Wednesday, July 12, 2017


XV SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME  – CYCLE A – 2017

The theme of the first reading and the Gospel is about agriculture: earth, water, seed; but these realities of our earth are used to take us to the level of the Word of God which does not go back before having fulfilled  his mission, in the same way as the rain fertilizes the earth and the seed, the Word changes our hearts and fulfills his mission: making us in the image of Jesus.  

FIRST READING : Is 55: 10-11

Ø  The Word that goes forth from God does not return without having accomplished its mission, 

Ø  Jesus, the Word made flesh speaks to us words of life, teaches us, calls us, and for love of us abandons himself in our hands   to be crushed   by our sins.  

Ø  On so doing he does the will of the Father who sends him to fulfill his saving mission: fertilize, make the seed germinate, to give food to….  

  RESPONSORIAL PSALM
R. (Lk 8:8) The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.
You have visited the land and watered it;
greatly have you enriched it.
God's watercourses are filled;
you have prepared the grain.
R.
The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.
Thus have you prepared the land: drenching its furrows,
breaking up its clods,
Softening it with showers,
blessing its yield.
R.
The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.
You have crowned the year with your bounty,
and your paths overflow with a rich harvest;
The untilled meadows overflow with it,
and rejoicing clothes the hills.
R
. The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.
The fields are garmented with flocks
and the valleys blanketed with grain.
They shout and sing for joy.
R.
The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.

The psalms may be classified in different ways. One is according to the final doxology after some psalms.  Using this method we discover 5 books of psalms.    

v The psalms were not written by King David alone, he wrote some of them only. But since he is portrayed singing the praises of God using musical instruments, the tradition considered him the author of psalms.     

v The psalms are prayerful poems. They are the expression of the diverse feelings common to all human beings in the diverse situations of human life.   

v The church from the beginning has organized the liturgy of the hours distributing the psalms along a pre-established time frame. In the church many pray the psalms every day, and it is true that sometimes we pray a psalm of sorrow and we are happy, but this is not a contradiction.    

v Why? Because we pray as a community, as a church in the name of the whole human race and giving voice to the entire creation. There are always human beings who weep, laugh, are born, die, are sick, are persecuted, are abandoned…. 

The vocabulary of this psalm is very beautiful and evokes the theme of the earth, of agriculture:  

·       The Lord waters the earth, his clouds are filled with water which falls upon the earth  

·       Thus the earth is softened and allows the seed to germinate   

·       And with the food that the fields produce, the flocks multiply.  

GOSPEL: Mt 13:1-23

*     This parable is like the model for all the other parables of Jesus narrated by the evangelists. 

*     The parable    

o   Describes a situation or a real event, from the daily life, a human reality with which the listeners may identify themselves easily.   

o   And after narrating this which we could call a story, Jesus makes us jump to another level of our life, the level of the relationship with God, with the other human beings and with ourselves.   

o   And leaves us with the task to draw the consequences in our own life, our response to the call that God makes to us through the parable.  

*     In today’s reading:   

o   The story is the work of a farmer and the seed  

o   The farmer, the sower goes out to sow, this is his work  

o   And to sow he throws the seed abundantly in the furrows 

o   And the seed o seeds fall in different places: the road, the stones, the thorns, and some in the furrows.   

o   According to the place the seed has landed its life will be different: it will be trampled under feet, burned by the heat, chocked by the thorns, will produce the grain in different measure.  

*     Jesus ends this story saying “He who has ears….”   

*     The disciples want to know the meaning and also the reason he speaks in parables.  

*     Jesus repeats the words of Isaiah which are difficult for us to understand because they are said according to the Semitic mind: God does everything, makes hear and makes us deaf…  But what this expression means is that if we do not want to listen, even if we are told we will not understand.  

*     And Jesus explains the parable:   

o   The seed on the road: the evil one takes the word from us when we listen without understanding, without reflecting on what we hear.    

o   The seed on the rock: sprouts very soon but it withers after a short time. Thus the one who receives the word with joy, with euphoria, but since it does not have roots it withers also, the enthusiasm dies out when the hardships to follow the Word appear in our life.           

o   The seed among thorns: The word is chocked in our heart by the many worldly worries and the seduction of riches.  

o   The seed that falls on fertile ground: The one, who listens to the Word, understands it and gives fruit. This understanding is the fruit of reflection and prayer, it is a responsible understanding. 

*     After finishing this explanation Jesus leaves to our responsibility to understand and make fructify the good God has put in our heart, and also in the heart of every human being.

