2016 Commentaries

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Sunday December 25, 2016
The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)

Gospel John 1: 1-18

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God. And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth. John testified to him and cried out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’” From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side,
has revealed him.

Ebanjelioa Joan 1: 1-18

1 Hasieran bazen Hitza. Hitza Jainkoarekin zegoen eta Hitza Jainko zen. Hasieran Jainkoarekin zegoen Hitza. 3 Gauza guztiak beronen bidez egin ziren, eta egindakotik ezer ez da berau gabe egin. Hitzarengan zegoen bizia, eta bizia gizakien argia zen; argi horrek ilunpetan egiten du argi, baina ilunpeek ez zuten onartu. 6 Agertu zen gizon bat Jainkoak bidalia; Joan zuen izena. 7 Testigu izatera etorri zen, argiaz testigantza egitera, beraren mezuaren bidez sinets zezaten. 8 Ez zen hura argia, argiaren testigantza egin behar zuena baizik. 9 Hitza zen egiazko argia, mundura etorriz gizaki guztiak argitzen dituena. 10 Munduan zegoen eta, mundua haren bidez egina izan arren, mundukoek ez zuten onartu. 11 Bere etxera etorri zen, baina beretarrek ez zuten onartu. 12 Onartu zuten guztiei, ordea, berarengan sinesten dutenei, alegia, Jainkoaren seme-alaba izateko ahalmena eman zien. 13 Hauek ez dira giza odolekoak, ezta gizakiaren borondatez sortuak ere, Jainkoarengandik jaioak baizik. 14 Eta Hitza gizon egin zen eta gure artean jarri bizitzen. Ikusi dugu haren Jainko-aintza, Aitarengandik maitasun eta egiaz betea datorren Seme bakarrari dagokion aintza. 15 Joanek beronetaz egin zuen testigantza, oihu eginez: «Honetaz ari nintzen ni, “Nire ondoren datorrena nire gainetik dago, ni baino lehenagokoa baitzen” esan nuenean». 16 Izan ere, guztiok hartu dugu haren betearen betetik, eta maitasuna maitasunaren gain hartu ere. 17 Legea Moisesen bidez eman zen; maitasuna eta egia, berriz, Jesus Mesiasen bidez. 18 Jainkoa ez du inork inoiz ikusi; Aitaren baitan dagoen eta Jainko den Seme bakarrak eman digu haren berri.

“God-with-Us” Came into our World

To celebrate Christmas is, above all, to believe, to thank and to enjoy the closeness of God. These feasts can only be enjoyed by those who taste, in its deepest truth, and dare to believe that God is closer, more understanding and friendlier than we can imagine.

That Child born in Bethlehem is the point of creation where the truth, the goodness and the affectionate closeness of God to his creatures appear in a tender and beautiful way.

I am very well aware of how difficult it is today for many people to experience God’s presence in their lives. Many really wish to believe in Him, but do not know how. They wish they could pray to Him, but nothing comes out of them. Christmas can precisely be the feast of those who feel far from God. At the heart of these celebrations, in which we celebrate the God made man, there is a call to everyone, absolutely to everyone: “When you no longer have anyone to help you, when you do not see a way out of despair, when you think that everything is lost, then, trust in God. He is always with you. He understands and supports you. He is your salvation.”

There is always a way out of impasse. The most important thing of our being, the most decisive conviction of our existence, is to be found always in the hands of a God who loves us unconditionally. The faithfulness and goodness of God are above everything, even above of all fatality and all sin. Everything can be new if we confidently open ourselves to His forgiveness. In this Child, born in Bethlehem, God gives us the possibility of a new beginning. For God, no one is definitely lost.

I know that Christmas season is not always an easy period. The one who is alone, feels, during these days, with more crudeness his loneliness. The parents who suffer the estrangement of their beloved child, long to be together more than during any other period of the year. Couples in which love is slowly extinguishing, feel even more their powerlessness to revive that affection, which one day illuminated their entire lives.

I know also that during these days it is easier to feel within our hearts the nostalgia for a more human and happy world, which we human being seem unable to build. Christmas reminds us that, in spite of our terrifying superficiality and, above all, of our unspeakable selfishness, there is always in us a secret corner where we can still hear a call, which challenges us to be better and happier people, because we can count on the closeness and love of God.

If we flee from God, we know that deep down in our hearts, it is to flee from ourselves and not to confront our superficiality. It is not from the goodness of God that we want to escape, but from our emptiness and our mediocrity. Happy are those who, in the midst of the bustle and bewilderment of these Christmas celebrations, still may find time to pray to God, so near to us, and welcome Him with a faithful and grateful heart.

Sunday December 18, 2016
Fourth Sunday of Advent (A)

Gospel Matthew 1: 18-24

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame,  decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.

Ebanjelioa Mateo 1: 18-24

18 Jesus Mesiasen sortzea honela gertatu zen: Maria, Jesusen ama, Joserekin ezkontzeko hitzemana zegoen; eta, elkarrekin bizitzen hasi aurretik, haurdun gertatu zen Espiritu Santuaren egitez. 19 Jose, Mariaren senarra, gizon zuzena zen; ez zuen hura salatu nahi, eta isilean uztea erabaki zuen. 20 Asmo horrekin zebilela, Jaunaren aingerua agertu zitzaion ametsetan eta esan zion: «Jose, Daviden ondorengoa, ez izan beldurrik Maria zeure emaztetzat hartzeko, harengan sortua Espiritu Santuarengandik baitator. 21Semea izango du, eta zuk Jesus ezarriko diozu izena, berak askatuko baitu bere herria bekatuetatik». 22 Hau guztia, Jaunak profetaren bidez esana bete zedin gertatu zen: 23 Hara, birjinak haurdun gertatu eta semea izango du, eta Emanuel jarriko dio izena (Emanuel izenak «Jainkoa gurekin» esan nahi du). 24 Esnatzean, Jaunaren aingeruak agindua egin zuen Josek, eta Maria emaztetzat hartu zuen.


Matthew has a special interest in telling his readers that Jesus must also be called “Emmanuel.” He knows very well that the name can be shocking and strange for them. Who can be called with a name that means “God with us?” And yet, this name contains the core of the Christian faith, and it is at the same time the center of the Christmas celebration.

The ultimate mystery surrounding us everywhere and which we believers call “God” is not something far and distant from us. It is with each and every one of us here and now. How do I know? Is it possible to reasonably believe that God is with and in me, if I have no personal experience of God, however small it might be?

Ordinarily, we Christians have not been taught to experience the presence of the mystery of God within us. Rather, we have been trained to “speak” prayers. Therefore, many imagine God at some undefined and abstract place of the universe. Others see God by worshiping Christ present in the Eucharist. Quite many people try to listen to him in the Bible. For others, the best way is Jesus’ way.

God has undoubtedly his own ways to make himself present in every life. But we may say that, in today’s culture, if we don’t somehow experience him within us, we’ll hardly find him out there. Conversely, if we are able to experience his presence within us, then we will much easier be able to trace the mystery of God’s presence in the world around us.

Is it possible? The secret is, above all, in knowing to hold our eyes closed in peaceful silence, welcoming with a simple heart that mysterious presence that is encouraging and holding us. This is not to think about it, but to “welcome” the peace, the life, the love, the forgiveness, the compassion, and the tenderness which come to us from the depths of our personal being.

It is normal, as we enter into our own mystery, that we meet our fears and worries, our hurts and sorrows, our mediocrity and our sin. We should not be afraid of it, but to remain silent. The friendly presence of God who is in the depths of ourselves will appease us, by freeing and healing us.

A famous theologian of the twentieth century has written that in the midst of this secular society today, “the interior experience of the heart is the only one that can help us understand the message of the faith in Christmas: God become one like us.” The ultimate mystery of life is a mystery of goodness, forgiveness and salvation, which is within each and every one of us. If we embrace this mystery in silence, then we will know the joy of Christmas.

Sunday December 11, 2016
Third Sunday of Advent (A)

Gospel Matthew 11: 2-11

When John the Baptist heard in prison of the works of the Christ, he sent his disciples to Jesus with this question, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” Jesus said to them in reply, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.” As they were going off, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out to the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? Then what did you go out to see? Someone dressed in fine clothing? Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces. Then why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you. Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

Ebanjelioa Mateo 11: 2-11

2 Joan Bataiatzaileak Mesiasen egintzen berri izan zuen kartzelan, eta bere ikasle batzuk bidali zizkion 3 galdetzera: “Zu al zara «Etortzekoa”, ala besteren baten zain egon behar dugu?» 4 Jesusek erantzun zien: –Zoazte eta esan Joani entzuten eta ikusten duzuena: itsuek ikusi egiten dute eta herrenak badabiltza, legendunak garbi gelditzen dira eta gorrek entzun egiten, hildakoak piztu egiten dira eta behartsuei berriona ematen zaie. 6 Eta zoriontsua sinesteko oztoporik niregan aurkitzen ez duena!

7 Haiek alde egitean, Jesus Joani buruz hitz egiten hasi zitzaion jendeari: «Zer ikustera irten zineten basamortura? Haizeak kulunka darabilen kanabera? 8 Zer ikustera irten zineten bestela? Soineko apainez jantzitako gizona? Jantzi apainekoak errege-jauregietan bizi ohi dira. 9 Zer ikustera irten zineten, bada? Profetaren bat? Bai, noski, eta profeta baino ere handiagoa. 10 Hartaz dago idatzia Liburu Santuan: Begira, neure mezularia bidaltzen dut zure aurretik; hark prestatuko dizu aurretik bidea. 11 Benetan diotsuet: Ez da amaren semerik sortu Joan Bataiatzailea baino handiagorik; hala ere, Jainkoaren erreinuko txikiena ere hura baino handiagoa da.

Healing of Wounds

The performance of Jesus left the Baptist baffled. He expected a Messiah who would extirpate the sin of the world by imposing strict judgment of God, and not a Messiah committed to healing the wounds and relieving suffering. From the prison of Maqueront he sends a message to Jesus, “Are you he who is to come or shall we look for another?”

Jesus responds with his prophetic living-style: “Tell John what you hear and see: the blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the poor have the good news preached to them.” This is the true Messiah: the one who comes to relieve suffering, to cure life and to open a horizon of hope for the poor.

Jesus feels himself sent by a merciful Father who wants a more dignified and happy world for all. That’s why he spends all of his time to heal wounds, to heal ailments and to free life. That’s why he asks everyone: “Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate.” Jesus does not feel sent by a rigid and intransigent judge to judge sinners and condemn the world. Consequently, Jesus does not frighten anyone with gestures of righteousness, but offers sinners and prostitutes his friendship and forgiveness. That’s why he asks everyone, “do not judge and you will not be judged.”

Jesus never heals arbitrarily or for mere act of sensationalism. He heals moved by compassion, seeking to restore the lives of the sick, dejected and broken people. Jesus seeks to restore the wounded selves of the people who come to see him. They are the first ones who need to experience that God is a friend who wishes a dignified and healthy life for all those living in the periphery of lives’ situations.

Jesus never insisted on the prodigious nature of his healing ministry or thought of it as an easy recipe to remove the suffering from the world. He presented his healing ministry as a sign to show his followers in what direction we must act to open new roads in order to humanizing the world toward the project he called “the kingdom of God.”

Pope Francisco says that to “heal wounds” is an urgent task: “I see clearly that what the church needs today is the ability to heal wounds and offer warmth, closeness and proximity to the hearts…This is the first: to heal wounds, to heal wounds.” The pope still goes on: “take care of people, accompanying them as the Good Samaritan who washed, cleansed and comforted.” The pope also speaks of “walking with people at night, to dialogue and even walk down to the darkness of the peoples but without getting lost in the process.”

Entrusting his mission to the disciples, Jesus did not imagine them as doctors, hierarchs, liturgists or theologians, but as healers. Our task, then, will be twofold: to proclaim that God’s kingdom is near and to heal the sick.

Sunday December 4, 2016
Second Sunday of Advent (A)

Gospel Mathew 3: 1-12

John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said:  A voice of one crying out in the desert, Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair and had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. At that time Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole region around the Jordan were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones. Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees. Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand. He will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Ebanjelioa Mateo 3: 1-12

1 Garai hartan agertu zen Joan Bataiatzailea Judeako basamortuan honela hots eginez: 2 «Bihozberri zaitezte, gainean baituzue Jainkoaren erregetza».Joan honi buruz esan zuen, hain zuzen, Isaias profetak: Ahots bat oihuka ari da basamortuan: Prestatu bidea Jaunari,zuzendu bidexkak hari. Joanek gamelu-ilezko jantzia zuen soineko eta larruzko uhala gerriko, eta matxinsaltoak eta basaeztia zituen janari. Jerusalem hiriko, Judea osoko eta Jordan inguru guztiko jendea harengana joaten zen, 6 eta, beren bekatuak aitortzen zituztela, Joanek bataiatu egiten zituen Jordan ibaian. 7 Fariseu eta saduzear askori, bataiatzera zatozela ikustean, honela esan zien Joanek: «Sugekumeok! Nork esan dizue gainean duzuen haserre-zigorrari ihes egingo diozuela? 8 Ager ezazue zeuen jokabideaz bihotz-berrituak zaudetela, 9 eta ez pentsa nahikoa duzuenik “Abrahamen ondorengo gara” esatea. Egia esan, honako harri hauetatik ere atera ditzake Jainkoak Abrahamen ondorengoak. 10 Prest dago aizkora zuhaitza hondotik jotzeko: fruitu onik ematen ez duen zuhaitz oro moztu eta sutara botako da. 11 Nik urez bataiatzen zaituztet bihozberri zaitezten; baina nire ondoren datorrena ni baino ahaltsuago da, eta ni ez naiz inor hari oinetakoak eranzteko ere; horrek Espiritu Santuaz eta suz bataiatuko zaituzte. 12 Eskuan dauka sardea, eta garia garbitzera doa: alea mandioan jasoko du; lastoa, ordea, inoiz itzaliko ez den sutan erreko».


In the years 27 or 28 appeared in the desert of Jordan an original and independent prophet who provoked a strong impact on the Jewish people: the first Christian generations always saw him as the man who prepared the way for Jesus. His full message can be concentrated in a powerful cry: “Prepare the way for the Lord, Make a straight path for him.”

After twenty centuries, Pope Francis is crying out the same message to Christians: Open paths to God, return to Jesus, and welcome the Gospel in your lives. Pope Francis’ purpose is clear: “try to be a church that finds new ways.” It will not be easy. We have lived these last years paralyzed by fear. The Pope is not surprised: “The novelty always makes us a little scary because we feel more secure if we have everything under our control, if we are the ones building, programming and planning our lives.” And he asks us a question which we must respond: “Are we determined to explore the new ways that the newness of God presents us or we prefer to entrench ourselves in old structures that have lost responsiveness to God’s urgent call?”

Some sectors of the Church are asking the Pope to rush in carrying the various reforms considered to be urgent. However, Pope Francis has expressed its position clearly: “Some hope and ask from me reforms in the Church and certainly there must be. But before anything else, a change in attitudes is necessary. ”

I find it admirable the evangelical vision of Pope Francis. The first priority is not to sign reformist decrees. Before, it is necessary to place all Christian communities in a state of constant conversion and to re-discover within the Church the most basic evangelical attitudes, such as conversion, producing good fruit as evidence of repentance, and not presuming to be better than others. Only in this climate it will be possible to undertake effectively—and with evangelical spirit—all the reforms urgently needed in the Church.

Francis himself is indicating us daily some other attitudes we need to change, such as making Jesus to be the center of the Church, “a church that doesn’t make Jesus the center is a dead church.” The Pope insists that we need to build around Jesus a church that is open to all and is not self-referential, “a church that lies not in her past, because this would betray her own identity.” The Pope wants to see a church that acts always moved by the mercy of God for all his children and not to grow into a “restaurationist and legalistic community that wants to have all things clear and safe, and under control.” The Pope wishes finally a Church that is poor, for the poor and with the poor.” Jesus challenges us to anchor our lives in the hope of the Kingdom, and not “in our rules, or our moral discipline, or our clerical superiority.”

Sunday November 27, 2016
First Sunday of Advent (A)

Gospel Matthew 24: 37-44

Jesus said to his disciples: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left. Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

Ebanjelioa Mateo 24: 37-44

37 Noeren garaian bezala gertatuko da Gizonaren Semearen etorrerakoan. 38 Uholdearen aurretik, jan-edanean ziharduen eta ezkondu egiten zen jendea, Noe ontzian sartu zen arte; 39 eta ez ziren konturatu, uholdea iritsi eta denak eraman zituen arte. Gauza bera gertatuko da Gizonaren Semearen etorrerakoan ere. 40 Soroan izango diren bi gizonetatik, bata eraman eta bestea utzi egingo dute; 41 errotan ehotzen ariko diren bi emakumeetatik, bata eraman eta bestea utzi egingo dute. 42 Zain egon, beraz, ez baitakizue zein egunetan etorriko den zuen Jauna. 43 Gogoan hartu hau: etxeko nagusia, lapurra gaueko zein ordutan etorriko den jakingo balu, zain egongo litzateke eta ez luke etxea zulatzen utziko. 44 Prest egon, bada, zuek ere, gutxien uste duzuen orduan etorriko baita Gizonaren Semea.

Be Alert!

The first Christian communities lived very difficult times. Lost in the vast Roman empire, in the midst of political conflicts and persecutions, those Christians sought strength and breath waiting for the prompt return of Jesus and remembering his words: Keep watch. Be awake. Have your eyes open. Be alert!

Jesus’ call to stay awake, does it still mean something for us? What does it mean today for Christians to place our hope in God by living with open eyes? Shall we give up the hope, in our secular world, in the ultimate justice of God for the vast majority of innocent victims who suffer with no fault on themselves?

Indeed, the easiest way to distort Christian hope is to expect from God our eternal salvation, while at the same time turning ourselves away from the suffering, which right now exists in the world. One day we must recognize our blindness before Christ the Judge: When did we see you hungry or thirsty, stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and we did not help you? This will be our final dialogue with him if we live with our eyes closed to the reality around us.

We have to wake up and open our eyes. Living vigilant to look beyond our narrow interests and concerns. Christian hope is not a blind attitude, because it never forgets those who suffer. Christian spirituality is not just an inward look; its heart must be attentive to those who live abandoned to their fate. In our Christian communities, we have to be attentive and careful that our way of living the hope does not lead to indifference or to neglect the poor. We must not let ourselves be isolated in a formalistic religion, which does not allow us to listen to the cry of those who die daily from hunger.

Hope and faith in God, who forgets those who live on this earth without being able to expect anything, cannot it be considered a religious version of certain optimism at all costs, lived without discernment or responsibility? A search of eternal salvation for oneself, giving our back to those who suffer, cannot be considered of being a subtle “selfishness prolonged into the next life”?

Probably our little sensitivity to the immense suffering there exists in the world is one of the most serious symptoms of the aging of today’s Christianity. When Pope Francis calls “a poor Church for and with the poor,” he is shouting his most urgent message to all Christians of affluent countries.

Sunday November 20, 2016
The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (C)

Gospel Luke 23: 35-43

The rulers sneered at Jesus and said, “He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God.” Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine they called out, “If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.” Above him there was an inscription that read, “This is the King of the Jews.” Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us.” The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Ebanjelioa Lukas 23: 35-43

35 Herria begira zegoen. Agintariek, berriz, Jesusi burla egiten zioten, esanez: «Besteak salbatu ditik; salba dezala bere burua, Jainkoaren Mesias, hautatua, baldin bada». 36 Soldaduek ere irri egiten zioten; ondoraturik, ozpina eskaini zioten eta esan: 37«Juduen errege baldin bahaiz, salba ezak heure burua». 38 Honako idazkun hau zuen buruaren gainaldean: «Hau juduen erregea da». 39 Zintzilik zeuden gaizkileetako bat Jesusi irainka ari zitzaion, esanez: –Ez al haiz, bada, hi Mesias? Salba ezak heure burua eta salbatu gu ere! 40 Baina besteak errieta egin zion hori zioenari: –Ez al duk Jainkoaren beldurrik, zigorra jasaten hagoela ere? 41 Gurea legezkoa duk, geure egintzengatik merezia baitugu; baina honek ez dik okerrik egin. 42 Gero, gaineratu zuen:

–Jesus, oroit zaitez nitaz errege izatera iritsiko zarenean. 43 Jesusek erantzun zion: –Benetan diotsut: Gaur nirekin izango zara paradisuan.


According to Luke’s account, Jesus agonized amidst the jeers and sneers of those around him. No one seems to have understood his life. No one seems to have grasped his total commitment to the suffering and the forgiveness offered to the sinners. No one seems to have seen on his face the compassionate gaze of God. Nobody seems now to sense in that very death any mystery. Just one more execution of an innocent man!

Religious authorities tease him with derogatory gestures: he has tried to save others; let him now save himself. If he is the Messiah of God, the “God’s Chosen One,” then, God will come to his defense.

The soldiers also joined in the mockery. They do not believe in any Messenger of God. They laugh at the sign that Pilate commanded to be placed on top the cross: “This is the king of the Jews.” It is absurd that someone could reign without power. Let him show his strength by saving himself.

Jesus remains silent, but he does not descend from the cross. What would we do if the Messenger of God would seek his own salvation by escaping from that cross, the very cross, which forever unites Him with all the crucified of history? How can we believe in a God who would abandon us forever to our fate?

Suddenly, in the midst of so many jeers and sneers, a surprising invocation: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” The one who so speaks is not a disciple or a follower of Jesus. It is one of the two criminals crucified with him. Lucas proposes him as an admirable example of faith in the Crucified.

This man, about to die executed, knows that Jesus is an innocent man who has done nothing but only good to everyone. He senses in His life a mystery, which he cannot comprehend, but is convinced that Jesus will not be defeated by death. From the bottom of his heart a supplication emerges. He only asks Jesus to not to forget him: He knows Jesus can do something for him.

Jesus replied immediately: “Today you will be with me in paradise.” In this moment, they are both united in anguish and helplessness, but Jesus welcomes him as an inseparable companion. They will both die crucified, but also both will enter together in the mystery of God.

Amid the lack of faith our society seems to go through today, not few live totally confused. Many do not know whether they believe or not. Almost unknowingly, many carry still in their hearts a small and fragile faith. Sometimes, without knowing why or how, burdened by the weight of life, many keep invoking Jesus: “Jesus, remember me.” and Jesus does listen to their plea: “You will always be with me.” God has his own ways to meet each person and these ways not always go through where theologians may indicate. The decisive thing is to have a heart which dares to listen to one’s conscience.

Sunday November 13, 2016
Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel Luke 21: 5-19

While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, Jesus said, “All that you see here—the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.” Then they asked him, “Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?” He answered, “See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’ Do not follow them! When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for such things, must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end.” Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky. “Before all this happens, however, they will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. It will lead to your giving testimony. Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute. You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”

Ebanjelioa Lukas 21: 5-19

5 Batzuk tenpluari buruz ari ziren, harri ederrez eta emaitzez apaindua zegoela aipatuz. Orduan, Jesusek esan zuen: 6 «Etorriko da garaia, hor ikusten duzuen horretatik harririk ere harri gainean geldituko ez dena: dena suntsituko dute». 7 Ikasleek galdetu zioten: «Maisu, noiz gertatuko da hori, eta zertan ezagutuko da gertatzera doala?» 8 Jesusek erantzun zien: «Kontuz! Ez zaitzatela inork engaina! Asko etorriko dira, nire izena berenganatuz eta esanez: “Ni naiz Mesias”, edo “Gainean da garaia”. Ez joan halakoen ondoren. 9 Gerra eta iraultza-hotsak entzutean, ez ikaratu: lehenbizi gertatu beharrekoa baita hori guztia; baina ez dator berehala azkena». 10 Gainera, esan zien: «Nazioa nazioaren kontra eta erreinua erreinuaren kontra altxatuko dira; 11 lurrikara handiak izango dira, eta izurrite eta goseteak han eta hemen; gauza ikaragarriak gertatuko dira, eta ortzian seinale handiak azalduko. 12 «Baina hori guztia gertatu aurretik, eskua botako dizuete eta erasoko; sinagogetara eta kartzelara eramango zaituztete, eta erregeen eta agintarien aurrera zuzenduko niregatik. 13 Aitorpen egiteko aukera emango dizue horrek guztiak. 14 Hartu gogoan ez duzuela zeuen buruak nola defendatuko kezkatan egon beharrik: 15 neuk adieraziko dizuet zer eta nola esan, eta zuen etsaietako inork ez du zuei aurre ematerik edo erantzuterik izango. 16 Zeuen guraso eta senideek berek, ahaide eta adiskideek berek salduko zaituztete, eta zuetako zenbait hilko. 17 Mundu guztiak gorroto izango dizue niregatik; 18 baina ez duzue buruko ile bakar bat ere galduko. 19 Iraupenaren iraupenez lortuko duzue bizia.

In times of Crisis

Two gas company servicemen, a senior training supervisor and a young trainee, were out checking meters in a suburban neighborhood. They parked their truck at the end of the alley and worked their way to the other end. At the last house, a woman looking out her kitchen window watched the two men as they checked her gas meter.

After they finished checking the meter, the senior supervisor challenged his younger co-worker to a foot race down the alley back to the truck to prove that an older guy could outrun a younger one.  As they came running up to the truck, they realized the lady from that last house was huffing and puffing right behind them. They stopped and asked her what was wrong. Gasping for breath, she replied, “When I see two gas men running as hard as you two were, I figured I’d better run too!”

This little story and our Gospel reading from Luke today are both examples of the old adage that things are not always what they seem to be. When the disciples saw Herod’s temple, they saw its external beauty, but they failed to see what was really behind it-spiritual bankruptcy, hypocrisy, oppression, rejection of Christ and the Gospel, and Christ’s impending death at the hands of the religious authorities. That’s why Jesus warned the disciples to beware of the false teachers who would come and proclaim that they were the promised Messiah. He knew that just like the temple’s beauty hid its ugly secrets, the false teachers with their appearances, methods and teachings would hide their true motives. False teachers exist in our society today.

Jesus does not promise us a rose garden here on earth. In fact, he makes it quite clear to us and his disciples that people will hate them and persecute them. He doesn’t tell the disciples that they will escape pain, and he doesn’t tell us that either. He promises that the persecutions that his followers will face will give them opportunities to witness to the Gospel.

Those who do Christ’s work in the world can expect to face persecution. Thankfully, in the times of trial, we can turn to God for strength, hope and support. He will give us the strength to face adversity and persecution. He will tell us what to do, say and even think, just like he promised the disciples that he will tell them what to do, say and think.

We often want to know what the future looks like. That’s why some people resort to seeing false prophets or teachers such as psychics and fortune-tellers. We have the only true psychic and fortune teller, and his name is Jesus. In our Gospel reading, Jesus tells us and the disciples what the future will be like, and he does not pull any punches. The future will not be easy for his followers as they do his work in our world. We must make our brothers and sisters in Christ (as well as the lost) feel the real need to be a part of the worshipping community. If we are persecuted for our work, we can take comfort in the knowledge that in the end God will fashion eternity.

The work will not be easy. We will get tired. It’s hard to put others’ needs ahead of our own. It’s hard to volunteer to work at the local food bank or help with the local Christmas Cheer campaign or teach a Bible study and to keep on doing it week after week, month after month, year after year. It’s even tough for us to do the right thing in our lives when it is often easier to take shortcuts. It is at times like these when we need that vision of Christ’s return to sustain us. We get that hope and keep it alive through prayer and worship. They fill our spiritual gas tank and give us the energy to continue.

The cost of discipleship is obedience to God and imbedded in that cost is the gift of freedom. We know that the cost of work is service to us, long hours, tired bodies, weary minds. And it is all for the glory of God. And the gift imbedded in that strenuous activity is joy in the Lord. The good news is that we are all followers, not pioneers, and God holds us all close throughout all our life’s journey. We are indeed beloved and blessed.

Sunday November 6, 2016
Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel Luke 20: 27-38

Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, came forward and put this question to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us, if someone’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first married a woman but died childless. Then the second and the third married her, and likewise all the seven died childless. Finally, the woman also died. Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be? For all seven had been married to her.” Jesus said to them, “The children of this age marry and remarry; but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise. That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called out ‘Lord,’ the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”

Ebanjelioa Lukas 20: 27-38

27 Ondoren, saduzear batzuk etorri zitzaizkion Jesusi. Hauek hildakoak ez direla pizten esaten dute. Eta honela galdetu zioten: 28 –Maisu, Moisesek idatzi zigun: Norbaiti anaia ezkondu bat seme-alabarik gabe hiltzen bazaio, ezkon bedi alarguntsarekin, anaiari ondorengoa emateko. 29 «Baziren, bada, zazpi anaia. Zaharrena ezkondu eta seme-alabarik gabe hil zen. 30-31 Bigarrena eta hirugarrena alarguntsarekin ezkondu ziren, eta zazpiak berdin. Eta denak seme-alabarik gabe hil ziren. 32 Azkenik, hil zen emakumea ere. 33 Piztuerakoan, noren emazte izango da, zazpiek izan baitzuten emazte?» 34 Jesusek erantzun zien: –Mundu honetan gizon-emakumeak ezkondu egiten dira; 35 baina datorren munduan eta hildakoen piztueran parte hartzeko Jainkoak gai aurkituko dituenak, gizonezko nahiz emakume, ez dira ezkonduko; 36 izan ere, ez daitezke berriro hil, aingeruen antzeko baitira eta Jainkoaren seme-alaba, piztueran parte dutenez gero. 37 Gainera, hildakoak pizten direla Moisesek berak adierazi zuen, sutan zegoen sasiaren pasartean, Jaunari Abrahamen, Isaaken eta Jakoben Jainko deitzen dionean. 38 Ez da hildakoen Jainkoa, biziena baizik, denak bizirik baitaude harentzat.

