my profession, the profession of my sisters followed who with my profession felt my fervent. They were mine.

 A few days after my profession, my prelate commanded me in virtue of holy obedience, to organize the original points of the Order, which I wrote in the year 1848, commanding me to write them more extensively as God our Lord had revealed to me to be His Most Holy Will. I was deeply affected by this command, but there was no means to find an excuse. And he told me to do it soon, that when he would come back from the Holy Visit, he would work to send them to Rome. . María Antonia París, Foundress, Autobiography 227-28.

Furthermore, I see that those who are pushing, striving, and begging for these jobs, positions, and preferments, without sparing bribes and other such wiles, are usually the very ones who least deserve them. May God deliver me from ever cooperating in a business that has such evil consequences: all the jobs ill-done, all the deserving and virtuous people passed over, all the pedantry, vice, and immorality enthroned—and all of it by the wicked hand of favor. Yes, I say it, and I say it loudly and clearly, hoping that everyone will take notice and leave me in peace: I have no interest in such things. Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder, Autobiography 627.


CLARET, Anthony Mary. Autobiography.

PARIS, María Antonia. Autobiography  

RAVASI, Gianfranco. Según las Escrituras-Año C. San Pablo 2005.

SCHÖKEL , Luis Alonso, La Biblia de nuestro Pueblo.

SAGRADA BIBLIA, Versión Oficial de la Conferencia Episcopal Española.



Tuesday, December 4, 2018


«  On our journey of preparation for the celebration of the Incarnation of the Son of God, and his birth in Bethlehem, we encounter John the Baptist. 

«  He invites the people to be prepared for the coming, the first coming of God to his people, in fulfillment of the promises.   

«  In the Second Reading Paul asks his community to be prepared for the Second Coming of the Lord.  

«  The readings are an invitation to rejoice because God walks with his people, he walks with us.  This could be considered as the third one of his comings, the way he comes to us during our life time.   


*      This book is  introduced as the work of the Scribe found in the book of Jeremiah    (32:12-16)

*      We do not have the original in Hebrew, what we have is the Greek translation. The Churches belonging to the Catholic and Orthodox traditions consider this book a canonical book, while the those belonging to the Protestant tradition and the Hebrew Bible consider this book as deuteron-canonical or  apocrypha.    

*      Due to the diversity of literary styles and forms (prose and  poetry) we can  consider the book as a compilation of texts, which was very frequent by that time. 

*      The scenario seems to be the Babylonian exile.

*       It is a satire of the pagan cult, mixed with prophetic oracles.  

FIRST READING , Baruc 5;1-9

«  The text transpires optimism, light, joy and peace. 

«  Jerusalem is invited to put on festal garments    

«  Because God will show to all the dwellers of the earth  the splendor of Jerusalem.  

«  Where peace, justice and the glory of the adoration of God, reign. 

«  Jerusalem is invited to see how her children come from the four corners of the earth.  

«  The vocabulary evokes the time of the deportation when they left in tears and shame   

«  God himself prepares the way to Jerusalem for the return of those who were deported 

«  There will be trees on both sides of the road.  

«  God himself will lead them in joy, light, mercy and justice.  

«  This reading can be also, an invitation to the Church community, that experiences times of darkness, as a consequence of her sins; to raise our eyes and   acknowledge the presence of Jesus journeying with us and see the great things he does for us. This will fill us with joy and peace. 


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. 

R. 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. 

R. 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 who sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.
R. 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. 

Ø  This is a psalm of thanksgiving and trust.   

Ø  Psalm, which describes the joy of the return of the captives to Jerusalem.   

Ø  The vocabulary used to describe the return is full of joy, trust, security because God himself leads them.  God also continues to lead each one of us to our homeland, the heavenly Jerusalem, we should also rejoice and trust like those returning from the Babylonian exile. 

Ø  Even the pagan nations praise and sing  because God has done great things for them

The last verse evokes the contrast between the tears of the departure to the exile and the joy of the return.   

SECOND READING:   PhilL 1:4-6. 8-11

ü  Paul shows his joy because of the way the Philippians are cooperating in the proclamation of the Gospel. 

ü  He tells them that he is confident that the One who has begun the good work in them will lead it to completion until the day of Christ (the Second Coming)

ü  Paul  wishes to go personally to  the community of Philippi, but meanwhile he prays for them that 

o   Their love may grow more and more 

o   That their knowledge may grow as well   

o   That they may discern what is worth according to our  faith.

o   That they may be pure and irreproachable for the Day of Christ.     

o   For the glory and praise of God the Father.   

GOSPEL  Lk  3:1-6

*      Luke after introducing his Gospel and after describing some events of the childhood of Jesus, all of this considered by Ravassi as the first scene of the Gospel,  introduces us to the second scene.  

*      In this scene we meet John the Baptist performing his ministry, his mission of preparing the way.   

*      Luke situates John and Jesus in a historical time which he describes with abundance of details

*      Why? To let  us know that Jesus is not a figment of our imagination, an object of faith without any historical base, but he is a real person who has lived in our midst. 

*      All the characters he mentions may be found in history books.  

*      John preaches repentance, conversion and penance.   

*      Luke says that in this is fulfilled what the prophet Isaiah wrote  40:3-5 

The favor the Lord gave me in this most happy day, which cost me so many desires and sighs, are already written in a draft of a letter that I will send together with these notes to the most Rev. Dr. Caixal, giving him the account of all my things. So, there is no need to repeat it here. I will say only one thing that I forgot there, and it is that after my7 profession, our Lord made me see how the devil hid in the deepest of hell, and remained there for some days heaping up with one another, pushing one another to be more hidden, biting one another with the greatest rage and furry. Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress,     Autobiography 226. 

Because the queen likes me and thinks so much of me, I know that she would be pleased if I asked any favors of her; but so far I haven't asked her for a single thing and I have no desire to do so in the future. What's that I've just said? No, I didn't put it quite right. There is one favor I have, indeed, asked of her many times and with great insistence: to let me withdraw from Madrid and the court. And it is just this favor, the only one I have ever asked for, that I have so far been unable to obtain. The worst of it is that, although I have some hope of getting it, I can see no way of getting it quickly. Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder,  Autobiography 625 


CLARET, Antonio María. Autobiography.

PARIS, María Antonia. Autobiography  en Escritos

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

SCHÖKEL , Luis Alonso, La Biblia de nuestro Pueblo.

SAGRADA BIBLIA, Versión Oficial de la Conferencia Episcopal Española.