SECOND READING : Rom 8:18-23

v Paul considers that the sufferings of the present time cannot compare to the glory that waits for us. 

v He says that creation is subjected, in some way, to suffering and groans with birthing pain, until it will give birth to the new creation fruit of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus. 

v Then the glory of the children of God will be revealed, glory like the glory of the Son Jesus.  



CLARETIAN CORNER

I thank you very much for the holy card of the divine law which you have sent me.  I am very grateful for it because the Holy Law is the only magnet of my love: from the moment God, Our Lord, taught me its beauty, the object of my meditation is the harmony of its beauty, and I would like to carry it written on my forehead to teach it to every creature.   (Taken from a letter of  María Antonia to St. Anthony M. Claret – Santiago of Cuba October 31st  1857).

The second means is the formation of the youth from both sexes, and for this I will write the booklet you asked me for; but I cannot do it until my return from the trip of the Queen and her family, because during the trip I have to preach every day many sermons; some days I have preached up to 8 sermons: to the clergy, the people, the nuns, the prisoners….   (Letter of St. Anthony M. Claret to María Antonia. Royal Place of St.    Ildefonso, August 31st 1860).

BIBLIOGRAPHY

CLARET, ST  Anthony Mary – Letters

CONFERENCIA EPISCOPAL ESPAÑOLA, Sacred Bible, official edition.

PARIS, Ma. Antonia – Letters

SCHOKEL, Luis Alonso. The Bible of Our People (text adaptation and commentaries by)  



 
 






Friday, July 7, 2017


XIV SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE A – 2017

Ø  The themes of the Liturgy for the  last two Sundays   have been about the following, how the disciple is supposed to be and what it means to follow the Teacher.   

o   On the XII Sunday we heard Jeremiah complaining with God because God did not tell him the consequences of following him,   his friends and fellow citizens, whom he loved dearly, turned their back against him.   

o   On the XIII Sunday our Teacher spoke to us about the need to do good for love of God,  love of the Lord and love for human kind.   

Ø  The readings today will teach something else to us: humility and meekness. Let us listen to and reflect in our the heart. 

FIRST READING – Zec 9:9-10

Who was the prophet Zecchariah?  

v His name means “The Lord remembers” or “May the Lord remember.”    

v It seems that he belonged to a priestly family,  he had a great interest in the temple.   

v His work has two parts:  the first is of a prophet called Zechariah it goes from c.1 to c. 8  and chapters 9-14 were written in another time and the author has been called Second Zechariah.       

v The prophet of the first part is considered to be the pioneer of the apocalyptic visions, in his visions we discover fantastic elements ( red horses, women with wings…) and the presence and action of a divine messenger.   

v The time of his mission was October 520 B.C. to December 518 B.C.   

v His message like the message of all the prophets is very much related to the political situation of his people.   

v Zechariah agrees with the reconstruction of the temple and of the monarchy, but acknowledges the ethical requirements of faith.   

v Maybe we can say that he wants a reconstruction of what in the past had helped the people, and it seems that he does not see the needs under the light of the future.   

v The second Zechariah cc. 9-14 was written by another prophet as we have said above, this prophet wrote between the years 330 B.C. to 300 B.C.

v Although there are many authors who think that this part was written in the time of the Persian domination  on the  V century before the missions of Nehemiah and Ezra, before the reconstruction.  

Message  of the reading for this Sunday     

ü  Daughter Zion, the city of Jerusalem, is invited to rejoice, why? Her king comes humble and meek.   

ü  These qualities are reflected on what he is riding, an ass not a horse, which was considered to be the symbol of power, dominion, and human pride.    

ü  This humble and meek king will destroy; eliminate war, violence from the midst of his people.  This is symbolized inn the elimination of war chariots and, the bows and arrows. 

ü  He will proclaim peace not only for his people, but for the entire human race.   

 RESPONSORIAL PSALM- Ps 144: 1-2. 8-9. 10-11. 13cd-14

R.   I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
I will extol you, O my God and King,
and I will bless your name forever and ever.
Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
R. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
 The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
 Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
 The LORD is faithful in all his words
and holy in all his works.
The LORD lifts up all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
R. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.



*     The psalmist will praise and bless God day after day.    

*     Because God is compassionate, merciful, generous, faithful,  slow to anger, his love is for all his creatures, he gives support and relieves those who are burdened.   

*     What a wonderful litany of who God is.   

*     The psalmist invites everyone to praise and bless God.      