Time for Personal Decisions

Jesus did not spend much time talking about eternal life. He never tried to fool anyone by making fanciful descriptions of the life beyond death. However, his entire life awakened hope and a sense of expectation about something beautiful. He lived alleviating the suffering of the people and freeing them from fear. He transmits a sense of total trust in God. His passion is to obey God by making life a more human and happy one for all, because that’s what Jesus discerned was the will of the Father of all.

It is only when a group of Sadducees approaches him with the intention of ridiculing the faith in the resurrection, that emerges from the deepest of his heart, a firm conviction, learnt from his Mama Mary and Papa Joseph and the Jewish tradition, which supports and encourages his whole life: “God is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”

Jesus’ faith is a simple one. It is true that we mourn our loved ones because when we die, we lost them here on earth, but Jesus cannot imagine, even for a second, that for God those sons and daughters he loves so much, will disappear from His presence for the rest of the eternity. This cannot be! God is sharing His life with them, because what He has created is already part of his unfathomable love, for the rest of the eternity.

The most disturbing feature of our time is the crisis of hope. We have lost the horizon of the ultimate Future of our lives, and the small hopes we try to cling on in this life do not bring us much comfort. This absence of hope is generating in many a loss of confidence in life. Nothing is worth fighting for. As a result, then, many arrive to total nihilism.

In these times of lack of faith, we all need to ask, believers and nonbelievers, the most radical and profound existential questions. This God many doubt, or many have abandoned and still many keep asking about, is He not the ultimate foundation on which we can anchor our most radical hope in life? At the end of all roads, at the bottom of all our desires, inside our questions and struggles, is not God, waiting for us, as the ultimate mystery of salvation we seek?

Many people, even our own children, have left the faith and the relationship with God, abandoned, somewhere in the closet of antiques, cornered somewhere within us, as something unimportant, not worth caring for in these times of rationalism and technological progress. Is this so? Certainly, it is not easy to believe, and yet, it’s hard not to believe. Meanwhile, the ultimate mystery of life is asking from us a lucid and responsible answer.

To respond to the big issues and the deepest questions of life is a personal decision. Do I want to erase from my life all hope beyond death, as a delusion that does not help us to live? Or do I want to remain open to the ultimate mystery of my existence, with the faith and hope that in God we will be able to find the answer, the acceptance and the total fulfillment we seek here and now?

Sunday October 30, 2016
Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel Luke 19: 1-10

At that time, Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town. Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And he came down quickly and received him with joy. When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”

Ebanjelioa Lukas 19: 1-10

1 Jesus Jerikon sartu eta herrian barrena zihoan. Bazen han Zakeo izeneko gizon bat, zergalari-burua, oso aberatsa. 3 Jesus zein zen ikusi nahirik zebilen, baina ezin zuen jendearengatik, txikia baitzen. 4 Lasterka aurrerago joan eta pikondo batera igo zen, Jesus ikusteko, handik igaro behar baitzuen. 5 Jesusek, hara iristean, gora begiratu eta esan zion: «Zakeo, jaitsi berehala, gaur zure etxean gelditu behar dut eta». 6 Jaitsi zen, bada, berehala eta pozik hartu zuen etxean. 7 Hori ikusirik, denak marmarka hasi ziren: «Bekatari baten etxera joan duk ostatuz». 8 Zakeok, berriz, zutiturik, Jaunari esan zion:  –Jauna, neure ondasunen erdiak behartsuei ematen dizkiet eta, inori ezer ostu badiot, lau halako bihurtuko diot. Jesusek esan zion: –Gaur iritsi da salbamena etxe honetara, gizon hau ere Abrahamen ondorengoa baita. 10 Izan ere, Gizonaren Semea galdua zegoena bilatzera eta salbatzera etorri da.

The Transforming Jesus

Jesus frequently warns about the risk of getting caught in the irresistible lure of money. The insatiable desire for material well-being can ruin a person’s life. No need to be very rich. The one who is slave of money ends locked up in absolute selfishness. The others do not matter. According to Jesus, “There where your treasure is, there will your heart be.”

This vision of the dehumanizing danger of money is not a pastoral trick utilized by the outraged Prophet of Galilee. Different studies have also analyzed the effects of the power of money as a force linked to the deepest instincts of self-protection, search for personal security and fear of the caducity of our human existence.

However, for Jesus, the lure of money is not some kind of an incurable disease. It is possible to be freed from its slavery and begin a healthier life. The rich man is not a “lost case.”

In this regard, Luke’s account of Jesus’ encounter with a rich man from Jericho is very enlightening. Passing through the town, Jesus meets a curious scene. A small man has climbed up a sycamore tree to have a better view of him. The little mas is not an unknown person in town. He is the rich and powerful “head of tax collectors.” For most of the people of Jericho, he was a wretch, a corrupt and unscrupulous collector as almost everyone else in the same job. For the religious sectors, he is “a sinner” for whom conversion was not a possibility, thus, excluded from salvation.

However, Jesus made him a surprising proposal: “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” Jesus wants to be welcome into the house of this sinner, in this man´s world of money and power, despised by all. Zacchaeus came down quickly and received him with joy. He is not afraid to let Jesus, the defender of the poor, enter in his life.

Lucas does not explain what happened inside that house. He just lets us know that the contact with Jesus radically transformed the rich Zacchaeus. His commitment in front of Jesus is firm. From now on he will think of the poor: he will share with them his property. He will also remember the victims he may have abused during his tenure as tax-collector: he will return them more than what has stolen from them. Jesus has just sowed in the life of this rich man, the sense of justice and love, which has transformed in solidarity.

The story concludes with some admirable words of Jesus: “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.” Also, the rich may be converted. In the encounter with Jesus everything is possible. We must not forget this simple truth. Jesus came to seek and save that which we may consider a lost case. For Jesus, there are no hopeless cases.

Sunday October 23, 2016
Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel Luke 18: 9-14

Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else. “Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity –greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’ But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Ebanjelioa Lukas 18: 9-14

9 Honako parabola hau esan zien Jesusek beren buruak zintzotzat hartzen eta besteak gutxiesten zituzten batzuei: 10 «Bi gizon tenplura igo ziren otoitz egitera, bata fariseua eta bestea zergalaria. 11 Fariseuak, zutik, honela ziharduen otoitzean bere baitan: “Ene Jainkoa, eskerrak zuri besteak bezalakoa ez naizelako: lapur, gaizkile edota adulteriogile; ezta horko zergalari hori bezalakoa ere. 12 Astean bi bider egiten dut barau, eta ondasun guztien hamarrenak ordaintzen ditut”. 13 «Zergalaria, berriz, urruti gelditurik, ez zen begiak lurretik altxatzera ere ausartzen, baizik eta bular-joka ari zen esanez: “Ene Jainkoa, erruki zaitez bekatari honetaz”. 14 «Benetan diotsuet azkeneko hau Jainkoarekin bakean itzuli zela etxera; fariseua, berriz, ez. Zeren eta bere burua goratzen duena beheratu egingo baitu Jainkoak, eta bere burua beheratzen duena, goratu».



The parable about the Pharisee and the Publican usually arouses in many Christians rejection towards the Pharisee, who dares to stand before God with an arrogant and self-complacent attitude, and spontaneous sympathy for the publican, who humbly acknowledges his sin. Paradoxically, the story can awaken in us the following feeling: “Thank God, that I am not like this Pharisee.”

To properly understand the message of the parable, we must bear in mind that Jesus did not tell the parable in order to criticize the whole group of the Pharisees, but to shake the consciences of “some who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else.” Among these not few Catholics of our times, ourselves included, may be included.

The prayer of the Pharisee uncovers his inner attitude: “O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity.” What kind of prayer is this of the one who believes to be better than others? Even a Pharisee, faithful follower of the Law, can live in a perverted attitude of thinking to be better than others. This man thinks to be a righteous person before God and precisely for this reason, he becomes a judge who despises and condemns those who are not like him.

The publican, on the contrary, only manages to say, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.” This man humbly recognizes his sin. There seems to be nothing in his life he can be proud of. He entrusts himself to God’s compassion. He does not compare himself with anyone. He does not judge others. He lives in truth in front of himself and God.

The parable is a penetrating critique that unmasks a deceptive religious attitude, which allows us, almost unconsciously, to stand before God sure of our own innocence, while condemning from our supposed moral superiority anyone who does not think or act like us. Historical circumstances and certain triumphalist current, totally disconnected from the basic intuitions of the Gospel, have made us Catholics especially prone to this temptation. Thus, we need to read this parable with a self-critical attitude: Why do we believe to be better than the agnostics? Why do we feel closer to God than non-practitioners? What’s in the background of certain prayers for the conversion of sinners? What is the meaning of looking at the sins of others without converting ourselves to God?

Recently, when asked by a journalist, Pope Francis made this statement: “Who am I to judge?” His words took by surprise almost everyone in the Catholic Church. Seemingly, no one expected such a simple and evangelical response from a Catholic Pope. However, that is the attitude of the one who lives in truth before God.

Sunday October 16, 2016
Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel Luke 18: 1-8

Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. He said, “There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being. And a widow in that town used to come to him and say, ‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’ For a long time, the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought, ‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.’” The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

Ebanjelioa Lukas 18: 1-8

1 Etengabe egin behar zutela otoitz eta ez zutela etsi behar adierazteko, parabola hau esan zien Jesusek: 2 «Bazen hiri batean epaile bat, ez Jainkoari beldurrik, ez gizakiari begirunerik ez ziona. Bazen hiri berean emakume alargun bat ere. Hau epaileagana joaten zen eskatzera: “Egidazu justizia etsaiarekiko auzian”. 4 Luzaroan epaileak ez zion jaramonik egin, baina azkenean bere baitan esan zuen: “Ez diot Jainkoari beldurrik, ezta gizakiari ere begirunerik; baina, alargun hau gogaikarri zaidanez, egiodan justizia, etengabeko buruhausterik eman ez diezadan”». 6 Eta honela bukatu zuen Jaunak: «Begira zer dioen epaile zuzengabeak. 7 Eta Jainkoak ez ote die justizia egingo gau eta egun deiadarka ari zaizkion bere aukeratuei? Zain edukiko ote ditu luzaroan? 8 Berehala egingo diela justizia diotsuet. Baina Gizonaren Semea datorrenean, aurkituko ote du horrelako sinesmenik munduan?»

Prayer and Justice

Lucas narrates a brief parable telling us that Jesus told this parable to explain his disciples “how they should pray always without becoming weary.” This is a very dear theme to the evangelist who, on several occasions, repeats the same idea. Naturally, the parable has almost always been read as an invitation to pray to God with perseverance.

However, if we look carefully at the content of the story and the conclusion Jesus himself offers at the end, we see clearly that the key of the parable is the thirst for justice. Up to four times Luke places in the lips of Jesus the expression “do justice.”

More than a model of prayer, the widow of the story is an admirable example of struggle for justice in the midst of a corrupt society, which takes advantage of and abuses the weakest.

The first character in the parable is a judge who “neither fear God nor respect any human being.” He is the very embodiment of corruption, which the prophets repeatedly denounced: the powerful do not fear the justice of God and do not respect neither the dignity nor the rights of the poor. These cases of injustice are not isolated cases. The prophets denounce the corruption of the judicial system in Israel and the macho structure of that patriarchal society.

The second character is a helpless widow in the midst of an unjust society. On the one hand, she lives suffering the outrages of a more powerful than her “adversary.” In addition, she is a victim of a judge who does not care at all her person and her suffering. That is the fate of millions of women of all times living in most countries.

At the conclusion of the parable, Jesus does not speak of prayer. First of all, he asks for confidence and trust in the justice of God: “Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night?” These “chosen ones” are not the official members of the Church, but the poor of all places who cry out to God clamoring for justice. Theirs is the kingdom of God.

Then Jesus asks a question, which is a challenging one for his disciples: “But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Jesus is not referring to faith as a commitment to certain doctrines and dogma, but to a faith, which encourages the action of the widow, a model of indignation, to active resistance and courage to demand justice to our corrupt social system.

Is this the faith and prayer of many Christians who are satisfied with our social status and comfort? Surely, the famous theologian Jean Baptist Metz has proven to be right, when he claims that in our Christian spirituality there are too many canticles, and too few cries of outrage; too much complacency and little eagerness for a more humane lifestyle; too much laughter and too little hunger for justice.

Sunday October 9, 2016
Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel Luke 17: 11-19

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”

Ebanjelioa Lukas 17: 11-19

11 Jerusalemera bidean, Samarian eta Galilean barrena zihoan Jesus. 12 Herri batean sartzerakoan, hamar legendun atera zitzaizkion bidera. Urruti gelditurik, 13 deiadarka esan zioten: –Jesus, Maisu, erruki zakizkigu! 14 Jesusek, ikustean, esan zien: –Joan eta azaldu apaizengana. Bidean zihoazela, garbi gelditu ziren. 15 Haietako bat, sendatua zegoela oharturik, Jainkoa deiadarka goratuz itzuli 16 eta Jesusen oinetara ahuspez erori zen, eskerrak emanez; samariarra zen bera. 17 Jesusek esan zuen: «Ez ote dira hamarrak garbi gelditu? Non dira beste bederatziak? 18 Ez al da izan atzerritar hau besterik Jainkoa goratzera etortzeko?» 19 Gero, esan zion: «Jaiki eta zoaz; zeure sinesmenak salbatu zaitu».

Faith without Gratitude

The story begins narrating the healing of a group of ten lepers near Samaria. But this time, however the Evangelist Lucas is not so much interested in narrating us the details of the healing process itself, but rather, the reaction of one of the lepers when he experienced the grace of healing. Luke describes all the steps of this process very carefully, because he wants to shake the faith, made of routine and superficiality, of not few Christians.

Jesus asked the ten lepers to present themselves to the priests of the Temple, in order to get from them authorization to be reinserted in the society. Only the priests of the Temple had, according to the Law of Moses, authority to declare someone free of leprosy. One of them, out of ten, a Samaritan, realizing that he was cured, instead of going to the priests of the Temple, returned to Jesus. He experiences at that moment that he must begin a new life. From now on, everything will be different: he is persuaded that now he can live a more humane, dignified and happy life. He is fully aware to whom he owes such a grace. That is why he needs to meet Jesus.

He returns “glorifying God in a loud voice.” Because he knows that the saving power of Jesus, which he has experienced in his body, can only have its origin in God. He now feels something especial about Good the Father of whom Jesus speaks constantly. He will never forget this experience. From now on he will live thanking God constantly. He will praise God in loud voice, with all his energy. Everyone must know that he feels loved by God.

Luke describes that when he met Jesus, “he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.” His companions followed their way to meet the priests of the Temple, but the Samaritan knows that only Jesus is the Savior. That’s why he’s here prostrated in front of Jesus, thanking him. In Jesus he met the greatest gift of God. Concluding the story, Jesus takes the floor and asks three questions expressing surprise and sadness at what happened. The questions are not addressed to the Samaritan who is at his feet. The questions express the message Luke wants the Christian communities of all times to listen carefully.

“Ten were cleansed, were they not?”

“Where are the other nine?”

“Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”

Why are there so many Christians who live without thanking God? Why so many Christians live ignoring Jesus’ life-style and prefer to hide themselves behind doctrines and dogmas and rubrics of liturgical perfectionism?

Only this foreigner, this stranger, returned to give thanks to Jesus. There are so many people away from religious practice that feel true admiration and gratitude to Jesus, while some Christians do not feel anything special about him? Why? Pope Benedict XVI warned years ago that an agnostic in attitude of searching meaning in his life can be closer to God than a Christian who is only by tradition or heritage. A faith, which does not produce in the believer joy and gratitude is a sick faith.

Sunday October 2, 2016
Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel Luke 17: 5-10

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. “Who among you would say to your servant who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’? Would he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat. Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink. You may eat and drink when I am finished’? Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded? So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’”

Ebanjelioa Lukas 17: 5-10

5 Apostoluek eskatu zioten Jaunari: –Gehi ezazu sinesmena guregan. 6 Jaunak erantzun zuen: –Sinesmena bazenute, mostaza-hazia bezain txikia izanik ere, pikondo honi «Atera hortik eta landatu itsasoan» esango zeniokete, eta obeditu egingo lizueke. 7 «Emazue zuetako batek morroi bat duela soro-lan edo artzaintzarako. Morroia etxeratzean, “Hator berehala mahaira” esaten ote dio? 8 Ez ote dio beste hau esaten: “Presta iezadak afaria, jantzi amantala eta zerbitza nazak, nik afaldu bitartean; ondoren, afalduko duk hik”? Morroiari esker ona zor ote dio agindua bete duelako? 10 Zuek ere berdin: agindu zaizuen guztia egin eta gero, esan: “Morroi gizagaixo batzuk gara; egin behar genuena besterik ez dugu egin”».

Increase our Faith, Lord!

Abruptly, the disciples ask Jesus a vital request: “Increase our faith.” On another occasion they had asked: “Teach us to pray.” As Jesus displays to his disciples God’s plan, the great project about the Kingdom, and the mission Jesus wants to send them, the disciples feel that their faith is not big enough and that they must stop living and acting like children and that they must have the determination to follow Jesus all the way to the cross.

Since then, more than twenty centuries have passed. Throughout history, the followers of Jesus have experienced periods of fidelity to the Gospel (we think the period of the martyrs, founders of religious congregations and holy families) and also dark hours of unfaithfulness (we think in so many wars we have waged in God’s name). Times of deep faith and also of crisis and uncertainty.

It is time to, once again, ask our Lord Jesus to increase our faith.

Lord, increase our faith!

Teach us, Lord, that faith is not believing something or in something but to believe in You, the incarnate Son of God, so that we let ourselves be open to the Holy Spirit, and be touched by the Word, and learn to live Your very same life-style and to follow on Your foot-steps. We are aware that it is only You, Lord, the one who initiates our faith and bring to its perfection.

Lord, increase our faith!

Give us a faith centered in that which the essential, purified from adhesions and artificially added doctrines of all sorts, which take us away from the core message of the gospel. Teach us to live in these times, a faith, not based on external support and triumphalist celebrations, but in your live and simple presence in our hearts and in our faith communities.

Lord, increase our faith!

Grant us to live a more vital and personal relationship with you, knowing that you, our Master and Lord, is the first, the best, the most valuable and attractive value we have in the Church. Give us a contagious faith that may guide us toward a new phase of Christian history, one which is more in accordance with your Spirit and life-style.

Lord, increase our faith!

Grant us that we may live totally identified with your great project about the kingdom of God, collaborating with realism and conviction with all our brothers and sisters to make our life a more humane one, as the Father wants it. Help us to live our faith with humility and passion for God and compassion for our fellow human beings.

Lord, increase our faith!

That we may convert to a more Gospel inspired life-style. That we may really become like the salt of the earth, light of the world and yeast in the dough. Awaken in us the faith of the prophets and martyrs.

Lord, increase our faith!

Do not let us fall into the temptation of preaching a Christianity without the cross. Teach us to discover that faith is to believe not in a God that suits us, but in the God that strengthens our responsibility and develops our capacity to love and challenges us to find Him in the everyday crosses of the people who suffer. Teach us to follow you by taking up our daily cross. That we may, finally, experience you, our Risen Lord, alive in the middle of us, and constantly renewing our lives and sustaining our communities.

September 25, 2016
Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel Luke 16: 19-31

Jesus said to the Pharisees: “There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’ Abraham replied, ‘My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime  while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’ He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.’ But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’ He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’”

Ebanjelioa Lukas 16: 19-31

19 «Bazen gizon aberats bat, purpuraz eta liho finez janzten zena eta egunero festa ederrak egiten zituena. 20 Bazen Lazaro izeneko eskale bat ere, haren ate ondoan egoten zena; zauriz josia zegoen. 21 Pozik asko jango zukeen aberatsaren mahaitik lurrera botatzen zutena. Txakurrek ere etorri eta zauriak miazkatzen zizkioten. 22 «Hil zen eskalea, eta Abrahamen ondora eraman zuten aingeruek; hil zen aberatsa ere, eta lur eman zioten. 23 Hildakoen Egoitzan oinazez zegoela, begiak jaso eta Abraham ikusi zuen urruti, eta Lazaro haren ondoan. 24 Orduan, deiadar egin zion: “Aita Abraham, erruki nitaz; bidal ezazu Lazaro atzamar-muturra uretan busti eta niri mihia freskatzera, kiskaltzen bainago sugar hauetan”. 25 Baina, Abrahamek erantzun zion: “Seme, gogoratu zuk zorion franko izan zenuela bizitzan; Lazarok, berriz, zoritxarrak; orain, hark atsegina aurkitu du hemen, eta zuk oinazeak. 26 Horrez gainera, leize handi bat dago zuen eta gure artean; nahita ere, ez dauka inork hemendik zuengana igarotzerik, ezta hortik guregana ere”. 27 «Aberatsak, berriro: “Orduan, aita Abraham, bidal ezazu, arren, Lazaro gure aitaren etxera, 28 bost anaia ditut eta; jar ditzala jakinaren gainean, beraiek ere oinaze-toki honetara etor ez daitezen”. 29 Abrahamek erantzun zion: “Hor dituzte Moises eta profetak: entzun diezaietela”. 30 Hark, oraindik: “Ez, aita Abraham; hildakoren bat joaten bazaie, orduan bai bihozberrituko direla”. 31 Baina Abrahamek erantzun zion: “Moisesi eta profetei entzuten ez badiete, hildakoren bat piztuta ere, ez dute kasurik egingo”».

“They have Eyes, but do not See”

In the Gospel of Luke, when Jesus shouted “you cannot serve God and mammon” (last Sunday’s Gospel) some Pharisees who were listening and were lovers of money, laughed at him. But Jesus did not back down. Soon after, he told a harrowing parable for those who live slaves of wealth, so that they could open their eyes. In a nutshell Jesus describes a bleeding social situation, most provably one which Jesus himself had witnessed. A rich man and a poor beggar, who live close to each other, are separated by the gulf between a life-style of insulting opulence of a rich man and the extreme misery of a poor man.

The story follows the two characters, strongly emphasizing the contrast between the two. The rich man is dressed in purple and fine linen, while the body of the poor man is covered with sores. The rich man spends his time feasting splendidly not only on the feast days, but every day, while the poor man is lying at the gate of palace, without even being able to eat what falls from the table of the rich man. Only dogs, that come looking for some leftovers in the trash, are the friends of the poor man and they come to lick his wounds.

There is no talk at any time that the rich man has exploited the poor man or has abused or despised him. It seems like the rich man has done nothing wrong. However, his whole life lacks humanness, because he only lives for his own satisfaction. His heart is hard like a stone. He totally ignores the poor. The poor man lives in his front view and yet he does not see him. The poor man is right in front of him, he is sick, hungry and abandoned, but the rich man is incapable to cross the door to take care of him.

Make no mistake. Jesus is not only denouncing the situation of Galilee of the thirties of the beginning of our era. He is trying to shake up the consciences of those of us who have become too accustomed to living in abundance, and ignoring, just a few yards from hour doors, or at few hours flight away, entire villages of people living and dying in abject poverty. It is inhuman to lock ourselves in our “social well-being,” totally ignoring this other reality of “social trash.” It is cruel to keep feeding up that “secret illusion of innocence,” which allows us to live with a relatively clear conscience thinking that the fault of this is of everyone and nobody.

Our first task is to try to break the indifference. We must resist to continue to enjoy our lives empty of compassion. We must resist isolating mentally ourselves by thinking that misery and hunger, which is to be found in our world, takes place at an abstract distance, far away from us, so we can live comfortably without hearing the cry of the poor. The Gospel can help us to be alert, without becoming increasingly insensitive to the suffering of the abandoned, and without losing the sense of fraternal responsibility and not remain passive when we can act. There are many Christians who are doing a lot of good things for the poor. We need to be more people doing the same.

September 18, 2016
Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel Luke 16: 1-13

Jesus said to his disciples, “A rich man had a steward who was reported to him for squandering his property. He summoned him and said, ‘What is this I hear about you? Prepare a full account of your stewardship, because you can no longer be my steward.’ The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do, now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me? I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg. I know what I shall do so that, when I am removed from the stewardship, they may welcome me into their homes.’ He called in his master’s debtors one by one. To the first he said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note. Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’ Then to another the steward said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘One hundred kors of wheat.’ The steward said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note; write one for eighty.’ And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently. “For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones. If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours? No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon.”

Ebanjelioa Lukas 16: 1-13

Jesusek esan zien ikasleei: «Gizon aberats batek etxezain bat zuen, eta hau ondasunak alferrik galtzen ari zitzaiola salatu zioten. «Deitu zion eta esan: “Zer da zutaz entzun dudan hori? Emadazu etxezaintzaren kontu, kargutik bota egiten zaitut eta”. 3 «Honela zioen, orduan, etxezainak bere baitan: “Zer egin behar dut orain, nagusiak kargua kentzen didanez gero? Aitzurrerako ez naiz gauza, eta eskerako lotsa naiz. 4 Badakit zer egin, kargutik botatzen nauten honetan etxean nork hartu izan dezadan”. 5 «Deitu zituen bere nagusiaren zordunak banan-banan, eta lehenengoari galdetu zion: “Zenbat zor diozu nire nagusiari?” 6 Hark erantzun: “Ehun upel olio”. Etxezainak esan zion: “Hona zure ordain-agiria; agudo, eseri eta idatzi berrogeita hamar”. «Gero, hurrengoari galdetu zion: “Zuk zenbat zor diozu?” Hark erantzun: “Ehun anega gari”. Eta besteak, orduan: “Hona zure ordain-agiria; idatzi laurogei”. 8 «Eta nagusiak txalotu egin zuen etxezain zuzengabe hura, zuhurki jokatu zuelako. Izan ere, mundukoak zuhurrago dira beren arteko arazoetan, argitakoak berenetan baino. 9 «Beraz, hauxe diotsuet nik ere: Irabaz itzazue adiskideak bidegabeko diruaren bidez; horrela, dirua amaitzean, betiko bizilekuetan hartuko zaituzte Jainkoak. 10 «Gauza txikietan fidagarria, handietan ere fidagarri da, eta gauza txikietan zuzengabea, handietan ere zuzengabe. 11 Bidegabeko dirua erabiltzen fidatzekoak izan ez bazarete, nork utzi zuen esku egiazko ondasuna? 12 Zeuena ez duzuen aberastasunarekin fidatzekoak izan ez bazarete, nork eman benetan dagokizuena? 13 «Ez da morroirik bi nagusi zerbitza ditzakeenik; izan ere, bata gorroto izango du eta bestea maite, edota batari men egingo dio eta bestea begitan hartuko. Ezin zaitezkete Jainkoaren eta diruaren morroi izan».

Jesus and Mammon

“You cannot serve God and mammon.” These words of Jesus cannot be forgotten at the present moment by those of us who confess to be his followers, because they contain the most serious warning Jesus has left mankind as a testament. Money, when made an absolute idol, becomes the greatest enemy in God’s determination to build a more just and fraternal world.

Unfortunately, wealth has become in our globalized world an idol of immense power. In order to survive, it demands an increasingly more numerous victims and the result is more dehumanization and impoverishment of human history. Right now we are caught up in the midst of a crisis caused largely by the desire to accumulate: greed! Virtually everything is organized, moves and is energized from that logic: seek more productivity, more consumption, more welfare, more energy, more power over others … This logic is imperialist. If we do not stop this trend, it will endanger not only the existence of human beings but also the existence of our own very planet.

Perhaps, the first thing we must do is to be aware of what is happening around us. This is not only an economic crisis. It is a social and human crisis. Right now we already have enough data around us and in the horizon of the world, to perceive the human drama in which we are immersed. It is becoming more obvious that we are moving toward an unbearable foolish system, which leads an obscenely rich minority to accumulate more and more resources and power, leaving in hunger and misery millions of human beings. It is useless to look elsewhere or to ignore this reality. Not even the most progressive and well organized societies are cable to ensure decent jobs to millions of their citizens. What progress is this that, throwing us all to a system of well-being and yet leaves millions of families without resources to live with dignity? What kind of social well-being is this? What kind of democracy is this? Is this what we call “Western Values,” which we are ready to export to other countries, with weapons, if necessary?

The crisis is ruining the democratic system. Pressured by the demands of money, capital and market economy (mammon), the rulers (those who have pledged to always defend the interests of the voters) cannot meet the real needs of their people they have promised to serve. What good is politics if it is not already at the service of the common good? Our elections every so often are but a farce of democratic play. We are governed by people we do not elect to office. The decline in social spending in the various fields and interested privatization of the social resources and public taxes, plus the blatant corruption of the politicians and their disdain for offering dignified public services such as health for all, continue beating dramatically the defenseless generating more exclusion, inequality and social fracture.

The followers of Jesus cannot live in an isolated religion of pietism ignorant of this human drama. Christian communities can, and must be at this time, a space of awareness, discernment and commitment. We have to help each other to live with lucidity and responsibility. The crisis can make us more human and more Christian.

