Thursday, January 18, 2018


THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME. CYCLE B – JANUARY 2018



Ø  Jesus begins his ministry of proclaiming the good news.  

Ø  He keeps calling collaborators to help him in his mission.   

THE BOOK OF JONAH     

Ø  The book of Jonah is found among the prophetic books, although he is not a real prophet.

Ø  This book was written to counteract the nationalism of Ezra and Nehemiah, who promoted hate toward the foreigner, to everyone not belonging to the “holy and chosen” people.   

Ø  In the past this book was considered by some a historical one, while others thought it was an allegory. The idea of that book being historical has been discarded because it has some details difficult to reconcile to real life.   

Ø  Nowadays most of the commentators consider this book like a parable, a book belonging to the wisdom literature

Ø  The time of this story is after the return from the Babylonian exile, during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, between the V and II centuries BC. During the time in which the book of the Ecclesiasticus had been written.   

Ø  The message of this book is a reaction against the belief found and promoted in Israel that salvation was only for the chosen people. Also against the idea that God was a judging and vengeful God.  This is an offense against God who is love and compassion.   

Ø  The choosing of Nineveh is not without purpose; Nineveh was a sinful and cruel city, incarnation or representation of all that is bad, the city ruled by cruel kings.   

Ø  The book of Jonah wants to offer us the following possibilities:   

o   The oppressor is able to change his life.   

o   To accept that God is merciful toward all, even toward their oppressors.     

o   The message is more difficult when we realize that Jonah is sent to Nineveh, not to have the city convert to the religion  of Israel, but it is a call to conversion within their own religion. 

Ø  The book has two parts,  the two calls that God makes to Jonah: 

o   First call  cc,1-2 (Jonah does not want to do what God asks him, he flees )

o   Second call  cc. 3-4 (Jonah does what the Lord asks him to do)   

Ø  This book is a work of art of the Hebrew literature.   



FIRST READING  – Jonah  3: 1-5.10

v  The Lord comes to Jonah a second time, Jonah has already learned that when the Lord calls we need to respond to him.   

v  He receives a mission, something to do for a city, the city of Nineveh.  

v  It is a sinful and corrupt city, and also quite large.   

v  Jonah makes the decision to do what the Lord is asking.   

v  And he proclaims the message as he has understood it, probably he has translated the word in his own way to understand God “if you sin you will be destroyed.”

v  Jonah is completely sure that the people of Nineveh will not listen to the message, and will follow their own mistaken ways.   

v  But the reality will surprise Jonah, all the inhabitants of Nineveh, rich and poor, powerful and humble old and young repent and do penance. 

v  How often we are like Jonah when we think that persons and communities cannot change, and the Lord always surprises us allowing us to experience something different. 

v  And the city is not destroyed as Jonah had announced.   

v  The way the author of this book portrays God is very interesting: God sees, God repents, changes, and acts differently.   

v  We are all witnesses in our own life of this behavior of God

v  Maybe we do not have a theological explanation for this, but in many places of the Scriptures the authors describe God negotiating, changing, let us remember the conversation  of Abraham over the sinful cities, “and if only 10?... only 5?...”   



  RESPONSORIAL PSALM  : Sal 25:4-5. 6-7. 8-9

*      Psalm 25 is a psalm of supplication and trust.  

*      It has 3 parts:     

o   Invocation and petition     vv. 1-7

o   reflection   vv. 8-15

o   petition vv. 16-22

*      This psalm has a concentric structure: the first part and the third one have the same themes and vocabulary. 

*      In this Sunday’s liturgy the responsorial psalm is taken from the first and second parts.   

o   Petition to the Lord that he may have compassion and do not remember our sins.  

o   The last stanza tells us who God is and how God acts.  



TEACH ME YOUR WAYS, O LORD

Your ways o Lord make known to me   

Teach me your paths 

Guide me in your truth and teach me  

For you are God my savior.



