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Monday, November 13

 

Section 103 of the Catechism reminds us that the proclamation of Scripture during Mass calls forth from us the same response to Christ’s presence with us in the Body and Blood of the Lord that we receive from the altar:

 

“The Church has always venerated the Scriptures as she venerates the Lord’s Body. She never ceases to present to the faithful the bread of life, taken from the one table of God’s Word and Christ’s Body.”

 

Notice that in speaking of the “table of God’s Word,” no distinction is made between readings from the Gospels or any other selection from anywhere in Sacred Scripture, including the Psalms. Every reading from the Bible (the lectionary) during Mass brings Christ’s presence to us.

 

In Luke’s beautiful and moving account of the risen Christ choosing to journey unrecognized to the village of Emmaus with two forlorn disciples grieving his crucifixion we are reminded of our own experience of receiving Christ in word and sacrament at Eucharist.

 

25 [Jesus] said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! 26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures. 28 As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. 29 But they urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. 31 With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. 32 Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:25-32)

 

Several of our eucharistic liturgies prayerfully remind us that gathered together at Mass, we enjoy the same encounter as the disciples in their Emmaus experience. 

 

You are indeed Holy and to be glorified, O God,
who love the human race
and who always walk with us on the journey of life.
Blessed indeed is your Son,
present in our midst
when we are gathered by his love,
and when, as once for the disciples, so now for us,
he opens the Scriptures and breaks the bread.

(Eucharistic prayer for use in Masses for various needs; I, II, III and IV.)

 

Questions for reflection:

 

1.        Where in your life’s journey have you found yourself unexpectedly accompanied by the Lord, perhaps only realized after the fact?

 

2.       What particular Scripture passages have helped you to find yourself in God’s presence?

 

Prayer:

 

O Word of God, speak to my heart and mind:

to my heart that I may respond to your presence

to my mind that I may clearly discern your teachings.

 

“You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed,
through the living and abiding word of God.”

(1Peter 1:23)

 

~ Clifford M. Yeary

Segundo día, lunes, 16 de noviembre  

Éxodo 20, 12

Honra a tu padre y a tu madre, para que tengas una vida larga en la tierra que el Señor tu Dios te da.  

Una vida armoniosa de familia depende mucho del respeto.  El honrar a nuestros padres es la señal más segura de respeto, pero aún los padres pueden recordar cuán difícil era el mostrar siempre respeto durante los años tumultuosos de la adolescencia. Después de todo es la “tarea” de los adolescentes el buscar independencia y confianza en sí mismos mientras se preparan para manejar sus propias riendas en su madurez.  Ojalá, los padres sean capaces de dejarlos actuar con libertad gradual y bondadosamente, sabiendo que aun Jesús joven no siempre hizo lo que sus padres esperaban de Él (véase San Lucas 2, 41-52).

Así como al estar creciendo todo se trata de aprender, el honrar a nuestros padres es algo que se aprende, y muchas veces se aprende tratando y cometiendo errores.  

El respeto a los padres tampoco termina cuando se sale del nido proverbial.  La bendición prometida a aquellos que honran a sus padres es que tendrán una vida larga en la Tierra Prometida.  Ésta es una promesa de generación, que debe causar su propia bendición.  El honor que se brinda a padres ancianos, cuyas necesidades físicas y emocionales pueden aumentar mucho al pasar los años; aumentarán mucho, si se pasa de generación a generación, y será rica en bendiciones y madura con promesas.

Clifford M. Yeary

Preguntas para reflexionar:

  1. ¿Cómo ha cambiado a través del tiempo tu manera de honrar a tus padres?

     

  2. ¿Cómo ha afectado la cultura y los valores modernos el desafío de honrar a nuestros padres?

Tuesday, November 14

 

Section 105 of the Catechism strongly affirms that God is the author of Sacred Scripture. God’s authorship of all the books of both the Old and New Testaments is a result of the Holy Spirit inspiring human authors.

 

“[The] Church, relying on the faith of the apostolic age, accepts as sacred and canonical the books of the Old and the New Testaments, whole and entire, with all their parts, on the grounds that, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author, and have been handed on as such to the Church herself.”

 

In the New Testament letter known as Second Timothy, we read of Paul urging Timothy to continue his life-long practice of steeping himself in Sacred Scripture:

 

14 But you, remain faithful to what you have learned and believed, because you know from whom you learned it, 15 and that from infancy you have known [the] sacred scriptures, which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (3:14-17)

 

The Sacred Scriptures referenced in Second Timothy are the books of the Old Testament. It would take many decades after Second Timothy was written for it and any other inspired writing to become part of what we now know as the New Testament.