September 11, 2016
Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel Luke 15: 1-32

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So to them he addressed this parable. “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance. “Or what woman having ten coins and losing one would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it? And when she does find it, she calls together her friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’ In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Then he said, “A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them.  After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’ So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began. Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him.  He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns, who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’ He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’”

Ebanjelioa Lukas 15: 1-32

1 Zergalari eta bekatari guztiak Jesusengana bildu ohi ziren hari entzutera, 2 eta fariseuak eta lege-maisuak marmarrean ari ziren esanez: «Horrek harrera ona egiten die bekatariei, baita beraiekin jan ere!» 3 Jesusek parabola hau esan zien: «Zuetako nor, ehun ardi izan eta bat galtzen bazaio, ez da, beste laurogeita hemeretziak larrean utzirik, galduaren bila joaten aurkitu arte? 5 Eta aurkitzen duenean, lepoan hartzen du poz-pozik 6 eta, etxeratzean, adiskideak eta auzokoak bildu eta esaten die: “Egin festa nirekin, aurkitu baitut galdutako ardia!” 7 Egia esan, Jainkoak ere poz handiagoa hartzen du bihoz berritzen den bekatari batengatik, bihoz berritu beharrik ez duten laurogeita hemeretzi zintzoengatik baino. 8 «Edota zein emakumek, zilarrezko hamar txanpon izan eta bat galtzen bazaio, ez du, kriseilua pizturik, etxea garbitu eta galdu zaion txanpona ardura guztiaz bilatzen aurkitu arte? 9 Eta, aurkitzean, adiskideak eta auzokoak bildu eta esaten die: “Egin festa nirekin, aurkitu baitut galdua nuen txanpona!” 10 Egia esan, berdin pozten da Jainkoa ere bere aingeruekin bihozberritzen den bekatari batengatik».

11 Gainera, esan zien: «Gizon batek bi seme zituen. 12 Gazteenak esan zion aitari: “Aita, emadazu dagokidan senipartea”. Eta aitak ondasunak banatu zizkien. 13 «Handik egun gutxira, seme gazteenak, zituen guztiak bildurik, urrutiko herrialde batera alde egin zuen eta han, galdukerian biziz, ondasun guztiak jan. 14 Dena xahutu zuenean, gosete ikaragarria gertatu zen inguru hartan eta estu aurkitzen hasi zen. 15 Orduan, herrialde hartako gizon batengana joan zen morroi, eta hark bere sailetara bidali zuen txerrizain. 16 Txerriek jaten zuten ezkurrez asetzeko gogoa ematen zion, ez baitzion inork jaten ematen. 17 Orduan, pentsatzen jarririk, bere baitan esan zuen: “Zenbat langile gure aitarenean nahi adina ogi eta gehiago dutela, eta ni hemen goseak hiltzen! 18 Jaiki, aitarengana joan eta esango diot: Aita, bekatu egin dut Jainkoaren eta zure kontra. 19 Ez dut gehiago seme-izenik merezi. Har nazazu zeure langileetako bat bezala”. 20 «Jaiki eta aitaren etxera abiatu zen. Oraindik urruti zegoela, ikusi zuen aitak eta errukitu egin zen; eta, lasterka joanik, besarkatu eta musuka hasi zitzaion. 21 Semeak esan zion: “Aita, bekatu egin dut Jainkoaren eta zure kontra. Ez dut gehiago zure seme-izenik merezi… ”. 22 Aitak, ordea, esan zien morroiei: “Ekarri bizkor jantzirik onena eta jantziozue, ipiniozue eraztuna eta jantzi oinetakoak; 23 ekarri zekor gizendua eta hil; egin dezagun festa-otordua; 24 zeren seme hau hilda bainuen eta piztu egin zait, galdua nuen eta aurkitu egin dut”. Eta festa hasi zuten. 25 «Seme zaharrena soroan zen. Etxerakoan, hurbildu ahala, soinua eta dantzak sumatu zituen. 26 Eta, morroi bati deiturik, zer gertatzen zen galdetu zion. 27 Hark erantzun: “Zure anaia etorri da eta zekor gizendua hiltzeko agindu du zuen aitak, semea onik bereganatu duelako”. 28 Biziki haserretu zen anaia eta ez zuen sartu nahi. Atera zen aita eta erreguka hasi zitzaion. 29 Baina hark erantzun zion aitari: “Hainbeste urte da zure agindu bat ere sekula huts egin gabe zerbitzatzen zaitudala, eta ez didazu egundaino antxume bat ere eman, lagunekin festa egiteko; 30 eta, horko zure seme hori, zure ondasunak emagalduekin jan dituen hori, etorri dela eta, zekor gizendua hil duzu”. 31 Aitak erantzun zion: “Seme, zu beti nirekin zaude, eta nire guztia zeurea duzu! 32 Baina egoki zen poztu eta festa egitea, zure anaia hau hilda baikenuen eta piztu egin zaigu, galdua genuen eta aurkitu egin dugu!”

A Scandalous Gesture

The most provocative and scandalous gesture of Jesus was undoubtedly his way to accommodate with especial sympathy all type of sinners, and all those excluded by the rigorist religious leaders and those marked socially by their conduct outside the law. What most irritated the leaders was his nasty habit of eat amiably with them.

Ordinarily, we forget that Jesus created a surprising situation in the society of his time. He provoked an impact. Sinners did not run away from him. On the contrary, they felt attracted to him and his message. Luke tells us that “sinners and publicans (public offenders) used to approach Jesus to listen to him.” There is no doubt, hey found in him a welcoming hand and an understanding they could not find elsewhere.

Meanwhile, the group of the Pharisees and the doctors of the law, men of higher moral and religious prestige before the eyes of the people, knew only to criticize the behavior of Jesus of which they felt scandalized: “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” How is it possible for a man of God to eat at the same table with that bunch of sinful and undesirable people?

Jesus never took seriously any of their criticisms. He knew that God, his Father, was not the severe and rigorous judge of whom those teachers who desired to occupy the first places at the banquets and the synagogue spoke so confidently. Jesus knew very well his Father’s heart. God understands sinners; He offers forgiveness to all; He excludes no one; forgives everything. No one has the right to darken or disfigure God’s unfathomable and gratuitous forgiveness.

Therefore, Jesus wholeheartedly offers them his understanding and friendship. Those prostitutes and tax collectors have the right to feel welcomed and forgiven by God. This is the first thing about God we all need to learn. Sinners have nothing to fear. They can sit at his table, they can drink wine and sing songs with Jesus. It is this attitude of Jesus that heals them inside. Jesus liberates them from public shame and humiliation. Jesus gives them the joy of living. The Joy of the Gospel.

Jesus welcomes them as they are, without first requiring anything from them. Jesus shares with them his own peace and trust in God the Father, even without having the certainty if they will be able respond to that grace by changing their behavior. Jesus relies completely only in the mercy of God who already await them with open arms, like a good father who runs to meet his lost son.

The first task of a Christian community is to remain faithful to Jesus by not condemning sinners but understanding and accepting them amicably. One only needs to watch TV: whenever Pope Francis cries out that God forgives always, forgives everything, forgives everyone … people applaud enthusiastically. Surely many people with small and wavering faith clearly needs to hear again today in the Church this Good News.

September 4, 2016
Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel Luke 14: 25-33

Great crowds were traveling with Jesus, and he turned and addressed them, “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him and say, ‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’ Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops? But if not, while he is still far away, he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms. In the same way, anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.”

Ebanjelioa Lukas 14: 25-33

25 Jende-talde handiak zihoazen Jesusekin; honek, beraiengana itzulirik, esan zien: 26 «Norbaitek nirekin etorri nahi badu eta ez banau ni bere aita-amak eta emaztea, seme-alabak eta anai-arrebak eta bere burua ere baino maiteago, ez daiteke izan nire ikasle. 27 Bere gurutzea hartu eta nire ondoren ez datorrena ez daiteke izan nire ikasle. 28 «Izan ere, zuetako nork, dorrea egin nahi badu, ez ditu aldez aurretik eseri eta gastuen kontuak ateratzen, bukatzeko adina ba ote duen ikusteko? 29 Bestela, zimenduak hartu ondoren bukatu ezin izango balu, ikusiko luketen guztiek barre egingo liokete, 30 esanez: “Honako hau eraikitzen hasi huen eta ezin izan dik amaitu”. 31 «Edo zein erregek, beste baten kontra gerrara joan nahi badu, ez du aldez aurretik eseri eta begiratzen, ea hamar mila gizon aski dituen hogei milarekin kontra datorkionari aurre egiteko? 32 Eta ezetz ikusten badu, bestea oraindik urruti dela, mandatariak bidaliko dizkio bakea eskatuz. 33 «Era berean, zuetako inor ez daiteke izan nire ikasle, dituen guztiei uko egiten ez badie.

Jesus demands total Obedience

Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem. (This is one of those encrypted expressions used by Luke, which means Jesus’ determination to go to the Cross). The evangelist tells us that a “large crowd” accompanied him. However, Jesus did not let himself be seduced by easy adhesions and compliments of the people. In the same way, many, today, are concerned about the fact that people in great numbers are abandoning the pews of the churches. Jesus, then, (and we today) was more interested in the quality of his followers than numbers.

Suddenly “he turns to the people” and begins to speak to them about some concrete and practical demands, which necessarily must be part of a lucid and responsible heart attitude and lifestyle of those who really wish to follow Him. Jesus does not want people to follow Him anyway, superficially, or only to satisfy certain spiritual needs. Being a disciple of Jesus is a decision one must take seriously and it affects the entire life of a person.

Jesus speaks to them, first about the family. Those people who followed Jesus had their own family: parents, wives, husbands, and children, brothers and sisters. These were the loved ones and most cherished ones. But, if the disciples of Jesus is not capable to put aside the interests of a personal family to collaborate with Him in promoting and creating a more extended human family, based not on blood ties but built on justice and fraternal solidarity, one cannot be his disciple. Jesus is not thinking about eliminating family relations based on love, tenderness and mutual support. What Jesus demands is that his disciple must place Jesus, and his great dream about establishing the kingdom of God on earth above family honor, heritage, inheritance or even family welfare. No one not willing to go that far can be his disciple and work with him on the project of building a more humane world.

Even more. If someone thinks only of him/herself and his/her things, if one lives only to enjoy his/her well-being, if one only cares of his/her interests, let it not be fooled, that person cannot be a disciple of Jesus no matter how many rosaries and novenas may pray and how many days may fast or attend mass every single day. Such a person is lacking a real experience of an encounter with Jesus, inner freedom, spiritual coherence and responsibility to take seriously the call of Jesus to follow Him.

Jesus’ language is blunt: “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” If one lives trying to avoid problems and conflicts, if one does not wish to take risks and penalties, if one is not willing to endure suffering and discomfort for the kingdom of God and His righteousness, cannot be a disciple of Jesus.

One may not be a Christian in any way. We must not disguise the Christian way of living by disfiguring or emptying it from Jesus demand to pick up the Cross (to walk with him to Jerusalem) by taking false refuge in a pietistic Christian way of life.

It is amazing the freedom of spirit with which Pope Francis denounces clearly certain lifestyles of many Christians who have little to do with being disciples of Jesus: “Christians of good manners, yes, but bad habits,” or “believers placed in a museum, only good to look at” or “hypocrites of casuistry,” “Christians incapable of swimming against the current of the majority,” or “corrupt” Christians who only think about themselves, “well-formed Christians who do not preach the gospel.”

Sunday August 28, 2016
Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel 14: 1, 7-14

On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully. He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him, and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place. Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, ‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’ Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table. For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Then he said to the host who invited him, “When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Ebanjelioa Lukas 14: 1, 7-14

1 Behin batean, larunbatez, fariseu-buruetako baten etxera joan zen Jesus bazkaltzera, eta fariseuak zelatan zegozkion. 7 Ohartu zen Jesus gonbidatuek mahaiko lehen jarlekuak hartzen zituztela, eta aholku hauek eman zizkien: 8 «Ezteietara gonbidatzen zaituztenean, ez jarri mahaiburuan, zu baino gonbidatu ospetsuagoren bat izan daiteke eta;  9 hala balitz, biok gonbidatu zaituztenak etorri eta esango lizuke: “Utzi tokia honi”; orduan, azkeneko lekuan eseri beharko zenuke lotsa gorrian. 10 Alderantziz, gonbidatzen zaituztenean, jarri azkeneko tokian, gonbidatu zaituenak, datorrenean, esan diezazun: “Adiskide, igo gorago”. Horrela, oso toki onean geldituko zara mahaikide guztien aurrean. 11 Zeren eta bere burua goratzen duena beheratu egingo baitu Jainkoak, eta bere burua beheratzen duena, goratu». 12 Eta gonbidatu zuenari esan zion: «Bazkari edo afariren bat ematean, ez gonbidatu zeure adiskideak, ezta senide, ahaide edo auzoko aberatsak ere; zeren beraiek ere gonbidatu egingo zintuzkete, eta, horrela, ordaina hartuko zenuke. 13 Aitzitik, otordu bat ematean, gonbidatu behartsu, elbarri, herren eta itsuak. 14 Zorionekoa zu orduan, ez baitute zuri ordaintzerik! Zintzoak piztuko direnean jasoko duzu ordaina».

Without Exclusion

Jesus attends a banquet invited by “one of the leading Pharisees” in the region. It is a special Sabbath meal, prepared with all care from the day before. As usual, the guests are friends of the host. Some are prestigious Pharisees, others doctors of the law, but all role models of a pious religious life for all people.

Apparently, Jesus did not feel comfortable. He seems to miss his friends: the poor, those people begging on the road sides of the dusty ways of Galilee, those who were never invited by anyone, those who count nothing in the eyes of those invited to the table of the Pharisee, those excluded from social life, those forgotten by the leaders of the official religion, and those despised by almost everyone. These were the ones who usually sit at His table.

Before leaving, however, Jesus addresses to the one who invited him to the banquet. It is not to thank him for the invitation, but to shake his conscience and invite him to live a less luxurious and more human life-style: “do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors in case they may invite you back… rather, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Once again, Jesus strives to humanize life by breaking, if necessary, protocols and behavioral criteria, which may look very respectable on the first sight, but in reality, show our resistance, even opposition, to God’s great dream to build a more humane and fraternal world. With our political correctness we are often opposing God’s plan to establish His Kingdom among us. We are resisting God.

Ordinarily, we live installed in a circle of family, social, political or religious relationships, which protect us and help us maintain and defend our interests, excluding from our circle those who can bring us nothing. We invite into our lives only those who in turn will invite us. That is all. Slaves of our own created vested interest relationships, we fail to realize that our well-being is sustained by excluding those who are in most need of our generous solidarity in order to simply survive. We must listen to the Gospel inspired cries of Pope Francis on the small island of Lampedusa, Italy, on July 8 of 2013: “Our welfare culture makes us insensitive to the cries of others;” “We have fallen into the globalization of indifference;” “We have lost the sense of responsibility.”

We, who call ourselves to be the followers of Jesus of Nazareth, must remember that to open new roads to the Kingdom of God is not about, firstly, building a more religious and pietistic society or to promote alternative political systems to the ones we have now in place, but, above all, to generate and develop mutual relationships, which are more humane, which will enable a more dignified life-style for all, beginning from the last ones.

Sunday August 21, 2016
Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel Luke 13: 22-30

Jesus passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.  Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He answered them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough. After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’ He will say to you in reply, ‘I do not know where you are from. And you will say, ‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’ Then he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!’ And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out. And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God. For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

Ebanjelioa Lukas 13: 22-30

22 Jerusalemera bidean zihoan Jesus, igarotzen zituen herri eta auzoetan irakatsiz. 23 Batek esan zion: –Jauna, gutxi izango al dira salbatuko direnak? Jesusek erantzun zuen: 24 –Saia zaitezte ate estutik sartzen. Egia esan, askok sartu nahi izango dute, eta ezin izango. 25 Etxeko nagusiak jaiki eta atea itxiz gero, kanpoan geldituok behin eta berriro atea joko diozue, «Ireki, Jauna» deiadarka, baina hark erantzungo dizue: «Ez dakit nongoak zareten». 26 Orduan, honela hasiko zatzaizkiote: «Zurekin jan eta edanak gara, eta zuk gure plazetan irakatsi izan duzu». 27 Baina hark erantzungo dizue: «Ez dakit nongoak zareten. Alde niregandik, gaizkileok!» 28 Orduan, negarra eta hortz-karraska izango da, Abraham, Isaak eta Jakob eta profeta guztiak Jainkoaren erreinuan eta zeuen buruak, berriz, kanpora jaurtiak ikustean. 29 Asko etorriko dira sortaldetik eta sartaldetik, iparretik eta hegotik, eta Jainkoaren erreinuko mahaikide izango. 30 «Begira, orain azkeneko den zenbait, lehenengo izango da orduan, eta orain lehenengo den zenbait, azkeneko».

The narrow gate

Modern society is increasingly imposing the logic of a lifestyle marked by what it can be called the pragmatism of that which is immediate. People do not seem to be interested on the great issues of the human existence. Our information is always about that which is for right now and here. We no longer seem to hold to firm certainties and deep convictions. As a result, gradually, we become trivial beings, laden with clichés and stereotypes, without inner consistency or ideals that encourage our daily lives, beyond the comfort zone of the moment.

It is very significant symptom to observe that many Christians today are not interested about the question of “eternal salvation,” which so worried our ancestors only a few years ago: many have erased this concern from their consciousness; others, not sure why, feel entitled to a “happy ending;” others chose not to remember some religious experiences, which may have left in them sour memories.

According to Luke’s account, a stranger makes Jesus a question, which was a very frequent concern in that social and religious context? “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” Jesus does not directly answer his question. Jesus was not interested in speculating on such sterile matters, so dear to some teachers of the time. Jesus goes directly to that which is essential and decisive: how we ought to act in order not to be excluded from the salvation that God offers to all? “Strive to enter through the narrow gate.” These were his first words. God opens the door of eternal life to all, but we ourselves must strive and work hard to get through it. This is the healthy attitude. Trust in God, yes; frivolity, carelessness and false assurances, no.

Jesus insists, above all, in not allowing ourselves to be deceived with false assurances. It is not enough to say that I belong to the people of Israel; It is not enough to say that we have known personally Jesus and walked with him the dusty roads of Galilee. What it is decisive is to enter now in the dynamics of the Kingdom of God and His righteousness; to synchronize with Jesus’ great dream of the Kingdom. In fact, those left out of the final banquet are literally “those who practice injustice.” Jesus invites us all to trust in God and be responsible. An old Spanish proverb says: “A Dios rogando y con el mazo dando.”

At the final banquet of the kingdom of God not only the patriarchs and prophets of Israel will sit at the table. Also pagans from all corners of the world and followers of other religions will share the succulent banquet of the Kingdom. To be in or out will depend on how each one of us responds to salvation, which God offers to everyone, with no exclusion.

Jesus ends with a proverb—which scandalized the high priests and lawyers of his time—that sums up his entire message. In relation to the kingdom of God: “some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” His warning is clear. Some who feel sure to be admitted may be left out. Others who seem to be excluded in advance may be inside.

Sunday August 14, 2016
Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel Luke 12:49-53

Jesus said to his disciples: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

Ebanjelioa Lukas 12: 49-53

Jesusek honela esan zien bere ikasleei: 49 «Lurrean sua jartzera etorri naiz, eta nahiago nuke dagoeneko piztua balego! 50 Heriotza-uretan murgildu behar dut, eta hau nire larria hori bete arte! 51 «Munduari bakea ematera etorria naizela uste al duzue? Egia esan, bakea ez, banaketa baizik. 52 Zeren hemendik aurrera, etxe bateko bost senideak elkarrekin banaturik egongo baitira: hiru biren kontra eta bi hiruren kontra; 53 aita semearen aurka eta semea aitaren aurka, ama alabaren kontra eta alaba amaren kontra, amaginarreba errainaren kontra eta erraina amaginarrebaren kontra».

Without Fire it is Impossible

In a clearly prophetic style, Jesus sums up his whole life with some unusual words: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” What is Jesus talking about? The enigmatic character of his language has led many exegetes to find answers in different directions. In any case, the image of “fire” is inviting us to approach the mystery of Jesus in a more ardent and passionate manner.

The fire, which was burning inside Jesus was his passion for God and his compassion for those who suffer. That unfathomable love, which animated his entire life, can never be revealed totally. His mystery will never be locked in dogmatic formulas nor in some wise books. Nobody will ever be able to write a definitive book about it. Jesus attracts toward him and burns, Jesus unsettles and purifies. No one can follow Jesus with a heart turned off or bored piety.

His words put all hearts in burning stage. He offers himself amiably to the most excluded, awakens the hope of prostitutes and lights dignity and self-esteem in sinners and those most despised in society. In short, Jesus fights vehemently against all that, which harms human being. Moreover, Jesus combats religious formalisms, the rigorists that dehumanize, and the narrow and one-sided interpretations of the law. Nothing can fetter His freedom to do good. We will never be able to follow Him if we are immersed in religious routine and mediocrity or seated in our comfort zone of the “politically correct.”

Jesus turns conflicts on and not off. He did not come to bring us a false sensation of tranquility, but tensions, confrontation and division. In fact, Jesus introduces conflict, first of all, in our own hearts. He makes impossible for us to hide ourselves behind the protection shield of some religious rituals or social practices. No religion will protect us from his sharp sight. Jesus is calling us to live in truth and to love selflessly.

Jesus’ fire was not quenched when he dived into the deep waters of death. Resurrected to a new life, His Spirit still is burning throughout history. The first followers felt Him like a vivid fire burning in their hearts when they heard His words while He was walking beside them.

Where is possible today to experience that fire of Jesus? Where can we experience the power of his creative freedom? When will our hearts burn as we welcome the Gospel? Where are those who live passionately following in his footsteps? Although the Christian faith may seem today to gradually go extinguishing, that ball of fire brought by Jesus to the world is still burning under the ashes. We must not let it go out totally. Without His burning fire in our heart it is not possible to follow Jesus.

Sunday August 7, 2016
Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel Luke 12: 32-48

Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be. “Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them. And should he come in the second or third watch and find them prepared in this way, blessed are those servants. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into.

You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” Then Peter said, “Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?” And the Lord replied, “Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants
to distribute the food allowance at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so. Truly, I say to you, the master will put the servant in charge of all his property. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, to eat and drink and get drunk, then that servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish the servant severely and assign him a place with the unfaithful. That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly. Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”

Ebanjelioa Lukas 12: 32-48

Jesusek honela esan zien bere ikasleei: 32 Ez izan beldur, ene artaldetxo hori, atsegin izan baitu zuen Aitak zuen alde errege izatea. 33 «Saldu zeuen ondasunak eta eman limosna. Pila itzazue zeruan hondatuko ez diren ondasunak, huts egingo ez dizueten aberastasunak, hara ez baita lapurrik hurbiltzen, ezta han sitsak jaten ere. 34 Zeren, zuen aberastasuna non, zuen bihotza han. 35 «Zaudete prest, jantziak loturik eta kriseiluak pizturik; 36 izan zaitezte nagusia ezteietatik itzuli zain dauden morroiak bezala, iritsi eta atea jo bezain laster irekitzeko prest dauden morroiak bezala. 37 Zorionekoak morroi horiek, nagusiak, iristean, zain aurkitzen baditu. Benetan diotsuet: Arropak aldaturik, mahaian eseraraziko ditu eta zerbitzatzen hasiko zaie. 38 Eta gauerdian edo goizaldera badator eta horrela aurkitzen baditu, zorionekoak haiek! 39 «Gogoan hartu hau: etxeko nagusiak, lapurra zein ordutan etorriko den jakingo balu, ez luke etxea zulatzen utziko.

40 Egon prest zuek ere, gutxien uste duzuen orduan etorriko baita Gizonaren Semea». 41 Pedrok galdetu zion: «Jauna, guretzat ala denentzat esan duzu parabola hau?» 42 Jaunak esan zuen: «Izan zaitezte etxezain leial eta zentzuduna bezala, nagusiak bere orduan otordua banatzeko morroien buru ipini duena bezala. 43 Zorionekoa morroi hori, nagusiak, iristean, agindua egiten aurkitzen badu! 44 Benetan diotsuet: Bere ondasun guztien buru ipiniko du. 45 Baina morroia, nagusiak luzatu egingo duelakoan, morroi eta neskameak jotzen, jan-edanean eta mozkorkerian hasten bada, 46 gutxien espero duen egunean eta gutxien uste duen orduan etorriko zaio nagusia, eta zigorrik gogorrena ezarriko dio, eta desleialek merezi duten zoria emango. 47 Nagusiaren gogoa zein den jakin arren, gauzak hark nahi bezala eratzen edo egiten ez dituen morroiak zigor zorrotza izanen du; 48 nagusiaren gogoa zein den jakin gabe, zigorra merezi duen zerbait egiten duenak, berriz, biguna. Asko eman zitzaionari, asko eskatuko zaio; askoren kargua eman zitzaionari, are kontu handiagoa eskatuko.

Living in Minority

Lucas has compiled in his gospel some few words, full of love and affection, directed by Jesus to his followers. Often, these simple and tender words go unnoticed. However, if carefully read today in our parishes and Christian communities, we will observe their pressing challenging meaning in our present times. These are the very words we really need to hear from Jesus in these difficult times for our faith.

My little flock.” Jesus looks with immense tenderness to his small group of followers. They are few. They have a vocation for minority. They are not to think about great actions. That is the way Jesus always imagines them: like a small amount of hidden “leaven” in the dough, or a small “light” in the middle of darkness, a small handful of “salt,” but enough to bring flavor into life.

After centuries of “Christian imperialism” and countless of triumphalist gestures, the disciples of Jesus today need to learn to live in minority and powerlessness. It is a mistake to yearn for a powerful Church. Is a hoax to seek worldly power or pretend to dominate the society, even though we may think or even be convinced of being in possession of a “superior” or “Divinely” inspired doctrine. It is difficult to imagine Peter, or John or James, the fishermen from Galilee, wearing regalia cloths and demand privileges from the Empire. The gospel cannot be imposed by force. It only can be proposed, offered, by a lifestyle which gets closer to that of Jesus. One which humanizes the world.

Do not be afraid.” This was one of the biggest worries of Jesus. Jesus did not want to see his followers paralyzed by fear or sunk in despair. They must never lose the confidence in the Father nor their interior peace. Also today we are a little flock, but we must stay close to Jesus, the Good Shepherd who guides and defend us. We see Christians being evicted from places where they lived for centuries, we also have seen priests being martyred because of Jesus, we experience every day that people, even those who call themselves Christians, disdain and refuse to follow the Words of Jesus. Do not be afraid. Only Jesus can make us live these times of turmoil in peace.

Your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom.” Jesus remembers them this once again. They are not to feel orphans. They have God as Father. He has entrusted them the great project of the kingdom. This is his great gift. The best tool we have in our communities is this: the call and the task of making human life, especially of the poor, more humane and livable, and to inject the hope around us, that human history is moving slowly but surely toward its ultimate salvation.

And finally, the logic consequence: “Sell your possessions and give alms.” The followers of Jesus are to be a small and powerless flock, but never a sect imprisoned in its own interests. They are not to live oblivious to the needs of anyone. They must remain being open communities. They must share their goods with those who need help and solidarity. They must give alms, meaning “mercy.” This is the original meaning of the Greek term.

We, Christians, will still need some time to learn to live in minority in the middle of this secular and pluralistic society. But there is something we can and must do without delay: transform the climate in our communities and make it a more evangelical one. Pope Francis is leading the way with his gestures and his personal lifestyle.

Sunday July 31, 2016
Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel Luke 12: 13-21

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” He replied to him, “Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?” Then he said to the crowd, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” Then he told them a parable. “There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. He asked himself, ‘What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?’ And he said, ‘This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God.”

Ebanjelioa Lukas 12: 13-21

13 Behin batean, jendarteko batek esan zion Jesusi: –Maisu, esaiozu nire anaiari senipartea nirekin erdibanatzeko. 14 Jesusek erantzun zion: –Gizon, nork egin nau ni zuen artean epaile edo ondasun-banatzaile? 15 Orduan, guztiei esan zien: –Kontuz! Gorde diru-gosetik, ondasunek ez baitiote inori bizia segurtatzen, ugari izanda ere. 16 Gero, parabola hau kontatu zien: «Gizon aberats bati lurrak uzta handia eman zion. 17 Eta honela hasi zen berekiko pentsatzen: “Zer egin, ez baitut uzta non jasorik?” 18Eta beretzat esan zuen: “Badakit zer egin: mandio zaharrak bota eta handiagoak egingo ditut eta hauetan jasoko neure garia eta gainerakoak. 19 Gero, esango diot neure buruari: Ea, mutil, baduk hor gordeta urteetarako ondasunik aski; hartu atseden, jan, edan eta bizi hadi lasai”. 20 Baina Jainkoak esan zion: “Burugabea halakoa! Gaur gauean bertan hil behar duzu. Norentzat izango da pilatu duzuna?”» 21 Eta honela amaitu zuen: «Horra zer gertatzen zaion, Jainkoarentzat aberats izan beharrean, beretzat ondasunak pilatzen dituenari».

Against Foolishness

We know more today about the social and economic situation Jesus experienced in Galilee during the thirties of our era. While in the big cities such as Sepphoris and Tiberias wealth grew, in the villages around, hunger and misery increased. Peasants lost their lands while rich landowners built new and increasingly larger silos and barns.

In a short story, preserved only by Luke, Jesus reveals what he thinks about this painful situation in his time, so contrary to the will of God, and the urgency to build together a more humane world for all with no discarded people. Luke does not narrate this parable only to denounce the abuses and outrages committed by landowners, but for all, he wants to expose the foolishness of those installed living in an opulent life style.

A wealthy landowner is surprised by a great harvest. He does not know how to manage such an abundance. “What will I do?” His monologue reveals the senseless logic of the powerful who only live to hoard wealth and wellbeing, excluding the needy from that horizon of abundance.

The rich man in the parable plans his life and takes decisions as if he were the lord of his own destiny. He will tear down the old barns and build new and larger ones. He will store there all his harvest. He is sure to be able to accumulate his assets for many years to come. From now on, he will live only to enjoy “rest, eat, drink, and be merry!” Unexpectedly, God interrupts his projects: “You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?”

This man reduces his life to enjoy the abundance of his possessions. He and only he is the center of his entire life and his welfare. God is absent from his life. So are also the laborers who work in his land; they just do not exist. The families of the peasants struggling against hunger do not count. God’s judgment is unequivocal: the life of this man is just foolishness and folly.