GOSPEL Mt 11:25-30

§  These verses reveal to us the messianic prayer of Jesus before the surprising revelation of God to the dispossessed of this world.

§  Salvation does not depend on the knowledge we may have of the biblical texts and of the other articles of our faith, but on the capability to discover the path of God in history and the availability to accept his call.   

§  Together with the transfiguration, this is one of the highest  points of the Gospel.    

§  We can discover in this text an exultant joy,  fruit of his experience of God as Father.   

§  Jesus invites all the  broken hearted, the overwhelmed by suffering all those excluded by the social and religious mechanisms of our society; and he offers them to carry another yoke, another  load: the yoke of freedom which requires humility and meekness

SECOND READING  Rom 8:9. 11-13

o   Paul reminds the community of Rome that they are in the spirit not in the flesh, that is to say, that they live for God if they have opened up to the Spirit of God who lives in them.  

o   Because if we have the Spirit of Jesus, of God, we belong to him.     

o   And the One who raised Jesus from the dead, will also raise us up.  

o   Paul invites again to live according to the spirit, and not according to the demands of the flesh.    

o   This entails to live a truly  human and honest life,  and not a life of sin that dehumanizes  us.   

CLARETIAN CORNER

Most Reverend  Antonio María Claret y Clará

The grace of the Holy Spirit be with Y.E. (your excellency). Amen. My most dear Father; the anxiety of all the members of this community to know of your  arrival to the secure port, does not allow me to wait longer before writing to you, hoping that by the grace of God you have already arrived to your destination.    

I wish and ask the Lord every day for the health of Y.E. May the Lord grant that if it is for his glory,  the change of climate you will experience,  may not affect your health, and may Our Lord give you the grace to counteract the great beast which is roaring.    

I am eagerly awaiting your determination to move to the House of Formation, which is so much  needed, as you know, and everyday I see more clearly that we should not  lose any more time.   María Antonia París letter to  Saint  Anthony Mary Claret,   Santiago de Cuba,   Junio 2  1857.









Saturday, July 1, 2017


XIII SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME  – 2017

The liturgy of this Sunday speaks about doing good for love of God. The family in the first Reading prepared a comfortable room for the prophet Elisha, the “man of God”, the psalm repeats For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord, and the Gospel says that those who do something good for others will not be left without a reward.   

FIRST READING  2 Kings  4: 8-11. 14-16a

Ø  According to Wikipedia, the town of Shunem  (Hebrew: שׁוּנֵם‎) was a small village   in the possession of the Tribe of Issachar, near the Jezreel Valley and south of Mount Gilboa (Joshua 19,18).It may be identified as the modern village of Sulam.

Ø  It seems  that Elisha, disciple of Eliah, went frequently to the town of Shunem and to the house of a good couple. 

Ø  In the Old as well as in the New Testament we find stories about good women who welcomed into their homes men who were passing by their city, as if they were messengers of God.   

Ø  Here the woman and her husband prepare a comfortable place where Elisha could rest.  

Ø  The recompense is huge and surprising, the couple will have a son, they have  prayed so much to have a son and the child never came.       

Ø  This is the generosity of God who recompenses the good we do.  

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Ps  88: 2-3. 16-17. 18-19

R. (2a) For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
The promises of the LORD I will sing forever,
through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said, "My kindness is established forever;"
in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.
R.
For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
Blessed the people who know the joyful shout;
in the light of your countenance, O LORD, they walk.
At your name they rejoice all the day,
and through your justice they are exalted.
R.
For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
You are the splendor of their strength,
and by your favor our horn is exalted.
For to the LORD belongs our shield,
and the Holy One of Israel, our king.
R.
For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

ü  The psalmist  shows feelings of joy, of thanksgivingand of  praise to God. 

ü  He invokes God  whose love is eternal, merciful and faithful.   

ü  The psalmist says that the people    

o   Who walks under the light of God and praises him is happy.   

o   He is happy also because God is his shield and his king.  

GOSPEL Mt 10: 37-42

Ø  The Gospel is the continuation of last Sunday’s reading. Only 4 verses are omited.  

Ø  Verses 37-39 explain the demands, the conditions of the following of Jesus:

o   The first condition is the fidelity to the Lord which

§  Illumines all the other fidelities required for a life as a disciple of Jesus 

§  goes beyond the fidelity   toward our family and any other fidelity  

§  asks us to carry the cross in his following   

§  and finally, accordingly  to what the Gospel says, it teaches us that if we hold on to our life willing to keep it we will lose it, but if we allow the Lord to organize and decide over our life, if we surrender to him, if we put ourselves completely in his hands, we will keep and gain our life.   