 

The inspiration of Sacred Scripture by the Holy Spirit makes God not only the author, but also the one who speaks through Scripture, for they are God’s words, and God’s words are extremely effective in achieving their purpose:

 

10 Yet just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down

And do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,

Giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,

11 So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth;

It shall not return to me empty,
but shall do what pleases me,
achieving the end for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:10-11)

 

God’s word is always seeking us out, speaking to us so that we might respond faithfully, becoming watered by it and, fertile and flowering, becoming a pleasing achievement of God’s gracious good will.

 

Questions for reflection:

 

1.        Where do you witness the power of God’s word to teach, to train in righteousness or otherwise achieve the end for which God’s word is sent?

 

2.       To what end is God’s word speaking to you in your life today?

 

Prayer:

 

O Word of God, speak to my heart and mind:

to my heart that I may become fertile ground for your word,

to my mind that I may see clearly what you ask of me.

 

“You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed,
through the living and abiding word of God.”

(1Peter 1:23)

~ Clifford M. Yeary

Tercer día, martes, 17 de noviembre

2 Corintios 6, 18

Seré para ustedes un Padre y ustedes serán mis hijos e hijas dice el Señor Todopoderoso .

San Pablo se vale de dos pasajes del Antiguo Testamento para amonestar a los corintios a que estén conscientes de su identidad especial como cristianos. No deben mezclarse con los incrédulos de manera que pongan en peligro sus valores y su comportamiento que los identifican como hijos de Dios. Ambos pasajes del Antiguo Testamento contienen las promesas de Dios a un rey, es decir a David, en 2 Samuel 7, 14, y a un heredero del trono de David en el Salmo 2, 7.

Leemos la exhortación de San Pablo a los corintios conscientes de que lo que les dice es verdadero también para todos los bautizados: somos hijos, somos hijos del Rey, de Dios. Dios es nuestro Padre, y Dios está presente para nosotros en nuestra vida diaria como sólo nuestro Padre celestial es capaz de hacerlo.  Pero ¿cómo puede este padre amoroso modelar nuestra vida si no abrimos frecuentemente el corazón y la mente a la palabra de Dios? Dios nos habla a través de la Biblia.  La Biblia no sólo nos anuncia las promesas de Dios, sino que es una historia de la fidelidad de Dios a esas promesas.  Aun hijos de reyes necesitan recordar frecuentemente el amor paternal, y su identidad especial necesita modelarse por las historias de familia que sucedieron antes de su propio nacimiento. Encontramos a nuestro Dios y nuestra propia identidad en la Biblia.    

Clifford M. Yeary

Preguntas para reflexionar:

1.      ¿Cuáles son algunas historias de familia que han ayudado a modelar tu identidad?

2.      ¿Cómo explicarías el papel de Dios como el padre de alguien que no ha tenido la experiencia de tener padre o esa experiencia ha sido dolorosa?  

Wednesday, November 15

 

For many Christians, the Bible is the final and complete answer for everything that matters to Christian faith and living. Section 108 of the Catechism informs us that Christianity is not, in fact, a religion of the book (that is, of the Bible). Christianity is centered on God’s ultimate Word, the person of Jesus Christ himself.

 

“[T]he Christian faith is not a "religion of the book." Christianity is the religion of the "Word" of God, a word which is "not a written and mute word, but the Word which is incarnate and living.”

 

Where does that leave the Bible? There is no other volume of written words in the world that can rival it as an expression of that one Word God speaks to us in the living person of Jesus Christ—living in and present to his people, the Church. But because the risen Christ is present to and living in the midst of God’s people, in absolute terms, we follow not solely a written word of God, but the incarnate Word of God. In order to faithfully respond to the message of the Scriptures Christ has given us the Holy Spirit to open our minds to understand them.

 

“If the Scriptures are not to remain a dead letter, Christ, the eternal Word of the living God, must, through the Holy Spirit, ‘open [our] minds to understand the Scriptures’” (§ 108).

 

Luke assures us that Christ has given the Church this gift of understanding:

 

44 He said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.”  45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures.  (Luke 24:44-45.)

 

There is a cautionary note concerning how we develop our understanding of Sacred Scripture, however. In opening our hearts to understand that Christ is that Word God most truly speaks to us in the words of the Bible, we are also to understand that it is a communal gift. It is a gift to his Apostles and through them, to us, the Church that sits at the Apostles’ and their successors’ feet. There is no gift enabling some exclusive private understanding of Scripture. We receive the gift of understanding as part of God’s faithful people, gathered in unity around our one Lord, Jesus Christ.

