Monday, April 23, 2018


FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER –   2018

«  Starting with the 5th Sunday of Easter the church, through her liturgy, prepares us for the approaching celebration of the Ascension of the Lord.

«  The Gospels are taken from the discourses of Jesus at the Last Supper.

«  Today the Gospel reminds us, that Jesus has told us, that with him we can do anything and, that without him we can do nothing.     

 FIRST READING  – Acts  9: 26-31

-          In the Acts Luke narrates some events of the first  communities.   

-          He is not interested in giving us information about historical deeds, which were already known by the communities.  

-          Luke wants to invite his addressees to look these events and, reinterpret them in the light of faith  and,  discover in them the presence of the Holy Spirit, who impels the church to live as Jesus lived. 

-          Perhaps it would help all our communities, parishes and groups within them, to look our communal history and discover in them the living presence of the Spirit, who is leading us through the events, which sometimes may seem to us unrelated to our faith and with one another.   

-          And not only could the communities as such, but each one of us do the same with our life as followers of Jesus and, members of an ecclesial community. 

«  In past Sundays we have heard Peter speaking of Jesus to the Jews.  

«  Today Luke introduces to us Paul who has come back from Jerusalem.  

«  As much as he wanted to be part of the community of believers, they were afraid.

«  But there is a disciple who allows the Spirit of Jesus to lead him and, tries to make real in his life the precept of “love one another as I have loved you.” And he trusts in Paul whom he met in Damascus. 

«  Paul continues to be the man full of passion for the cause of God. He used to persecute the new sect called the “way” because, in his heart, he believed that this group offended YHWH, the God of Israel, the only true God.   Now his passion is oriented to make known Jesus, to be his witness.  

«  He already begins to suffer the mistrust of his Christian brothers and also his Jewish brothers.  

«  The former do not trust in him, the others want to kill him.     

«  Today’s reading ends with some words which are the summary that Luke presents  of the Church: 

o   She is in peace and this helps her 

o   To progress and grow in numbers  

o   What is the progress which Luke describes? The church progresses in the fear of the Lord, that is to say, in the loving faithfulness to her Lord, as we have heard in the reading for this Sunday. The little church, which is being born and developing, tries to live the commandment of the Lord “love one another as I have loved you.”   

o   As a consequence of all of this the Church enjoys the consolation of the Holy Spirit, Jesus Spirit whom he has sent to his Church. 

o   This consolation comes from the certainty to be, as a church, immersed in the loving presence of the Spirit thus, although as in a shadow, immersed in the life of the Trinity within the continuous exchange of love among the three Divine Persons.   

Responsorial Psalm. Ps 22:26-27. 28. 30. 31-32

 R. Alleluia.
I will fulfill my vows before those who fear the LORD.
The lowly shall eat their fill;
they who seek the LORD shall praise him:
"May your hearts live forever!"
 R. Alleluia.
All the ends of the earth
shall remember and turn to the LORD;
all the families of the nations
shall bow down before him.
 R. Alleluia.
To him alone shall bow down
all who sleep in the earth;
before him shall bend
all who go down into the dust.
 R. Alleluia.
And to him my soul shall live;
my descendants shall serve him.
Let the coming generation be told of the LORD
that they may proclaim to a people yet to be born
the justice he has shown.
 
R. Alleluia.

SECOND READING : 1 Jn 3:18-24

*      John invites his community to truly love and, not only speak of love.  

*      The love we have   assures us that we are dedicated to the truth. Let us remember that Scriptures speaks of God saying that God is love, God is Truth.  

*      The consolation we have when our conscience accuses us, is that God knows us; all that is ours is known to Him. 

*      And on the other hand, if our conscience does not accuse us, we can be sure to obtain whatever we ask for.  

*      What does that mean? Is it something magical?    

*      No, the answer is given to us in the next verse; it is because we keep his commandments.   

*      Then this means that what is given to us is given as a reward for our faithfulness to the commandments?  

*      No. If we are faithful in keeping his commandments this means that we have allowed the Spirit of the Lord to enter into our heart, it is the Holy Spirit that makes us like Jesus. We have the same feelings of Jesus, thus we ask only what Jesus would also ask.  

GOSPEL  JOHN 15: 1-8

Ø  The theme of the vineyard reminds us that in the Old Testament Israel is called the “vineyard of the Lord.”    

Ø  Jesus says that He is the vine; he is the fullness of what Israel was called to be “the vine, the vineyard.”    

