Sunday, December 4, 2016


THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT - CYCLE A - DECEMBER 11, 2016



Today the liturgy invites us to rejoice because the Lord is near.  



FIRST READING  - Is 35:1-6a, 10

v  We hear again the prophet Isaiah who comes with a message of hope and joy.    

v  The text has three different parts, but all of them invite us to rejoice. 

v  Verses 1 and 2 give a description of how nature will show this joy, it will flourish, its beauty will be like the Carmel, and they will see the beauty of our God.  

v  Verses 3 and 4 are an invitation to all those who feel themselves humiliated, oppressed, cowards in front of   suffering, those who are afraid, who doubt, to get back their strength, because God himself comes to set them free. 

v  Verses 5 and 6a describe what will happen to all of them when the presence of God will be a reality: the blind shall see, the ears that are closed will be opened, the tongue that does not know how to speak, will sing. 

v  Verse 10 is like the finale of a great opera, when all the characters come together,  the prophet Isaiah repeats his theme about joy, which has become an exuberant joy, because those that have been ransomed  come back singing, dancing,   then suffering and evil will be no more.   

v  The Gospel will tell us that this presence of God among us is Jesus.   

v  Each one of us may enter in his or her own heart and remember the joy when our life changed. Peace and joy came when we welcomed the Lord and allowed him to be part of our personal history.    

RESPONSORIAL PSALM :  Psalm  146

LORD, COME AND SAVE US

The Lord God keeps faith forever

secures justice for the oppressed,

gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets captives free.

LORD, COME AND SAVE US

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

LORD, COME AND SAVE US

The fatherless and the widow he sustains

but the way of the wicked he thwarts.

The Lord shall reign forever;

your God, O Zion, through all generations.

LORD, COME AND SAVE US



*      This psalm sings the tender love of God and the care he takes of all of us his children of all times.  

*      The Lord loves the just, the just who is like Him, and the Lord thwarts the way of the wicked. We know, looking at Jesus, that this sentence of the psalm does  not mean that God takes vengeance or   destroys, on the contrary,  like a good father God looks for ways to have his children come back to the father's home, even if these may cause suffering.       

*      The Lord reigns loving all of us.  



GOSPEL  Mt 11:2-11

Ø  We see again John the Baptist.      

Ø  John is not baptizing anymore          

Ø  It is the sunset of this prophet of fire, he cannot go from one place to another, but his tongue continues to challenge Herod and all of us as well.    

Ø  In prison he hears about Jesus, and he is confused, he does not understand, this is not what he understood God had communicated to him. This is not what Isaiah had foretold about the coming of the Lord among us.   

Ø  When God would come he would destroy the designs and the ways of the wicked.   

Ø  But, on the contrary, he hears that Jesus is different, this young prophet sits at table with sinners, allows prostitutes to get close to him, he allows also sick women to touch him to be cured, he hugs the children... John does not understand Jesus' behavior.  

Ø  At the beginning when he baptized Jesus, John was happy because the one who had to come was already present, but now he is not sure about that. 

Ø  He sends some of his disciples to Jesus to ask him "Are you the one who has to come or should we look for another?   

Ø  Jesus does not give a direct answer, but he tells them to report to John what they have seen, so that he may understand that what Isaiah had prophesized is taking place already.   

Ø  The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are made clean, the deaf hear, the dead come back to life, the good news is preached to the poor.   

Ø  And happy those who take no offense at him, but are able to discover en him the presence of the God who saves loving. 

Ø  When the messengers left Jesus speaks about John:  

v  He is not a reed that moves according to the direction of the wind; John does not change his message or his life, even faced with death.     

v  He does not dress in fine clothes, those who do so live in palaces, but John lives in the desert.   

v  John is more than a prophet, he is the prophet foretold in the Old Testament, the one who was going to prepare the way of the Lord.    

v  he is the greatest of those born of woman, but the least in the kingdom is greater than John. 