Remember that you compassion O Lord  

And your love are from of old  

In your kindness remember me

Because of your goodness O Lord



Good and upright is the Lord

Thus he shows sinners the way

He guides the humble to justice

And teaches the humble his way.



GOSPEL  Mk 1:14-20

ü  Mark continues to describe   Jesus’ activity.  

ü  We find two interesting things in this passage:     

o   John is arrested and Jesus goes back to Galilee.   

o   Why? Because he is in danger, and his hour has not come yet?  

o   Or, maybe he is doing what he said, if they persecute you in one place, go to another, and continue to proclaim the good news?   

o   Whatever it might be Jesus is now in Galilee.   

o   In the way Mark describes Jesus’ activity we perceive the urgency of the proclamation.    

ü  What does he proclaim?   

o   This is the time of fulfillment

o   The kingdom of God is at hand

o   Repent and believe in the Gospel

ü  What time is this? Will it be the time in which Israel, and the whole human race, even without knowing it, have been waiting for the redeemer, someone sent by God to heal us? 

ü  What is this kingdom? Looking at how Jesus acts, we see that it is a kingdom in which God is compassionate, merciful, patient, who waits for, and wants the conversion of the lost. 

ü  Repent, convert? Change your ways,  instead of turning your back to God, walk toward him, look at your Father’s face, He is  always  waiting for you. 

ü  At the same time that he announces, he keeps calling, inviting other young men to follow him… I will make of you fishers of human beings.   

ü  These men, rough and used to difficult work, know how difficult the trade of fishing is, and Jesus is telling them that they will be fishers of human beings.   

ü  How  would   Jesus look at them?    How would   his words be in order that they followed him  with such readiness?

ü  The Gospel gives us only a synthesis of the whole process of leaving everything behind and following Jesus. I am inclined to think that they had a conversation with their closest relatives, those that lived in the same house with them, and told them  their decision.   

ü  They leave behind all that has been their life up to now, to begin the adventure of following that rabbi who has seduced them with his words, and with his look but most of all with his love.   From  him they will learn how to love.

ü  Have we experienced in our life his look over us, his Word calling us in the depth of our being to cooperate and  receive a mission from him? 



SECOND READING  1Cor 7:29-31

«  This is a difficult text for us to understand properly.  

«  Is Paul saying that the realities of our present life do not have any value? … as not weeping, as not …  

«  If the New Testament is the proclamation of salvation, of fulfillment, of joy, Paul cannot say to us that the other human beings are not important.   

«  If I believe that the good things that I have come from God, how is it possible not to fully enjoy them?  

«  What is Paul telling us? Maybe he is telling us that there is something which is absolute, rather someone who is absolute, and everything else is valuable in relation to him.    

«  From his words we understand that he gives for granted that we weep, rejoice, buy, use the realities of this passing world, of the present time, but his advice is, always look at the Kingdom that will come after this temporal reality.   

«  I believe that we will be able to enjoy what the Lord has prepared for us in heaven; in the measure we have been able to enjoy what he has given us in this present life.   

«  Why? It is the same God who gives to us the present things and promises the future, those of the Kingdom. 

ON JANUARY 17 WE HAVE CELEBRATED THE 133 ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH OF THE VENERABLE MARIA ANTONIA PARIS FOUNDRESS OF THE RELIGIOUS OF MARY IMMACULATE CLARETIAN MISSIONARY SISTERS.

Thursday, January 11, 2018


SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE B – 2018 

The first reading and the Gospel speak of vocation as call and, of the response of those called.  

BOOK OF  SAMUEL –

·         The two books of Samuel are placed between the book of Judges and the books of Kings. 

·         The two books of Samuel were a single book  and

o    They were among the “Former Prophets” (Joshua, Judges, 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings ) in the Jewish tradition

o   Or  among the historical books (Joshua, Judges, 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings, 1-2 Chronicles, Ezra,  Nehemiah, Tobit, Judith, Esther y 1-2 Maccabees) of the Christian tradition.

·         The books of Samuel have been composed from diverse oral and written traditions.   

·         The main theme of the books is the monarchy.   