Ø  John describes God as the vine grower who takes good care of the vine: he takes away what is dead, prunes what is alive so that it may have abundant life.  

Ø  Jesus invites his own to live in Him, as He lives in us.  

Ø  He says that if we are not united to Him we will not give fruit.    

Ø   When we become disciples of Jesus and we give fruit, we glorify the Father. The image of the vine should fill us with so much trust in the Lord, whom we contemplated last week as the Good Shepherd.

Ø  José A. Pagola says: The church will not be able to fulfill his mission in the world today, if those who called themselves Christians do not become disciples of Jesus, encouraged by his spirit and his passion for a more human world.   

Ø  All the Gospels during the Easter Season remind and invite us to enter into the intimacy of the Lord, and to find our joy in this same intimacy with Him.  
CLARETIAN CORNER  

The presence of God was continuous and without becoming tired and without doing anything from my part, being clearly everything  grace of God: and not even in the conversations I was distracted from my purpose, because if they did not speak directly to me , I did not hear  

God gave me such an attractive virtue, and a sobriety in all my works, and in the relationship with people that I stole the hearts for God and  all that treated me  had  much love for me.  God might have done it because he wanted to steal many hearts for himself by means of this sinner, as in the past God said to Thais the sinner. María Antonia París, Foundress. Memories and Notes (First series)   7-8.   
The first thing I did on arriving in Puerto Principe was to lead the local clergy in the Spiritual Exercises. So as not to leave the parishes unattended, I gave the Exercises in two different shifts. I rented a house big enough for all of us to live in. Then I organized one group of 20 and another of 19. We ate together and lived under the same roof day and night. Our schedule included lectures, meditations, recitation of the Divine Office, and the talks I gave. Everyone made a general confession, drew up a plan of life, and everything was put in order Antonio María Claret, founder. Autobiography 525.      

BIBLIOGRAPHY

CLARET, Antonio María. Autobiografía.

PAGOLA, JOSE A. Following in the Footsteps of Jesus. Meditations on the Gospels for Year B. Miami 2011

PARIS, María Antonia. Autobiografía en Escritos, con Comentarios por   Juan Manuel Lozano.

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


Monday, April 16, 2018


FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER – CYCLE B - 2018
Ø  Today the Church celebrates de 55th World Day of Prayer for Vocations  

Ø  In the liturgy of this 4th Sunday of Easter:   

o   Peter explains how the paralytic has been cured by the power of Jesus.  

o   John, in his first letter, says that we are children of God.    

o   And, in his Gospel he speaks of Jesus as the Good Shepherd.  

FIRST READING  – Acts 4: 8-12

·         Theology of the book of Acts:  Luke continues in this book   the theological presentation of the prophetic and saving journey that started in the Gospel.   

·         Emphasizing how, this journey   programmed and guided by God the Father  and,

·         Walked during his earthly life by Jesus, the Son of God, prophet and savior,   is now continued by the Glorious Christ through the Spirit and by means of the prophetic witness of the Church.  

Let us reflect on today’s message:

v  Peter speaks to the religious authorities of Israel and says with courage  

o   That the paralytic has been cured in the name of Jesus  

o   Whom “you crucified” but God raised him  

v  This Jesus of Nazareth is 

o   The stone rejected by the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 

o   Peter openly denounces how they, who were supposed to help the people to know God, rejected Jesus, the cornerstone.  But

o   God has given him a name above every other name, a name which saves us  

v  It is a pleasure to see how Peter denounces and at the same time announces to the authorities, those in power, their wrong behavior; and how God has manifested to the whole world that they were wrong, even having the authority,  and how, on the contrary,  Jesus was doing the will of the Father.  

Responsorial Psalm: Ps  118: 1 y 8-9. 21-23. 26 y 28cd y 29

R. (22) The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in princes.
R. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
and have been my savior.
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
R. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD;
we bless you from the house of the LORD.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
and have been my savior.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
for his kindness endures forever.
R. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone. 

·         In the first stanza we will say to God   “I give you thanks because you are good. I think that this the general experience of those who invoke the Lord and get closer to Him.  

·         And in the next stanza we will repeat again “I thank you, because you have heard us.” When we feel that God pays attention to us we are filled with joy and we feel moved to sing and to repeat   words of thanksgiving to him. 

·         In the last verse we will say “You are my God, I thank you. 

Let us sing with enthusiasm and with a thankful heart this psalm to our God –Father, Son and Holy Spirit.     