Ø  When we allow the Lord to be our king, to be the Lord of our life, to lead our life, what the Lord told the disciples of John take place in us.    

v  We begin to look at reality, the human beings, at ourselves in a different way, we see our truth and thus we begin a journey of conversion.  

v  We journey seeking justice and truth.   

v  We come to the Lord to be cleaned from our leprosy.   

v  And even more, we have ears to listen to the cry of our brothers and sisters who are suffering in any way.  

v  We accept our poverty and seek to live in poverty, with what is necessary, so that we may listen to the Gospel  message of salvation.    

v  Blessed are we if Jesus can say of us that we are not a reed that moves according to the wind, and also blessed are we if what Jesus preaches does not cause us offense at him 

SECOND READING   Jas 5,7-10

Before we look at the reading itself, let us say a few words about this letter

*      Due to his name the author could be any of the three men with this name in the New Testament. James the brother of John, James the son of Alpheus. It is not probable that they could be the authors. There is the third one called the brother of the Lord.  

*      For a certain time the theory of his authorship of the letter was accepted, however after much research this theory does not seem to be possible. Why?  

*      The Hellenistic  language and the literary style used in the letter, the Bible quotations taken from the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. Being a Jew, even being a follower of Jesus, he would not have used this Greek translation of the Bible.   

*      It is believed to be a letter written by someone who use the name of James as a pseudonym 

*      The addressees are probably the communities or churches from Asia and Europe.   

*      The literary style, although this work is called a letter, is more like one of the wisdom books of the Old Testament.     

*      The content is a series of instructions on the Christian life and behavior.   

Let us see what the passage for this Sunday tells us:  

ü  The author invites the community to be patient, and gives the comparison of the farmer's patience, waiting for the appropriate time to get the fruit of his labor.  

ü  He invites them also to strengthen their heart, to be firm, why? Because the LORD IS NEAR. 

ü  Do not complain about one another, because the Judge of all is at the door.   

ü  He ends with an invitation to look at the hardships endured by the prophets from the past, who spoke in the name of the Lord.   

ü  All these advices will help us to make real what the prophet Isaiah announced and Jesus accomplished. 



  POST-SYNODAL  APOSTOLIC  EXHORTATION AMORIS  LÆTITIA
POPE FRANCIS

Love is not boastful

97. The following word, perpereúetai, denotes vainglory, the need to be haughty, pedantic and somewhat pushy.  Those who love not only refrain from speaking too much about themselves, but are focused on others; they do not need to be the centre of attention.  The word that comes next – physioútai – is similar, indicating that love is not arrogant.  Literally, it means that we do not become “puffed up” before others.  It also points to something more subtle: an obsession with showing off and a loss of a sense of reality.  Such people think that, because they are more “spiritual” or “wise”, they are more important than they really are.  Paul uses this verb on other occasions, as when he says that “knowledge puffs up”, whereas “love builds up” (1 Cor 8:1).  Some think that they are important because they are more knowledgeable than others; they want to lord it over them.  Yet what really makes us important is a love that understands, shows concern, and embraces the weak.  Elsewhere the word is used to criticize those who are “inflated” with their own importance (cf. 1 Cor 4:18) but in fact are filled more with empty words than the real “power” of the Spirit (cf. 1 Cor 4:19).



98. It is important for Christians to show their love by the way they treat family members who are less knowledgeable about the faith, weak or less sure in their convictions.  At times the opposite occurs: the supposedly mature believers within the family become unbearably arrogant.  Love, on the other hand, is marked by humility; if we are to understand, forgive and serve others from the heart, our pride has to be healed and our humility must increase.  Jesus told his disciples that in a world where power prevails, each tries to dominate the other, but “it shall not be so among you” (Mt 20:26).  The inner logic of Christian love is not about importance and power; rather, “whoever would be first among you must be your slave” (Mt 20:27).  In family life, the logic of domination and competition about who is the most intelligent or powerful destroys love.  Saint Peter’s admonition also applies to the family: “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility towards one another, for ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble’” (1 Pet 5:5).



BIBLIOGRAPHY:

NOLAN, Albert, Jesus Before Christianity,   1976.  

PAGOLA, José Antonio. El Camino abierto por JESUS. 2012.