 

Questions for reflection:

 

1.        What role does attempting to come to a better understanding of Sacred Scripture play in your spiritual life?

 

2.       In what ways does your church community make efforts to increase parishioners’ understanding of Scripture?

 

Prayer:

 

O Word of God, speak to my heart and mind:

to my heart that I may find Christ to be the true center of faith,

to my mind that I may grow in understanding of your word.

 

“You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed,
through the living and abiding word of God.”

(1Peter 1:23)

~ Clifford M. Yeary

Thursday, November 16

 

On day three (November 14) of National Bible Week our focus was on God as the true author of Sacred Scripture. Today we encounter a truth of equal merit, that the human authors of Sacred Scripture, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, sacrificed nothing of their humanity, their personalities or even their culturally and historically limited understandings of science and history in producing their inspired writings.

 

“To compose the sacred books, God chose certain men who, all the while he employed them in this task, made full use of their own faculties and powers so that, though he acted in them and by them, it was as true authors that they consigned to writing whatever he wanted written, and no more” (§ 106).

 

God’s inspiration of Scripture guarantees “that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures” (§ 107). This is not the same as the inerrancy that biblical fundamentalists ascribe to Scripture. It is not a guarantee that the human authors were prevented from making any historical or scientific errors. God inspired the human authors of Scripture to teach what God wished to communicate through Scripture “for the sake of our salvation.” Our salvation has never depended on whether we believed the earth was flat or the center of the universe, and at various times some human authors of Scripture were left free to assume both those fallacies were true.

 

No biblical author expresses better than Paul the distinction between being knowledgeable and wise as the world counts wisdom and the simplicity of believing what God has done to bring about our salvation:

 

18 The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

 “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the learning of the learned I will set aside.”

 

20 Where is the wise one? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world did not come to know God through wisdom, it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation to save those who have faith. (1 Corinthians 1:18-21)

 

Today, the discoveries of science and our subsequent awareness of the complexity and vastness of the universe, and the course of evolution, give believers even greater reason to acclaim the wonders of God’s creative powers. We have no reason, however, to demand a greater scientific or historical understanding from our biblical authors than they had.

 

Questions for reflection:

 

1.        What was God’s purpose in inspiring our Sacred Scriptures?

 

2.       Where, in your reading of Sacred Scripture, has the human characteristics and personalities of the respective authors most clearly stood out to you?

 

Prayer:

 

O Word of God, speak to my heart and mind:

to my heart that I may respond to your offer of salvation in Scripture,

to my mind that I may discern what is truly essential.

 

“You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed,
through the living and abiding word of God.”

(1Peter 1:23)

 

~ Clifford M. Yeary

Quinto día, jueves, 19 de noviembre

Rut 1, 16

Pero Rut contestó: No insistas en que te deje y me vuelva. A donde tú vayas, yo iré, donde tú vivas, yo viviré; tu pueblo será el mío, tu Dios será mi Dios; donde tú mueras, allí moriré y allí me enterrarán.  Sólo la muerte podrá separarnos, y si no, que el Señor me castigue .

Con frecuencia hoy se habla de religión y se considera como un asunto privado.  Muchos se oponen a expresiones públicas de creencias o prácticas religiosas fuera de ciertos lugares que están dedicados al culto, como las iglesias. En algunos contextos públicos, el ofrecer una oración o el exhibir un símbolo religioso podría incluso iniciar una demanda.  Para algunas personas religiosas, la fe es un asunto que sería mejor practicar en privado absolutamente, algo que puede practicarse durante unos momentos de quietud o durante un paseo que una persona sola hace por el bosque en un día caluroso, asoleado.  Ciertamente, no se puede negar el estímulo espiritual que eso pudiera ofrecer.  

En el compromiso que Rut hizo a su suegra Noemí, sin embargo, descubrimos que la fe no es simplemente un asunto de importancia privada entre uno mismo y Dios.  La fe de Rut en el único Dios adorado por Noemí fue un fruto de su relación con Noemí.  Como cristianos, Cristo está presente verdaderamente para nosotros cuando dos o tres se reúnen en Su nombre (San Mateo 18, 20), y eso es especialmente verdadero en la Eucaristía, la más grande celebración de nuestra relación entre unos y otros como el cuerpo de Cristo.  El pueblo que pertenece a Cristo es nuestro pueblo, y su Dios es nuestro Dios.   

Clifford M. Yeary

Preguntas para reflexionar:

  1. ¿Cómo ha ayudado a moldear tu fe en Dios el ser parte de una familia?