At present, virtually worldwide, an alarmingly inequality is increasing. This is the bleakest and most inhuman fact: “the rich, especially the wealthy, are becoming richer, while the poor, especially the poorest, are becoming much poorer” (Zygmunt Bauman).

This fact is not something to be considered a normal phenomenon. It is simply the ultimate consequence of the gravest foolishness we, human beings, are committing: friendly cooperation, solidarity and the common good for all humanity must replace competition and rivalry and the vicious hoarding of goods in the hands of the few most powerful people of the planet.

From the Church of Jesus, which is present in all the Earth, we must listen to the cries of his followers against such foolishness, and must positively react against this economic, political and social model, which is leading human history today to total annihilation.

Sunday July 31, 2016
Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel Luke 12: 13-21

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” He replied to him, “Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?” Then he said to the crowd, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” Then he told them a parable. “There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. He asked himself, ‘What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?’ And he said, ‘This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God.”

Ebanjelioa Lukas 12: 13-21

13 Behin batean, jendarteko batek esan zion Jesusi: –Maisu, esaiozu nire anaiari senipartea nirekin erdibanatzeko. 14 Jesusek erantzun zion: –Gizon, nork egin nau ni zuen artean epaile edo ondasun-banatzaile? 15 Orduan, guztiei esan zien: –Kontuz! Gorde diru-gosetik, ondasunek ez baitiote inori bizia segurtatzen, ugari izanda ere. 16 Gero, parabola hau kontatu zien: «Gizon aberats bati lurrak uzta handia eman zion. 17 Eta honela hasi zen berekiko pentsatzen: “Zer egin, ez baitut uzta non jasorik?” 18Eta beretzat esan zuen: “Badakit zer egin: mandio zaharrak bota eta handiagoak egingo ditut eta hauetan jasoko neure garia eta gainerakoak. 19 Gero, esango diot neure buruari: Ea, mutil, baduk hor gordeta urteetarako ondasunik aski; hartu atseden, jan, edan eta bizi hadi lasai”. 20 Baina Jainkoak esan zion: “Burugabea halakoa! Gaur gauean bertan hil behar duzu. Norentzat izango da pilatu duzuna?”» 21 Eta honela amaitu zuen: «Horra zer gertatzen zaion, Jainkoarentzat aberats izan beharrean, beretzat ondasunak pilatzen dituenari».

Against Foolishness

We know more today about the social and economic situation Jesus experienced in Galilee during the thirties of our era. While in the big cities such as Sepphoris and Tiberias wealth grew, in the villages around, hunger and misery increased. Peasants lost their lands while rich landowners built new and increasingly larger silos and barns.

In a short story, preserved only by Luke, Jesus reveals what he thinks about this painful situation in his time, so contrary to the will of God, and the urgency to build together a more humane world for all with no discarded people. Luke does not narrate this parable only to denounce the abuses and outrages committed by landowners, but for all, he wants to expose the foolishness of those installed living in an opulent life style.

A wealthy landowner is surprised by a great harvest. He does not know how to manage such an abundance. “What will I do?” His monologue reveals the senseless logic of the powerful who only live to hoard wealth and wellbeing, excluding the needy from that horizon of abundance.

The rich man in the parable plans his life and takes decisions as if he were the lord of his own destiny. He will tear down the old barns and build new and larger ones. He will store there all his harvest. He is sure to be able to accumulate his assets for many years to come. From now on, he will live only to enjoy “rest, eat, drink, and be merry!” Unexpectedly, God interrupts his projects: “You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?”

This man reduces his life to enjoy the abundance of his possessions. He and only he is the center of his entire life and his welfare. God is absent from his life. So are also the laborers who work in his land; they just do not exist. The families of the peasants struggling against hunger do not count. God’s judgment is unequivocal: the life of this man is just foolishness and folly.

At present, virtually worldwide, an alarmingly inequality is increasing. This is the bleakest and most inhuman fact: “the rich, especially the wealthy, are becoming richer, while the poor, especially the poorest, are becoming much poorer” (Zygmunt Bauman).

This fact is not something to be considered a normal phenomenon. It is simply the ultimate consequence of the gravest foolishness we, human beings, are committing: friendly cooperation, solidarity and the common good for all humanity must replace competition and rivalry and the vicious hoarding of goods in the hands of the few most powerful people of the planet.

From the Church of Jesus, which is present in all the Earth, we must listen to the cries of his followers against such foolishness, and must positively react against this economic, political and social model, which is leading human history today to total annihilation.


Sunday July 24, 2016
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel Luke  11: 1-13

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test.” And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,’ and he says in reply from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.’ I tell you, if he does not get up to give the visitor the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence. “And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”

Ebanjelioa Lukas 11: 1-13

1 Behin batean, Jesus otoitzean ari zen toki batean; amaitu zuenean, bere ikasleetako batek esan zion: «Jauna, irakats iezaguzu otoitz egiten, Joanek bere ikasleei irakatsi zien bezala». 2 Jesusek esan zien: «Otoitz egitean, esazue: «Aita, agertu santu zeure izena,

etorrarazi zeure erregetza; 3 emaguzu egunean eguneko ogia, 4 eta barkatu gure bekatuak, guk ere zor diguten guztiei barkatzen baitiegu, eta ez utzi gu tentaldian erortzen». 5 Gero, esan zien: «Eman dezagun zuetako batek adiskide bat duela eta gauerdian datorkiola, esanez: “Adiskidea, emazkidak hiru ogi, bihurtuko ditiat eta; 6 lagun bat etorri zaidak bidaian eta ez zeukaat ezer eskaintzeko”. 7 Eman dezagun besteak barrutik erantzuten diola: “Utz nazak bakean, atea itxia zegok eta haurrak eta neu oheratuak; ezin naitekek ematera jaiki”. 8 Hona nik esan: Adiskidea duelako ez bada ere, aspergarri izan ez dakion behintzat, jaiki eta eman egingo dio behar duena. 9 «Hauxe esaten dizuet, beraz: Eskatu, eta emango dizue Jainkoak; bilatu, eta aurkituko duzue; jo atea, eta zabalduko zaizue. 10 Zeren eskatzen duenak hartu egiten baitu, bilatzen duenak aurkitu, eta atea jotzen duenari zabaldu egiten baitzaio. 11 «Ba ote da zuen artean aitarik, semeak arraina eskatu eta arrainaren ordez sugea emango dionik? 12 Edo arrautza eskatu eta eskorpioia emango dionik? 13 Beraz, zuek, gaiztoak izanik, seme-alabei gauza onak ematen baldin badakizue, zenbatez areago ez die zeruko zuen Aitak Espiritu Santua emango eskatzen diotenei?»

Ask, search and knock

Luke and Matthew have collected in their respective Gospels words of Jesus, which undoubtedly remained engraved in the minds and hearts of their closest followers. It is more than provable that these words were pronounced by Jesus as he walked with his disciples through the dusty roads and poor villages of Galilee. Jesus and his group would stop at some homes asking for something to eat, or looking for host who would provide them a safe place to sleep or knocking on the door of the neighbors asking for water.

Probably they did not always get what they wished or asked for, but Jesus is never discouraged. His confidence in the Father is absolute. His followers are to learn to trust him like He did: “I say to you: ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Jesus knows what he is speaking from his own experience: “For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

If there is something we must learn from Jesus in these turbulent times of crisis, extreme violence, and confusion, is trust in God. Trust is not a naive attitude of those who think of and hope for better times. Even less, trust is not a passive and irresponsible stance when confronted with evil events, but rather, it means to adopt a more evangelical and prophetic behavior, more determination today to follow Jesus Christ.

In fact, although Jesus’ threefold invitations point to the same basic attitude of trust in God, his language suggests different nuances.

Ask” is the typical attitude of the poor who know need to receive from others, that which they cannot get through their own efforts. This is the way Jesus wished his followers to be: as poor men and women, conscious of their frailty and extreme poverty, with no traces of pride or self-sufficiency. It is not a misfortune to live in a poor, weak and powerless church. What is deplorable today for the church is to pretend to follow Jesus and to ask from the world the protection, which it can only come from the Father.

Search” is not only to ask. It is also to move on, to take steps to achieve that which now may be unknown to us because it still is covered or hidden. Jesus wishes to see his followers as “seekers of the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.” It is normal to live today in a church, which is puzzled with an uncertain future. That which is strange is to remain idle covert by a pietistic façade holding rigidly to the shaky security doctrines and dogmas may produce and not to mobilize to search together with other men and women of good will, for new ways to spread the Gospel in modern culture.

Knock” is crying out at someone who, may not feel close, but know can listen and respond to the cry of the poor. This is how Jesus cried out to the Father in the solitude of the cross. It is understandable that the faith of many Christians who learned to express, celebrate, and practice it in a pre-modern culture may get obscured. What is regrettable is not to try harder to learn to follow Jesus today crying to God from within the contradictions and inconsistencies, the conflicts and questions of today’s world.

We must ask, search and knock.


Sunday July 17, 2016
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel Luke 10: 38-42

Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

Ebanjelioa Lukas 10: 38-42

38 Bidean zihoazela, Jesus herrixka batean sartu zen, eta Marta zeritzan emakume batek etxean hartu zuen. 39 Bazuen honek Maria izeneko ahizpa bat, eta hau, Jaunaren oinetan jarrita, honen hitza entzuten zegoen. 40 Marta, berriz, lanpetua zebilen etxeko zereginetan. Orduan, Jesusengana joan eta esan zion:–Jauna, ongi ikusten al duzu nire ahizpak etxeko lan guztiak nire gain uztea? Esaiozu laguntzeko. 41 Jaunak, ordea, erantzun zion: –Marta, Marta, gauza askorengatik zabiltza kezkaz eta larri; 42 baina bat bakarra da beharrezko. Alderik onena aukeratu du Mariak, eta ez dio inork kenduko.

Listen to Jesus Only

The episode is somewhat surprising. The disciples who accompany Jesus have disappeared from the scene. Lazarus, brother of Mary and Martha, is absent. In the house of the small village of Bethany, Jesus is alone with two women who adopt two different attitudes in his presence.

Marta, who obviously is the older sister, accepts Jesus as a housewife, and is entirely at his service. It is normal. According to the mentality of the time, dedication to the works of the house was an exclusive task of women. Mary, on the other hand, the younger sister, sits at the feet of Jesus to listen to his word. Her attitude is surprising because “by siting at the feet of the master” she takes the traditional place of a “disciple,” known to belong only to males.

At one point, Martha, absorbed by work assigned to women following the stereotype of the time, and overwhelmed by fatigue, feels abandoned by her sister and even misunderstood by Jesus: “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” Why does not Jesus send his sister to be engaged in tasks assigned to woman and make her stop taking the place reserved for male disciples?

Jesus’s answer here is of great importance. Luke writes most probably taking into account the small disagreements and conflicts, which already early on started occurring in the first communities while trying to settle the various tasks and ministries: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

At no time Jesus criticized Marta’s attitude to serve, a fundamental task in the life of anyone who wishes to follow Jesus, but invites her to not be absorbed by her work (and much less to feel obliged to follow a stereotype role marked by a patriarchal society) to the point of losing her interior peace. And Jesus reminds her that listening to his Word must be a priority task for all, including women, and not some kind of male privilege.

It is urgent today to understand and organize our Christian communities as a place where we care, first of all, to welcome and accept the Gospel of Jesus in the midst of our secular and plural society today. Nothing is more important than to listen to the Word of Jesus. Nothing more needed. We all have to learn, women and men, believers and less believers, to come together in small groups to listen and share together the Words of Jesus.

This activity of listening to the Gospel in small “cells” can become today the “matrix” from which a new fabric of our parishes in crisis will regenerate. If simple people knows firsthand the Gospel of Jesus, and claims it from the hierarchy, and enjoy putting it into practice, it will carry us all to Jesus.



Sunday July 10, 2016
Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel Luke 10: 25-37

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn, and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’ Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”Top of Form

Ebanjelioa Lukas 10: 25-37

25 Orduan, lege-maisu batek jaiki eta azpikeriaz galdetu zion: –Maisu, zer egin behar dut ondaretzat betiko bizia jasotzeko? 26 Jesusek esan zion: –Zer dago idatzia Moisesen legean? Zer irakurtzen duzu? 27 Hark erantzun: –Maita ezazu Jauna, zeure Jainkoa, bihotz-bihotzez, gogo osoz, indar guztiz eta adimen guztiz. Eta lagun hurkoa zeure burua bezala. 28 Jesusek erantzun zion: –Ederki erantzun duzu. Bete hori eta bizia izango duzu. 29 Baina lege-maisuak, bere galdera bidezkoa zela adierazi nahirik, galdetu zion Jesusi: –Eta nor da nire lagun hurkoa? 30 Jesusek erantzun zion: –Behin batean, gizon bat zihoan Jerusalemdik behera Jerikorantz eta lapurren eskuetan erori zen; zeuzkanak kendu eta, egurtu ondoren, alde egin zuten, erdi hilik utziz. 31Apaiz bat gertatu zen, hain zuzen, bide hartan behera, eta, gizona ikustean, bidetik okertu eta aurrera jo zuen. 32 Gauza bera egin zuen handik igaro zen tenpluko lebitar batek ere: ikustean, bidetik okertu eta aurrera jo zuen. 33 Baina bidaian zen samariar bat bertara iritsi eta, hura ikustean, errukitu egin zitzaion. 34 Hurbildu eta zauriak lotu zizkion, olioz eta ardoz igurtzi ondoren; gero, bere asto gainean ezarri, ostatura eraman eta bere ardurapean hartu zuen. 35 Biharamunean, zilarrezko bi txanpon atera eta ostalariari eman zizkion, esanez: «Zain ezazu eta, gehiago gastatzen baduzu, hurrena natorrenean ordainduko dizut». 36 Zure ustez, hirurotan zeinek jokatu zuen lagun hurko bezala lapurren esku eroritako gizonarekin? 37 Lege-maisuak erantzun zion: –Hartaz errukitu zenak. Jesusek esan zion, orduan:  –Zoaz eta egin zuk ere beste horrenbeste.

You go and do the same!

Luke presents to us today a teacher of the law who seems to have fallen into Jesus’ hands in the process of a rather rhetorical argument. In order to come out of the challenge he asks a simple question: “And who is my neighbor?” It is a legalistic question of the one who only seems to care about the law, and the small letter in a contract. He seems more interested in knowing who to love and exclude from his love. He does not seem to care much about the sufferings of the people around him.

Jesus, for whom the most urgent demand of his mission is to alleviate the suffering of those in his way, no matter how, even if necessary by breaking the Sabbath law or purity regulations of his time, responds to the teacher with a story, which, in a challenging way, denounces the religious legalism that ignores the people most in need.

On the way down from Jerusalem to Jericho, a man was assaulted by bandits. Assaulted and stripped of everything, he is left in the gutter half-dead, abandoned to his fate. We do not know who he is, the Gospel only says that he is a “man.” It could be any of us. Any human being killed by violence, or suffering an illness, a misfortune or in despair.

“By chance” a priest appears on the way. The text indicates that it is by chance, as if that event had nothing to do with a man committed to the cult of the Temple. His job is not to take care of the so many wounded who are in the gutters of life. The Temple is his place. His main occupation is to preside over the sacred celebrations. For this reason, when he encounters the wounded man, “saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.”

His lack of compassion is not just a personal reaction, as a Levite of the temple also goes by the wounded and “does the same.” This type of an attitude often affects those involved in the world of the sacred: many live away from the real world where people struggle, work and suffer. When a religion is not centered in God, who is the friend of life and a Father of the suffering, the sacred worship can become an action totally removed from secular life, allergic to the direct contact with the suffering of the people and makes us walk in life without being able to react in front of the victims we see thrown into the gutters of life. According to Jesus, the people serving “in” the temples of life may not be the best to guide us how to go about serving those who suffer, but rather, we need to be led by those who have a heart to serve.

A Samaritan is coming down the road. He is not someone coming from the temple. He does not even belong to the chosen people of Israel. He is just a small business merchant, dirty job. But when he sees the wounded man, he does not ask if he is a neighbor or not. He is moved by compassion and does everything he can to assist him. This is the one we must imitate. Jesus tells the lawyer: “Go and do likewise.”

Sunday July 3, 2016
Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel Luke 10: 1-12; 17-20

At that time the Lord appointed seventy-two others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves his payment. Do not move about from one house to another. Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God is at hand for you.’ Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say, ‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shake off against you.’ Yet know this: the kingdom of God is at hand. I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town.”
The seventy-two returned rejoicing, and said, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.” Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky. Behold, I have given you the power to ‘tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

Ebanjelioa Lukas 10: 1-12; 17-20

1 Ondoren, Jaunak beste hirurogeita hamabi ikasle izendatu eta bere aurretik bidali zituen binaka, bera joatekoa zen herri eta toki guztietara. 2 Eta esan zien: «Uzta ugaria da, baina langileak gutxi. Erregutu, bada, uzta-jabeari, bidal ditzala langileak bere uztara. 3 «Zoazte! Bildotsak otso artera bezala bidaltzen zaituztet. 4 «Ez eraman poltsarik, ez zakutorik, ez oinetakorik, eta ez gelditu bidean inori agur egiten. Edozein etxetan sartzen zaretela, esazue lehenbizi: “Bakea etxe honetakoei”. 6 Han bakezalerik baldin badago, haren gain kokatuko da zuen bakea; bestela, hutsean geldituko da zuen agurra. 7 Geldi zaitezte etxe berean, eta jan eta edan daukatenetik, zor baitzaio langileari bere saria. Ez ibili etxez etxe.

8 «Herriren batean sartu eta ongi hartzen bazaituzte, jan jartzen dizuetenetik, 9 sendatu bertako gaixoak eta esaiezue: “Gainean duzue Jainkoaren erregetza”. 10 Baina herriren batean sartu eta onartzen ez bazaituzte, irten plazara eta esan: 11 “Oinetan itsatsi zaigun zuen herriko hautsa ere hor astintzen dizuegu. Dena dela, jakin ezazue gainean duzuela Jainkoaren erregetza”. 12 Hona nik esan: Auzi-egunean Sodomak zigor bigunagoa izango du herri hark baino.

17 Hirurogeita hamabi ikasleak poz-pozik itzuli ziren, eta esan zioten Jesusi: –Jauna, deabruak ere menpean jartzen zaizkigu zure izena aipatzean. 18 Jesusek esan zien: –Tximista bezala zerutik erortzen ikusi dut Satanas. 19 Begira, sugeak eta eskorpioiak zapaltzeko eta etsaiaren indar guztiak menderatzeko ahalmena eman dizuet, eta ezin izango dizue ezerk kalterik egin. 20 Halaz guztiz ere, ez poztu espirituak menpean jartzen zaizkizuelako; poztu, bai, zuen izenak zeruan idatzirik daudelako. 

Announce and Bring the Gospel to All: Mission

Luke records in his gospel a very important speech of Jesus, addressed not to the Twelve but to another large group of disciples whom He sent to cooperate with him on his project of sowing and expanding his big dream about the Kingdom of God. Jesus’ words are a kind of constitution or Carta Magna from where his followers have to draw inspiration for their evangelizing task: this is precisely the mission of the church even today. I shall emphasize some guidelines for this missionary activity of the church.

Be on your way.” Although we forget again and again, the Church is marked by the mission of Jesus. Jesus sent the church to carry on with his mission. The church lives by mission as fire lives by burning. It is dangerous, then, to conceive the church as an institution founded to nurture and develop her own religion, her own way. The original desire of Jesus was to begin a prophetic movement that walks through history according to the logic of mission: going out of herself, thinking always of others first, offering the world the Good News of God. “The Church is not there for herself, but for humanity” (Benedict XVI). It is always very dangerous to give in to the temptation to fall back on our own selves and interests, our past, our doctrinal acquisitions, our practices and customs. Worse still, if we give our backs to a world in need of God. What is a rigid and ossified Church, closed on herself, with no prophets and no missionaries and bearers of the Gospel good for?

Whatever town you enter… cure the sick in it and say to them the kingdom of God is at hand for you.” This is the great news: God is close to us encouraging us to make life more humane. But it is not enough to affirm one truth to make it more attractive and desirable. It is necessary to review our performance: what is that which today can lead people to welcome the Gospel? How can people grasp God as someone always new and good? Surely, we do not know how to love today’s world and we do not seem capable of reaching out to the heart and imagination of today’s men and women. It is not enough to preach sermons from the pulpit. We must learn to listen more to people and to accept them wherever they find themselves, and heal the lives of those who suffer. The mission of the church is a healing mission. Only then we will be able to find humble and appropriate words, which come out from the unfathomable tenderness of Jesus and He will connect us with God, the loving Father of all.

When you enter a house, first say: Peace to this household.” The Good News of Jesus may only be transmitted with total respect, and with a friendly and fraternal attitude, one which transmits peace. We are mistaken if we think we can impose it with an attitude of superiority, threat or resentment. It is an anti-evangelical attitude to treat people without love, tenderness and compassion just because they do not accept our message or the “right” doctrine. How will many people accept the Gospel if they do not feel understood by the very people who present it in Jesus’ name?

Sunday June 26, 2016
Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel Lk 9: 51-62

When the days for Jesus’ being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village. As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” And to another he said, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.” But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” And another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” To him Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Ebanjelioa Lukas 9: 51-62

51 Mundu honetatik eramana izateko garaia bazetorkiolarik, Jerusalemera joateko erabaki sendoa hartu zuen Jesusek. 52 Mandatari batzuk bidali zituen aurretik, eta Samariako herri batean sartu ziren Jesusi ostatua prestatzeko. 53 Baina herrikoek ez zuten hartu nahi izan, Jerusalemera zihoala eta. 54 Hori ikusirik, Santiago eta Joan ikasleek esan zioten: «Jauna, aginduko al dugu zerutik tximista erori eta garbi ditzan?»

55 Baina Jesusek, haiengana itzulirik, haserre egin zien. 56 Gero, beste herri batera joan ziren. 57 Bidean zihoazela, batek esan zion Jesusi: –Noranahi jarraituko dizut. 58 Jesusek esan zion: –Azeriek badituzte zuloak eta aireko hegaztiek habiak; Gizonaren Semeak, ordea, ez du burua non ezarri. 59 Beste bati esan zion: –Jarraitu niri. Baina hark erantzun: –Jauna, uztazu lehenbizi aitaren hiletak egitera joaten. 60 Eta Jesusek: –Utzi hilei beren hildakoen hiletak egiten; zu zoaz Jainkoaren erregetza hots egitera. 61 Beste batek, berriz, esan zion: –Jarraituko dizut, Jauna, baina uztazu aurrena etxekoei agur egiten. 62 Baina Jesusek erantzun: –Goldeari heldu eta atzera begiratzen duena ez da gai Jainkoaren erreinurako.

“He resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem”

To follow Jesus is the heart of Christian life. That which is the essential. Nothing is more important or decisive than this. Precisely for this reason, Luke describes three small scenes so that the communities who read his gospel, become aware of the fact that in the eyes of Jesus, nothing can be more urgent and pressing than to follow Him.

Jesus uses harsh and shocking images. It is obvious that he wants to shake the consciences of his listeners. Jesus does not seek for more followers (numbers, quantity), but more committed followers, ready to follow him unreservedly, renouncing false assurances and taking seriously the consequences of what means to give up the comfort zone of our lives to follow Jesus. And this because Jesus “resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem.” Namely, to go to the Cross. In the end, these words of Jesus raised in the community one single question: what relationship are we prepared to establish with Jesus? Let’s reflect on each of the scenes.

First scene. One of those accompanying Jesus felt so attracted to Him that even before Jesus calls him, he takes the initiative to follow Him: “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus makes him aware of the consequences of what he is saying, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,” but Jesus (and the one willing to follow Him) “has nowhere to rest his head.”

To follow Jesus is an adventure. He does not offer us any sort of safety or well-being. It does not help us make money or gain power. In fact, Jesus pulls us out from our comfort zone. Following Jesus means to “live on the way” to Jerusalem, without seeking refuge in our false religious practice comfort. A less powerful and more vulnerable Church is not a disgrace. It is the best that can happen to us to purify our faith and trust Jesus more.

Second scene. Another disciple is willing to follow Jesus, but first asks of Him time in order to meet his filial obligations to “bury his father.” No Jew would have been surprised to hear this request, because this was one of the most important religious obligations of a devout Jewish. Jesus’ answer is disconcerting: “Let the dead bury their dead: you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Opening roads to the kingdom of God working for a more humane life is always the most urgent task of a follower of Jesus. Nothing has to delay our decision to do so. Nobody can stop us or withhold us from this mission. The “dead,” those who do not live at the service of the kingdom of life, will turn to other less urgent and pressing religious obligations than serving the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

Third scene. There is yet a third group who wishes to bid farewell to the family before following Jesus. Jesus says to him: “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.” You cannot follow Jesus and then look back to your past life. It is not possible to open new roads to the kingdom of God by looking at the past. Working in the Father’s project of building the Kingdom of God demands full dedication, total confidence in God, absolute confidence in God who promises us a new future, and daring to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, even to the point of accepting the Cross.

Sunday June 19, 2016
Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel Luke 9: 18-24

Once when Jesus was praying by himself, and the disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They said in reply, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.’” Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said in reply, “The Christ of God.” He scolded them and directed them not to tell this to anyone. He said, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.” Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”

Ebanjelioa Lukas 9: 18-24

18 Jesus bakardadean otoitzean ari zen batean, ikasleak bildu zitzaizkion, eta Jesusek galdetu zien: –Nor naizela dio jendeak? 19 Haiek erantzun zioten: –Batzuek Joan Bataiatzailea zarela; beste batzuek Elias; besteek antzinako profetaren bat piztu dela. 20 Jesusek galdetu zien: –Eta zuek, nor naizela diozue? Pedrok erantzun: –Jainkoaren Mesias. 21 Jesusek inori ez esateko agindu zien zorrotz, 22 eta hau esan zien gainera: «Gizonaren Semeak asko sufritu behar du; zahar, apaizburu eta lege-maisuek gaitzetsi egingo dute eta hil, eta hirugarren egunean piztu egingo da». 23 Gero, denei esan zien: «Nire ondoren etorri nahi duenak uko egin biezaio bere buruari, har beza bere eguneroko gurutzea eta jarrai biezat. 24 Izan ere, bere bizia gorde nahi duenak galdu egingo du; bere bizia niregatik galtzen duenak, ordea, gorde egingo du.

Who do YOU say I AM?

The first Christian generations preserved the memory of this Gospel passage as a story of vital importance for the followers of Jesus. Their intuition was accurate. They knew that the Church of Jesus must listen again and again this question Jesus one day made to his disciples in the vicinity of Caesarea of Philippi: “who do you say that I am?”

Caesarea of Philippi was an idyllic summer vacation place in the confluence a few little creeks which conform the Jordan River. The area was also the passage of the ancient Silk Road. The Greeks built their temples, Herod had his magnificent summer palace built in white marble, the Romans kept on of their biggest security garrisons in the whole region and the Pharisees had also build a big temple. Against this background of political, military, economic and religious powers Jesus asked his disciples this decisive question: “who do you say that I am?”

Peter’s answer does not leave any doubts: Christ is the center and He is not to be traded by any other human institution or personality. We confess, like Peter, that Jesus is the “Messiah of God” sent by the Father. It is true: God so loved the world that has given us Jesus. Do we Christians accept, caring for, enjoy and celebrate this great gift of God? Is Jesus really the center of our celebrations, pastoral encounters and community meetings?

We also confess him to the “Son of God.” He can teach us to know God better, to trust more in the goodness of the Father, to listen more faithfully his call to build a more fraternal and just world for all. Are we searching in our communities the true face of God incarnated in Jesus?

We call Jesus “Savior” because he has the power to humanize our lives, to liberate our people and to direct our human history to its true and ultimate salvation. We also confess Jesus as our only “Lord.” We do not want other lords or to submit ourselves to false idols. But do Jesus really occupy the center of our lives? Do we give Him absolute primacy in our communities? Do you place Him above everything and everyone? Are we of Jesus? The great task of Christians today is to join forces with Him and open new inroads to reaffirm the centrality of Jesus in his Church never forgetting that we too must walk through the Cross.

Sunday June 12, 2016
Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel Luke 7:36-8:3

A Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him, and he entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. Now there was a sinful woman in the city who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee. Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment, she stood behind him at his feet weeping
and began to bathe his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. “Two people were in debt to a certain creditor; one owed five hundred days’ wages and the other owed fifty. Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both. Which of them will love him more?” Simon said in reply, “The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven.” He said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet, but she has bathed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
You did not give me a kiss, but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment. So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven because she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The others at table said to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” But he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Afterward he journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.