POPE FRANCIS, POST-SYNODAL  APOSTOLIC  EXHORTATION AMORIS  LÆTITIA

SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso, Comentarios en la Biblia de Nuestro Pueblo.  2010.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016


SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT - CYCLE A - DECEMBER 4, 2016

ü  The theme of this second Sunday of Advent is peace

ü  Peace in an idyllic  society described with beautiful images by the prophet Isaiah

ü  Peace which is the consequence of conversion to the Lord



FIRST READING  - Is 11:1-10

v  In the liturgy of this second Sunday we read from the book of the prophet Isaiah 

v  It speaks of a time when everything will be good because a bud will blossom from the stump of Jesse.   

v  That is, the prophecy made by the Lord to David through the prophet Nathan will be fulfilled "I will build a house for you..." 

v  It is a time of joy because God does not forget his promises.  

v  The vocabulary used in this reading opens us up to life, to hope, to joy: will blossom, justice, evil will be destroyed, the gentiles will seek this new bud, and everything will be peace on the holy mountain. 

v  Upon this bud, which is Jesus, the Spirit of the Lord will rest with all his gifts. 

ü  And thus he will not judge by appearance, but in truth  

ü  He will judge the poor with justice, this is not what normally happens among us human beings  

ü  he will eliminate evil  

ü  He will gird himself with justice and faithfulness    

v  After this presentation of the new bud from the stump of Jesse, Isaiah describes an ideal way of life, which reminds us of the paradise described in the book of Genesis, when God in the evenings used to come down and walk peacefully with his creature-child-human being. 

v  In the society which will be born from the presence and welcoming of this new bud  

ü  Those who are contraries or enemies will live peacefully and friendly together: they will eat, play... their children will play and rest together. 

ü  Peace and goodness shall be such in this new society that the children will lead the wild animals, and a baby will play at the cobra's den.  

v  In this new society there will be no destruction, no harm because the whole creation will be filled with the presence of the Lord.  

v  Jesus is this bud over whom the Spirit of God rests because he is the Second Person of the Trinity, who has come to live among us to teach how to be brothers and sisters, sons and daughters. 

v  COME LORD JESUS and give us the strength and the wish to tear down the walls that separate us, give strangers the strength to live together, and to discover that you are present in every human being, give us the will to live in harmony and peace in our homes, work place and faith community.   

RESPONSORIAL PSALM   Ps.72 

JUSTICE SHALL FLOURISH IN HIS TIME, AND FULLNESS OF PEACE FOR EVER.

 O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
he shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
May his name be blessed forever;
as long as the sun his name shall remain.
In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed;
all the nations shall proclaim his happiness.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.

*      The psalmist prays that God may give the king the necessary  gifts to promote justice and peace. 

*      Maybe our problem is that we do not pray for those who govern us, to pray for them and for all who are in any kind of leadership, so that power does not blind them. 

GOSPEL Mt 3:1-12

Ø  John the Baptist appears in the horizon of Advent 

Ø  John preaches and calls people to repentance, to forgiveness.

Ø  The evangelist describes John as a man who lives with austerity; his voice is strong and threatening for those who do not accept the coming of the one who is to come. 

Ø  Matthew says that John is the one that Isaiah announced "A voice cries out in the desert, prepare the way of the Lord.

Ø  In spite of his fearful appearance, John attracts large crowds that come to listen to his words and to be baptized in the Jordan waters, as a sign of conversion, and of the willingness to change their lives. 

Ø  John speaks frankly and says terrible things: do not trust in appearances, do not trust in titles, do not trust in false securities, even these stones can become children of Abraham. What does all of this mean for us followers of Jesus of the XXI century? 

Ø  Is that a call for us to live in the truth of who we are? 

·         The truth of our baptism, of being baptized into the life of Christ, the Son of God. 

·         The truth of a real and true relationship, not made of mere words and false securities: "I am Catholic" "I go to mass every day" "I think of the poor in Thanksgiving and at Christmas"  "I give toys to the children of the poor, sometimes they are new and sometimes there are the toys our children do not want anymore", "I have the right not to forgive my enemy, to keep that grudge in my heart because they have hurt me..."    

·         Each one of us may complete this list of excuses 

Ø  John announces a baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire. This is our baptism, the one we received when we were children or maybe adults. Our baptism continues to act in our life every day. 

Ø  Let us listen to the invitation that the Church makes to us in this second Sunday of Advent. Let us listen to the voice of John who invites us to conversion to be able to follow the one of whom he cannot unfasten the sandals. Then our life will be as it is described in the first reading, full of peace and joy.

SECOND READING   Rm 15:4-9

§  Paul writes to his community and tells us that what has been written, has been written for our instruction. 

§  So that with the encouragement given by Scripture we may hope.  How is our hope? 

§  Then Paul exhorts to live according to the way that Isaiah describes, which will be when we accept the Messiah. 