     

  2. ¿Cómo afecta tu fe tu vida privada? ¿Cómo afecta tu fe tu vida pública?

Friday, November 17

 

Section 112 of the Catechism affirms the essential unity of all Sacred Scripture. As different as one book of the Bible may be from another, “Scripture is a unity by reason of the unity of God's plan, of which Christ Jesus is the center and heart, open since his Passover.”

 

After the resurrection, the risen Christ himself opened the minds of the Apostles to understand that his passion, death and resurrection were central to interpreting the Scriptures we now refer to as the Old Testament (Luke 24:44-45).

 

Nowhere in the Old Testament has the Church drawn greater insight into Jesus’ saving mission than in Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12, which refers to God’s suffering servant. It ends with the words:

 

11b My servant, the just one, shall justify the many,
their iniquity he shall bear.

12 Therefore I will give him his portion among the many,
and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty,

Because he surrendered himself to death,
was counted among the transgressors,

Bore the sins of many,
and interceded for the transgressors.

 

When Paul reminds Timothy of the inspired nature of Sacred Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16), it is the Old Testament that Paul is referring to. Paul himself refers to passages from the Old Testament whenever possible. A pertinent example of how Paul finds Christ’s importance in the Old Testament is found in Galatians 3:16 where he quotes a very strict translation of Genesis 13:15.

 

Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his descendant. It does not say, “And to descendants,” as referring to many, but as referring to one, “And to your descendant,” who is Christ.

 

It would seem that nothing more concisely sums up the unity of God’s revelation in Scripture and in the person of Christ than what the risen Christ proclaims to John in the book of Revelation:

 

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (22:13)

 

In Sections 121 – 130 of the Catechism, the essential unity of the Bible is asserted while at the same time the special contributions of both Old and New Testament are noted. Special note should be taken by those who doubt the value of the Old Testament. Section 121 specifically states: “the Old Covenant has never been revoked.” In light of statements made by recent Popes, when the Catechism states that the “Old Covenant” remains in effect, it means that the Jewish people remain in covenantal relationship with God through that covenant.

 

“For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.” (Romans 11:29)

 

Questions for reflection:

 

1.        What are some Old Testament passages that have special meaning to you?

 

2.       What does the Catechism say forms the essential unity of Sacred Scripture?

 

Prayer:

 

O Word of God, speak to my heart and mind:

to my heart that I might find peace in the unity of your word,

to my mind that I may study Scripture in order to find Christ.

 

“You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed,
through the living and abiding word of God.”

(1Peter 1:23)

 

~ Clifford M. Yeary

Sexto día, Viernes, 20 de noviembre

Colosenses 3,12-14

Por tanto, como elegidos de Dios, consagrados y amados, revístanse de sentimientos de profunda compasión, de amabilidad, de humildad, de mansedumbre, de paciencia; sopórtense mutuamente; perdónense si alguien tiene queja de otro; el Señor los ha perdonado, hagan ustedes lo mismo. Y por encima de todo el amor, que es el broche de la perfección.

 

La familia es el corazón de la sociedad humana. También es el hogar de heridas y dolores de cabeza, de disputas y rivalidades entre hermanos. Ojalá, la familia sea también donde aprendemos y practicamos el perdón.

En la epístola a los colosenses, el apóstol San Pablo urge a aquellos que han descubierto el amor de Cristo a que amen, a su vez, a todos aquellos que comparten el don de Dios de la redención, practicando toda virtud que contribuye a una vida armoniosa.  En ningún lugar es su práctica más importante que en el hogar, entre los miembros de la propia familia.  El ser “iglesia” se comienza en el hogar.   

Fíjate cómo se supone que adquiramos esta familia de virtudes.  Nos debemos de revestir de ellas, como si cada una fuera una pieza de ropa que podemos sacar de un ropero o de un cajón.  Sin embargo, si recordamos para quién nos estamos vistiendo—la persona más importante en nuestra vida—quizás podamos encontrar estas piezas de ropa tejidas finamente y ponérnoslas con cuidado.  Dedica tiempo para meditar sobre el carácter de cada virtud mencionada en el pasaje bíblico de hoy.  Al reconocer una virtud, cree con seguridad que es tuya para usarla, aun si eso significa perder algunos kilos de egoísmo para que una o más de ellas nos quede bien.

Clifford M. Yeary

Preguntas para reflexionar:

1.         ¿Cuándo has experimentado bondad, humildad o mansedumbre?  

 

2.         ¿Cuándo fue la última vez que necesitaste mucha paciencia en el contexto de tu vida de familia?

