Wednesday, September 15, 2021

 

 XXV SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME   B – 2021

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. 

BOOK OF WISDOM

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, but Solomon could not write this book because he lived many centuries before .   

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 talks 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 does it mean,  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, masters.   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 he 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?    

CLARETIAN CORNER

 

 

 


 

…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   Claretian Missionary Sisters. Letter to General de la Concha, March 28, 1851.     

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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

  

Monday, September 6, 2021

 

24 - SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME –  B – 2021   

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

§  Today,  the Lord

o   Invites us to discover that in Jesus’ school the greatest is the one who serves more his/her brothers and sisters, not the one who abuses them to satisfy his ambitions of being the greatest.   

o   At the same time Jesus makes a estrange invitation, to take our cross and follow him.  

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 can be 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 to 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 2021. 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, and you will see how the answer takes shape little by little through the years. 

·         After that, Jesus, you will   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 “to take my cross and follow you.” The accent is not in taking the cross but in “follow you” 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 faith and our works.   

CLARETIAN CORNER   -

   

 J.M.J 

M. Antonia París de S. Pedro

Madrid, July 20 1868

Very dear Mother in J. C.: I have received you letter from the 15th of the current month and after reading it I tell you that I am so busy, right now , with other very important businesses  that I  do not feel like using my time in writing letters.   

Because I think you will rejoice in the Lord, I will explain a little one of these works in which I am really busy. It is a Plan of the Church which I already have in embryo. I have proposed it to the Queen and the King, the Minister of Grace and Justice, the new Nuncio and it seems good to all of them.  It has four parts: the first is on succeeding in nominating bishops. The second looks at the canons, how they have to be chosen, they will be chosen from among the pastors who had served well during 20 years, from professors of the seminary who had taught for 10 years and third from   employees of the Palace who will have served for 5 years as provisor, secretary, fiscal et … and also if a priest excels in knowledge, virtue or special services, according to the judgement of the Prelate.   

There is also another part about the fulfillment of their duties by the pastors. The fourth and last part, how to instruct the mind and form and educate the heart of the children that God calls to religious life, so that they become good friars.  When the gardener wants to plant the vegetable garden, he prepares beforehand the plants, and when they are ready he transplants them  to its place within the garden, and thus he has a   planted and beautiful garden.    May God grant that the corporal warmth of time communicates to them the warmth of the spiritual love.   May, all of you, love God and his Most Blessed Mother. I send these two holy cards, one for you and the other for Rev. Bofarull and tell him I have received his letter.   

 My kind regards to all.

Anthony Mary Archbishop of Trajanópolis

Letters from the Origins. Letter 273.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

RR. OF MARY IMMACULATE CLARETIAN MISSIONARY SISTERS. Cartas de los Orígenes (Letters from the Origins), 2009.

CONFERENCIA DE OBISPOS DE ESPAÑA, Sagrada Biblia, versión oficial. 2010