§  The Messiah has come, he is in our midst "he put his tent among us, and walks with us" this is Jesus the Carpenter from Nazareth, whom we know to be the  incarnate Son of the Father

§  Paul  tells us "welcome one another, as Christ welcomes you, and do this for the glory of God.  

§  Christ preached to the circumcised, the Jews, to make present to us the faithfulness of God to his promises, so that the uncircumcised may glorify God. 

§  We may change the word circumcised by baptized.  Let us live as the first reading and the Gospel invite us so that those who do not believe, those who left the Church,  the unbelievers may come to the light, not the light of the city of Jerusalem, but of the Church, to be able to live a relationship of profound intimacy with the Lord and among us .

POST-SYNODAL  APOSTOLIC  EXHORTATION AMORIS  LÆTITIA

OF  POPE FRANCIS

Love is not jealous

Saint Paul goes on to reject as contrary to love an attitude expressed by the verb zelói – to be jealous or envious.  This means that love has no room for discomfiture at another person’s good fortune (cf. Acts 7:9; 17:5).  Envy is a form of sadness provoked by another’s prosperity; it shows that we are not concerned for the happiness of others but only with our own well-being.  Whereas love makes us rise above ourselves, envy closes us in on ourselves.  True love values the other person’s achievements.  It does not see him or her as a threat.  It frees us from the sour taste of envy.  It recognizes that everyone has different gifts and a unique path in life.  So it strives to discover its own road to happiness, while allowing others to find theirs.

In a word, love means fulfilling the last two commandments of God’s Law: “You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbour’s” (Ex 20:17).  Love inspires a sincere esteem for every human being and the recognition of his or her own right to happiness.  I love this person, and I see him or her with the eyes of God, who gives us everything “for our enjoyment” (1 Tim 6:17).  As a result, I feel a deep sense of happiness and peace.  This same deeply rooted love also leads me to reject the injustice whereby some possess too much and others too little.  It moves me to find ways of helping society’s outcasts to find a modicum of joy.  That is not envy, but the desire for equality. (95-96) 

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

 PAGOLA, José Antonio. El Camino abierto por JESUS. 2012.

POPE FRANCIS, POST-SYNODAL  APOSTOLIC  EXHORTATION AMORIS  LÆTITIA




Friday, November 25, 2016


FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT - CYCLE A – NOVEMBER 27, 2016 

  • We begin a new liturgical cycle and with it the reading of a new Gospel, the Gospel of Matthew.  
  • During this year Matthew will present   Jesus as the  Emmanuel.  
  • The Emmanuel who is where two or three gather in his name.   
  • The Emmanuel who receives as done to him our loving and our unloving actions.  
  • The Emmanuel who will be with us until the end of time.  
  • Today the three readings will speak to us about the coming of the Lord at the end of times, we have to be ready and watchful because,  with the Lord,  will come the restoration of everything and the destruction of all evil.   

FIRST READING  Is 2:1-5

ü  The prophet sees in the future a time of peace and good which comes from mount Zion where Jerusalem is build. 

ü  Jerusalem the holy city which, in the book of Revelation, will be the model city which comes down from heaven, the bride adorned for her spouse.     

ü  The peoples will walk toward this city because in it they will find the house of God.  

ü  The prophet gives an idyllic  and quasi heavenly description of  society when it will be built according to the model of the holy city.  

ü  Their swords and spears will be transformed from tools  of death into tools   of life.   

ü  Nations will be sisters to each other and, none will trained its inhabitants for war.   

ü  The text ends with an invitation to walk toward the light of the Lord.  

ü  All of it is a foreshadow of what happens in each man or woman who accepts the Lord in his or her life; in each nation that decides to acknowledge that God is God and thus decides to eliminate the idols of oppression. 

RESPONSORIAL PSALM  122,1-2.3-4.4-5,6-7,8-9

LET US GO REJOICING TO THE HOUSE OF THE LORD

I rejoiced because they said to me

We will go up to the house of the Lord

And now we have set foot

within your gates,  Jerusalem.