Saturday, November 18

 

Section 113 of the Catechism teaches that when we read the Bible, we must do so from “within the living Tradition of the whole Church.” The New Testament itself bears witness to the importance of Tradition:

 

“Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours.” (2 Thessalonians 2:15)

 

In First Corinthians, Paul “hands on” (the root of the word “tradition” means “hand on”) two of the most important traditions concerning Christ. In 11:23-26, he reminds them of the reason for celebrating the Eucharist:

 

23 For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, 24 and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

 

Then, in 15:3-4, he reminds them of the most important tradition of all:

 

3 For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures; 4 that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures.

 

Reading Scripture from within the Tradition of the Church means reading it from within the faith that was handed on to the Church by the Apostles. Indeed, the foremost reason for including the books of the New Testament in what has become our Bible is because these ancient writings spoke so clearly of the faith the Apostles handed on to those who accepted their teaching about Christ (see §120 of the Catechism).

 

Sections 115–119 of the Catechism remind us that reading Sacred Scripture within the Tradition of the Church discerns four levels of understanding or senses of Scripture, and each is essential. Sound biblical interpretation always begins with the literal sense, that is the actual meaning the human authors wished to convey through the words they used at the time of their writing.

 

Once grounded in a good understanding of the literal sense of Scripture, the spiritual sense, address the realities of our faith and the actual events written of in Scripture.

 

Many of the events we read of in Scripture lend themselves to an allegorical sense, that is, as an apparent precursor to a later event that imbues both with a depth of meaning. As an example, the many mentions of water in the Old Testament lend themselves to a Christian understanding of baptism.

 

The moral sense of Scripture is discovered in the moral teachings found throughout the Bible.

 

Finally, the anagogical sense illumines our understanding of heavenly and ultimate realities that await us in Christ.

 

 

Questions for reflection:

 

1.         Why was Tradition so important to the Church in receiving and accepting the books of the New Testament?

 

2.         How do all the senses by which we understand Scripture depend on solid interpretation of the literal sense of Scripture?

 

Prayer:

 

O Word of God, speak to my heart and mind:

to my heart that I might grow in gratitude for Scripture and Tradition,

to my mind that I may clearly participate in handing on the faith.

 

“You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed,
through the living and abiding word of God.”

(1Peter 1:23)

 

~ Clifford M. Yeary

Séptimo día, sábado, 21 de noviembre

1 Corintios 13, 4-8 

El amor es paciente, es servicial, [el amor] no es envidioso ni busca aparentar, no es orgulloso ni actúa con bajeza, no busca su interés, no se irrita, sino que deja atrás las ofensas y las perdona, nunca se alegra de la injusticia, y siempre se alegra de la verdad.  Todo lo aguanta, todo lo cree, todo lo espera, todo lo soporta. El amor nunca terminará.

En 1973 la Oficina de Correos de Estados Unidos sacó una estampilla muy colorida de 8 centavos con la palabra AMOR inscrita en grandes letras de bloque rojas. Llegó a ser un ícono y aparece en cartelones aún hoy día.  Cuando ves o escuchas la palabra “amor” sin ningún contexto particular ¿En qué piensas? ¿Qué te viene a la cabeza?   

El enamorarse es una de las emociones más poderosas que muchos de nosotros hemos sentido.  Por supuesto, enamorarse y casarse es un ideal romántico.  Pero el romance en un matrimonio podría desvanecerse rápidamente si ambas partes no  aprenden cómo amar más allá de las implicaciones del enamoramiento romántico.

Después de decirnos que se requiere paciencia y bondad para amar, el famoso himno al amor de San Pablo borra rápidamente todas aquellas cosas que no son amor.  Lo que finalmente nos dice que el amor es, no suena realmente tan romántico.  El amor verdadero que debe perdurar, si la familia va a prosperar, reflejará la descripción hecha por San Pablo.  El amor del cual habla San Pablo es algo que debe ser más fuerte que nuestras emociones.  Es al aprender a amar que aprendemos cómo buscar el bien de los demás cuando nuestras emociones desean lo que es mejor sólo para nosotros.

Clifford M. Yeary

 

Preguntas para reflexionar:

  1. ¿Quién en tu vida te ha hecho sentir amado/amada? ¿Qué hizo (hace) esa persona que te ayudó (ayuda) a darte cuenta que eres amado/amada?
  2. San Pablo nos dice que el amor no busca los intereses propios. ¿Qué podrías hacer esta semana por alguien a quien amas sin que esa persona sepa que tú eres la fuente del amor que se le extiende?