Ebanjelioa Lukas 7:36-8:3

36 Behin batean, fariseu batek bazkaltzera gonbidatu zuen Jesus. Joan zen, bada, Jesus fariseuaren etxera eta mahaian jarri zen. 37 Hartan, emakume bat, herrian bekatari bezala ezaguna, Jesus fariseuaren etxean bazkaltzen zela jakinik, bertara joan zen, harzurizko ontzi bat ukendu zeramala. 38 Jesusen atzean oinen ondoan jarri zen negarrez, eta oinak malkoz bustitzen hasi zitzaion; gero, ileaz xukatu eta musukatuz, ukenduz igurzten zizkion. 39 Hau ikustean, gonbidatu zuen fariseuak bere baitan zioen: «Benetan profeta balitz, jakingo luke zer-nolakoa den ukitzen ari zaion emakumea, bekataria alegia». 40 Jesusek esan zion: –Simon, badut zerbait zuri esateko. Hark erantzun: –Esadazu, Maisu. 41 –Diru-mailegari batek bi zordun zituen: batak bostehun denario zor zizkion eta besteak berrogeita hamar. 42 Zerez ordaindurik ez zutelarik, barkatu egin zien biei. Bietako zeinek izango ote du maiteen? 43 Simonek erantzun zion: –Gehien barkatu zionak, nik uste. Jesusek esan zion: –Zuzen diozu. 44 Eta, emakumeagana bihurturik, Simoni esan zion: –Ikusten al duzu emakume hau? Zure etxean sartu naizenean, ez didazu oinak garbitzeko urik eskaini; honek, berriz, malkoz busti dizkit oinak eta bere ileaz xukatu. 45 Zuk ez nauzu musu emanez agurtu; hau, berriz, sartu denetik ez da gelditu nire oinei musuka. 46 Zuk ez didazu burua olioz igurtzi; honek, berriz, oinak ukenduz igurtzi dizkit. 47Beraz, hau diotsut: Bekatu asko ditu, baina hainbesteko maitasuna ageri badu, Jainkoak barkatu dizkion seinalea da; gutxi barkatzen zaionak maitasun gutxi agertzen du. 48 Eta emakumeari esan zion: «Barkatuak dituzu zeure bekatuak». 49 Beste bazkaltiarrak beren artean hasi ziren esaten: «Nor ote dugu bekatuak barkatu ere egiten dituen hau?» 50 Baina Jesusek esan zion emakumeari: «Zeure sinesmenak salbatu zaitu; zoaz bakean». 8,1 Honen ondoren, herriz herri eta auzorik auzo ibili zen Jesus, Jainkoaren erregetzaren berri ona hots eginez. Berekin zituen Hamabiak, 2 baita espiritu gaiztoetatik eta gaitzetatik sendatuak zituen zenbait emakume ere: Magdalako Maria –honengandik zazpi deabru bota zituen–, 3 Joana –Herodesen etxezain Kusaren emaztea–, Susana eta beste asko. Guztiok beren ondasunez laguntzen zieten Jesusi eta honen ikasleei.

Jesus defends a Prostitute

Jesus is a guest in the house of a certain Simon, a Pharisee who has invited him to a dinner. Unexpectedly, a woman disrupts the banquet. The guests recognize her right away. She is the well-known prostitute of the village. Her presence creates discomfort and a kind of expectation. How is Jesus going to react? Is he going to kick her out of the dining room so as not to contaminate the rest of the guests?

The woman did not say anything. She is used to being despised, especially in the Pharisaic environments. She goes directly to Jesus, she kneels at his feet and bursts into tears. She does not know how to thank him for his welcoming attitude: she covers his feet with kisses, and anoints them with a perfume, which she had brought along and dries them with her hair.

The Pharisee reacts immediately. He cannot hide his contempt: “If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner.” He is not so naive as Jesus. He knows that this woman is a prostitute, unworthy to touch Jesus. He should send her away from him.

But Jesus did not reject or expel her. On the contrary, he welcomes her with respect and tenderness. Jesus discovers in her gestures a pure love and thankful faith. In front view of the rest of the guests, he talks to her to defend her dignity and to reveal how God loves her, “Your sins are forgiven.” And then, while the guests are still in shock and scandalized, he confirms her faith and wishes her a new life: “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” God will always be with her.

Jesus was never regarded by the simple people of his times as the representative or defender of the norm (Law) but as the prophet of God’s compassion. Therefore, in the movement of those who today try to follow Him (church), we do not need “teachers” who despise sinners and disqualify the “prophets” of God’s compassion. What we Christians urgently need is people who look at the outcasts, public sinners, and the undesirable with the very eyes with which Jesus looked at them. Blessed those who are close to them and holding them in their human dignity and arousing in them their faith in that God who loves, understands and forgives as we do not know how. The followers of Jesus cannot live with our back to the suffering of these type of “morally” marginalized people. We have to raise our voice to awaken the awareness of society in favor of this people.

Sunday June 5, 2016
Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel Luke 7: 11-17

Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him. As he drew near to the gate of the city, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. A large crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” He stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this the bearers halted, and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!” The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, crying out “A great prophet has arisen in our midst,” and “God has visited his people.” This report about him spread through the whole of Judea and in all the surrounding region.

Ebanjelioa Lukas 7: 11-17

11 Ondoren, Nain izeneko herri batera joan zen Jesus, bere ikasleak eta jende asko lagun zituela. 12 Herriko sarrerara hurbildu zenean, hildako bat, ama alargun baten seme bakarra, zeramaten lur ematera. Herriko jende asko zihoan amarekin. 13 Hau ikustean, errukitu egin zitzaion Jauna eta esan zion: «Ez egin negarrik». 14 Aurreraturik, hilkutxa ukitu zuen, eta zeramatenak gelditu egin ziren. Orduan, esan zuen: «Gazte, zuri diotsut: Jaiki!» 15 Jaiki zen hildakoa eta hizketan hasi, eta Jesusek amari bihurtu zion. 16 Denak beldurrak hartu zituen, eta Jainkoa goresten zuten, esanez: «Profeta handi bat sortu da gure artean». Baita ere: «Jainkoa bere herria salbatzera etorri da ». 17 Judea eta inguruko lurralde guztian zabaldu zen gertaera honen berri.

My brother’s pain Is my pain

Jesus arrives in the small village of Nain at a moment in which its people are experiencing a very sad event. Jesus is on the way, together with his disciples and a large crowd behind him. From the village a funeral procession is on the way to the cemetery. A widowed mother, accompanied by her neighbors, leads the procession to bury her only son.

Luke, in just a few words, has described for us the tragic situation of this women. She is a widow, with no husband to care and protect her in that society controlled by men. She had only one son, but this man also has just died. The woman did not say anything. Only mourns her pain. What will become of her?

The meeting was unexpected. Jesus came to Nain also to announce the Good News of the Kingdom of God. What will his reaction be? According to the story, “the Lord looked at her, he felt compassion and said: Do not weep.” It is difficult to describe better the Prophet of God’s compassion. Jesus does not know the woman, but he looks at her with loving compassion. He understood only too well her pain and loneliness, and experiences an enormous tenderness. That women’s pain reaches to the deepest of Jesus’ feelings. His reaction is immediate: “Do not weep.” Jesus could not see anyone crying. He felt the urgent need to intervene, to do something to sweeten that pain.

Jesus does not think twice. He approaches the coffin, stops the funeral procession and addresses the dead man: “Young, I tell you, get up.” When the young man stands up and begins to speak, Jesus “delivers him to his mother” so that she may stop weeping. Both are together again. The mother will no longer be alone.

Everything seems so simple. The story does not insist on the prodigious aspect of what Jesus just did. Luke invites his readers to see in Jesus the revelation of God as the Mystery of the compassion and life giving Energy, capable of saving all, even from death. It is the compassion of God that makes Jesus so sensitive to the suffering of the people.

In our Church today we must recover as soon as possible compassion as the personal lifestyle of the followers of Jesus. Compassion needs to be rescued from a certain sentimental and moralizing concept, which has discredited it by making a weakness of it. Compassion, which also demands justice is the great mandate of Jesus: “Be merciful as your Father is compassionate.”

Compassion is more necessary today than ever. From the centers of power, everything is taken into account even before the suffering of the victims. If the stock market falls, it seems as if the whole world enters into shock. If a street beggar dies on the street, that makes no news in the media. We seem to function as if there were no mourners and no losers in real life. In our communities, followers of Jesus, we must hear a cry of all sorts of victims with vivid outrage: we cannot and must not consider the suffering of the poor as a painful but necessary casualty of progress.

Sunday May 29, 2016
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (C)

Gospel Luke 9: 11b-17

Jesus spoke to the crowds about the kingdom of God, and he healed those who needed to be cured. As the day was drawing to a close, the Twelve approached him and said, “Dismiss the crowd so that they can go to the surrounding villages and farms and find lodging and provisions; for we are in a deserted place here.” He said to them, “Give them some food yourselves.” They replied, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have, unless we ourselves go and buy food for all these people.” Now the men there numbered about five thousand. Then he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty.” They did so and made them all sit down. Then taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing over them, broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. They all ate and were satisfied. And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled twelve wicker baskets.

Ebanjelioa Lukas 9: 11b-17

11b Jesusek ongi hartu zituen eta Jainkoaren erregetzaz hitz egin zien eta premia zeukaten guztiak sendatu zituen. 12 Eguna iluntzen hasia zen. Hamabiak hurbildu eta esan zioten Jesusi: –Bidal ezazu jendea inguruko auzo eta baserrietara, ostatu eta jan bila joan daitezen, hemen oso aparte baikaude. 13 Baina hark erantzun zien: –Eman zeuek jaten. Haiek, orduan: –Ez daukagu bost ogi eta bi arrain besterik, jende honentzat guztiarentzat jatekoa erostera geu joaten ez bagara behintzat. 14 Bosten bat mila gizon ziren. Jesusek esan zien ikasleei: –Eserarazi berrogeita hamarnaka. 15 Hala, denak eserarazi zituzten. 16 Hartu zituen Jesusek bost ogiak eta bi arrainak, eta, begiak zerura jasorik, bedeinkazioa esan, ogiak zatitu eta ikasleei eman zizkien, jendeari eskaintzeko. 17 Asetzeraino jan zuten denek, eta gelditutako hondarrez hamabi saski bete zituzten.

Break the Bread, and Eat

In narrating the Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples, the first Christian generations recalled the wish expressed solemnly by his Master: “Do this in memory of me.” That is the recollection of both, the evangelist Luke and Paul, the missionary of the Gentiles.

Since its inception, Christians celebrated the Lord’s Supper in order to make memory of Jesus (his message and his life given for us till death) to update His living presence among them and to nourish their faith in him. Let us recall four significant moments in the current structure of the mass. We have to live this celebration from within and in community.

First, to listen to the Gospel. We remember Jesus when we hear the story of his message and life in the Gospels. The Gospels were written precisely to keep the memory of Jesus alive, to nourish our faith and invite us to follow in his footsteps as his disciples did. From the Gospel stories we do not learn doctrine in the first place, but, above all, the way of being and acting of Jesus, his thinking and his lifestyle, which has to inspire and shape our lives. This is why we have to listen to it standing, that is, in an attitude of a disciple who wants to learn to think, feel, love and live like him.

Second, the memory of the Supper of the Lord. We remember the saving action of Jesus by listening to his words with faith: “This is my body. See and experience me in these pieces of bread, as the one who has given his life till death on the cross ‘for many.’ This is the cup of my blood, which I have shed for the forgiveness of your sins. I wish you to always remember me. I have loved you to the end.” We confess our faith in Jesus Christ making a synthesis of the mystery of our salvation: “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.” We know to be saved by Christ our Lord.

Third, Jesus’ prayer. Before receiving Communion, we say the prayer Jesus taught us. First, we identify with the three wishes Jesus had in his heart: absolute respect for God, the coming of his Kingdom of justice and the fulfillment of his Father’s will. Then, we make ours Jesus’ four petitions to the Father: bread for all, forgiveness and mercy, overcoming temptation and deliverance from evil.

Fourth, communion with Jesus. We approach to Jesus present in the Bread and Wine as poor and with outstretched hands. We take the bread of life. We receive communion as we do at the same time an act of faith: Amen! Then, in silence, we welcome Jesus into our hearts and into our lives: “Lord, I want to be in total communion with you, to follow on your footsteps, and live my life animated by your spirit and I also wish to cooperate in your project to make this world more humane.” Amen.

The memory of Jesus invites us to break our everyday bread with others.

Sunday May 22, 2016
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (C)

Gospel John 16: 12-15

Jesus said to his disciples: “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.”

Ebanjelioa Joan 16: 12-15

Jesusek honela esan zien bere ikasleei: 12 «Badut oraindik hamaika gauza esateko, baina oraingoz ez zarete gauza ondo ulertzeko. 13 Baina egiaren Espiritua etortzean, egia beteraino gidatuko zaituzte. Ez da mintzatuko bere kabuz, baizik eta nik jakinaraziko diodana adierazi eta etorkizuna iragarriko dizue. 14 Berak nire Jainko-aintza azalduko du, adieraziko dizuena niregandik hartuko baitu. 15 Aitak duen oro nirea da. Horregatik esan dizuet Espirituak niregandik hartuko duela adieraziko dizuena.

God is to be Experienced

Throughout centuries, theologians have made great efforts to try approach to the understanding of the mystery of God by using a battery of conceptual constructions formulated upon the different relationships that link and differentiate the three divine persons within the Trinity. These efforts although undoubtedly legitimate, find their origins in the love and desire to know God.

Jesus, however, does not follow that path. From his own experience of God, he invites his followers to build a relationship of trust and confidence with God the Father, by faithfully translating that experience in words and acts of mercy and compassion which characterized Jesus’s lifestyle, and letting be guided and encouraged by the Holy Spirit. Jesus teaches us to open ourselves to the holy mystery of God.

This goal takes place following the following steps:

First of all, Jesus invites his followers to live as sons and daughters of a close, good and dear God, whom we can all invoke as dear Father. What characterizes this Father is not his power and strength, but his kindness and infinite compassion. No one is alone. We all have a Father God who understands us, loves us and forgives us always.

Secondly, Jesus reveals that this Father has a project born from his heart: to build together with all their children, and for all of them, a more just, united and more human and fraternal world. Jesus calls this project the “kingdom of God.” All are invited to be co-builders of this project and everyone is welcome to dream with the Father who is looking for a more just and dignified life for all, but beginning with the poorest, the defenseless and the needy children.

Thirdly, Jesus invites his followers to trust also in him: “your heart is troubled now: believe in God, and believe also in me.” Jesus is the Son of God, the very visible image of the Father. Jesus words, gestures and deeds reveal the very words, gestures and the deeds of the Father of all. Therefore, Jesus invites everyone to follow Him. The will teach us to live with confidence and docility in the service of the Father.

Fourthly, with his group of followers, Jesus wants to form a new family where everyone finds a home and “the will of the Father.” This is what we call “Church:”

This is the legacy Jesus wants to leave on earth before he departs to heaven: a movement of brothers and sisters ready and willing to serve the smallest and helpless. This movement will be like a family guided by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, the very life, breath, life, energy of the Father and the Son Jesus will make the trick: “You will receive the power of the Holy Spirit and you all will become witnesses.”

Sunday May 15, 2016
Pentecost Sunday

Gospel John 20: 19-23

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”


John 14: 15-16; 23b-26

Jesus said to his disciples: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always. “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Those who do not love me do not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me. “I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.”

Ebanjelioa Joan 20: 19-23

19 Asteko lehen egun hartan bertan, arratsean, ikasleak etxe batean bildurik zeuden; judu-agintarien beldurrez, ateak itxirik zeuzkaten. Sartu zen Jesus eta, erdian jarririk, agurtu zituen esanez: «Bakea zuei». 20 Gero, eskuak eta saihetsa erakutsi zizkien. Pozez bete ziren ikasleak Jauna ikustean.  21 Jesusek berriro esan zien: «Bakea zuei. Aitak ni bidali nauen bezala, nik zuek bidaltzen zaituztet». 22 Eta haien gainera arnasa botaz, esan zien: «Hartzazue Espiritu Santua. 23 Zuek bekatuak barkatzen dizkiezuenei barkatu egingo dizkie Jainkoak ere; zuek barkamena ukatzen diezuenei, ukatu egingo die».


Joan 14: 15-16; 23b-26

15 “Maite banauzue, beteko dituzue nire aginduak. 16 Nik Aitari eskatuko diot eta beste Laguntzaile bat emango dizue, beti zuekin izango dena.” 23 “Maite nauenak onartuko du nire mezua; nire Aitak maite izango du, eta Aita eta biok berarengana etorriko gara eta berarengan biziko. 24 Maite ez nauenak, ordea, ez ditu onartzen nire hitzak. Eta adierazi dizuedan mezua ez dut neurea, bidali nauen Aitarena baizik. 25 «Zuekin naizen artean esan dizuet hau guztia. 26 Baina Aitak Laguntzailea, Espiritu Santua, bidaliko dizue nire izenean, eta berak gogoraraziko dizue nik irakatsitako guztia eta ulertzen lagunduko.

Come, Holy Spirit, and Renew the Face of the Earth

The Holy Spirit of God is not the property of the Church. It does not belong exclusively to religions only. We must invoke his coming into the whole world so in need of salvation.

  • Come Creator Spirit of God. In this world created by your skillful hands there is no peace. Your sons and daughters cruelly and blindly kill each other with no purpose. We seem to be unable to solve our conflicts without resorting to the destructive power of arms of mass destruction. We have become accustomed to living in a world torn apart by bloody wars. Awaken, we pray You, in us the respect for every human being. Make us peacemakers. Do not abandon us to the power of evil.
  • Come liberating Spirit of God. Many of your sons and daughters live as slaves of money. We find ourselves gripped by a system, which prevents us from walking together in harmony with our brothers and sisters towards the building of a more humane world. The powerful are getting richer, the poor increasingly weak and poor. Release in us, we humbly pray, the strength to work for a better and more just world. Make of us to be more responsible and caring for others. Do not let us to live at the mercy of our selfishness.
  • Come renewing Spirit of God. Mankind is broken and fragmented. We, a minority of your sons and daughters, enjoy levels of wellbeing that is dehumanizing us more and more. A vast majority of innocent and misfortune people die of hunger, poverty and malnutrition every day. Many die of causes, which modern science is easily capable of solving. Between us grow inequality and social exclusion. Oh Holy Spirit, awaken in us the compassion that is needed to fight for a better and more just world. Teach us to always defend the least and the weakest ones. Do not let us to live with sick hearts.
  • Come consoling Spirit of God. Many of your sons and daughters go about their lives without experiencing love, friendship, or a warm home. Many more walk in life lost and hopeless. They do not know what a decent lifestyle is like. They experience in their everyday life uncertainty, fear of violent death or depression. Oh Holy Spirit, revive in us the sense of care for those living in constant suffering. Teach us to be closer to those who are lonely and alone. Heal us from our indifference.
  • Come the good Spirit of God. Many of your sons and daughters do not know your love and your mercy. They have gone away from you because they are afraid of You. Our young people do not know any longer how to talk to You. Your Holy Name is gradually fading away from their consciences. Awaken in us, we beg, the faith and the trust in You and make of us bearers of your Good News. Do not leave us orphans.
  • Come live giving Spirit of God. Your sons and daughters have forgotten how to take care of life. We seem not to be able to progress without destroying or grow without hoarding and amassing. We have made your beautifully created world an increasingly insecure and dangerous place to live. In many people fear grows and hope fades away. We do not know where we are heading. Instills in us, we pray, your creative breath. Make us walk towards a healthier life. Do not leave us alone. Save us!

Thursday May 5, 2016
Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (C)

Gospel Luke 24: 46-53

Jesus said to his disciples: “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” Then he led them out as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them. As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven. They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God.

Ebanjelioa Lukas 24: 46-53

Jesusek honela esan zien bere ikasleei: 46 «Idatzia zegoen Mesiasek sufritu egin behar zuela eta hirugarren egunean hildakoen artetik piztu, 47 eta, Jerusalemdik hasita, herri guztiei bihozberritzeko hots egin behar zaiela, bekatuak barka dakizkien. 48 Zuek zarete honen guztiaren lekuko. 49 Eta nik, neure Aitak agindutako dohaina, Espiritu Santua, bidaliko dizuet. Zuek egon hemen, hirian, Jainkoarengandiko indarraz jantzi zaitezten arte.» 50 Ondoren, Betania aldera atera zituen Jesusek ikasleak, eta, eskuak altxaturik, bedeinkatu egin zituen. 51 Bedeinkatzen zituen bitartean, haiengandik aldendu egin zen, eta zerura eraman zuten. 52 Haiek, Jesus ahuspez gurtu ondoren, Jerusalemera itzuli ziren poz-pozik. 53 Eta etengabe tenpluan egon ohi ziren Jainkoa goresten.

The Holy Spirit leads us always Forward

The Gospels give us many keys to understand how the early Christian communities began their historic journey without the presence of Jesus. Perhaps it was not so simple as we sometimes imagine. How did these Christian communities understand and lived their personal and communitarian relationship with Him, once he disappeared from the earth?

Matthew does not say a word of his ascension into heaven. He ends his gospel with a farewell scene on a mountain in Galilee where Jesus makes them this solemn promise: “Know that I am with you every day until the end of the world.” The disciples are not to feel his absence. Jesus will always be with them. But how?

Lucas offers a different view. In the final scene of his Gospel, Jesus “parted from them and was taken up to heaven.” The disciples have to accept with all realism the separation: Jesus lives now in the mystery of God. But Jesus goes up to the Father while “blessing” his followers. His followers begin their journey protected by that blessing with which Jesus healed the sick, forgave sinners and caressed the little ones.

The evangelist John puts into the mouth of Jesus some words that suggest another key of interpretation. When he left his disciples, Jesus says: “I go to the Father and you are sad … But it is necessary for you that I go away so that you may receive the Holy Spirit.” The sadness of the disciples is understandable. They desired to have that sense of security they felt having Jesus always with them. That is like the childish temptation to wanting to live always under the protection of the Master.

Jesus’ answer shows a wise pedagogy. His absence will increase the maturity of his disciples. He leaves them the imprint of his Spirit. It will be this Holy Spirit who, in the absence of Jesus, will lead the Christian community to grow and come to maturity in a responsible and adult manner. It is good for us to remind ourselves this very important truth now that it seems we live in a time when it seems to grow among us the fear to be creatives, or have fallen into the temptation of immobilism or feeling a nostalgia for a Christianity thought and designed for another time and another culture. Christians have fallen more than once throughout history into the temptation to live following Jesus childishly.

The Feast of the Ascension of the Lord reminds us that, after the period of the historical presence of Jesus, we live now in “the time of the Holy Spirit,” a time of creativity and responsible growth. The Spirit of Jesus does not provide his followers “eternal recipes” as way to move forward. The Spirit provides us light to discern the signs of the times and encouragement to walk on new roads for us to be able to reproduce the Words and Deeds of Jesus fit to the times and peoples of today’s world. It is the Holy Spirit who leads us to the complete truth of Jesus.

Sunday May 1, 2016
Sixth Sunday of Easter (C)

Gospel John 14: 23-29

Jesus said to his disciples: “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me. “I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe.”

Ebanjelioa Joan 14: 23-29

23 Jesusek honela esan zien ikasleei: “Maite nauenak onartuko du nire mezua; nire Aitak maite izango du, eta Aita eta biok berarengana etorriko gara eta berarengan biziko. 24 Maite ez nauenak, ordea, ez ditu onartzen nire hitzak. Eta adierazi dizuedan mezua ez dut neurea, bidali nauen Aitarena baizik.” 25 «Zuekin naizen artean esan dizuet hau guztia. 26 Baina Aitak Laguntzailea, Espiritu Santua, bidaliko dizue nire izenean, eta berak gogoraraziko dizue nik irakatsitako guztia eta ulertzen lagunduko. 27 «Agurtzerakoan, bakea, neure bakea, ematen dizuet; nik ematen dizuedan bakea ez da munduarena bezalakoa. Ez kezkatu, ez izan beldur. 28 Entzun duzue esan dizuedana: “Banoa, baina itzuliko naiz zuengana”. Benetan maite baninduzue, poztu egingo zinatekete Aitarengana noalako, Aita ni baino handiago baita. 29 Eta orain esan dizuet, gertatu baino lehen, gerta dadinean sinets dezazuen.

I give you Peace

In John’s Gospel we read a series of speeches in which Jesus is saying goodbye to his disciples. Most of the commentators call them “the farewell speeches.” We sense in them a very special and intimate atmosphere: the disciples are afraid their beloved Master is going the leave them alone; Jesus, meanwhile, insists that, despite his departure, he will never abandon them.

Up to five times Jesus repeats that they can count on the “the Holy Spirit” he is about the send them. The Holy Spirit will defend and keep them faithful to Jesus’ message and his great dream of building the Kingdom of God. Jesus calls the Spirit “Spirit of truth.” At one point, Jesus explains even better what is the task of the Spirit:  the Spirit is “The Advocate and the Teacher who will make you understand everything and the Spirit will remind you of everything I have said to you.” This Spirit is to be the living memory of Jesus.

The horizon that Jesus offers his disciples is amazing. It is from Jesus that a great spiritual movement of disciples is to be born. These man and women, disciples of Jesus, will be defended and protected and guided by the Holy Spirit. This Spirit will keep the disciples in truth, because the same Spirit will teach them the powerful Words and admirable actions Jesus said and acted while traveling with them on the dusty roads of Galilee. The Spirit will defend them from any sort of confusion and cowardice.

For this reason, Jesus wants them to capture properly what will mean for them the Spirit of truth and defender of his community: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” Jesus not only wishes them peace. He gives them his peace. If the community live led by the Spirit, remembering and keeping Jesus’ words and deeds, then the community will be able to experience the peace Jesus gives. It is not just any type of peace. It is the peace of Jesus. This is why Jesus continues: “Not as the world gives do I give it to you.” The peace Jesus gives is not built with strategies inspired on lies or injustice, but by the action of the Spirit of truth. The community of the followers of Jesus is to be built upon Christ who is the corner stone of the church: “Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”

In these difficult times when the church may have lost some of her past prestige and suffered much embarrassment, it would be a serious mistake from our part to try now to defend our credibility and moral authority acting without the Spirit of Truth promised by Jesus. Fear will continue to penetrate into our Christian communities if we seek to find self-assurance, security and peace by turning away from the path Jesus placed in front of us.

When the Church loses her internal peace, it is not possible to recover it in any way, and any strategy is also useless. With hearts full of resentment and blindness is not possible to introduce the peace of Jesus in our communities. It becomes necessary that we humbly convert ourselves to the truth of Jesus, mobilize all our forces in order to walk back from our wrong ways, and let ourselves, once again, be guided by the Spirit that animated the entire life of Jesus.

Sunday April 24, 2016
Fifth Sunday of Easter (C)

Gospel John 13: 31-33a, 34-35

When Judas had left them, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and God will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Ebanjelioa Joan13: 31-33a, 34-35

31 Judas irten zenean, esan zien Jesusek: «Oraintxe azaltzen da Gizonaren Semearen aintza, eta haren bidez Jainkoarena. 32 Jainkoaren aintza haren bidez azaltzen bada, Jainkoak ere bere aintzaz beteko du hura, eta berehala gainera. 33 «Semetxook, ez zait denbora asko gelditzen zuekin egoteko. 34 Agindu berri bat ematen dizuet: elkar maita dezazuela. Nik maitatu zaituztedan bezala, maitatu zuek ere elkar. 35 Honetan ezagutuko dute guztiek zuek nire ikasle zaretela: zuek elkar maite izatean».

A New Commandment

It is the eve of his execution. Jesus is celebrating the Last Supper with his disciples. He just finished washing the feet of his disciples. Judas has already taken its tragic decision, and after taking the last bite from the hands of Jesus, he left the group to do his “job.” Jesus says aloud what everyone is feeling: “My dear children, it is only a short period of time left to me to be with you.”

Jesus speaks tenderly to them. He wants that his last words and gestures be carved in the memory of their hearts: “I give you a new commandment: that you love one another; that you love each other as I have loved you; the sign for which you will be known to be my disciples will be that you love one another.” This is the final testament of Jesus, his last Will.

Jesus speaks of a “new commandment.” Where is the novelty? The slogan of loving one’s neighbor is already present in the biblical tradition. Also many philosophers speak about philanthropy and of love for every human being. The novelty resides in the style of loving unique to Jesus: “Love one another as I have loved you.” This is the way how his followers will be able to spread around the unique way of loving of Jesus.

Where is this uniqueness?

The first thing the disciples have experienced is that Jesus loved them as friends: “I no longer call you servants … I have called you friends.” In the Church, in our Christian communities, we need to simply love mutually as friends. Among friends we must cherish and practice equality, closeness and mutual support. No one is above anybody else. No friend is master of his friends.

For this reason, secondly, Jesus cut short immediately the ambitions of some of his disciples when he caught them arguing about being the first. The search for selfish interests and megalomaniac ambitions breaks not only friendships but the fellowship and communion of the community.

Jesus, thirdly, reminds them of his life-style: “I did not come to be served but to serve.” Among friends, no one is to impose himself upon others. All must rather be willing to serve and cooperate for the common good.

A friendship thus lived and exercised by the followers of Jesus does not generate a secluded, elitist, and closed community. On the contrary, the cordial and friendly atmosphere, which exists among them, prepares the community to be one that welcome those in need, those discarded by society. Jesus taught his friends to eat with sinners, the excluded, and the despised people. Jesus scolded his friends because they took the children away from him. In the community of Jesus, it is not the small the ones who create trouble but the big ones.

One day, the same Jesus who set aside Peter to be like a “Rock” on which to build his Church, called the Twelve, put a child in their midst, hugged him and proclaimed, “Whoever receives one such a child like this in my name welcomes me.” In the Church, the community loved by Jesus, the smallest, the most fragile and vulnerable must be the center of attention and care.

Sunday April 17, 2016
Fourth Sunday of Easter (C)

Gospel John 10: 27-30

Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”

Ebanjelioa Joan 10: 27-30

Jesusek esan zuen 27 nire ardiek nire ahotsa entzuten dute, eta nik ezagutzen ditut; haiek atzetik jarraitzen didate, 28 eta nik betiko bizia ematen diet: ez dira sekula galduko, eta ez dizkit inork ere eskutik kenduko. 29 Eman dizkidan nire Aita denak baino handiagoa da, eta ezin ditu inork kendu nire Aitaren eskutik. 30 Aita eta biok bat gara.

Follow and Listen only to Jesus

The scene is tense and conflictive. Jesus is strolling inside the temple compound. Suddenly, a group of Jews surround Jesus harassing him menacingly. Jesus is not intimidated, but openly criticizes their lack of faith: “You do not believe because you are not my sheep.” The Gospel writer says that when he finished speaking, the Jews took up stones to stone him.