LET US GO REJOICING TO THE HOUSE OF THE LORD

Jerusalem, built as a city

with compact unity

To it the tribes go up

the tribes of the Lord

LET US GO REJOICING TO THE HOUSE OF THE LORD

According to the decree for Israel

to give thanks to the name of the Lord

In it are set up judgment seats,

seats for the house of David

LET US GO REJOICING TO THE HOUSE OF THE LORD

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem

May those who love you prosper

May peace be within your walls

prosperity in your buildings

LET US GO REJOICING TO THE HOUSE OF THE LORD

Because of my brothers and friends

I will say "Peace be within you"

Because of the house of the Lord our God

I will pray for your good.

LET US GO REJOICING TO THE HOUSE OF THE LORD

ü  Last Sunday, Solemnity of Christ King of the Universe, we read this same psalm.   

ü  The holy city whose external beauty in its buildings and other constructions, captivates the eyes and the heart of those who see her,  

ü  has also an internal beauty given by the peace her dwellers enjoy, and the justice which is administered at her doors.   

ü  The psalmist ends in the last stanza speaking about friends and brothers, he does not  speak about enemies as other psalms do.   

ü  Finally the members of the human race we have realized that we are all brothers and sisters, children of the one and only God, and Father, creator of all.   



GOSPEL  Mt 24:37-44   

*      On the XXXIII Sunday in Ordinary Time Jesus said to his disciples not to be troubled by those who announce the end of times to be near, because it will not happen so soon.  

*      The author of the Second letter to the Thessalonians was saying the same thing to his community.   

*      What the Lord tells us is to be prepared to welcome him, and he gives some examples taken from the flood. When it came everyone was doing his or her own thing, without worrying about other things and they were surprised by the flood,  like it happens to us with the hurricanes and earthquakes

*      The Lord says also that when he comes everyone will be doing their normal tasks, some will be working, and among them some will be ready and some not. 

*      To help us understand his teaching he gives the example of the man who has many possessions, if he knew when the thief was coming he will be ready to protect his house.   

*      Thus it should be with us who are waiting not for a thief but, for the Lord of our life, who  presumably we are waiting for.

*      At the end of the reading the Lord says again more clearly BE PREPARED, because you do not know when I will come to you.    

*      And this preparation is neither to neglect our responsibilities, nor  to repeat prayers like the pagans, nor kneel hours and hours in the church to "please the Lord" so that he will not be angry with us. No, this preparation is described by Matthew in chapter 25 of his gospel: I was hungry, I was thirsty.... each time you did to one of my brothers you did unto me.  



SECOND READING  Rm 13:11-14

v  Paul, like Jesus,  invites us to be vigilant  

v  He uses images of night and day   

v  When day comes we prepare ourselves for the day.  

v  When we realize that the Lord is present and wants to be part of our life, we leave our negative and sinful actions and we begin a new journey of life "let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the our working clothes.   

v  Paul gives a list of these works of darkness, of the night clothing which we have to cast off: drunkenness, unlawful and dehumanizing sexual relations, rivalries and jealousy.  

v  Then he invites us to change our night clothing and put on the clothing of light which is Jesus the Lord.    

v  At our baptism we were given a white clothe and we were told to put it on, use it, and keep it until  the day the Lord will call us.   

v  This white clothe is the symbol of Jesus our Lord, of the life of grace, the life of God which is offered to us so that we may be able to live as  children of the Father. 



POST-SYNODAL  APOSTOLIC  EXHORTATION AMORIS  LÆTITIA

OF  POPE FRANCIS 

The next word that Paul uses is chrestéuetai.  The word is used only here in the entire Bible.  It is derived from chrestós: a good person, one who shows his goodness by his deeds.  Here, in strict parallelism with the preceding verb, it serves as a complement.  Paul wants to make it clear that “patience” is not a completely passive attitude, but one accompanied by activity, by a dynamic and creative interaction with others.  The word indicates that love benefits and helps others.  For this reason it is translated as “kind”; love is ever ready to be of assistance.

94. Throughout the text, it is clear that Paul wants to stress that love is more than a mere feeling.  Rather, it should be understood along the lines of the Hebrew verb “to love”; it is “to do good”.  As Saint Ignatius of Loyola said, “Love is shown more by deeds than by words”.106  It thus shows its fruitfulness and allows us to experience the happiness of giving, the nobility and grandeur of spending ourselves unstintingly, without asking to be repaid, purely for the  pleasure of giving and serving. (93-94) 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 PAGOLA, José A.   El camino abierto por Jesús. PPC 2012

 POPE FRANCIS,    APOSTOLIC  EXHORTATION AMORIS  LÆTITIA





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