SECOND READING  1Jn 3:1-2

*      John says that the Father loves us so much that he calls us his children.  

*      And this is the reason that the world does not recognize us: what that mean? It does not recognize us: as persons? In what we do? In what we say? … They did not recognize Him either.    

*      But when he will appear we will be like him because we will see him. Does that mean that  to see him helps us to be transformed in his likeness?  

GOSPEL Jn 10: 11-18

Jesus addresses the Pharisees and tells them:    

v  I am the Good Shepherd, he had once narrated to us when he lived among us, the story of that shepherd who left the 99 sheep he had and went in search of the lost one, which he might not find. But our Shepherd does not stop until he finds us.  

v  He has called us all, to be shepherds of our sisters and brothers, servants like Him.   

v  In the next paragraph  John uses in different ways the verb “to know” which in Hebrew does not mean only intellectually but by experience, and it embraces the whole person. This verb is used to talk about the relation of intimacy in marriage.   

v  And the last message is “I have other sheep” they do not belong to this fold, we might say they do not belong to our parish, to our apostolic group, they belong to another church, another religion, they do not believe in God… But it seems that Jesus wants to tell us that nothing of this matters, that these sheep will also listen to him, listen to his voice, and that together with us we will make the only fold of Christ.  I think it means also that we are called to go and seek these sheep and love them.
  
 

CLARETIAN CORNER 



Our Lord gave me always the greatest love for my neighbor, and much love to endure his defects and bad condition, and always the conviction that they suffer me more. Thus I always was happy with everyone.  (Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress. Memories and Notes 6.)    

Beside the visitation and confirmations, I preached on all Sundays and holy days of obligation. I never failed to preach, no matter what part of the diocese I happened to be in at the time.  Toward the beginning of June I left the city and went to Caney, to conclude the mission that Father Stephen and Father Curríus had started and were very successfully carrying on. After confirming everyone, I preached the closing service of the mission. Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder. Autobiography  516).








Tuesday, April 10, 2018


THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER    2018

«  We continue celebrating with joy the resurrection of Jesus. 

«  Today John and Peter say words, that the Church has to repeat to herself to be able to make them a reality: “we have neither silver nor gold… but we give to you what we have, which is our witness of the RESURRECTION OF JESUS.    

 FIRST READING – Acts 3: 13-15.17-19   

«  Peter and John go up to the Temple on a regular day for the official evening worship.  

«  They see a paralytic, they do not only see him, but they see his suffering, his sadness, that cry out without words.

«  Peter, whose faith and humility have  grown after the resurrection of the Lord,   shares with him what they have: the faith in the Lord Jesus risen form the dead. In the name and power of Jesus GET UP AND WALK.  Jesus had said to them and in them to us also, “go, proclaim, heal, forgive…” For this we do not need money, only the willingness to serve and above all a great love for Jesus.

«  Peter pronounces his  second missionary speech:      

o   Why are your surprised? And why do you look at us as if we had done this work by our own power?  

o   The miracle, the healing of this man is the work of Jesus. You should not be surprised since Jesus had performed so many of these works during his life among us.  

o   Peter reminds his audience how the God of Abraham… has glorified his servant Jesus.   

§  Whom they handed over to the pagans.   

§  He reminds them also how they denied Jesus and asked for the freedom of a criminal.   

§  On looking at this people who did not know how to choose what is good and preferred death and evil, maybe we can recognize ourselves, our present generation and all the human generations. Is it not true that we also, very often, choose death over life?       

§  Let us think in how many ways the present culture of death is manifested among us.  

§  But God HAS RAISED HIM FROM THE DEATH AND WE ARE WITNESS TO  IT.   

§  Are we truly witnesses to the Resurrection? to the new life, with our life also new and transformed after we have encountered the Risen Lord?   

o    Peter continues saying that he knows that they acted in such a way by ignorance.

o   These words of Peter are submerged in the Father’s mercy. Mercy, which perfect icon is Jesus.

RESPONSORIAL  PSALM: Ps  4:2.4.7-8.9

LORD LET YOU FACE SHINE ON US

Ø  The tone of this psalm is of complete trust in God because, the psalmist has had the experience that God answers him  when calls.    

Ø  The theme of the psalm coincides with the Ester celebration, God, the Father has liberated Jesus from death, He has raised him up to new life.  

Ø  Some of the verses of this psalm have an extraordinary beauty; through them the person who prays manifests his trust in God: You have put joy into my heart. 