To prove that they are not his sheep, Jesus dares to explain what it means to be “His.” He underlines two features, the most essential and indispensable ones: “My sheep hear my voice … and they follow me.” After twenty centuries, we Christians need to remember once again that that which is essential to be the Church of Jesus is to hear his voice and follow in his footsteps.

First, is to awaken our willingness and capacity to listen to Jesus himself. We need to develop more in our communities that sensibility, which is still very much alive in many simple Christians who know how to capture and discern the Word that comes from Jesus in all its freshness and to tune in with the Good News of God. Pope Saint John XXIII once said that “the Church must be like an old well in the middle of an old village, from which fresh and clean water always runs.” In this Old church of ours, already twenty centuries old, we must make run the fresh and crystal clear water of Jesus.

If we do not want our faith to go diluting gradually or declining into forms of shallow religiosity, in the midst of a society, which invades our minds with messages, slogans, images, statements and claims of all kinds happiness, we must learn to place the living Word, the concrete and unmistakable Jesus, our only Lord, in the center of our communities.

Second, but it is not enough to hear his voice. It is necessary to follow on the footsteps of Jesus. It is time to make a choice between following and be content with a “bourgeois, and selfish religion” molded at our personal image and likeness, which numbs consciences but takes away the joy of the Gospel, or learn to live our Christian faith in the discipleship of Jesus as an exciting adventure.

The exiting adventure is about believing what Jesus believed, give importance to what Jesus gave importance, to defend the cause of the human being as Jesus defended, to approach the defenseless and helpless as Jesus did, to be free to do good like Jesus, to trust in the Father as Jesus trusted and to face life and death with the same hope with which Jesus did.

If those who live lost, lonely or disoriented, can find in the Christian communities a place where one can learn to live together in a more dignified, compassionate and liberated way by following Jesus, then, the Church, the Christian communities, will be rendering the society one of their best services.

Sunday April 10, 2016
Third Sunday of Easter (C)

Gospel John 21: 1-19

At that time, Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself in this way. Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We also will come with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” They answered him, “No.” So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.” So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish. So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards, dragging the net with the fish. When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.” So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.” And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they realized it was the Lord. Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish. This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after being raised from the dead. When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He then said to Simon Peter a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” Jesus said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that Jesus had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”

Ebanjelioa Joan 21: 1-19

Geroxeago, berriro agertu zitzaien Jesus bere ikasleei Tiberiades aintzira-ertzean. Honela gertatu zen agerpena: 2 Elkarrekin zeuden Simon Pedro, Tomas –Bikia zeritzana–, Natanael –Galileako Kanakoa–, Zebedeoren semeak eta beste bi ikasle.Hortan, Simon Pedrok esan zien: –Arrantzura noa. Besteek erantzun zioten: –Zurekin goaz gu ere. Irten eta ontziratu egin ziren. Baina gau hartan ez zuten ezer harrapatu. Eguna argitu zuenean, aintzira-ertzean agertu zen Jesus; baina ikasleak ez ziren konturatu Jesus zela. 5 Jesusek esan zien: –Mutilok, baduzue jatekorik? Haiek erantzun: –Ez. 6 Jesusek esan zien: –Bota sarea txaluparen eskuinera eta aurkituko duzue. Hala egin zuten. Eta hainbeste arrain harrapatu zutenez, ez ziren sarea ateratzeko gauza. 7 Orduan, Jesusek maite zuen ikasle hark esan zion Pedrori: «Jauna da». Simon Pedrok, Jauna zela entzun bezain laster, soinekoa jantzi (erantzia baitzuen) eta salto egin zuen uretara. 8 Gainerako ikasleak txalupaz joan ziren, sarea arrainekin tiraka zekartela, lehorretik hurbil baitziren, ehunen bat metrora. 9 Lehorreratzean, su-txingarrak ikusi zituzten, gainean arrain bat zela, eta ogia. 10 Jesusek esan zien: «Ekarri harrapatu berri dituzuen arrainetariko batzuk». 11 Igo zen ontzira Simon Pedro eta lehorrera atera zuen sarea, ehun eta berrogeita hamahiru arrain handiz betea. Eta, hainbeste izanik ere, ez zen sarea apurtu. 12 Jesusek esan zien: «Etorri gosaltzera». Ikasleetako inor ez zen ausartzen nor zen galdetzera, ongi baitzekiten Jauna zena. 13 Orduan, Jesusek, hurbildurik, ogia hartu eta eman egin zien, baita arraina ere. 14 Hirugarren aldia zen hau, Jesus, hildakoen artetik piztu ondoren, bere ikasleei agertzen zitzaiena. 15 Gosaldu zutenean, Jesusek esan zion Simon Pedrori: –Simon, Joanen semea, maiteago al nauzu hauek baino? Hark esan zion: –Bai, Jauna, badakizu maite zaitudana. Orduan, Jesusek: –Larra itzazu nire bildotsak. 16 Bigarrenez galdetu zion Jesusek: –Simon, Joanen semea, maite al nauzu? Pedrok, berriro: –Bai, Jauna, badakizu maite zaitudana. Jesusek, orduan: –Zaindu nire ardiak. 17 Hirugarrenez galdetu zion Jesusek: –Simon, Joanen semea, maite al nauzu? Pedro goibeldu egin zen maite al zuen hirugarrenez galdetu ziolako, eta erantzun zion:  –Jauna, zuk dena dakizu, zuk badakizu maite zaitudana. Orduan, esan zion Jesusek:      –Larra itzazu nire ardiak. 18 Bene-benetan diotsut: Gazteago zinenean, zeuk lotzen zenuen gerrikoa eta nora joan erabakitzen; zahartzean, ordea, zuk besoak luzatu eta beste batek lotuko dizu gerrikoa eta nahi izango ez duzun lekura eramango zaitu. 19 Horrela, Jainkoari aintza zer-nolako heriotzaz emango zion adierazi zuen Jesusek. Ondoren, esan zion: –Jarraitu niri.

Jesus Christ is the Center

The encounter of the risen Jesus with his disciples by the Lake of Galilee is described with a clear catechetical intention. The story underlies the central symbolism of fishing in the middle of the sea. The message could not be more real and pressing for us Christians today: only the presence of the risen Jesus can render effective the missionary endeavor of his disciples.

The story describes on purpose, first, the work the disciples carry out during the dark hours of the night. It all begins, as many other times, with a firm decision of Simon Peter, “I am going fishing.” The other disciples follow him, “we too will go with you.” After the death of Jesus, the team is back together. It seems business as usual, as it was before Jesus appeared in the horizon of their lives. They are sad. Jesus is not with them. They go fishing, following the leadership of Simon Peter. Something is missing. The evangelist notes, in purpose, that this work is done at night and that was fruitless, “that night they caught nothing.” The “night” means, in the language of the evangelist, the absence of Jesus who is the Light. Without the presence of the Risen Jesus, without his Spirit and encouraging Word and guidance, there cannot be a fruitful evangelization.

At the dawn, Jesus makes Himself present. From the shore, he communicates with his friends through His Word. The disciples cannot recognize him yet. They will only be capable of recognizing Him when, following his directions, got an amazing catch. That miraculous catch could only be possible with Jesus, the Prophet, who, one day called them to be “fishers of men.”

Let us try to apply this story to our own situation in our Christian communities. The situation of not few parishes and Christian communities is critical today. Many good Christians languish and feel tired and disheartened. The few committed Christians see themselves multiplied to cover all kinds of tasks: always the same people to carry out same tasks. May be it is the time for us to ask the following question: do we need to multiply ourselves to carry on with the same tasks and activities which have been done always at all cost, or maybe we need to stop with many activities in order to experience the loving presence of the Risen Lord among us?

To carry out the mission of Jesus and to effectively cooperate in His evangelizing project, the most important is not “to do many things,” but to better care the human and evangelical quality of what we do. To direct all our efforts toward experiencing the living encounter with the Risen Lord. The decisive factor is not activism but the witness of love that, we Christians, can radiate around our communities. Do you love me?

We cannot remain in a superficial and formalistic faith. We live in a historical conjunction in which the experience of Christ is basic. Often our Christian communities suffer from excess of words, texts and writings, programs and strategic actions, but what matters is that we listen to Jesus. Do you love me?

Sunday April 3, 2016
Second Sunday of Easter (C)
(or Sunday of Divine Mercy)

Gospel John 20: 19-31

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

Ebanjelioa Joan 20: 19-31

19 Asteko lehen egun hartan bertan, arratsean, ikasleak etxe batean bildurik zeuden; judu-agintarien beldurrez, ateak itxirik zeuzkaten. Sartu zen Jesus eta, erdian jarririk, agurtu zituen esanez: «Bakea zuei». 20 Gero, eskuak eta saihetsa erakutsi zizkien. Pozez bete ziren ikasleak Jauna ikustean. 21 Jesusek berriro esan zien: «Bakea zuei. Aitak ni bidali nauen bezala, nik zuek bidaltzen zaituztet». 22 Eta haien gainera arnasa botaz, esan zien: «Hartzazue Espiritu Santua. 23 Zuek bekatuak barkatzen dizkiezuenei barkatu egingo dizkie Jainkoak ere; zuek barkamena ukatzen diezuenei, ukatu egingo die». 24 Tomas, Hamabietako bat, Bikia zeritzana, ez zegoen haiekin Jesus etorri zenean. 25 Elkartu zirenean, beste ikasleek esan zioten: –Jauna ikusi dugu. Tomasek erantzun zien: –Haren eskuetan iltzeen seinalea ikusten ez badut, eta nire atzamarra iltze-zuloetan eta nire eskua haren saihets-zuloan sartzen ez badut, ez dut inola ere sinetsiko.  26 Zortzi egunen buruan, etxean zeuden berriro ikasleak, eta Tomas ere bertan zen. Ateak itxirik zeuden arren, sartu zen Jesus eta, erdian jarririk, agurtu zituen esanez: «Bakea zuei». 27 Gero, esan zion Tomasi: –Ekarri atzamarra eta aztertu nire eskuak; ekarri eskua eta sartu nire saihets-zuloan. Eta ez izan sinesgogor, sinestedun baizik. 28 Tomasek erantzun zion: –Ene Jauna eta ene Jainkoa! 29 Jesusek esan zion: –Ikusi nauzulako sinetsi al duzu? Zorionekoak ikusi gabe sinesten dutenak.  30 Mirarizko beste seinale asko egin zituen Jesusek bere ikasleen aurrean, liburu honetan idatzirik ez daudenak.  31 Hemen kontatuak Jesus Mesias eta Jainkoaren Semea dela sinets dezazuen idatzi dira eta, sinetsiz, betiko bizia izan dezazuen hari esker.

Recognizing Jesus in His Wounds

The figure of Thomas as a disciple who refuses to believe has been very popular among Christians. However, the Gospel account tells much more about this skeptic disciple than disbelieve. The resurrected Jesus addresses him with words, which have an urgent call, but also a loving invitation: “Do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas, who spent a full week refusing to believe, responds to Jesus with the most solemn confession of faith that we can read in the Gospels: “My Lord and my God.”

What has this disciple experienced in the encounter with the Risen Jesus? What was that which transformed the hitherto hesitant and vacillating man? What inner journey did he take, which led him journey from skepticism to faith? What is surprising is that, according to the story, Thomas renounces to personally verify the truth of the resurrection by touching the wounds of Jesus. That which made Thomas to believe was Jesus’ personal invitation to believe in Him.

Throughout these years, we all have changed much inside. We have become more skeptical, but also more fragile. We have become more critical, but also more insecure. Each one of us must decide how we wish to live and how we want to die. Each one of us will have to answer, sooner or later, that call, which unexpectedly or as the result of an internal process, Jesus will address to me: “Do not be unbelieving, but believe.”

Perhaps, we need to wake up more our desire to know the truth. We me experience an interior urge to develop that inner sensitivity, which we all carry in our hearts to perceive, beyond the visible and tangible, the presence of the Mystery of God, which sustains our lives. It is no longer possible to live as people who know everything. Because that is not true. All of us, believers and nonbelievers, atheists and agnostics, walk through life surrounded by darkness. As Paul of Tarsus says, we seek God as by “groping.” In the meantime, we shall be able to recognize the Risen Jesus in his wounds, there where He suffers most: the victims of violence, the poor and the like who have been thrown away from the main stream of our society.

Why not to try to face the mystery of life and death trusting in Love as the ultimate reality of everything? This is the decisive invitation of Jesus. More than one believer feels today that his/her faith has grown into something more and more unreal and less grounded. Perhaps, now that we can no longer base our faith in false assurances, we are learning to seek God with humble and sincere hearts.

We must not forget that anyone who seeks and sincerely desires to believe, for God that person is already a believer. Many times, it is not possible to do much more. And God, who understands our frailty and weakness, has His own ways to meet each one of us and offer salvation.


The shocking truth about Easter
NCR Editorial Staff/April 12, 2011

Because Easter has become so much a part of both our church life and secular culture, we forget how disorienting and traumatic an event it must have been for the first witnesses who became the church. They were shocked by what they learned of God’s intentions for the world and by the way Jesus would reveal God’s love through his death by crucifixion. It required generations to plumb the law and the prophets to understand how glory could come out of such suffering and loss.

Two millennia later, we have the same scriptures, and the rites and symbols of Holy Week to help us enter, recapture and celebrate the mystery of Jesus’ death and resurrection. As the central belief of our Christian faith, our point of entry into all the other mysteries, we need more than words or gestures. We need an encounter with the living God.

Before there was doctrine or theology or even religion, there was human experience. Holy Week takes us back to the kindled fire and swirling sparks our ancestors used to push back the night. The paschal candle is lit, and it leads the community to sacred space. There the ancient story is told: creation, exodus, sacrifice, faith, promise, destiny, suffering and restoration. The Gospel is proclaimed.

As we try to grasp the profound mystery the authors of the Gospels are trying to convey, we realize that we are dealing with more than reports of a miraculous reappearance of a dead man. The Resurrection accounts are multilayered, densely theological and fulfillment-rich affirmations that what happened to Jesus changed not only history but the very cosmos and what we know of human reality on the time-space continuum. As someone once put it, “The end of the story appeared in the middle.”

Moreover, the Resurrection is not just about Jesus. He is affirmed by the believing community as the first, the pioneer, the older brother who opens up for all of us the possibility of life beyond the grave, life with God. And the promise of this new life changes forever the way we live in this world, because now we know what life is about, what it is for, how we ought to live it to engage the mystery as much as possible, because this is the life God wants for us.

Another amazing surprise: Jesus, who is revealed after his resurrection as God present among us in his human, historical self, has projected that incarnate mystery out into the world. God, in Christ, is now present in every member of the body of Christ, a gift potentially expansive to and inclusive of every human being and even creation itself. Everyone and everything is now revealed as sharing in the holiness of God, as a point of contact with God.

Finally, in a twist to the story that is either wonderful or disturbing, depending on our perspective, Jesus turns human power upside down and inside out by disappearing into the poor, the powerless, the crucified of history. If we are planning to celebrate Easter, this is where we will find him, know him and become one with him.

Sunday March 27, 2016
Easter Sunday, the Resurrection of the Lord (C)

Gospel John 20: 1-9

On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.

Ebanjelioa Joan 20: 1-9

1 Asteko lehen egunean Magdalako Maria hilobira joan zen goizean goiz, artean ilun zegoela, eta harria hilobitik kendua ikusi zuen. 2 Orduan, Simon Pedrorengana eta Jesusek maite zuen beste ikasleagana itzuli zen lasterka, eta esan zien: «Eraman egin dute Jauna hilobitik, eta ez dakigu non ipini duten». 3 Irten ziren, orduan, Pedro eta beste ikaslea eta hilobirantz jo zuten. 4 Biak batera zihoazen korrika, baina beste ikaslea Pedro baino arinago zihoan, eta lehenago iritsi zen hilobira. 5 Barrura begiratzeko makurturik, oihal-zerrendak lurrean zeudela ikusi zuen, baina ez zen sartu. 6 Iritsi zen haren atzetik Simon Pedro eta sartu zen hilobira. Oihal-zerrendak lurrean ikusi zituen,baita Jesusen burua biltzen egoniko zapia ere; baina hau ez zegoen oihal-zerrendekin batera jarria, beste toki batean aparte bildua baizik. 8Orduan, sartu zen beste ikaslea ere, hilobira lehenengo iritsi zena. Ikusi eta sinetsi egin zuen. 9 Izan ere, ordu arte ez zuten ikasleek ulertu Liburu Santuak dioena, Jesusek hildakoen artetik piztu behar zuela, alegia.

Where to Find the Risen Lord?

Faith in Jesus, the One raised from the dead by the Father, did not flow naturally and spontaneously in the hearts of the disciples. It was not the result of a magic intervention. Before they encountered (=experienced) him, full of life, the Gospels speak about their disorientation, about their search around the tomb, and about their questions and uncertainties.

Mary of Magdala is the best prototype of what probably happens in all of us. According to John’s account, she looks the crucified one, in the middle of darkness. It was “when it was still dark.” Logically, she looks for Him “in the tomb.” She is not yet aware of the fact that death has been conquered. Therefore, the empty tomb leaves her puzzled. Without Jesus, she feels at lost.

The other Gospels refer to yet another early tradition, which describes a whole group of women in search of Jesus. They cannot forget the Master who welcomed them as His disciples: their love for Him leads them to the tomb. They did not find Jesus there, but heard the message that tells them where they must guide their search: “Why do you search among the dead the One who is alive? He is not here. He has risen.”

Faith in the risen Christ does not come in us, even today, spontaneously, just because we have heard from childhood to our parents, catechists, and preachers. To open ourselves to faith in the resurrection of Jesus, we must walk our own way. It is crucial not to forget Jesus, to love him passionately, to believe with words and actions in his very same dream, and seek with all our might, but not in the world of the dead. Jesus is to be found where there is life, and life abundantly.

If we wish to encounter the risen Christ, full of life and creative energy, then we must seek him, not in a dead religion, reduced to the external and formalistic compliance of laws and regulations, and the intellectual adherence to certain cold dogmas and doctrines, but there where people live according to the Spirit of Jesus, received with faith, love and responsibility.

We are to seek Him, not among divided Christians struggling for sterile discussions and theological arguments, empty of love for Jesus and passion for the Gospel, but there where communities are formed where Christ is placed at the center because they know that “where two or three are gathered in his name, He is there in the middle.”

The living One is not to be found in a worn out faith supported only by all sorts of platitudes and empty formulas. The Risen One is to be found in the process of forging a new relationship with him, and in our capacity to fully identify ourselves with His great project.

A dull and lifeless Jesus, who does not make us fall in love nor seduces, who does not touch our hearts and does not create the freedom of the children of God, is a “dead Jesus.” He is not the living Christ, resurrected by the Father.

Sunday March 20, 2016
Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion (Lent VI C)

Gospel Luke 22:14-23:56

When the hour came, Jesus took his place at table with the apostles. He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, for, I tell you, I shall not eat it again until there is fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I tell you that from this time on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you. “And yet behold, the hand of the one who is to betray me is with me on the table; for the Son of Man indeed goes as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed.” And they began to debate among themselves who among them would do such a deed.

Then an argument broke out among them about which of them should be regarded as the greatest. He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them and those in authority over them are addressed as ‘Benefactors’; but among you it shall not be so. Rather, let the greatest among you be as the youngest, and the leader as the servant. For who is greater: the one seated at table or the one who serves? Is it not the one seated at table? I am among you as the one who serves. It is you who have stood by me in my trials; and I confer a kingdom on you,
just as my Father has conferred one on me, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom; and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. “Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers.” He said to him, “Lord, I am prepared to go to prison and to die with you.” But he replied, “I tell you, Peter, before the cock crows this day, you will deny three times that you know me.” He said to them, “When I sent you forth without a money bag or a sack or sandals, were you in need of anything?” “No, nothing, “they replied. He said to them, “But now one who has a money bag should take it, and likewise a sack, and one who does not have a sword should sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me, namely, He was counted among the wicked; and indeed what is written about me is coming to fulfillment.” Then they said, “Lord, look, there are two swords here.” But he replied, “It is enough!”
Then going out, he went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. When he arrived at the place he said to them, “Pray that you may not undergo the test.”
After withdrawing about a stone’s throw from them and kneeling, he prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.” And to strengthen him an angel from heaven appeared to him. He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground. When he rose from prayer and returned to his disciples, he found them sleeping from grief. He said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not undergo the test.”
While he was still speaking, a crowd approached and in front was one of the Twelve, a man named Judas. He went up to Jesus to kiss him. Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” His disciples realized what was about to happen, and they asked, “Lord, shall we strike with a sword? “And one of them struck the high priest’s servant
and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said in reply, “Stop, no more of this!” Then he touched the servant’s ear and healed him. And Jesus said to the chief priests and temple guards and elders who had come for him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? Day after day I was with you in the temple area, and you did not seize me; but this is your hour, the time for the power of darkness.”
After arresting him they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest; Peter was following at a distance. They lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it,
and Peter sat down with them. When a maid saw him seated in the light, she looked intently at him and said, “This man too was with him.” But he denied it saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” A short while later someone else saw him and said, “You too are one of them”; but Peter answered, “My friend, I am not.” About an hour later, still another insisted, “Assuredly, this man too was with him, for he also is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “My friend, I do not know what you are talking about.” Just as he was saying this, the cock crowed, and the Lord turned and looked at Peter; and Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.” He went out and began to weep bitterly. The men who held Jesus in custody were ridiculing and beating him. They blindfolded him and questioned him, saying, “Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?” And they reviled him in saying many other things against him.
When day came the council of elders of the people met, both chief priests and scribes, and they brought him before their Sanhedrin. They said, “If you are the Christ, tell us, “but he replied to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I question, you will not respond. But from this time on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?” He replied to them, “You say that I am.” Then they said, “What further need have we for testimony? We have heard it from his own mouth.” Then the whole assembly of them arose and brought him before Pilate. They brought charges against him, saying, “We found this man misleading our people; he opposes the payment of taxes to Caesar
and maintains that he is the Christ, a king.” Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
He said to him in reply, “You say so.” Pilate then addressed the chief priests and the crowds,
“I find this man not guilty.” But they were adamant and said, “He is inciting the people with his teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee where he began even to here.” On hearing this Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean; and upon learning that he was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod who was in Jerusalem at that time. Herod was very glad to see Jesus; he had been wanting to see him for a long time, for he had heard about him and had been hoping to see him perform some sign. He questioned him at length, but he gave him no answer. The chief priests and scribes, meanwhile, stood by accusing him harshly. Herod and his soldiers treated him contemptuously and mocked him, and after clothing him in resplendent garb, he sent him back to Pilate. Herod and Pilate became friends that very day, even though they had been enemies formerly. Pilate then summoned the chief priests, the rulers, and the people and said to them, “You brought this man to me and accused him of inciting the people to revolt. I have conducted my investigation in your presence and have not found this man guilty of the charges you have brought against him, nor did Herod, for he sent him back to us. So no capital crime has been committed by him. Therefore, I shall have him flogged and then release him.”
But all together they shouted out, “Away with this man!
Release Barabbas to us.” — Now Barabbas had been imprisoned for a rebellion that had taken place in the city and for murder. —Again Pilate addressed them, still wishing to release Jesus,
but they continued their shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Pilate addressed them a third time, “What evil has this man done? I found him guilty of no capital crime. Therefore, I shall have him flogged and then release him.” With loud shouts, however, they persisted in calling for his crucifixion, and their voices prevailed. The verdict of Pilate was that their demand should be granted. So he released the man who had been imprisoned for rebellion and murder, for whom they asked, and he handed Jesus over to them to deal with as they wished.
As they led him away they took hold of a certain Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country; and after laying the cross on him, they made him carry it behind Jesus.
A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children for indeed, the days are coming when people will say,
‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.’ At that time people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?” Now two others, both criminals, were led away with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull,
they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” They divided his garments by casting lots. The people stood by and watched; the rulers, meanwhile, sneered at him and said, “He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God.” Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine they called out, “If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.” Above him there was an inscription that read, “This is the King of the Jews.” Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us.” The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him,
“Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”; and when he had said this he breathed his last.

The centurion who witnessed what had happened glorified God and said, “This man was innocent beyond doubt. “When all the people who had gathered for this spectacle saw what had happened, they returned home beating their breasts; but all his acquaintances stood at a distance, including the women who had followed him from Galilee and saw these events.
Now there was a virtuous and righteous man named Joseph who, though he was a member of the council, had not consented to their plan of action. He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea and was awaiting the kingdom of God. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. After he had taken the body down, he wrapped it in a linen cloth and laid him in a rock-hewn tomb in which no one had yet been buried. It was the day of preparation, and the sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come from Galilee with him followed behind, and when they had seen the tomb and the way in which his body was laid in it, they returned and prepared spices and perfumed oils. Then they rested on the sabbath according to the commandment.


Ebanjelioa Lukas 22:14-23:56


14 Ordua etorri zenean, Jesus mahaian jarri zen apostoluekin. 15 Eta esan zien: «Banuen gogoa sufritu aurretik Pazko-afari hau zuekin egiteko! 16 Zeren, egia esan, ez baitut Pazkorik gehiago ospatuko Jainkoaren erreinuan bere betera iritsi arte». 17 Eta, kopa harturik, esker oneko otoitza egin eta esan zuen: «Hartzazue eta eman elkarri. 18 Zeren, egia esan, ez baitut gaurdanik gehiago ardorik edango Jainkoa errege izaten hasi arte».

19 Gero, ogia hartu zuen eta, esker oneko otoitza egin ondoren, zatitu eta ikasleei eman zien, esanez: «Hau nire gorputza da, zuentzat ematen dena. Egizue hau nire oroigarri».

20 Berdin egin zuen koparekin afalondoan, esanez: «Kopa hau itun berria da, zuentzat isurtzen den nire odolaz Jainkoak ezarria. 21 «Baina begira, nirekin mahaian dago salduko nauena. 22 Gizonaren Semea badoa, erabakia dagoenez; baina dohakabea salduko duena!» 23 Orduan, ikasleak elkarren artean galdezka hasi ziren, nork egin ote zezakeen horrelakorik. 24 Ikasleak eztabaidan hasi ziren beren artean, beraietan zein ote zen handiena. 25 Jesusek esan zien: «Herrietako erregeek menpean hartzen dituzte herriak, eta agintedunek “Ongile” izena nahi izaten dute berentzat. 26 Zuek ez jokatu horrela. Zuen artean nagusiena izan bedi gazteenaren pareko, eta agintaria zerbitzariaren pareko. 27 Zein ote da handiago, mahaian dagoena ala zerbitzatzen ari dena? Ez ote mahaian dagoena? Bada, ni zerbitzari bezala nago zuen artean. 28 «Zuek sendo iraun duzue nirekin nire probaldietan. 29 Eta nik erregetza ematen dizuet, Aitak neuri eman zidan bezala: 30 ni errege izango naizenean, nire mahaian jan eta edango duzue, eta tronuetan eseriko zarete, Israel herriko hamabi leinuak epaitzeko. 31 «Simon, Simon! Satanasek beretzat nahi zaituzte, garia galbahean bezala zuek astintzeko. 32 Baina nik otoitz egin dut zure alde, sinesmena gal ez dezazun. Eta zuk, niregana bihurtzean, sendo itzazu senideak». 33 Pedrok esan zion: –Jauna, prest nago zurekin kartzelara eta heriotzara ere joateko. 34 Jesusek, orduan: –Egia esan, Pedro, gaur oilarrak jotzerako, hiru aldiz ukatuko duzu ni ezagutzen nauzula. 35 Ondoren, ikasleei esan zien: –Falta izan al zenuten ezer, poltsarik eta zakutorik eta oinetakorik gabe bidali zintuztedanean? Haiek erantzun: –Ezer ere ez. 36 Jesusek, berriro: –Orain, bada, poltsa duenak har dezala eta berdin zakutoa duenak; eta ezpatarik ez duenak sal dezala soingainekoa, hura erosteko. 37 Zeren, egia esan, niregan bete beharra baita Liburu Santuak dioena: Bekatarien kidekotzat jo zuten. Izan ere, nireak laster egingo du. 38 Haiek esan zioten: –Jauna, baditugu hemen bi ezpata. Baina Jesusek erantzun: –Aski da! 39 Ondoren, Jesus atera eta Oliamendirantz abiatu zen, ohi zuenez, eta ikasleak ere bai haren ondoren. 40 Hara iristean, Jesusek esan zien: «Egizue otoitz, tentaldian ez erortzeko». 41 Eta, haiengandik harrikada bat bide aldendurik, belauniko honela egiten zuen otoitz: 42 «Aita, nahi baduzu, urrun ezazu niregandik edari samin hau. Hala ere, egin bedi zure nahia, ez nirea». 43 Zeruko aingeru bat agertu zitzaion, kemen emanez. 44 Eta, larriak harturik, oraindik lehiatsuago egiten zuen otoitz. Izerdia tantaka zerion lurrera, odola bezain lodi. 45 Otoitzetik jaikirik, ikasleengana joan zen; nahigabearen nahigabez lokarturik aurkitu zituen, 46 eta esan zien: «Nola zaudete lo? Jaiki eta egin otoitz, tentaldian ez erortzeko». 47 Jesus hizketan ari zela, jende-multzo bat azaldu zen; Hamabietako bat, Judas zeritzana, zetorren haien buru, eta Jesusengana hurbildu zen musu ematera. 48 Jesusek esan zion: «Judas, musu batez saltzen al duzu Gizonaren Semea?» 49 Gertatzera zihoanaz oharturik, Jesusen inguruan zeudenek esan zioten: «Jauna, erasoko al diegu ezpataz?» 50 Eta haietako batek apaiz nagusiaren morroia jo eta eskuineko belarria moztu zion.  51 Baina Jesusek esan zuen: «Utzi! Aski da!» Eta, belarria ukiturik, sendatu egin zion. 52 Orduan, haren aurka etorriak ziren apaizburu, tenpluko guardiaburu eta zaharrei esan zien: «Ezpataz eta makilaz etorri zarete lapur baten bila bezala. 53 Egunero tenpluan zuekin nintzen, eta ez zenidaten eskurik bota. Baina oraintxe da zuen ordua, ilunpearen nagusialdia». 54 Jesus preso hartu eta apaiz nagusiaren etxera eraman zuten. Pedrok urrutitik jarraitzen zion. 55 Batzuk patio erdian sua piztu eta haren inguruan eseri ziren, eta haien artean eseri zen Pedro ere. 56 Neskame batek, Pedro sutondoan eseria ikustean, begira jarri eta esan zuen: –Hau ere Jesusekin zebilen. 57 Baina hark ukatu, esanez: –Emakume, ez dinat ezagutzen hori. 58 Handik berehala, beste batek ikusi eta esan zion Pedrori: –Hi ere haietakoa haiz. Pedrok, orduan: –Ez, mutil! 59 Handik ordubete ingurura, beste batek berriro esan zuen: –Bai, hau ere Jesusekin bizi huen, galilearra duk eta. 60 Pedrok erantzun zuen: –Ez zekiat zertaz ari haizen, mutil! Eta une berean, oraindik hizketan ari zela, oilarrak jo zuen. 61 Itzuli zen Jauna eta Pedrori begiratu zion. Gogoratu zitzaion Pedrori Jaunak esandakoa: «Gaur oilarrak jo baino lehen, hiru aldiz ukatuko nauzu», 62 eta, kanpora irtenik, negarrari eman zion saminki. 63 Jesus preso zeukatenak isekaz ari zitzaizkion eta joka. 64 Begiak estalirik, honela galdetzen zioten: «Asma ezak, profeta, nork jo hau?» 65 Eta beste hitz iraingarri asko esaten zioten. 66 Eguna zabaldu zuenean, herriko zaharren kontseilua, apaizburuak eta lege-maisuak bildu ziren, eta Jesus Biltzar Nagusira eraman zuten. 67 Honela esan zioten: –Mesias baldin bazara, esaguzu. Hark erantzun: –Baietz esaten badizuet, ez didazue sinetsiko 68 eta, galdetzen badizuet, ez didazue erantzungo. 69 Baina hemendik aurrera Gizonaren Semea Jainko ahalguztidunaren eskuinean eserita egongo da. 70 Orduan, denek esan zuten: –Zu zara, beraz, Jainkoaren Semea? Hark erantzun zien: –Zeuek diozue, neu naiz. 71 Haiek, orduan: –Ba ote dugu lekuko beharrik? Geuk entzun diogu bere ahotik.