Ø  The verses 40-42 speak of the recompense to this fidelity in his following:   

o   When we welcome someone it is Jesus whom we welcome and, in turn we are welcoming  the Father.    

o   The recompense will be according to who we think we are welcoming:  

§  Prophet, just person, disciple   

§  Even the glass of fresh water that we give to a little one (poor, marginalized…) will not be without a recompense.  

Ø  In the responsorial psalm there is phrase that says  My kindness is established forever,
 How true this is!   

SECOND READING    Rom 6: 3-4. 8-11

Paul speaks here about baptism 

v We have been baptized into Christ Jesus death.   

v And  if we have been baptized into his death,  so too into his resurrection, his new life. 

v We have been given the power to die to sin, to have the strength and the energy to live a life for God far from evil, counting of course on the participation in the life of Christ Jesus. 

Paul ends his reflection saying: Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as dead to sin
and living for God in Christ Jesus.
 
 CLARETIAN CORNER

It will not be difficult for Your Excellency to understand the satisfaction that my heart experiences on realizing how great the kindness of God our Lord has been on keeping your precious life in spite of having the devil intended to take it from you, since without any doubt it was the whole hell that instigated that miserable man to commit such a horrid crime; but the Lord who has care of us has not permitted that evil prevailed, but he wanted to give to you the reward of shedding your blood for the divine Word. 

We imagine how happy you must be to have been wounded for teaching the holy law of our Lord Jesus Christ, and myself with all your daughters (sisters) we want to participate in the great reward that the Lord will give to you in the eternal life, since you might remember that in one of your sermons you said that we will participate in the spoils. Oh if we might have the joy to seal our life shedding our blood for the holy law of God.    (From a letter of Maria Antonia to St. Anthony Mary Claret – Santiago of Cuba February 28, 1856)   

Thanks to God my health is already good, and right now I am busy with the novena to the Most Blessed Sacrament, with a surprising participation in this Court. During Lent I have preached here and in the Escorial; I have given a mission in the town of  Valdemorillo;  everyone has received the sacrament of confession and I have confirmed more than one thousand people in the above mentioned town.  When I see the need there is of the divine doctrine and the hunger that people has to listen to it, I am anxious to go out and run through the whole world preaching the divine word.       
Every day the queen loves me more, and this afflicts me, because I see it is a snare which stops me, but I trust in the Lord, that when the time comes he will arrange at his will and pleasure.   I am very glad about the good news you give me about the friend Caixal; it seems that he has forgotten me completely. My kind regards to the community. 
(From a letter of St. Anthony Mary Claret to Maria Antonia Paris, April 13  1860.)  




Wednesday, June 21, 2017


 XII SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME  - 2017

FIRST READING  - Jer 20: 10-13

Ø  The first reading is taken from chapter 20 of the book of Jeremiah, chapter called “the confessions of Jeremiah.” 

Ø  The prophet is suffering from the betrayal of his friends, but also because his best friend “God”, who has called him from his mother’s womb to be a prophet, in some way he has also deceived him (seduced) or disappointed.   

Ø  Or at least he has never told him the consequences of his faithfulness to God’s call.   

Ø  The whole chapter shows feelings of sorrow, and at the same time, of trust in the God whom Jeremiah loves with all his being. 

Ø  Maybe in the feelings expressed by Jeremiah we might be able to see our own sufferings.  

Ø   May we be able to have also this same love, and may we be able to say with St. Paul “I know whom I have trusted.”  

Let us see what the first reading for this Sunday tells us  

v v. 10 we have the cause of the suffering of Jeremiah, the betrayal of his friends who want to report him to see what he will do, to see if he continues to be faithful.  

v v.  11  with this inner suffering, Jeremiah feels at the same time a great confidence in the love of God who has called him, the confidence of his protecting presence in his life.   

v v. 12 Jeremiah now addresses God, who “sees our deepest being and our heart. “

v As if he would say: “God you know that my works are according to what you have asked me to do.” And he asks God to avenge him.

v  v. 13 It is a song of deep joy, why? Because the Lord has freed the poor man from the power of evil.  
RESPONSORIAL PSALM – Ps 68: 8-10. 14 y 17. 33-35

R. (14c) Lord, in your great love, answer me.
For your sake I bear insult,
and shame covers my face.
I have become an outcast to my brothers,
a stranger to my children,
Because zeal for your house consumes me,
and the insults of those who blaspheme you fall upon me.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
I pray to you, O LORD,
for the time of your favor, O God!
In your great kindness answer me
with your constant help.
Answer me, O LORD, for bounteous is your kindness;
in your great mercy turn toward me.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
"See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.
Let the heavens and the earth praise him,
the seas and whatever moves in them!''
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.

