Alocution III Sunday of Lent

By: Msgr. Ramón Suárez Polcari, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Havana

Good morning brothers, this is Archbishop Ramón Suárez Polcari. Our pastor, Cardinal Juan de la Caridad García, cannot be with you today and has instructed me to give you a reflection on Sunday, March 7, the third Sunday of Lent. Following his good habit, I begin by thanking all those who make this Sunday radio encounter possible.

This Sunday’s liturgy emphasizes the primacy of God, in its relationship with the chosen people in the ancient covenant marked by the ten words or commandments proclaimed by God, so that everyone may know that He is the only one and that there is no other; He is his God who joins Israel and his people do. God is jealous, He does not accept that the love owed to Him is shared with the false gods. The proposed text is Exodus in chapter 20 verses 1 through 17.

Acceptance or rejection of these words will correspond to attitudes of fidelity or adultery in relations with God. The life of the Israel people will be marked by the experience that will reach its fullness in Jesus Christ, who will summarize all laws and precepts in the supreme commandment of love. As Jesus teaches us, we must fully live the commandments because they are a sure and ever-present guide to our relationship with God and our neighbor, starting with the family, continuing with the community of brothers and sisters with the Faith and reaching out to those who do not love us well and who know as enemies.


The Apostle and Evangelist John in chapter 2 verses 13 to 22, whose gospel text is offered to us today, tells us the episode of the purification of the temple by Jesus. The great feast of the Jews is now near.


The life of Jesus is marked by the calendar of the feasts of the Jewish people. He celebrates them with his disciples and gives them their full meaning in their own person as the Apostle Paul tells us by referring to Christ’s sacrifice as our Passover. Jesus manifests himself as the Lord who claims the righteous fulfillment of the scriptures, because the zeal of his house devours him and proclaims at the same time his divinity because he is the Lord of life. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will lift it up.” The Lord expels not only the merchants, but also the lambs and oxen offered in sacrifice. John’s narration comes here to its culmination, the body of the risen Jesus is the new temple of God. the ancient will be left so often desecrated by Israel’s infidelities. And He is the only true Easter lamb by which salvation and forgiveness of sins are attained.

Jesus announces the destruction of the temple that will signal the beginning of a new age in the history of salvation. The time will come when God will be worshipped in spirit and truth. Jesus is the definitive temple.

After Christ’s Resurrection, the Apostles maintained a religious respect for time. But St Paul speaks of the temple of Christian as a temple of the holy spirit and where the Holy Trinity comes to dwell from the day of our baptism. Over time churches will be built large and small throughout the world and these sacred buildings are a privileged place of the faithful’ encounter with God, but not the exclusive place. The Church is present where a Christian who truly lives his faith is and the houses where families are prayed become domestic Churches. The Catholic must make his body and his home a place for God, seeking to make his family live in the love, respect and concern of each of his members for one another.

The text of St Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians in chapter 1 verses 22 to 25 reminds us who is at the heart of our Christian faith and to whom we belong and to whom we follow. Leadership in the Church belongs only to Christ and this crucified one. In God’s new people we are all servants and no one is a Christian in preference to a certain person. We do not follow men, we follow the crucified Christ, scandal for a world that believes only in the power of the effectiveness of plans, of money, of what he solves. You cannot accept to follow Christ by wanting his teaching and his way of life to go through human logic.


I invite you to pray together. All who listen to me, let us unsoture ourselves spiritually with Christ and do so in inner silence to ask God that in these special days of intense prayer and conversion given to us by Lent we can attain his blessings from Him.

A: We ask you, sir.

Forgive all our faults and help us in Faith, Hope, and Charity.

A: We ask you, sir.

May in imitation of Christ, your son, let us do all the good we can, worrying about everything and praying for those most in need.

A: We ask you, sir.

We ask for the Pope, for the bishops, for our pastor, for the priests and deaconos and for all those who are consecrated so that we may be shepherds dedicated to the service of the people.

A: We ask you, sir.

Let us ask for the healing of those who are sick in the body and spirit, especially for patients with coronavirus and for those who care for and serve them.

A: We ask you, sir.

So that every Catholic may be a living temple that proclaims the gospel and welcomes everyone without excluding anyone.

A: We ask you, sir.

I know you would like to receive Christ sacramentally in your Body and in Your Eucharistic Blood, but circumstances do not allow it. That is why we will now make a spiritual communion, but first I invite you to make a deep prayer, in silence, to that Christ that we contemplate in his Blessed Sacrament, in custody. It is a prayer that we will all do by adoring Him.


Or my good Jesus, I firmly believe that you are present in the Blessed Sacrament. I love you above all things and wish to receive you in my soul, but not being able to do it sacramentally now, come at least spiritually to my heart.

Lord Jesus, as if I had already received you, I embrace you and I love you intimately. Lord, do not allow anything or anyone else to separate me from you.


As a Sunday, the Church turns all her attention to the message of Christ that we have heard, but I would not like to let go of tomorrow’s celebration on March 8. We will celebrate a saint who devoted himself to serving his neighbour, mainly the sick with mental and nervous disorders. I speak to you of St John of God, a man who lived his experience as a disciple of Christ in the sixteenth century. He was born in Portugal in 1495; after a somewhat libertine life, even served for a time in the army, he found the Lord through the preachings of another great saint, the Spanish priest Juan de Avila. His conversion was so radical that he was taken for a madman, locking him up in the royal hospital in Granada. Thanks to the intervention of Saint John of Avila he was able to be free and start his great care work by founding hospitals. And as always happens, his testimony of life attracted other young people to form, around him, the order of the hospitals. Saint John of God died in Granada in 1550 and was proclaimed a saint in 1690.

The first brothers arrive in Havana in 1603, and take over the only hospital in the village, which moved to a new place, gave its name to the Plaza de San Juan de Dios. And I finish this note, highlighting the fact that two of the three Cuban blesseds were hospitable brothers of San Juan de Dios. I mean José Olallo Valdés and Jaime Oscar Valdés, both born in Havana and raised in the crib. The so-called Father Olallo lived his exemplary ministry serving the people of Camaguey and Jaime Oscar, after serving many sick people in Spain and Colombia, gave the last and total testimony of his consecration dying martyr in Spain.

Jesus Christ gave us His Mother at the foot of the Cross, and we always turn to her to ask her to help us and help us. We do it now with this ancient (perhaps the oldest) prayer to the Virgin Mother:

Under your protection we welcome the Holy Mother of God, do not give up the supplications we address to you in our needs, but deliver us from all danger. O glorious and blessed Virgin! Amen.


And to conclude our Sunday meeting, I give you the final blessing.

The Lord be with you.

And the blessing of Almighty God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, descend upon you and accompany you always.


Below we fully offer the address of Msgr. Ramón Suárez Polcari, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Havana.


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