·         The monarchy could only be understood as under the only kingship of God.  

·         At the same time the monarchy open the way to the messianic hopes.  

FIRST READING   1 Sm 3:3b-10.19

Ø  Samuel has been offered to the Lord by his mother Hannah, in thanksgiving for having conceived and give birth to him, since she was barren. 

Ø  The child lives in the temple under the care of the priest Eli.   

Ø  The author says that Samuel did not know the Lord and his way to relate with humans, thus he does not understand when he hears his name for three times. The boy thought it was Eli who called him.   

Ø  At the beginning Eli does not pay too much attention to the child, but later he realizes that it is Yahweh who is calling the boy. 

Ø  When you hear the voice again say: “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.”   

Ø  The reading ends praising Samuel, the Lord was with him and not permitting any word of his to be without effect.

Ø  When we read the book we realize how Samuel, after meeting the Lord, develops a friendship and deep intimacy with Him during his whole life.   

Ø  What a beautiful way to answer the call! We all have received a call, let me rephrase: We are all called here and now, the Lord continues to call us during our entire life, and it is our decision to answer or not his call in the diverse situations of our life.  

RESPONSORIAL  PSALM – Ps  40: 2-10

v  . (8a and 9a) Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I have waited, waited for the LORD,
and he stooped toward me and heard my cry.
And he put a new song into my mouth,
a hymn to our God.
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or offering you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Holocausts or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, "Behold I come."
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
"In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
to do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!"
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.



o   This psalm is beautiful, let us reflect on some of the thoughts taken from the verses.   

o   The psalmist waits for the Lord and God has listened  to him and put a hymn to God  in his mouth 

o   God does not want either holocaust or sacrifices, he wants to have us “here I am”

o   The Law of God is in the heart of  the psalmist, his desire is to do the will of God.  

o   I have not been silent; I have announced your justice.  

GOSPEL  Jn 1:35-42

*      John the Baptist is with two of his disciples to whom he signals Jesus as the Lamb of God.   

*      They follow after him, without saying anything  

*      Jesus asks them: what do you seek? I have read a commentary that says: at the beginning of the Gospel of John the question in the lips of Jesus is: what do you seek? And at the end of the Gospel on Resurrection day, the question is: whom do you seek?  

*      There has been a process from this first encounter to the resurrection.  

*      They ask Him: where do you live? 

*      And the answer is: come and see   

*      And John tells us that they went and stayed with Him that day.   

*      John remembers even the hour of this first encounter, around 4 p.m. 

John was so impressed by this first encounter which changed his life, that even in his old age he remembers it as if it had been yesterday.   

*      Yes, who has a true personal encounter with the Lord, will never forget this experience which will guide from that moment his/her life.    

*      Andrew, the other disciple who stayed with Jesus that night, goes on the following day to meet his brother Simon and invites him to meet the Teacher Jesus   

*      And Jesus gives him a new name, sign of the change of life which will progressively take place in the fisherman from Galilee.  From that moment on he will be called Peter, which means Rock.   

*      From that moment on Peter remains enthusiastic with Jesus with whom he begins a great friendship.   

*      The fisherman from Galilee, Peter, will have to work hard to assimilate the teachings of the Master, and to become the fundamental rock of the church of Jesus.    

SECOND READING  1Cor 6:13c-15ª, 17-20

ü  Paul reminds the community of Corinth that the body is not for immorality but for the Lord.   

ü  As God raised Jesus he will also raise us up.   

ü  We are united to Christ, and who is united to him has his Spirit within him/her.    

ü  And again Paul asks the community to stay away from immorality, since any sin is outside the body except immorality, which is a sin against our own body.   

ü  Because our body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit.     

ü 

 
We have been redeemed at a high price, thus let us glorify God with our body.


 CLARETIAN CORNER

At the end of this vision, or the next day, I do not remember quite will, our Lord told me: “My second apostles must be a living copy of the first Apostles, so as to the name as to the work. With the torch of the Gospel in one hand they must enlighten the wiser and ignorant men”. This God told to MGR. Claret and to the other.