The three parts of this psalm follows the same movement of the first reading     
*     The first

o   He says what is happening to him, he has become a  stranger for those of his town, of his race, of his family.    

o   The reason is because “zeal for the  house of God consumes me”   and

o   And thus the insults of those who blaspheme you fall upon me.

*     The second   

o   He calls and invokes God to come to deliver him   

o   But in the psalm there is a peace and tenderness which is not found in the confessions of Jeremiah, who is still struggling with his sufferings.   

o   For the psalmist God is good and kind.     

*     The third    

o   The responsorial psalm ends calling heaven, earth and sea 

o   Because God is never deaf to the cry of the poor whom he never abandons. 

And as a background music the assembly repeats the theme of this Sunday:  God is good and listens to us, even  when our experience is that God keeps silence, and it seems as though he does not hear the cry of our suffering. 

GOSPEL Mt 10: 26-33

v vv. 26-27 Jesus says to his disciples

o   that they do not have to fear men, because there is nothing hidden that will not be known. 

o   And he invites them to speak and say what he has told them even those things which were whispered to their ears. 

v v. 28 The one you have to fear is he who can not only kill you but throw you into hell. 

v vv. 29-31 Jesus tells them the reason why they do not have to fear   

o   He invites them to look around, to creation and fix their eyes on the birds which nobody pays attention to, like “the sparrows.”   

o   And however none is forgotten by the Father who takes care of them.   

o   And he leads them to look at themselves, “all the hairs of you head are counted…”  Do we realice what he is saying?    

o   Then if even our hairs are important for our Father, and if the sparrows are important too, why do we fear?   

o   Because we are worth much more than many sparrows.   

v vv.32-33 I have never been able to understand the two verses that follow, I do not understand what the Lords really wants to say   

o   If I acknowledge him, he will acknowledge me, but if not….   

o   These words are written by the evangelist because he had heard them from Jesus.    

o   But my difficulty to understand is because from the Gospel we know that the heart of the Lord forgives always. We have examples like Peter, “I do not know this man…” “Peter do you love me…” Feed my sheep, my lambs…  

o   I am sure that one day I will understand these two verses.     

SECOND READING  - Rom 5: 12-15

§  Paul reflects on the reality of sin  

§  That, he says, entered the world through the sin of a man  

§  This helps me to think about the consequences of  our sins, even those that nobody knows or sees. Any sin affects the entire human race as well as any good deed also affects it but in a positive way.  

§  And Paul says something very logical, sin has always existed even before the law of Moses, but if there is no law there is no punishment either. 

§  And at the beginning this punishment helps us to avoid sin. This is not what is perfect but it can help

§  Paul sees Adam as a figure of Jesus.  

§  And as sin entered the world through Adam, in Jesus sin has been forgiven and grace has been poured out abundantly

CLARETIAN CORNER

… But we faced everything and we left behind  everything for the love of Jesus Christ, anxious for a greater perfection and to dedicate ourselves to his holy service where there is a greater spiritual need, and where the religious education may be less  attended and our efforts more accepted in the eyes of God, because we did not make any  plans, except those who would lead to the greater glory of God and fulfillment of the holy law we embraced…    

Not without serious difficulties during the long and dangerous navigation that we did, we arrived to these coasts and, the pious people of Cuba welcomed us with open arms, having received every day clear evidence of their charity, and many parents from families in good standing, due to their social position and their strong religiosity ,  have manifested their eagerness that we request as soon as possible the authorization for the canonical and legal establishment of the holy institute for  education that we want to profess. 

Taken from the letter of  María Antonia to the Bishop Claret  September 25, 1852).



 My dear Sister in Jesus Christ: I have received your two valued letters, one written in the Canary Islands and the other in Cuba. Thanks to God you have arrived. Now rest, pray for me to God so that he may inspire us the way he wants to be served by you. As you have told me, although I am not present,  what I have arranged before leaving  is being fulfilled.    

My kind regards to all the sisters and all of you may count on my service. (Letter of Bishop Claret to María Antonia, from Manzanillo – Cuba June 3, 1852.)