23, Altxatu ziren denak eta Pilatogana eraman zuten Jesus. 2 Han, salatzen hasi zitzaizkion: «Gure nazioa nahaspilatzen harrapatu dugu gizon hau; enperadoreari zergak ordaintzea galarazten du eta bera Mesias, erregea, dela esaten». 3 Pilatok galdetu zion:   –Zu al zara juduen erregea? Jesusek erantzun zion: –Zeuk diozu. Pilatok apaizburu eta jende-taldeari esan zien: –Nik ez dut gizon hau kondenatzeko batere arrazoirik aurkitzen. Baina haiek, behin eta berriro: «Judea osoan barrena herria asaldatzen ari da bere irakaspenez; Galilean hasi zen eta honaino iritsi da». Hori entzutean, gizon hura galilearra al zen galdetu zuen Pilatok. 7 Eta, Herodesen eskumenekoa zela jakinik, hari bidali zion, Jerusalemen baitzen egun haietan. 8 Biziki poztu zen Herodes Jesus ikusteaz, aspaldian baitzuen hura ezagutzeko gogoa, hartaz entzuten zituenengatik; mirariren bat egiten ikusiko zuela ere espero zuen. 9 Herodesek galdera asko egin zion, baina Jesusek ez zion hitzik erantzun. 10 Bitartean, han ari ziren apaizburu eta lege-maisuak salatu eta salatu. 11 Herodesek, bere soldaduekin batera, mespretxu eta isekaz erabili zuen Jesus eta, jantzi distiratsu bat soinean jarririk, berriro Pilatogana bidali zuen.  12 Egun hartan, adiskidetu egin ziren Herodes eta Pilato, etsai baitziren lehen. 13 Pilatok, apaizburu, agintari eta herria berriro bildurik, 14 honela esan zien: «Gizon hau herria nahaspilatzen ari dela-eta ekarri didazue; baina zuen aurrean galderak egin dizkiot eta ez diot aurkitu zuek egozten diozuen errurik batere; 15 ezta Herodesek ere, guri bidali baitigu ostera. Honek ez du, beraz, heriotza merezi duenik ezer egin. 16 Zigorraldi bat eman eta askatu egingo dut». (17). 18 Baina denek aho batez oihuka esan zioten: –Kendu hori eta aska iezaguzu Barrabas! 19 Barrabas hau, hirian gertaturiko matxinada eta giza hilketa batengatik kartzelan sartua zuten. 20 Jesus askatu nahian Pilato berriro mintzatu zitzaien; 21 baina haiek oihuka: –Gurutzera hori! Gurutzera! 22 Hark hirugarren aldiz esan zien: –Zer oker egin du, bada, honek? Nik ez dut hau kondenatzeko arrazoirik aurkitzen. Beraz, zigorraldi bat eman eta askatu egingo dut. 23 Haiek oihu eta oihu ari ziren gurutzera zezala eskatuz, eta gero eta handiagoak ziren oihuak. 24 Orduan, Pilatok haien eskabideari men egitea erabaki zuen: 25 haiek eskatzen zutena –matxinada eta giza hilketagatik kartzelan zegoena– askatu eta Jesus beren esku utzi zien. 26 Jesus gurutziltzatzera zeramatela, sorotik etxera zihoan bat, Simon Zirenekoa, hartu zuten eta gurutzea leporatu zioten, Jesusen ondotik eraman zezan. 27 Herriko jende-talde handia zihoan Jesusen ondoren, baita emakume asko ere bular-joka eta harengatik aieneka.  28 Itzuli zen Jesus haiengana eta esan zien: «Jerusalemgo emakumeok, ez egin negarrik niregatik; egizue negar zeuengatik eta zeuen seme-alabengatik. 29 Hara, badatoz honako hau esango den egunak: “Zorionekoak agorrak, haurrik sortu ez duten sabelak eta titirik eman ez duten bularrak”. 30 Orduan, honela esango diete mendiei: “Eror zaitezte gure gainera”, eta muinoei: “Ezkuta gaitzazue”31 Izan ere, egur hezeari hau egiten badiote, zer ez ote iharrari?» 32 Jesusekin batera bi gaizkile ere eraman zituzten hiltzera. 33 «Burezur» zeritzan tokira iritsirik, bertan gurutziltzatu zuten Jesus, baita bi gaizkileak ere, bata Jesusen eskuinean eta bestea ezkerrean. 34 Jesusek honela zioen: «Aita, barka iezaiezu, ez baitakite zer ari diren». Soldaduek Jesusen jantziak banatu zituzten, zotz eginez. 35 Herria begira zegoen. Agintariek, berriz, Jesusi burla egiten zioten, esanez: «Besteak salbatu ditik; salba dezala bere burua, Jainkoaren Mesias, hautatua, baldin bada». 36 Soldaduek ere irri egiten zioten; ondoraturik, ozpina eskaini zioten eta esan: 37 «Juduen errege baldin bahaiz, salba ezak heure burua». 38 Honako idazkun hau zuen buruaren gainaldean: «Hau juduen erregea da». 39 Zintzilik zeuden gaizkileetako bat Jesusi irainka ari zitzaion, esanez: –Ez al haiz, bada, hi Mesias? Salba ezak heure burua eta salbatu gu ere! 40 Baina besteak errieta egin zion hori zioenari: –Ez al duk Jainkoaren beldurrik, zigorra jasaten hagoela ere? 41 Gurea legezkoa duk, geure egintzengatik merezia baitugu; baina honek ez dik okerrik egin. 42 Gero, gaineratu zuen: –Jesus, oroit zaitez nitaz errege izatera iritsiko zarenean. 43 Jesusek erantzun zion: –Benetan diotsut: Gaur nirekin izango zara paradisuan. 44 Eguerdi aldea zen, eta ilundu egin zuen lurbira guztian hirurak arte. 45 Eguzkia ezkutatu egin zen, eta santutegiko oihala erdiz erdi urratu zen. 46 Jesusek, oihu handia eginez, esan zuen: «Aita, zure eskuetan jartzen dut bizia». Hau esanik, azken arnasa eman zuen. 47 Erromatar ehuntariak, gertatua ikusirik, Jainkoa goretsi zuen, esanez: «Benetan gizon hau zintzoa zen!» 48 Ikuskizunera joandako jende guztia, gertatua ikusirik, bular-joka itzuli zen hirira. 49 Jesusen ezagun guztiak, baita Galileatik jarraitu zioten emakumeak ere, urrutixeago zeuden begira. 50 Orduan, kontseiluko kide bat etorri zen, Jose zeritzana, gizon on eta zintzoa; 51 honek ez zituen ontzat eman Biltzar Nagusiaren erabakia eta jokabidea. Judeako Arimatea herrikoa zen izatez, eta Jainkoaren erregetza noiz iritsiko zain zegoen. 52 Josek, beraz, Pilatogana aurkeztu eta Jesusen gorpua eskatu zion. 53 Jesus gurutzetik eraitsirik, izara batean bildu zuen eta haitzean zulaturiko eta oraindik beste inor ehortzi gabeko hilobi batean ezarri.  54 Festarako prestaketak egiteko eguna zen eta larunbata hastera zihoan. 55 Galileatik Jesusekin etorritako emakumeek, Joseren atzetik joanik, hilobia ikusi zuten eta Jesusen gorpua nola ezartzen zuten begiratu. 56 Gero, itzuli eta usain gozoko ukenduak prestatu zituzten.


Reflections before the Crucified One


Arrested by the security forces of the Temple, Jesus has no longer any doubt: the Father has not heard his desire to continue living; His disciples flee away looking for their own safety. He is alone. His project about establishing the Kingdom of God fade. Execution awaits him. Jesus is in crisis.

The silence of Jesus during his last hours is overwhelming. However, the evangelists have collected some of his words on the cross. These are very short, but they helped the first Christian generations to remember them with love and gratitude to Jesus crucified.

Luke gathered a few which Jesus utters while being crucified. Among shudders and cries of pain, Jesus manages to say a few words, which show what was in his heart, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

So is Jesus.

He is asking his disciples to “love your enemies” and “pray for those who persecute you.” And now is he himself who dies forgiving. He turns his crucifixion into forgiveness. This request to the Father for those who are crucifying him is, above all, a sublime gesture of compassion and trust in the unfathomable forgiveness of God. This is the great legacy of Jesus to humanity: Do not ever doubt God. His mercy is endless.


Mark picks up another dramatic cry of the crucified: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me.!?” These words uttered in the midst of solitude and total abandonment, are of overwhelming sincerity. Jesus feels his beloved Father has abandoned him. Why? Jesus complains about the Father’s silence. Where is He? Why does He keep silent? This cry of Jesus, identified with that of all the victims in history, asking God for an explanation to such injustice, neglect and suffering, is now on the lips of the Crucified One who demands an answer from God beyond death: O God my God, why have you abandoned me? Are You not going to ever respond to the cries and moans of the innocent?


Luke records Jesus’ last word. Despite his mortal anguish, Jesus maintained until the end his trust and confidence in the Father. His words are now almost a whisper: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Nothing and no one has been able to separate him from his Father. The Father has been animating with his Spirit all the life and activity of Jesus. Completed his mission, Jesus leaves everything in the hands of the Father. The Father will break his silence and will rise him.

During this Holy Week we need to enter into the passion and death of Jesus, and through Him, empathy with the passion and death of so many victims. Father, into your hands we commend all our worries.

Sunday March 13, 2016
Fifth Sunday of Lent (C)

Gospel John 8: 1-11

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area, and all the people started coming to him, and he sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin  be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him. Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.”

Ebanjelioa Joan 8: 1-11

1 Jesus Oliamendira joan zen. 2 Biharamunean, egunsentian, tenplura itzuli zen, eta herri guztia etorri zitzaion. Jesus, eseririk, irakasten hasi zen. 3 Orduan, lege-maisu eta fariseuek emakume bat, adulterioan harrapatua, ekarri zioten. Erdi-erdian ipiniz, 4 esan zioten Jesusi: –Maisu, emakume hau adulterioan ari zela harrapatu dute. 5 Moisesek legean honelakoak harrika hiltzeko agindu zigun; zuk zer diozu? Galdera azpikeriaz egin zioten, hura salatzeko aitzakiaren baten bila baitzebiltzan. Jesus, alabaina, makurturik, atzamarrez lurrean idazten hasi zen. 7 Haiek, ordea, galde eta galde ari baitzitzaizkion, zutitu zen Jesus eta esan zien: –Zuetan bekaturik gabe dagoenak jaurti diezaiola lehen harria. 8 Eta berriro makurturik, lurrean idazten jarraitu zuen. Haiek, ordea, hori entzutean, banan-banan alde egiten hasi ziren, zaharrenetatik hasita. Jesus bakarrik gelditu zen, emakumea aurrean zuela. 10 Jesusek zutitu eta esan zion: –Emakume, non dira salatzaileak? Ez al zaitu inork ere gaitzetsi? 11 Hark erantzun: –Inork ere ez, Jauna. Orduan, Jesusek: –Nik ere ez zaitut gaitzesten; zoaz, eta ez egin berriro bekaturik.)

“Do not Condemn and you will not be Condemned”

People presented to Jesus a woman caught in the very act of adultery. Everyone knew her destiny would be death by stoning as that was established in the law of Moses. No one says anything of the adulterer. He is not to be seen anywhere. As always in a patriarchal society, women are condemned and men dispensed. Jesus’ challenge of that rule has no palliatives: “The law of Moses commands us to stone adulterers. What do you say?”

Jesus could not take any longer that social hypocrisy fueled by the arrogance of men. That death sentence did not from God. With admirable simplicity and audacity, and introducing at the same time truth, justice and compassion in the trial of the adulteress Jesus asks: “He who is without sin let cast the first stone.”

The accusers left the place ashamed. They know that men are the most responsible for the adulteries committed in that society.

Then Jesus addresses to the woman who just escaped execution and, with great tenderness and respect utters: “Neither do I condemn you.” Then Jesus encourages her to seize this opportunity of forgiveness to become the starting point of a new life: “Go, and sin no more.”

So is Jesus.

At last, there exists on earth someone who does not let be conditioned or influenced by any law or oppressive power; someone free and magnanimous who never hated or condemned anyone, someone who never returned evil for evil. In Jesus’ defense and forgiveness of this adulterous woman there is more Truth and Justice than in our demands, complains, and resentful condemnations.

We Christians have not yet been able to draw all the consequences, which are enclosed in the liberating actions of Jesus against the oppression of women. Directed and inspired from almost all male-dominated Church, we fail to be aware of all the injustices that women continue to suffer in all areas of life. Some theologians speak about the “ignored and dormant revolution” of Christian communities yet to arrive.

The truth is that, twenty centuries later, in the countries of supposedly Christian roots, we still live in a society where women often cannot move freely without fear of man. The rape, abuse and humiliation are not imaginary events. On the contrary, they constitute one of the most deeply rooted form of violence, which generate much suffering.

Why is it that the suffering of women does not take a more vivid and concrete place in our celebrations, and even a more important cry in our efforts to awaken a more social awareness? But above all, should not we be closer to all oppressed women and report all types of abuse, and provide quick defense and effective protection?

Sunday March 6, 2016
Fourth Sunday of Lent (C)

Gospel Lk 15: 1-3; 11-32

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So to them Jesus addressed this parable: “A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them. After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’ So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began. Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’ He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’”

Ebanjelioa Lukas 15: 1-3; 11-32

1 Zergalari eta bekatari guztiak Jesusengana bildu ohi ziren hari entzutera, 2 eta fariseuak eta lege-maisuak marmarrean ari ziren esanez: «Horrek harrera ona egiten die bekatariei, baita beraiekin jan ere!» 3 Jesusek parabola hau esan zien: 11 «Gizon batek bi seme zituen. 12 Gazteenak esan zion aitari: “Aita, emadazu dagokidan senipartea”. Eta aitak ondasunak banatu zizkien. 13 «Handik egun gutxira, seme gazteenak, zituen guztiak bildurik, urrutiko herrialde batera alde egin zuen eta han, galdukerian biziz, ondasun guztiak jan. 14 Dena xahutu zuenean, gosete ikaragarria gertatu zen inguru hartan eta estu aurkitzen hasi zen. 15 Orduan, herrialde hartako gizon batengana joan zen morroi, eta hark bere sailetara bidali zuen txerrizain. 16 Txerriek jaten zuten ezkurrez asetzeko gogoa ematen zion, ez baitzion inork jaten ematen. 17 Orduan, pentsatzen jarririk, bere baitan esan zuen: “Zenbat langile gure aitarenean nahi adina ogi eta gehiago dutela, eta ni hemen goseak hiltzen! 18 Jaiki, aitarengana joan eta esango diot: Aita, bekatu egin dut Jainkoaren eta zure kontra. 19 Ez dut gehiago seme-izenik merezi. Har nazazu zeure langileetako bat bezala”. 20 «Jaiki eta aitaren etxera abiatu zen. Oraindik urruti zegoela, ikusi zuen aitak eta errukitu egin zen; eta, lasterka joanik, besarkatu eta musuka hasi zitzaion. 21 Semeak esan zion: “Aita, bekatu egin dut Jainkoaren eta zure kontra. Ez dut gehiago zure seme-izenik merezi…”. 22 Aitak, ordea, esan zien morroiei: “Ekarri bizkor jantzirik onena eta jantziozue, ipiniozue eraztuna eta jantzi oinetakoak; 23 ekarri zekor gizendua eta hil; egin dezagun festa-otordua; 24 zeren seme hau hilda bainuen eta piztu egin zait, galdua nuen eta aurkitu egin dut”. Eta festa hasi zuten. 25 «Seme zaharrena soroan zen. Etxerakoan, hurbildu ahala, soinua eta dantzak sumatu zituen. 26 Eta, morroi bati deiturik, zer gertatzen zen galdetu zion. 27 Hark erantzun: “Zure anaia etorri da eta zekor gizendua hiltzeko agindu du zuen aitak, semea onik bereganatu duelako”. 28 Biziki haserretu zen anaia eta ez zuen sartu nahi. Atera zen aita eta erreguka hasi zitzaion. 29 Baina hark erantzun zion aitari: “Hainbeste urte da zure agindu bat ere sekula huts egin gabe zerbitzatzen zaitudala, eta ez didazu egundaino antxume bat ere eman, lagunekin festa egiteko; 30 eta, horko zure seme hori, zure ondasunak emagalduekin jan dituen hori, etorri dela eta, zekor gizendua hil duzu”. 31 Aitak erantzun zion: “Seme, zu beti nirekin zaude, eta nire guztia zeurea duzu! 32 Baina egoki zen poztu eta festa egitea, zure anaia hau hilda baikenuen eta piztu egin zaigu, galdua genuen eta aurkitu egin dugu!”»


The Sin of Self-righteousness

Undoubtedly, this is the most captivating parable of Jesus, the parable of the “Good Father” often misinterpreted as the “parable of the prodigal son.” Precisely this “youngest son” has always attracted the attention of the majority of commentators and Gospel preachers. His return home and the amazing reception the father prepared for him, have moved to tears to all Christian generations.

However, the parable also speaks of the “eldest son,” a man who always remained with his father, without imitating the disordered life of his brother, away from home. When the servants reported him about the lavish party organized by his father to welcome the lost son, he is baffled. The return of the brother did not produce in him the joy, which did in his father, but rage: “He became angry, and refused to enter the house” to be part of the party. He had never left home, but now feels like a stranger among his own.

The father comes out (just as he came out looking the return of his youngest son) to invite him to the feast with the same affection with which hosted his younger brother. The father did not shout or give orders, but with humble love “tries to persuade him” to enter into the welcoming party. That is when the eldest son exploded in anger revealing all his resentment. He has spent his entire life obeying the orders of the father, but he failed to learn to love as the father loves. Now he only wants to demand his rights and denigrates his brother.

This is the tragedy of the eldest son. He never left home, and yet his heart has always been away from the father’s house. He knows to comply commandments but does not know to love. He does not understand how his father can love that lost son. He does not want to welcome nor forgive his little brother. He wants nothing to do with him.

Jesus ends his parable without satisfying our curiosity: how did the party end: did the elder brother finally enter the house or stayed away?

Involved in the religious crisis of modern society, we have grown accustomed to speak of believers and unbelievers, practicing and non-practicing Catholics, marriage in the Church and couples in irregular situation … While we continue categorizing and classifying the children of God, God is waiting everyone to approach Him, because He is not owned by the good or the practitioners only. He is the Father (and Mother) of every one.

The “eldest son” is a challenging figure for us who think live with Him. What are we, who never “abandoned” the church, doing to our brothers and sisters? Do we try to assure our own religious survival by observing the rules, prescriptions and doctrines to the letter, or do we really witness to the great love of God to all his sons and daughters? Are we building open communities that know how to understand, welcome and accompany those who seek God in the middle of doubts and questions? Do we build barriers and walls or do we build bridges?

Sunday February 28, 2016
Third Sunday of Lent (C)

Gospel Luke 13: 1-9

Some people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. Jesus said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did! Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them— do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!” And he told them this parable: “There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’ He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also,  and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.’”

Ebanjelioa Lukas 13: 1-9

1 Une hartan, batzuek Jesusengana joan eta zenbait galilearri gertatua kontatu zioten: nola Pilatok hil zituen, eskaintzen ari ziren abereen odolarekin beraien odola nahastuz. 2 Jesusek erantzun zien: «Galilear horiek gainerakoak baino bekatariago zirela uste al duzue, heriotza hori izan zutelako? 3 Ez horixe! Eta zuek ere, bihozberritzen ez bazarete, berdin hilko zarete denok. 4 «Eta Siloeko dorreak azpian harrapaturik hil ziren hemezortzi haiek, gainerako jerusalemdarrak baino bekatariago zirela uste al duzue? 5 Ez horixe! Eta zuek ere, bihozberritzen ez bazarete, denok hilko zarete». 6 Gero, parabola hau esan zien Jesusek: «Gizon batek pikondo bat zuen bere mahastian aldatua. Joan zen piku bila eta ez zuen aurkitu. 7 Orduan, mahastizainari esan zion: “Begira, badira hiru urte pikondo honetara piku bila natorrela, eta ez dut aurkitzen. Moztu ezazu. Zertarako egongo da hor lurra alferrik jaten?” 8 Baina mahastizainak erantzun zion: “Jauna, utz ezazu aurtengoz; bitartean, ondoa aitzurtu eta ongarria botako diot, 9 ea aurrerakoan fruiturik ematen duen; eta bestela, moztu”».

God abhors a fruitless Life

A few years ago John Baptist Metz published a small book, which caused real impact among German Catholics. According to the renowned theologian, in today’s Europe religion is not any longer the force, which transforms a very largely bourgeoisie society. It is, rather, the bourgeoisie mentality of the society, which has reduced and distorted the best values of the Christian religion (“Beyond the bourgeois religion”1982).

He was right. Every day we internalize bourgeois attitudes such as personal security, welfare, autonomy, performance or success, which darken and dissolve the genuine Christian attitudes such as conversion to God, compassion, defending the poor, selfless love or willingness to suffer for others.

How easy it is to live a religion, which does not change the hearts, a cult without conversion, a religious practice, which gives us self-satisfaction and confirms us in our little club, as we continue ignoring God’s call to a more detached and radical lifestyle!

How is my Christianity? Have I really converted to Christ, or am I happy intellectually believing that I am a Christian because I practice a few rules and rites? Do I sympathize and feel empathy with those who suffer or do I passively believe that there is such thing as compassion? De I love others selflessly or do I limit myself to live a private and exclusive love, far from the cry of the poor, which challenge me to come out from my little, hedonistic and personal world?

How does God look upon a “fruitless and sterile Christianity?”

Jesus’ parable tells of a man who vainly went seeking the fruits of a fig tree, which did not bear fruit. The tree was barren. “Why should it exhaust the soil?” The Lord, however, did not wish to cut or destroy it. On the contrary, it took even better care of it, still hoping that may be one day it will bear fruit. So is with God’s patience too.

After twenty centuries of history, God still waits for a more vigorous and fruitful Christian witness.

Three attitudes, I believe, can help us to let go to our being “captive of bourgeois religion.”

First, a gaze to the social reality around us, with the eyes of God, without prejudices or personal interests; normally injustices feed themselves up by way of lies or half-truths. Secondly, a compassionate empathy towards others, which will lead us to defend the victims and prompt to show solidarity with their suffering. And, finally, a frugal and simple life-style, capable of creating an alternative way of living, which resists the proposals of a bourgeois society based upon excessive consumerism.

Sunday February 21, 2016
Second Sunday of Lent (C)

Gospel Luke 9: 28b-36

Jesus took Peter, John, and James  and went up the mountain to pray. While he was praying his face changed in appearance  and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah,  who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus  that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem. Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep,  but becoming fully awake,  they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus,  “Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But he did not know what he was saying. While he was still speaking,  a cloud came and cast a shadow over them,  and they became frightened when they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said,  “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.” After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. They fell silent and did not at that time  tell anyone what they had seen.

Ebanjelioa Lukas 9: 28b-36

28 Jesusek, Pedro, Joan eta Santiago berekin hartu eta mendira igo zen Jesus, otoitzera. 29 Eta, otoitzean ari zela, aurpegiko itxura aldatu egin zitzaion, eta jantziak zuri distiratsu bihurtu. 30-31 Hartan, bi gizon azaldu ziren, aintzaz distiratsu: Moises eta Elias, eta Jesusekin mintzo ziren Jerusalemen gertatzekoa zen honen heriotzaz. 32 Pedro eta lagunak logaleak jota zeuden; baina esnatu ziren eta Jesusen aintza eta harekin zeuden bi gizonak ikusi zituzten. 33 Hauek urruntzean, Pedrok esan zion Jesusi: «Maisu, zein ederki gauden hemen! Zergatik ez egin hiru etxola: bata zuretzat, bestea Moisesentzat eta bestea Eliasentzat?» Ez zekien zer esaten zuen ere. 34 Eta, hori zioela, hodei batek estali zituen, eta beldurtu egin ziren hodeipean sartzean. 35 Mintzo hau izan zen hodeitik: «Hauxe dut neure Semea, nik hautatua. Entzun berari!» 36 Mintzoaren ondoren, Jesus bakarrik ageri zen. Ikasleek isilik gorde zuten eta, ordukoz, ez zioten inori esan ikusitakorik ezer.

Listen Only to Jesus

The scene is traditionally called “the transfiguration of Jesus.” It is not possible today to reconstruct with certainty the original experience of the early Church, which gave birth to this amazing story. We only know that the Gospels give great importance to this narrative because, according to this account in the Gospel of Luke, it is an experience, in which the disciples began to understand to a certain extend the true identity of Jesus.

At first, the story highlights the transformation of HIS face, although Moses and Elijah appear conversing with Jesus, perhaps as representatives of the law and the prophets respectively, in the center of the scene, only the face of Jesus remains transfigured and glowing.

Obviously, the disciples did not grasp the depth of the content of the experience they were living, for Peter, in a rather joking way, said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” Peter seems to place Jesus in the same footing and level as the two major biblical characters. To each one its due! Jesus does not still occupy the central and absolute place in his heart.

It is only the voice of God that will correct Peter, by revealing them the true identity of Jesus: “This is my chosen Son” the one with the transfigured face. He is not to be confused with the face of Moses and Elijah, which are not glowing faces like Jesus’. “Listen to him.” To no one else. His Word is the only decisive one. The words of other figures, important as they might be, must lead us to Him.

I am persuaded that it is urgent to recover today in the Church the decisive importance it had, in the beginnings of the Christian communities, the experience of listening, in our communities, to the story of Jesus collected in the Gospels. The four Gospels constitute for all Christians a unique collection, which is based upon the unique experience of an encounter with the person of Jesus, without match with the rest of the biblical books.

There is something, which only may be found in the Gospels: such as the impact Jesus caused among the first followers who abandoning their nets (livelihood) and their father (life support) where drawn to him and followed him unreservedly. The Gospels are not didactical or academic writings exhibiting some doctrines about Jesus. Nor biographies written to provide us some details about his history. They are, rather, “conversion stories” which invite each one of us to change, to follow Jesus and identify ourselves with his great project of establishing the Kingdom of God.

For this reason, the Gospels need to be listen to in an attitude of conversion. And with that same attitude we must read, preach, meditate, and keep them in the heart of each one of us in the Christian community.

A Christian community that knows how to listen to the Gospel story of Jesus every Sunday with an attitude of conversion, begins to change. The church has no other more vigorous transformation tool than the very Jesus who is contained and experienced in these four little books we call Gospels.

Sunday February 14, 2016
First Sunday of Lent (C)

Gospel Luke 4: 1-13

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, One does not live on bread alone.” Then he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant. The devil said to him, “I shall give to you all this power and glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I may give it to whomever I wish. All this will be yours, if you worship me.” Jesus said to him in reply, “It is written: You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.” Then he led him to Jerusalem, made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written: He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you, and: With their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” Jesus said to him in reply, “It also says, You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.” When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time.