In the morning, on the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, after communion our Lord told me that Fr. Claret together with his sons in the order of the Apostles of Jesus Christ, will be the bright star that with their clear and apostolic doctrine will dispel the ignorance of the present century that those who are blinder, I think call century of the enlightenment; His Divine Majesty added: this priest is the first, and I wish that he establishes the first houses of the order. Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Religious of Mary Immaculate Claretian Missionary Sisters. Autobiography 31-32



I was trained so well in obedience and resignation that I was always content with whatever was done, decided, or given to me by way of food or clothing. I never remember saying "I don't like this" or "I want that." I was so used to thinking like this that even later, when I was a priest, my mother, who was always very fond of me, used to say, "Anthony, would you like this?" I would always answer, "I always like what you like." "But," she would say, "there are always some things we like better than others." And then I'd say, "Whatever you give me is what I like best of all." And so she died without finding out what material things I liked the best. Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Religious of Mary Immaculate Claretian Missionary Sisters.  Autobiography 29

Saturday, January 6, 2018


SOLEMNITY OF THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD - 2018



INTRODUCTION

·        In this  Sunday of 2018 we recall the Magi who went to Bethlehem to pay homage to the New Born King of the Jews.

·        The readings show us the light and the darkness clashing, not in the sky we see with our eyes, but in our human heart.   

·        Darkness which prevents us to see and to adore God made a child, light that invites us to adore Him. 

·        Darkness that prevents us from discovering the presence of our incarnate God in every human being.  

·        Darkness that prevents us to acknowledge our injustices in the relationship with others.  

·        Darkness that blinds us and prevents us to truly believe that we are all brothers and sisters created , redeemed and loved equally.  

·        Darkness that prevents us to see the good in us and in every human being.   

·        This celebration is a good opportunity to look into our heart and discover in it our darkness and also our light, the light of God made a child.   



FIRST READING  – Is 60:1-6

«  This passage is taken from the book of the Third Isaiah. It is filled  with optimism, joy and light. 

«  The theme of light dominates the scene; the glory of God is the light that illumines the city of Jerusalem.  

«  The earth is covered with darkness, but the glory of God shines upon the earth.  

«  This light is a lighthouse that leads the nations toward Jerusalem.  

«  Look with joy, with overwhelming happiness all the nations come to you, the foreigners but also your children, those who were once dispersed, now return.   

«  They will bring to you the wealth of the nations, caravans of camels bringing  gold, incense and myrrh, and proclaiming  the praises of God.   

«  This invitation is addressed to each one of us  

«  Rise up, rise up from your comfort zone, from your inertia, your apathy, your being comfortable.

«  Look the light  is all around you in spite of the darkness

«  All that is human in you, your ability to love and to give yourself for love of others will come back to you, if you know how to discover in your life the light of God, his calling, his invitation to allow his silent presence inundate you. His presence can safe you from all that is negative in you in which you find yourself so comfortable.



RESPONSORIAL PSALM   Psalm 72   



R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
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.
Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
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.
Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
The kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts;
the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute.
All kings shall pay him homage,
all nations shall serve him.
R.
Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
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. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.



*      This psalm is a prayer for a king or for the crowned  heir. 

*      The theme of justice is present in the petitions for the king, so he will be able to govern with equity. 

*      Like in the first reading the psalm mentions the kings of foreign nations who will come to bring gifts to the king. 

*      The justice of this King will be to take care of the poor and marginalized, being like God whose justice is manifested through his compassion and mercy. 



SECOND READING  LETTER TO THE EPHESIANS

Ø  The letter to the Ephesians, together with the letters to the Colossians, to the Philippians, and to Philemon, belongs to the group of the Captivity Letters. 

Ø  For those authors who believe that the letter was written by Paul himself, the date of the letter has to be before his death, before 67.

Ø  But for those who think it was written by another person, probably a disciple of Paul, the date may be around the 80’s. 

Ø  This letter has many themes that we find also in the letter to the Colossians. 