R. (7a) Lord, let your face shine on us.
 When I call, answer me, O my just God,
you who relieve me when I am in distress;
have pity on me, and hear my prayer!
R. Lord, let your face shine on us.

Know that the LORD does wonders for his faithful one;
the LORD will hear me when I call upon him.
R. Lord, let your face shine on us.
 O LORD, let the light of your countenance shine upon us!

You put gladness into my heart.
R. Lord, let your face shine on us.
 As soon as I lie down, I fall peacefully asleep,
for you alone, O LORD,
bring security to my dwelling.
R. Lord, let your face shine on us.

SECOND READING  1 Jn 2:1-5

«  Let us meditate on the message  

§   John writes to help the addressees of the letter to keep away from sin.   

§  But if we sin, we have an intercessor Jesus Christ, the just one.

§  John says that we will be sure that we know the Lord if we keep his commandments.  

·        To know is not only an intellectual activity but a knowledge that comes from love.

·        To keep his commandments is the same as to be faithful to the new covenant which He has sealed with his blood,

·        It means also to fulfill the only commandments that Jesus left us: love one another as I have loved you.

§  As is the case also in human love, those who are in love try to   

GOSPEL OF LUKE  24:35-48

*      In the previous Sundays we have heard stories of the resurrection narrated by Mark and John. Today it is Luke who speaks of the resurrection.  

*      This passage is found at the end of the Gospel of Luke.

*       Simon (Peter) has seen Jesus and this fact has convinced the others of the truth of the resurrection.  

*      The two disciples from Emmaus come and join the others. They tell that they  have  also seen the Lord and recognized him on the breaking of the bread.  

*      The small community already believes in the resurrection, through the words of the witnesses, but to be themselves witnesses they need also to have the experience of the Risen Lord.   

*      Jesus comes in their midst

o   They are so joyful that they barely can believe what they see. 

o   It is me, look how I have flesh and bones, ghosts do not have them.   

o   The risen one is the same Jesus of Nazareth, their teacher and friend.   

o   Jesus wants to convince them, “give me something to eat. You know that the dead and the ghosts do not eat.”   

o   Like he did for those of Emmaus, he also opens their minds so they can understand the Scriptures.   

o   Is it not true that he also does that with us?  He is the one who opens our mind? What a consolation to know that when we read, meditate and share with faith and love on the Scriptures, He is with us and explains them to us.    

o   After seeing the Risen Lord, after understanding the meaning of the events of Good Friday, they are ready to be sent on the mission: to be witnesses to all of this, what? JESUS OF NAZARETH  WHO DIED AND IS RISEN FOR OUR SAKE.   

o   To help you I will send to you the promise from the Father: THE SPIRIT, the strength what comes from the Father.  

*      We also need to have the same experience which those men had, in order to be able to proclaim:  

o   We need to see the Risen Lord, how can we see him?   

o   Everything begins for us when we have that personal experience, which we call our experience of God. 

o   Where? In a retreat, a happy event, a great suffering, the loss of a loved one, a sickness which diminishes our activity….  That which makes us exclaim “I have encountered the Lord” and it will always be the Risen Lord, because the Lord is risen.   

o   Sometimes this experience will be strong, maybe violent, some other times it will be subtle without being aware of it.    

o   From that moment on a conversion journey begins for us, in the following of the Master who journeys with us and goes before us.  

o   When  it is a real experience, even if sometimes it seems to disappear, it will always come back, and keeps transforming our life.  

o   This visible change in us is our way to announce that the Lord is risen. A second moment will come when we will have to use words to explain what has happened.  
CLARETIAN CORNER 

I also understood my extreme poverty for a work, which would cost me much. In this the Lord told me very confidentially that He had everything for me. I was so well assured of it that I never placed my confidence in anybody else. (María Antonia París, Foundress, Autobiography 59.)  
 

"What is lacking then, my Mother? Would you perhaps avail yourself of some instrument with which to remedy so great an evil? Here is one who however vile and contemptible he knows himself to be, is yet assured that he will serve the better for this end, since your power will shine forth all the brighter, and all will see that it is you who are at work, not I. Come now, loving Mother, let us lose no time. Here I am: dispose of me as you will, for you know that I am wholly yours. I trust that you will do this out of your great kindness, pity, and mercy, and I ask you this through the love you bear for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen."

Anthony Mary Claret, Founder,  Autobiography 156.)