Ebanjelioa Lukas 4: 1-13

1 Jesus Espiritu Santuaz betea itzuli zen Jordandik. Espirituak eramanik, basamortuan barrena ibili zen 2 berrogei egunez, deabruak tentatzen zuela. Egun haietan ez zuen ezer jan, eta azkenean gosetu egin zen.  3 Deabruak esan zion, orduan: –Jainkoaren Semea zarenez, agindu harri honi ogi bihurtzeko. 4 Jesusek erantzun zion: –Liburu Santuan idatzia dago: Gizakia ez da ogiz bakarrik bizi.  5 Ondoren, deabruak, toki garai batera eramanik, munduko erreinu guztiak erakutsi zizkion une batean eta esan zion: –Hara, neureak ditut erreinu ahaltsu eta aberats guztiok eta nahi dudanari eman diezazkioket. 7 Beraz, adoratzen banauzu, zeuretzat izango dituzu. 8 Jesusek erantzun zion: –Idatzia dago: Adoratu Jauna, zeure Jainkoa, eta bera bakarrik gurtu.  9 Orduan, Jerusalemera eraman zuen deabruak eta, tenpluaren goreneko ertzera jasorik, esan zion: –Jainkoaren Semea zarenez, bota zeure burua hemendik behera, 10 idatzia baitago: Bere aingeruei aginduko die zu zaintzeko.  11 Besoetan eramango zaituzte, harriekin estropezu egin ez dezazun. 12 Baina Jesusek erantzun: –Agindua dago: Ez tentatu Jauna, zeure Jainkoa. 13 Orduan, bere tentazio guztiak agorturik, deabruak alde egin zuen Jesusengandik, hurrengo egokiera arte.

What are my Temptations?

According to the Gospels, the temptations Jesus experienced were not properly of moral type. Rather, they were false (idolatry) approaches of understanding and living his mission. Thus, the way Jesus reacts in front of those false propositions must serve us as a model not only for our moral behavior, but above all, to keep us alert not to deviate from the mission Jesus entrusted us, his followers.

These temptations help us identify with clarity, lucidity, and responsibility the type of temptations we all, and the church at large, endure today. How will we be faithful to Jesus Christ if we are not aware of the most dangerous temptations, which can divert us today from that very dream and lifestyle of Jesus to establish the Kingdom of God? Let us now reflect on each one of them.

In the first temptation, Jesus renounces to use God to “convert” the stones into bread and thus satisfy his hunger. Jesus is determined not follow that path of self-gratification. He refuses to live seeking his own interest. He will never use the Father in a selfish manner. He is determined to seek nourishment only in the living Word of God, and he shall “multiply” the loaves only to feed the hungry people. This is probably the most serious temptation of Christians living in affluent countries, like us, who tend to use religion to justify our material comfort, ease our consciences by doing some acts of charity, thus emptying our Christian lives of true compassion, and living deaf to the voice of God that cries out to us, where is your brother?

In the second temptation, Jesus renounces to obtain “power and glory” in exchange of submitting himself to the abuses, lies and injustices in which the powerful build their kingdoms inspired by the “devil.” The kingdom of God does not impose itself upon anyone. Rather, it is offered to all with love. Jesus resolves to only worship the God of the poor, the weak and the defenseless. In these times when the Church has lost social power in many of the countries where she used to be omnipresent and omnipotent, the temptation is there for her to try to recover the “power and glory” of the past. Even to the point of claiming absolute power over society. We may be losing a historic opportunity for the church to enter a new path of humble service and fraternal accompaniment of the men and woman, so much in need of love and hope.

In the third temptation, Jesus renounces to carry out his mission by resorting to easy success and ostentation. He refuses to become a triumphalist Messiah. He shall never place God at the service of his personal pride. Rather, Jesus will be among his people as one who serves and washes the feet of his disciples. It is always tempting to use religion in order to seek the increase of personal reputation, popularity and prestige. Even to make money. Few things are more ridiculous in following Jesus than the glitz and the search for honors. They hurt the Church and devoid her capacity to proclaim the truth.

Sunday February 7, 2016
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel Luke 5: 1-11

While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.” When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that the boats were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon. Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.

Ebanjelioa Lukas 5: 1-11

Behin batean, jendea gainera zetorkion Jesusi, Jainkoaren mezua entzuteko; Jesus Genesaret aintzira-ertzean zegoen.Eta bi ontzi ikusi zituen ur-bazterrean: arrantzaleak, ontzitik jaitsita, sareak garbitzen ari ziren. 3 Igo zen bietako batera, Simonenera, eta ontzia lehorretik pixka bat aldentzeko eskatu zion; gero, eseri eta jendeari irakasten ziharduen ontzitik. 4 Hitzaldia amaitu zuenean, Simoni esan zion: –Jo itsas zabalera eta bota sareak arrantzurako. Simonek erantzun zion: –Maisu, gau guztian eginahalak egin eta ez dugu ezer harrapatu; baina, zuk diozunez gero, botako dut sarea. Hala egin zuten eta, hainbesteko arrain-pila harrapatu zutenez, sareak puskatzeko zorian zeuden. 7 Beste ontziko lagunei keinu egin zieten laguntzera etortzeko; hurbildu ziren eta bi ontziak ia-ia hondoratzeraino bete zituzten. 8 Gertatua ikusirik, Jesusen oinetara erori zen Simon Pedro, esanez: –Alde niregandik, Jauna, bekataria naiz eta! 9 Izan ere, zur eta lur zeuden eginiko arrantzuagatik Simon eta beronekin zirenak, 10 baita haren arrantzu-lagun Santiago eta Joan Zebedeoren semeak ere. Baina Jesusek esan zion Simoni: –Ez beldurtu, hemendik aurrera giza arrantzale izango zara. 11 Ontziak lehorrera atera zituzten eta, dena utzirik, jarraitu egin zioten.

The Word of God is Effective

The Evangelist Luke wrote the episode of a surprising and unexpected catch of fish in the lake of Galilee to encourage and give optimism to the small community of believers when they experienced, in a frustrating manner, that all their efforts to announce the Good News seemed to fail. What Luke tries to tell us is very clear: it is not US the protagonists of the mission. Consequently, we must place our trust and hope in the strength and appeal of the Gospel.

The story begins with an unusual scene. Jesus is standing by the lake, and “people gather around Him to listen to the Word of God.” These people did not come out of curiosity. They did not even come to see wonders. They just wanted to hear Jesus speak the Word of God.

It was not a Sabbath day. They were not gathered in the nearby synagogue of Capernaum to listen to the biblical readings, which used to be proclaimed to the people throughout the year. The people did not even go up to Jerusalem to listen to the priests of the Temple. What attracts the people is the Good News announced by the Prophet Jesus, rejected, as we saw last Sunday, by his own people in the town of Nazareth.

Also the scene about the abundant fishing is unusual. When, during the night, which is the most favorable time for fishing, Peter and his companions worked hard by themselves, trusting in their skills and years of experience, did not get any results. But, during the day, when they cast their nets relying only on the word of Jesus that guided their work, an abundant catch occurs, against all expectations.

In the background of the data, which increasingly makes evident the crisis of faith among us, there is an undeniable fact. The Church is losing, in an unstoppable manner, the power of attraction and even the credibility she largely enjoyed just till a few years ago.

We experience almost daily that our ability to pass our own faith, convictions and spirituality on to our following generations (our own children) is shrinking. We are not short of new efforts (even especial effects), initiatives, and methods and technics either. Obviously it is not only or primarily about inventing new strategies or developing new technics.

It is time to remember, and to humbly accept, that in the Gospel of Jesus there is an attraction power, which does not exist in us. This is the most decisive question we need to ask ourselves. Do we continue “doing things” (business as usual) from the perspective of a church, which has lost already her appeal and credibility? Are we truly putting all our energies on letting the Gospel regain her power of attraction capable of seducing today’s men and women to fall in love with Jesus and share in his great dream about the Kingdom of God?

We must place the Gospel in the center of our lives. In these times of crisis, the most important attitude may not be to continue with our “business as usual” of developing more and more elaborate doctrines, which over the past centuries have brought many people out of the church, but to concentrate in imitating the very lifestyle of Jesus. What is decisive is not that many people come to share with us our “business as usual” activities, but that they may come to experience the encounter with Jesus. The Christian faith is awakened only when people discover the fire of Jesus.

Sunday January 31, 2016
Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel Luke 4: 21-30

Jesus began speaking in the synagogue, saying: “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?” He said to them, “Surely you will quote me this proverb, ‘Physician, cure yourself,’ and say, ‘Do here in your native place the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.’” And he said, “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land. It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon. Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. But Jesus passed through the midst of them and went away.

Ebanjelioa Lukas 4: 21-30

21 Eta honela hasi zitzaien: «Gaur bete da profezia hau entzuten didazuenontzat». 22 Denek Jesusen alde hitz egiten zuten eta harriturik zeuden Jainkoaren onginahiaz esaten zituenengatik. Baina zioten: «Ez al da, bada, hau Joseren semea?» 23 Orduan, Jesusek esan zien: «Harako esaera hura oroitaraziko didazue, noski: “Sendagile, sendatu zeure burua”, eta esango: “Egitzazu hemen, zeure herrian ere, Kafarnaumen egin omen dituzun gauzak”». 24 Eta erantsi zuen: «Benetan diotsuet: Ez da profetarik bere herriari mesedegarri zaionik. 25 Egiaz esaten dizuet: Emakume alargun asko zegoen Israelen Eliasen garaian, hiru urte eta erdian euririk egin ez zuelarik, lurralde osoan gosete handia izan zenean; 26 hala ere, Jainkoak ez zuen haietako inorengana bidali Elias, Sidon herrialdeko Sareptako alargun batengana baizik. 27 Eta legendun asko zegoen Israelen Eliseo profetaren garaian; hala ere, ez zuen haietako inor sendatu, Naaman siriarra baizik». 28 Hau entzutean, sinagogako denak amorruz bete ziren. 29 Eta, jaikirik, Jesus herritik kanpora bota eta herria jasoa zegoen mendiko amildegi batera eraman zuten, handik behera jaurtitzeko. 30 Baina Jesus haien artetik igaro eta bere bidetik joan zen.

Be Prophets!

“A great prophet has arisen among us.” This was the big cry of the people in the villages of Galilee, surprised, as they were, by the words and actions of Jesus. However, this is not the only thing happening in Nazareth when Jesus introduced Himself in front of his neighbors as the anointed and prophet of the poor.

Jesus experienced the admiration first and then the rejection of the people. Jesus was not surprised. He reminds them of a well-known saying: “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.” Then when the people threw Jesus away from their village and try to kill him, He leaves them for good. The Gospel recalls that Jesus “passed through the midst of them and went away.” Nazareth was now without the Prophet Jesus.

Jesus is and acts as a prophet. He is not a priest of the temple nor a teacher of the law. His life is part of the prophetic tradition of Israel. Unlike the kings and priests, a prophet is not appointed or anointed by anyone. His authority comes from God, who is determined to encourage and guide his beloved people with His Spirit, when politicians and religious leaders failed to do so.

It is not a coincidence that we Christians confess God to be incarnate in a Prophet.

The traits of the prophet are unmistakable. In the midst of an unjust society where the powerful seek only their own well-being silencing the suffering of those who cry out their powerlessness, the prophet dares to interpret and experience the reality of the everyday life of the people from the perspective of God’s compassion for the least among us. The Prophet’s whole life becomes an “alternative life-style,” which criticizes the injustices taking place in our midst and calls to conversion and change.

Moreover, when even religion accommodates to an unjust order of things and its interests and priorities no longer respond to God’s demands, the prophet shakes the self-complacency, the indifference and self-deception of Christians who find solace in fulfilling rites, prescriptions, and repeating empty doctrines, and criticizes the illusion of eternity and the notion of the Absolute, which threatens the very essence of religion and reminds all that only God saves. God’s true presence introduces a new hope for the future life and invites each one of us to think from the perspective of the freedom and love of God.

A church that ignores the prophetic dimension of Jesus and his followers, runs the risk of running out of prophets. We are very concerned about the shortage of priests and we pray every day for the increase of vocations to priesthood ministry and consecrated life. Why do we not ask God to raise prophets in our midst? Let’s be prophets!

Sunday January 24, 2016
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel Lk 1: 1-4; 4: 14-21

Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us, I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received. Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region. He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all. He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the Sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord. Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”


Ebanjelioa Lk 1: 1-4; 4: 14-21

Teofilo agurgarria, askok ekin diote gure artean izan diren gertakarien historia idazteari, 2 hasieran begizko testigu eta gero berri onaren predikari izandakoek jakinarazi digutenaren arabera.Neuri ere on iruditu zait dena bere harian zuretzat idaztea, hasieratik guztia zehatz-mehatz aztertu ondoren, 4 jaso dituzun irakaspenak zein finkatuak dauden ikus dezazun.

14 Jesus, Espirituaren indarrez, Galileara itzuli zen, eta inguru hartan guztian zabaldu zen haren berri. 15 Hango sinagogetan irakasten zuen, denek goraipatzen zutela. 16 Nazaretera joan zen, bera hazi zen herrira, eta larunbatean sinagogan sartu zen, ohi zuenez, eta irakurgaia egitera zutitu. 17 Isaias profetaren liburua eman zioten eskura eta, irekitzean, pasarte hau aurkitu zuen: 18 Jaunaren espiritua nire gainean dago, berak bainau sagaratu behartsuei berri ona adierazteko; berak nau bidali gatibuei askatasuna

eta itsuei ikusmena hots egitera eta zapalduak askatzera,  19 Jaunak onginahia azalduko duen urtea hots egitera. 20 Liburua itxi, laguntzaileari eman eta eseri egin zen; denak sinagogan begira-begira zeuzkan. 21 Eta honela hasi zitzaien: «Gaur bete da profezia hau entzuten didazuenontzat».

A Prophet

In a remote and unknown village of Galilee called Nazareth, villagers gather in the synagogue on a Saturday morning to hear the Word of God. After a few years in the wilderness in search of God, Jesus returns to the town in which he grew up. This scene is very important in order to know Jesus and understand his mission.

According to Luke’s account, Jesus makes his own official presentation, as a prophet of God, in this almost unknown village, and it is in this village he makes known his own program, applying to himself the text of the prophet Isaiah.

After reading the text, Jesus comments it with just on single sentence: “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” According to Luke, “the people’s eyes were fixed on him.” Everyone’s attention moves from the read text to the person of Jesus.

In today’s situation in this particular historical moment, what is it that which can make our gaze to fix upon Him? Let us fix our eyes on some of the firing elements, which inspired the life of Jesus.

The Spirit of God

The breath, the love, and the power of God guided and inspired the entire life of Jesus. The very life of God. Jesus said, “I do what I see God does.” It is not about the confession of a dogmatic Christological doctrine of Jesus developed by different Councils in the history of the Church. Fain in Jesus is about an existential appropriation and personalization of the tenderness and fire, the words and actions of Jesus, which, we believers call “God.” This God is a mystery of life, which takes the form of a very concrete lifestyle, which each one of us must try to find for ourselves.

Prophet of God

No one anointed Jesus with the holy olive oil, as kings used to be anointed in order to deliver the governing power or the high priests, which symbolized the empowerment of the sacred. Rather, it was the very Spirit of God who “anointed” Jesus. Thus, Jesus was not to come to rule a nation nor the Sacred Temple. Jesus is the prophet of God, and as such, his mission is to heal the sick, restore sight to the blind and to return to life the dead. Only, if we decide to live with his same prophetic spirit, will we be able to follow Him.

Good news for the poor

This was to be the heart of Jesus’ mission. His work in favor of the marginalized and destitute, of those in the margin of the society, in favor of those discarded by the financial, political and religious powers. To these despised people Jesus had a Good News to announce that they were the beloved children of God! To be like Jesus, means, then, that we must begin to live our lives, showing our love and solidarity with the poorest of the poor. This is not optional. It is a commandment.

Inviting all to Freedom

Jesus invites us all to come out from of all kinds of slavery. Jesus shows us the way to be free from all types of suffering, oppression and abuse. People felt Jesus as someone who could free them from meaninglessness and despair. The blind received new sight; sinners received grace and forgiveness. Restored dignity to all human beings.

Who is Jesus for me?

Sunday January 17, 2016
Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel John 2: 1-11

There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told them, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it. And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from— although the servers who had drawn the water knew —, the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.” Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.

Ebanjelioa Joan 2: 1-11

Hiru egunera, ezteiak izan ziren Galileako Kanan, eta han zen Jesusen ama.  2 Jesus eta beronen ikasleak ere gonbidatu zituzten ezteietara. 3 Eta ardoa amaitu baitzen, esan zion amak Jesusi: –Ez dute ardorik. 4 Jesusek erantzun zion: –Utz nazazu bakean, emakume. Oraino ez da etorri nire ordua.  5 Jesusen amak honela esan zien zerbitzariei: «Egin horrek esango dizuena». 6 Baziren han harrizko sei ur-ontzi, juduek beren garbikuntzetarako erabili ohi zituztenak, ehunen bat litrokoa bakoitza. 7 Jesusek esan zien zerbitzariei: –Bete ontziak urez. Haiek goraino bete zituzten. 8 Orduan, esan zien:   –Atera pixka bat eta eraman mahaizainari. Hala egin zuten haiek. 9 Mahaizainak ardo bihurtutako ura dastatu zuen, nongoa zen jakin gabe; zerbitzariek, bai, bazekiten, beraiek atera baitzuten ura. Ardo berria dastatu zueneko, senarrari dei egin 10 eta esan zion: «Jende guztiak ardorik onena atera ohi du lehenik eta, jendea aski edanda dagoenean, arruntagoa; zuk, berriz, orain arte gorde duzu ardorik onena». 11 Bere lehen mirarizko seinale hau Galileako Kanan egin zuen Jesusek; honela, bere Jainko-aintza agertu zuen, eta ikasleek sinetsi egin zuten harengan.


Jesus Saves in the normality of the Everyday Life

“There was a wedding in Galilee.” So begins this remarkable story, which narrates something unexpected and surprising. In this first public performance of Jesus, the Messiah of God, there is nothing religious. It does not take place in a sacred place. Jesus begins his prophetic activity “saving” a wedding party, which could have ended very badly.

In those poor villages of Galilee, the peasants were always looking forward to the celebration of a wedding. For days, family and friends accompanied the couple by eating and drinking with them, and dancing festive dances and singing love songs.

The Gospel of John tells us that it was in the middle of one of these popular weddings where Jesus worked his “first sign,” the sign, which provides us the key to understanding all His actions as well as the deep meaning of His saving mission.

John, in his Gospel, does not speak of “miracles.” He calls “signs” to the surprising gestures of Jesus. John does not want the readers to pick up and retain only that which looks a prodigious and spectacular performance, but invites us to discover the deeper meaning of those signs. To help us to do so, John offers us some clues.

Let us consider just one in more detail.

Jesus’ mother, attentive to the details of the party, notices, “they have no wine,” and tells his son. Perhaps the couple, being poor peasants, found themselves overwhelmed by the massive arrival of guests. Mary is worried. The party mood is in danger. What a shame that a wedding would end without enough wine! Mary puts her trust in Jesus.

Among the peasants of Galilee, as well as in many other cultures, wine was a well-known symbol of joy and love. All knew this fact. If life lacks joy and love, what will happen to friendship and social coexistence? Mary is right about her fears. Jesus decides to intervene in order to save the party and human relationships by providing abundant and excellent quality wine.

This gesture of Jesus helps us to grasp the direction of his entire life and mission and the main content of his project about the kingdom of God. While most religious leaders and scribes care of religion in its forms, Jesus is totally committed to making the everyday life of the people more human and bearable.

The Gospel of John, as well as the other Gospels, present Jesus mostly focused, not in formal religion, but in the everyday life of the poor. Jesus is not just for religious and pious people. He is especially for those disappointed by formal religion, and yet feel the need to live a more dignified and happy way of life. Jesus in only interested in creating faith in a trustworthy God who inspires us to live with joy, because He challenges us to live a more generous lifestyle, inspired by self-denial and solidarity.

Sunday January 10, 2016
The Baptism of the Lord (First Sunday in Ordinary Time C)

Gospel Luke 3: 15-16; 21-22

The people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ. John answered them all, saying, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

Ebanjelioa Lukas 3: 15-16; 21-22

15 Herria zain-zain zegoen eta denak ari ziren pentsatzen Joan ez ote zen Mesias izango. 16 Joanek, ordea, denen aurrean esan zuen: «Nik urez bataiatzen zaituztet, baina badator ni baino ahaltsuago dena, eta ni ez naiz inor haren oinetakoen lokarriak   askatzeko ere; horrek Espiritu Santuaz eta suz bataiatuko zaituzte. 21 Herri guztia bataiatzen ari zela, Jesus ere bataiatu egin zen eta, otoitzean zegoela, zerua zabaldu 22 eta Espiritu Santua jaitsi zitzaion gainera, uso-tankeran agertuz. Eta mintzo hau etorri zen zerutik: «Zu zaitut neure Semea, neure maitea, zu zaitut atsegin».

Reaching to Critical Mass

The Baptist does not allow people to confuse him with the Messiah. He is well aware of his own limits and recognize them. There is One stronger and more decisive than him: the only One people must welcome. The reason is obvious. The Baptist offers the people a baptism of water. Only Jesus, the Messiah, will “baptize them with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”

In opinion of many observers, one the biggest problem the Church faces today is “spiritual mediocrity.” It looks as if the Church lacks the spiritual strength She needs to face the challenges of the present historical moment. This is the reason why we need Jesus to baptize us with His fire and His Spirit.

Lately, distrust in the power of the Spirit, and fear of anything that might lead to a renewal has diminished considerably. Much emphasis is placed on continuity in order to preserve that which belongs to the past, tradition, to what always has been done, and refuse to hear the calls of the Spirit to prepare for the future, new challenges and trying to find new ways. We are slow to read the “signs of the times.”

We tend to give preeminence to certainties, beliefs, traditions and doctrines to strengthen faith and greater ecclesial cohesion in front of the modern society’s challenges, but often this way of doing things do not facilitate the real experience of an encounter with the person of Jesus. Indeed, have we forgotten that Jesus is stronger than we are? Religious doctrines, usually expressed in premodern and European language and categories, do not touch the hearts of people encouraging us to conversion. We have abandoned the refreshing breath of the Vatican II Council. As a result, many churchgoers abandoned the spirit of joy the Council awoke in the early times, and given way to resignation and pessimism. Thus, in a silent but noticeable way, disaffection grows in not few believers and mistrust in the church’s institutions.

It is urgent to create a more friendly and cordial atmosphere in the church as soon as possible. Not anyone could have awaken in the simple people the lost enthusiasm and joy. We need to return to the roots of our faith: we must get again in touch with the Gospel and encounter with Jesus whose Words are “spirit and life.” This is indeed to be baptized.

Within a few years, our Christian communities will be very small. In many parishes, there will be no priests permanently. This is why it is important to create small cores of believers who gather around the Gospel and the person of Jesus. This “critical mass” will keep alive the spirit of Jesus among us. Certainly, everything will be more humble, but also more evangelical.

The best gift we can leave to future generations is a new love for Jesus based on a lifestyle conformed to the enthusiasm and joy of Jesus. Everything else is secondary. If we live from the Spirit of Jesus, we shall be able to find new paths forward.

Sunday January 3, 2016
The Epiphany of the Lord (C)

Gospel Matthew 2: 1-12

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.” Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.” After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.

Ebanjelioa Mateo 2: 1-12

Jesus Judeako Belen herrian jaio zen, Herodes erregearen garaian. Jesus jaio ondoren, sortaldeko jakintsu batzuk azaldu ziren Jerusalemen, 2 galdezka: –Non da juduen errege jaioberria? Haren izarra ikusi dugu sortaldean eta gurtzera gatoz. 3 Berri honekin larritu egin zen Herodes erregea, baita Jerusalem hiri osoa ere. 4 Orduan, herriko apaizburu eta lege-maisu guztiak bildu eta Mesias non jaiotzekoa zen galdetu zien. Haiek erantzun zioten: –Judeako Belenen, honela idatzi baitzuen profetak: 6 Eta zu, Judako Belen, ez zara, ez, Judako hirietan txikiena; zuregandik aterako baita buruzagia, Israel nire herria gobernatuko duena. 7 Orduan, Herodesek, jakintsuak isilean deiturik, izarra noiz agertu zitzaien jakin zuen zehatz. 8 Gero, Belenera bidali zituen, esanez: «Zoazte eta jakin xuxen haurraren berri eta, aurkitu ondoren, adierazi niri, neu ere gurtzera joan nadin». 9-10 Erregearen hitz hauek entzunik, abiatu egin ziren. Bidean, sortaldean ikusitako izarra agertu zitzaien eta biziki poztu ziren. Izarra aurretik joan zitzaien, haurra zegoen toki gainean gelditu arte. 11 Etxean sarturik, haurra ikusi zuten Maria bere amarekin eta, ahuspezturik, gurtu; ondoren, beren kutxatilak zabalduz, esku-erakutsiak eskaini zizkioten: urrea, intsentsua eta mirra. 12 Gero, Herodesengana ez itzultzeko oharra ametsetan harturik, beste bide batetik itzuli ziren beren herrialdera.

Finding God in Small Signs

Confronted by Jesus very different attitudes can be adopted. The story of the Magi tells of the reaction of three groups of people. A group of pagans who seek Him earnestly, guided by the light of a small star. The representatives of the official religion of the Temple, who remain indifferent. And the powerful King Herod who only sees in Jesus a threat against his paranoiac power.

The magi did not belong to the “officially” chosen people. They did not know the “living God of Israel.” We know nothing about their religion nor their ethnic precedence. The Gospel only points out at their attentiveness to the reading of the mysteries hidden in the cosmos. These magi were seeking the truth.

At a certain moment, they think they discovered a small light that points to a Savior. They need to know who He is and where He lives. Quickly they set on the road. They do not know the exact route they have to follow, but in their hearts burns the hope to find the Light of the world.

Their arrival in the Holy City of Jerusalem causes a general shock. Convened by Herod, the Great Council of “the chief priests and scribes of the people” in convened. The Gospel seems to take delight in the disappointing performance of the “guardians of true religion.” They could not care less about Truth. These are the very people who represent the God in the Temple, but are completely deaf to HIS call. Their religious superiority and arrogance blinds them from seeing God. They know where the Messiah is to be born, but none of them has even gone come close to Bethlehem. They are dedicated to worship God, but failed to realize that the mystery of God is larger than all religions of the world, and has made His own ways to make all His children arrive to the full knowledge of God. However, these self-complacent ministers of the Temple will never be able to recognize Jesus.

King Herod, powerful and brutal, only sees in Jesus a threat to his power and cruelty. He will make every effort to annihilate Him. From his oppressive power, he will be ready to “crucify” anyone attempting to bring liberation and humanizing the world.

Meanwhile, the magi continue their search. They refuse to kneel before Herod because they found nothing in him worthy of worship. They also refused to enter in the grandiose and extravagant Temple of Jerusalem. The little light of the Star guides them to the little town of Bethlehem, far from any center of power.

Upon arrival, all they see is a “child with Mary his mother.” Nothing else. A child without any power or splendor. A fragile life that needs the care of a mother. This simplicity and powerlessness of a child and his mother was enough of a sign to awaken in them the desire to adore.

The story is puzzling. This God, hidden in human frailty cannot be found and experienced by people installed in power, in religious securities, and self-complacency. God is only revealed to those who, guided by small lights and signs, tirelessly seek to bring hope for the human being in the tenderness and poverty of life.

Friday January 1, 2016
The Octave Day of Christmas
Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God

New Year 2016: Prayer for Peace in the World

Gospel Luke 2: 16-21

The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them. When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Ebanjelioa Lukas 2: 16-21

16 Joan ziren lasterka eta han aurkitu zituzten Maria, Jose eta jaioberria askan etzana. 17 Ikusi zutenean, haurtxo hartaz esan zitzaiena kontatu zuten. 18 Artzainek esandakoa entzun zuten guztiak harriturik gelditu ziren. 19 Mariak, berriz, gertakari guztiok gogoan hartzen zituen, bere barruan hausnartuz. 20 Artzainak, entzun eta ikusi zutenarengatik Jainkoari aintzaka eta goraka itzuli ziren, dena aingeruak esan bezala gertatu baitzitzaien. 21 Jaio eta zortzi egunera haurra erdaindu zutenean, Jesus izena ezarri zioten, sortu aurretik aingeruak esan bezala.

Mary Queen of Peace

Today the whole Church celebrates the Day of Peace. Amidst a humanity involved in so many wars and conflicts, the Church wants to start the New Year rising to God a prayer for peace.

However, what means today to pray for peace in this our world torn by so much violence? Is it just a religious entertainment for us who do not know or do not dare to do anything effective to achieve it? Or, a comfortable tranquilizer to comforts us in our passivity and inhibition from having to take hard decisions in order to build peace?

First, we need to remember that the aim of our prayer for peace is not to inform God of the lack of peace among us. God does not need to “learn” from us about the absence of peace in the world. On the contrary, this prayer for peace is a challenge to us who need to discover the obstacles we put to the realization of God’s justice and peace.

It is not God the one who needs to “react” or to change the course of action to “do something” so that our desire for peace may be accomplished. Rather, we need to change and adjust our actions and our lives to God desires. Mary did just that: she obeyed God; she became the handmade of the Lord.

If prayer is a sincere encounter with God, it does not lead us to evasion and cowardice. On the contrary, it strengthens our will, stimulates our weakness and strengthens our determination to seek peace and work for it tirelessly. The one who prays for peace ardently is more capable to receive it in his heart. Even more. The one who prays for peace to God is already allowing God’s peace take possession of the heart. True prayer transforms us. It makes us capable of forgiveness and reconciliation, and more sensitive to any injustice, abuse and lie. True prayer frees us against any manipulation.

We cannot pray for peace if our hearts harbor hate, condemnation, intolerance and dogmatism.

May the Mother of God inspire us today to be builders of peace with humble hearts, by being compassionate, merciful and forgiving.