Ø  It is a doctrinal and theological letter.  

Ø  The first part (ch.1-3) is dedicated to the Church, which has been prepared from eternity by God. There has been a progressive revelation whose culminating point is the Incarnation of the Word of God.  

Ø  In the second part what has been said in the first about the Church is applied to the behavior of the individual Christian.



EPHESIANS 3:2-3a; 5-6

Ø  Paul says that the mystery hidden in God has been revealed to him, and he announces it to us through his preaching.   . 

Ø  This mystery has been revealed to the Apostles by the Spirit. 

Ø  The mystery hidden in God and revealed now is 

o   that through the Good News, the Gospel, the gentiles are coheirs, copartners   in Christ Jesus

o   and members of the same body.  



GOSPEL-  Matthew 2:1-12

ü  Chapters 1 and 2 of the Gospel of Matthew and of the Gospel of Luke are called the “The Infancy Narrative.” 

ü  They are, according to an author, the summary of Jesus’ life and of the evangelist’s theology. 

ü  The verses we will read on Sunday give us the synthesis of   Matthew’s theology: there is a conflict between two kingships: Herod and Jesus, between evil and good.  

ü  Who was Herod? He came from  Edom from  the  South of Judea and near the Dead Sea. He was an ambitious and bloodthirsty man. 

ü  We find at least 5 different scenes or settings in this gospel. 

o   The Magi have followed the star and arrive in Jerusalem where they hope to find directions to find the New Born King of the Jews. 

o   Herod, the High priests and the scribes know about the prophecy and look in the Scriptures to find the exact place, which is Bethlehem. 

o   Herod speaks to the Magi and he inquires from them about the exact time they had seen the star. He tells them that, according to the Scriptures, he has to be born in Bethlehem. He wants them to come back and tell the exact place so he can go and adore him too. 

o   The Magi continue their journey and they see again the star which they had lost when they arrived in Jerusalem. 

o   The Magi arrive to the place where the holy family lives, and find Jesus with his Mother. Full of joy they offer him gold, frankincense and myrrh. Afterwards they take another road to go back home as the angel had told them.  

ü  There are many contrasts in these scenes,   

o   The Magi do not know the prophecies of Israel, but they know how to read the stars and seek with an open heart without ambition or power. 

o   Herod and the priests know the prophecies thus they fear, because they believe that this new born King is going to take away their power, to change their life style filled with hate and lies.    

o   The Magi found God without knowing him. The leaders of the Jewish people do not find or recognize him, in spite of having the information. 

CLARETIAN CORNER


One day, our Lord showed me the beauty of his most Holy Law. He showed me a beautiful scene of a vast and beautiful meadow full of the most beautiful flowers of all kind; they had the most varied and exquisite fragrance. I saw that they all had stain, some more than the others. Some had only a little stain but it disfigured the beauty that exquisite scenery. Our Lord told me: “do you see my daughter the beauty of the flowers are breaking of my holy law. I had nobody to observe it, because there is no one who keeps the precept of charity.

“In your heart and that of your confessor I want o imprint my Law”. This vision came so suddenly, without my thinking anything about it. It got me in the middle of the choir, as I was to genuflect before going out. There I was struck. I could not move forward nor go back to my place.    Venerable María Antonia Paris, Foundress of the Religious of Mary Immaculate, Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 27-28



Besides having a very good elementary teacher, which, as I have said, is no small gift from heaven, I also had good parents who cooperated with my teacher in molding my understanding in truth and nurturing my heart in the practice of religion and all the virtues. Every day after lunch, which we ate at a quarter past twelve, my father had me read a spiritual book, and at night we would sit for a while around the table, where he would always tell us something edifying and instructive until it was time for us to retire. St. Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 25





BIBLIOGRAPHY

  

SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso, La Biblia de nuestro Pueblo.

SAGRADA BIBLIA, Versión Oficial de la Conferencia Episcopal Española.

THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE, Donald Senior and John J. Collins, Editors. Second edition